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Afro-Eurasia, also Afrasia, Eurafrasia or Eufrasia, is the largest landmass on Earth. It may be defined as a supercontinent, with the term being a portmanteau of its constituent parts Africa and Eurasia (further divided into Europe and Asia) which are joined together at the Isthmus of Suez. Afro-Eurasia encompasses 84,980,532 square kilometers and has a population of approximately 6 billion people, or roughly 85% of the world population. It is also known as the Old World, as opposed to the Americas, Antarctica and Oceania, which are known as the New World.
The mainland of Afro-Eurasia has been referred to as the World Island, a term coined by Sir Halford John Mackinder in The Geographical Pivot of History. (The term excludes non-mainland islands and archipelagos.) It was the original scope of the word 'continent'.
Africa is joined to Asia by a land bridge. Africa is expected to collide with Europe more than 600,000 years from now, when the Strait of Gibraltar closes. When this happens, the Mediterranean Sea will be isolated from the Atlantic Ocean. More than 50 million years from now the Mediterranean is expected to disappear as the collision pushes up new mountain ranges.
Afro-Eurasia housed the first civilizations, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus valley civilization, as well as a number of other early civilizations, such as the Babylonians, Chinese, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. Afro-Eurasia is arguably one of the most diverse place on earth culturally, as well as having the largest effect on the rest of earth. Most of the world's religions and languages have originated from the super-continent, and most modern civilizations are shaped the way they are because of previous civilization's actions in the past, particularly the ones of Western Europe. From here, some of the greatest innovations and inventions have arisen, such as modern writing, the discovery of sciences and mathematics, advanced building and engineering, as well as countless others. This could be contributed in part by the fact that most civilizations were in constant competition with each other.
No one empire has ever succeeded to unify all of Europe, Asia, or Africa. However, the Ottoman Empire unified parts of Afro-Eurasia together. The Umayyad Caliphate, the Mongolian Empire, and the Soviet Union have most likely come close in the unification.
Normally Afro-Eurasia is divided at the Suez Canal into Africa and Eurasia, the latter of which can be subdivided into Europe and Asia. It has also been divided into Eurasia-North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa for cultural and historical reasons.
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- Frank, Andre G. (1998), ReORIENT: Global Economy in the Asian Age, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0-520-21474-3
- For example, Henry Field uses both terms in The University of California African Expedition: I, Egypt. American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 50, No. 3, Part 1 (Jul. - Sep., 1948), pp. 479-493.
- Vincent Capdepuy, 2011, Un espace : l'Eufrasie, M@ppemonde, N°104
- R. W. McColl, ed. (2005, Golson Books Ltd.). 'continents' - Encyclopedia of World Geography, Volume 1. p. 215. ISBN 9780816072293. Retrieved 2012-06-26. "And since Africa and Asia are connected at the Suez Peninsula, Europe, Africa, and Asia are sometimes combined as Afro-Eurasia or Eurafrasia."
- Based upon population estimates for 2007 cited in a UN report, World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision (Highlights).
- See Francis P. Sempa, Mackinder's World
- For example, in Heylin Cosmographie (1652), "the whole Continent of Europe, Asia, Africa."
- Africa will collide with Europe and Asia, 50 Million years from now
- Diamond, Jared (1997), Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, Norton & Company, ISBN 0-393-03891-2