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The chief factor in determining which islands of the Malay Archipelago are Asian has been the location of the colonial possessions of the various empires there (not all European).
Lewis and Wigen assert, "The narrowing of 'Southeast Asia' to its present boundaries was thus a gradual process." Geographical Asia is a cultural artifact of European conceptions of the world, beginning with the Ancient Greeks, being imposed onto other cultures, an imprecise concept causing endemic contention about what it means.
The terms Southeast Asia and Oceania, devised in the 19th century, have had several vastly different geographic meanings since their inception.
Over the next century various proposals were made until the Ural River prevailed in the mid-19th century.
The border had been moved perforce from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea into which the Ural River projects.
The most commonly accepted boundaries place Asia to the east of the Suez Canal, the Ural River, and the Ural Mountains, and south of the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian and Black Seas.
attracting European commerce, exploration and colonialism. The accidental discovery of America by Columbus in search for India demonstrates this deep fascination.