A continent is a large area of the land on Earth that is joined together. In general it is agreed there are seven continents: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Europe, North America, Australasia or Oceania, and South America.
List of continents
|Continents of the world|
Some sources say that Australia is one of the seven continents. Others say that Australia is part of Oceania. Oceania is a region which includes Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. The third alternative is the term Australasia, which includes at least all countries on the Australian continental plate. This includes the islands of New Guinea, Tasmania, New Zealand and a number of smaller islands. It is on the south-eastern side of the Wallace Line, with distinct differences in its biology from the Asian side of the line.
- "It includes all the islands of the Malay Archipelago... as well as the various groups of islands in the Pacific. The term has been used in very different senses".
North and South America
North America and South America are often described as "the Americas". This has the advantage of including Central America and the Caribbean islands. Otherwise, Central America is counted as part of North America.
Eurasia is not really an alternative, it is a recognition that the landmass of Europe and Asia are continuous, and some of its largest countries are in both continents. Russia extends from eastern Europe to the far east of Asia without a break. The Ural Mountains, which run roughly north/south, are the traditional dividing-line between Europe and Asia. For many purposes it is convenient to consider the great landmass as a single continent, Eurasia.
When British people talk about "the Continent" (or "Continental" things) they mean the European mainland. This meaning is not used as much as it used to be, but is still seen in phrases like "Continental breakfast" (rolls with cheese, jam etc. as distinct from an "English breakfast" which is a cooked breakfast).
Continents not only move but also sometimes move against each other. The Indian subcontinent has been colliding with the Eurasian continent for a while now. As these continents push against each other, they buckle and bend. Because of this, the Himalaya Mountains, where Mount Everest is, are still being made today.
Animated, colour-coded map showing the various continents and regions. Depending on the convention and model, some continents may be consolidated or subdivided: for example, Eurasia is most often subdivided into Asia and Europe (red shades), while North and South America are sometimes recognised as one American continent (green shades).
The Ancient Greek geographer Strabo holding a globe showing Europa and Asia
Medieval T and O map showing the three continents as domains of the sons of Noah—Asia to Sem (Shem), Europe to Iafeth (Japheth), and Africa to Cham (Ham).
Hollandia Nova, 1659 map prepared by Joan Blaeu based on voyages by Abel Tasman and Willem Jansz, this image shows a French edition of 1663
Continent for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.