Earth is billions of years old, comprising of around 71 per cent water and 29 per cent of the land. Earlier, all the seven continents of the world shared a collective single massive landmass called Pangaea.
Now Earth’s landmass comprises of seven continents of various sizes. Every continent is distinct from every other continent based on the number of countries forming them.
Tectonic plate activity is the reason behind the splitting of landmass and getting separated gradually forming them into seven different continents. Research in geological studies states that Europe and North America are still moving apart at the rate of 7 cm every year.
Seven continents of the world :
These seven continents of the world are named as follows Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, North America, South America, and Antarctica.
A fun fact to notice is that all the continents of the world start and end with the same alphabet provided an exception of considering North and South America as one continent.
List of continents in terms of the land area starting from smallest to the largest :
It is the only continent which is its own country too. It is the smallest of all continents, covering an area span of 7.7 million square kilometres, and it is the sixth-largest nation in the world terms of population. Its population is 43 million people, including Oceania.
- Australia derives its name from the Latin word ‘australis’ meaning ‘southern.’
- The continent of Australia is also called, Australinea or Meganesia to differentiate it from the country of Australia
- The continent of extreme nature, both culturally and geographically, as two-thirds of Australia is desert land.
- Aborigines” are known to be the original inhabitants of the continent until Britishers colonized it under queen Elizabeth II.
It has the second-smallest landmass after Australia, spanning an
area of 9.9 million square kilometres and it ranks 3rd nation in the world terms of population with 746 million people.
- Russia is by far the largest country at an area 17.1 million square kilometres, while the Vatican is the smallest at just 109 acres both belonging to Europe.
- It has the longest rail route in the world, the Trans-Siberian Rail Route located in Europe.
- Water confines the three sides of the continent, the Arctic Ocean in the north, the Mediterranean Sea in the south, the Atlantic Ocean in the west.
It is the third-smallest continent in the world at an area spanning 14.2 million square kilometres and stands last on the list of the population with up to 4,400 people living there which includes researchers and personnel in the summer, and 1,100 in the winter.
- 70% of the Earth’s freshwater and 75 per cent of the world’s ice is located in Antarctica.
- It was called ‘Terra Australis Incognita’ which meant ‘the unknown southern land’ until 1840.
- It sees half a year of light (i.e. December to February give 24 hours of light) and half a year(i.e. March to late September are pitch dark the whole day) of complete darkness.
- It is the only continent where no time zones exist.
It is the fourth-largest continent, spanning an area of 17.8 million square kilometres, and 5th on the world population list, with 431 million people. It has the longest mountain range in the world.
Because of the culture shared by Mexico and Central America the entire region is grouped as ‘Latin America”.
The “Amazon” River is in South America is the world’s largest river as per water volume and the second-longest river in the world (6440 km).
The largest salt lake in the world “Salar de Uyuni” (Uyuni salt flats) is in South America
The Andes Mountains on the west forms the world’s 2nd longest mountain range after the Himalayas.
This continent houses the world’s highest waterfalls the Angel Falls.
North America is 3rd largest continent at area spanning 24.5 million square kilometres and 6th on the list in population with 369 million people.
It has five time zones and is the only continent with every type of climate.
It was named after the explorer Americo Vespucci and is also known as the “New World“.
Lake Superior, which covers more than 82,100 square kilometres between the United States and Canada, is the largest freshwater lake in the word which is located on this continent.
Average food consumption rate of individuals is highest on this continent.
It houses the world’s largest economy, the USA,
It is the 2nd largest continent with an area spanning 130 million square kilometres and 2nd largest in world population estimated at 1.3 billion people. It is the most diverse continent with respect to languages, cultures, and people groups, some of which are untouched by Westernization and modernity. Africa suffered the worst effects of colonization, of all the seven continents.
- The Sahara desert is the world’s largest desert, and the Nile River is possibly the longest river in the world, and it provides water to the countries of Sudan and Egypt.
- Ethiopia, the world’s hottest place, is in Africa.
- It is the place where Homo sapiens originated and then migrated to all the other continents of the world, as per research evidence.
- 95 % of the world’s diamonds and more than 50% of the world’s gold come from the mineral-rich continent of Africa.
The Largest and highest populated continent on the planet is Asia, spanning an area of 44.6 million square kilometres and with 4.6 billion people. It also houses the highest and lowest points on Earth. Mount Everest is the highest point, at 8,850 meters above sea level and the lowest point being the Dead Sea, which is 431 meters below sea level.
- Asia covers one-third of the Earth’s surface.
- It has 30% of the world’s land area and 60% of the world’s population.
- It houses the world’s largest country, Russia, and the world’s two most populous countries, China and India.
- It saw the birth of two great ancient civilizations – Harappan civilization and Chinese civilization.
- The religions of Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity first began in Asia.