Asia is the largest and most populous continent in the world. With an area of more than 44,579,000 square kilometres, Asia covers around 8.7 percent of the earth’s surface. Asia comprises 30 percent of the whole land area of the world and is home to 49 countries. Asia is can be called the most lively and teeming of all the continents because more than 60 percent of the world population lives here. Though home to more than 4.4 billion people, Asia is notable for having unusually large human settlements as well as vast barely populated areas within this same large continent. Asia has contributed much to the dynamism in the world economy as well as steady population growth during the 20th century.
Asia is a very diverse place. The continent varies greatly across and within its regions. This diversity can be seen with regard to ethnic groups, cultures, environments, historical ties, economics and government systems. The boundaries of Asia are more of culturally determined as there is no clear boundary between the Asia and Europe. The two continents together form the continuous land mass called Eurasia. Asia is bounded by Arctic Ocean in its north, Indian Ocean in its south and Pacific Ocean to its east. On the western side, the commonly accepted boundary between Asia and Europe is the Suez Canal, Ural River and the Ural Mountains, the Caucasus Mountains, Caspian Sea and the Black Sea.
Asia is an English word that is originally from the Greek civilization. The name Asia is used in a number of forms n several modern languages. But, its origin and etymology have not yet been found out. It is estimated to be a name that has been used since ancient times. Though there have been several theories about the origin, nothing has yet been proven to be true. The English name of Asia can be traced to the Latin literature where it has been sued exactly as it is now. It is not certain if the other languages also derive it from the same origin.
The distinct histories of the very many coastal regions of the continent together form the history of the continent of Asia. South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, all have their distinct histories to talk about. The world’s oldest known civilizations developed along the coastal areas around the fertile valleys of the rivers. The Indus Valley, Mesopotamia, and Huanghe are places that had civilizations that shared several similarities. There must have been quite a lot of exchange in terms of technologies and ideas like the wheel and mathematics. Writing is something that seems to have developed individually in each area.
The central steppe region that connected the peripheral coasts had mainly nomads. It was possible for them to reach out to all the other areas of the continent from there. The Indo-Europeans might have been the earliest ones to expand out of here. They spread out to South Asia, Middle East, and the borders of China. Siberia and other northern parts of the continent were inaccessible to these nomads as there were dense forests characterised by varying climates, and also the tundra region. The peripheries and the centre were kept separate due to the deserts and the mountains. The Himalayas, Gobi deserts, and the Karakum were the biggest barriers.
In the 7th century, the Islamic Caliphates took over parts of central Asia and the Middle East. In the 13th century, it was the Mongol Empire that owned a large part of the continent. The Song China had about 120 million citizens before the Mongols attacked. Roughly 60 million people survived the invasion.
The Black Death is a well known pandemic in human history, which was estimated to have originated in the arid plains of central Asia. Then, it travelled along the Silk Road.
From the 17th century, the Russian Empire started expanding in to Asia. It took over Siberia and large parts of central Asia as the 19th century ended. In the 16th century, the Mughal Empire ruled over much of India. After the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire took over the Middle East, North Africa, Anatolia, and the Balkans.
Asia covers around 8.8% of the total surface area of the Earth, and is the largest continent with the largest coastline as well. It covers almost four-fifth of the total are of Eurasia. To the west, there is the Suez Canal and the Ural Mountains, then the Caucasus Mountains, Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, and the Arctic Ocean are to the north, the Pacific Ocean is to the east, and finally the Indian Ocean is to the South of the huge continent of Asia. There are a total of 48 countries in the continent. Among them, Turkey and Russia have parts in Europe as well.
The geographic features and climate of the continent are just diverse. In Siberia, the climate is arctic and subarctic, whereas it is tropical in South India and Southeast Asia. Across the southeast parts, it s quite moist, and in the interior, it is really dry. The largest daily temperature ranges on Earth are found in the western parts of Asia. The Himalayas cause monsoon circulation in the southern and eastern parts of Asia. It is quite hot in the south-western parts, though. Siberia is known to be one of the coldest places in the Northern Hemisphere. To the northeast of Philippines and the south of Japan are the areas which are well known for being the most active place for tropical cyclones. The Arabian Desert and the Gobi Desert are well known deserts. In China is the Yangtze River, the longest river in Asia. The tallest mountain range in the world is the Himalayas, which lies between India and China. Across southern Asia there are the tropical rain forests, and in the northern areas like the deciduous forests.
Most Populous Countries in Asia
Maplecroft carried out a global risk analysis in 2010 to identify 16 countries that were highly vulnerable to the change in climate. 42 socio, economic, and environmental indicators were used to calculate the vulnerability of each nation. These identified the likely impacts of the climate change for the coming 30 years. India, Bangladesh, Vietnam Pakistan, Thailand, and Sri Lanka were found among the top 16 countries that faced high risks. There are already several shifts occurring. Between 1901 and 2003, the temperature increased by 0.4 degrees in tropical parts of India that have a semi arid climate.
A study was conducted by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). It was done to find scientific techniques and approaches that would help out the vulnerable farmers by enabling the agricultural systems to cope up with the changing climate. They put forward several suggestions like renewing energy, enhancing forest cover, and replenishing underground water to make this possible.
Of all the continents in the world, Asia is known to have the second largest nominal GDP. When measured in purchasing power party, it has the largest. The largest economies in Asia were found to be India, China, Japan, Indonesia, and South Korea. Asia also dominated the office locations as per the Global Office Locations 2011 with 4 out of 5 in Asia in the cities of Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Seoul.
India is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia. As per predictions, it is set to overtake Japan in terms of nominal GDP by 2020. China will be the largest economy in the world by 2027, as predicted by Goldman Sachs.
Asia is the largest continent in the world, and has rich amounts of natural resources like forests, fish, water, copper, rice, petroleum, and silver. Parts of eastern and south-eastern Asia have been very strong in the manufacturing sector. A number of companies from Europe, South Korea, North America, and Japan have started operating in the developing countries of Asia so that they can utilise the abundant cheap labour available, and also the developed infrastructure facilities.
Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Singapore are the four main financial centres in Asia. The large pool of English speaking workers in India and Philippines has attracted a number of call centres and BPOs in those countries. India and China have emerged as financial centres due to the practice of outsourcing. As such, India has become a major hub for outsourcing in the field of Information Technology. This is all about the current Economy of Asia.
The strongest overall Human Development Index (HDI) improvement has been shown by East Asia. It has almost doubled that attained over the past 40 years. China is the second achiever in this case, since the year 1970. It is the only country that made it to the “Top 10 Movers” list purely due to income and not for any education or health achievements.
Nepal has emerged as one of the fastest movers in the world due to health and education achievements. The current life expectancy has increase 25 years more than what it used to be in the 1970s. Japan and South Korea are ranked highest among the countries in terms of the HDI. They are followed by Hong Kong and Singapore. Afghanistan is ranked the lowest among the Asian countries with a rank of 155 of the total 169.
Asia has a number of different languages in different parts of the continent. Most of these countries have more than a single native language. It has been found that there are over 600 languages in Indonesia, more than 800 in India, and more than 100 in the Philippines. China has got different dialects and languages in the different provinces.
Asia has been the place of origin for most of the major religions of the world. The mythology of the continent is quite diverse and really complex.
Judaism, Islam, and Christianity originated in Western Asia. The Hindu philosophy and the Buddhist philosophy form part of the Indian philosophy. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism all originated in India. Confucianism, Zen Buddhism, and Taoism originated in East Asia.