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Southeast Asia

Why did the Filipinos and Malays never form kingdoms in Thailand and Indonesia?


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April 19, 2013 5:25AM

The Austronesian People, from whom Filipinos, Malays, Indonesians, Malagasies (people from Madagascar), Polynesians, and ethnic Taiwanese (as opposed to Chinese Mainlanders who are now the overwhelming majority) all descend, conquered the islands they did quite effectively because they had preliminary agriculture and ship-building techniques. These overwhelmed any native inhabitants of those regions who were hunter-gatherers and not populous enough or skilled enough to fight back.

However, the mainland portion of Southeast Asia (excluding Malaya) had developed farming cultures (Vietnamese, Khmer, Siamese, etc.) who were just as advanced and developed as the Austronesians. Therefore, the Austronesians were either deterred from attempting conquest or just failed each time that they tried.

Therefore, Thailand remained a unique kingdom separate from Malaysia because its people were never overrun by Austronesians (who are the ancestors of the Malaysians). Indonesia as a united archipelago is a modern construction based on the fact that the Dutch united the region in the 1500s. Prior to that, each of the islands as well as Malaya, were held by different Austronesian sub-tribes. The Austronesians could not hope to defeat one another except in long-drawn out wars, which did occasionally happen, but this technological equivalency prevented colonization of Indonesia in general by Malays or Filipinos.