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Asia 5

By | October 2008
Page 1 of 28
Asia, the largest of the earth's seven continents. With outlying islands, it covers an estimated 44,936,000 sq km (17,350,000 sq mi), or about one-third of the world's total land area. Its peoples account for three-fifths of the world's population; in the early 1990s, Asia had more than 3.2 billion inhabitants. Lying almost entirely in the northern hemisphere, Asia is bounded on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the east by the Bering Strait and the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean, and on the southwest by the Red and Mediterranean seas. On the west, the conventional boundary between Europe and Asia is drawn at the Ural Mountains, continuing south along the Ural River to the Caspian Sea, then west along the Caucasus Mountains to the Black Sea. Many geographers prefer to regard the landmass formed by Europe and Asia as a single continent—Eurasia. The continental mainland stretches from the southern end of the Malay Peninsula to Cape Chelyuskin in Siberia. Its westernmost point is Cape Baba in northwestern Turkey, and its easternmost point is Cape Dezhnyov in northeastern Siberia. The continent's greatest width from east to west is about 8500 km (about 5300 mi). In Asia are found both the lowest and highest points on the earth's surface, namely, the shore of the Dead Sea (395 m/1296 ft below sea level) and Mount Everest (8848 m/29,028 ft). To the southeast of the mainland is an array of archipelagoes and islands, extending east to the Oceanic and Australian realms. Among these islands are those of Indonesia and the Philippines, including Sumatra, Java, Celebes, Borneo, and New Guinea. To the north lie Taiwan, the islands of Japan, and Sakhalin. In the Indian Ocean are Sri Lanka and smaller island groups such as the Maldives and the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Because of its vast size and diverse character, Asia is divided for convenience into five major realms. These are as follows: Asia of the former Soviet Union, including Siberia, western Central...

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