South Asia


Describe the land, climate, and religions of India.
Compare the economies and cultures of Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Explain how the landscapes and religions of Nepal and Bhutan affect their people.
Specify the locations, landforms, and products of Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

     Chapter Overview

Chapter 22: South Asia

The mountains of the Karakoram Range and the Himalaya separate the South Asian subcontinent from the rest of Asia. These mountains form the northern border of India, the world's most populous democracy. The climate of India is affected by the Himalaya and monsoons. Agriculture and industry are equally important economic activities. About 4,000 years ago one of the world's first civilizations developed along the Indus River. The religion of Hinduism developed in India and is still practiced by about 80 percent of India's people.

Once a single nation, Pakistan and Bangladesh today are separate Muslim countries that border India on the west and east. Pakistan claims the northern territory of Kashmir. This has led to conflict with India. Even though it has fertile soil and sufficient energy resources, Pakistan has a struggling economy. The Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers form a huge delta in Bangladesh. It is one of the poorest and most densely populated countries in the world.

Nepal and Bhutan both lie in the Himalaya. Mt. Everest, the world's highest mountain, is located in Nepal. The economies of Nepal and Bhutan are based largely on farming. Sri Lanka lies about 20 miles (32 km) off the southeast coast of India. Agriculture has long been important here, but there are many new and growing industries. The Maldives are a chain of about 1,200 islands to the south of India. Tourism is the largest industry.

     Quick Notes


India is the largest country of South Asia in size and population.
The Himalayas and the monsoons, or seasonal winds, affect India's climate.
India's economy is based on farming and industry.
Although the peoples of India belong to many religious and language groups, most are Hindus.

Muslim South Asia

Islam has shaped the cultures of Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Pakistan is made up of mountains, deserts, and fertile river valleys.
The Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers form a fertile delta area in Bangladesh.
Monsoons bring plenty of rain to Bangladesh's low, fertile plains.

The Himalayan Countries

The Himalayas are the major landform of Nepal and Bhutan.
Most people in Nepal and Bhutan are farmers or herders. They live in the southern parts of their countries.
The Hindu and Buddhist religions have shaped the cultures of Nepal and Bhutan.

Island Countries

Sri Lanka and the Maldives are island republics in the Indian Ocean.
Sri Lanka is one of the world's major tea-producing countries.
The Maldives are made up of about 1200 coral islands. Only 200 are inhabited.

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