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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.

There are 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

2010 ContinentsThe 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 found.

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 predominate .


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 savannas.


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 mountains.


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.

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