Far East

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Far East
Far east1.png
Location of the Far East, geographically defined
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 遠東
Simplified Chinese 远东
Literal meaningFar East
Burmese name
Burmese အရှေ့ဖျား ဒေသ
IPA [ʔəʃḛbjá dèθa̰]
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabet Viễn Đông
Chữ Hán
Thai name
Thai ตะวันออกไกล
Tawan-oak klai
Korean name
Hangul 극동
Hanja 極東
Mongolian name
Mongolian Cyrillic Als Dornod
Japanese name
Kanji 極東
Katakana キョクトウ
Malay name
Malay تيمور جاوء
Timur Jauh
Indonesian name
Indonesian Timur Jauh
Filipino name
Tagalog Silanganan (poetic)
Malayong Silangan (literal)
Portuguese name
Portuguese Extremo Oriente
Russian name
Russian Дальний Восток
IPA:  [ˈdalʲnʲɪj vɐˈstok]
Romanization Dál'niy Vostók

The Far East is a geographical term in English that usually refers to East Asia (including Northeast Asia), the Russian Far East (part of North Asia), and Southeast Asia. [1] South Asia is sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons. [2] The term "Far East" came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 12th century, denoting the Far East as the "farthest" of the three "easts", beyond the Near East and the Middle East. Likewise, in Qing Dynasty of the 19th and early 20th centuries the term "Tàixī (泰西)" – i.e. anything further west than the Arab world – was used to refer to the Western countries.

English language West Germanic language

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent by Latin and French.

East Asia Subregion of Asia

East Asia is the eastern subregion of Asia, defined in either geographical or ethno-cultural terms. China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam belong to the East Asian cultural sphere. Geographically and geopolitically, the region includes China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, and South Korea.

Northeast Asia Subregion of Asia

Terms such as Northeast Asia, North East Asia, or Northeastern Asia refer to a subregion of Asia: the northeastern landmass and islands, bordering the Pacific Ocean. It includes the core countries of East Asia.


Since the 1960s, East Asia has become the most common term for the region in international mass media outlets. [3] [4]

Mass media refers to a diverse array of media technologies that reach a large audience via mass communication. The technologies through which this communication takes place include a variety of outlets.


Prior to the colonial era, "Far East" referred to anything further east than the Middle East. In the 16th century, King John III of Portugal called India a "rich and interesting country in the Far East [5] (Extremo Oriente)." The term was popularized during the period of the British Empire as a blanket term for lands to the east of British India.

India Country in South Asia

India, also known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

British Empire States and dominions ruled by the United Kingdom

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

British Raj British rule in the Indian subcontinent, 1858–1947

The British Raj was the rule by the British Crown in the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to 1947. The rule is also called Crown rule in India, or direct rule in India. The region under British control was commonly called British India or simply India in contemporaneous usage, and included areas directly administered by the United Kingdom, which were collectively called British India, and those ruled by indigenous rulers, but under British tutelage or paramountcy, and called the princely states. The whole was also informally called the Indian Empire. As India, it was a founding member of the League of Nations, a participating nation in the Summer Olympics in 1900, 1920, 1928, 1932, and 1936, and a founding member of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945.

In pre-World War I European geopolitics, the Near East referred to the relatively nearby lands of the Ottoman Empire, the Middle East denoted northwestern South Asia and Central Asia, and the Far East meant countries along the western Pacific Ocean and eastern Indian Ocean. Many European languages have analogous terms, such as the French ( Extrême-Orient ), Spanish ( Extremo Oriente ), Portuguese ( Extremo Oriente ), German ( Ferner Osten ), Italian ( Estremo Oriente ), Polish ( Daleki Wschód ), Norwegian ( Det fjerne Østen ) and Dutch ( Verre Oosten ).

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

The Near East is a geographical term that roughly encompasses a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia, Turkey, and Egypt. Despite having varying definitions within different academic circles, the term was originally applied to the maximum extent of the Ottoman Empire. The term has fallen into disuse in English and has been replaced by the terms Middle East, which includes Egypt, and West Asia, which includes the Transcaucasus.

Ottoman Empire Former empire in Asia, Europe and Africa

The Ottoman Empire, also historically known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.

Cultural as well as geographic meaning

Significantly, the term evokes cultural as well as geographic separation; the Far East is not just geographically distant, but also culturally exotic. It never refers, for instance, to the culturally Western nations of Australia and New Zealand, which lie even farther to the east of Europe than East Asia itself. This combination of cultural and geographic subjectivity was well illustrated in 1939 by Robert Menzies, a Prime Minister of Australia. Reflecting on his country's geopolitical concerns with the onset of war, Menzies commented that:

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

New Zealand Country in Oceania

New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

Robert Menzies Australian politician, 12th Prime Minister of Australia

Sir Robert Gordon Menzies,, was an Australian politician who twice served as Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1939 to 1941 and again from 1949 to 1966. He played a central role in the creation of the Liberal Party of Australia, defining its policies and its broad outreach. He is Australia's longest-serving prime minister, serving over 18 years in total.

The problems of the Pacific are different. What Great Britain calls the Far East is to us the Near North. [6]

Far East in its usual sense is comparable to terms such as the Orient , which means East; the Eastern world ; or simply the East. Southeast Asia, the Russian Far East, and occasionally the Indian Subcontinent might be included in the Far East to some extent.

Concerning the term, John K. Fairbank and Edwin O. Reischauer, professors of East Asian Studies at Harvard University, wrote (in East Asia: The Great Tradition): "When Europeans traveled far to the east to reach Cathay, Japan and the Indies, they naturally gave those distant regions the general name 'Far East.' Americans who reached China, Japan and Southeast Asia by sail and steam across the Pacific could, with equal logic, have called that area the 'Far West.' For the people who live in that part of the world, however, it is neither 'East' nor 'West' and certainly not 'Far.' A more generally acceptable term for the area is 'East Asia,' which is geographically more precise and does not imply the outdated notion that Europe is the center of the civilized world." [4]

Today, the term remains in the names of some longstanding institutions, including the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, Far Eastern University in Manila, and the Far East University in South Korea. Furthermore, the United Kingdom and United States have historically used Far East for several military units and commands in the region; the Royal Navy's Far East Fleet, for instance.

Territories and regions conventionally included under the term Far East

Name of region [7] and
territory, with flag
Population density
(per km²)
Capital Forms of government Currency Official languages
North Asia
Flag of Russia.svg Russia [8] 6,952,600 [9] 8,371,257 [9] 1.2 Moscow Federal semi-presidential republic Ruble Russian and
27 other co-official languages
Southeast Asia
Flag of Brunei.svg  Brunei 5,765417,20072.11 Bandar Seri Begawan Absolute Islamic Sultanate Brunei dollar Malay and English
Flag of Cambodia.svg  Cambodia 181,03516,245,72981.8 Phnom Penh Constitutional monarchy Riel Khmer
Flag of Christmas Island.svg  Christmas Island [10] 1351,84310.39 Flying Fish Cove External territory of Australia Australian dollar English [11]
Flag of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.svg  Cocos (Keeling) Islands [12] 1454443.0 West Island External territory of Australia Australian dollar None [13]
Flag of Indonesia.svg  Indonesia 1,904,569261,115,456138.0 Jakarta Presidential republic Rupiah Indonesian
Flag of Laos.svg  Laos 237,9556,758,35326.7 Vientiane Socialist Republic Kip Lao
Flag of Malaysia.svg  Malaysia 330,80332,049,70092.0 Kuala Lumpur Federal constitutional monarchy,
Parliamentary democracy
Ringgit Malay
Flag of Myanmar.svg  Myanmar (Burma) 676,57853,582,85576.0 Naypyidaw Unitary presidential
constitutional republic
Kyat Burmese
Flag of the Philippines.svg  Philippines 300,000100,981,437336.0 Manila Unitary presidential
constitutional republic
Philippine peso (Piso) Filipino and English
Flag of Singapore.svg  Singapore 722.55,638,7007,804.0 Singapore Parliamentary republic Singapore dollar Malay, English,
Chinese (Mandarin), and Tamil
Flag of Thailand.svg  Thailand 513,12068,863,514132.1 Bangkok Constitutional monarchy,
Parliamentary democracy under a military junta
Baht Thai
Flag of East Timor.svg  Timor-Leste (East Timor) 15,4101,167,24278.0 Dili Parliamentary republic U.S. dollar / Centavo coins Tetum and Portuguese
Flag of Vietnam.svg  Vietnam 331,21294,569,072276.03 Hanoi One-party led state,
Socialist Republic
đồng Vietnamese
East Asia
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China [14] 9,598,094 [15]
1,371,821,094 [16] 145.0 Beijing One-party socialist republic Yuan (Renminbi) Chinese (Mandarin) [17]
Flag of Hong Kong.svg  Hong Kong [18] 1,1087,448,9006,777.0 Hong Kong Special administrative region
of the People's Republic of China.
Hong Kong dollar Chinese, [19]
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 377,973126,440,000334.0 Tokyo Parliamentary democracy,
Constitutional monarchy
Yen None [20]
Flag of Macau.svg  Macau [21] 115.3653,10021,340.0 Macau Special administrative region
of the People's Republic of China
Pataca Chinese, [22]
Flag of Mongolia.svg  Mongolia 1,566,0003,081,6771.97 Ulaanbaatar Parliamentary republic Tögrög Mongolian
Flag of North Korea.svg  North Korea 120,54025,368,620212.0 Pyongyang Juche unitarian dictatorship
Socialist Republic
North Korean won Korean
Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea 100,36351,446,201507.0 Seoul Presidential republic South Korean won Korean
Flag of the Republic of China.svg  Taiwan [23] 36,19723,577,271650.0 Taipei Semi-presidential system New Taiwan dollar Chinese (Mandarin)


See also


  1. "Oxford Dictionaries - Dictionary, Thesaurus, & Grammar". askoxford.com.
  2. The 'Far Eastern Economic Review' for example covers news from India and Sri Lanka.
  3. "A menagerie of monikers". The Economist. 7 January 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  4. 1 2 Reischauer, Edwin and John K Fairbank, East Asia: The Great Tradition, 1960.
  5. Robert Sewell (1901). A Forgotten Empire: Vijayanagar; A Contribution to the History of India.
  6. "Historical documents". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  7.   Continental regions as per UN categorisations (map), except 12. Depending on definitions, various territories cited below (notes 6, 11-13, 15, 17-19, 21-23) may be in one or both of Asia and Europe, Africa, or Oceania.
  8.    Russia is generally considered a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe (UN region) and Northern Asia; population and area figures are for Asian portion only.
  9. 1 2 Only includes the area of Far Eastern Federal District.
  10.    Christmas Island is an External Territory of Australia.
  11. English does not have de jure status in Christmas Island and in Australia, but it is the de facto language of communication in government.
  12.   The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are an External Territory of Australia.
  13. English does not have de jure status in Christmas Island and in Australia, but it is the de facto language of communication in government.
  14.   The state is commonly known as simply "China", which is subsumed by the eponymous entity and civilisation (China). Figures given are for Mainland China only, and do not include Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
  15. Includes PRC-administered area (Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract, both territories claimed by India).
  16. Information listed is for Mainland China only. The Special administrative region (i.e. Hong Kong and Macau), the island territories under the control of the Republic of China (which includes the islands of Taiwan, Quemoy, and Matsu) are excluded.
  17. "Law of the People's Republic of China on the Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language (Order of the President No.37)". Chinese Government. 31 October 2000. Retrieved 21 June 2013. For purposes of this Law, the standard spoken and written Chinese language means Putonghua (a common speech with pronunciation based on the Beijing dialect) and the standardized Chinese characters.
  18.    Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China
  19. No specific variety of Chinese is official in the territory. Residents predominantly speak Cantonese, the de facto regional standard.
  20. Japan's National Diet have not officially enacted a law stating that the official language is Japanese.
  21.    Macau is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
  22. No specific variety of Chinese is official in the territory. Residents predominantly speak Cantonese, the de facto regional standard.
  23.   Figures are for the area under the de facto control of the Republic of China (ROC) government, commonly referred to as Taiwan. Claimed in whole by the PRC; see political status of Taiwan.

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