European colonisation of Southeast Asia

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European colonisation
of Southeast Asia

The first phase of European colonisation of Southeast Asia took place throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. Where new European powers competing to gain monopoly over the spice trade as this trade was very valuable to the Europeans due to high demand for various spices such as pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. This demand led to the arrival of Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, and later French and British marine spice traders. Fiercely competitive, the Europeans soon sought to eliminate each other by forcibly taking control of the production centres, trade hubs and vital strategic locations, beginning with the Portuguese acquisition of Malacca in 1511. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, conquests focused on ports along the maritime routes, that provided a secure passage of maritime trade. It also allowed foreign rulers to levy taxes and control prices of the highly desired Southeast Asian commodities.[1] By the 19th century, all of Southeast Asia had been forced into the various spheres of influence of European global players except Siam, which had served as a convenient buffer state and sandwiched between British Burma and French Indochina. The kings of Siam had to contend with repeated humiliations, accept unequal treaties among massive French and British political interference and territorial losses after the Franco-Siamese War in 1893 and the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909.[2][3][4]

The second phase of European colonisation of Southeast Asia is related to the Industrial Revolution and the rise of powerful nation states in Europe. As the primary motivation for the first phase was the mere accumulation of wealth, the reasons for and degree of European interference during the second phase are dictated by geostrategic rivalries, the need to defend and grow spheres of interest, competition for commercial outlets, long term control of resources and the Southeast Asian economies becoming more closely tied to European industrial and financial affairs by the late 19th century.[5][6]

Early phase[edit]

Dutch and Portuguese ships battling over the control of Malacca during the Dutch–Portuguese War, 1606
Afonso de Albuquerque, conqueror of Malacca in 1511
Cornelis de Houtman voyage arrival in Bantam (c. 16th century)
Spanish missionaries baptising a Moro convert in the Spanish East Indies, circa 1890.

Advances in sciences, cartography, shipbuilding and navigation during the 15th to 17th centuries in Europe and tightening Turkish control and eventual shut down of the Eastern Mediterranean gateways into Asia first prompted Portuguese, and later Spanish and Dutch sea voyagers to ship around Africa in search of new trading routes and business opportunities. Niccolò de' Conti arrived in Southeast Asia as the earliest documented European in the early 15th century. By 1498 Vasco da Gama, who had sailed round the Cape of Good Hope, established the first direct sea route from Europe to India.[7]

Central among the various plannings was to establish direct and permanent trade of the highly priced spices, that were native to Southeast Asia, included pepper, cloves, nutmeg, mace and cinnamon. Competition among the various nations was fierce and violence commonplace in order to secure exclusive access to the centers of production. Eventually, the Dutch and the Spanish wrestled control of it from the Portuguese in the 17th century. In the 18th century, the British, who became increasingly engaged in Southeast Asia over their interests in India, gained control of it from the Dutch.[8][9]

Portugal was the first European power to establish a bridgehead in maritime Southeast Asia with the conquest of the Sultanate of Malacca in 1511. The Netherlands and Spain followed and soon superseded Portugal as the main European powers in the region. In 1599, Spain began to colonise the Philippines. In 1619, acting through the Dutch East India Company, the Dutch took the city of Sunda Kelapa, renamed it Batavia (now Jakarta) as a base for trading and expansion into the other parts of Java and the surrounding territory. In 1641, the Dutch took Malacca from the Portuguese.[note 1] Economic opportunities attracted Overseas Chinese to the region in great numbers. In 1775, the Lanfang Republic, possibly the first republic in the region, was established in West Kalimantan, present-day Indonesia, as a tributary state of the Qing Empire; the republic lasted until 1884, when it fell under Dutch occupation as Qing influence waned.[note 2][9]

Introduction of Christianity[edit]

Portuguese Catholic missionaries arrived in the 16th century under royal patronage and founded churches throughout the region. The Dutch first sent Protestant ministers during the 17th century. Their objective was more the spiritual service to the local Dutch people, rather than conversion of native people.[10] The Spanish mission succeeded with the complete Christianisation of the Philippines.[11] People who changed their religions did so for a variety of reasons, including their search for social or personal security and identity in the face of social change, their quest for personal salvation, and their search for a religion that seemed better suited to the modern world they aspire to, one that appeared to leave room for traditional religious practices. Many times, those who upheld the faith and spread the gospel in succeeding generations did so because they had firsthand knowledge of Southeast Asia's Christian rebirth through time and culture (2018)^30.

Industrialised phase[edit]

The arrival of British in Mandalay in 1885 after the Third Anglo-Burmese War, marking the beginning of British rule in Burma.
View of Commercial Square (now known as Raffles' Square) in Singapore circa 1900.
British logging in North Borneo, 1926

Global players[edit]

During the early 17th century the rivalling Dutch traders joined the Dutch East India Company, as the British founded the British East India Company, followed by France, where in 1664 the French East India Company was authorised by royal funding. These conglomerates of capital, ships, freely transferable shares and state power were characterised by many institutional innovations, significantly decreasing the financial risk of the individual merchants and share holders. An early form of the modern giant global corporations and the introduction of the stock market had trade volumes reach unprecedented levels. Governmental support, military and administrative privileges, coining, legal and real estate rights enabled these enterprises to act as the official representatives of their country of origin in Southeast Asia.[12][13]

Initially, the British East India Company led by Josiah Child, had little interest in or impact on the region, and were effectively expelled following the Siam–England war (1687). Britain, in the guise of the British East India Company, turned their attention to the Bay of Bengal following the Peace with France and Spain (1783). During the conflicts, Britain had struggled for naval superiority with the French, and the need of good harbours became evident. Penang Island had been brought to the attention of the Government of India by Francis Light. In 1786, the settlement of George Town was founded at the northeastern tip of Penang Island by Captain Francis Light, under the administration of Sir John Macpherson; this marked the beginning of British expansion into the Malay Peninsula.[14][note 3]

Consolidation and centralisation of state authority[edit]

By the latter half of the 18th century, Europe experienced the full effects of the Industrial Revolution, as rapid advancements in science, industry and technology, had created a tremendous gap in relative power between the Europeans and the rest of the world, including Southeast Asia. Extensive use of machines to manufacture goods would increase European demand for raw materials on the one hand and lead to the accumulation of surplus goods on the other. Mutual economic dependence had become real by the 19th century, as Southeast Asia was now an integral provider of material and resources for the European economies. To keep pace with surplus output, European manufacturers pushed the development of markets in new territories, such as Southeast Asia, which led to the next phase of establishing imperial rule. Transformation of political institutions in the colonies aimed at the full consolidation of the monopoly markets by their European planners.[9]

However, industrialisation took place against increasing competition among the European powers. This was encouraged by changes in the continental balance of power. The Napoleonic Wars unseated French power. The commercial and naval powers of Britain, which were unrivalled for a time, started to erode later on. Competition among European powers led to the practice of carving up the world into spheres of influence. There was also the need to fill ‘vacuums’ of territories that would otherwise fall under the influence of another competing European power.

The British temporarily possessed Dutch territories during the Napoleonic Wars; and Spanish areas in the Seven Years' War. In 1819, Stamford Raffles established Singapore as a key trading post for Britain in their rivalry with the Dutch. However, their rivalry cooled in 1824 when an Anglo-Dutch treaty demarcated their respective interests in Southeast Asia. British rule in Burma began with the first Anglo-Burmese War (1824–1826).

Early United States role[edit]

Early American entry into what was then called the East Indies (usually in reference to the Malay Archipelago) was low key. In 1795, a secret voyage for pepper set sail from Salem, Massachusetts on an 18-month voyage that returned with a bulk cargo of pepper, the first to be so imported into the country, which sold at the extraordinary profit of seven hundred per cent.[15] In 1831, the merchantman Friendship of Salem returned to report the ship had been plundered, and the first officer and two crewmen murdered in Sumatra. The Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 obligated the Dutch to ensure the safety of shipping and overland trade in and around Aceh, who accordingly sent the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army on the punitive expedition of 1831. President Andrew Jackson also ordered America's first Sumatran punitive expedition of 1832, which was followed by a punitive expedition in 1838. The Friendship incident thus afforded the Dutch a reason to take over Ache; and Jackson, to dispatch diplomatist Edmund Roberts,[16] who in 1833 secured the Roberts Treaty with Siam. In 1856 negotiations for amendment of this treaty, Townsend Harris stated the position of the United States:

The United States does not hold any possessions in the East, nor does it desire any. The form of government forbids the holding of colonies. The United States therefore cannot be an object of jealousy to any Eastern Power. Peaceful commercial relations, which give as well as receive benefits, is what the President wishes to establish with Siam, and such is the object of my mission.[17]

New Imperialism[edit]

Plywood factory in Sabang off Sumatra, Dutch East Indies, image taken before 1927
Workshop in Hanoi, French Indochina circa 1935
Da Lat railway station, Lâm Đồng Province, French Indochina

The phenomenon denoted New Imperialism, saw the conquest of nearly all Southeast Asian territories by the colonial powers. The Dutch East India Company and British East India Company were dissolved by their respective governments, who took over direct administration of the colonies. Only Siam managed to avoid direct foreign rule, although was compelled to political reforms and make generous concessions in order to appease the Western powers. The Monthon reforms of the late 19th century continuing up till around 1910, imposed a Westernised form of government on the country's partially independent cities called Mueang, such that the country could be said to have successfully colonised itself.[18] Western powers did, however, continue to interfere in both internal and external affairs.[19][20]

By 1913, the British crown had occupied Burma, Malaya and the northern Borneo territories, the French controlled Indochina, the Dutch ruled the Netherlands East Indies while Portugal managed to hold on to Portuguese Timor. In the Philippines, the 1872 Cavite Mutiny was a precursor to the Philippine Revolution (1896–1898). When the Spanish–American War began in Cuba in 1898, Filipino revolutionaries declared Philippine independence and established the First Philippine Republic the following year. In the Treaty of Paris of 1898 that ended the war with Spain, the United States gained the Philippines and other territories. No country recognised the self-proclaimed republic. Washington sent in the military to control the islands, in the Philippine–American War, which ended when the rebel leadership was captured. Conflicts followed with the self-proclaimed Republic of Zamboanga, the Republic of Negros and the Republic of Katagalugan, all of which were also defeated.[21]

During the mid-19th century, the Europeans had certain goals which they regarded as important in the humanitarian sense. One of these goals was expressed in the slogan, ‘The White Man's Burden’ (taken from a line in a poem by Rudyard Kipling), which was the mission to ‘civilise’ (uplift, advance) the ‘less fortunate’ and ‘less gifted’ people of Southeast Asia. Towards this end, they implemented policies providing educational and healthcare services.[22] Christian missionaries often took leadership roles in education and medical care, and in opposing the slave trade.[23][24]

Sometimes, the acquisition of colonies was an attempt to revive declining prestige rather than a show of power. France was preoccupied with expanding her colonial empire to recover from her humiliating defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. It expanded into Indochina in response to its need for international prestige to improve the government's image at home, and to keep abreast of other important European powers in terms of colonial acquisitions.[25][26]

Role of the Europeans[edit]

Dutch Batavia built in what is now Jakarta, by Andries Beeckman c. 1656

In the early phase, European control in Southeast Asia was largely confined to the establishment of trading posts. These trading posts were used to store the oriental products obtained from the local traders before they were exported to the European markets. Such trading posts had to be located along major shipping routes and their establishments had to be approved by the local ruler so that peace would prevail for trade to take place. Malacca, Penang, Batavia and Singapore were all early trading posts.

The role of the Europeans changed, however, in the industrialised phase as their control expanded beyond their trading posts. As the trading posts grew due to an increase in the volume of trade, demand for food supplies and timber (to build and repair ships) also increased. To ensure a reliable supply of food and timber, the Europeans were forced to deal with the local communities nearby. These marked the beginnings of territorial control. A good example is the case of Batavia. There, the Dutch extended control over parts of western Java and later to central Java and the east where rice was grown and timber found.

To ensure that trade flourished, the Europeans had to maintain political stability. Sometimes, they interfered with the internal affairs of the natives to maintain peace. The Europeans also tried to impose their culture on their colonies.[27]


European interference has affected Southeast Asians in all aspects of life. Colonial economic exploitation, the mass theft of regional resources, and racial and ethnic discrimination all occurred alongside Europe's rapid scientific and technological progress, as well as its import of new political and education systems into the region. Perceptions of the political reality differed widely among the Southeast Asian countries. The early 20th century popular communist movement leaders of Vietnam were notably optimistic and “predicted a blessed future in which automobiles and trains would no longer be uniquely Western”, while Dutch author J.H. Boeke observed, that “societies like Indonesia were incurably dual”.[28][29]

Increased labour demand resulted in mass immigration, especially from British India and China, which brought about massive demographic change. The study of institutions for a modern democratic nation state with a state bureaucracy, courts of law, print media and modern education, sowed the seeds of the fledgling nationalist and independence movements among the colonial subjects. During the inter-war years, these nationalist movements grew and often clashed with the colonial authorities when they demanded self-determination.

The expansion of European dominance through colonialism was considered extraordinary as it affected the entirety of Southeast Asia significantly. Later on, more common features would emerge, such as the rise of nationalist movements, the Japanese occupation of Southeast Asia, and later the Cold War that engulfed many parts of the region. Taken altogether, it can be said that a common core of historical experiences existed, and that this core defined the region, thus justifying the use of the term ‘Southeast Asia’ to describe the region as a single entity.[28]

Southeast Asia's social structure has changed as a result of colonialism, which also introduced contemporary western concepts. Some of these concepts were influenced by western culture, including human rights, religion, and education. The region's population has increased as a result of the presence of European powers. First of all, the region's economic activity throughout the colonial period was expanding quickly. Populations were then on the rise in order to meet demands for things like labor forces to create raw materials and industrial plants. In the meantime, some of the region's nations underwent transformation as a result of immigration. For instance, due of the poor conditions in China and the economic prospects in Malaysia, Chinese immigrants migrated to the peninsula. The British also used Indian workers. Then, Malaysia became a multicultural state as a result of the massive immigration of Chinese and Indian people into the Malay Peninsula. In Malay society, there were also differences between Malays, Chinese, and Indians (2018)^30.

List of European colonies[edit]

  • Perak – British protectorate (1874–1957)
  • Selangor – British protectorate (1874–1957)
  • Negeri Sembilan – British protectorate (1874–1957)
  • Pahang – British protectorate (1888–1957)
  • Perlis – British protectorate (1909–1946)
  • Kedah – British protectorate (1909–1946)
  • Kelantan – British protectorate (1909–1946)
  • Terengganu – British protectorate (1909–1946)
  • Johor – British protectorate (1914–1946)
  • Labuan – British colony (1848–1946)
  • North Borneo – British protectorate (1888–1946)
  • Brunei – British protectorate (1888–1984)
  • Cochinchine – French colony (1862–1949)
  • Annam – French protectorate (1883–1948)
  • Tonkin – French protectorate (1883–1948)
  • Cambodia – French protectorate (1863–1953)
  • Laos – French protectorate (1893–1953)

Independent state[edit]

  • Siam (now Thailand) – was the only independent state in Southeast Asia, but had Britain sphere of influence in the north and south and France in the Northeast and East which were merely brief proposals that amounted to nothing much like the planned partition of the Qing and Ottoman Empires.

Siam was able to successfully resist colonisation by European powers. Siam's location on the map made it the perfect buffer zone between the French colony of Indochina and the British possessions on the Malay Peninsula. The Siamese rulers, particularly Chulalongkorn, understood that they needed to modernise their political system in order to prevent colonialism. This developed into a significant effort at nation-building that helped Thailand become more advanced. Making maps was a key component of this effort. The Siamese were aware of how highly valued education, particularly geographical knowledge, was among Europeans. The French and the British used maps to identify the areas they controlled, and when borders were unclear, they took advantage of the situation to lay claim to the region. The concentration of power was another interesting factor (Ellesh, 2019).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ For fifty or sixty years, the Portuguese enjoyed the exclusive trade to China and Japan. In 1717, and again in 1732, the Chinese government offered to make Macao the emporium for all foreign trade, and to receive all duties on imports; but, by a strange infatuation, the Portuguese government refused, and its decline is dated from that period. (Roberts, 2007 PDF image 173 p. 166)
  2. ^ Other experiments in republicanism in adjacent regions were the Japanese Republic of Ezo (1869) and the Republic of Taiwan (1895).
  3. ^ Company agent John Crawfurd used the census taken in 1824 for a statistical analysis of the relative economic prowess of the peoples there, giving special attention to the Chinese: The Chinese amount to 8595, and are landowners, field-labourers, mechanics of almost every description, shopkeepers, and general merchants. They are all from the two provinces of Canton and Fo-kien, and three-fourths of them from the latter. About five-sixths of the whole number are unmarried men, in the prime of life : so that, in fact, the Chinese population, in point of effective labour, may be estimated as equivalent to an ordinary population of above 37,000, and, as will afterwards be shown, to a numerical Malay population of more than 80,000! (Crawfurd image 48. p.30)


  1. ^ "About the Silk Road". Unesco. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  2. ^ LePoer, Barbara Leitch, ed. (1987). "The Crisis of 1893". Thailand: A Country Study. Library of Congress. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  3. ^ Aloysius Ng. "Empire in Asia". National University of Singapore. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  4. ^ Paget, Ralph; Varoprakar, Devawongse (1909). "Treaty between Great Britain and Siam". The American Journal of International Law. 3 (4): 297–304. doi:10.2307/2212641. JSTOR 2212641. S2CID 246007886.
  5. ^ "Patterns Of A Colonial Age". Encyclopedia britannica. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  6. ^ "Colonial History of Southeast Asia". Slide Share. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  7. ^ R. H. Major, ed. (1857), "The travels of Niccolo Conti", India in the Fifteenth Century, Hakluyt Society, p. 27 Discussed in Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, p. 452
  8. ^ "About the Silk Road". UNESCO. Retrieved 6 April 2018. Throughout history, Eurasia was criss-crossed with communication routes and paths of trade, which gradually linked up to form what are known today as the Silk Roads; routes across both land and sea, along which silk and many other goods were exchanged between people from across the world. Maritime routes were an important part of this network, linking East and West by sea, and were used for the trade of spices in particular, thus becoming known as the Spice Routes.
  9. ^ a b c Norman G. Owen (2005). The Emergence Of Modern Southeast Asia: A New History. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-2890-5.
  10. ^ "The History of Christianity in Asia". OMF International. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  11. ^ "Regional patterns in the history of Southeast Asian Christianity" (PDF). John Roxborogh. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  12. ^ A. J. Stockwell (21 October 1999). Porter, Andrew (ed.). British Expansion and Rule in South-East Asia. Oxford scholarship. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205654.001.0001. ISBN 9780191676734. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  13. ^ Oscar Gelderblom, Abe de Jong, Joost Jonker (2011). "An Admiralty for Asia: Business Organization and the Evolution of Corporate Governance in the Dutch Republic, 1590–1640". Origins of Shareholder Advocacy. Springer. pp. 29–60. doi:10.1057/9780230116665_2. ISBN 978-1-349-29072-7.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ Crawfurd, John (August 2006) [First published 1830]. "Chapter I — Description of the Settlement.". Journal of an Embassy from the Governor–general of India to the Courts of Siam and Cochin China. Vol. 1 (2nd ed.). London: H. Colburn and R. Bentley. image 52, p. 34. ISBN 9788120612372. OCLC 03452414. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  15. ^ Trow, Charles Edward (1905). "Introduction". The old shipmasters of Salem. New York and London: G.P. Putnam's Sons. pp. xx–xxiii. OCLC 4669778.
  16. ^ Roberts, Edmund (Digitized 12 October 2007) (1837). "Introduction". Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat: In the U.S. Sloop-of-War Peacock During the Years 1832–34. Harper & Brothers. ISBN 9780608404066. OCLC 12212199. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  17. ^ "1b. Harris Treaty of 1856" (exhibition). Royal Gifts from Thailand. National Museum of Natural History. 14 March 2013 [speech delivered 1856]. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  18. ^ Murdoch, John B. (1974). "The 1901–1902 Holy Man's Rebellion" (PDF). Journal of the Siam Society. JSS Vol.62.1e (digital): 38. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  19. ^ de Mendonha e Cunha, Helder (1971). "The 1820 Land Concession to the Portuguese" (PDF). Journal of the Siam Society. JSS Vol. 059.2g (digital). Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  20. ^ Oblas, Peter B. (1965). "A Very Small Part of World Affairs" (PDF). Journal of the Siam Society. JSS Vol.53.1e (digital). Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  21. ^ Norman G. Owen (2005). The Emergence Of Modern Southeast Asia: A New History - The Philippines 1896 - 1972. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 283–. ISBN 978-0-8248-2890-5.
  22. ^ Kenton J. Clymer, "Humanitarian imperialism: David Prescott Barrows and the white man's burden in the Philippines." Pacific Historical Review 45.4 (1976): 495-517.
  23. ^ Bronwen Everill, "Bridgeheads of Empire? Liberated African Missionaries in West Africa." Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 40.5 (2012): 789-805.
  24. ^ E. A. Ayandele, "The coming of Western education to Africa." West African Journal of Education 15.1 (1971): 21-33.
  25. ^ David Dorman, "Genesis of a Nightmare." Social Studies 63.6 (1972): 259-262.
  26. ^ Charles M. Andrew, "The French colonialist movement during the Third Republic: the unofficial mind of imperialism." Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 26 (1976): 143-166.
  27. ^ Pankaj Mishra (27 July 2012). "The ruins of empire: Asia's emergence from western imperialism". The Guardian. Guardian News. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  28. ^ a b "Impact of colonial powers on Southeast Asia - Political Impact". UKEssays. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  29. ^ Norman G. Owen (2005). The Emergence Of Modern Southeast Asia: A New History - Industrialization and Its Implications. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 379–. ISBN 978-0-8248-2890-5.

30. UKEssays. (November 2018). Political Impact of Colonial Powers Upon Southeast Asia History Essay. Retrieved from

Ellesh. (January 8, 2019). Goodnews: Worldpress news Themes. Retrieved from:

Further reading[edit]

  • Andaya, Barbara Watson, and Leonard Y. Andaya. A history of early modern Southeast Asia, 1400-1830 (Cambridge UP, 2015).
  • Bayly, Christopher Alan. Imperial Meridian: The British Empire and the World 1780-1830 (Routledge, 2016).
  • Christensen, Thomas J. In the eyes of the dragon: China views the world (Rowman & Littlefield, 1999).
  • Chung, Jae Ho. "The Rise of China and East Asia: A New Regional Order on the Horizon?." Chinese Political Science Review 1.1 (2016): 47-59. online
  • Church, Peter. A short history of South-East Asia (John Wiley & Sons, 2017).
  • Clyde, Paul H., and Burton F. Beers. The Far East: A History of Western Impacts and Eastern Responses, 1830-1975 (1975) online 3rd edition 1958
  • Cohen, Warren I. America's Response to China: A History of Sino-American Relations (5th ed. 2010)
  • Cooper, Timothy S. "Anglo-Saxons and Orientals: British-American interaction over East Asia, 1898-1914." (PhD dissertation, U of Edinburgh, 2017). online
  • Dennett, Tyler. Americans in Eastern Asia (1922) online free
  • Ebrey, Patricia Buckley, and Anne Walthall. East Asia: A cultural, social, and political history (Cengage Learning, 2013).
  • Elson, Robert Edward. The end of the peasantry in Southeast Asia: A social and economic history of peasant livelihood, 1800-1990s (Springer, 2016).
  • Feis, Herbert. The China Tangle (1967), diplomacy during World War I. online free to read
  • Flynn, Matthew J. China Contested: Western Powers in East Asia (2006), for secondary schools
  • Green, Michael J. By more than providence: grand strategy and American power in the Asia Pacific since 1783 (2017) a major scholarly survey excerpt
  • Hall, D.G.E. History of South East Asia (Macmillan International Higher Education, 1981).
  • Hibbert, Christopher. The dragon wakes : China and the West, 1793-1911 (1970) online free to read
  • Hodge, Carl Cavanagh, ed. Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800-1914 (2 vol 2007)
  • Holcombe, Charles. A History of East Asia (2d ed. Cambridge UP, 2017). excerpt
  • Jensen, Richard, Jon Davidann, and Yoneyuki Sugita, eds. Trans-Pacific Relations: America, Europe, and Asia in the Twentieth Century (Praeger, 2003), 304 pp online review
  • McCloud, Donald G. Southeast Asia: Tradition and modernity in the contemporary world (Routledge, 2018).
  • Mackerras, Colin. Eastern Asia: an introductory history (Melbourne: Longman Cheshire, 1992).
  • Macnair, Harley F. & Donald Lach. Modern Far Eastern International Relations. (2nd ed 1955) 1950 edition online free, 780pp; focus on 1900-1950
  • Matray, James I, ed. East Asia and the United States: An Encyclopedia of Relations Since 1784 (2 vol 2002)
  • May, Ernest R.; Thomson, James C., Jr., eds. American-East Asian Relations: A Survey (Harvard UP, 1972)
  • Miller, David Y. Modern East Asia: An Introductory History (Routledge, 2007)
  • Neher, Clark. Democracy and development in Southeast Asia: the winds of change (Routledge, 2018)
  • Ness, Immanuel, and Zak Cope, eds. The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism (2 vol. 2016) excerpt
  • Nimmo, William F. Stars and Stripes Across the Pacific: The United States, Japan, and Asia/Pacific Region, 1895-1945 (Greenwood, 2001). excerpt
  • Norman, Henry. The peoples and politics of the Far East: travels and studies in the British, French, Spanish and Portuguese colonies, Siberia, China, Japan, Korea, Siam and Malaya. (Scribner, 1904); primary source; online.
  • Ownby, David, and Mary F. Somers Heidhues, eds. Secret Societies Reconsidered: Perspectives on the Social History of Early Modern South China and Southeast Asia (Routledge, 2016).
  • Platt, Desmond. "Economic Factors in British Policy during the" New Imperialism"." Past & Present 39 (1968): 120-138.
  • Price, Rohan B.E. Violence and Emancipation in Colonial Ideology: Hong Kong and British Malaya (City University Press HK, 2020)
  • Reid, Anthony. A history of Southeast Asia: Critical crossroads (John Wiley & Sons, 2015).
  • Reischauer, Edwin O.; John K. Fairbank; Albert M. Craig. A History of East Asian Civilizations, Volume II East Asia The Modern transformation (1965) online free to read
  • Ricklefs, Merle C. A History of Modern Indonesia: c. 1300 to the Present (Macmillan, 1981).
  • Raghavan, Srinath. Fierce Enigmas: A History of the United States in South Asia (2018) excerpt
  • Thomson, James et al. Sentimental Imperialists - The American Experience in East Asia (1981) scholarly history over 200 years.
  • Wesseling, Hendrik L. The European Colonial Empires: 1815-1919 (Routledge, 2015).
  • Woodcock, George, The British in the Far East (1969) online free to read
  • Wunderlich, Jens-Uwe. Regionalism, globalisation and international order: Europe and Southeast Asia (Routledge, 2016) excerpt.

External links[edit]