Developments in South & Southeast Asia

Unit 1: c. 1200-1450

Main Ideas:

  • States in South & Southeast Asia remained stable based on their state religion and the Indian Ocean Trade Route

  • Indian cultural traditions & religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam) shaped Southeast Asian kingdoms

Northern India

 Delhi Sultanate: 1206-1526 

Key Ideas:

  • Islam as state religion → Unstable while ruling over Hindu-majority population

    • Struggled to maintain rule & convert local Hindus to Islam → Relied on alliances with local Hindu rulers → Very unstable

  • Could not benefit from Indian Ocean Trade Route

    • Largely economically isolated from South India

    • Economy didn't flourish as much since it wasn't on Indian Ocean Trade Route

Qutub Minar, a minaret built in 1192 by the 1st Delhi Sultan, before the Sultanate was established


The tomb of Shams ud-Din Illtutmish, one of the 1st Delhi Sultans. Built in the 1200s


Southern India

Chola Empire: 3rd century BCE - 1279 CE
Kingdom of Vijayanagara: 1336-1646 CE

Key Ideas:

  • Hinduism as state religion → Very stable since most of population was Hindu

    • Hindu caste system helped the region maintain social stability

    • Hindu temples were centers of society

  • Benefited significantly from Indian Ocean Trade Route

    • Allowed the region to economically and politically prosper​

Brihadisvara Temple, completed in 1010 CE, one of the main Chola Hindu temples still standing


The chariot at Hampi, built in the 16th century. Hampi was one of the capitals of the Vijayanagara Empire


Southeast Asia

 Kingdoms of Funan, Srivijaya, Malacca, and Angkor 

Key Ideas:

  • Indian cultural traditions shaped Southeast Asian Kingdoms

    • Funan adopted Indian administrative structure & the term raja for king

    • Angkor built Angkor Wat, a huge Hindu & Buddhist temple

    • Malacca adopted Islam

  • Southeast Asian Kingdoms profited from Indian Ocean Trade

    • Merchants passed through Southeast Asia en route from Indian Ocean to China

    • Malacca taxed trade through the Strait of Malacca

Angkor Wat, a Hindu Temple built in 12th century by Kingdom of Angkor. Later became a Buddhist Temple


The Chot Mat Tower, built in the 8th century CE in the Kingdom of Funan