Asia () 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.
Along the River During the Qingming Festival is a painting from China's Song Dynasty that captures the daily life of people from the period at the capital, Bianjing, today's Kaifeng. As an artistic creation, the piece has been revered, and court artists of subsequent dynasties have made several re-interpretive replicas. The painting is famous because of its geometrically accurate images of boats, bridges, shops, and scenery. Because of its fame, it has been called "China's Mona Lisa".
An old man carrying two baskets on a stick through a field of tea plants in Jaflong, Sylhet, Bangladesh, with misty hills in the background.
Iran (Persian: ایران Irān [ʔiːˈɾɒːn] (listen)), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran (Persian: جمهوری اسلامی ایران Jomhuri-ye Eslāmi-ye Irān [dʒomhuːˌɾije eslɒːˌmije ʔiːˈɾɒn]), is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the west by Iraq, to the northwest by Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to the south by the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. The greater part of Iran is located on the Iranian Plateau. Its central location in Eurasia and proximity to the Strait of Hormuz give it significant geostrategic importance. Tehran is the capital and largest city, as well as the leading economic and cultural hub; it is also the most populous city in Western Asia, with more than 8.8 million residents, and up to 15 million including the metropolitan area. With 83 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 17th most populous country. Spanning 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world.
Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations
, beginning with the formation of the Elamite
kingdoms in the fourth millennium BC. It was first unified by the Iranian Medes
in the seventh century BC, and reached its territorial height in the sixth century BC, when Cyrus the Great
founded the Achaemenid Empire
, which stretched from Eastern Europe
to the Indus River
, making it one of the largest empires in history.
The empire fell to Alexander the Great
in the fourth century BC and was divided into several Hellenistic
states. An Iranian rebellion established the Parthian Empire
in the third century BC, which was succeeded in the third century AD by the Sasanian Empire
, a major world power for the next four centuries. Read more...
Antiochus XI's portrait on the obverse of a tetradrachm
Antiochus XI Epiphanes Philadelphus (Greek: Ἀντίοχος Ἐπιφανής Φιλάδελφος; died 93 BC) was a Seleucid monarch who reigned as King of Syria between 94 and 93 BC, during the Hellenistic period. He was the son of Antiochus VIII and his wife Tryphaena. Antiochus XI's early life was a time of constant civil war between his father and his uncle Antiochus IX. The conflict ended with the assassination of Antiochus VIII, followed by the establishment of Antiochus IX in Antioch, the capital of Syria. Antiochus VIII's eldest son Seleucus VI, in control of western Cilicia, marched against his uncle and had him killed, taking Antioch for himself, only to be expelled from it and driven to his death in 94 BC by Antiochus IX's son Antiochus X.
Following the murder of Seleucus
XI declared himself king jointly with his twin brother Philip I
. Dubious ancient accounts, which may be contradicted by archaeological evidence, report that Antiochus
XI's first act was to avenge his late brother by destroying Mopsuestia
in Cilicia, the city responsible for the death of Seleucus
VI. In 93 BC, Antiochus
XI took Antioch, an event not mentioned by ancient historians but confirmed through numismatic evidence. Antiochus
XI appears to have been the senior king, minting coinage as a sole king and reigning alone in the capital, while Philip
I remained in Cilicia, but kept his royal title. Antiochus
XI may have restored the temple of Apollo
, but his reign did not last long. In the autumn of the same year, Antiochus
X regrouped and counter-attacked; Antiochus
XI was defeated and drowned in the Orontes River
as he tried to flee. Read more...
In the news
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Updated: 5:33, 20 October 2020
The original letter from Balfour to Rothschild; the declaration reads:
His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British government in 1917 during the First World War announcing support for the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a small minority Jewish population. The declaration was contained in a letter dated 2 November 1917 from the United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. The text of the declaration was published in the press on 9 November 1917.
Immediately following their declaration of war on the Ottoman Empire in November 1914, the British War Cabinet
began to consider the future of Palestine; within two months a memorandum was circulated to the Cabinet
by a Zionist Cabinet member, Herbert Samuel
, proposing the support of Zionist ambitions in order to enlist the support of Jews in the wider war. A committee
was established in April 1915 by British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
to determine their policy toward the Ottoman Empire
including Palestine. Asquith, who had favoured post-war reform of the Ottoman Empire, resigned in December 1916; his replacement David Lloyd George
, favoured partition of the Empire. The first negotiations between the British and the Zionists
took place at a conference on 7 February 1917 that included Sir Mark Sykes
and the Zionist leadership. Subsequent discussions led to Balfour's request, on 19 June, that Rothschild and Chaim Weizmann
submit a draft of a public declaration. Further drafts were discussed by the British Cabinet during September and October, with input from Zionist and anti-Zionist
Jews but with no representation from the local population in Palestine. Read more...
Did you know...
Updated: 11:33, 19 October 2020
The following are images from various Asia-related articles on Wikipedia.
A Confucian ritual ceremony in Jeju, South Korea
Byzantine and Sassanian Empires in 600 AD
Sun temple at Konarka, Odisha
Contemporary political map of Asia
The Russian Znamensky Cathedral in Tyumen built in 1768
Map of Marco Polo's travels
Chicken tikka, a well-known dish across the globe, reflects the amalgamation of South Asian cooking styles with those from Central Asia.
The third Inter-Korean Summit, which was held in 2018, between South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un. It was a historical event that symbolized the peace of Asia.
Population concentration and boundaries of the Western Zhou dynasty in China
Map of Asia for early 20th century
Here a Jesuit, Adam Schall von Bell (1592–1666), is dressed as an official of the Chinese Department of Astronomy.
Detail of Chinese silk from the 4th century BCE. The characteristic trade of silk through the Silk Road connected various regions from China, India, Central Asia, and the Middle East to Europe and Africa.
Korean peninsula in 476 AD. There are three kingdoms and Gaya Union in the picture. This picture shows the heyday of Goguryeo
East Asian cultural sphere
Daian-ji temple at Nara, Japan
The Qing Empire in 1820, marked the time when the Qing began to rule these areas.
The Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Language families in South Asia
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