Map of the continents and oceans of the world
The map shows the continents, regions, and oceans of the world.
Earth has a total surface area
of 510 million km²; 149 million km² (29.2%) are "dry land"; the rest of the planet's surface is covered by water (70.8%).
Shortly after humans left the trees, 6 million years ago, they started naming their environment, Black Rock, Long Water, Dark Wood, Water Fall, Spring Field, Sea of Grass, Blue Mountain, Hippo Campus, etc.
Six million years later, they had named the whole planet. The continents were named last because mankind had no clue of the shape of the earth for a long time. The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration, the serious search for information and resources began in the 15th century, when European explorers sailed and charted much of the rest of the world, for various reasons. By the beginning of the 20th century, most of the Earth's surface had been explored, no more blank areas, except for the deep sea.
More about Earth's continents. The Eurasia supercontinent, the continental landmass of Europe and Asia, covers an area of ≈51 million km², including Arabia and India, but not Maritime Southeast Asia. Eurasia
Image: nationsonline.org, Google Earth
Eurasia is a single landmass and the largest continent on the planet. The supercontinent covers an area
of about 51 million km². Most of the continent "sits" on the Eurasian tectonic plate, except for the Indian and Arab subcontinent, which have their own tectonic ride.
Eurasia is subdivided by convention into Asia and Europe, separated from each other by the Caspian Sea, the Ural River, and the Urals (the Ural Mountains).
The Ural mountain range runs from the coast of the Arctic Ocean southwards through the western part of Russia
The second-largest landmass is the continent of Africa
with an area
of 30.2 million km². Africa, as we know it, is in reality the visible part of the African tectonic plate; the rest of the plate is under the waters of various oceans and seas around its landmass.
The continent is subdivided by convention into North(ern) Africa, West(ern) Africa, East(ern) Africa, Central Africa, and Southern Africa.
54 countries share the continent. 1,276 million people live in Africa. The Americas
The Americas consist of the continents of North and South America, which are joined by the Isthmus of Panama (Central America), plus the islands of the Caribbean. North and South America are geologically separate continental masses. North America
North America is Earth's third-largest landmass, with an area of 24.2 million km². It is separated from mainland Asia (Russia's Far East) by the 83 km (at the narrowest part) wide Bering Strait. However, a portion of eastern Russia (eastern Siberia) is, in reality, part of the North American plate.
Mainland North America is home to three countries, Canada
, the United States
, and Greenland
, the world's largest island, which belongs geographically to North America. Central America
North America is connected to South America by the Isthmus of Panama
, a landbridge between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean and home to seven countries: El Salvador
, Costa Rica
, and Panama
. South America
South America is located almost entirely in the Southern Hemisphere. It is bordered in the west by the Humboldt Current of the Pacific Ocean and in the east by the Brazil Current of the South Atlantic Ocean. With an area of 17.8 million km², it is number four in the shortlist of the largest continents.
The continent is situated on the South American Plate, which meets the Caribbean Plate in the Caribbean Sea in the north, the Nazca plate in the South Pacific Ocean in the west. It adjoins the African plate in the east, and it borders the Antarctic Plate in the south. Australia Australia
is both, a country and a continent; it is the smallest in our hitlist of the largest continents. Australia's landmass measures 7.6 million km²; it is smaller than the area of Europe with about 10.2 million km². Australia travels together with the island of New Guinea on the Australia tectonic plate. Antarctica Antarctica
has a land area of 14.2 million km², making it the world's fifth-largest continent. Somewhere in the middle of this vast, cold, and hostile continent is the South Pole, the southernmost point on the surface of the Earth. The southernmost continent is the hub for one of the two endpoints of Earth's rotation axis. Antarctica has its own tectonic plate, named the Antarctic plate. Oceania
Oceania isn't a continent; it is a geographic region encompassing the islands of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean and the adjacent seas. For good measure, Australia and New Zealand are included in the Oceanian area.
Go to the Continent index
, or visit our continent pages: Africa
| Antarctica | Asia
| The Americas keywords: how many continents are there in the world? map of continents