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Geography of Asia

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Asia is the central and eastern part of Eurasia, comprising
approximately fifty countries. It has an area, including islands, of
roughly 49,694,700 km. Asia is joined to Africa by the Isthmus of Suez
and to Europe by a long border generally following the Ural Mountains.
Asia is the largest and most populous region or continent, depending
on the definition. It is traditionally defined as part of the landmass of
Africa-Eurasia lying east of the Suez Canal, east of the Ural Mountains,
and south of the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian and Black Seas.
About 60% of the world's human population lives in Asia.

World map showing Asia.

Contents
[hide]

1 Definition and boundaries


2 Main Geographical Features
3 Islands
4 Extreme points
5 Geographical regions
o 5.1 Central Asia
o 5.2 East Asia
o 5.3 North Asia
o 5.4 South Asia (or Indian Subcontinent)
o 5.5 Southeast Asia
o 5.6 Southwest Asia (or Middle East, Near East or West Asia)
o 5.7 Table of territories and regions
6 See also

7 External links

[edit] Definition and boundaries

Political map of Asia.


Medieval Europeans considered Asia as a continent, a distinct
landmass. The European concept of the three continents in the Old
World goes back to classical antiquity with the etymology of the word
rooted in the ancient Near and Middle East. The demarcation between
Asia and Africa is the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea. The boundary
between Asia and Europe is commonly believed to run through the
Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara, the Bosporus, the Black Sea, the
Caucasus Mountains, the Caspian Sea, the Ural River to its source, and
the Ural Mountains to the Kara Sea near Kara, Russia. However,
modern discovery of the extent of Africa and Asia made this definition
rather anachronistic, especially in the case of Asia, which would have
several regions that would be considered distinct landmasses if these
criteria were used (for example, South Asia and East Asia).
Geologists and physical geographers no longer consider Asia and
Europe to be separate continents. It is either defined in terms of
geological landmasses (physical geography) or tectonic plates
(geology). In the former case, Europe is a western peninsula of Eurasia
or the Africa-Eurasia landmass. In the latter, Europe and Asia are parts
of the Eurasian plate, which excludes the Arabian and Indian tectonic
plates.
In human geography, there are two schools of thought. One school
follows historical convention and treats Europe and Asia as different
continents, categorizing Europe, East Asia (The Orient), South Asia
(British India), and the Middle East (Arabia and Persia) as specific

regions for more detailed analysis. The other schools equate the word
"continent" in terms of geographical region when referring to Europe,
and use the term "region" to describe Asia in terms of physical
geography. Because in linguistic terms, "continent" implies a distinct
landmass, it is becoming increasingly common to substitute the term
"region" for "continent" to avoid the problem of disambiguation
altogether.
There is much confusion in European languages with the term "Asian".
Because a category implies homogenity, the term "Asian" almost
always refers to a subcategory of people from Asia rather than
referring to "Asian" defined in term of "Asia". The fact that in American
English, Asian refers to East Asian (Orientals), while in British English,
Asian refers to South Asian reflects this confusion. Sometimes, it is not
even clear exactly what "Asia" consists of. Some definitions exclude
Turkey, the Middle East, or Russia. The term is sometimes used more
strictly in reference to Asia Pacific, which does not include the Middle
East or Russia, but does include islands in the Pacific Ocean a
number of which may also be considered part of Australasia or
Oceania. Asia contains the Indian subcontinent, Arabian subcontinent,
as well as a piece of the North American plate in Siberia.
Further information: Transcontinental nation#Countries in both Asia and Europe
See also: Copenhagen criteria#Geographic_criteria for the definition of Europe
See also: Orientalism

[edit] Main Geographical Features


The mean elevation of the continent is 950 m (3,117 ft.), the highest of
any in the world. The plateau and mountainous areas broadly sweep
SW-NW across Asia, climaxing in the high Tibetan Plateau, rising to the
highest peaks in the world in the Himalaya. To the north west lie plains,
while to the south lie the geologically distinct areas of the Arabian
peninsula, Indian subcontinent and Malay peninsula. Large numbers of
islands lie south east of the continent.

[edit] Islands
Besides its mainland, Asia includes a large number of islands, including
some of the world's largest islands, such as Borneo and Sumatra, and
some of the world's most populated islands, such as Java and Honsh.
Other famous islands include Bali, Madura and Sulawesi of Indonesia;
Hokkaid, Shikoku, Kysh and Okinawa of Japan; the Andaman and
Nicobar of India; Luzon, Cebu and Mindanao of the Philippines; Ko Pha
Ngan and Ko Samui of Thailand; as well as Sri Lanka, Maldives,
Singapore, Hong Kong island and Sakhalin.

The Asian nations of Indonesia, Brunei, East Timor, Singapore, Japan,


Philippines, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Cyprus are solely made up
of one or more islands, and have no territory on the mainland.
For a comprehensive list of Asian islands, see List of islands of Asia.

[edit] Extreme points


This is a list of the extreme points of Asia, the points that are farther
north, south, east or west than any other location on the continent.
Asia
Northernmost Point Cape Fligely, Rudolf Island, Franz Josef Land, Russia
(8152'N)
Southernmost Point Dana Island, Indonesia
Westernmost Point Cape Baba, Turkey (264'E)
Easternmost Point Big Diomede, Russia
Asia (Mainland)
Northernmost Point Cape Chelyuskin, Russia (7743'N)
Southernmost Point Cape Piai, Malaysia (116'N)
Westernmost Point Cape Baba, Turkey (264'E)
Easternmost Point Cape Dezhnev (East Cape), Russia (16940'W)
If the Cocos (Keeling) Islands are included as part of Asia, then South
Island (1204'S) is the southernmost point.
The Turkish islands in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas are
considered part of Europe.
According to the International Date Line.

[edit] Geographical regions

Satellite view of Asia.


As already mentioned, Asia is a subregion of Eurasia. For further
subdivisions based on that term, see North Eurasia and Central
Eurasia.
Some Asian countries stretch beyond Asia. See Bicontinental country
for details about the borderline cases between Asia and Europe, Asia
and Africa, and Asia and Oceania.
The following subregions of Asia are traditionally recognized:
Central Asia
East Asia
Far East
North Asia
South Asia (or Indian Subcontinent)
Southeast Asia
Southwest Asia (or Middle East or West Asia)

[edit] Central Asia


There is no absolute consensus in the usage of this term. Usually,
Central Asia includes:
the Central Asian Republics of Kazakhstan (excluding its small European
territory), Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Afghanistan, Mongolia, and the western regions of China are also sometimes
included.
Former Soviet states in the Caucasus region.
Central Asia is currently geopolitically important because international
disputes and conflicts over oil pipelines, Nagorno-Karabakh, and

Chechnya, as well as the presence of U.S. military and U.K. military


forces in Afghanistan.

[edit] East Asia


This area includes:
Japan.
North and South Korea on the Korean Peninsula.
China, but sometimes only the eastern regions
Sometimes the nations of Mongolia and Vietnam are also included in
East Asia.
More informally, Southeast Asia is included in East Asia on some
occasions.

[edit] North Asia


This term is rarely used by geographers, but usually it refers to the
bigger Asian part of Russia, also known as Siberia. Sometimes the
northern parts of other Asian nations, such as Kazakhstan or Mongolia,
are also included in Northern Asia. The term "Northern Eurasia" is
sometimes used as an apolitical term that includes all the former
nations of the U.S.S.R.

[edit] South Asia (or Indian Subcontinent)


South Asia is also referred to as the Indian Subcontinent. It includes:
The Himalayan States of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
The Indian Ocean nations of Sri Lanka and the Maldives. India's Andaman,
Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands also lie in the Indian Ocean.
The peninsular India (also known as the Deccan Plateau)
Sometimes Afghanistan is also included to this category.

[edit] Southeast Asia


This region contains the Malay Peninsula, Indochina and islands in the
Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. The countries it contains are:
In mainland Southeast Asia, the countries Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia
and Vietnam.

In Maritime Southeast Asia, the countries of Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines,


Singapore and Indonesia (some of the Indonesian islands also lie in the Melanesia
region of Oceania). East Timor (also Melanesian) is sometimes included too.

The country of Malaysia is divided in two by the South China Sea, and
thus has both a mainland and island part.

[edit] Southwest Asia (or Middle East, Near East or West


Asia)
This can also be called by the Western term Middle East, which is
commonly used by Europeans and Americans. Middle East (to some
interpretations) is often used to also refer to some countries in North
Africa. Southwest Asia can be further divided into:
Anatolia (i.e. Asia Minor), constituting the Asian part of Turkey.
The island nation of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Levant or Near East, which includes Syria, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and
the Asian portion of Egypt.
The Arabian peninsula, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain,
Qatar, Oman, Yemen and Kuwait.
The Caucasus region (which straddles both Asia and Europe), namely
Transcaucasia, including a small portion of Russia and, arguably, most if not all of
Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.
The Iranian Plateau, containing Iran and parts of other neighbouring nations.
See also: Gulf States

[edit] Table of territories and regions


Name of territory,
with flag

Area
(km)

Population
(1 July 2002
est.)

Population
density
(per km)

Capital

Central Asia:[1]
Kazakhstan[2]

2,346,927

13,472,593

5.7 Astana

Kyrgyzstan

198,500

4,822,166

24.3 Bishkek

Tajikistan

143,100

6,719,567

47.0 Dushanbe

Turkmenistan

488,100

4,688,963

9.6 Ashgabat

Uzbekistan

447,400

25,563,441

57.1 Tashkent

9,584,492

1,284,303,705

1,092

7,303,334

Eastern Asia:
China[3]
Hong Kong (China)
[4]

134.0 Beijing
6,688.0

377,835

126,974,628

25

461,833

1,565,000

2,694,432

North Korea

120,540

22,224,195

184.4 Pyongyang

South Korea

98,480

48,324,000

490.7 Seoul

Taiwan[6]

35,980

22,548,009

626.7 Taipei

63,556

1,378,159

21.7 Cairo

13,115,200

39,129,729

5,770

350,898

181,040

12,775,324

1,919,440

231,328,092

Laos

236,800

5,777,180

Malaysia

329,750

22,662,365

68.7 Kuala Lumpur

Myanmar (Burma)

678,500

42,238,224

62.3

Philippines

300,000

84,525,639

281.8 Manila

693

4,452,732

6,425.3 Singapore

514,000

62,354,402

121.3 Bangkok

15,007

952,618

329,560

81,098,416

246.1 Hanoi

Afghanistan

647,500

27,755,775

42.9 Kabul

Bangladesh

144,000

133,376,684

926.2 Dhaka

47,000

2,094,176

Japan
Macau (China)[5]
Mongolia

336.1 Tokyo
18,473.3
1.7 Ulaanbaatar

Northern Africa:
Egypt[7]
Northern Asia:[8]
Russia

3.0 Moscow

Southeastern Asia:
Brunei
Cambodia
Indonesia[9]

Singapore
Thailand
Timor-Leste (East
Timor)[10]
Vietnam

60.8

Bandar Seri
Begawan

70.6 Phnom Penh


120.5 Jakarta
24.4 Vientiane

Yangon
(Rangoon)

63.5 Dili

Southern Asia:

Bhutan

44.6 Thimphu

India

3,064,898

1,045,845,226

Iran

1,648,000

66,622,704

300

320,165

140,800

25,873,917

183.8 Kathmandu

Pakistan

803,940

147,663,429

183.7 Islamabad

Sri Lanka

65,610

19,576,783

298.4 Colombo

Armenia[11]

29,800

3,330,099

111.7 Yerevan

Azerbaijan[12]

41,370

3,479,127

665

656,397

9,250

775,927

363

1,203,591

20,460

2,032,004

437,072

24,001,816

54.9 Baghdad

Israel

20,770

6,029,529

290.3 Jerusalem

Jordan

92,300

5,307,470

57.5 Amman

Kuwait

17,820

2,111,561

118.5 Kuwait City

Lebanon

10,400

3,677,780

353.6 Beirut

5,500

365,000

Oman

212,460

2,713,462

Qatar

11,437

793,341

1,960,582

23,513,330

12.0 Riyadh

Syria

185,180

17,155,814

92.6 Damascus

Turkey[17]

756,768

57,855,068

76.5 Ankara

United Arab
Emirates

82,880

2,445,989

5,860

2,303,660

Maldives
Nepal

341.2 New Delhi


40.4 Tehran
1,067.2 Mal

Western Asia:

Bahrain
Cyprus[13]
Gaza[14]
Georgia[15]
Iraq

Nakhichevan
(Azerbaijan)[16]

Saudi Arabia

West Bank[18]

84.1 Baku
987.1 Manama
83.9

Nicosia
(Lefkoa)

3,315.7 Gaza
99.3 Tbilisi

66.4

Nakhichevan
City

12.8 Muscat
69.4 Doha

29.5 Abu Dhabi


393.1

Yemen
Total

527,970

18,701,257

44,309,978

3,816,775,642

35.4 Sana
86.1

Notes:
1. ^ Continental regions as per UN categorisations/map except note 8 (source).
Depending on definitions, various territories cited below (notes 2, 7-10, 12-14,
16-18) may be in one or both of Asia and Europe, Africa, or Oceania.
2. ^ Kazakhstan is sometimes considered a transcontinental country in Central Asia
(UN region) and Eastern Europe; population and area figures are for Asian portion
only.
3. ^ The current state is formally known as the People's Republic of China (PRC),
which is subsumed by the titular entity and civilisation.
4. ^ Hong Kong and Macau are Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of the
PRC.
5. ^ Hong Kong and Macau are Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of the
PRC.
6. ^ Taiwan is a contested territory of the PRC (Taiwan, Province of China) and the
Republic of China (ROC): the two are not co-terminous and the ROC is not
recognised by the UN as a sovereign state.
7. ^ Egypt is generally considered a transcontinental country in Northern Africa
(UN region) and Western Asia; population and area figures are for Asian portion
only, east of the Suez Canal (Sinai Peninsula).
8. ^ Russia is generally considered a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe
(UN region) and northern Asia; population and area figures are for Asian portion
only.
9. ^ Indonesia and Timor-Leste are often considered transcontinental countries in
Southeastern Asia (UN region) and Oceania.
10. ^ Indonesia and Timor-Leste are often considered transcontinental countries in
Southeastern Asia (UN region) and Oceania.
11. ^ Armenia is sometimes considered a transcontinental country: geographically in
Western Asia, it has historical and sociopolitical connections with Europe.
12. ^ Azerbaijan is often considered a transcontinental country in Western Asia (UN
region) and Eastern Europe; population and area figures are for Asian portion
only. Nakhichevan is an autonomous exclave of Azerbaijan bordered by Armenia,
Iran, and Turkey.
13. ^ The island of Cyprus is sometimes considered a transcontinental territory:
geographically in the Mediterranean Sea and approximate to the western Asian
mainland, it has historical and sociopolitical connections with Europe. The
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), distinct from the de jure Republic
of Cyprus in the south (with a predominantly Greek population), is recognised
only by Turkey.
14. ^ Gaza and West Bank, collectively referred to as the "Occupied Palestinian
Territory" by the UN, are territories occupied by Israel but under de facto
administration of the Palestinian National Authority.

15. ^ Georgia is often considered a transcontinental country in Western Asia (UN


region) and Eastern Europe; population and area figures are for Asian portion
only.
16. ^ Azerbaijan is often considered a transcontinental country in Western Asia (UN
region) and Eastern Europe; population and area figures are for Asian portion
only. Nakhichevan is an autonomous exclave of Azerbaijan bordered by Armenia,
Iran, and Turkey.
17. ^ Turkey is generally considered a transcontinental country in Western Asia (UN
region) and Southern Europe; population and area figures are for Asian portion
only, excluding all of Istanbul.
18. ^ Gaza and West Bank, collectively referred to as the "Occupied Palestinian
Territory" by the UN, are territories occupied by Israel but under de facto
administration of the Palestinian National Authority.

[edit] See also

List of National Parks in Asia

[edit] External