History of Southeast Asia

By Charles Kimball

On Going since Jul 2016 • Updated bimonthy

A history of the lands between India, China and Australia.

All Episodes

  Direct Link   Download 0 Minutes 16 Nov 2017

This episode continues our narrative on Southeast Asia in the early twentieth century, by looking at Indonesia, then called the Dutch East Indies, from 1901 to 1941 (A.D.). First we will learn how oil was discovered in the islands, and how it replaced spices as Indonesia's most important product. Then we will see how the Dutch administered the islands during that time. Finally we will follow the development of Indonesian nationalism, and meet Sukarno, the first leader of modern Indonesia. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 0 Minutes 01 Nov 2017

For our 32nd episode (33rd if you count the introduction), we will return to the Southeast Asian mainland, and cover the history of Burma, modern-day Myanmar, in the early twentieth century. In particular we will concentrate our attention on the nationalist movements that sprang up, to oppose British rule. Three of the nationalists we will meet here, Aung San, U Nu and Ne Win, will become important in future episodes, so remember their names! This sample of Burmese money is a 90 Kyat bill, issued in 1987, and on the front it shows Saya San, who led an unsuccessful revolt against British rule in 1931. 90 Kyat bills were a legal denomination because Ne Win believed that 9 and multiples of 9 were lucky numbers, but that’s a wild story I am saving for another time. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 46 Minutes 16 Oct 2017

With this episode, we begin a narrative completely in the twentieth century, so welcome to recent history! Here we also conclude the four-part miniseries about the Philippines, around the beginning of the twentieth century. This time we will cover the years from 1902 to 1941, looking at the minor wars that came after the Philippine Insurrection (or Philippine-American War, if you're politically correct), and seeing how Americans and Filipinos learned to work together, so that the Philippines can become independent someday. The first civilian governor that the United States put over the Philippines was a future US president, William Howard Taft. He served from 1900 to 1904, and because he weighed 325 lbs., Americans remember him as their biggest president. Here he is in 1901 riding a water buffalo, or as the Filipinos call it, a carabao. Can you tell which is bigger? And here a scene from the final battle of the Moro War, the battle of Bud Bagsak. This was painted in 1963, fifty years after the battle took place, so I have a feeling some details were left out, like the fact that the Moros had their families at the site of the battle. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 39 Minutes 01 Oct 2017

This is the third episode in the mini-series we are currently doing about the Philippines. Here we cover the three-year war the Americans fought to keep the islands after they arrived in 1898. This also completes our narrative on Southeast Asia in the nineteenth century. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 38 Minutes 16 Sep 2017

This episode covers the part of the Spanish-American War that was fought in the Philippines. In doing so we will introduce the last colonial power to come to Southeast Asia, the United States. In the past the narrative could cover centuries of events with one episode, but this time almost everything happened in one year, 1898. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 58 Minutes 02 Sep 2017

This episode catches up on the Philippines, a part of Southeast Asia the podcast last talked about in Episode 14. Here you will hear how Spain lost its tight grip on the islands, and the development of Southeast Asia's first modern nationalist movement. The narrative will cover events in the 1700s and most of the 1800s, and end right before the United States got involved in the Philippines, the topic of the next episode. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 53 Minutes 16 Aug 2017

Having talked about how the Europeans conquered other parts of Southeast Asia in previous episodes, today we will look at the one nation that kept itself from becoming a colony -- Siam. This episode covers the years from 1782 to 1939. Here you will learn how Siam did it, and why it is now called Thailand. Here is a map of Siam in the early 1800s, when the kingdom was at its greatest size. These borders lasted until 1863, when Britain and France started taking parts of the kingdom for themselves. The core territory they left behind became present-day Thailand in 1939. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 49 Minutes 01 Aug 2017

This podcast episode finishes what the previous episode started, covering the French conquest of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, from 1867 to 1907. This map shows the French conquest, step by step. Although it is a French language map, if you can read English you should be able to figure out what the text is saying in most places. The white area around Hanoi was temporaily captured by Francis Garnier's 1873 expedition, and conquered more permanently in 1883. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 46 Minutes 16 Jul 2017

Now the podcast moves to the east side of the Southeast Asian mainland. This is the first in a two-part series on how the French conquered Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. If you are interested in what I may say in the future about the twentieth-century Vietnam War, this episode is an important stepping stone, setting the stage to that conflict by bringing in the French. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 0 Minutes 01 Jul 2017

Would you believe it, the podcast is now one year old! In continuation of the narrative, this episode will cover the history of Burma/Myanmar in the nineteenth century. The main event is the British conquest, which made Burma part of British India. You will also hear me read a poem by Rudyard Kipling; listen and enjoy! I have several pictures to share today. The first is a map showing Britain's gains in the Anglo-Burmese Wars. This is a thumbnail; click on the picture to see it full size (it will open in a separate window). The British proclaimed their rule over the pink territories in 1826, the red area in 1853, and the green area in 1886. Here is what I call the Burmese answer to the Tower of Babel -- the Mingun Pahtodawgyi Pagoda. If it had been completed, it would have been the world's largest pagoda, standing 490 feet high. The unfinished ruins are 172 feet high today. And here is the other side of Mingun, showing the main archway split by the 1838 earthquake. Some of the shrines around the Kutho Daw Pagoda in Mandalay. Each shrine is built over a stone slab, carved with Buddhist scriptures. A model of the whole Kutho Daw complex, the world's heaviest book. Finally, here is a Christmas card sent from Mandalay in 1886. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 18 Jun 2017

With this episode the podcast introduces the fourth Western empire to acquire colonies in Southeast Asia, the British Empire. Although Britain was a late participant in the imperial game, by the nineteenth century they were outperforming every other imperial power. Here you will hear how the British gained control over Malaya, Singapore, and part of Borneo. This episode calls the Indian Ocean a "British lake." Here you can see what I meant by that; Britain ruled all the purple territories in 1914. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 46 Minutes 01 Jun 2017

After taking a bit of a break last month, we are now ready to resume the narrative, with the first episode covering events in the nineteenth century. This time we will see how the Dutch conquered all of Indonesia, or as they called it after they took over, the Dutch East Indies. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 17 Minutes 16 May 2017

This is a special mini-episode, because if you have been listening to the narrative, we have finished the early modern era (1500 to 1800) and are now about to begin the colonial era (1800 to 1965) in Southeast Asian history. This episode will explain what has changed in the relationship between Europe and Southeast Asia, and what made it possible for the Western nations to step in and take over, rather than just sit on the periphery like they did for the previous three hundred years. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 43 Minutes 01 May 2017

This episode covers the latest round in the ongoing conflict between Myanmar and Thailand, or as they were called before the twentieth century, Burma and Siam. At the height of the fighting, the Burmese utterly destroyed Ayutthaya, the capital of Siam. But this wasn't the end of Siam; the Siamese kings move first to Thonburi, then to Bangkok, and the kingdom recovered with amazing speed. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 49 Minutes 17 Apr 2017

This episode covers Vietnam in the early modern era, from 1471 to 1819. Twice during this period, Vietnam was divided between rival factions, from 1527 to 1592, and then from 1592 to 1802. We will also see Champa, Vietnam's rival in Episodes 4 and 8, for the last time. Finally, one French clergyman will invent today's Vietnamese alphabet, and another will help Vietnam pull itself together again; that marks the beginning of French involvement in Vietnam, which we will see much more in future episodes. This map from Wikipedia shows Vietnam around 1650, in the middle of the second division. The lands belonging to all the players mentioned in this episode are shown here. The Bau Lords are not mentioned because they were the least important faction; all they did was keep their district in the northwest independent of the other families, from 1527 until 1699. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 44 Minutes 01 Apr 2017

Today's episode wraps up coverage of seventeenth-century events in Burma, Siam and Laos, with some really obscure stories about two kingdoms that no longer exist: Arakan and Lan Xang. We will cover the peak years and decline of both kingdoms. And that's not all; we will also see another European try to gain control over a Southeast Asian state, this time Siam. Here is the map that was originally posted in Episode 5, showing where Arakan/Rakhine is, in relation to the rest of Burma/Myanmar and Bangladesh. This picture is from the March 1971 issue of National Geographic Magazine, and it shows a lacquer panel painting, made in Siam during the eighteenth century. Here is a scene from a Buddhist legend, which shows the enemies of the Buddha attacking. Note the European in the middle of the crowd, taking aim with a musket. Listen to the episode to get an idea on why the artist thought Europeans were the bad guys. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my SEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 38 Minutes 16 Mar 2017

In recent episodes we have met two European nations that explored and exploited parts of Southeast Asia, Portugal and Spain. Now this episode introduces the Dutch and tells how they got involved in Indonesia. Because the Dutch used a corporation, the Dutch East India Company (also called the V.O.C.), this will be a very different story from that of the Portuguese and Spanish empires. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 34 Minutes 01 Mar 2017

This episode finishes what we started covering last time, the wars on the Southeast Asian mainland in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Whereas we mainly looked at two Burmese kings last time, here we will concentrate our attention on Naresuan, whom modern-day Thais consider their greatest king. Also, we will see a strange adventure in which two Europeans, a Portuguese and a Spaniard, try to turn Cambodia into a pro-Spanish puppet state. Here is the scene from "The Legend of King Naresuan" movie series where Naresuan shoots a Burmese general at long range, something you shouldn't be able to do with a sixteenth-century musket. An army officer, Wanchana Sawatdee, was picked to play the king, so Thai audiences would not get distracted by seeing a famous actor. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 30 Minutes 15 Feb 2017

The last four episodes have mainly talked about events on Southeast Asia's islands, so now we will return to the mainland and the conflict that we started to cover at the end of Episode 10. Special attention is given to the two most important Burmese kings of the sixteenth century, Tabinshwehti and Bayinnaung. I call this episode and the next one "The Elephant Wars" because most of the fighting was either on elephants, or over elephants. Here is the map from Wikipedia showing the second Burmese Empire in 1580, at the height of Bayinnaung's power. Unfortunately it has a few misspelled names, but I have not found a better map anywhere else. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 40 Minutes 01 Feb 2017

In the previous episode we learned how Spain discovered the Philippines, so in this episode Spain will name and conquer the Philippine islands, making them a colony for more than three hundred years. (Note: A remastered edition of this episode was uploaded on March 24, 2017, with better sound quality than the original.) Here is a map of the Philippines so listeners can keep track of all the places mentioned in this episode, from Manila to Mindanao. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 43 Minutes 16 Jan 2017

In this episode, a second European nation, Spain, gets involved in Southeast Asia by discovering the Philippines, a part of Southeast Asia that had not gotten much attention previously. Then we will see Spain's attempts to take Indonesia and its valuable spice trade from Portugal. This map explains the Portuguese-Spanish dispute in Southeast Asia. It shows three ideas on where to put the "Tordesillas antimeridian," the line between the Portuguese and Spanish claims. Only the line on the right is in the correct place. The dotted line is where Ferdinand Magellan thought the Southeast Asian mainland was. Source: Stalemate at Bajadoz. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 38 Minutes 01 Jan 2017

This is the first episode of 2017, and the first episode covering events in the modern era. Here we will meet the Portuguese, the first Europeans to sail across the oceans in large numbers, see how they found Southeast Asia, and learn what they did in the region. With the European arrival, the rules of the game will change! Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 33 Minutes 16 Dec 2016

There is one more major player in Southeast Asia to introduce before the Europeans arrive, and that player is Islam. This episode will focus on how Islam came to this part of the world, with special emphasis on Malacca, the first important Southeast Asian state that converted to the new religion. And here is a map showing how Islam spread across Southeast Asia, starting with Aceh (also spelled Acheh or Atjeh), from 1240 to 1600. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 42 Minutes 01 Dec 2016

We're almost finished looking at Southeast Asia in the Middle Ages. This episode tells how Siam (modern Thailand) and Lan Xang (Laos) got started. And you will get to hear me mangle more names that were never meant to be pronounced by English speakers! Here is a map of the Southeast Asian mainland, around 1530. All of the nations mentioned in this episode are shown, with arrows indicating the main conflicts. Vieng Chan is another name for Vientiane. Source: Angkor-planet.com. Thai kings got along well in the thirteenth century, so today in Chiangmai, Thailand, you can see the statues of three kings together. From left to right, these statues represent Ngam Muang (the ruler of a minor muang or city-state), Mangrai of Lan Na, and Ramkhamhaeng of Sukhothai. In 1287 these kings formed a friendship pact. The Ramkhamhaeng stela. Click here for an English translation. And here is one of the stone urns on the Plain of Jars. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 35 Minutes 16 Nov 2016

This episode covers Burma (also called Myanmar) in the Middle Ages, with special emphasis on the Bagan Empire. Visit a city with more than 2,000 pagodas! Learn what makes Theravada Buddhism different from the other Buddhist sects. Meet a king who ruled for 95 years, and another king who ate 300 dishes of curry every day! Hear me mispronounce their names! It's all here for your listening pleasure! Here is part of the Bagan skyline, showing a few of its ruined pagodas. And here is Bagan's most spectacular building, the Ananda Temple. Finally, this graph shows how much land, workers and silver supported Burma's Buddhist clergy. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 42 Minutes 01 Nov 2016

This episode covers Vietnam from 939 to 1471. During this time two nations existed in the territory of present-day Vietnam (three if you count the Khmers ruling the Mekong delta). Those nations were the Vietnamese state, currently called Dai Viet, and the Indianized state of Champa. The Vietnamese and Chams fought on and off for most of this period, hence the episode name. Who won? Listen to find out! (Note: A remastered edition of this episode was uploaded on February 1, 2017, to replace nearly three minutes of content that somehow had been cut out of the original.) The main artifacts left to us by the Chams are Hindu temples made of bricks. Of these, the one in best shape is Po Klong Garai, built around 1300 by Jaya Sinhavarman III, near Phan Rang in southern Vietnam. Here it is. And here is a map of the area covered by this episode, around the year 1200. The Vietnamese kingdom is colored yellow, and Champa is colored green. Most of Champa’s cities are marked with two names: the original Sanskrit name in red, and the modern Vietnamese name in parentheses. To the left of both, in light blue, is the Khmer Empire, the nation featured in Episode 7. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 40 Minutes 16 Oct 2016

We're now up to the most spectacular civilization in ancient/medieval Southeast Asia. This episode covers Cambodia from 550 to 1431, the golden age of the Khmers, ancestors of today's Cambodians. Here are some maps and pictures to give you a better idea of what I am talking about: First, a map of mainland Southeast Asia, around 750 A.D. The violet-colored nation at the bottom is Srivijaya (see Episode 6). And here is Jayavarman II in the Devaraja (god-king) ceremony. The priest is annointing a lingam, a phallus-shaped stone representing Shiva; that was the most important image in the temple. From the April 1960 issue of National Geographic. The Khmer Empire in the twelfth century. The striped area was ruled by the Burmese, but also claimed by the Khmers. From Angkorvat.net. One of Angkor's gateways, with four faces of Jayavarman VII looking in different directions. In Ankgor, the phrase "Big Brother is watching you" was carved in stone! Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 52 Minutes 01 Oct 2016

This episode covers Indonesia from the year 600 to 1500, the years when historical records become available, but before most Indonesians converted to Islam (that will be a topic for a future episode). Five major kingdoms dominated the islands during this time: Srivijaya, Mataram, Kediri, Singosari, and Majapahit. Also, we will take a detailed look at Borobudur, Indonesia's greatest monument. Here is a picture of Borobudur from the air, in case you want something to look at while following the description given in the episode. On September 20, 2016, this podcast was accepted on Acast, the big Swedish podcasting host. I am happy about this because they said no three months earlier, when I applied before recording the first episode. For those keeping track, there are now five places where you can listen: Blubrry, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and now Acast. Do you think you would like to become a podcaster on Blubrry? Click here for the details on joining. Enter my promo code, HSEASIA, to let them know I sent you, and you will get the first month's hosting for free! Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 38 Minutes 16 Sep 2016

For this episode, the main topic is how the nation of Burma, also called Myanmar, got started. We will see the Burmese and tribes related to them settle the north, and we will take a special look at Arakan, a province that often went its own way (see the map below). Also in this episode, we will see the Mons, a tribe we met previously, move the capital of their state in southern Burma, from Thaton to Bago. Finally, we will meet Nanzhao, Burma's northern neighbor from the eighth to the thirteenth century. And here is the website I recommended if you want to look at artifacts from the Pyu civilization: https://www.pyukingdom.com On September 7, 2016, this podcast was accepted on Google Play, probably the best download site on the World Wide Web. Now you have four places online where you can listen: Blubrry, iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 01 Sep 2016

This episode will focus on the east coast of the Southeast Asian mainland, going up to 938 A.D. This timeframe covers the beginning of two nations: Vietnam and Champa. Only one of them is around today; guess which one it is. On August 30, 2016, this podcast was added to the programs available on Stitcher. Now if you have the Stitcher app on a mobile device, you have another way to listen! http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/berosus/history-of-southeast-asia-podcast?refid=stpr Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 31 Minutes 16 Aug 2016

The first Southeast Asian nations larger than a city-state appeared in or near the first century A.D. In other words, roughly two thousand years ago. This episode will look at Funan, the major state that arose in Cambodia, and medium-sized states like Dvaravati, Haripunjaya, Pan Pan, Langkasuka, and Tambralinga, which the Mons and Malays founded in present-day Thailand and northern Malaya. This map from Wikipedia shows the centers of political power on the Southeast Asian mainland in 1360 A.D. The episode refers to this map while explaining the loose monarchies that characterized Southeast Asian states in ancient times, a system we sometimes call "mandalas." Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 30 Minutes 01 Aug 2016

The Southeast Asians you are familiar with came originally from China, in at least five waves of migration: the Austronesians or Malays, the Mon-Khmers, the Vietnamese, the Tibeto-Burmans and the Thais. In this episode we will follow the Malay and Mon-Khmer migrations. Then when the Mons make contact with India, we will see Indian civilization introduced to nearly all of Southeast Asia, setting the stage for the rise of the first Southeast Asian states. This map from Wikimedia Commons shows the path taken by the Austronesians during their great migration. Recent research has changed some of the dates, but otherwise the map is reliable. Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 16 Jul 2016

Our narrative begins with Southeast Asia in prehistoric times. We will look at Java Man, Solo Man, Wadjak Man, Meganthropus, Gigantopithecus, Homo floresiensis, the Negritos, and the amazing Ban Chiang village in Thailand. This episode was originally uploaded on July 15, 2016. It was edited on August 21 to remove a sentence that was later found to be in error. Support this podcast!. . .

  Direct Link   Download 27 Minutes 02 Jul 2016

Meet the podcaster and get a geographical description of Southeast Asia, before jumping into the historical narrative that will make up the rest of this podcast series.. . .

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