So, how many Continents are there?

Last week I mentioned that CreativeMornings is now on 6 continents, which caused a bit of confusion over how many continents there are.

What I’ve since learned is that there are in fact different models being taught around the world. The seven-continent model is usually taught in China, India and most English-speaking countries. The six-continent combined-Eurasia model is sometimes preferred in the former states of the USSR and Japan. The six-continent combined-America model is taught in Latin America and in some parts of Europe including Greece, Portugal and Spain. I can somewhat understand that we can’t seem to get all of our outlets to be the same, but count of continents? Really?

Check the Wikipedia Entry on this Topic.

82 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Last summer, while au pairing in Germany, I met au pairs from New Zealand, Paris, Zimbabwe and we all had a long, intense debate about how many continents there are! It was fascinating!

  2. When I was at school I was taught that there were 5 continents: europe, asia, austraila, africa and america (combining south and north america). That was a german school in South Korea. At the same time, when I was american TV (that’s the only thing I could understand there) they were talking about seven continets. Very weird…

  3. To be honest, I always think of five continents: America, Asia, Australia, Africa and Europa. (I tend to forget Antarctica.)

  4. 7 Continents is the right number. But your globe is wrong, Australia is not a continent, it’s a country. The continent’s name is Oceania witch includes Australia and the adjacent Pacific islands

  5. There’s only one continent: Pangea, but it seems nobody wants to solve the puzzle :)

  6. I also learned in France 5 continent : Europe, America, Asia, Oceania and Africa. Like the rings in the Olympic Games.

  7. But that was back in time when we also had 9 planets … you know… perception

  8. We teach seven in our preschool—North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Antarctica. There’s even a catchy song about it!

  9. LI’m from Portugal and also learned 5 continents and they taught us that the Olympic Games rings represented each one of them. So I guess they don’t make sense for people who learn 6 or 7 continents…

  10. I’m from Portugal and also learned 5 continents and they taught us that the Olympic Games rings represented each one of them. So I guess they don’t make sense for people who learn 6 or 7 continents…

  11. “I can somewhat understand that we can’t seem to get all of our outlets to be the same, but count of continents? Really?”

    Yes, really. The world is huge with lots of people, these people can see the same land and draw lines on it differently.

    Also, on a map, which side is “up”? Europe on top? How convenient.

  12. so funny… I always learned 7 (I’m american) but I just asked my husband who told me 5 (he is european). Strange!

  13. Either way, what’s strange is that even when in the united states you teach that there are two “americas” you consider yourselves

  14. Australia isn’t a continent, it’s a country. Australasia is what our continent is called.

  15. I like your website/blog, but honestly your last line about failing to appreciate the differences of opinion what is a fairly amorphous concept would indicate a closed/non-playful mind. Shouldn’t we always play with the “facts and rules” we’re given?

  16. As a Latinamerican from a US territory my continents has always been, in Spanish: América, Europa, África, Asia, Oceanía, and Antártida. Here in the continental US when people say “here in America…” I always find myself interrupting with the question: “America, from Tierra del Fuego to the Queen Elizabeth Islands?” just to make them realize that not everyone calls the US, America. For a reason the name says United States of America, emphasis in “of America”.

  17. ‘Most English speaking countries’ say it’s 7? In Australia we are taught 6, and New Zealand, UK and South Africa, are the same:

    The Americas

    I have never in my life heard of 7. Is this only what is taught in the US? Seems that any site mentioning 7 is from the US.

    Interesting topic; thanks for sharing.

  18. I must be an allien ’cause I’ve always believed it was consensual there were 8 continents! Well, maybe not an allien, but sure very stupid! :)

  19. There’s no Antarctica Creative Mornings is there? So, technically, you were right? It IS only on 6 continents, 6 of 7 :)

  20. I am amazed at all the people counting the America’s as one continent, while counting Europe and Asia as two. Clearly, Eurasia is a single land mass, and if land mass is to be the defining characteristic of a continent then it is one continent, not two.

    With respect to the America’s, because the isthmus of Panama is so narrow, it makes sense to me to count it as two.

    I have never accepted the arguments that Australia is not continent unless all of the islands of Oceania are included with it and that Australia itself is an island. No where else in the world do we count a collection of islands as a continent. A continent is defined by Wikipedia simply as a “very large land mass,” and by as “one of the earth’s large land masses.” I personally am satisfied that Australia is a continent with the islands of Oceania belonging to its land mass.

    Therefore, I count six continents, though differently from others here, as follows:

    North America
    South America

  21. Emma is right – Australia isn’t a continent, it’s a country. I live in New Zealand and Australasia is the name of our continent.

  22. You all might enjoy this video ( by C.G.P. Grey on this very subject. Apart from his take on continents, his Youtube channel is very much worth subscribing to.

  23. There’s just one continent, “one island”:

  24. Nice video Greg, so everyone can make his continents like he wants…hmmm.
    Interesting due to our times where people always want to have a a “yes or no” answer.

  25. I’m Irish and we are taught about 7 continents, South America was always seperate to North America, Europe, Antartica, Oceania, Africa and Asia. I think it’s so strange about people being taught there was only 5! Didn’t you look at a globe and think ‘where does the antartic fit into this?’ It’s quite big!! And for your teachers to use the olympic rings to demonstrate this…just because antartica is uninhabited and there’ll never be any athletes representing it in the olympic games doesn’t mean it isn’t a continent! It’s scary how deficent our education systems still are

  26. In Czech, we are taught several separate models (which makes everything SO confusing):

    * 6 continent model – Europe, Americas, Asia, Africa, Antarctica, Australia and Oceania
    * 7 continent model – EU, S America, N America, Asia, Africa, Antarctica, Australia & Oceania
    * 6 Landmasses (similar to continents) – EuroAsia, N America, S America, Africa, Antarctica, Australia and Oceania.

    how wonderful :)

  27. I’m Spanish and when I was a little girl there “were” only 5 continents (Africa, America, Asia, Europa and Oceania), later somehow someone realized Antarctica looked like another one and we started to hear about 6 continents. I remember being quite disturbed by the fact that I saw 6 on my maps despite what my teacher said.

  28. I can’t believe it! There is Central America, not only South and North.
    America is ONE continent with three sub-continents.

  29. >>> I can somewhat understand that we can’t seem to get all of our outlets to be the same, but count of continents? Really?

    Tina, we don’t even agree on how to make a world map. China does it differently…

    No, that’s not a variation in the orthographic projection used — Note that China is much more central in this one.

    I had never seen any layout different from the basic Mercator version using the same scheme — but clearly, people can and do have different ones. I first encountered that in some documentary piece with a scene shot in a Chinese schoolroom — I noticed a world map in the background similar to the link above.

  30. >>> There is Central America, not only South and North.
    America is ONE continent with three sub-continents.

    Sorry, Andrea, there is nothing to delineate “Central” America from the rest of North America.

    With North-vs-South, there is the Isthmus of Panama. With Asia-vs- Europe, there is the Ural mountain range (the standard dividing line when you do delineate the two).

    “Central America” is simply a convenient placeholder to deal with the areas of NortthAm not a part of its “big three”.

  31. Isn´t Greenland a part of Europe? Danish, right?

  32. I can’t believe someone finds surprising that some people count the Americas as one continent, when history mentions the “discovery” of a New World who got the name America after Amerigo Vespucci. If it was considered from a beginning as two different continents probably the north and south will be named differently. Who knows? The division and naming of continents and lands have a lot of different factors, from history, cultural views, and language. Having you notice the comments on Australia, Australasia and Oceania? Each of the different ways of subdividing and naming the regions of the planet are right, our culture defines how we see the world, and this is one way.

  33. There are 6 continents. There is no physiogeological division between Europe and Asia, they are one continent (Eurasia).

  34. I was taught in school that Central America is a continent. Pretty disturbing to change that.

  35. I am from Russia and we always were taught there are 6 continents on our planet. They are Eurasia (because look first what a continent is), Africa, North America, South America, Australia and Antarctica. And there are 6 main parts of the world: Europe, Asia, America (whole, north and south continents), Africa, Australia/Oceania, Antarctica.
    Now I live in USA and my husband noticed that I was talking with my daughter about 6 continents. We had to find out that people in different countries were educated different and looks like everybody is right who think there are 6 or 7 continents. But I refer to 6, because Eourope and Asia is one whole landmass.

  36. I live in Nigeria, let the geographers sit down to reach compromise and agree on one( 6 or 7 )

  37. Unfortunately, all geographers in different countries think differently, otherwise we wouldn’t have any discussion :)

  38. I always that America was one continent and not divided into North and South.

  39. I always that America was one continent and not divided into North and South. And, actually 50 yrs ago when I was in school, Antarica was not considered a continent so there were only 5 continents.

  40. I was always taught that America was one continent and not divided into North and South. And, actually 50 yrs ago when I was in school, Antarica was not considered a continent so there were only 5 continents.

  41. I was always taught that America was one continent and not divided into North and South. And, actually 50 yrs ago when I was in school, Antarica was not considered a continent so there were only 5 continents. I was educated under the British system.

  42. I’m from the Dominican Republic, and I was taught about 5 continents: Africa, America (only one), Europe, Asia and Oceania.
    Found this discussion while reading some technical article about GPS where there is a mention of 7 continents, what triggered my memory and started to google for clarifications.

    My opinion is that that the correct model is the one with 6 continents: Africa, America, Eurasia, Australiasia and Antartica.

    Two Americas? it is still the same landmass, if you consider an island as part of a continent, why wouldn’t you consider a contiguous landmass as one?

    Counting Europe and Asia as one, that make sence!

  43. fascinating

  44. Ok I was taught in school there were 6 continents including Antarctica, if you are counting North America and South America as different continents where is Central AMERICA?????!!! For my it’s 6 North and South American are only divisions no different continents, it’s all ONE continent!

  45. Though I was taught 7 continents here in Canada, I now reject that and consider America to be a single continent and NOT a country. Thus there are 6 continents: America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia and Antractica.

    The fact that America is a continent and not a country is just common sense. If North America is IN Africa and South Asia is IN Asia, then North and South America are both IN America too. America can’t be IN North America, that would be stupid and also insulting to those of who live in the other 34 countries that are in America.

  46. My original comment contained a typo that I had to correct:

    Though I was taught 7 continents here in Canada, I now reject that and consider America to be a single continent and NOT a country. Thus there are 6 continents: America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia and Antractica.

    The fact that America is a continent and not a country is just common sense. If North Africa is IN Africa and South Asia is IN Asia, then North and South America are both IN America too. America can’t be IN North America, that would be stupid and also insulting to those of who live in the other 34 countries that are in America.

  47. This design is spectacular! You most certainly
    know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my
    own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that,
    how you presented it. Too cool!

  48. I was taught the 7 continent model, and I always wondered why Europe and Asia were considered one continent, when the word “continent” appeared — in every OTHER instance — to be defined strictly as a (mostly) discreet, landmass of a certain large size separated by almost entirely by WATER (not mountain ranges) from other landmasses. Eurasia is clearly one landmass — so why classify it as two continents? Here is a link to an article from the Columbia University’s “Asia for Educator” website that explores that question and the history behind this arbitrary definition of Europe as a separate continent:

    It’s fascinating reading from everybody’s posts just how many different models of “continent” exist in different parts of the world. I tend to favor those that stick to defining “continent” in terms of strictly physical geography — because once you bring in other considerations for possible dividing lines (cultures, history, the number of rings on the Olympic flag) the word “continent” begins to lose any meaningful definition.

    But I do contend that, whatever rule one uses to decide what constitutes a continent, and therefore to decide how many continents you would number on the globe, it is only correct if it is CONSISTENT. So, I think a 6 continent model that includes Africa, Antarctica, Eurasia, North America, South America, and Australia, is correct because it is consistent.

    Another consistent model would be a 4 continent model, that groups them as: Americas (both S. and N.), Antarctica, Eurasia-Africa, and Australia. Nobody uses this model, of course, and it’s a fairly useless as a way to think about dividing up the world, because Euroasia-Africa so enormous. But it IS one connected landmass.

    The models that I don’t think work — because they aren’t consistent with their own logic — are those that call North and South America one continent, while dividing Africa, Europe, and Asia into 3. The isthmus connecting the Americas narrows to a mere 77 km — half the width of the Sinai land bridge connecting Africa and Asia — so why would they be considered one continent while Africa’s connection to Asia is ignored — let alone Europe and Asia’s continuity?

    While respecting differing opinions, I would like to issue a challenge to those who define the Americas as one continent and Africa/Europe/Asia as either two or three continents:

    Please post a definition of the word “continent” that accurately describes every continent that you would call a continent, in your model.

  49. If North America and South America are really one continent, then shouldn’t Asia, Europe, AND Africa all be one continent as well? What is dividing Africa from that mix? The Mediterranean? If so, the Caribbean is enough to divide Americas. So either it is one America and one Eurasiafrica, or they’re all divided. I’ll stick with the 7 that I’ve always been taught and is taught in U.S. schools today.

  50. If you really sit back and look at the globe, I think you find 5 continents:

    North America, which includes Greenland
    South America

  51. I just read on another website that Antarctica should not be considered an continent because it’s an archipelago covered by ice, thus not a single land mass

  52. Alba R, when talking to people from the States who don’t understand that everyone from the Americas–whether that be 1, 2, or 3 continents–is American, ask them what Columbus discovered, then ask them where he landed; not in any of the states.

  53. Alfred, that would only make sense if Columbus named America. he did not.

  54. As most of us know, the name America comes from the first name of explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci. Vespucci was preceded by Christopher Columbus, who is regarded as having discovered America in 1492. Vespucci and Columbus each made four voyages which took them to South America, the Caribbean islands and Central America. German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller coined the German word Amerika in 1507 to mean the land explored by Columbus and Vespucci and it made its’ way into English (and other European languages) within a few years. As far as I can determine, no evidence exists that either man ever laid eyes on the territory of the United States on any of those eight voyages.

    Consider that North Africa is in Africa, South Asia is in Asia and East and West Europe are both in Europe. This is perfectly sensible, since in those names North, South, East and West are adjectives modifying the nouns Africa, Asia and Europe respectively. For the same reason, it follows that North America, South America and Latin America are all in America ― if not, what other land mass are they respectively the North, South and Latin parts of?

    Answering “the Americas” won’t change anything: if “the Germanies” were both parts of Germany and “the Koreas” are both parts of Korea, then “the Americas” must be parts of America too.

    For America to be a place which neither Columbus nor Vespucci ever laid eyes on but exclude the places which they actually sailed to is irrational, absurd and frankly insulting to those of us who live in one of the other 35 countries in America.

  55. Bill, you are right that the U.S. Should not go by America; however, the fact that the north and south share the name America does not make it one continent. Its absurd to think that because continents newly discovered by Europeans centuries ago were both called America that they must always be considered one. If sharing a common name means its the same, then George Foreman’s sons must really ask just be one person.

  56. Kaleb. I realize that Columbus did not name anything America. However if you ask someone from the States what he discovered, their answer will be “America”. Then, if they know where he landed, it’s easy to point out that America encompasses more than the 50 states.

  57. I was born in the United States and I never refer to the country as America. However it’s hard to come up with a nationality to use for the people that live here, other than American. I’ve tried USian and United Statesian, but they’re both clunky. Basically the United States of America is a stupid name for a country.

  58. Often some consider Six and some as Seven. Some argue Five cause there are five circles in Olympics flag. But there are Seven continents, and about the rings in Olympics flags it’s because the participants in Olympics are from five continents and also the Olympics torch passes through the Five continents.

  59. Great blog here! Also your web site loads up very fast! What web host are you using?
    Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  60. WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching
    for War of the Roses

  61. Im from Brazil and always learned it was 6 continents

  62. Hey! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay.
    I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

  63. It’s not my first time to go to see this web page, i am
    browsing this site dailly and get pleasant data from here all the time.

  64. Hi there it’s me, I am also visiting this site on a regular basis, this web page is actually pleasant and the viewers are actually sharing fastidious thoughts.

  65. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you will be a great author.

  66. Hi would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re using?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different internet browsers and I must say this
    blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you recommend a good hosting provider at a
    fair price? Cheers, I appreciate it!

  67. Rule #3 ‘ Talk about the one subject that is most interesting and important to your date.
    Not to mention, their evening aerobatic sessions are a whole lot of fun to watch.
    Despite this single obvious benefit, bats are often thought of
    in popular culture with reference to Bram Stoker’s fictional vampire Dracula, even though the majority of bats do not drink blood.

  68. I read all da comments and all are so awesome even myself I thought we have six. Real I don’t no Antarctica bt today I now it guys. Really. U R doing a wonderful job keep it floors.

  69. Piece of writing writing is also a fun, if you be familiar with then you can write or
    else it is difficult to write.

  70. Hi! This post could not be written any better!
    Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this page to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

  71. For those wondering what English word is equivalent to estadouindense (Spanish), estadunidense (Portuguese), états-unien (French), statunitense (Italian), US-amerikansch (German), etc., it’s Usonian:

  72. It seems that some people (e.g. Andres, Alba, …) confuse nationality with continent of origin. “American,” when used to state nationality, refers to the people of the country called the United States of America. That’s just the way it has always been, and the only thing that makes sense, really. I would guess that Andres and Alba are Brazilian, as Brazilians are the only people in the world that I have ever heard making an issue of this matter, often referring to Americans as ” norte americano,” which is not a nationality. I would hope that Canadians, Mexicans and other North American nationalities would take issue with this matter. Oddly enough, Brazilians use the phrase “Orgulho de ser brasileiro,” (proud to be Brazilian) but then negate that by saying that they are “Americans,” too. As for the number of continents, I’ll stick with seven: N. America, S. America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceana, and Antarctica. If we go with the idea that there is only one America, since they are contiguous, and that Europe and Asia are just Eurasia, for the same reason, then I guess there are only 47 states in the U.S. of A., since the Virginias, Carolinas, and Dakotas would become three states, instead of six.

  73. We have been slowly but surely conditioned into thinking of our planet as bits: divided into continents and islands. This is a fiction and there are no divisions. The earth as a whole IS whole.

    Look under the surface of any ocean and no matter how deep you go, you eventually reach the the good old solid earth. It’s a mind shift, a new paradigm that is not taught in our schools.

    Likewise there is no Indian Ocean, no China Sea, no Atlantic, no Pacific, no north Sea. It’s all ONE ocean. Humans are good at dividing, at division. It’s how we create and maintain the OTHER, how we use division to isolate and manipulate.

    Try it for yourself. Pop the imaginary balloon that has been pulled over your eyes. I guarantee you’ll see the world and yourself in quite a different way.

  74. This doesn’t give me my answer to my question how many continents are there in the uk

  75. I was taught that there are 6 continents: America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Antarctica. Some people refer to Europe and Asia as Eurasia which is valid in a geographical point of view, but they are considered as 2 different continents because their separation is historical, not geographical; this is similar to North America and South America, geographically they are considered as 2 separate continents, but historically it’ only one continent called America, where North America and South America are considered sub-continents or regions, along with Central America. When Columbus first set foot in the New World it was in South America and Central America, the word America was later used to refer to this new land mass. The word America was later used to refer to North America as well. Years later, when the English colonies in what is now the U.S. became independent from England they choose the Name United States of America, where the word America indicated that this union of states were located in the continent called America. I’ve heard that some geographic books in the United States often considered North and South America as one continent until World War II, some time later they all began to use the 7 continent model. I don’t know why back in the time they couldn’t come up with a more original name, maybe use a native word like most countries in the rest of the world did, so it could avoid confusions and contradictions in the future.

  76. I was also taught that there is 7 continents. North America, South America, Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia and Antarctica. Considering North and South America as one is new to me but an interesting idea. I’ve heard of Eurasia in the past but figured it was like new math. They changed it for a new generation. I’ve never heard of Oceanic either but that would make sense to count the islands but then again the islands are one mass so I don’t know.
    However, I believe other countries are taught differently. So if you were taught 5 or 6 continents then that is what you learned and was brought up with. Every country or region has its own way of teaching subjects.

    The other thing I found interesting was about the Olympic Rings.
    This is what I was raised with and taught in school about the Olympic rings. I found it quiet interesting that others were taught that the Olympic rings were the 5 continents. I wasn’t taught that the rings represented each continent. I was taught that the colors represented each color of all the flags combined in the world at the time it was created in 1912. I had to do a report on the Olympics in school.

    Here is a quote from the creator of the Olympic flag:
    Baron Pierre de Coubertin
    “…the six colors [including the flag’s white background] thus combined reproduce the colors of all the nations, with no exception. The blue and yellow of Sweden, the blue and white of Greece, the tri- colors of France, England and America, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Hungary, the yellow and red of Spain next to the novelties of Brazil or Australia, with old Japan and new China. Here is truly an international symbol.”

    Like I said it is all a matter of where you grew up.

    The other thing I would like to address here is the question about Americans. Whether or not both or all three North, South, Central should be counting as one or two. I was raised that they are two with central America being part of South America. Mostly because they were Latin countries and grouped better together with South America. They were owned by either Spain or Portugal. As a child that made since to me. As an American (from the USA) child that made a lot of since to me because North America was owned by Russia, Britain, France and Spain among others. North America was basically a free for all among the European countries. I was always jealous of South America at least they knew there ancestors were probably from Spain or Portugal.

    Also North America was actually discovered by the Vikings at least 400 years before Columbus or any other sailor in 1490’s. There are Norse settlements as far south as Maine in the USA. North America should actually had been owned by Greenland or Iceland. Can you imagine what both N&S America would be like if the Vikings had stayed? Would there be a North and South America or just one gigantic country speaking Scandinavian?

  77. I did find this statement and is probably why I never knew about the continents on the Olympic Flag.

    “The Olympic Charter, the Olympic symbol represents the union of the five regions of the world and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games. However, no continent is represented by any specific ring. Prior to 1951, the official handbook stated that each color corresponded to a particular continent: blue for Europe, yellow for Asia, black for Africa, green for Australia and Oceania and red for the Americas; this was removed because there was no evidence that Coubertin had intended it”

    I can see why it was taught that way. By the time was in school they removed it from the handbook.
    Depends on where you were grew up. =)

  78. I think the central problem here is that we can’t quite make up our mind whether ‘concinent’ is a geographical, political or cultural term. When I was in school I distinctly remember being taught 5 continents. Europe, America, Africa, Asia and Antarctica. We had never heard of Australasia or Oceania, and I wonder to myself if these are more political than geographical ideas, Australia is one country over a whole huge land mass as I understand it. So Europe and Asia, in my school days were counted as two because of the cultural and political differences I assume, yet Antarctica was considered one, even though it’s uninhabited, which seems to be a contradiction to me, and also Australia was not. I always thought a continent was one land mass with lots of countries in it. But this would make Antarctica just an island, and Britain a tiny continent surely? I don’t see how you can say any island is part of a continent, however close it is to one, if there’s water between them then the continent is the continent and the island is the island, simple as that. As such you also can’t call a group of islands a continent. On the other hand, how big does a land mass have to be before it can be counted a continent? I’m sure I remember Australia being called both the largest island and the smallest continent. So yes I think this is the problem, that ‘continent’ is really a rather wishy washy term and no one’s certain what it means. There are too many cultural differences between Europe and Asia for me to be entirely comfortable thinking of them as one continent, and yet if they are actually part of the same land mass I’m left with little choice.

  79. When I went to school in Australia in the 59’s and 60’s, They taught us that a Continent was a large area of land, surrounded by a large body of water. They also taught that there were 5 Continents, from the largest ,to the smallest. Asia, Africa, North America, South America and Australia. It appears to me that Europe is not a continent, and never was. So, with the exception of the British Isles, all other so called Europeans are Asians. Now I ask anyone, Is this the reason society is trying to turn Europe into another Continent? Prejudice, bias and small mindedness is alive and thriving If it is.

  80. America is one single continent. It was officially named America by German cartographer mArtin Waldseemüller in 1507. Before the US were founded America and Americans already existed.

  81. Continents are recognized by historical convention there is no strict criteria for the description of a continent and they can be recognized on either geographical, social, historic, or political terms or a combination thereof. Based on which contexts are chosen there can be as many as 7 continents to as little as 4. There is no right and wrong and everyone is taught a little different. For instance, if North and South America are to be recognized as one continent on a geographical basis because they are only separated by a man made canal then wouldn’t you then consider Europe, Asia, and Africa one continent because they are separated by a man made canal? In fact many people see it that way and they call that super continent Afro-Eurasia or the World Island. Surprisingly what a continent is up to interpretation.

  82. We here in the United States of America have been calling ourselves Americans as a matter of convention for 239 years. We were the first colonial possession to win independence in the New World and one of the first steps taken by our congress was to rename the United Colonies as the United States of America to express our independence from our former colonial overlords. We have been known the world over as Americans ever since as a matter of historical convention. In fact Mexico’s official state name is the United Mexican States or Estados Unidos Mexicanos because they were inspired by the American independence movement but nobody would recognize them as United Staters they are Mexicans. Countries and their people are often labeled by historical convention, what do spanish speakers call Austria, Cambodia, Germany, Japan, etc? I bet you it’s not what the local people call their county.