Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Asia Portal

Asia is the largest and most populous continent in the world. It has a land mass at around 49,694,700 km² and covers 8.6% of the Earth's total surface area, or 29.4% of its land area. It is traditionally defined as part of the landmass of Africa-Eurasia lying east of the Suez Canal, east of the Ural Mountains, and south of the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspianand Black Seas.

Asia is considered one of the most populous regions in the world, containing approximately 60% of the world's human population. Of these only 2% live in the northern and interior half (Siberia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Xinjiang, Tibet, Qinghai, western Uzbekistan andTurkmenistan).

The wealth of Asia differs widely between, and within, states. This is due to its vast size, meaning a huge range of different cultures, environments, historical ties and government systems. The largest economies in Asia in terms of nominal GDP are Japan, People's Republic of China and India, the smallest East Timor. In terms of Purchasing Power Parity however, the People's Republic of Chinahas the largest economy in Asia and the second largest in the world, followed by Japan and India as the world's third and fourth largest economies respectively.

Asia is also known for its rich history and culture. Asian art, music, and cuisine, as well as literature, are important parts of Asian culture. Eastern philosophy and religion also plays a major role, with Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Christianity all playing major roles. One of the most complex parts of Asian culture is the relationship between traditional cultures and the Western world.

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