Imperialism In Southeast Asia Essay

1462 words - 6 pages

Imperialism in Southeast Asia

A. In the late 1400s & early 1500s, European traders explored the East Indies
1. In the seaports of these islands & on the nearby mainland
a) Portuguese & Dutch merchants enjoyed a rich & active trade until the early 1800s.
B. In the 1800s and early 1900s, European imperialism
made its way to Southeast Asia as it did to nearby India & China
1. The area became an important source not only of spices but also of the world's tea
2. Later valuable products such as tin and oil came from this area
A. It was natural that the British should take an interest in the kingdom of Burma, on the eastern border of India
1. By 1886 all of Burma had come under British control
B. The island of Singapore, on the tip of the Malay Peninsula, guards the entrance to the Strait of Malacca --- one of the most vital trade routes in the world
1. Britain's first recorded contact w/ Singapore was by representative of the East India Company
a) In 1819 a company ship landed at Singapore
1) Informed that there were only a few residents & no Dutch among them, the company decided to purchase land for a factory site
a. It created a city at Singapore, which became an important naval base in the British Empire
A. The eastern part of the mainland of Southeast Asia contained several small nations that struggled w/ internal instability & were at times also under the influence of Siam
1. In the late 1800s, French imperialists, by means of assertive economic measures and military intervention, laid claims to the area, & the French became the dominant power in what became known as French Indochina
a) The original 3 nations eventually regained their independence & today are the nations of Laos, Cambodia, & Vietnam
A. The kingdom of Siam was better organized than were other parts of Southeast Asia
1. The British on the Malay Peninsula & the French in Indochina nibbled at the borders of Siam
a) To maintain their independence, Siamese rulers skillfully maneuvered British interests again French interests
2. The British & French finally agreed that an independent Siam was a useful buffer state between their possessions
a) A buffer state, located between hostile powers, is a small country that serves to decrease the possiblity of conflict betweeb them
A. The Dutch East India Company, formed in 1602 to protect Dutch trading interests in the Indian Ocean, succeeded for many years
1. By the late 1700s, however, it had become corrupt & inefficient
2. In 1799 the govt of the Netherlands revoked the company's charter & took over the administration of the Netherlands East Indies
3. By the late 1800s, several revolts convinced the govt of the Netherlands to make basic reforms in the administration of its richest imperial possession
A. Only a few of the islands & island groups in the...

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