Portal:Asia

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Asia (orthographic projection).svg

Asia (/ˈʒə, ˈʃə/ (About this soundlisten)) is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres (17,212,000 sq mi), about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Asia is notable for not only its overall large size and population, but also dense and large settlements, as well as vast barely populated regions. Its 4.5 billion people () constitute roughly 60% of the world's population.

In general terms, Asia is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean, and on the north by the Arctic Ocean. The border of Asia with Europe is a historical and cultural construct, as there is no clear physical and geographical separation between them. It is somewhat arbitrary and has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity. The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East–West cultural, linguistic, and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The most commonly accepted boundaries place Asia to the east of the Suez Canal separating it from Africa; and to the east of the Turkish Straits, the Ural Mountains and Ural River, and to the south of the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian and Black Seas, separating it from Europe.

China and India alternated in being the largest economies in the world from 1 to 1800 CE. China was a major economic power and attracted many to the east, and for many the legendary wealth and prosperity of the ancient culture of India personified Asia, attracting European commerce, exploration and colonialism. The accidental discovery of a trans-Atlantic route from Europe to America by Columbus while in search for a route to India demonstrates this deep fascination. The Silk Road became the main east–west trading route in the Asian hinterlands while the Straits of Malacca stood as a major sea route. Asia has exhibited economic dynamism (particularly East Asia) as well as robust population growth during the 20th century, but overall population growth has since fallen. Asia was the birthplace of most of the world's mainstream religions including Islam, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, as well as many other religions.

Selected panorama

150pxLuang Prabang, Laos
Credit: Benh Lieu Song

Panorama of the city of Luang Prabang in northern Laos, as seen from Phu Si hill. The city was formerly the capital of a kingdom of the same name, and after Laos's independence from France, it was the royal capital and seat of government of the Kingdom of Laos. This view features the Nam Khan river on the left, and Luang Prabang International Airport on the very far left.

Featured picture

Nizwa Fort and Minaret of Friday Mosque
Credit: Martin Falbisoner

The Nizwa Fort is a large castle in Nizwa, Oman. It was built in the 1650s by the second Ya’rubi ; Imam Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya'rubi, although its underlying structure goes back to the 12th century. It is Oman's most visited national monument. In this particular photograph, The minaret of Friday Mosque is seen from Nizwa Fort.

Selected Country

Flag of Georgia.svg

Georgia (Georgian: საქართველო, translit.: sakartvelo, IPA: [sɑkʰɑrtʰvɛlɔ] (About this soundlisten)), known until 1995 as the Republic of Georgia (Georgian: საქართველოს რესპუბლიკა, translit.: sakartvelos resp'ublik'a), is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital and largest city is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometres (26,911 sq mi), and its 2017 population is about 3.718 million. Georgia is a unitary parliamentary republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy.

During the classical era, several independent kingdoms became established in what is now Georgia, such as Colchis and Iberia. The Georgians officially adopted Christianity in the early 4th century. The Georgian Orthodox Church had enormous importance for the spiritual and political unification of early Georgian states. The unified Kingdom of Georgia reached its Golden Age during the reign of King David the Builder and Queen Tamar the Great in the 12th and early 13th centuries. Thereafter, the kingdom declined and eventually disintegrated under the hegemony of various regional powers, including the Mongols, the Ottoman Empire and successive dynasties of Iran. In the late 18th century, the eastern Georgian Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti forged an alliance with the Russian Empire, which directly annexed the kingdom in 1801 and conquered the western Kingdom of Imereti in 1810. Russian rule over Georgia was eventually acknowledged in various peace treaties with Iran and the Ottomans and the remaining Georgian territories were absorbed by the Russian Empire in a piecemeal fashion through the course of the 19th century. Read more...

Featured biography

Choe Bu (Korean: 최부, 1454–1504) was a Korean official during the early Joseon Dynasty. He is most well known for the account of his shipwrecked travels in China from February to July 1488, during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). He was eventually banished from the Joseon court in 1498 and executed in 1504 during two political purges. However, in 1506 he was exonerated and given posthumous honors by the Joseon court.

Choe's diary accounts of his travels in China became widely printed during the 16th century in both Korea and Japan. Modern historians also refer to his written works, since his travel diary provides a unique outsider's perspective on Chinese culture in the 15th century. The attitudes and opinions expressed in his writing represent in part the standpoints and views of the 15th century Confucian Korean literati, who viewed Chinese culture as compatible with and similar to their own. His description of cities, people, customs, cuisines, and maritime commerce along China's Grand Canal provides insight into the daily life of China and how it differed between northern and southern China during the 15th century. Read more...

Featured article

Bird's eye view of Gangtok City from Ganeshtok.jpg

Gangtok (/ˈɡæŋtɒk/ (About this soundlisten)) is a city, municipality, the capital and the largest town of the Indian state of Sikkim. It also is the headquarters of the East Sikkim district. Gangtok is in the eastern Himalayan range, at an elevation of 1,650 m (5,410 ft). The town's population of 100,000 are from different ethnicities such as Bhutia, Lepchas and Indian Gorkhas. Within the higher peaks of the Himalaya and with a year-round mild temperate climate, Gangtok is at the centre of Sikkim's tourism industry.

Gangtok rose to prominence as a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site after the construction of the Enchey Monastery in 1840. In 1894, the ruling Sikkimese Chogyal, Thutob Namgyal, transferred the capital to Gangtok. In the early 20th century, Gangtok became a major stopover on the trade route between Lhasa in Tibet and cities such as Kolkata (then Calcutta) in British India. After India won its independence from Britain in 1947, Sikkim chose to remain an independent monarchy, with Gangtok as its capital. In 1975, after the integration with the union of India, Gangtok was made India's 22nd state capital. Read more...

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Updated: 14:33, 7 December 2019

In the news

7 December 2019 – 2019 Iraqi protests
A drone attacks the home of prominent Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, leaving no casualties and causing minimal damages. The attack follows a shooting against protestors in Baghdad yesterday. (Reuters)
7 December 2019 – Iran–United States relations
In a rare act of cooperation in recent years, Iran releases Princeton PhD candidate Wang Xiyue while the United States releases stem cell researcher Massoud Soleimani in a prisoner exchange. Both U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif thank the Swiss government for facilitating the swap. (Reuters)
7 December 2019 –
Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi travels to The Hague where she is expected to face genocide charges against her government for the alleged crimes committed against the Rohingya Muslim minority, in what is described as one of the most-high profile international legal cases in a generation. (Telegraph)
6 December 2019 – 2019 Iraqi protests
Gunmen in vehicles open fire on protesters in Baghdad killing over 19 and injuring around 70 others. Three of the dead were Iraqi police. The victims were either stabbed or shot. (AP) (Telegraph) (Al Jazeera)
5 December 2019 –
Indonesian police arrest more than 34 people over "charges of treason" for attempting to raise the outlawed Morning Star flag, which represents the independence movement of West Papua Province. (RNZ)
4 December 2019 – War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
Japanese doctor Tetsu Nakamura and five Afghans are killed in Jalalabad, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan when militants open fire on their car while they were travelling to monitor a project. (BBC) (Euronews)

Updated: 21:33, 7 December 2019

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