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South Asia Geography

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South Asia Geography
Unit 8
(Chapters 24, 25 and 26)
The subcontinent
• Subcontinent – a large
landmass, slightly smaller
than a continent.
• Two tectonic plates, the
Indian and Eurasian were
forced together creating
mountains by collision
• Mountains
– Himalayas
• Highest point
in the world
• Mt. Everest
– Hindu Kush
mountains are
part of the
• Deccan Plateau
– Large arid region
between Western and
Eastern Ghats (small
mountain ranges)
• Rivers
– Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra
• All have their sources in the Himalayas
Both pictures show
different views of the
Ganges River,
considered the greatest
river of the Indian
• Rivers support alluvial plains
– Like the Nile, Indian rivers bring minerals and
moisture to lands
• Makes rich farmland
– Indo-Gangetic Plain is one of the most fertile farming
regions in the world
Many crops are grown in India. It is extremely
necessary to grow significant quantities of food for
their ever-expanding population.
Offshore islands
• The Indian Subcontinent also contains two
large island groups
– Sri Lanka
• The “teardrop” of the subcontinent
• The Maldives
– Another chain of islands, smaller than Sri
– They are an archipelago
• Island group
Indian-subcontinent natural resources
• The subcontinent relies heavily on it’s land
and water as resources
• Also:
– Forest for timber, plants and animals
– Minerals, coal, oil and natural gas, iron ore
Iron ore from Pakistan
Coal strip mining
South Asia Climate
• Monsoons (Seasonal)
– Summer monsoon brings tons of rain
• Very necessary to help support agriculture in South Asia
– Winter Monsoon is a wind shift that brings dry air.
• Himalayas
– Man has tried to best Mt. Everest and other
Himalayan slopes since the beginning of recorded
Hugely destructive storms of circling wind and water that
can submerge miles of coastline.
South Asia Human Geography
• History
– Originally South Asia was many small
• Mauryan, Gupta (both Buddhist) and Mughal
(Muslim) Empires held power at different times.
• Colonialism
– In 1500’s European traders came to South
– Later the British (and a few others) colonized
much of South Asia and controlled it for years.
• Natives did not like colonial rule and protested.
– Mohandas Gandhi began opposition movement
• Based on non-violent resistance
• Eventually Great Britain gave in
– Granted Independence to India
• August 14, 1947
– India is now the World’s largest democracy!
Religious Conflict
• Religions
– Many different religions,
– Much of the violence due to religious differences
• India/Pakistan conflict
– India is mostly Hindu, Pakistan mostly Muslim. They
fight over territory.
• Kashmir – disputed land
– They divided the land between Hindu’s and Muslims,
naming the Muslim sections Pakistan. This was called
What do Hindu’s believe?
• Complex religion
• Polytheistic
• Believe in reincarnation
– Idea that your soul returns to Earth many
– Karma – moral consequences of a persons
actions in one life determine that person’s
next life
• Buddhism was born in South Asia
– Now much more popular in Central Asia
– Buddhists believe in focusing on leading a
good life, not material possessions.
– Through meditation and good deeds they try
to achieve nirvana (perfection of spirit)
– This religion created by Siddartha (Buddha)
South Asia Economics
• Most economic activities center on agriculture
– Subsistence farming
• Growing what your family needs to eat and survive, with
little left over to sell
– Many south Asian families are subsistence farmers
– New Ideas
• Land reform
– Redistribute the land so that more people have access to good
amounts, instead of just the wealthy five percent.
• Green revolution
– Introduced new farming techniques and crops to improve yield
(how much product you get)
– It has been working
Issues India Faces
• Population explosion
– India is a stage 2 country
• Their population growth rate is fastest in the world
– Will be most populous country by about 2015.
• Problems come when you have that many citizens.
• Poverty
– Many of South Asia’s people live in poverty.
• Caste System
– System of social classes that is a cornerstone of Hinduism
– You are restricted to your own social class your entire life.
• With good Karma, you will move up in social classes in your other
– Government is concerned with how this does not allow for
personal betterment
• The untouchable, or bottom caste, was done away with by the govt.
but it is still part of life.
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