map of the world of the oceans and continents (Satellitenaufnahme)

the term continent (of lat.: (terra) continens) “connected country” means, the mainland differentiated from the islands.

The continents of the earth constitute altogether only 29 per cent of the earth's surface, the remaindertake the oceans and seas .

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geographical is a continent usually a large connected land mass, thoseby water or other natural borders completely or nearly completely one encloses. Thus become large land masses, which are connected by a narrow land tightness only (like z. B. between Africa and Asia) as different continents regards.

Geologically seen coversContinent the associated shelf area. The continental earth's crust differs with a middle density from 2,8 clearly from oceanic crust the one middle density from 2,9 has. The cause for this are differences in the emergence of the respective crust parts, which alsomaterial differences causes.

Between both definitions however a connection exists due to the dynamics of the plates of the earth's crust.

Beside these two there is also a historical-political definition. A continent is accordingly a large area, that for different reasons of othersLarge areas of the earth to differentiate is. The meaning of this historical-political perspective shows up by the example of Europe, which might not represent its own continent due to the two first mentioned definitions under any circumstances.

number of continents

Personifizierungen of the four at the baroque timeadmitted continents America, Europe, Africa and Asia at the foot of the dome of the pilgrimage church of Klosterlechfeld

Herodot originally divided the world into three continents: Europe, Asia and Libya. Its three-division was regarded obligatory on the entire antiquity as.

Since thendisagreement prevails over the counting method of the continents.

It is indisputable that Africa, Antarktika and Australia represent continents. The organization into America, Europe and Asia is contentious. Due to the relatively small land connection one often divides America into north and South America.

For historical reasons Europe and Asia are differentiated. Hekataios drew in 6. Century v. Chr. in its earth description the border of the Ägäi sea over the Marmarameer and the black sea up to the Don. In the modern times hasit itself in Europe in-patriated to regard the Urals as eastern border of Europe to Asia. However Europe and Asia in many parts of the world are regarded as common continent Eurasien. Eurasien forms a connected land mass, also to a large extent on the same continental platerests, only in the south Eurasiens exists several separate smaller plates.

Thus between five and seven continents of the earth are today usually counted:

Today usual models of the continents
of 7 continents: Antarktika Australia Africa North America South America Europe Asia
of 7 continents: Antarktika Ozeanien Africa North America South America Europe Asia
of 6 continents: Antarktika Ozeanien Africa America Europe Asia
of 6 continents: Antarktika Australia Africa North America South America Eurasien
of 5 continents: Antarktika Australia Africa America Eurasien
of 5 continents: To Australia Africa America Europe Asia

exist however also stillfurther organizations deviating from it. To the historical-political category the attempts belong to separate a Central America or the Near East as own continents as well as the summary of the islands of the Pacific ocean to a continent Ozeanien.

Continents and seas are the largest geographicalUnits (landscapes) of the earth. - The continents are separated by oceans, whereby the shelf (= continental shelf) ranks among the continent. (In such a way new Guinea belongs to Indonesia clearly to Ozeanien, (remainder) to Asia). The continents developed in such a way are physical and (!) anthropogeografische (= culture-geographical) units. Sowerden notwendigerweise in Europa und zum Teil in Amerika die anthropogeografischen Faktoren schon bei den Grenzfindungen der Kontinente offen hinzugezogen, sie sind aber (ebenso wie Tier- und Pflanzenwelt, (die auch zur Phys. Geogr. count)) always contributing, if a continent definesbecomes even, because it concerns a unit of the “earth's surface”. Thus there are the 7 continents, whereby one adds the oceanic islands to the nearest continents, e.g. the Pacific islands to Ozeanien. Oceanic islands are not always actual mainland mass, butvolcanic nature, thus volcanos and/or. up to sea level eroded volcanos, which become “finite” atolls. Strictly taken - according to the definition: “by oceans separately” - there are still two further continents (whereby also fauna and Flora are independent and definitionfit): Madagascar and New Zealand.

to the term “continent”

latin continens means the “holding together” or “comprehensive one” in the actual sense. The conception behind this term use for a continent in the today's sense is actually misleading: It is based on thatAcceptance that the land parts of the earth cover the landing on water hurry. Since however the water surfaces of the earth are larger around a multiple than the continental surfaces, one would have the latters actually as “covered”, which designate contentum. The concept formation is based thus on onewrong conception of the earth.


the names of the continents all are female and end accordingly uniformly up - to A in original latin form.

Africa (lat. Africa) applied in the antiquity only as name to the today's Tunesien, which was designated in such a way by the Romans after the trunk of the Afri around Karthago.

America (lat. America) was designated on suggestion Martin forest sea-Mueller after Amerigo Vespucci, which briefly drove on the east coast of South America after Christoph Kolumbus. To thisTime could not yet grasps to become that it concerns exactly taken two continents, which are connected only by a relatively narrow land bridge.

Antarktika (lat. Antarctica) was designated according to its situation in the midst of the Antarctic, their designation upgriech. ἀνταρκτικός (in relation to the arctic) decreases/goes back.

Asia (lat. Asia) comes from the Assyri from Assu = sunrise and/or. The east.

Australia (lat. Australia) comes from Latin Terra Australis = southern country.

Europe has its designation possiblyof griech.Erebos = evening country, the origin is however disputed. The name Europe appears also in a Greek legend. Here the virgin “Europe” is kidnapped from her homeland in Babylon of Zeus in form of a bull to Crete (see Weighs Europe).

is considered

to characteristics Istanbul as the only city of the world, which lies both in Europe and in Asia. However some cities are because of both banks of the river the Urals in Russia as in Kazakhstan; thisamong other things Orenburg applies to oral (city) . Turkey, Russia and Kazakhstan are both on the European, and on the asiatic continent; the allocation of the states in the Caucasus to Asia and/or. Europe is by the inaccurateFixing of the boundaries disputed.

Spain and France have regions outside of Europe, with Spain lie these in Africa, while to France areas in South America and on oceanic, African, American and Antarctic islands to belong. The kingdom of the Netherlands has regions in Europe and inthe Karibik belonging to America; the Sinai belonging to the African state Egypt lies in Asia.

By Indonesia the border from Asia runs to Ozeanien.

see also

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Wiktionary: Continent- Word origin, synonyms and translations
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