The largest continent with 60% of the earth's population; it is joined to Europe on the west to form Eurasia; it is the site of some of the world's earliest civilizations.
Largest of the continents, occupying one-third of the total land surface of the world
area 44,000,000 sq km/17,000,000 sq mi
largest cities (population over 5 million) Tokyo, Shanghai, Osaka, Beijing, Seoul, Calcutta, Bombay, Jakarta, Bangkok, Tehran, Hong Kong, Delhi, Tianjin, Karachi
features Mount Everest, at 8,872 m/29,118 ft is the world’s highest mountain; Dead Sea at -394 m/-1,293 ft is the world’s lowest point below sea level; rivers (over 3,200 km/2,000 mi) include Chiang Jiang (Yangtze), Huang He (Yellow River), Ob-Irtysh, Amur, Lena, Mekong, Yenisei; lakes (over 18,000 sq km/7,000 sq mi) include Caspian Sea (the largest lake in the world), Aral Sea, Baikal (largest freshwater lake in Eurasia), Balkhash; deserts include the Gobi, Takla Makan, Syrian Desert, Arabian Desert, Negev
physical lying in the eastern hemisphere, Asia extends from the Arctic Circle to just over 10ş S of the equator. The Asian mainland, which forms the greater part of the Eurasian continent, lies entirely in the northern hemisphere and stretches from Cape Chelyubinsk at its northern extremity to Cape Piai at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. From Dezhneva Cape in the E, the mainland extends W over more than 165ş longitude to Cape Baba in Turkey.
Containing the world's highest mountains and largest inland seas, Asia can be divided into five physical units:
1) at the heart of the continent, a central triangle of plateaus at varying altitudes (Tibetan Plateau, Tarim Basin, Gobi Desert), surrounded by huge mountain chains which spread in all directions (Himalayas, Karakoram, Hindu Kush, Pamirs, Kunlun, Tien Shan, Altai);
2) the western plateaus and ranges (Elburz, Zagros, Taurus, Great Caucasus mountains) of Afghanistan, Iran, N Iraq, Armenia, and Turkey;
3) the lowlands of Turkestan and Siberia which stretch N of the central mountains to the Arctic Ocean and include large areas in which the subsoil is permanently frozen;
4) the fertile and densely populated eastern lowlands and river plains of Korea, China, and Indochina, and the islands of the East Indies and Japan;
5) the southern plateaus of Arabia, and the Deccan, with the fertile alluvial plains of the Euphrates, Tigris, Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Irrawaddy rivers.
In Asiatic Russia are the largest areas of coniferous forest (taiga) in the world
climate showing great extremes and contrasts, the heart of the continent becoming bitterly cold in winter and extremely hot in summer. When the heated air over land rises, moisture-laden air from the surrounding seas flows in, bringing heavy monsoon rains to all SE Asia, China, and Japan between May and Oct
industries 62% of the population are employed in agriculture; Asia produces 46% of the world’s cereal crops (91% of the world’s rice); other crops include mangoes (India), groundnuts (India, China), 84% of the world’s copra (Philippines, Indonesia), 93% of the world’s rubber (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand), tobacco (China), flax (China, Russia), 95% of the world’s jute (India, Bangladesh, China), cotton (China, India, Pakistan), silk (China, India), fish (Japan, China, Korea, Thailand); China produces 55% of the world’s tungsten; 45% of the world’s tin is produced by Malaysia, China, and Indonesia; Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest producer of oil
million; the world’s largest, though not the fastest growing population, amounting to more than half the total number of people in the world; between 1950 and 1990 the death rate and infant mortality were reduced by more than 60%; annual growth rate 1.7%; projected to increase to 3,550 million by the year 2000
language predominantly tonal languages (Chinese) and Japanese in the E, Indo-Iranian languages (Hindi, Urdu, Persian) in S Asia, Altaic languages (Mongolian, Turkish) in W and Central Asia, Semitic languages (Arabic, Hebrew) in the SW
religion the major religions of the world had their origins in Asia—Judaism and Christianity in the Middle East, Islam in Arabia, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism in India, Confucianism in China, and Shintoism in Japan.