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Continents of the World

The surface area of our Earth is covered with water and continents in which continents are spread over 29.1% of total Earth's surface (510,065,600 km2/ 196,937,400 square miles). Continents are the landmasses on the earth. Scientifically, it is called, as Tectonic plates and the total landmass area of these plates are 148,647,000 km2 (57,398,664 sq. mile).

As of now, seven continents have been identified on our earth in which people lives permanently on only six continents except Antarctica. In all the seven continents, Asia is the largest while Australia is the smallest continents. Here is the list of continents in chronological order from largest to smallest:

  1. Asia (43,820,000 km2)
  2. Africa (30,370,000 km2)
  3. North America (24,709,000 km2)
  4. South America (17,840,000 km2)
  5. Antarctica (13,720,000 km2)
  6. Europe (10,180,000 km2)
  7. Australia (9,008,500 km2)


Asia is the largest continent of the earth that constitutes 29.5% of the total landmass (8.6% of the earth's surface) and stretched over an area of 16,920,000 sq. mile (43,820,000 km2). Asia is also the biggest continent from demographical point of view as it holds world's 60% of the total population, accounting approximately 3,879,000,000 persons. Asian continent shares its border with Pacific Ocean to the east, Indian Ocean to the south, Arctic Ocean to the north, and Europe continent to the west. Traditionally Asia continent is considered as a part of Eurasia (Europe + Asia), as there is no physically difference between the two continents. Asia falls on the east arm of Eurasia.

A total 48 sovereign countries come under Asian continent in which world's two biggest nations (by population) ? China and India respectively ? come under it while most parts of Russia (world's largest nation by area) stretches in the Asian continent. Most of Asian countries are developing nations. The great Himalayas, the largest and highest mountain comes under it.


The second largest continent Africa shares 20.4% of total landmass (6% of earth's surface) and encompass over 11,730,000 sq. mile (30,370,000 km2) of area. Africa is also second in population that shares 14% of the world's population, accounting 922,011,000 persons (approx.). A total 54 sovereign nations, including Madagascar and various island groups fall under African continent in which Sudan is the largest country while Seychelles is the smallest but it falls in an archipelago off the east coast. Gambia that falls on the continental mainland is the smallest country. Most of African nations are poor and under developed.

Africa continent is surrounded by watery surface, as the Mediterranean Sea lies on its north, Suez Canal and the Red Sea along the Sinai Peninsula surround it to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Africa is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones and it is renounced for its Sahara Desert, world's largest desert and most vivid wild lives.

North America

The third largest continent North America covers 16.5% of total land area (or 4.8% of Earth's surface). It is stretched over at 9,540,000 sq. mile (24,709,000 km2) of area on which 23 countries fall under this continent. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, North Atlantic Ocean to the east, Caribbean Sea to the southeast, and North Pacific Ocean to the west. South America touches the southeast border of the continent.

Demographically North America is the fourth biggest continents after Asia, Africa and Europe. World's 8% population live in the North America continents, accounting approximately 528,720,588. Canada is the largest nation by area while United States of America (USA) is the most populated and most developed nation. Canada and USA are also the wealthiest nations of this continent followed by Mexico, which is a developing nation and growing very rapidly.

South America

The fourth largest continent (by area) on the Earth is South America, which covers 12% of the landmass (or 3% of the Earth's surface). North America continent is spread over an area of 6,890,000 sq. mile (17,840,000 km2). North America is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west, by the Atlantic Ocean on the north and east, by North America and by the Caribbean Sea on the northwest.

A total 12 countries come under South America continent including Caribbean South American nations ? Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam, and French Guiana. Demographically, South Africa ranks 5th largest continent after Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. South America is the continent where most widely vivid flora, fauna and animals are found. Most of the nations of South America are developing nations.


Antarctica is the fifth largest continent that covers 9.2% of total landmass (2.68% of Earth's surface), encompassing 5,300,000 sq. mile (13,720,000 km2) of land area. Antarctica is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. It is the earth's southernmost continent; falls on the South Pole and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. Almost 98% surface of the continent is covered with 1.6 k.m. of thick ice, which makes it white desert. Due to extreme cold and icy desert, there is no permanent residence of anyone. Only some governments have opened their research centres through out the continent, which constitute the population of this continent. The population varies according to seasons in Antarctica. In winter, the estimated total population remains around 1,000 while in summer it rises to approximately 5,000 only.


The sixth largest continent is Europe ? the westernmost part of the traditional Eurasia that covers 2% of the Earth's surface and 6.8% of the total landmass. The watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting the Black and Aegean Seas generally splits Europe from Asia. Europe is surrounded by the Arctic Ocean and other bodies of water to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and the Black Sea and connected waterways to the southeast. The Europe continent is stretched over 3,930,000 sq. mile (10,180,000 km2) of land area on which 50 sovereign countries come under it. Russia, which some parts fall on Europe and most of it in Asia, is the largest country by area and population while Vatican City is the smallest country in this continent.

Europe is the second densest continent after Asia where estimated population density is 69.7 persons/ km2 that makes its third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a cumulative population of 731,000,000 (approx.), which is about 11% of the world's population. Most of the European countries are developed and wealthy.


Australia is the smallest continents in terms of area and comes at the last step in the seven continents. However, it ranks 6th most populated continents and only Antarctica is far behind it. Australia covers the 5.9% of the total landmass (1.7% of Earth's surface), encompassing 3,478,200 sq. mile (9,008,500 km2) of area. Australia continent is surrounded by oceans, seas and straits. Australia and its proximate islands exist on the same landmass but some parts of landmass are dipped in the sea, which separates the proximate islands from the mainland.

Moreover, Australia has a continental shelf that is spread over 2,500,000 square kilometres including the Sahul Shelf and Bass Strait. On the broad scale, Australia continent is known as several other names Sahul and Meganesia, Australinea, Australia-New Guinea and Australasia/ Oceania. The Australian continent comprises the Australia mainland and islands including Tasmania, Papua New Guinea, East Timor the Aru Islands, Raja Ampat Islands some portions of Indonesia. New Zealand, which was earlier considered as the part of Australian continent is now assessed as a separate landmass and comes in Zealandia continent. On wider scale, Australia and Zealandia together are called Oceania or Australasia continent.

Australia is the least populous inhabitant continent, which holds only 0.5% of the world's population, accounting 31,260,000.

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