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7 Continents of The World - Updated 2020

Continents in The World With Explanation

The widely recognized all the 7 continents are listed in this article, we will go through some fact about continents of the world. The study of the continent is one of the most exciting topics to study for all the geographers as well as those inquisitive to know about the interesting facts about the world. One of the major reasons behind this fascination is that though the majority of us study about world’s continents at school yet we often find ourselves indulged into conversations where we come across controversial statements about the exact number of continents in the world.

Continet Number Of Countries Population
Asia 50 Countries 4.463 Billion
Africa 54 Countries 1.216 Billion
Europe 51 Countries 741.4 Million
North America 23 Countries 579 Million
South America 12 Countries 422.5 Million
Australia or Oceania 14 Countries 31.26 Million
Antarctica No permanent inhabitants NA

There is a distinguished answer for the number of continents that exist in the world and differs to 5, 6 or 7 as per people’s belief. However, the widely accepted answer to this is the seven continents namely:

Whether you take into account the existence of 5, 6 or 7 continents is largely dependent on which country you belong to and what is the belief there. Most of the people consider the entire landmass comprising of Europe and Asia as one recognizing it as Eurasia.

Apart from this, there is also a misconception with Australia as a continent and Australia as a country. However, one should not confuse Australia (the country) with the Australia or Oceania as the continent that is inclusive of Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand, and New Guinea along with the Micronesian and Polynesian islands.

What is a Continent?

There is no exact criterion that defines what actually is a single continent rather the classification or division is largely based upon the traditions and conventions. However, we still have some common definitions of the continent.

Typically, the continent is defined as a giant landmass on earth’s surface that consists of several countries and is mainly surrounded by water bodies. All the continents together cover the nearly 1/3rd area of earth’s surface and the rest are water bodies.

The 2/3rd part of the continental landmasses is located in the Northern Hemisphere that constitutes the upper portion of the globe i.e. north of the equator.

However, when it comes to the number of continents most of the experts have varied opinions based upon the criterion used i.e. the number of continents can be five, six or seven. Let’s see some characteristics of the continents:

  • Continents comprise of the land area that has been raised in association to the nearby ocean floor.
  • Each continent undergoes the process of rock formations that is inclusive of the metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary rocks.
  • The continent’s crust is thicker as compared to those of the surrounding oceanic crusts and varies from 18 to 28 miles in depth, unlike the oceanic crust that is generally 4 miles thicker.
  • Generally, the continents have their boundaries defined clearly.

The earth’s land area is divided into 7 continents and each of these show huge variation in sizes with Asia being the world’s largest continent and Australia (Oceania) being the smallest.

How many continents are there in the world?

If you reside in the US or probably have attended school, there then you must have been taught about the existence of seven continents. But as per the above-mentioned characteristics of the continent, many geologists say that there are only six continents i.e. Africa, Australia (Oceania), Antarctica, North and South America and they consider Europe and Asia as one naming it Eurasia. In most of the regions of Europe, the people believe that there are six continents and also the students there are taught the same.

This difference lies because, Europe and Asia together form a single large landmass as per the geological perspective, however, taking them as two separate continents is more about the geopolitical consideration as Russia acquire a large part of the Asian continent and historically, the powers of Western Europe i.e. Germany, France, and Great Britain have politically isolated it.

However, the widely accepted answer to this question is that there are 7 continents that exist on earth and are identified by position or shape onto the globe. A globe marked with latitude and longitude lines would be more helpful.

Let us now see the seven continents one by one i.e. the number of counties, time zones they use, number of inhabitants in each country their geographical description and the largest and smallest countries there.

What are the 7 continents?

Asia Continent

Asia is the largest continent in the and includes 48 independent asian countries recognized by the UN. Occupying the eastern part of the single Eurasian landmass, the Asian continent is surrounded by Arctic ocean in the North, Indian ocean in the South, the Pacific Ocean in the east and the Suez canal separates it from Africa whereas the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea separate it from Europe.

The transcontinental countries include Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey as the overland border crosses the territories of these countries.

The largest Asian country is Russia that occupies about 30% of the area in the continent. The smallest independent states are the Maldives, which is an archipelago of islands popular for its beach resorts.

Asian continent accommodates a total population of about 446.27 crores and uses eleven different time zones ranging from UTC (GMT) +4 to UTC (GMT) +10.

Africa Continent

Africa continent surrounded by water bodies from all sides and has clearly defined borders. The Mediterranean Sea in the north separates it from Europe, in the northeast, it is separated from Asia by the Suez Canal and the red sea. The Indian ocean surrounds it from the South and southeast regions and the Atlantic Ocean surrounds it from the west.

Africa is the second largest continent of the world comprises of 54 independent african countries i.e. largest number of countries in the world. Egypt is a transcontinental country in Africa as some of its territories lie on the other side of the Suez Canal in Asia.

With the acquisition of about 7% of the Land area, Algeria is the largest among African countries and Seychelles- the luxurious beach holiday destination popular worldwide is the smallest.

African continent accommodates a population of about 121.61 crores and uses about six time zones with the time zone offsets ranging from UTC/GMT -1 to UTC/GMT +4.

Europe Continent

Unlike the other continents, Europe isn’t surrounded by water from all sides and is a unique continent with an overland border with its neighboring continent Asia. Occupying the northwestern part of the Large landmass called Eurasia, Europe comprises of 44 european countries recognized by UN.

It is surrounded by the Arctic Ocean in the north, the Atlantic Ocean in the west, the Black sea in the southeast and the Mediterranean Sea in the south.

Partially located both in Asia and Europe Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, and Turkey are transcontinental countries.

Russia with 37% acquisition of the total continent area is Europe’s largest country and the smallest one is Vatican City that occupies a tiny territory in the center of Rome.

European continent accommodates a total population of about 74.14 crores and uses three standard time zones i.e. is UTC/GMT +0 from west to east and known as Western European time, UTC/GMT +0 known as the Central European Time and UTC/GMT+2 known as Eastern European time.

North America Continent

North America occupies the northern portion of the larger supercontinent called as New World or Americas and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean from the east, by the Arctic Ocean from the north and by the Pacific Ocean from the west and south.

It has an overland border with the continent South America that runs along the state boundary that lies amongst Panama and Colombia. North America comprises of 23 countries UN recognized independent states.

The largest country among those is Canada followed by even bigger the United States. These two giant countries simultaneously occupy more than 79% of the entire continent area. The smallest country here in this continent is Saint Kitts and Nevis and is the only two small island lying in the Caribbean.

North American continent accommodates a total population of about 57.9 crores and the standard time zones in North America range from UTC- 3hrs/30 minutes in Newfoundland in Canada to UTC-9 hours in the regions of Alaska.

South America Continent

South America occupies the southern portion of the larger supercontinent called as New World or Americas and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean from the east and north, by the Pacific Ocean from the west, by the Caribbean Sea from the northwest and is connected to North America in the northeast part.

It has an overland border stretching along the boundary of Panama-Colombian state. South America comprises of 12 UN recognized independent countries.

Occupying about 50% of the entire mainland area Brazil is the largest and most populated country here and the smallest being Suriname, the only nation that uses Dutch as its official language.

Accommodating around 42.25 crore population South America makes use of five standard time zones i.e. UTC -5, UTC-4, UTC-04:30, UTC-3 and UTC-2.

Australia Continent or Oceania Continent

Australia Continent is the smallest continent in the world and is surrounded by the Southern Pacific and Indian ocean. It is inclusive of the Australian mainland, large islands like Tasmania, New Zealand, New Guinea and many of the smaller tropical islands.

Australia Continent comprises of the 12 recognized countries with the largest sovereign state being Australia that occupies nearly 86% of the entire area of the continent and the smallest being Nauru that is so small that one requires less than an hour to drive throughout the country.

With a population of over 4.2 crores Australian continent or Oceanic continent uses three standard time zones i.e. AWST; UTC+08:00, ACST; UTC+09:30 and AEST; UTC+10:00.

Antarctica Continent

Antarctica continent is the southernmost continent on Earth and has a landmass of about 1.30 sq. Km. Geographically placed in south pole Antarctica is the coldest continent in the world and is entirely covered with ice.

The temperature sometimes reaches -130ºF or -90ºC. Due to these harsh climatic conditions Antarctica is sparsely populated and has no permanent inhabitants i.e. only the scientists have maintained their research stations here. In terms of size, Antarctica is larger than Europe.

Theoretically, Antarctica is possibly located in all the standard time zones; however, areas in the southern part of the Antarctic Circle undergo extreme day-night cycles during June and December solstices, that makes it hard to predict that what time zone would be appropriate here.

Conclusion

When it comes to the studying the number of continents we need to know that the exact number and many times the terminology used in relation to those get changed with newer perspectives put forward by the scientific community. And, though, we should always readily acknowledge any probable discrepancies yet we need to work according to the current scientific consensus.

As per scientific solidarity, there are 7 continents in the world. However, geographers divide the planet into 8 regions for the ease of study namely- Asia, Europe, North America, the Middle East, and North Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, Africa, South America, and Australia and Oceania.