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Regional Comparisons of South Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia
Instructions: Outline demographic information requested for each of the three regions. Please
summarize the general trends in each of these topics for each of the regions listed. Be sure that
your answers are concise and on point.
1) SOUTH ASIA
a) Largest Country – Square Miles/Population:
Afghanistan
Square Miles - 251,000 square miles
Population – 30,419,928
b) Largest City – Square Miles/Population:
Kabul
Square Miles – 106 square miles
Population – 3,071,400
c) Write a brief overview of the following:
i) Economic Geography:
The economic geography of South Asia is nearly stagnant, with other concerns on the minds of
the governments and peoples of the area. Advancement in behavioral, allocation of resources and
environmental and economic issues are not moving forward at a measurable rate. Except for
India which is growing faster and faster toward technological history.
ii) Political Systems:
The countries in South Asia tend toward European political systems combined with the South
Asian ideas of authority, leadership and legitimacy (South Asian Political Culture, n.d.). One of
the most recently established systems is in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is an Islamic republic with three branches of government … executive, legislative
and judicial. Afghanistan has a president (of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) with a
parliament as a legislative branch with 249 seats determined by population of their electoral
constituencies. The current president (Hamid Karzai) was elected in June 2002 for five years,
remained as interim president until 2009 when he won a second five year term.
The House of Elders has 102 members, 1/3 of which were appointed by the president, 1/3 were
elected by provincial councils and the remaining 1/3 is not actually nailed down as to how they
are chosen.
iii) Topography:
South Asia has countries which are landlocked with a highly mountainous terrain. There are
several major river systems. Many of the countries have high altitude, over 4,000 feet above sea
level. Large desert regions cover much of the area, while there are many small fertile valleys
where sheep, goats and camels can graze. There are few lakes. India borders the Arabian Sea, the
Bay of Bengal and of course the Indian Ocean. Some of the world’s largest river systems are in
South Asia.
South Asia's topography consists of an amazing variety of mountains, plateaus, dry regions,
intervening structural basins, beaches, etc. It varies from world highest point, the Mount Everest
to the world lowest, the sea beach (Regional Overview: About South Asia, n.d.).
iv) Climate:
Monsoon climate over all of South Asia is characterized by wet summers and dry winters.
Maximum rainfall occurs from late May to October. The climate and precipitation vary greatly
from region to region due to land forms. The region's temperature varies ranging from as low as 20 °C in the cold desert to a scorching 48 °C desert areas in some plains.
v) History:
The history of this region is ancient and varied and much too great to even attempt to include in
this small space on this assignment. Some of the countries (India for example) begin their
recorded history as far back as 3300 BCE. These areas have a history of conquering and wars, of
learning to trade with the western world while establishing their own art, music and civilizations
in the process. Recent histories are currently battles over oil in areas such as Afghanistan. While
India maintains her regal status, she is becoming the newest piece of history on the planet as the
people take their knowledge of computers into the next century.
2) EAST ASIA
a) Largest Country – Square Miles/Population
China
9,596,960 square miles
1,354,040,000
b) Largest City – Square Miles/Population
Tokyo
896 square miles
12.79 million people
c) Write a brief overview of the following:
i) Economic Geography
There is no faster growing area that East Asia, in all economic geographical areas. Although
natural resources are dwindling, man-made resources are being exported thus improving the
economies of the East Asian countries.
ii) Political Systems
Political systems range from the democratic system in Taiwan to the people’s congress system in
China. There are four functions of the congresses, legislation, supervision, appointment and
removal of officials, and making decisions on major issues. China claims to be the government
of the people, and exists under a multi-party system. The politics of Korea, being a country
divided ranges from a nominally democratic multi-party system in North Korea to a semipresidential representative democratic republic in South Korea. In actuality, North Korea is
nearer to an absolute monarchy.
iii) Topography
The Himalayas are the most extreme topographic feature in East Asia. They determine the
weather and amount and type of rainfall. There are deserts on the northern side and tropical
climates on the southern slopes.
iv) Climate
East Asia is temperate with cold winters and warm summers. Most rainfall occurs during the
warm summer months and not the winter months brought in by the monsoon winds..
v) History
Dynasties and wars, ancient cities of beauty all define the history of East Asia. China dominated
in all things including trade. They developed a high level of culture and religious
characterizations. Until recently the power of the Chinese was waning. Now, with the new
economic growth, they are reclaiming their power.
3) SOUTHEAST ASIA
a) Largest Country – Square Miles/Population
Indonesia
735,358 square miles
237,424,363
b) Largest City – Square Miles/Population
Jakarta
3009 square miles
38,207,140
c) Write a brief overview of the following:
i) Economic Geography
The economic geography of Southeast Asia is becoming an area of dependence upon innovative
technology having never had a strong manufacturing sector. Changes in the rights of women are
on the move as the population seeks higher education. Resources are still plentiful and the social
environment is on the rise.
ii) Political Systems
Various forms of democracy exist from the American model with its multi party system to the
one party authoritarian models. In addition there is an absolute monarchy, communist
dictatorships and a military regime.
iii) Topography
Diverse, ranging from rugged mountains, deep valleys and plateaus at high elevations. There are
broad low-lying flat river valleys, coastal plains and many rivers and deltas. (Basic Topographic
and Geologic Features n.d.). The Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau has high elevations.
iv) Climate
All of Southeast Asia falls within the warm, humid tropics, and its climate generally can be
characterized as monsoonal (i.e., marked by wet and dry periods). Changing seasons are more
associated with rainfall than with temperature variations. There is, however, a high degree of
climatic complexity within the region (Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d.).
v) History
Each of the 11 countries in Southeast Asia had their own histories which are joined with each
other. Prior to the European colonialization, the countries were not independent. In the 16th
century, Europeans came to Southeast Asia brought by the lucrative trade. Portugal, the
Netherlands, Spain, the Dutch and Britain all came to Southeast Asia where rivalries arose over
the control of the empire. Eventually, the Dutch East India Company and the British East India
Company, the biggest trade companies, were dissolved by their respective countries although the
British, French, Dutch and Portugal continued to occupy the lands.
During World War II, Japan invaded the region eventually resulting in decolonization due to the
countries wishing to establish independence. Further invasions of the area included the U.S.
intervention against the communist forces in Indochina .
References
Basic Topographic and Geologic Features, (n.d.). Retrieved May 2013 from
http://ns1.mrcmekong.org/RAK/html/1.2.2a_basic_topographic.html
Encyclopaedia Britannica, Southeast Asia, (n.d.). Retrieved May 2013 from
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/556489/Southeast-Asia/52754/InsularSoutheast-Asia#toc52757
Regional Overview: About South Asia, (n.d.). Retrieved May 2013 from
http://www.sacep.org/html/regional_abtsa.htm
South Asian Political Culture, (n.d.). Retrieved May 2013 from
http://www.hf.uio.no/ikos/english/research/projects/southasia/