East Indies

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East Indies,

name formerly used for the Malay ArchipelagoMalay Archipelago,
great island group of SE Asia, formerly called the East Indies. Lying between the Asian mainland and Australia, and separating the Pacific Ocean from the Indian Ocean, it includes Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and E Malaysia.
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, but also more restrictively for Indonesia and more widely to include SE Asia. It once referred chiefly to India.

East Indies


the term previously used with reference to India and several other countries in South and Southeast Asia. It originated as the antonym of the term “West Indies,” after Europeans traveling east from Europe reached the shores of the Hindustan Peninsula. At that time, Europeans believed the Caribbean islands discovered by Columbus to be India (or the Indies).

For a long time the term “East Indies” continued to be used in connection with the colonial activities of the British East India Company, the Dutch East India Company, the French East India Company, and the India Company, which replaced the French company.

References in classic literature ?
I had pleased myself with the thoughts of peopling the place, and carrying inhabitants from hence, getting a patent for the possession and I know not what; when, in the middle of all this, in comes my nephew, as I have said, with his project of carrying me thither in his way to the East Indies.
With these I carried a tailor, who had offered himself to go a passenger to the East Indies with my nephew, but afterwards consented to stay on our new plantation, and who proved a most necessary handy fellow as could be desired in many other businesses besides that of his trade; for, as I observed formerly, necessity arms us for all employments.
I thought this was but a reasonable request on their part, and therefore I inclined to agree to it; for indeed I considered that to carry this whole company to the East Indies would not only be an intolerable severity upon the poor people, but would be ruining our whole voyage by devouring all our provisions; so I thought it no breach of charter-party, but what an unforeseen accident made absolutely necessary to us, and in which no one could say we were to blame; for the laws of God and nature would have forbid that we should refuse to take up two boats full of people in such a distressed condition; and the nature of the thing, as well respecting ourselves as the poor people, obliged us to set them on shore somewhere or other for their deliverance.
When I say all the French went on shore, I should remember that the young priest I spoke of, hearing we were bound to the East Indies, desired to go the voyage with us, and to be set on shore on the coast of Coromandel; which I readily agreed to, for I wonderfully liked the man, and had very good reason, as will appear afterwards; also four of the seamen entered themselves on our ship, and proved very useful fellows.
His people were wealthy and titled, and he went home to England and sold cat's meat, sat around their big house till they gave him more money to start a rubber plantation in the East Indies somewhere, on Sumatra, I think--or was it New Guinea?
and one Mr Brown who was supposed to be then a corporal in the East Indies, and who could of course be found with very little trouble), within whose personal knowledge the circumstances had occurred.
I think I shall trade," said he, leaning back in his chair, "to the East Indies, for silks, shawls, spices, dyes, drugs, and precious woods.
Captain Lancaster, in his voyage [20] in 1601, narrates that on the sea-sands of the Island of Sombrero, in the East Indies, he "found a small twig growing up like a young tree, and on offering to pluck it up it shrinks down to the ground, and sinks, unless held very hard.
I knew that all the ships from Europe, which sailed either to the coast of Guinea or to Brazil, or to the East Indies, made this cape, or those islands; and, in a word, I put the whole of my fortune upon this single point, either that I must meet with some ship or must perish.
More than 60,000 Allied prisoners of war brought in from camps in Singapore and the Dutch East Indies were put to work on the railway, working alongside 270,000 Asian labourers in horrendous conditions and subjected to brutal treatment.
The principal author, Janneke van Dijk, was for many years curator of the collection and so she has an unrivaled awareness of the issues at stake; currently a freelance researcher, she has produced many works, including The Netherlands East Indies at the Tropenmuseum (2011), the first in a projected ten-volume series designed, at least in part, to attract visitors to the museum (pp.
The story generally alternates between the love affair and the officer's naval duties during the Japanese invasion and conquest of the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies.

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