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A subcontinent is a large, relatively self-contained landmass forming a subdivision of a continent. By dictionary entries, the term subcontinent signifies "having a certain geographical or political independence" from the rest of the continent,[1] or "a vast and more or less self-contained subdivision of a continent."[2] With the exception of South Asia, there is currently no academic consensus regarding the name or geographic extent of any particular subcontinent.

Geographical map of the Indian subcontinent

Used on its own in English, the phrase "the Subcontinent" commonly refers to the Indian subcontinent.[3][4] Generally, the Indian subcontinent includes the countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka. The region constitutes a geoculturally distinct region within Asia. The region contains desert, plateau, rain forest, mountains and myriad languages, races, and religions.


  1. ^ rd English Dictionary 2nd edition. 1989. Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. 2002. Merriam-Webster. retrieved 11 March 2007.
  3. ^ The history of India – By John McLeod
  4. ^ Milton Walter Meyer, South Asia: A Short History of the Subcontinent, pages 1, Adams Littlefield, 1976, ISBN 0-8226-0034-X