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By James W. Gould

There's a universal trust that until eventually lately americans have hottest isolation to curiosity in distant components comparable to Southeast Asia. This thesis may be verified by way of studying the historical past of yank relatives with a spot at the contrary facet of the globe from the U.S.. the sort of land is Sumatra. it's one of many biggest islands on the planet. Its I66,789 sq. mile zone exceeds that of the 3rd biggest American country, California, and is bigger than Italy. mendacity midway around the globe from the U.S., its I050 mile size is sort of divided by means of the equator, which runs throughout it for 285 miles. Sumatra's strategic value is two-fold. to begin with, it's the first island stepping stone from the Asiatic mainland into the Australasian archipelago. This was once proven in I942 while the us stationed planes on Sumatra in an try and stem the japanese enhance southward. Secondly, it lies athwart the shortest sea routes from japanese Asia to Europe and the jap usa. Sumatra's southern tip varieties one aspect of the Straits of Sunda which guards the entry to the Java, China and Philippine Seas. on the island's northern tip is the doorway to the Straits of Malacca, the shortest sea lane be­ tween the close to and much East. the hole of the Suez Canal in I869 shifted the shortest course among the some distance East and the Western global from the Sunda to the Malacca Straits.

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