Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres (17,212,000 sq mi), about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Asia is notable for not only its overall large size and population, but also dense and large settlements, as well as vast barely populated regions. Its 4.5 billion people () constitute roughly 60% of the world's population.
In general terms, 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 border of Asia with Europe is a historical and cultural construct, as there is no clear physical and geographical separation between them. It is somewhat arbitrary and has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity. The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East–West cultural, linguistic, and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The most commonly accepted boundaries place Asia to the east of the Suez Canal separating it from Africa; and to the east of the Turkish Straits, the Ural Mountains and Ural River, and to the south of the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian and Black Seas, separating it from Europe.
China and India alternated in being the largest economies in the world from 1 to 1800 CE. China was a major economic power and attracted many to the east, and for many the legendary wealth and prosperity of the ancient culture of India personified Asia, attracting European commerce, exploration and colonialism. The accidental discovery of a trans-Atlantic route from Europe to America by Columbus while in search for a route to India demonstrates this deep fascination. The Silk Road became the main east–west trading route in the Asian hinterlands while the Straits of Malacca stood as a major sea route. Asia has exhibited economic dynamism (particularly East Asia) as well as robust population growth during the 20th century, but overall population growth has since fallen. Asia was the birthplace of most of the world's mainstream religions including Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, as well as many other religions. (Full article...)
Along the River During the Qingming Festival is a painting from China's Song Dynasty that captures the daily life of people from the period at the capital, Bianjing, today's Kaifeng. As an artistic creation, the piece has been revered, and court artists of subsequent dynasties have made several re-interpretive replicas. The painting is famous because of its geometrically accurate images of boats, bridges, shops, and scenery. Because of its fame, it has been called "China's Mona Lisa".
The Toda people
are a small pastoral tribe of less than 1,000 people who reside in the Nilgiri hills
of Southern India
. Shown here is a typical Toda hut, about 3 m (10 ft.) high, 5.5 m (18 ft.) long and 2.7 m (9 ft.) wide. They are built of bamboo fastened with rattan and thatched. The hut has only a tiny (about 0.9 x 0.9 m, 3 x 3 ft.) entrance at the front, which serves as protection from wild animals.
India (Hindi: Bhārat), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: Bhārat Gaṇarājya), is a country in South Asia. It is the second-most populous country, the seventh-largest country by land area, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand, Myanmar and Indonesia.
Modern humans arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa no later than 55,000 years ago.
Their long occupation, initially in varying forms of isolation as hunter-gatherers, has made the region highly diverse, second only to Africa in human genetic diversity. Settled life emerged on the subcontinent in the western margins of the Indus river basin 9,000 years ago, evolving gradually into the Indus Valley Civilisation of the third millennium BCE.
By 1200 BCE, an archaic form of Sanskrit, an Indo-European language, had diffused into India from the northwest, unfolding as the language of the Rigveda, and recording the dawning of Hinduism in India.
The Dravidian languages of India were supplanted in the northern and western regions.
By 400 BCE, stratification and exclusion by caste had emerged within Hinduism,
and Buddhism and Jainism had arisen, proclaiming social orders unlinked to heredity.
Early political consolidations gave rise to the loose-knit Maurya and Gupta Empires based in the Ganges Basin.
Their collective era
was suffused with wide-ranging creativity, but also marked by the declining status of women, and the incorporation of untouchability
into an organised system of belief. In South India
, the Middle kingdoms
exported Dravidian-languages scripts and religious cultures to the kingdoms of Southeast Asia
. (Full article...
Teresa Sampsonia (born Sampsonia; after marriage Lady Shirley, 1589–1668) was a noblewoman of the Safavid Empire of Iran. She was the wife of Elizabethan English adventurer Robert Shirley, whom she accompanied on his travels and embassies across Europe in the name of the Safavid King (Shah) Abbas the Great (r. 1588–1629).
Teresa was received by many of the royal houses of Europe
, such as English prince Henry Frederick
and Queen Anne
(her child's godparents
) and contemporary writers and artists such as Thomas Herbert
and Anthony van Dyck
. Herbert considered Robert Shirley "the greatest Traveller of his time", but admired the "undaunted Lady Teresa" even more. Following the death of her husband from dysentery
in 1628, and due to impediments from grandees
at the court, and the authorities, during the reign of Abbas's successor and grandson Safi
1629–1642), Teresa decided to leave Iran. She lived in a convent in Rome
for the rest of her life, devoting her time to charity and religion. As a pious Christian, and because of her love for her husband, Teresa had Shirley's remains transported to Rome from Isfahan
and reburied; on the headstone of their mutual grave she mentions their travels and refers to her noble Circassian
origins. (Full article...
Typhoon Rusa was the most powerful typhoon to strike South Korea in 43 years. It was the 21st JTWC tropical depression, the 15th named storm, and the 10th typhoon of the 2002 Pacific typhoon season. It developed on August 22 from the monsoon trough in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, well to the southeast of Japan. For several days, Rusa moved to the northwest, eventually intensifying into a powerful typhoon. On August 26, the storm moved across the Amami Islands of Japan, where Rusa left 20,000 people without power and caused two fatalities. Across Japan, the typhoon dropped torrential rainfall peaking at 902 mm (35.5 in) in Tokushima Prefecture.
After weakening slightly, Rusa made landfall
, South Korea with winds of 140 km/h (85 mph 10 minute sustained
). It was able to maintain much of its intensity due to warm air and instability from a nearby cold front
. Rusa weakened while moving through the country, dropping heavy rainfall that peaked at 897.5 mm (35.33 in) in Gangneung
. A 24-hour total of 880 mm (35 in) in the city broke the record for the highest daily precipitation in the country; however, the heaviest rainfall was localized. Over 17,000 houses were damaged, and large areas of crop fields were flooded. In South Korea, Rusa killed at least 233 people, making it the deadliest typhoon there in over 43 years, and caused $4.2 billion in damage. The typhoon also dropped heavy rainfall in neighboring North Korea, leaving 26,000 people homeless and killing three. Rusa also destroyed large areas of crops in the country already affected by ongoing famine conditions. The typhoon later became extratropical
over eastern Russia on September 1, dissipating three days later. (Full article...
Did you know...
- ... that Kolkata, the smallest by area of India's six A-1 cities, has the country's largest suburban rail system by track length and number of stations?
- ... that after traveling through India, Tibet, and the Qing Empire for more than 20 years, 18th-century Dutch explorer Samuel van der Putte ordered his notes and journals to be burned rather than accept their misuse?
- ... that the remains of missing Israeli soldier Zechariah Baumel were discovered in a cemetery in the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, Syria, nearly 37 years after he disappeared in the 1982 Lebanon War?
- ... that a print of Badnam Basti, often described as India's first gay film, was discovered in 2019 after having been lost for 40 years?
- ... that a section of Japan National Route 105 is named after a group of hunters?
- ... that HMS Stonehenge disappeared with all hands in the Indian Ocean in 1944, and her exact location is still unknown?
- ... that Alasdair Geddes worked on the WHO's smallpox-eradication programme in Bangladesh five years before diagnosing the world's last fatal case of smallpox in Birmingham, England?
- ... that LaVon Mercer, who was homeless as a teenager, played in the Israeli Basketball Premier League for 14 years and was its 1980–81 season MVP?
- ... that the Israeli video game Piposh, to be released in 2019, will be a reboot of the original 1999 game of the same name?
- ... that instead of attending Columbia University, Taiwanese engineer Ye Qingyao joined the February 28 rebellion, was jailed, and then escaped to China on a sampan?
Updated: 12:33, 20 April 2021
In the news
The following are images from various Asia-related articles on Wikipedia.
Projected shares of global GDP by region to 2050
Population concentration and boundaries of the Western Zhou dynasty in China
Here a Jesuit, Adam Schall von Bell (1592–1666), is dressed as an official of the Chinese Department of Astronomy.
Map of Asia for early 20th century
Contemporary political map of Asia
The global contribution to world's GDP by major economies from 1 AD to 2003 AD according to Angus Maddison's estimates. Before 18th century, China and India were the two largest economies by GDP output.
Daian-ji temple at Nara, Japan
The Qing Empire in 1820, marked the time when the Qing began to rule these areas.
Map of Marco Polo's travels
Chicken tikka, a well-known dish across the globe, reflects the amalgamation of South Asian cooking styles with those from Central Asia.
Korean peninsula in 476 AD. There are three kingdoms and Gaya Union in the picture. This picture shows the heyday of Goguryeo
Detail of Chinese silk from the 4th century BCE. The characteristic trade of silk through the Silk Road connected various regions from China, India, Central Asia, and the Middle East to Europe and Africa.
India's middle-class population of 300 million is growing at an annual rate of 5%. Shown here is an upmarket area in South Mumbai.
A Confucian ritual ceremony in Jeju, South Korea
Language families in South Asia
The Russian Znamensky Cathedral in Tyumen built in 1768
The Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Sun temple at Konarka, Odisha
Byzantine and Sassanian Empires in 600 AD
The Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taipei, Taiwan, which was the tallest building in the world from 2004 to 2010.
East Asian cultural sphere
The third Inter-Korean Summit, which was held in 2018, between South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un. It was a historical event that symbolized the peace of Asia.
Projected GDP of 7 largest economies in 2050.
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