Portal:Asia

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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, more than all other continents combined.

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 Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, as well as many other religions.

Selected panorama

200pxAlong the River During the Qingming Festival
Credit: Zhang Zeduan

Along the River During the Qingming Festival is a painting from China's Song Dynasty that captures the daily life of people from the period at the capital, Bianjing, today's Kaifeng. As an artistic creation, the piece has been revered, and court artists of subsequent dynasties have made several re-interpretive replicas. The painting is famous because of its geometrically accurate images of boats, bridges, shops, and scenery. Because of its fame, it has been called "China's Mona Lisa".

Featured picture

A Cambodian girl begging for money with snake
Credit: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

A little girl making money for her family by posing with a snake in a water village of Tonle Sap Lake.

Selected Country

Flag of South Korea.svg

South Korea (Korean: 한국/韓國; RR: Hanguk or literally 남한/南韓; RR: Namhan), officially the Republic of Korea (Korean: 대한민국/大韓民國; RR: Daehan Minguk) is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula and sharing a land border with North Korea.

The name Korea is derived from Goguryeo, which was one of the great powers in East Asia during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, Manchuria, parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia under Gwanggaeto the Great. Its capital, Seoul, is a major global city and half of South Korea's over 51 million people live in the Seoul Capital Area, the fourth largest metropolitan economy in the world. Read more...

Featured biography

A black and white picture of a man in a suit and peci looking forward

General of the Army Raden Soedirman (Perfected Spelling: Sudirman; 24 January 1916 – 29 January 1950) was a high-ranking Indonesian military officer during the Indonesian National Revolution. The first commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces, he continues to be widely respected in the country.

Born in Purbalingga, Dutch East Indies, Soedirman moved to Cilacap in 1916 and was raised by his uncle. A diligent student at a Muhammadiyah-run school, he became respected within the community for his devotion to Islam. After dropping out of teacher's college, in 1936 he began working as a teacher, and later headmaster, at a Muhammadiyah-run elementary school. After the Japanese occupied the Indies in 1942, Soedirman continued to teach, before joining the Japanese-sponsored Defenders of the Homeland as a battalion commander in Banyumas in 1944. In this position he put down a rebellion by his fellow soldiers, but was later interned in Bogor. After Indonesia proclaimed its independence on 17 August 1945, Soedirman led a break-out then went to Jakarta to meet President Sukarno. Tasked with overseeing the surrender of Japanese soldiers in Banyumas, he established a division of the People's Safety Body there. On 12 November 1945, at an election to decide the military's commander-in-chief in Yogyakarta, Soedirman was chosen over Oerip Soemohardjo in a close vote. While waiting to be confirmed, Soedirman ordered an assault on British and Dutch forces in Ambarawa. The ensuing battle and British withdrawal strengthened Soedirman's popular support, and he was ultimately confirmed on 18 December. Read more...

Featured article

RomanandHanEmpiresAD1.png

Sino-Roman relations comprised the mostly indirect contact, flow of trade goods, information, and occasional travellers between the Roman Empire and Han Empire of China, as well as between the later Eastern Roman Empire and various Chinese dynasties. These empires inched progressively closer in the course of the Roman expansion into the ancient Near East and simultaneous Han Chinese military incursions into Central Asia. Mutual awareness remained low, and firm knowledge about each other was limited. Only a few attempts at direct contact are known from records. Intermediate empires such as the Parthians and Kushans, seeking to maintain lucrative control over the silk trade, inhibited direct contact between these two Eurasian powers. In 97 AD, the Chinese general Ban Chao tried to send his envoy Gan Ying to Rome, but Gan was dissuaded by Parthians from venturing beyond the Persian Gulf. Several alleged Roman emissaries to China were recorded by ancient Chinese historians. The first one on record, supposedly from either the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius or his adopted son Marcus Aurelius, arrived in 166 AD. Others are recorded as arriving in 226 and 284 AD, with a long absence until the first recorded Byzantine embassy in 643 AD.

The indirect exchange of goods on land along the Silk Road and sea routes included Chinese silk, Roman glassware and high-quality cloth. Roman coins minted from the 1st century AD onwards have been found in China, as well as a coin of Maximian and medallions from the reigns of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius in Jiaozhi in modern Vietnam, the same region at which Chinese sources claim the Romans first landed. Roman glassware and silverware have been discovered at Chinese archaeological sites dated to the Han period. Roman coins and glass beads have also been found in Japan. Read more...
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Updated: 20:33, 19 February 2020

In the news

20 February 2020 – 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak
South Korea reports its first death from COVID-19. (Sputnik)
Two Japanese passengers who were on board of the Diamond Princess cruise ship have died from the disease. Both, a man and a woman in their 80s, had underlying health conditions. (BBC)
Australia extends ban on travel from China for a fourth week. (The Guardian)
19 February 2020 – Syrian civil war, Northwestern Syria offensive (December 2019–present), Turkish involvement in the Syrian Civil War
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan calls a Turkish intervention in Syria's Idlib Governorate "imminent" after talks with Russia fail to reach what he describes as their "desired result". Erdoğan threatens to launch an operation in Idlib by the end of the month. Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov calls Turkish involvement in the battle "the worst scenario". The countries support opposing sides in the ongoing conflict. (Al Jazeera)
19 February 2020 – Yemeni Civil War (2015–present)
A convoy carrying Yemeni Defense Minister Mohammed Ali Al-Maqdashi in Ma'rib Governorate strikes a landmine, killing six people. The Defense Minister survives the blast. (Anadolu Agency)
19 February 2020 – Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott claims that high-ranking Malaysian officials believed pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah deliberately downed the plane. (Fox News)

Updated: 14:33, 20 February 2020

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