|Continents are geographically defined as an
extensive piece of land surrounded by oceans. On
the continents there is a diversity of
human, animal and plant life , and there
are also countries defined by borders. In
all, there are five continents: Africa,
Asia, America, Europe and Oceania. Some geographers,
however, also consider Antarctica as a continent, however
the statement is not a consensus among scholars. The
continents are represented on the Olympic flag, which
contains five interlocking circles.
countries on two continents, such as Russia and
Turkey, which are part of Europe and Asia, and Egypt, which
has territories in both Asia and Africa. The city of
Istanbul, located in Turkey, is also a
transcontinental city, with part of the territories
in Asia and part in Europe.
Formation of the Continents
The explanation for the formation of the continents is
given by the theory of Continental Drift.
According to the theory developed in 1915
by the German geographer Alfred Lothar Wegener, there was
only one continent called Pangea,
surrounded by a single ocean called Pantalassa.
Over time, the single continent was dividing and slowly gave
rise to the configuration of the land as we know it today.
Wegener's theory is supported by the existence of several
animal and plant fossils found in distant
territories. The displacement of plants and animals
would not be possible due to the distance and the presence
of the ocean between the continents where the fossils were
The German geographer supports the theory even by the
contour of the continents, which if
approached, seem to fit. The similarity
between the geological structures of the
continents when they are docked are also quite similar and
help to prove the theory of the Drift of the Continents.
Wegener attributes the formation of Pangea to
volcanic eruptions at the bottom of the ocean. In
contact with the water, the slowly cooled lava would have
formed a large portion of earth. Approximately 300 million
years ago, Pangea would have divided into two large blocks:
Laurasia, which would give rise to North
America, Europe and Asia, and Gondwana,
formed by what is known today as South America, Africa,
India, Australia and Pacific Islands.
Antarctica: The sixth continent
Antarctica is the portion of land located within the
Antarctic polar circle and with all land covered
with snow. Antarctica is not considered by all
geographers to be a continent. Many believe it is just a
piece of frozen land. Those who defend it
as a continent, however, claim that the very fact that it is
a piece of land surrounded by oceans makes
this territory a continent.
Defenders of the denomination of continent further argue
that, comparing with the Arctic, which is just an island,
Antarctica is indeed a continent, the second smallest among
those known. However, Antarctica does not appear in the five
circles of the Olympic flag.
The other continents as well as Antarctica have some
geological characteristics, climate and relief that are
characteristic of each one. Although, according to the
Continental Drift Theory, some elements are
found on very distant continents.
The African continent is the poorest and least
developed socially and economically among the six,
made up of 54 countries with an unstable
economy and little industrialization. The
continent has four main climates: equatorial,
tropical, desert and Mediterranean.
In the relief there is a predominance of plateaus.
There are coastal plains close to the
coastal regions and some mountain ranges in
the south and northwest regions. In the vegetation,
grasses, small trees,
savannas and desert vegetation
On the Asian continent it is approximately one
third of the planet's land extension. The continent
consists of 50 countries. The population's
life rate is one of the largest on the
planet and the highlight goes to the cutting-edge
technology industry areas. According to
Countryaah, Asia population is equivalent to 60%
of the total world population.
In the relief, mountains and plateaus
predominate . The predominant climates are Siberian,
desert and monsoon. The vegetation
contains coniferous forests, tropical forests and
The so-called new continent is
subdivided into North, Central
and South America, which are respectively
made up of three, twenty-two and twelve countries. The
relief of North America is composed of
plains and two mountain ranges,
the arctic, tropical, temperate and desert
climates are found. In the vegetation are taigas, boreal
forest, coniferous forest, trees and shrubs in some regions.
In Central America the relief is
basically mountainous, with the presence of
some active volcanoes, there are regions
with a dry climate, others with a
hot climate and even those with a cold
climate. As for vegetation, plant forests,
pine forests and shrubs are found .
In South America, there are regions with
a tropical, temperate, dry and cold
climate. The vegetation is composed of
tropical forests, desert regions, araucaria forests, forests
and grasslands. In the relief are
mountainous regions, plateaus and
Called the Old Continent, in Europe
there are 49 countries. It has a temperate
climate, divided into continental temperate,
Mediterranean temperate and oceanic temperate.
The landscapes are composed by the contrast between
lowlands and mountain ranges. The
vegetation, which varies according to the climate, comprises
prairies, temperate forests, taiga, tundra
and coniferous forest.
Also called the new continent, as it was the last to be
discovered, in Oceania, there are 14 countries.
The existing climates are: arid, tropical,
subtropical and Mediterranean. In
the relief are plateaus, mountain ranges
and mountain ranges. The vegetation is
composed of tropical forests, wet broad-leaved
forests and grasses.