Monday, April 11, 2011

Biggest Continent

At the size of over 17 million square mi. Asia is the biggest continent on the planet. It is also the most populous with almost 4 billion people. However is Asia really the biggest continent? What is Asia? Does it fit the scientific definition for a continent? By definition a continent is a large discrete landmass surrounded by water. However of all the seven continent Asia least fits this criterion. If we were to go by the exact defintion, neither Asia or Europe would count as separate continents. They would actually be a landmass called Eurasia. While other continents have dubious characteristics such as isthmuses, only Eurasia has an artificial boundary.

The concept of Europe and Asia are unique to Europeans and the cultures surrounding the Mediterranean. Ironically Asian do not see themselves as part of a single continent but identify themselves by their nations’ individual cultures. So in many ways the concept of Asia is seen as a very ethnocentric view.

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