III. The Postclassical Period, 500–1500 > C. South and Southeast Asia, 500–1500 > 2. Southeast Asia, 500–900
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
(See Funan)
 
2. Southeast Asia, 500–900
 
In Southeast Asia, the years 500–900 are referred to as the classical period. The Indic concept of mandalas, or circles of kings, continued to be the primary form of state organization, developing into more widespread centers of power than had existed in the region earlier. In large part because of the importance of trade, one should envision Southeast Asia as an area united by bodies of water—the sea surrounding (and, to some extent, connecting) the mainland and the archipelago, as well as the rivers flowing south from the Himalaya into mainland Southeast Asia. Government, religion, and art were closely intertwined; common aspects for both mainland and peninsular Southeast Asia related in part to Indian literary models.  1
 
a. The Malay Archipelago and Peninsula
 
Early Indian commercial settlements in Sumatra and Java, at first Brahman in religion and later influenced by Buddhism, became the center of organized states. Through trading networks, the more influential mandalas (such as Srivijaya) fostered Malay acculturation across a network of Malay-speaking centers dotted throughout the Riau-Lingga Archipelago to the southern part of the Malay Peninsula. Toward the end of the 7th century, Srivijaya (a trade-based empire; Malay rulers exercised influence in Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula, 600–1000) became the dominant state of Sumatra and built up a commercial empire.  2
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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