List of transcontinental countries

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A map of transcontinental countries, and countries that control territory in more than one continent.
  Contiguous transcontinental countries.
  Non-contiguous transcontinental countries.
  Countries that may be considered transcontinental, depending on the legal status of their claims or the definition of continental boundaries used.

This is a list of countries with territory that straddles more than one continent, known as transcontinental states or intercontinental states.[1]

Contiguous transcontinental countries are states that have one continuous or immediately-adjacent piece of territory that spans a continental boundary, most commonly the line that separates Europe and Asia. By contrast, non-contiguous transcontinental countries are those states that have portions of territory that are separated from one another either by a body of water or by other countries (such as in the case of France). Most non-contiguous transcontinental countries are countries with dependent territories like Denmark with Greenland, but can be countries that have fully integrated former dependent territories in their central states like France with its overseas regions.[1]

For the purposes of this article, a seven-continent model is assumed based on common terms of reference by English language geographers.[2] Combined continents like "the Americas" and "Eurasia" are not acknowledged or referenced. The boundary between Europe and Asia is largely conventional (much of it over land), and several conventions remained in use well into the 20th century. However, the now-prevalent convention—which has been in use by some cartographers since about 1850—follows the Caucasus northern chain, the Ural River and the Ural Mountains, is used for the purposes of this list.[3] This convention results in several countries such as in the case of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkey finding themselves almost entirely in 'Asia', with a few small enclaves or districts technically in 'Europe'. Notwithstanding these anomalies, this list of transcontinental or intercontinental states respects the convention that Europe and Asia are full continents rather than subcontinents or component landmasses of a larger Eurasian continent.

Listed further below, separately, are countries with distant non-contiguous parts (overseas territories) on separate continents.


The lists within this article include entries that meet the following criteria:

  • Transcontinental or intercontinental states are sovereign states that have some portion of their territory geographically divided between at least two continents.[1][4]
  • Transcontinental states can be classed as either contiguous or non-contiguous transcontinental states.[5]
    • Contiguous transcontinental states are those countries that have one continuous or immediately adjacent piece of territory that spans a continental boundary. More specifically, they contain a portion of their territory on one continent and a portion of their territory on another continent, while having these two portions connected via a natural geological land connection (e.g. Russia) or the two portions being immediately adjacent to one another (e.g. Turkey).[6][7]
    • Non-contiguous transcontinental states are those that have portions of territory that are separated from one another either by a significant body of water or by other land.[6][7] Most non-contiguous transcontinental countries are countries with overseas territories.[1]

The boundaries between the continents can be vague and subject to interpretation, making it difficult to conclusively define what counts as a 'transcontinental state'.

Contiguous boundary

Contiguous transcontinental states are those countries that have one continuous or immediately adjacent piece of territory that spans a continental boundary. More specifically, they contain a portion of their territory on one continent and a portion of their territory on another continent, while having these two portions connected via a natural geological land connection (e.g. Russia) or the two portions being immediately adjacent to one another (e.g. Turkey).[6][7]

Africa and Asia

  African land part of Egypt
  Asian land part of Egypt
  The rest of Africa
  The rest of Asia

The modern convention for the land boundary between Asia and Africa runs along the Isthmus of Suez and the Suez Canal in Egypt. The border continues through the Gulf of Suez, Red Sea, and Gulf of Aden. In antiquity, Egypt had been considered part of Asia[citation needed], with the Catabathmus Magnus escarpment taken as the boundary with Africa (Libya).

Asia and Europe

Conventions used for the boundary between Europe and Asia during the 18th and 19th centuries. The red line shows the most common modern convention, in use since c. 1850.
  historically placed in either continent

The conventional Europe-Asia boundary was subject to considerable variation during the 18th and 19th centuries, indicated anywhere between the Don River and the Caucasus to the south or the Ural Mountains to the east. Since the late-19th century, the Caucasus–Urals boundary has become almost universally accepted. According to this now-standard convention, the boundary follows the Aegean Sea, the Turkish Straits, the Black Sea, along the watershed of the Greater Caucasus, the northwestern portion of the Caspian Sea and along the Ural River and Ural Mountains to the Arctic Ocean.[8][9]

According to this convention, the following states have territory in both Asia and Europe.

North America and South America

Map of the Darién Gap at the border between Colombia and Panama

The conventional boundary between North America and South America is at some point on the Colombia–Panama border, with the most common demarcation in atlases and other sources following the Darién Mountains watershed where the Isthmus of Panama meets the South American continent (see Darién Gap). This area encompasses a large watershed, forest and mountains in the northern portion of Colombia's Chocó Department and Panama's Darién Province. Since both Panama and Colombia traditionally view the Americas as a single continent, the Darién border is locally presented not as between the continents of North and South America but rather as between the subcontinental regions of Central and South America.


North America and South America

The special case of Caribbean islands adjacent to the South American coastline:

Caribbean Island locations

North American Caribbean islands administered by South American states:

Caribbean islands considered North American or South American:

North America, Oceania, and Asia

South America and Oceania

  •  Chile: Chile is mostly on the South American mainland and includes the islands of Easter Island and Isla Salas y Gómez, which are within the Oceania subregion of Polynesia.[27] Those and the oceanic Juan Fernández Islands and Desventuradas Islands are part of Insular Chile.[35]
  •  Ecuador: The Pacific Ocean archipelago of the Galápagos Islands, about 1,000 kilometers from continental Ecuador, is sometimes considered part of Oceania.[36][37][38][39][40] This is because of the distance separating them from mainland South America, and their oceanic geology.[25][35] The islands lie on the Nazca Plate with Easter Island, which is considered to be separate to the South American Plate, and they additionally border the Pacific Plate.[41] The Galápagos Islands did not have any known human ties to South America during the pre-Columbian era;[42][43] however, they also do not fit into a cultural subregion of Oceania and the Pacific, as is the case with Easter Island, which historically was Polynesian.[44][43]

Europe and North America

Comparison map: Greenland, the Faroe Islands (enlarged) and Denmark differ significantly in size. The Danish Realm is spread across the North Atlantic Ocean and North Sea.
  •  Denmark: As a constituent part of the Danish Realm, Greenland is a non-sovereign country within the Kingdom of Denmark. Fully located on the North American tectonic plate, and close to the mainland, Greenland is considered to be geographically a part of North America,[45] with the United Nations categorizing them as such.[46] Although it is politically associated with Europe and internationally represented by a European state (including in the Council of Europe), it is autonomous. Historically and ethnically, its native population is of North American tradition, although it also shares cultural links with other native peoples bordering the Arctic Sea in Northern Europe and Asia (today in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia), as well as in North America (Alaska in the U.S., Northwest Territories, Nunavut and northern parts of Quebec and Labrador in Canada). Greenland was part of Danish territory and within the territory of the European Union, but voted for more autonomy and is now excluded from the EU.[47]

Europe, North America, and South America

Europe, North America, South America, Oceania, Africa, and Antarctica

Europe, North America, South America, Oceania, Africa, Asia, and Antarctica

Africa and Europe

Asia and Africa

Asia and Europe

Asia and Oceania

Antarctica and other continents

Sub-Antarctic region

Antarctic region

  • Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom: These seven states claim portions of the Antarctic mainland (some of them overlapping)[b], as well as its associated islands south of 60°S latitude. Some, including Argentina and Chile, consider the Antarctic land they claim to be integral parts of their national territory. However, none of these claims are recognized by the United Nations and the international community.[c] Since 1961, the Antarctic Treaty System has held in abeyance all land claims south of 60°S latitude, including Antarctica's ice shelves and Antarctic islands.

Countries formerly and/or never widely or officially considered as transcontinental countries

Asia and Oceania

  •  Malaysia,  Papua New Guinea, the  Philippines and  Singapore: The Malay Archipelago, located between Melanesia and mainland Southeast Asia, can be considered a transcontinental region. Many initial 19th century definitions of Oceania included most or all of the Malay Archipelago.[72][35][73][74] Definitions of Oceania which include the Malay Archipelago are much rarer today; the non-oceanic nature of the Malay Archipelago and its geological connections to Asia may not have been as widely known in the 19th century.[33] The Philippines are the closest to the Oceania subregion of Micronesia, and are sometimes historically associated with it, mainly due to their shared Christian cultures and Spanish colonial histories, and their shared Austronesian backgrounds.[24] Anthropologically, New Guinea is a part of Melanesia, but it is sometimes included in the Malay Archipelago. The state of Papua New Guinea is an observer in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes mainland states of Southeast Asia, and has contemplated full membership in this organisation.[75] Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore (as well as Japan) are all dialogue partners of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), and Timor-Leste are an observer. However, only countries solely associated with Oceania have full membership, such as Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, New Zealand and Samoa.[76][77]

North America and Oceania

  •  Costa Rica and  Mexico: Oceania at times is considered to encompass all oceanic islands in the Pacific Ocean.[25][37] Oceanic islands are defined as islands that were never connected to a continental landmass, and which formed through volcanic acitivity in the ocean.[25] Mexico administer the oceanic Guadalupe Island and Revillagigedo Islands, and the oceanic islet of Rocas Alijos, while Costa Rica administer the oceanic Cocos Island. All of these islands were uninhabited prior to European discovery,[78] and none lie on the North American or South American tectonic plates; the Mexican islands lie on the Pacific Plate with most of Oceania, and Cocos Island lies on the self-named Cocos Plate, which contains no other islands besides Colombia's Malpelo Island. Furthermore, the Mexican state of Baja California, despite being physiologically connected to the American landmass, is in fact part of the Pacific Plate. Guadalupe Island and Rocas Alijos are rarely categorized with other Pacific Islands, as they are only 250 to 300 kilometers removed from Baja California. Revillagigedo's most remote island, Clarion, is 700 kilometers from Mexico's coast, and Cocos Island is 550 kilometers from Costa Rica's coast. These islands are more frequently associated with the term Pacific Islands,[79] and occasionally have been included as part of Oceania.[40][24][78] Remoter islands such as France's Clipperton (1,100 kilometers from Mexico's coast) are even more commonly associated with Oceania, with such islands usually having stronger biogeographical affinities to the central Pacific or south Pacific.[80]

See also


  1. ^ Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat and Turks and Caicos
  2. ^ The Antarctic claims of Argentina, Chile and the United Kingdom overlap to some degree.
  3. ^ Australia, France, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom recognize each other's Antarctic claims (which do not overlap).[71]


  1. ^ a b c d "Transcontinental Countries Of The World". WorldAtlas. 7 May 2021. Retrieved 2021-05-31.
  2. ^ a b "Continent". National Geographic. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  3. ^ The question was treated as a "controversy" in British geographical literature until at least the 1860s, with Douglas Freshfield advocating the Caucasus crest boundary as the "best possible", citing support from various "modern geographers" (Journey in the Caucasus, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, Volumes 13–14, 1869). In 1958, the Soviet Geographical Society formally recommended that the boundary between Europe and Asia be drawn in textbooks from Baydaratskaya Bay, on the Kara Sea, along the eastern foot of the Ural Mountains, then the Ural River to the Mugodzhar Hills, the Emba River, and the Kuma–Manych Depression (i.e. passing well north of the Caucasus); "Do we live in Europe or in Asia?" (in Russian).; Orlenok V. (1998). "Physical Geography" (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2011-10-16.. Nevertheless, most Soviet-era geographers continued to favour the boundary along the Caucasus crest. (E. M. Moores, R. W. Fairbridge, Encyclopedia of European and Asian regional geology, Springer, 1997, ISBN 978-0-412-74040-4, p. 34: "most Soviet geographers took the watershed of the Main Range of the Greater Caucasus as the boundary between Europe and Asia.")
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  5. ^ "contiguous". Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Misachi, John (25 April 2017). "Which Countries Span More Than One Continent?". Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Ramos, Juan (19 March 2018). "What Continent Is Egypt Officially In?". Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  8. ^ National Geographic Atlas of the World (9th ed.). Washington, DC: National Geographic. 2011. ISBN 978-1-4262-0634-4. "Europe" (plate 59); "Asia" (plate 74): "A commonly accepted division between Asia and Europe ... is formed by the Ural Mountains, Ural River, Caspian Sea, Caucasus Mountains, and the Black Sea with its outlets, the Bosporus and Dardanelles."
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  19. ^ Borneman, Elizabeth (2016-03-02). "Transcontinental Cities". Geography Realm. Retrieved 2022-12-10.
  20. ^ Pashentsev, Evgeny, ed. (2019). Strategic Communication in EU-Russia Relations: Tensions, Challenges and Opportunities. Springer Nature. ISBN 9783030272531. Retrieved 20 March 2022. Russia is culturally part of Europe and this will still be the case in the future.
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  23. ^ North America
  24. ^ a b c Sebeok, Thomas Albert (1971). Current Trends in Linguistics: Linguistics in Oceania. the University of Michigan. p. 950. Retrieved 2 February 2022. Most of this account of the influence of the Hispanic languages in Oceania has dealt with the Western Pacific, but the Eastern Pacific has not been without some share of the presence of the Portuguese and Spanish. The Eastern Pacific does not have the multitude of islands so characteristic of the Western regions of this great ocean, but there are some: Easter Island, 2000 miles off the Chilean coast, where a Polynesian tongue, Rapanui, is still spoken; the Juan Fernandez group, 400 miles west of Valparaiso; the Galapagos archipelago, 650 miles west of Ecuador; Malpelo and Cocos, 300 miles off the Colombian and Costa Rican coasts respectively; and others. Not many of these islands have extensive populations — some have been used effectively as prisons — but the official language on each is Spanish.
  25. ^ a b c d e R. Zug, George (2013). Reptiles and Amphibians of the Pacific Islands: A Comprehensive Guide. University of California Press.
  26. ^ S. Ridgely, Robert; Guy, Tudor (1989). The Birds of South America: Volume 1: The Oscine Passerines. University of Texas Press. p. 14. ISBN 9780292707566. Retrieved 12 March 2022. Finally, a few comments on the area we consider to be part of "South America" are in order. Essentially we have followed the limits established by Meyer de Schauensee (1970: xii) with a few minor modifications. Thus, all the continental inshore islands are included (e.g., Trinidad and Tobago; various small islands off the northern coast of Venezuela, the Netherlands Antilles [Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao]; and Fernando de Noronha, off the northeastern coast of Brazil), but islands more properly considered part of the West Indies (e.g. Grenada) are not. To the south, we have opted to include the Falkland Islands (or Islas Malvinas — in referring to them as the Falklands we are not making any political statement but merely recognizing that this book is being written in the English language), as their avifauna is really very similar to that of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. However, various other islands farther out in the South Atlantic (e.g., South Georgia) are not included except incidentally (e.g., endemic South Georgia Pipit have been incorporated). Likewise, the Juan Fernández Islands far off the Chilean coast have not been included (except for incidental comments), nor have the Galápagos Islands, situated even further off the Ecuadorian coast.
  27. ^ a b c "Oceania Military Guide". Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  28. ^ Todd, Ian (1974). Island Realm: A Pacific Panorama. Angus & Robertson. ISBN 9780207127618. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  29. ^ Wallace, Alfred Russel (1879). Australasia. The University of Michigan. p. 2. Retrieved 12 March 2022. Oceania is the word often used by continental geographers to describe the great world of islands we are now entering upon [...] This boundless watery domain, which extends northwards of Behring Straits and southward to the Antarctic barrier of ice, is studded with many island groups, which are, however, very irregularly distributed over its surface. The more northerly section, lying between Japan and California and between the Aleutian and Hawaiian Archipelagos is relived by nothing but a few solitary reefs and rocks at enormously distant intervals.
  30. ^ Kohlhoff, Dean (2002). Amchitka and the Bomb: Nuclear Testing in Alaska. University of Washington Press. p. 6. ISBN 9780295800509. Retrieved 12 March 2022. The regional name of the Pacific Islands is appropriate: Oceania, a sea of islands, including those of Alaska and Hawaii. The Pacific Basin is not insignificant or remote. It covers one third of the globe's surface. Its northern boundary is the Aleutian Islands chain. Oceania virtually touches all of the Western Hemisphere.
  31. ^ The Stockholm Journal of East Asian Studies: Volumes 6-8. Center for Pacific Asia Studies, University of Stockholm. 1996. p. 3. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
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  33. ^ a b c Henderson, John William (1971). Area Handbook for Oceania. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 5. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  34. ^ Mears, Eliot Grinnell (1945). Pacific Ocean Handbook. J. L. Delkin. p. 45. Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  35. ^ a b c Brown, Robert (1876). "Oceania: General Characteristics". The countries of the world. Oxford University. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  36. ^ a b "Oceania Bibliography" (PDF). Helictite: Journal of Australasian Cave Research. 25 (1). 1987. Retrieved 16 March 2022. This paper covers the region from Irian Jaya (Western New Guinea, a province of New Guinea) in the west to Galapagos Islands (Equador) and Easter Island (Chile) in the east.
  37. ^ a b c Todd, Ian (1974). Island Realm: A Pacific Panorama. Angus & Robertson. p. 190. ISBN 9780207127618. Retrieved 2 February 2022. [we] can further define the word culture to mean language. Thus we have the French language part of Oceania, the Spanish part and the Japanese part. The Japanese culture groups of Oceania are the Bonin Islands, the Marcus Islands and the Volcano Islands. These three clusters, lying south and south-east of Japan, are inhabited either by Japanese or by people who have now completely fused with the Japanese race. Therefore they will not be taken into account in the proposed comparison of the policies of non - Oceanic cultures towards Oceanic peoples. On the eastern side of the Pacific are a number of Spanish language culture groups of islands. Two of them, the Galapagos and Easter Island, have been dealt with as separate chapters in this volume. Only one of the dozen or so Spanish culture island groups of Oceania has an Oceanic population — the Polynesians of Easter Island. The rest are either uninhabited or have a Spanish - Latin - American population consisting of people who migrated from the mainland. Therefore, the comparisons which follow refer almost exclusively to the English and French language cultures.
  38. ^ Review of the Protected Areas System in Oceania (PDF). International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. 1986. Retrieved 17 January 2022. Easter Island on the east has been included on the basis of its Polynesian and biogeographic affinities even though it is politically apart. The other islands of the eastern Pacific (Galapagos, Juan Fernandez, etc.) have sometimes been included in Oceania.
  39. ^ Hull, Frank M. (1937). A Check List of the Syrphidae of Oceania (PDF). Department of Biology, University of Missouri. Retrieved 17 January 2022. Oceania is primarily considered as the restricted region treated in this paper, but for comparative purposes, in the table only, it is also considered in a broad sense as including New Guinea, Australia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, the Antipodes, and Galapagos.
  40. ^ a b Terry, James P. (1998). Climate and Environmental Change in the Pacific. The University of Michigan. p. 5. ISBN 9789820103580. Retrieved 11 March 2022. The British added the Ellice, Pitcairn and portions of the Phoenix Islands; the Australians consolidated their claims to Papua; and the French consolidated their claims to Clipperton islands; Easter and adjacent islands were claimed by Chile, Cocos Island was claimed by Costa Rica, and the Galapagos claimed by Ecuador. By 1900 there were virtually no remaining islands in Oceania unclaimed by foreign powers.
  41. ^ Steadman, David W. (2006). Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University of Chicago Press. p. 7. ISBN 9780226771427. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
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  44. ^ Janick, Jules (2010). Horticultural Reviews, Volume 36. Wiley. p. 146. ISBN 9780470527221. Retrieved 1 February 2022. Oceania is a broadly applied term for the thousands of islands in the Pacific Ocean. They range from extremely small, uninhabited islands, to large ones, including Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea. Oceania is further grouped into three regions, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. There a few other Pacific island groups that do not fit into these groupings, such as Galapagos.
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