|The definition of continent has created
great doubts among scientists and specialists and ends up
creating problems in its counting. But do you want to end
the doubts to know exactly how many continents there
are in the world ? So nothing better than reading
Number of continents on Earth
There are great doubts about the number of
continents that exist on Earth. To begin with,
there are, in fact, several questions about the very
definition of what a continent is. Therefore, before even
discovering how many continents exist on Planet
Earth, it is better to find a definition that
approximates the variations.
Definition of continent
The ambiguity of the definition of continent
continues to lead to major discussions. A continent
can be seen as a piece of land surrounded by water on all
sides, but unlike the islands it has an extensive
territorial area and can therefore be traversed without
passing through seas.
Scientifically, all land surfaces larger than Greenland,
the largest island in the world, are designated continents.
In turn, the continents group a large number of
countries and, in addition, they are a cluster of
lands and archipelagoes. But then what are the points that
lead to the ambiguity in the definition of the word
continent ? In some definitions, only areas that
are populated and that are favorable to the existence of man
can be considered continents. There are three variables that
impact the definition of continent.
Variables in the definition of continent
- Only populated areas are considered continents
- Consider Antarctica as a continent despite not being
- Consider Zealand, a submerged area, as a continent
If we look at the three variables, the planet
Earth may have 5, 6 or 7 continents. There are
those who consider other variables, such as the fact that
Europe, Africa and Asia are not geographically separated and
form a single continent, the Eurafrásia. But the truth is
that they are quite separated, both culturally and
politically, and even historically.
According to the first variable in the definition
of continent, and taking into account the
definition of continent of the United Nations (UN)
and the International Olympic Committee, there are 5
continents on planet Earth. Let's look at the main
characteristics of each one and even the number of existing
oceans that surround them.
Asia as a continent
- Area: 45 million km
- Estimated population: 4.5 billion
- Surrounding oceans: Arctic glacier
to the north, Pacific to the east and Indian to the
America as a continent
- Area: 42 million km (in North
America there are about 23 million km; in Central
America 523 thousand km; and in South America about 18
- Estimated population: 953.7 million
- Surrounding oceans: Pacific in the
west, Atlantic in the east, Arctic glacier in the north
and Antarctic glacier in the south.
Africa as a continent
- Area: 30 million km
- Estimated population: 1.2 billion
- Surrounding oceans: Atlantic to the
west, Indian to the east and Glacier Antarctica to the
Europe as a continent
- Area: 10 million km
- Population: 742.5 million
- Surrounding oceans: Atlantic to the
west and Arctic Glacier to the north
Oceania as a continent
- Area: 8 million km
- Population: 37.1 million
- Surrounding oceans: Pacific to the
east and north, Indian to the west and Antarctic Glacier
to the south.
Other continents to consider on planet Earth
In reality, the UN classification leaves out two other
continents. One of them, although submerged, is equal to or
larger than Australia. The other is the continent, but
because it is not inhabited, it is not considered by the
The Antarctic continent can be considered
since it is not only composed of ice, but the ground covered
with ice. The Arctic Pole is not a continent because it is
composed only of large surfaces of ice. The area of
Antarctica is 14 million km.
Although it does not have a population, it receives
scientists from several countries every year. Currently,
there are 30 countries that have bases on this continent.
The Antarctic is not officially recognized as a
continent because it is not inhabited. Although
considering it as a continent is geologically correct.
Finally, we can highlight the last continent
discovered which is Zealand. Despite being
submerged, off the coast of New Zealand, it cannot be
effectively considered as a continent (about 93 to 95% is
It would be a continent that separated from Australia
about 60 to 95 million years ago.