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Camillus College of Manaoag
Brgy. Licsi Manaoag, Pangasinan Reggie B. Manzano BEED-III
LESSON 10: CONTINENTS AND COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD
A continent is a large continuous mass of land. On the world map or globe one could see the six major landmasses. These are the six continents of the world. They are, from the largest to the smallest, Eurasia (composed of Asia and Europe), Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, and Australia. North America and Eurasia are both in the Northern Hemisphere while South America, Australia and Antarctica are in the Southern Hemisphere. On the other hand, Africa spreads both in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The six continents together with the islands associated with them cover about 148 million square kilometers (57 million square miles). These big landmasses cover about one-fourth of the Earth’s surface. Each of the continents is composed of countries with its own population except for Antarctica in the South Pole. Central America is not a continent. However, it has a number of countries which apparently connects the continents of North and South America. It also includes the islands of the Caribbean region. On the other hand, Oceania is introduced as a region. It includes the states and countries of Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia as well as other territories and islands.
Asia is the world’s largest continental region. Oftentimes, it is considered a separate continent from Europe, though physically, if you look at a globe or map, Asia and Europe lie on just one big mass of land. Asia covers about one-third of the Earth’s land surface. The entire region lies mostly in the Northern Hemisphere and is separated from Europe by the Ural Mountains lying to the northwest. The southwestern borders are the Caucasus Mountains and the highlands of Turkey; on the south are the Red Sea and Indian Ocean; on the east is the Pacific Ocean; and on the north is the Arctic region. Both the highest and the lowest points on Earth are found in Asia. Mount Everest, the highest point above sea level, soars to about 8,848 meters in the Himalayan Range. On the other hand, the Dead Sea, the lowest point, is about 400 meters below sea level. Asia is not only the largest, but also the most populous landmass on Earth. It is the home of about 60% of the Earth’s population.
Europe, the other part of the Eurasian continent, covers seven percent (7%) of the Earth’s surface. It is less than one-fourth the size of Asia, but is slightly larger than United States. If one examines closely a globe or a map, it can be observed that Europe appears to be just an appendage of Asia. However, it is more often considered a separate continent from Asia because of its unique development culturally, historically, and politically. The region is bounded by the Arctic Ocean on the North, by the Atlantic Ocean on the West, by the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea on the South, and the by the Ural Mountains on the East. The Ural Mountains separate Europe from Asia. The entire area lies in the Middle and High Latitudes. It has no tropical parts though some portions of the Mediterranean exhibit subtropical conditions of climate. Almost all countries in Europe have access to the sea except for a few like Switzerland, Luxembourg, Austria, Hungary, and Romania. Europe has rich agricultural and industrial resources. The major cities in the world like London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Madrid, and Moscow are in Europe.
North America is the third largest continent in the world. In extends from the Aleutian islands in the northwest to the borders of Panama and Colombia in the south. Greenland, the world’s largest island, lies to the northeast of the continent. The continent has varied physical features like the frozen wilderness in the north, the widespread forest areas, temperate farmlands and grassy plains. The long Rocky Mountains run from north to south along the western part of the continent. The Canadian shield in the north which is made up of old hard rocks is rich in minerals. The continent has numerous lakes, rivers and canyons. Typical examples are the Mississippi-Missouri River, the Great Lakes, the Grand Canyon of Arizona and Colorado, and the Copper Canyon of Mexico. North America includes Canada, United States, Central America, the Island of Greenland, the island countries and territories in the Caribbean Region as well as the islands to the west of the North Atlantic Ocean.
South America is the fourth largest continent in the world. It extends from the Caribbean Sea down to Antarctica. The Andes Mountains, the longest mountain range on Earth, runs to about 7,232 kilometers (4,495 miles) along the western coast of the continent. The other prominent physical features in South America besides the Andes Mountains are the Amazon River in Brazil, the largest river basin the world, the Atacama Desert in Chile which is one the driest places in the world and Lake Titicaca which is considered the highest known lake in the world. The continent is largely covered by tropical rainforests and is the habitat of thousands of plant and animal species.
Africa, the second largest continent, covers one-third of the Earth’s land surface. It ranks second to Asia in size. The continent is largely covered by great portions of deserts both in the north and in the south. The Sahara in the north covers one-fourth of the continent. The equator runs through the middle of the continent. The more prominent physical features of Africa besides the Sahara are the Nile River Valley, Victoria Lake and Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain of Africa. The Suez Canal separates Africa from the continent of Eurasia.
AUSTRALIA AND OCEANIA
Australia is the smallest of the six continents in the world. It is usually referred to both as a continent and as a country. The whole continent stretches from the warm seas south of the Equator down to the chilly waters around Antarctica. Its climate varies from tropical in the north to temperate in the south. About three-fifths of Australia is covered by plateaus. However, little vegetation is found there because most of the areas are covered by deserts or semi-deserts. These are regions commonly referred to us the Australian Outback. A very prominent physical feature is a long mountain chain that runs from north to south along the eastern coast of the continent – the Great Dividing Range. Australia is sometimes considered as a part of Oceania, a region which includes a number of countries and thousands of smaller Pacific Islands. However, it is also treated as a separate region from Oceania. Oceania is divided into three island groups: Micronesia, Polynesia, and Melanesia. They are composed of small islands (except for Papua New Guinea and New Zealand) which are found scattered mostly in the tropical and subtropical portions of the Pacific Ocean, both in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
Antarctica, the fifth largest continent in the world, is located around the South Pole. It is even larger than Europe or Australia, but it has no permanent population. Antarctica is covered with ice sheets but underneath is lofty ranges, peninsulas and coasts. Actually, the climate of Antarctica is much colder than the climate in the Arctic region. Antarctica was part of Gondwanaland, the southern continent that broke from Pangaea some 180 million years ago. It drifted towards the South Pole until it got isolated from the rest of the world.
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