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Eurasia

Eurasia with surrounding areas of Africa and Australasia visible
Eurasia with surrounding areas of Africa and Australasia visible
Afro-Eurasian aspect of Earth
Afro-Eurasian aspect of Earth

Eurasia is the landmass comprising Europe and Asia reckoned as a single continent, with Eurasia being a portmanteau of the two. Covering about 52,990,000 km2 (20,846,000 mi2) or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface (36.2% of the land area), it is located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres, with the Arctic Ocean to the north; the Atlantic Ocean to the west; the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal, and the Indian Ocean to the south; and the Pacific Ocean to the east.

Contents


Overview

Physiographically, Eurasia is a single continent.[1] The concepts of Europe and Asia as distinct continents date back to antiquity and their borders are geologically arbitrary, with the Ural and Caucasus ranges being the main delimiters between the two. Eurasia, in turn, is part of the yet larger landmass of Afro-Eurasia, whereby Eurasia is joined to Africa at the Suez Canal.

Eurasia is inhabited by almost 5 billion people, more than 72.5% of the world's population, 60% in Asia and 12.5% in Europe.

History

Eurasia was the host of many modern civilizations, including those based in Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley.

Jared Diamond, in his book Guns, Germs and Steel, credits Eurasia's dominance in world history to the unique east-west extent of Eurasia and its climate zones, and the availability of Eurasian animals and plants suitable for domestication. He included North Africa in his definition of Eurasia, due to it having a similar climate and peoples.

The Silk Road symbolizes trade and cultural exchange linking Eurasian cultures through history and has been an increasingly popular topic. Over recent decades the idea of a greater Eurasian history has developed with the aim of investigating the genetic, cultural and linguistic relationships between European and Asian cultures of antiquity. These had long been considered distinct.

Geology

Eurasia formed 325 to 375 million years ago when Siberia (once an independent continent), Kazakhstania, and Baltica, which was joined to Laurentia, now North America, to form Euramerica, joined. Chinese cratons collided with Siberia's southern coast.

Politics

Every two years since 1996 a meeting of most Asian and European countries is organised as the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). ASEM]]

Use of term

History of the Europe and Asia division

In ancient times, the Greeks classified Europe (derived from the mythological Phoenician princess Europa) and Asia (derived from Asia, a woman in Greek mythology) as separate "lands". Where to draw the dividing line between the two regions is still a matter of discussion. Especially whether the Kuma-Manych Depression or the Caucasus Mountains form the southeast boundary is disputed, since Mount Elbrus would be part of Europe in the latter case, making it (and not Mont Blanc) Europe's highest mountain. Most accepted is probably the boundary as defined by Philip Johan von Strahlenberg in the 18th century. He defined the dividing line along the Aegean Sea, Dardanelles, Sea of Marmara, Bosporus, Black Sea, Kuma Manych Depression, Caspian Sea, Ural River, and Ural Mountains. This distinction between Europe and Asia has spread to the rest of the world, even though Asia contains multiple regions and cultures as large and populous as Europe, and as different and geographically separated from each other as they are from Europe.

Anthropology and genetics

In modern usage, the term Eurasian usually means "of or relating to Eurasia", or "a native or inhabitant of Eurasia".[2] However, it may also refer to a person of both Asian and European parentage, especially in 'New World' countries such as Australia, Canada, and the United States.

West or western Eurasia is a loose geographic definition used in some disciplines, such as genetics or anthropology, to refer to the region inhabited by the relatively homogeneous population of West Asia, Europe and related areas, especially North Africa. The people of this region are often described collectively as West or Western Eurasians.[3]

Geography

Located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres, Eurasia is considered a supercontinent, part of the supercontinent of Afro-Eurasia or simply a continent its own right.[4] In plate tectonics, the Eurasian Plate includes Europe and most of Asia but not the Indian subcontinent, the Arabian Peninsula or the area of the Russian Far East east of the Chersky Range.

Post-Soviet countries

Single markets in European and post Soviet countries; European Economic Area and Common Economic Space
Single markets in European and post Soviet countries; European Economic Area and Common Economic Space

Eurasia is also sometimes used in geopolitics to refer to organizations of or affairs concerning the post-Soviet states, in particular Russia, the Central Asian republics, and the Transcaucasian republics. A prominent example of this usage is in the name of the Eurasian Economic Community, the organization including Kazakhstan, Russia, and some of their neighbors, and headquartered in Moscow and Astana.

The word "Eurasia" is often used in Kazakhstan as the name of the continent or region in which that country is located. Numerous institutions in that country use it in their name, e.g., L. N. Gumilev Eurasian National University (; )[5] (Lev Gumilev's Eurasianism ideas having been popularized in Kazakhstan by Olzhas Suleimenov), the Eurasian Media Forum,[6] the Eurasian Culture Foundation (), the Eurasian Development Bank (),[7] or the Eurasian Bank.[8] In 2007, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed that a "Eurasia Canal" be built to connect the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea via the Kuma-Manych Depression in Russia, providing Kazakhstan and other Caspian-basin countries with a more efficient access path to the ocean than the existing Volga-Don Canal.[9] This usage is somewhat analogous to the U.S. usage of the term Western Hemisphere when referring to the concepts and organizations dealing with the Americas (e.g., Council on Hemispheric Affairs or Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation).

Use in fiction

Eurasia is a fictional country, state or supranational entity appearing in several works of speculative fiction, including books, movies, television series and video games:

  • A Eurasia comprising approximately the same land area as the real-life landmass appears in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. This superstate excludes Britain and Ireland (both controlled by Oceania) and Eastasia, the latter of which was formed after a 'decade of confused fighting' by an alliance of the states of the real-life East Asia region, the most important three being Korea, China and Japan. India was a contested border zone between Eurasia and Oceania and was the most famous state involved.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's story Solution Unsatisfactory, written in 1940, describes a future 1945 (now to be considered an alternate history) in which the Soviet Union is transformed into the 'Eurasian Union'.
  • In S. M. Stirling's dystopian Draka alternative history series, the analogue to World War II is known as "The Eurasian War". Somewhat similar in its geography to Orwell's scenario, the war ends with most of Eurasia—excluding the British Isles, India and southeast Asia—being conquered by the extremely oppressive Draka who literally enslave everybody else.
  • In the universe of the Earth game series (Earth 2140, Earth 2150, Earth 2160), one of the major factions is the Eurasian Dynasty.
  • Eurasia is a large and powerful terrestrial state and member of the Earth Alliance in the Cosmic Era series of the anime franchise Mobile Suit Gundam SEED.
  • Eurasia is also used as the name of the fictional space colony that X and Zero must stop from colliding with Earth in the video game Mega Man X5.
  • Eurasia is also the name of the super-state in the Japanese film Casshern. Unlike most other fictional "Eurasias" this one has more Chinese/Japanese motives than Russian, although Russian seems to be the official written language.
  • In the 1980 animated film Animalympics, some of the athletes come from "Eurasia". Although not specifically noted in the film, the names and accents of these athletes suggest that "Eurasia" signifies the Soviet Union at the time. The Soviet Union was, by far, the largest country in the Eurasian continent at the time.
  • "United States of Eurasia" is the title of a song by the British alternative rock band Muse from their fifth album The Resistance, alluding to the superstate found with George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty Four, from which the album draws inspiration.
  • "In the book series Artemis Fowl, the protagonist's bodyguard Domovoi Butler is mentioned as Eurasian".
  • "Kenshi from the video game franchise Mortal Kombat has some ancestry who belongs to Eurasia".

See also

  • Afro-Eurasia
  • Asia-Europe Foundation
  • Asia Europe Meeting
  • Borders of the continents
  • Euramerica, a geological supercontinent joining Baltica (Western Europe) and North America.
  • Eurasian (disambiguation)
  • Eurasian Economic Community
  • Eurasian Union
  • Intermediate Region
  • Laurasia, a geological supercontinent joining Eurasia and North America.
  • List of supercontinents
  • Neo-Eurasianism
  • Palearctic

References

External links

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