Southeast Asia is a region known for its diverse cultures, stunning natural beauty, and strategic location at the crossroads of major trade routes. But millions of years ago, this region was part of a much larger landmass known as Pangea, which included almost all of the Earth's landmasses. The story of how Southeast Asia came to be where it is today is a fascinating one that involves the movements of tectonic plates over millions of years.
Pangea was a supercontinent that existed during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras, from about 300 to 200 million years ago. At that time, what is now Southeast Asia was located on the eastern side of Pangea, close to the equator. Southeast Asia, along with the rest of present-day Asia, was part of a larger landmass known as Gondwana, which included present-day Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica, and the Indian subcontinent.
The movements of the Earth's tectonic plates caused the breakup of Pangea, leading to the formation of the continents as we know them today. About 200 million years ago, Gondwana began to break up, and the landmass that is now Southeast Asia began to move northward. This movement was caused by the collision of the Indian subcontinent with Asia, which created the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau.
As the landmass that is now Southeast Asia moved northward, it collided with another landmass known as Laurasia, which included present-day North America, Europe, and Asia north of the Himalayas. The collision between Southeast Asia and Laurasia led to the formation of a chain of mountains that runs through the region, including the mountains of Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia.
Over millions of years, the movements of tectonic plates continued to shape the landscape of Southeast Asia, creating the islands and archipelagos that make up the region today. The region is also home to some of the world's most active volcanoes and earthquake zones, a testament to the ongoing geological processes that continue to shape the Earth's surface.
Today, Southeast Asia is a vibrant and dynamic region that is home to over 650 million people, spread across 11 countries. The region's diverse cultures, languages, and religions are a testament to its complex history, shaped by the movements of tectonic plates and the forces of nature. From the lush rainforests of Indonesia to the bustling cities of Singapore and Bangkok, Southeast Asia is a region that continues to fascinate and inspire people from all over the world.