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Southeast Asia has long been seen as a unity, although other terms have been used to describe it: Further India, Little China, the Nanyang. The region has had a protracted maritime history. Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity are all represented. It has seen a quintet of colonial powers - Britain, France, The Netherlands, Spain, the United States. Most recently, it has become one of the fastest growing parts of the world economy. The very term 'Southeast Asia' is clearly more than a geographical expression. The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia is a multi-authored treatment of the whole of mainland and island Southeast Asia from Burma to Indonesia. Unlike other histories of the region, it is not divided on a country-by-country basis and is not structured purely chronologically, but rather takes a thematic and regional approach to Southeast Asia's history. This volume, the second and final in the series, takes us into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from the late eighteenth century of the Christian era when most of the region was incorporated into European empires to the complexity and dramatic change of the post-World War II period. It covers the economic and social life as well as the religious and popular culture of the region as they develop over two centuries. The political structures of the region are also closely examined, from the insurgencies and rebellions of early this century to the modern Nationalist movements which challenged the control of the colonial powers and led to the formation of independent states. Under the editorship of Nicholas Tarling, Professor of History at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, each chapter is well integrated into the whole. Professor Tarling has assembled a highly respected team of international scholars who have presented the latest historical research on the region and succeeded in producing a provocative and exciting account of the region's history.
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Taking a thematic, rather than country-by-country approach, this new two volume work examines the monumental changes experienced by mainland and island Asia. Volume two of The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia covers the period since 1800.
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