Portal:Asia

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Asia (/ˈʒə, ˈʃə/ (About this soundlisten)) 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.

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200pxAlong the River During the Qingming Festival
Credit: Zhang Zeduan

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".

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Old man carrying a yoke in the countryside of Jaflong, Sylhet, Bangladesh
Credit: Abdul Momin

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.

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Flag of Iran.svg

Iran (Persian: ایرانIrān [ʔiːˈɾɒːn] (About this soundlisten)), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran (Persian: جمهوری اسلامی ایرانJomhuri-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...

Featured biography

A coin bearing the portrait of the Seleucid king Antiochus XI
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 VI, Antiochus 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 and Artemis in Daphne, 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...

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The time allocated for running scripts has expired. Updated: 5:33, 20 October 2020

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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...
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Updated: 11:33, 19 October 2020

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The following are images from various Asia-related articles on Wikipedia.

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