Asia is Earth’s largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres and sharing the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe.
Area: 17.21 million mi²
Population: 4.436 billion (2016)
Overview of Asia Continent
Asia, the supposed birthplace of mankind, is the largest of the continents and the most populous. More than half the human race live on this continent. It comprises about one-third of the land surface of the earth – being twice as large as North America and nearly five times the size of the United States. Its greatest length is 7,500 miles – nearly one-third the circumference of the earth – and it has at once the coldest and the hottest country, as well as the highest and lowest land, within its borders.
Siberia is swept by icy winds from the Arctic Ocean ; Arabia by the hot and fatal simoon. The Himalaya Mountains are the highest in the world; the Caspian Sea and much of the land near it are below the level of the ocean. Mecca, the birthplace of Mohammed, in Arabia, is the hottest, and Yakoots, on the Lena River in Siberia, is the coldest city in the world Northwestern Asia is a continuous plain ; the southeastern part is an elevated plateau traversed by lofty mountains, and the islands attaching to the continent are but continuations of the mountain chains extended into the sea. They are all of the volcanic origins. The highest peak on earth is Mount Everest in the 5°
Himalayas. Its summit is 29,000 feet above the sea, 6,000 feet above the loftiest peak in America.
The rivers in Asia, though of great length, are distinguished for their narrow valleys, and the Obi is the only one that is navigable to any considerable distance. The Yang-tse and Hoang rivers are subject to great changes brought about by the shifting of their channels. In 1851 the Hoang-Ho burst its banks and poured its waters into the gulf of Pichulu, so changing its course within two years that its mouth was located 250 miles from its former position. The river valleys and plains, which are well watered, are extremely fertile, while the highest central regions and plateaus are dry, sandy and barren. The deserts of Arabia, Persia, Turkestan, and The Gobi receive little, and, in some places, no rain, while the southern slope of the Himalayas is annually inundated. India is traversed by winds which scorch the entire surface for half the year and flood it with rain the other half. Destructive cyclones also visit the warm coasts’, piling up the waters of the Bay of Bengal and submerging the lowlands of the Ganges.
The mineral products of Asia are numerous, and have been from remote antiquity. No land is more famous for its precious stones, unless it be Africa since the late discovery of the gold and diamond fields there in the last half of the nineteenth century. Most of the large and valuable sapphires, rubies, diamonds and emeralds are from the mines of India ; the finest pearls re from the Persian Gulf and from the waters along the coasts of Ceylon. Gold and platinum are widely diffused throughout the Ural Mountains and the central plateaus. Silver is mined in Siberia . Copper and iron are widely distributed. The vegetable products of Asia are as varied as its climates, temperatures and latitudes, we being able to find here many of the plants and trees belonging to the temperate, torrid and frigid zones. North of the 6oth degree of latitude scarcely any vegetable growth is seen except birches, mosses and lichens, while the southern part of the continent is covered with a dense tropical vegetation. The palm, bamboo and banyan tree are abundant; and rice, cotton, sugar-cane, flax, jute, hemp, poppy and spices are cultivated on the plains and valleys . In Central, Asia we find such vegetation as thrives best in the temperate zones. Vast forests of pine, larch, teak, maple and birch extend over the uplands of Siberia, while wheat, tea and rice are cultivated in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Asia. Western Asia produces tobacco, figs, dates, olives; and from this section also comes the famous Mocha coffee.
Asia is the World’s largest continent – 43,810,582 km². covering approximately 30% of the Earth’s land and 8.66% of the Earth’s surface.
It is bordered by the Ural Mountains to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Indian Ocean to the south.
The highest point in the World, is Mount Everest (8,848 m), situated in the Tibetan region of the Himalayas.
The longest river in Asia and third longest in the World is the Yangtze (6,211 km) which flows through China.
The largest desert in Asia is the Gobi desert measuring 281,800 km².
List of Countries in Asia Continent
Being the biggest continent in the world, Asia includes 50 independent countries and occupies the eastern part of the single Eurasian landmass. Surrounded by the Arctic Ocean from the north, by the Pacific Ocean from the east and by the Indian Ocean from the south, it is separated from Africa by Suez Canal. The Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea separate Asia from Europe, further the overland border runs through the Caucasus Mountains, the Caspian Sea, the Ural River and the Ural Mountains. This boundary crosses through the territory of Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, so these states are in both continents.
Armenia and Cyprus geographically are in Asia, but politically and culturally they also are considered as a part of Europe.
The largest of the Asian countries by area is Russia, which occupies about 30% of the total territory of the continent. The smallest one of the independent states is the Maldives, it is an archipelago of islands famous for its beach resorts.
The most visited by tourists country in this region is China as a huge cultural center, followed by no less popular destinations like India, Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey.
The most prominent name among the Asian mountain systems is that of the Himalayas. The main range runs for more than 2,400 kilometers, and separates the Tibetan Plateau from the Indian subcontinent. It also has the highest of the mountain peaks in the world: Mount Everest and K2. The mountain range contains as many as 15,000 glaciers and has plenty of freshwater sources.
Other mountain ranges are: Hindu Kush, Caucasus Mountains, Pamir Mountains.
Climate and Weather of Asia Continent
Asia’s weather and climate are affected by winds known as monsoons. During the Northern Hemisphere winter, these monsoons blow southwards from the Arctic into East Asia, causing cold, dry weather.
In summer there is a reversal. The monsoon comes from the seas to the south and southeast of the region, making the weather hot and humid. Most of East Asia’s rain falls between April and October, being heaviest in the east and decreasing away from the coast.
Northeastern monsoons pass through South Asia and Southeast Asia between November and March. They cause the coolest weather in those regions. During April, temperatures rise due to the Southwest monsoon.Wet weather and heavy rains that cause flooding in some areas are usual between May and October.
‘Tropical’ Asian countries are those lying midway between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator (and the rest of Southeast Asia in the Southern Hemisphere towards the Tropic of Capricorn) have warm and hot weather throughout the year, with temperatures usually dropping only at night around December and January, but remaining above freezing except in higher and mountainous regions.
Central Asia’s climate ranges from bitterly cold in mountainous regions to extremely hot and dry in the deserts, affected by Arctic winds blowing south through Siberia.
For the Asian locations below, after loading, expand the map as required and touch any city name or temperature icon for full conditions and local forecasts, plus annual variations.
Population, Culture, and Economy
The distribution of Asia’s huge population is governed by climate and topography, with the monsoons and the fertile alluvial plains determining the areas of greatest density. Such are the Ganges plains of India and the Chang (Yangtze) and northern plains of China, the small alluvial plains of Japan, and the fertile volcanic soils of the Malay Archipelago. Urbanization is greatest in the industrialized regions of Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, but huge urban centers are to be found throughout the continent.
Almost two thirds of Asia’s indigenous population is of Mongolic stock. Major religions are Hinduism (in India); Theravada Buddhism (in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos); Lamaism, or Tibetan Buddhism (in Mongolia and China, particularly Tibet); East Asian Buddhism (in China and Korea, mixed with Confucianism, shamanism, and Taoism; in Japan mixed with Shinto and Confucianism); Islam (in SW and S Asia, W central Asia, and Indonesia); and Catholicism (in the Philippines, East Timor, and Vietnam).
Subsistence hunting and fishing economies prevail in the forest regions of N and S Asia, and nomadic pastoralism in the central and southwestern regions, while industrial complexes and intensive rice cultivation are found in the coastal plains and rivers of S and E Asia. Because of extremes in climate and topography, less than 10% of Asia is under cultivation. Rice, by far the most important food crop, is grown for local consumption in the heavily populated countries (e.g., China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Japan), while countries with smaller populations (Thailand, Vietnam, and Pakistan) are generally rice exporters. Other important crops are wheat, soybeans, peanuts, sugarcane, cotton, jute, silk, rubber, tea, and coconuts.
Although Asia’s economy is predominantly agricultural, regions where power facilities, trained labor, modern transport, and access to raw materials are available have developed industrially. Japan, China, Russian Asia, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, and Israel are distinguished for their industrialization. China and India are making considerable strides in this direction. The most spectacular industrialization has occurred in Japan and the “Four Little Dragons” Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The economies of Thailand, Indonesia, and South China are booming thanks to Japanese investment in plants and to cheap indigenous labor. The development of railroads is greatest in the industrialized countries, with Japan, India, China, and Russian Asia having the greatest track mileage.
Also contributing greatly to the income of many Asian countries are vital mineral exports petroleum in SW Asia, Russian Asia, and Indonesia and tin in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. Asia’s other valuable mineral exports include manganese from India and chromite from Turkey and the Philippines; China produces great amounts of tungsten, antimony, coal, and oil.
The Arabian Desert dominates what is known as the Arabian Peninsula. It is massive and arid, spread over 2,330,000 square kilometers. The chief natural resources present in this desert are oil, sulfur, phosphates, and natural gas.
Another prominent desert is the Gobi Desert, touching parts of China and Mongolia. Unlike the Arabian Desert, it is a cold desert, which means that it often sees snowfall. However, it also exhibits wild fluctuations of temperature, even with a single day.
The Caspian Sea bounded by Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan-is considered the largest lake in the world. It has no outflows and covers an area of 371,000 square kilometers.
Political and Demographic
- There are 50 Countries in Asia. Although Hong Kong is considered as a territory of China, but if Hong Kong is considered separately then total number of countries of Asia will become 51.
- Although Cyprus and Turkey are members of European Union, they are geographically considered as Asian countries.
- Turkey and Russia are two countries which are geographically located in both Asia and Europe continents.
- Although Israel has proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital in 1950, but almost all major organizations including embassies of other nations are located in Tel Aviv.
- The 10 most populous countries in decreasing order are China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Iran and Turkey.
- The Asian country with highest population density is Singapore (7713 per Sq Km). Other most dense countries are Bahrain (1752) and Bangladesh (1203).
- Japan is the country with lowest Infant mortality rate in Asia(2.1 deaths per 1000 births).
- Shanghai followed by Karachi are the two top most populous cities of not only Asia but whole World. 9 out of 10 most populous cities of world are located in Asia. These cities in decreasing order are – Shanghai, Karachi, Delhi, Tianjin, Istanbul, Tokyo, Guangzhou, Mumbai and Moscow.
Facts about Asia Continent
- It is the birthplace for some of the oldest civilizations of the world.
- Seven of the ten largest cities (by population) in the world are located in Asia.
- It has, both, the highest (Mt. Everest) and the lowest (Dead Sea) points on earth. Now, that’s a wildly varied landscape.
- China and India, collectively, makes a third of world’s total population.
- Interestingly, according to a law in Japan, people above 40 years of age have to get their waists checked mandatorily. And if found above the threshold defined for both genders, they will have to follow a strict diet plan to reduce their weight. Conclusively, it is illegal to be fat in Japan!
- The world’s largest shopping mall is in China; and is referred to as a ‘Ghost Town’ due to lack of occupancy.
- In fact, out of the ten largest malls in the world, all are located in Asia.
- It is the home to some of the most amazing and unique wildlife; including animals such as Pandas, Elephants, Tiger, King Cobra, Yak, Indian Rhinos, etc.
- Nine of world’s top ten tall buildings are located in Asia.
- China is the third largest country in the world (by area) and yet has only one time zone.
- India is known to be the highest producer of mangoes in the world, with close to 12 million tons each year.
- With a median age of 44.6, the Japanese are the second oldest people in the world after the people of Monaco.
- Around 50,000 people above 100 years of age are Japanese.
- In Vietnam, people measure their age according to the number of Vietnamese New Years (aka Tets) they have lived. This brings it to the fact that all Vietnamese share the same birthday.
- Due to high level of air pollution, China has come up with canned fresh air.
- In a small town in India, called Sholapur, newborn children are thrown from the top of a 50 foot tower to bring them good luck and wealth.
- The first ever farmers and merchants were Asians.
- Asians were the first to use ‘writing’ as an activity.
- There are six geographical regions of Asia; Central, East, North, South, Southeast, and Southwest.