Asia - Location and Extent
• Asia is the largest continent in the world. It is also the most populous continent with 60% of the world’s population residing here. Many of the ancient civilizations developed in Asia. Some of the important ones are:
a. Mesopotamian Civilization
b. Indus Valley Civilization, and
c. Chinese Civilization
• Asia has also been the birthplace of many religions of the world. Some of the major religions born in Asia are Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism, Confucianism, etc.
• Asia is a land of contrasts. The highest point on the earth is Mount Everest, which is 8848 metres high. The lowest point on land is Dead Sea, which is about 400 m below the sea level. Both of them are located in Asia.
• There are 49 sovereign countries in Asia. It includes many large countries like Russia, China and India as well as many smaller countries like Bahrain, Singapore and Maldives. There are some island countries like Japan, Philippines and Indonesia.
• The regions of Asia include:
a. Central Asia: comprising; Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan.
b. East Asia: Comprising; China, Hong Kong, Macau, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Mongolia.
c. South Asia: Comprising; Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh.
d. Southeast Asia: Comprising; Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam.
e. Western Asia: Comprising; Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.
• Asia lies almost in the Northern Hemisphere. However, a few islands of Indonesia lie in the Southern Hemisphere. Asia lies between 10°S and 80°N latitudes. Equator passes through the middle of Java, an island of Indonesia. The Tropic of Cancer passes through the Indian sub-continent. The Arctic Circle passes through the northern part of Russia.
• Asia lies almost in the Eastern Hemisphere except the extreme tip of Russia, which lies in the Western Hemisphere. Asia lies between 25°E and 170°W longitudes.
• Asia is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean and on the north by the Arctic Ocean. The demarcation between Asia and Africa is the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea. The border with Europe starts with the coast of the eastern Mediterranean and includes Istanbul on the European side of the Bosphorus. On the north the boundary between the continents of Asia and Europe is commonly regarded as running through the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara, the Bosporus, the Black Sea, the Caucasus Mountains, the Caspian Sea, and the Ural River. The Arctic Ocean is the northern border. The Bering Straits divide Asia from North America.
• Asia has a fairly smooth coastline with a few indentations. There are many wide openings along the coastline.
• Many group of islands and island countries lie in South East and East Asia. Some of them are Japan, Indonesia and Philippines.