东南亚曾经有过帝国吗？Were there ever Empires in South East Asia?
2023-05-22 cnbsmt 9638 0 2 收藏 纠错&举报
I always see stuff and history about the Mongols, the Japanese and the Chinese Empires. But I wonder if apart from those 3, any countries further down South, in the SEA region ever had Empires? And successful conquests of other territories.
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Undoubtedly the Khmer civilisation (modern day Cambodia) is the main one. During the 9th to 15th centuries almost all of SE Asia was under their control. Thai temples are similar to Cambodia's for this reason - they copied the Khmer style (not the other way round as some Thais would claim nowadays). The old city of Angkor (where the temples are, near siem reap) is over 40,000 hectares, and based on the agricultural systems would have supported up to a million inhabitants. I would highly recommend a visit before the temples are closed off or 'modernised', they are supremely impressive.
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You beat me to the Khmer! They had good hydrological engineering, and were able to grow enough rice to feed both a massive population and an army. Visiting Angkor Wat, you only see the jungle and the stone temples, the canals and reservoirs, but not the massive grid city, with multistory wood buildings and palaces that once composed a city of a million people.
The khmer looks like a Hindu kingdom just like the ones on the Indian peninsula. How did Hinduism spread there before Buddhism took over??
The Khmer Kingdom had both hinduism and buddhism, with one or the other ascendant depending on the king. The statuary and giant heads that you see at Angkor were reworked several times in the early part of the last millennium depending on which sect was preferred by the reigning king. The depth of my knowledge is paper thin, and based on visiting Siem Riep as a tourist, so I'm sure someone far more knowledgeable could provide a better answer.
Most of South East Asia was colonised by Chola Kings. The southern Indian emperors continued to expand eastwards till Indonesia. Hence you see a lot of similarity in temples, names and culture.
Hinduism was the dominant religion then later Buddhism came to prominence.
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Buddhism forced medi Hindu priests and intellectuals to question their own philosophies and they developed more cogent religions (there is not one Hinduism) that actively tried to convert people.
Southeast Asian kingdoms were connected to India by overseas trade, and India was their richest neighbor (China was also rich but if you look at a map, the Vietnamese coast is way more accessible to China than the rest of SEAsia and indeed, Vietnam has huge Chinese cultural influence) so the Hindu religions like Shaivism were the prestigious ones that would make a King look more important to his subjects and surrounding states. Traders would get better access to markets by converting. India was also the closest literate neighbor, and most Southeast Asian scxts are derived from Indian writing, and most writing back in the day was religious or commercial. Hinduism is polytheist but they don't claim their pantheon are the only gods in existence, so Southeast Asians could convert and retain their local gods.
Buddhism was exported to Southeast Asia at the same time as Hinduism and somehow overtook Hinduism but I'm not sure how that happened. Buddhism usually coexists with Hinduism since that system doesn't deny the existence of gods per se.
Almost all of South East Asia? Very debatable. Not to take away from their relevance to continental SE Asia sure, but the Majapahit Empire controlled as much territory and Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines had nothing to do with the Khmers.
It's a pet peeve of mine that Indonesia so often gets overlooked in the annals of history despite being incredibly relevant.
Agree with this completely. The majapahit empire was such a naval power it blew my mind to see exactly how much of the surrounding islands it conquered lol - plus it's very much relevant to Indonesian history and national identity,,,, and gods only know exactly how important Indonesia is in Southeast Asian affairs
the Khmer civilisation (modern day Cambodia) is the main one.
That's not true. Bagan Empire (Burma) rivaled Khmers in its days. Later on, the 2nd Burmese Empire under Bayinnaung eclipsed the Khmers for creating the largest empire in South East Asia.
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Majapahit in modern-day Indonesia could probably qualify as an empire. It was more of a maritime empire than a land-based one like China, though; only other empire of that sort which I can think of is the Tu'i Tonga Empire in the South Pacific.
The Majapahit Empire survived something most empire did not:
They insulted/mutilated ambassadors from the Mongols.
But the Mongol horses can't ride on water.
The Mongols apparently didn't do too well in South Asia in general though, the heat was not something their soldiers or equipment were used to.
There were quite successful ones in Cambodia (Khmer), in Malaysia and Indonesia, in the Philippines, Brunei and of course Myanmar and Thailand.
Edit: Removed Philippines and added in Brunei in it's place.
If we are talking about empires on the scale of the Mongols and the Romans, the Philippines from what I know may have never had their own.
They have been a part of one (Spanish) and are incredibly influenced by one (American) but the Ancient Social Structure of Philippine society may have somewhat inhibited the consolidation of communities into an empire.
There were definitely kingdoms and powerful tribes, but none to the extent (again, as far as I know) were as powerful as the Mongols etc.
Yep, pre-colonial Philippines probably didn't have any empires, but they did have a handful of thriving city-states, highlander tribes, pirate nations, and hindu/muslim kingdoms. All of these were very different in culture and form, with different international relations (some were tributaries of China for example) and all of them were only ever truly unified into "the Philippines" with the arrival of the Americans who consolidated the highlands of Luzon and finalized the maritime border between Borneo and Mindanao.
So yeah, no empire. But IMHO the Philippines is so diverse (yet self-contained) and densely populated that it can be reorganized into a semi-cosmopolitan empire right now, if it wanted to, much in the same style as Japan had been the past few centuries.
Malacca Empire/Sultanate, was around for a short time but controlled most of the wealth along the Strait of Malacca (major trading port and control point for trade between the Indian Ocean trade complex/network and the ports of Canton) during the 15th and 16th centuties. It fell due to an invasion by the Portuguese.
Yes, the kingdoms of Ava in Myanmar, majapahit in indonesia, the Khmer in cambodia, Ayyuatha in Thailand, the sultanate of Malaya are just some examples.
Well, there's the Khmer Empire, and Thailand had its empire, but everything else was dominated by China to the north, or India to the west (Maurya, Mughal).
Indonesia and Malaysia did have empires, and you can take a look here for a surface-scratching uation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4zGw2OewIk and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1suZVUoxCA (for the Polynesians).
Empires, a term used to denote a cohesive conquest, isn't going to be easy when you have islands that can defend themselves, and declare autonomy. Britain never really got absorbed into Europe (since the Roman conquest) and Japan never got absorbed into Asia - islands have that nice buffer to decide whether they want to accept other influences. Korea couldn't really refuse China, and France couldn't really refuse Germany (or vice-versa). But the islands had a better chance of picking and choosing influences, and even among islands, forming a cohesive state is less likely.
There are a some SE Asian empires you missed my friend. The Taungoo empire, short lived, but covering most of SEA for instance. But at its the Ayuthaya dynasty could definitely be considered an empire too. As does the Pagan one. SEA may be influenced by Indian states and Chinese dynasties but they were sure as hell not dominated.
Some great examples cited here - Khmer, Srivijaya, Majapahit. I think its also very important to note that historical South East Asian polities tended not to conform to traditional European or Chinese conceptions of a physical state with clearly delineated borders, but rather conformed more to spheres of influence - and the loyalties of a particular region tended to follow the wax and wane of various centres of influence. This is known as the Mandala polity model
I'm surprised no one here's mentioning Chola dynasty.The Cholas ruled for more than 1,500 years, making them one of the longest-ruling families in human history. Cholas had one of the most efficient navy of their time.At its peak, the Chola Navy was Asia's largest navy, with blue-water capabilities, and a personnel strength of a million men.Between 900 and 1100 CE, the navy grew from a small backwater entity to a potent maritime and diplomatic force across Asia, with maritime trade lixs extending from Arabia to China.
One thing to note is that SE Asia has relatively little written documentation. Written records in native SE Asian languages don't appear until the earliest Khmer scxts in the 7th century.
Even then, Khmer language histories are relatively sparse. Despite the fact that the Khmer language was literate, many of our major sources on the Khmer Empire come from foreign (especially Chinese) writing. For instance, the main written source regarding the golden age of Angkor comes from the Yuan dynasty diplomat Zhou Daguan and his report, The Customs of Cambodia.
As a result, other than Vietnam (which was a territory of the Chinese empire for much of its history until 938 and again from 1407-1427), most Southeast Asian countries don't have a lot of written history, which in turn limits what we know about Southeast Asian history.
For instance, for a long time historians believed that there was a proto-Khmer empire prior to the 6th century (known as Funan in the Chinese sources), but historians increasingly believe that Funan was actually a cultural region consisting of independent city states.
Not an expert, and maybe not long lasting enough to be an “empire”, but I’d nominate Thailand (Siam). They were at their peak of power as western countries sailed into the east, I believe the only/largest country in that region that wasn’t colonized by England, France, Spain, or Portugal, as well as resisting other Asian powers during that time
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You forgot the Dutch, but yes, Thailand is the only country in SEA that was never colonised by a Western power.
That was less about their power and more their geographic location between British Burma and French Indochina.
Correct. The only two countries in Asia which avoided colonization were Thailand and Japan, and perhaps China depending how you consider the unequal treaties and outright Western control of certain major cities. Thailand, however, did lose about 1/3 of its territory to France so maybe not them either.
Was Korea colonized by a western force or only by Japan?
Korea and Taiwan were both colonized by Japan. And I'm counting Mongolia as a client state of the Soviet unx which is really just another form of imperialism.
There were plenty. The Taungoo empire, Siam, Khmer, Srivijaya, Majapahit, Brunei, though maybe not quite on the scale of empires in other places. I assume the jungles and mountains in the area might have made expansion difficult.
Oddly Vietnam seems to be escaping mention in most of the comments. While often dominated by its more powerful northern neighbours in China, it was an empire that did last some time and expanded from its heartlands to what is now modern Vietnam.