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Explain how the following five factors have influenced settlement and the economies of major countries of Southeast Asia and Oceania.
A. absolute and relative locations
C. major physical characteristics
D. major natural resources
E. population size
Papua New Guinea
See Special Topic Page on
Small Island Nations and Rising Sea Levels
absolute and relative locations
absolute location is the coordinates of a place on longitude and latitude; relative location is where a place is in comparison with landmarks, or other places.
repeated weather patterns in a certain location
major physical characteristics
features of the terrain, like mountains, lakes, rivers, deserts…etc.
major natural resources
parts of nature used by people, such as water, oil, trees, minerals, etc.
: how many people live in a place.
5 most populated nations are 1. China, 2. India, 3. United States,
Geographic factors, and the economies and settlement of Southeast Asia and Oceania
1880s map of Oceania
Absolute and relative locations
These islands in the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean are both extremely remote and also sometimes geo-politically important.
The US military, especially since World War II and the war in the Pacific against Japan, has done weapons testing in this region (sometimes nuclear weapons)
the US government has fought for control of some of these islands to use as bases for Pacific operations.
the nations on the mainland continent of Asia have had to struggle for sovereignty with their proximity to China and India.
Only Thailand has remained completely independent, with Western nations, as well as other Asian ones, vying for power throughout the region.
The Philippines is strategically near to Japan, and has been occupied by Spain and then the United States, both for its resources and for its location.
One important factor to note here is that, as the Earth and its oceans warm with the climate change of global warming, ocean waters rise worldwide as glaciers melt.Generally, low-lying islands are already feeling the effects of global warming; with sea levels rising, some islands are literally going under water. Mountainous islands formed from volcanoes are less at risk; but, in general, sea islands around the world are in the most immediate danger of a major change in their physical makeup, and also a lifestyle change for their inhabitants.
Gif of the earthquake that started the 2004 tsunami
is a physically diverse region, with climates ranging from desert to tropical rainforest and landforms from high mountain to inland swamp and coral reef. Some islands a thousand miles apart may have similar climates and features, yet large islands may have a variety of landscapes and climatic features within just a few miles.
is uniformly tropical and hot, with a cooling monsoon/rainy season instead of winter.
to read about climate change and South Asia
for lesson plans on monsoons and their importance
Major physical characteristics
Most of the islands of Oceania are near the edge of the Pacific tectonic plate. As the plate moves northwest, it causes a great deal of geologic activity, including
eruptions. Because of the many active volcanoes along the Pacific Plate's boundaries, the surrounding shorelines are often called the Ring of Fire.Some parts of Oceania experience frequent
because of the movement of continental plates. Quakes that occur underwater sometimes produce
, or giant sea waves, which can cause terrible destruction when they reach shorelines.
Great Barrier Reef:
Over 1,800 miles long
Only living thing visible from space
Home to over:
400 types of coral
1,500 types of fish
200 type of birds
20 types of reptiles
turtles over 120 years old
for more information
is mountains and rivers, with the long Vietnam coastline at its edge. The Philippines and Indonesia are both archipelago nations, with islands formed from undersea volcanoes.
Longest river in Southeast Asia
12th longest in the world
About 2,700 miles long
Forms the border between Burma and Laos
Forms border between Laos and Thailand
Flows through Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia
Many of the people who live in the basin grow rice
Water from the basin is stored and used during the dry season
for more information
Major natural resources
Traditional households support themselves mainly by agriculture and fishing. Many households maintain gardens where crops are grown in shifting cultivation, also called slash-and-burn agriculture. Mining is important, though Oceania's mineral reserves are small by world standards. In the 19th century guano, a natural fertilizer consisting of the manure of seabirds, was mined on many low islands. Today phosphate rock is taken from raised limestone islands.
Agricultural exports are common in Oceania, largely due to European influence. For example, the Dutch East India Company introduced tea, sugarcane, rubber, and coffee cultivation in Java in the 17th century. To see the process of tea cultivation in Java in the early 1900s, see
water--rivers and the South China Sea--figure prominently into Vietnam's natural resources. Some of its main exports are fish, rice, and coffee, all of which need a lot of water for cultivation. Also, a major natural resource of this region is its people. Manufacturing is big business here, with a large number of multinational corporations opening factories here and employing workers at lower wages (and sometimes in less safe conditions) than those paid in the West. Even with its Communist government, Vietnam's economy is thriving, as is Thailand's, even with recent; political unrest. Laos and Cambodia are not as fortunate, with unstable governments largely to blame. A main natural resource in Laos is coffee, wood, and forests. The country is mountainous and landlocked, with only 5% of the land suitable for agriculture.
Some of the smallest and lowest-populated countries in the world are in this region.
, the best-known part of this enclave (and the only continent that is one nation) has very low population density, with the vast majority of its 21,007,310 inhabitants living in the cities of Sydney, Canberra (the capital), Adelaide, Melbourne, and Perth.
It is the sixth largest nation in the world; its land mass is just slightly smaller than the US 48 states, but its population is less than one-tenth of the US.
's population is only 4,173,460 people (as a comparison, the city of Philadelphia has about the same number of people).
Compared to some of the Pacific islands to New Zealand's north, though, that is huge.
All of the people on the four island groups that make up in
Papua New Guinea
Population estimates are from 2012
this area, too, has low population density, with one notable exception: the island of Jakarta, part of the archipelago nation of
has a population density of over 500 people per square mile.
Indonesia as a whole has the fourth largest population of any country in the world.
It is also the largest Muslim nation in the world.
Bandar Seri Begawan
Population estimates are from 2012
The Oxford Atlas of the World
, 2005, Oxford University Press
The Oxford A-Z Countries of the World
, 2004, Oxford University Press
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