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This article is about the geographical term. For the historical French colony, see French Indochina.
Peninsulas of Asia
Countries Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
Topographic map of Indochina
Topographical map of Indochina
Indochina 1886

Indochina or Indo-China is a peninsula in Southeast Asia[1] lying roughly south or south west of China, and east of India. The name has its would be origins in the French Indochine as a combination of the names of "India" and "China", referring to the location of the territory between those two countries. Though some of the people in the region in countries like Myanmar and Thailand etc are neither Chinese nor Indian, many in the Indochine-Malayan country of Singapore are of both races and also of Malay and Eurasian ethnicities. It is also referred to as Southeast Asia. The term may also be used in biogeography for the "Indochinese Region", a major biogeographical region within the Indomalaya ecozone.

Singapore, part of the maritime Southeast Asia group has influences from India, China, Malaya, and the United Kingdom.

The countries of mainland Southeast Asia however received cultural influence from both India and China to varying degrees.[1] Some cultures, such as those of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand are influenced mainly by India with a smaller influence from China. Others, such as Vietnam, are more heavily influenced by Chinese culture with only minor cultural influences from India, largely via the Champa civilization that Vietnam conquered during its southward expansion.

The historical term French Indochina was a federation of French colonies and protectorates, respectively the three Vietnamese "Ky" of Cochinchina, Tonkin, and Annam, plus Laos and Cambodia. The subjects of the colony were not homogenous; rather, Indochina was a "separate entity, it was largely unrelated to the cultural, geographical, and racial elements which shaped the people and governments of its constituent parts".[2] However, the overall shape of the French Indochina greater colony was significantly influenced by key geographical factors (such as the Mekong river which was a focus of French exploration and which crosses all three countries) as well as by the political entities which existed at the time of French colonization, i.e. the empire or kingdoms of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, as well as those of adjacent China and Thailand with which France had to negotiate various border agreements with respect to French Indochina.


The territories of Indochina comprise the following:


In biogeography the term Indochinese Region is used to mean a major biogeographical region in the Indomalaya ecozone, and also a phytogeographical floristic region in the Paleotropical Kingdom. It includes the native flora and fauna of all the countries above. The adjacent Malesian Region covers the Maritime Southeast Asian countries, and straddles the Indomalaya and Australasian ecozones.

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  1. ^ a b Marion Severynse, ed. (1997). The Houghton Mifflin Dictionary Of Geography. Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 0-395-86448-8. 
  2. ^ St. John, Robert Bruce (1998). Clive H. Schofield, ed. The land boundaries of Indochina: Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam (Boundary and territory briefing ed.). IBRU. p. 1. ISBN 9781897643327. 

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