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How Many Continents Are There?
The answer to the question “how many continents are there in the world” depends on who you ask. There does not seem to be just one correct solution, but quite a bit of room for interpretation.
In countries like Russia and Japan as well as in parts of Eastern Europe, there are just 6 continents: Africa, Asia, Europe, America, Australia and Antarctica. This approach argues that North and South America in reality are one and the same land area and thus just one single continent.
That being said, the flag of the Olympic Games suggests that there are only 5 continents: Africa, Eurasia, America, Antarctica and Australia. The reason is that Europe and Asia geographically belong to the same landmass – just like North and South America.
In conclusion, the answer to the question how many continents there are depends on the criteria for the definition of a continent. There is no strict right or wrong number of continents.
In this article, we focus on the model of the English-speaking world. So, our first continents of the world map shows 7 continents.
Map of the World Continents
Following the 7 continents of the world approach, here are some details about the continents of our planet:
North America is a continent located entirely in the northern hemisphere and mostly in the western hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, by the Caribbean Sea and South America to the south, and by the Pacific Ocean and to the west. It covers an area of about 9,540,000 square miles (24,709,000 square kilometers), or approx. 4.8% of the Earth’s total surface area. This corresponds to roughly 16.% of the planets land area. As of 2021, the population of North America was estimated at about 592 million people.
South America lies in the western and (for the most part) southern hemisphere. The continent is bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. It encompasses around 12% of the world’s landmass, making it the fourth largest continent after Asia, Africa, and North America. South America has a population of more than 434 million people, making it the fifth most populous continent after Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America.
Europe is located in the northern hemisphere and forms part of the supercontinent of Eurasia. It is bounded by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The eastern boundary of Europe is defined by various mountain ranges, including the Ural Mountains, which extend from north to south across western Russia. With an area of 3,930,000 square miles (10,180,000 square kilometers), Europe is the second smallest continent after Australia. As of 2021, the European continent has a population of roughly 745 million people.
Africa is the world’s second-largest continent, both by land area and population. It is located to the south of Europe and to the southwest of Asia, and is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Indian Ocean. With over 1.4 billion people (2021), Africa is home to about 18% of the world’s population. The landmass of the African continent is approximately 11.7 million square miles (30.3 million square kilometers). This means that is comprises 20% of the Earth’s land area or 6% of the total surface of the planet.
Asia is the world’s largest continent located entirely in the northern and mostly in the eastern hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Indian Ocean to the south, and Europe and Africa to the west. Asia covers an area of 17,212,000 square miles (44,579,000 square kilometers), approx. 30% of Earth’s total land area or 8.7% of the planet’s total surface area. With over 4.7 billion people, it is home to 60% of the world’s population.
Australia is the smallest continent in the world. It is also the second-driest, flattest, lowest and most sparsely populated continent. The Australian continent is located in the southern hemisphere and surrounded by the Indian, Pacific and Southern Ocean. Its total land area is 3,310,000 square miles (8,560,000 square kilometers) which corresponds to approx. 5.6% of the Earth’s land area. The continent of Australia has a population of roughly 40 million people.
Antarctica is the fifth largest continent in the world and almost entirely covered by ice. It has a land mass of about 5,500,000 square miles (14,200,000 square kilometers) and is home to the geographic south pole of the planet. As the driest, coldest and windiest of all the continents, Antarctica also holds the record for the lowest ever recorded temperature on Earth of -128.6 °F (-89 °C).
Map of World With Continents and Countries
The following map shows not only the continents and oceans of the world but also includes countries and borders. Clocks indicate the different time zones of the world.
During the entire history of our planet, the continents have always been in motion. Hundreds of millions of years ago, the continents we know today still formed the supercontinent Pangaea. This huge landmass comprised the subcontinents of Laurussia (Euramerica) and Gondwana and started to break up about 200 million years ago. Hundreds of millions of years from now, the continents of the Earth will look completely different from today as well.
World Map With Continents Labeled
Here is another world map with names of continents for you to download and print for free in PDF.
World Map With Continents Labeled
Our last map of the Earth’s continents shows the average heat distribution on the seven continents.
More Maps of the World and Its Continents
Below you will find some links to more interesting maps of the world and its continents as well as single countries. Just line all of the maps on this website, the linked maps are free to download and print as PDF files.