31Historical OverviewEast and Southeast Asia were the sites of some of humanity’s earliest technological advancesChina had the most influence in the region because it was the birthplace of Confucianism and Daoism, and was united into huge empires throughout its history.Europeans colonized parts of the region, and after building up their militaries, extracted concessions, or exemptions from local law, from China.After industrializing, Japan conquered a large portion of the region before it was defeated by Western allies in World War II and stripped of its colonial possessions.Several countries established communist governments after World War II, but non-communist countries, and China after it adopted some capitalist reforms, enjoyed rapid growth and prosperity under market economies.
5Physical Characteristics 2Physical CharacteristicsEast Asia and the Pacific islands have widely varying physical features.The collision of tectonic plates has raised the Himalayas, Tibet, and a series of mountain chains in China.Southeast Asia has a complex geography of mountain chains, river valleys, peninsulas, and islands.The Pacific Ocean near Australia is dotted with volcanic islands that are part of the Ring of Fire.
7Across much of the region, rain falls seasonally. 3ClimatesAcross much of the region, rain falls seasonally.Tropical wet, Tropical wet and dry stretch across Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and northern Australia.Humid subtropical covers southern portions of China, Korea and Japan, as well as the east coast of Australia.Arid and Semiarid lie in northern China and Mongolia.Mediterranean and Marine west coast stretch across southern Australia and New Zealand.
84EcosystemsThis region has a rich variety of plants and animals in many different environments.Tropical rain forests cover Indonesia and parts of Southeast Asia, China, and Australia.Tropical grasslands and Temperate grasslands stretch across large parts of China and Australia.Desert and Desert scrub spread throughout parts of China and Australia.Mid-latitude forests cover Japan and the Korean peninsula, New Zealand, and parts of China and Australia.
105People and CulturesEast and Southeast Asia are some of the most heavily populated parts of the world, while Australia is the world’s most sparsely inhabited continent.The wide variety of religions in East Asia reflects the region’s great cultural diversity.Although China is densely settled, most of its population is rural, while most people in sparsely-populated Australia live in cities.Daily life is a blend of local culture and international influence.
11Economies, Technology, and Environment 6Economies, Technology, and EnvironmentHighly industrialized Japan and Australia contrast sharply with large populations of subsistence farmers in China and Southeast Asia.Commercial farming and subsistence farming are predominant in China, Southeast Asia, and Indonesia.Manufacturing and trade are the most important industries in Japan, parts of China, and Australia.Livestock raising is practiced throughout much of Australia, while Nomadic herding characterizes much of China.China is the largest producer of hydroelectric power in the region.
127DatabaseChina’s road and railroad networks are the largest in the region, and are often overcrowded.Japan has almost as many roads and airports as China, and Japan’s railroad system includes the reliable bullet train, which travels at speeds greater than 160 miles per hour.Australia has almost as large a road network as China, but far more airports, many of which are unpaved airstrips that service isolated communities in the country’s interior.Thailand’s road network is very crowded, and Thailand has about half as many airports as China, even though its population and area are far smaller than China’s.