The Indies or East Indies (or East India) is a term often used to refer to the islands of SE
Asia, especially the Malay Archipelago.Oxford Dictionary of English 2e, Oxford University Press, 2003, "East Indies/East India"] [ [http://www.britannica.com/ebi/article-9274111 Britannica.com "East Indies"] ] In a wider sense, the Indies is also used to describe lands of South and Southeast AsiaOxford Dictionary of English 2e, Oxford University Press, 2003, East Indies/East India] , occupying all of the present Indian Union, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and also Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei, Singapore, the Philippines, East Timor, Malaysiaand Indonesia. (Dutch-held colonies in the area were known as the Dutch East Indiesbefore Indonesian independence).
The East Indies may also include
Indochina, the Philippine Islands, Brunei, Singaporeand East Timor. It does not, however, include western New Guinea(West Papua), which is part of Melanesia.
The inhabitants of the East Indies are sometimes called East Indians, distinguishing them both from inhabitants the subcontinent of
India, the Caribbeanwhich is also called the "West Indies," and from the indigenous peoples of the Americaswho are often called "American Indians." (In North Americahowever, the term East Indian may be used for people originating Indialiving in North America.) However, the peoples of the East Indies comprise a wide variety of cultural diversity, and the inhabitants do not consider themselves as belonging to a single ethnicgroup. Hinduism, Buddhismand Islamare the most popular religions throughout the region, while Christianity, Sikhism, Jainismand various other traditional beliefs and practices are also prominent in some areas. The major languages in this area draw from a wide variety of language families, and should not be confused with the term Indic, which refers only to a group of Indo-European languagesfrom South Asia.
The extensive East Indies are subdivided into two sections (from a European perspective), archaically called Hither India and Further India. The first is the former British India, the second is modern
Southeast Asiaor the ASEAN Bloc.
Regions of the East Indies are sometimes known by the colonial empire they once belonged to, hence, "British East Indies" refers to
Malaysia, the Dutch East Indiesmeans Indonesia, and Spanish East Indiesmeans the Philippines.
Exploration of these regions by
European powers first began in the late 15th century and early 16th century, led by the Portuguese explorers. These regions became important sources of trading goods, particularly cotton, indigo and spices after the establishment of European trading companies designed for the specific purpose: the British East India Companyand Dutch East India Company, among others, in the 17th century.
New Worldwas initially thought to be the easternmost part of the "Indies" by explorer Christopher Columbus, who had grossly underestimated the westerly distance from Europe to Asia. Later, to avoid confusion, the New World came to be called the " West Indies", whilst the original Indies came to be called the "East Indies".
The racial designation East Indian was once primarily used to describe people of all of the East Indies, but more recently it has been used widely as a more precise version of an Indian from India, to avoid the potential confusion from the term American Indian (alternately: Native Americans) who were once simply referred to as "Indians" (see the
Native American name controversyfor more information).
East Indian is also a designation for an ethnic or sub-ethnic group, based in and around the city of
Bombayor Mumbai. These people, part of the original Konkani ethnic group, had been evangelized under Portuguese auspices, and had partly Lusitanized. Later, the area was conquered by the Maratha Empire, and the Marathi languagewas adopted by the people. Under British rule, they were known as Bombay Portuguese, but, when immigrants from Portuguese-ruled Goabegan to enter Bombay, in order to distinguish themselves from the Goans (whom the British also called Portuguese), they renamed themselves "East Indians", purportedly after the British East India Company, in order to demonstrate their loyalty to the British, and as locals of Bombay as distinguished from the Goans.
East Indians (ethnic group)
Discoverer of the Americas
Spanish East Indies
Regions of the world}
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Look at other dictionaries:
Indies — In dies, n. pl. A name designating the East Indies, also the West Indies. [1913 Webster] Our king has all the Indies in his arms. Shak. [1913 Webster] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
Indies — [in′dēz΄] 1. EAST INDIES 2. WEST INDIES … English World dictionary
Indies — 1550s, plural of Indie, Indy, from M.E. Ynde (early 13c.) India, from the O.Fr. form of L. India (see INDIA (Cf. India)). Commonly applied to Asia and the East, later applied to the Caribbean basin, in a time of geographical confusion, which was… … Etymology dictionary
Indies — /in deez/, n. the. 1. (used with a pl. v.) See West Indies (def. 1). 2. (used with a pl. v.) See East Indies (def. 1). 3. (used with a sing. v.) a region in and near S and SE Asia; India, Indochina, and the East Indies. * * * (as used in… … Universalium
Indies — /ˈɪndiz/ (say indeez) plural noun 1. the, a region in and near southern and South East Asia; India, Indochina and the East Indies. 2. → East Indies. 3. → West Indies … Australian English dictionary
Indies — geographical name 1. East Indies 2. West Indies … New Collegiate Dictionary
Indies — noun a) The East Indies, including India, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and adjacent lands. b) The West Indies, including Cuba … Wiktionary
Indies — See East Indies, West Indies … Webster's Gazetteer
Indies — n. East Indies; West Indies … English contemporary dictionary
Indies — In•dies [[t]ˈɪn diz[/t]] n. pl. the, 1) geg West Indies 1) 2) geg East Indies … From formal English to slang