|The continents are large expanses of land, bounded by
the oceans and seas. They are responsible for 29.1% of the
Earth's surface; together, they have a land area of
149,440,850 square kilometers.
It is estimated that 400
million years ago, the planet's lands were brought together
on a single continent, called Pangeia. This great continent
fragmented 60 million years ago due to the movement of
tectonic plates, forming the six continents: Africa,
America, Antarctica, Asia, Europe and Oceania. America is
subdivided: North America, Central America and South
These continents have different physical, economic and
social characteristics. Asia is the most populous
terrestrial continent with the greatest territorial
extension. According to Countryaah,
the two most inhabited countries on the planet
are in Asia - China (1.3 billion people) and India (1.2
billion). On this continent are the largest oil reserves,
mainly in the Middle East.
Africa has the greatest cultural diversity in the world.
However, this continent is marked by social problems: AIDS
is largely responsible for deaths in the countries south of
the Sahara desert (Sub-Saharan Africa); the shape affects a
large part of the population; according to a survey released
by the World Bank, in 2009, 50% of Sub-Saharan Africa's
inhabitants live on less than US $ 1.25 a day, that is, they
are below the poverty line.
America also presents socioeconomic problems, especially
the countries of South and Central America. Only the United
States and Canada (located in North America) have high
standards of development, however, they are not entirely
free from social problems.
Europe, for having explored the natural wealth of
countries on other continents and for starting the
industrialization process, is the continent that has the
best economic and social indicators. However, some European
countries, especially those in the east of the continent,
have socioeconomic problems.
Antarctica is the least populated continent, being
inhabited by researchers from 27 countries. Its territorial
extension varies a lot: in winter, the surface of the
continent, of 13.2 million square kilometers, doubles in
size as the surrounding water freezes. In this portion of
the Earth 90% of the existing glaciers are located.
Territorial extension: 30,198,835 kmē.
Number of countries: 53.
Population: 1.1 billion inhabitants.
Demographic density: 34 inhab./kmē.
Urban Population: 40%.
Territorial extension: 42,054,927 kmē.
Number of countries: 35.
Population: 934.3 million inhabitants.
Demographic density: 22.2 inhab./kmē.
Urban Population: 79%.
Territorial extension: 44,961,951 kmē.
Number of countries: 45.
Population: 4.1 billion inhabitants.
Demographic density: 92.5 inhab./kmē.
Urban Population: 42%.
Territorial extension: 10,365,456 kmē.
Number of countries: 49.
Population: 749.6 million inhabitants.
Demographic density: 72.3 inhab./kmē.
Urban Population: 73%.
Territorial extension: 8,526,462 kmē.
Number of countries: 14
Population: 37.1 million inhabitants
Demographic density: 4.3 inhab./kmē.
Urban Population: 70%.
What is a Continent?
Continent is one of the major regions
into which the world's territories are divided. A continent
includes a continent or part of it with both near and remote
islands and is therefore not a physical or geological term.
The subdivision has no political content either, but is a
practical and everyday reality; it is used by the UN
alongside other groups of world states.
The geography of ancient and medieval counted on three
continents; now commonly counted seven: Europe, Asia and
Africa (the Old World); North and South America (the New
World); Oceania and Antarctica.
The separation of Europe and Asia lacks both physical and
cultural justification, and the two continents are sometimes
brought together in the concept of Eurasia. Furthermore,
Asia is only separated from Africa and South America only
from North America by dug trenches (Suez and Panama Canal).
A large number of islands in a shallow sea area link
Australia to Asia, which in turn is simply separated from
North America by the narrow and shallow Berings Strait. Only
the uninhabited and climatically divergent Antarctic is
somewhat more distant from the other continents.
Thus, most of the world's land masses are related, much
like the World Sea does. Geographers have since the great
voyages of discovery sought to devise legalities for the
location and shape of the continents; these efforts took a
whole new turn after the emergence of the theory of plate