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Southeast Asia is the tropical region between China and Australia and east of Bangladesh.  All its 10 states are member of the ASEAN organization.
The total population exceeds 650 million people, 40% of them call Indonesia home.
Homo Erectus lived here after 1.8 million years ago and one of them left us the Java Man fossils. Remains of  Homo Floresiesis, nicknamed the Hobbit, were discovered on Flores in 2003. Modern humans showed up 60.000 years ago and interbred with the mysterious Denisovans. Some of them moved on to colonize Australia.
Rising sea levels created a large archipelago and made for good sailors. By 3000 BC Austronesians had established an extensive marine trading network .
Over time kingdoms and empires rose and faded, with the Kmer Empire being the greatest of them all.
Starting from 1500 Europeans explored and then forcefully colonized all of SE Asia except for Thailand.
During WWII Japanese forces conquered most of the area, imposed a harsh regime of forced labour and committed wide scale atrocities and war crimes.
After the war the colonial shackles were thrown away, sometimes with much bloodshed, and independence was gained.
The Vietnam War was the last major military conflict in Southeast Asia.
Today the region is brimming with activity and is on its way to become one of the world`s major economic powerhouses.