Antarctica

Antarctica – The fifth largest continent is Antarctica. With 5.4 million square miles it is about 1.3 times as large as Europe. Being the Earth’s southernmost continent located in the Antarctic Region of the Southern Hemisphere, it contains the geographic South Pole. About 98% of this continent is covered by ice sheets averaging to at least 1.6 kilometer thick. It is the coldest of Earth’s continents. As the weather makes it unbearable to live, only about 1000-5000 people inhabit Antarctica. There is no economic activity here except for fishing and small scale tourism.

Only animals adapted to dryness and low temperatures are common in Antarctica. Low temperatures and high exposure caused little biodiversity here compared to the rest of the world.

Antarctica

Antarctica

History

There are no indigenous people in Antarctica. It was also not evident that such continent existed until it was seen by humans in 19th century. According to studies, ships captained by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, Edward Bransfield, and Nathaniel Palmer sighted the ice shelves of Antarctica in 1820. It wasn’t until John Davis had the first documented landing in West Antarctic in 1821 that people confirmed its existence.

Geography

This southernmost continent in the world is surrounded by the southern ocean. It is positioned lopsidedly around the South Pole. Covering 14000000 square kilometers mainly by ice formations, it is 1.3 times the size of Europe. Rocky  make up 5% of this continent. About 44% are made of up ice shelves floating and the rest are ice walls that rest on the ground. As cold is it may seem to be, it has many active volcanoes.

This continent is positioned in the latitude where it causes it to have long periods of constant darkness and constant sunlight. UV lights reflecting to the ice surface has also caused people in Antarctica to suffer from sunburn.

Unique phenomena such as Aurora Australis wherein solar wind that passes by the earth creates some glow in the night sky is widely experience in this continent. Another is Diamond Dust where ground level cloud formation composed of tiny ice spectacles make it look like its name.

Population of Antarctica with Politics and Economy

Because there are no permanent settlers in Antarctica, it has no government. Although many countries claim sovereignty in some areas, it is considered to be a place which is politically neutral. In 1959, to regulate the activities of different countries in Antarctica, the Antarctic Treaty has been signed. This treaty aims to keep the continent as a scientific preserve.

No Economic activities take place in this continent except for fishing from small coast and a little tourism based outside Antarctica. As much as it is has deposits of coal, hydrocarbon, iron ore and some other minerals, Antarctic Treaty has restricted exploitations of them.

Biodiversity

With its extremely cold temperature, this continent is almost impossible to live in by humans and animals. Only cold acclimatized animals such as penguins, whales, orcas, seals can outstand this continent. These animals depend on phytoplanktons from Antarctic sea. Also, the low temperature, lack of sunlight and poor quality of soil has made it impossible to have extensive vegetation here. There are only about a couple different specie of flowering plants found in Antarctica and growth is rationed only during few weeks in summer.

Australia

Australia – Situated in the graphical region in Oceania, Australia is the smallest of the continents. Its total land area of 3.3 million square miles, it is home to 29 million of the world’s population and biodiversity. As the rest of the world undergoes significant cooling, Australia has its global cooling effect remain reasonably constant by its gradual movement toward the equator. For that, enormous diversity of animal, fungal and plant life have developed.

Earliest human migrations including that from out of Africa make up the original inhabitants of Australian continent. Immigration to this continent have brought overseas language that make up about 200 that they have. Large proportions of Australia belong to no region while Christianity is predominant in those practicing faith. As small continent as it is, they have Australia which is the only first world country having the largest and most dominant economy in the region. They have federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy with two major political groups that form the government.

Australia

Geography

Australia

Australia, although the world’s smallest continent is the sixth largest country in the world, encircling an extensive diversity if biogeographic regions. This continent’s geography is tremendously diverse, ranging from the snow capped mountains of Australian Alps to large deserts, tropical and temperate forests.

Having no land borders, Australia has the most area of ocean jurisdiction than any country. The total coastline in Australian mainland is 22,293 miles plus 14,825 miles from that of island coastlines. 758 of Australia’s estuaries are mostly located in the tropics and subtropics zones. The Eastern Australian temperate forests being separated relatively from the rest of the continent have the most rainfall and abundant varied flora and fauna and the densest human settlement.

Geology

There are several sections in Australia’s geology; Achaean Cratonic shield, Proterozoic fold belts and sedimentary basins, Phanerozoic sedimentary basins, and Phanerozoic metamorphic and igneous rocks. The break up of Gondwana in the Permian along with the split up of the continental land mass from the African continent and Indian subcontinent made Australia as a separate continent.

Biogeography

Most who study biogeography and zoogeography has considered Australia a realm. The moderately chilly and well-watered Great Dividing Range is the primary refuge for many species. The continent’s flora has a massive collection of species estimating to 20,000 vascular, 14,000 non vascular, 250,000 fungi and more than 3,000 lichens. The fauna also won’t fail us with a huge variety of animals. Endemic to Australia are some 83% of mammals, 89% of reptiles, 24% of fish and 93% of amphibians. The arrival and settlement of humans has had a significant impact on the continent’s flora and fauna. Land use threatens the survival of many species and to target these threats, Australia has long been passing wide range federal and state legislations and established protected areas.

Human Inhabitation

Original inhabitants of the Australian continent or the Indigenous Australians are those who migrated from Africa to Asia around 70,000 years ago and arrived in Australia around 50,000 years ago. They descended from groups that existed in Australia before British Colonization. Although the time of their arrival is still a matter of debate among researchers, it is believed that the earliest human remains found are those which have been dated to around 50,000 years BP.

Economy

The economy of Australia plays the largest and most dominant in the region and is the largest in the world. Their per-capita GDP is higher than UK, Canada, Germany, and France by terms of purchasing power parity. Important factor in Australian economy is Tourism, notably averaging to 7.4 million visitors per year. Natural resources in Papua New Guinea also account for the two thirds of their export earnings.

Everything You Need to Know About Asia

Asia

Known as the largest and most populous continent on Earth is the continent of Asia. Located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, it is bordered by Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and Arctic Ocean. Asia covers Earth’s total surface area by 71.n square miles and has the largest coastline at 39,022 miles as well. This is home to 4.5 billion people from about 50 countries.

There is no clear geographical separation between Europe and Asia therefore they are commonly called Eurasia. Only a historical and cultural construct stands as the border between the two. Given the land size, and the huge amount of people, diversity varies across regions with regard to ethic groups, culture, economics and government systems.

Etymology

Greek civilization had “Asia” an original concept for English name. It was originally just a name for the east bank of Aegean Sea, an region recognized to the Hittites as Assuwa. The Greeks used the term “Asia” to refer to the territory known today as Anatolia. Although a number of theories have been published regarding the etymology of Asia, it still remains uncertain and can only be guessed. It could have been from the Aegean root “Asis” which means muddy and silty or Semitic root “Asu” meaning rising.

History

Asia’s history are collectively distinct from the different regions such as East Asia, South Asia and Middle East linked by the interior mass of Eurasian steppe. The world’s earliest civilization was at the coastal periphery with each of the three regions around fertile river valleys. Mounted nomads had also long inhabited the steppe region. The northern part of Asia, Siberia however was inaccessible to nomads due to dense forests. The Caucasus, Himalaya, Karakum Desert and Gobi Desert took advantage of mountains and deserts to make the Centre and periphery hardly accessible to steppe horsemen.

Prehistoric cultures recorded two ages that had major impact on the history of Asia. Bronze Age which was validated by bronze artifacts dating back to 2100 BCE in Ban Chiang, Thailand and Burma Bronze tools in Nyaunggan, Burma in 3500 – 500 BCE. Iron age saw the wide use of iron for tools, weaponry and armor.

Geography

Asia is the largest continent on Earth covering 9% of its surface. The 62,800 kilometer coastline is the largest. Asia has 48 countries. 3 of which are Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkey that have parts of their land in Europe. There are deserts, tropical rainforests and elevated mountains in this continent thus having a diverse geographic and climate.

This continent is so huge, it has subcontinents. It has the Himalayas which are the highest mountains in the world.

Climate

Different climates are experienced all throughout Asia. There is Aden, Yemen which is the driest place on Earth and Mawsynram, India as the wettest. Monsoons also frequent this region and the most active place for tropical cyclone lies by the Philippines and south of Japan.

Economy

In terms of continental economy, Asia has the largest by both GDP Nominal and PPP in the world. It has the fastest growing economic region. The prime from this region are China, Japan, India, South Korea and Indonesia. Asia also holds domination in Global Office Locations with 68% of international firms have offices in Hong Kong.

According to Angus Maddison’s The World Economy; A Millenial Perspective, world’s largest economy during 0 BCE and 1000 BCE was in India. China also has, for much of the recorded history, the largest and most cutting edge economy until Bristish empire took over in the mid 19th century, In the late 20th century, Japan took lead for several decades being the largest economy in Asia. In 2010, China took over Japan and became world’s second largest economy.

Forecasts have been made regarding economic standings of Japan, India and China. By 2020, it is assumed that India will overtake Japan in nominal GDP. Goldman Sachs also predicts that by 2027, China will stand as the leading economy in the world.

The fact that Asia is the largest continent of the world, it is abundant in natural resources – Fisheries, forestry, marine and minerals. With the huge number of population in Asia, there is no doubt they are traditionally the strongest in terms of manufacturing. International companies have taken advantage of the cheap labour thus settled operations in most parts of Asia where high skilled manufacturers and fluent English speakers are. Off shore customer services or call centers of international firms are mainly found in India and the Philippines.

Demographics

One third of the world’s land area is Asia and is home to about three fifths of its population. This continent includes two of the most populous countries, China and India. China is also the second highest achiever in the world based on HDI Improvement. The 10 most successful countries in furthering the human development of their people come from different regions and the list includes several Countries in East and South Asia and the Arab States. However, not all the countries on the list are not typically described as success stories. Only because their high achievements in health and education, and in some cases even their unexceptional growth performance made them included. China for example enters solely through its growth performance.

Languages

Being home to more than 40 countries, it wouldn’t be surprising to have more than one language . Although most can speak English, no Asian country has just but one language. Philippines for example, has more than 100 spoken languages, Indonesia with about 600 and so on.

Religion

The largest and the most populous continent has a wide variety of religions. Asia was the birth place of several religions such as Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism and Zoroastrianism. Most of these traditional religions are still being practiced although new forms are persistently emerging.