Definition of Continent
Continent derives from the Latin word, terra continents. terra means “land”, continents means land held together” or “connected land”. Originally the term “continent” was applied to any area of land, of any size, not separated by water, including islands.
Continent is commonly defined as a large land mass separated from other land masses by oceans. But, if you think about it, that definition is a little imprecise. For example, Asia, Europe, and Africa aren’t separated by oceans. Neither are North America and South America. In fact, if you combine those set of land masses, you get only four continents. It seems that a continent can be defined in different ways.
From the geologic perspective, a continent is not defined by its size, location, who discovered it, or whether it is surrounded by oceans. Rather, it is defined by the rocks it’s made of and how it came to be that matter.
There are 7 continents on The planet. They are: Africa, Asia, Antarctica, Europa, North America and South America and Australia.
List of 7 Continents By Size
- North America
- South America
1. Asia: Asia is the world’s largest and most populous continent on Earth. The continent has the most populous cities, which means there are the biggest cities in the world with many million people living in the urban centres, such as in Delhi, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing.
2. Australia: It is the smallest continent of the planet. Oceania includes Australasia, Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia. This means Australia, New Zealand the many islands to the north and east of Australia in the Pacific Ocean are on this continent.
3. Africa: It is the continent that has the most countries. There are 54 countries on the African continent. As the oldest human fossils such as skeletons and skulls have been discovered in Africa, the continent is also called the ‘cradle of humankind’.
4. North America: It is a continent which is located entirely on the northern and western hemisphere. It includes the United States of America (USA), Canada, Mexico, Greenland and the Caribbean islands among other countries. North America is home to the largest Christian population in the world. Almost 80% of the people in Canada, the USA and Mexico consider themselves as Christians.
5. South America: is a continent of many natural superlatives. There are the longest mountain range – the Andes, the highest waterfalls – the Angel Falls – and also the driest place on earth. The driest place on earth is the Atacama Desert in Chile.
6. Europe: It is considered to be the wealthiest and richest continent, however, there are poor regions especially in the eastern parts of the continent too! Read more about the European continent here. Europe houses the two smallest countries in the world: Vatican City which is located inside Rome/Italy and Monaco which is bordered on three sides by France.
7. Antarctica: It is the smallest continent by population numbers. This means the huge continent is only sparsely populated. On Antarctica there are only research stations for scientists and no permanent settlements. Antarctica is covered almost completely by ice. 90% of the planet’s ice is located on this continent, which also makes up 60% – 70% of the world’s freshwater supply.