Continents are large portions of land that shelter different forms of life, vegetation, climate, geography, being surrounded by water. There are two ways to define a continent. The first is to say that it is a set of countries. The second is to consider the continent as any piece of land larger than the largest island in the world: Greenland.
In the case of Oceania, the first definition is more accepted, since this continent is also formed by islands and archipelagos. There are five political continents and four physical continents. The difference between the two is in the act of the politician having political divisions of countries (such as Brazil, France, Belgium and others). The physical division is based on the physical structure in area territories. According to the physical division there are five continents: America, Asia, Africa, Europe and Oceania. America is subdivided into three subcontinents: South America, Central America and North America.
History of the Continents
It is believed that at a certain period in Earth’s history, there was the formation of a solid layer that gave rise to a supercontinent surrounded by the Panthalassa sea, it was called by Pangea. There was a time when they split and gave rise to two continents called Laurásia and Godwana. The theory of movement of the continents was called Continental Drift and formulated by the German scientist Alfred Wegener, in 1915.
The American continent has around 42 million km² and a population of more than 900 million people. This continent has the differential of having two large continental masses, connected by an isthmus (a quantity of land surrounded by water on two sides and connecting two areas of land). The two continental masses are South America and North America. This isthmus is called Central America.
It is located between the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean and comprises the Caribbean Sea and Greenland.
The predominant climates, mainly in northern South America, Central America and Mexico are tropical and temperate climates. North America has areas of icy arctic climate (as in Alaska and Greenland). Other areas, such as the United States and Canada, have well-defined seasons and a harsh winter. With varying climates, the variety of vegetation is inevitable. While in North America, Canada and the United States, pines and trees more resistant to low temperatures are characteristic. In Mexico, vegetation is important to withstand high temperatures.
The relief of the continent began to be formed in the Paleozoic Era (especially in North America). The Mesozoic Era was one of great changes for the South American continent, being the date of separation from the landmass that would become North America.
North America is made up of three countries: the United States, Mexico and Canada. Of the three, the largest in extension is Canada, with 9,984,670 km².
Central America has the countries of Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, El Salvador, Granada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago. Its largest country, by extension, is Nicaragua.
South America is made up of 12 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela, not counting dependent or autonomous territories. Of these, the largest area is in Brazil, with 8,515,767.049 km², according to IBGE data.
In South America, the largest forest and ecosystem in the world is located: the Amazon Forest, dominated by large trees, with humid climate and high temperatures.
Because it is present in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, it has a good variety of climates and vegetation.
Europe is the second smallest continent in the world, only bigger than Oceania. Its length is approximately 10,180,000 km², less than 7% of the dry part of the planet.
Based on Countryaah, the continent has 50 countries, of which, the largest, in territory, is Russia, with about 17,075,400 km². The countries that make up this continent are: Albania, Germany, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Netherlands (Poland), Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Romania, Russia and San Marino.
Its climate is linked to the fact that it is in the temperate band of the planet. It has the Gulf Stream to make its climate “less cold”, as the current warms Europe even in its cold winter. The European continent has a great variety of reliefs. Alps, Switzerland, plains of Germany, peninsulas, etc. The terrain is really quite varied. Generally speaking, southern Europe tends to be more mountainous, and in the north, the terrain “decreases”. Like soils, European vegetation is also varied. Some of those found on the continent are steppes, temperate forest, tundra, coniferous forests, among others.
Asia is the largest continent, in territory, in the world, occupying 30% of the planet’s dry land and 9% of the entire Earth’s surface. It has a territorial area of about 44,579,000 km². There are 49 countries, only one country less than Europe, and some of them participate simultaneously in Asia and Europe. This explains the fact that Russia is the largest country, by extension, of these two continents.
The countries that make up the continent are: Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Bhutan, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, China, Cyprus, North Korea, South Korea, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Philippines, Georgia, Yemen, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Singapore, Syria, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
The relief of this continent is marked by its extremes: it houses the highest point on earth (Mount Everest ) and the largest absolute depression on earth ( Dead Sea). The high points are due to the mountain ranges, the largest of which is the Himalayas.
The beginning of the formation of that continent was in the Precambrian Era, having in the Paleozoic Era new changes that resulted in large sedimentary basins. In the following ages, such as Mesozoic, in which there was an increase in sedimentation, and in Cenozoic, there were also changes that resulted in the current Asian relief.
The climate varies according to the extensive Asian territory it extends: in the extreme north, the polar climate is predominant; in the center, without the maritime influence, the temperate continental climate is the characteristic. To the extreme south, due to the mountain ranges preventing the passage of moisture from the ocean, the arid and semi-arid climate remains.
Africa has approximately 30 million km², which represents 20% of the planet’s mainland. It is the third largest continent in extension and the second most populous. It has 54 countries, with Algeria the largest, with 2,381,741 km².
Its relief, in its majority, is formed of plateau, with average altitude of 750 meters, and the coast presents plains. In the east, however, there is a sequence of mountains and depressions that result in large lakes.
The continent’s climate is marked, at least in the south and north, by arid, semi-arid and desert climates. An example of this is the Sahara desert, located in the north of the continent. The rains are concentrated in the “central” region of the continent, where the imaginary line of Ecuador passes. Its relief is one of the oldest in the world, still forming in the Precambrian era.
According to Trackaah, the countries that make up that continent are: South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Chad, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Congo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda.
As the smallest continent on the planet, with more than 9 million square kilometers, Oceania is composed of 16 countries and areas dominated by other countries, including islands and archipelagos. It is basically formed by Australia and the Pacific Islands.
Independent Countries in Oceania
The independent countries that make up the continent are: Australia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Western Samo, Kingdom of Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Of these the largest area is Australia. Its climate is based on intertropical and temperate zones. Because they are not physically connected, each region of that continent has its own characteristics of geological and vegetation formation.
Oceans Bathing Continents
- Asia- Arctic, Pacific and Indian Glaciers;
- America- Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic Glacier;
- Africa- Atlantic and Indian;
- Antarctica- Pacific, Atlantic and Indian;
- Europe- Atlantic;
- Oceania- Pacific and Indian.
The 50 countries with the highest oil production in the world
|Rank||Country||Oil production (million cubic meters)|
|2||Saudi Arabia (Asia)||8,388,607|
|3||United States of America (North America)||7,760,000|
|4||China, People’s Republic (Asia)||4,051,000|
|6||Mexico (North America)||3,490,000|
|7||Venezuela (South America)||3,370,000|
|9||United Arab Emirates (Asia)||2,762,000|
|10||Great Britain (Europe)||2,698,000|
|11||Canada (North America)||2,640,000|
|14||Brazil (South America)||2,397,000|
|25||Argentina (South America)||730,000|
|30||Ecuador (South America)||509,000|
|31||Colombia (South America)||489,000|
|32||Equatorial Guinea (Africa)||480,000|
|33||Syria, Arab Republic (Asia)||467,000|
|41||South Africa (Africa)||254,000|
|45||Brunei Darussalam (Asia)||194,000|
|48||Trinidad and Tobago (North America)||158,000|
|Extraction of petroleum. Only countries with oil production are listed.|