Asia ( (listen)) is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres (17,212,000 sq mi), about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Asia is notable for not only its overall large size and population, but also dense and large settlements, as well as vast barely populated regions. Its 4.5 billion people () constitute roughly 60% of the world's population.
In general terms, Asia is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean, and on the north by the Arctic Ocean. The border of Asia with Europe is a historical and cultural construct, as there is no clear physical and geographical separation between them. It is somewhat arbitrary and has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity. The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East–West cultural, linguistic, and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The most commonly accepted boundaries place Asia to the east of the Suez Canal separating it from Africa; and to the east of the Turkish Straits, the Ural Mountains and Ural River, and to the south of the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian and Black Seas, separating it from Europe.
China and India alternated in being the largest economies in the world from 1 to 1800 CE. China was a major economic power and attracted many to the east, and for many the legendary wealth and prosperity of the ancient culture of India personified Asia, attracting European commerce, exploration and colonialism. The accidental discovery of a trans-Atlantic route from Europe to America by Columbus while in search for a route to India demonstrates this deep fascination. The Silk Road became the main east–west trading route in the Asian hinterlands while the Straits of Malacca stood as a major sea route. Asia has exhibited economic dynamism (particularly East Asia) as well as robust population growth during the 20th century, but overall population growth has since fallen. Asia was the birthplace of most of the world's mainstream religions including Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, as well as many other religions.
China (Chinese: 中国; pinyin: Zhōngguó; literally: 'Central State'), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion in 2017. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third or fourth largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
China emerged as one of the world's first civilizations, in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, or dynasties, beginning with the semi-legendary Xia dynasty in 21st century BCE. Since then, China has expanded, fractured, and re-unified numerous times. In the 3rd century BCE, the Qin reunited core China and established the first Chinese empire. The succeeding Han dynasty, which ruled from 206 BCE until 220 CE, saw some of the most advanced technology at that time, including papermaking and the compass, along with agricultural and medical improvements. The invention of gunpowder and movable type in the Tang dynasty (618–907) and Northern Song (960–1127) completed the Four Great Inventions. Tang culture spread widely in Asia, as the new Silk Route brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and the Horn of Africa. Dynastic rule ended in 1912 with the Xinhai Revolution, when the Republic of China (ROC) replaced the Qing dynasty. China as a whole was ravaged by feudal warlordism and Japan during World War II. The subsequent Chinese Civil War resulted in a division of territory in 1949, when the Communist Party of China led by Mao Zedong established the People's Republic of China, on mainland China while the Kuomintang-led nationalist government retreated to the island of Taiwan. The political status of Taiwan remains disputed to this day. Read more...
Hasekura Rokuemon Tsunenaga (or Philip Francis Faxicura, baptized as Francisco Felipe Faxicura, in Spain, also spelled Faxecura Rocuyemon in period European sources, reflecting the contemporary pronunciation of Japanese; Japanese: 支倉六右衛門常長; 1571–1622) was a Japanese samurai and retainer of Date Masamune, the daimyō of Sendai of Japanese imperial descent with ancestral ties to Emperor Kanmu.
In the years 1613 through 1620, Hasekura headed a diplomatic mission to Spain and Rome, traveling through New Spain (arriving in Acapulco and departing from Veracruz) and visiting various ports-of-call in Europe. This historic mission is called the Keichō Embassy (慶長使節), and follows the Tenshō embassy (天正使節) of 1582. On the return trip, Hasekura and his companions re-traced their route across New Spain in 1619, sailing from Acapulco for Manila, and then sailing north to Japan in 1620. He is conventionally considered the first Japanese ambassador in the Americas and in Spain. Read more...
Karnataka (Karnāṭaka) is a state in the south western region of India. It was formed on 1 November 1956, with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act. Originally known as the State of Mysore, it was renamed Karnataka in 1973. The state corresponds to the Carnatic region. The capital and largest city is Bangalore.
Karnataka is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Goa to the northwest, Maharashtra to the north, Telangana to the northeast, Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamil Nadu to the southeast, and Kerala to the south. The state covers an area of 191,976 square kilometres (74,122 sq mi), or 5.83 percent of the total geographical area of India. It is the sixth largest Indian state by area. With 61,130,704 inhabitants at the 2011 census, Karnataka is the eighth largest state by population, comprising 30 districts. Kannada, one of the classical languages of India, is the most widely spoken and official language of the state alongside Urdu, Konkani, Marathi, Tulu, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kodava and Beary. Karnataka also contains some of the only villages in India where Sanskrit is primarily spoken. Read more...
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Updated: 14:30, 14 October 2019
In the news
- 14 October 2019 – Syrian Civil War, 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria, NES–Syria relations
- In the early hours of the morning, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces hands over control of Tabqa, and the nearby Tabqa Airbase in the Raqqa Governorate to the Syrian Army. (Reuters) (Al Jazeera)
- 14 October 2019 –
- Convicted British serial sex offender and paedophile Richard Huckle, who sexually abused dozens of children in Malaysia, is found stabbed to death in his cell at HM Prison Full Sutton. (BBC)
- The IRGC say they captured Ruhollah Zam, an Iranian journalist-activist exiled in Europe, accusing him of having stoked anti-government unrest in early 2018 using social media. (Reuters)
- 13 October 2019 – 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria, NES–Syria relations
- The Syrian Democratic Forces agree to allow the Syrian Army to enter the SDF-held cities of Manbij and Kobani in an attempt to deter Turkey from attacking the towns. (Defence Post) (Reuters) (Al Arabiya)
- As many as 700 ISIL family members escape an Ayn Issa camp. (CNN)
- A thousand U.S. soldiers are to be pulled out of Syria because of the Turkish offensive. (BBC)
Updated: 19:30, 14 October 2019