2 The Subcontinent of Asia South Central Asia is known as the subcontinent of Asia.A subcontinent is a large landmass forming a distinct part of a continent.The subcontinent is somewhat cut off from the rest of Asia by two mountain ranges, the Hindu Kush and the Himalayas.The Himalayas are the highest mountain range in the world, with more than 30 of the world’s highest mountains – they are often referred to as “the rooftop of the world”.At 29,029 feet above sea level, Mt. Everest is the highest point on the earth.
5 Physical GeographyArid mountains and deserts stretch throughout much of Afghanistan and Pakistan.Below the Himalayas:To the west you find the Indus River Valley and the Great Indian Desert or Thar Desert.The Ganges River Basin in the center.The Brahmaputra River in the east (running through Bangladesh).The Deccan Plateau covers the center of the subcontinent and are flanked by the steep slopes of the Western and Eastern Ghats.
12 The MonsoonsMuch of the subcontinent’s climate is controlled by the monsoons.The monsoons are seasonal winds that bring warm winds and rain in the summer and cooler, drier air in the winter.The monsoons are important for agriculture but also cause severe floods.
14 The Indus River ValleyThe Indus River Valley is home to one of the world’s earliest civilizations.Around 1700 B.C. the Aryans invaded from the west through the Khyber Pass, and conquered the Indus River Valley civilization.The Khyber Pass is a 33 mile long passage through the Hindu Kush Mountains – it separates Afghanistan and Pakistan.Over the following centuries, numerous other people moved through the pass and invaded India.
16 ReligionThe subcontinent is home to two of the world’s major religions.Hinduism is a polytheistic religion that revolves around a strict caste system, or social hierarchy.Buddhism developed from the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama and involved knowing the Four Noble Truths and following the Eightfold Path.Hinduism remains the main religion of India today but Buddhism did spread to the countries around it.Islam is the main religion of Afghanistan and Pakistan.Religion has caused major conflicts in this region in the past and is still the source of major tension today.
18 IndiaIndia is the largest and most populous country of the region – its also the second most populous country in the world – 1.2 billion people.Poverty is a huge problem India:Three fourths of India’s population lives in rural areas as subsistence farmers.Half of India’s population is illiterate – can’t read or write.Indian cities are overcrowded with large areas of slums.
20 India’s IndependenceIndia was a major colony of Great Britain at one time.The British treated them harshly and many Indians wanted their independence but rebellions were always put down.In the early 1900’s Mahatma Gandhi led the people of India in nonviolent resistance against the British government – they used boycotts and peaceful protests.This peaceful movement drew support from other countries and in 1935 India received its independence.
22 The Partition of IndiaIn the 1940’s, conflict between Hindus and Muslims led to India being partitioned – divided into parts.India became the home of the Hindus and Muslims were moved to East and West Pakistan.East Pakistan later became Bangladesh.Over a million people were killed in the partition of India.
23 BangladeshBangladesh is a low-lying country that is home to almost 155 million people – it’s the most densely populated country in the world.Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world and because of its low-lying land.Farming is the main economic activity of Bangladesh – rice is its main crop.
25 Nepal and BhutanNepal is dominated by the Himalayas and is home to Mt. Everest.Although Nepal is a Hindu country, according to legend it is the birthplace of Buddha.Economically, Nepal relies primarily on subsistence farming – only one-fifth of its land is arable.Most of Bhutan’s is mountainous and most of its population are Buddhist.
26 AfghanistanAfghanistan is geographically diverse, with mountains, fertile valleys, semiarid plains and desert.Local ethnic groups isolated themselves against protection from invaders, which led to very distinct cultures.When Afghanistan was formed, it was supposed to be a buffer state between Russia and British India.
27 Osama bin LadenIn the 1980’s, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan – the U.S. aided the Afghans in order to help contain the spread of communism.When the Soviet’s withdrew, the Taliban – a radical Muslim group – took control of the country and imposed harsh, Islamic rule.One of the leaders was an extremist named Osama bin Laden – his group was called al-Qaida.
28 9/11 On September 11, 2001, al-Quida attacked the U.S. In response, an international coalition led by the U.S. launched military attacks on Taliban and al-Qaida strongholds in Afghanistan.The Taliban were quickly defeated but Bin Laden wasn’t killed until May 2, 2011.
29 Afghanistan TodayAfghanistan is very poor due to continued warfare and lack of foreign investment.Afghan farmers grew poppies, which were used to produce heroin – these drugs were sold to support the terrorist cells that operated there.Today, Afghan farmers are converting to other crops and the country is attempting to create a democratic government, but the situation is still unstable.U.S. troops are scheduled to pull out of Afghanistan in 2014.