Far East

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The Far East is a term used in English (with equivalents in various other languages of Europe and Asia, Chinese 遠東 yuǎn dōng literally translating to "far east") mostly equivalent to East Asia (including the Russian Far East) and Southeast Asia,[1] sometimes to the inclusion of South Asia for economic and cultural reasons.[2]

"Far East" came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 19th century, denoting Eastern Asia as the "farthest" of the three "easts", beyond the Near East and the Middle East. For the same reason, ancient Chinese people called western countries "Tàixī (泰西)"—i.e. anything further west than India. The term is no longer commonly used, as it connotes the "orientalism" of the 19th century as described by Edward Said. In the 1960s terms like East Asia and the Orient had become more common.[3]



The term Far East was popularized in the English language during the period of the British Empire as a blanket term for lands to the east of British India. Prior to World War I, the Near East referred to relatively nearby lands of the Ottoman Empire, Middle East to northwestern South Asia and Central Asia, and Far East for countries along the western Pacific Ocean and countries along the eastern Indian Ocean. Many European languages have analogous terms, such as the French Extrême-Orient, Spanish Extremo Oriente, Portuguese Extremo Oriente, German Ferner Osten, Italian Estremo Oriente, Polish Daleki Wschód, and Dutch Verre Oosten.

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