East Indies

East Indies is a term used by Europeans from the 16th century onwards to identify what is now known as the Indian subcontinent, Southeastern Asia, and the islands of Oceania and Maritime Southeast Asia.[1] The term has traditionally excluded China, Japan, and other countries to the north of India and the Himalayas as the term the Far East was used.

The names "India" and "the Indies" are derived from the Indus River flowing through modern-day Pakistan, India and western Tibet, and were applied by the ancient Greeks to most of the regions of Asia east of Persia. This usage dates at least from the time of Herodotus, in the 5th century BC (see Names of India).

During the Dutch colonial era, Indonesia was called the Dutch East Indies or Dutch East India. The name Indonesia itself comes from the Greek roots Indo (from Indus or India) and Nesos meaning Islands.

See also


External links

  • Art of Island Southeast Asia, a full text exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art