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Indonesia gained independence from the Dutch in 1949, and Indochina forced the French military to withdraw and separated into the countries of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam in 1954; see Indochina Wars.

However, Vietnam would be split into two, with Ho Chi Minh establishing a communist regime with the support of the Soviet Union in the north, and Ngo Dinh Diem establishing a capitalist regime with the support of the United States in the south.

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Southeast Asia is a group of diverse states between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, featuring cultures influenced by both India and China and hosting large communities of Overseas Chinese.

Before the arrival of the Europeans, Southeast Asia was home to several powerful kingdoms.East Timor was colonized by Portugal for 273 years, then occupied by Indonesia for 27 years before becoming the first nation to gain independence in the 21st century.This massive colonisation effort was fueled by the lucrative spice trade, which in turn encouraged heavy immigration of workers to support the harvest and sale of plantation crops like nutmeg, rubber and tea.However, the Japanese occupation convinced many locals that the European powers were not invincible after all, and thereby had the effect of helping the independence movements to gain pace after the end of the war.After the war, the decolonisation process started in Southeast Asia, with the Americans granting independence to the Philippines in 1946, while the British granted independence to Burma in 1948, followed by Malaya in 1957 and eventually Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo in 1963, which federated with Malaya to form Malaysia.

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