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Vast region of Asia lying east of the Indian subcontinent and south of China. It includes a mainland area (also called Indochina) and a string of archipelagoes to the south and east and is generally taken to include Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, and the Philippines. For centuries the mainland portion was the site of numerous indigenous dynasties, but in the 19th century all but Thailand (Siam) came under the control of European powers, notably France (seeFrench Indochina); all areas became independent after 1945.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Southeast Asia, visit Britannica.com.
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