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8: South Asia

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    • 8.1: South Asia's Physical Landscape
      South Asia’s Himalaya Mountains are the highest in the world, soaring to over 8,800 meters (29,000 feet). Yet, these are also some of the world’s youngest mountains, reflecting a region that has experienced significant physical and cultural changes throughout its history. Here, we find one of the earliest and most widespread ancient civilizations, the hearth area for several of the world’s great religions, and a region whose population will soon be the largest on Earth.
    • 8.2: Patterns of Human Settlement in South Asia
      South Asia’s rich cultural landscape is a product of its varied physical environment and long history of human settlement. Modern humans first settled in this area 75,000 years ago. The first major civilization in South Asia was in the Indus River valley beginning around 3300 BCE. Located in present-day Pakistan, Afghanistan, and northwestern India, it relied on the monsoon rains to provide water to the Indus River. Early settlers developed systems of urban planning, baked brick houses, and the
    • 8.3: Cultural Groups in South Asia
      South Asia is a diverse region in terms of its ethnic landscape, culture, and religious beliefs. As shown in Figure 8.3.1, the Indo-European languages like Hindi dominate as a result of the Aryan invasion in the northern portion. Along the Himalayas, languages in the Sino-Tibetan family are the strongest. In southern India, most groups speak a language in the Dravidian family, comprised of the indigenous languages of South Asia that were present before the arrival of the Aryans. These language
    • 8.4: South Asia's Population Dynamics
      South Asia is the most populous region on Earth. Why is it the most populous? How do geographers study population? The simplest way to measure population is to count the number of people in an area. India has a population of over 1.3 billion, making it the second-most populous country after China. But do raw numbers of people tell the whole story of the human population in an area? If two countries have the same population, but one is far smaller than the other, how could we examine the populati
    • 8.5: Future Challenges and Opportunities in South Asia
      India’s male-skewed population pyramid is indicative of a larger issue of gender inequality in its society. The government of India has taken steps to reform its criminal code so that more criminals are prosecuted. In a country that has few female police officers, high rates of domestic violence, and a relatively low status of women, violence will likely remain a problem until these broader, systemic issues are addressed.

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