Malay archipelago

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The Malay Archipelago refers to the vast group of islands located between mainland Southeast Asia (Indochina) and Australia. These islands constitute the territory of Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah along with the Federal Territory of Labuan, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea.
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Malay Archipelago

There are, however, arguments for excluding the last-named country for cultural and geographical reasons. Papua New Guinea is culturally quite different from the other countries in the region, and the island of New Guinea itself is geologically not part of the continent of Asia, as the islands of the Sunda Shelf are (see Australia-New Guinea).

The archipelago is sometimes also known as the East Indies, but some authorities apply a much broader meaning to this term by including Indochina, the Indian Subcontinent, and even areas as far west as Iranian Baluchistan.

The Malay Archipelago is the world's largest archipelago, and it encompasses many groups which may be considered archipelagoes in their own right. The major ones are:

The island group's area is more than 2 million km², and its total population is more than 300,000,000. The biggest islands in the archipelago are Borneo and Sumatra (New Guinea would be the biggest if it were included). The most heavily populated island is Java.

Together with Australia, the Malay Archipelago marks the traditional boundary between the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Indian Ocean to the west.

Geologically the archipelago is very interesting, being one of the most active vulcanological regions in the world. Geological uplifts in the region have also produced some impressive mountains, culminating in Mount Kinabalu in Sabah with a height of 4 101 m (or Puncak Jaya in Irian Jaya at 4 884 m, if New Guinea is included).

The climate throughout the archipelago, owing to its position astride the equator, is tropical. It is notably rainier in the west than in the east, however.

The region known as Maritime Southeast Asia is more or less coxtensive with the Malay Archipelago, except that Singapore is not usually included in the latter.bg:Индонезийски острови ca:Insulndia de:Indonesischer Archipel et:Malai saarestik fr:Insulinde ms:Kepulauan Melayu nl:Insulinde pl:Archipelag Malajski

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