By Milton W. Meyer
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Profiles the most important political occasions within the histories of the international locations of critical, South and East Asia
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Extra resources for Asia: A Concise History
Kabul is the capital. Nepal, a landlocked country lying between India and China, extends from the Gangetic plain to the Himalayas. Katmandu (or Kathmandu) is the capital. Bhutan, an Indian protectorate, is closely related historically and ethnically to Tibet, to which it is joined by a number of Himalayan mountain passes. Sri Lanka (Ceylon) is a large island in the Indian Ocean, connected with the mainland by the Adam's Bridge sandbars. The land has varied geographical features. In the northern lowlands the economy is based chiefly on manufacturing, commerce, and food processing.
Mountainous Kalimantan (Borneo) is comparatively underdeveloped. Sulawesi (Celebes) produces copra, coffee, and spices. Many lesser islands string out eastward from Java and Sulawesi toward Australia. Indonesia produces quinine, pepper, kapok, rubber, hemp, copra, Page 21 palm oil, and tea. Java and South Sumatra were the sites of important empires until the Muslims and then the Westerners arrived. The Dutch eventually extended their sway over the region. At the end of World War II, the Indonesians proclaimed their independence on August 17, 1945, although the Dutch did not recognize the act until four years later.
But much of the continent is physically unattractive. Extensive areas are too cold, too dry, too mountainous, too infertile, or too remote for habitation. Mountains and plateaus cover two-fifths of the continent, and they support only a limited number of pastoral people. The Pamirs in Central Asia constitute the modal mountain system. From the four-to-five-mile-high Pamir knot, the "Roof of the World," mountain ranges fan out in all directions, including the well-known Himalayas to the east. The main Asian rivers rise in Tibet, but there is no single riverine system.
Asia: A Concise History by Milton W. Meyer