Africa Asia Europe North America South America Oceania
You are here: Home

Country Sailors

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 this article.

Number of continents on Earth

2011 7 continents 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

  1. Only populated areas are considered continents
  2. Consider Antarctica as a continent despite not being populated
  3. 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 inhabitants
  • Surrounding oceans: Arctic glacier to the north, Pacific to the east and Indian to the south.

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 million km)
  • 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 (see Countryaah)
  • Surrounding oceans: Atlantic to the west, Indian to the east and Glacier Antarctica to the south

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 organization.


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 submerged).

It would be a continent that separated from Australia about 60 to 95 million years ago.

Country Sailors Copyright 2011 - 2020 All Rights Reserved