South East Asia was the location of the fabled Spice Islands. These islands attracted European sailors and adventurers since the Elizabethan era for fame and fortune. Consequently, South East Asia provided plenty of competition between the European powers as the Dutch, Portugese and British fought one another for commercial advantage in the area.
Even when the spice market grew less important, the region still maintained its commercial and strategic importance by being the main trade route to the highly profitable Chinese markets. The busy sealanes would also attract the more unsavoury attention of pirates and brigandes; a reputation which the region has still not managed to shake off to this day.
The colourful peoples and places of this region, the maritime traditions of the area and the exotic climes all combined to make this area into one of the wilder and more fascinating areas of the Empire.