By P Boomgaard
Water, in its many guises, has continually performed a robust function in shaping Southeast Asian histories, cultures, societies, and economies. those essays symbolize a large variety of ways to the research of Southeast Asia with water because the primary topic. because it used to be uncovered to the ocean, the sector was once extra obtainable to open air political, monetary and cultural affects than many landlocked components. easy accessibility via sea routes additionally prompted exchange. in spite of the fact that, a similar easy accessibility made Southeast Asia susceptible to political keep watch over through robust outsiders. the ocean is, furthermore, a resource of meals, but in addition of many risks. whilst, Southeast Asian societies and cultures are faced with and permeated through "water from heaven" within the kind of rain, flash floods, irrigation water, water in rivers, brooks, and swaps, water-driven energy crops, and pumped or piped water, as well as water as a provider of sewage and pollutants. ultimately, the amount offers with the position of water in category platforms, ideals, myths, ailment, and therapeutic.
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Additional info for A world of water: rain, rivers and seas in Southeast Asian histories
The Arab world, India and China each have strong historical traditions, and each helped shape the world of Southeast Asia. Indeed, it is all too easy for Southeast Asians to disappear from their own history, particularly when considering such themes as commerce and long-distance connections. The very ‘openness’ of Southeast Asia, 36 Knaap 1989: Table 11; Kaur 1985; Elson 1999; East, Spate and Fisher 1950:274. Dick, Houben, Lindblad and Thee 2002; Resink 1968:107-48; Tagliacozzo 1998; Dick 1990; Campo 1994; Touwen 1997.
While these routes might have been much more labour intensive, they did offer inland populations the chance to seek the most favourable economic and political conditions for their transactions. Land and sea were linked by interlocking webs of collecting centres, markets, entrepôts and feeder routes. Besides the oceans and the seas, rivers provided another important element of Southeast Asia’s water-borne heritage. In island Southeast Asia many streams flow from interior mountains to the sea, where populations clustered near river mouths.
But we should not assume that this must have meant a decline in Asians’ business. On the contrary, even if their relative share of the maritime economy shrank, the actual intensity, volume and value of their commerce may have increased. Moreover, it seems that there was no Southeast Asia-wide decline in Asian trade. While the Dutch East India Company might have increasingly squeezed the Malay world (and the extent of this was subject to variation), the situation for the mainland was indeed very different.
A world of water: rain, rivers and seas in Southeast Asian histories by P Boomgaard