Our Earth is comprised of 71% water, meaning that only a small fraction of the Earth is actually land. That land is spread out in 7 large landforms, called continents. The names of the continents of the world are: Africa, Asia, North America, South America, Europe, Antarctica, and lastly Australia (sometimes referred to as Oceania). Those continents house the entire population of Earth. To learn all about each continent, check out this guide.
When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty. John Muir
Before we delve into the individual continents it is important to actually define the term continent. According to Dictionary.com (found here), the term continent means:
one of the main landmasses of the globe, usually reckoned as seven in number (Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America,Australia, and Antarctica)
Each of those seven landforms each have their own climate and unique geography. Oftentimes North and South America will be referred to as simply the “Americas” and some people might combine them into 1 big continent. Some people think there are only 5 continents, America, Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe which is what the 5 Olympic rings represent, which is pretty interesting, but the most accepted number of continents is 7.
The Seven Continents
Now let’s go over each continent individually:
Australia (Oceania) is the smallest continent on Earth and is home to only .3% of the population of the Earth. It is also called Oceania to differentiate between the country Australia and the continent named Australia. The largest city in Oceania is Sydney, Australia with a population of 4.9 million people. A lot of the country Australia is uninhabited by humans, but it does have a massive amount of unique plants and animals. Living in Australia is not for the faint of heart with its large desert and scary insects.
Here are the 13 countries that comprise Australia (Oceania) in alphabetical order:
|Papua New Guinea||Port Moresby|
Antarctica is our southernmost continent and usually has a population of 1,000 to 5,000 when researchers and scientists are visiting to conduct tests and experiments. It is extremely cold, with the temperature ranging between -110 degrees Fahrenheit to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (at the northernmost coast during the summer). It has very little precipitation and is actually one of the driest continents on Earth.
Antarctica is home to many different animals, such as penguins, orcas, whales, seals, and even some species of squid.
Africa is the second largest continent in the world and houses at least 16% of the World’s population at 1 billion people. Eastern Africa is believed to be the “birthplace” of humanity based on fossil records that researchers have found in Ethiopia that date back to 200,000 years ago. The climate of Africa ranges from sub-arctic in the southernmost part to tropical at the northernmost part of the continent. Africa is home to a huge amount of diverse wildlife such as: cheetahs, lions, elephants, camels, snakes, a massive amount of sea life, and many species of primates.
Here are the countries (and capitals) in Africa in alphabetical order:
|Central African Republic||Bangui|
|Democratic Republic of Congo||Kinshasa|
|Republic of the Congo||Brazzaville|
|São Tomé and Príncipe||São Tomé|
Asia is the largest continent in the world and is also the most populous continent, housing 4.5 billion people. It has a size of 17 million miles and the climate ranges from subarctic at the northernmost part to tropical in the southernmost part of the continent. Asia is also home to the Himalaya mountains, which is the highest point on Earth. Asia is also home to the Gobi desert which spreads across most of the Middle East.
Here are the countries (and their capitals) that are in Asia in alphabetical order:
|Brunei||Bandar Seri Begawan|
|State of Palestine||Ramallah|
|Timor – Leste||Dili|
|United Arab Emirates||Abu Dhabi|
Europe is home to 11% of the World’s population with 740 million people and takes up about 7% of the Earth’s landmass. Europes climate is actually very temperate and is greatly affected by trade winds and the Gulf stream. The northernmost part of Europe’s climate is in the tundra range, whereas the southernmost part of Europe is pretty dry. Animals are really heavily influenced by humans since most of Europe is inhabited by humans.
Here are the countries (and capitals) in Europe in alphabetical order:
|Andorra||Andorra la Vella|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Saravejo|
|San Marino||San Marino|
|Vatican City||Vatican City|
6. North America
North America takes up about 17% of the World’s landmass, coming in with 9.5 million square miles of land, making it the 3rd largest continent. North America’s population is 560 million, holding 7% of the World’s population. The climate ranges from arctic in its northernmost portions to subtropical in its southernmost regions. Animals who call North America home include bears, turkeys, wolves, and bison. The United States of America was rated as the richest country in the world in 2016.
Here are a list of the countries (and their capitals) in alphabetical order:
|Costa Rica||San Jose|
|Dominican Republic||Santo Domingo|
|El Salvador||San Salvador|
|Trinidad||Port of Spain|
|United States of America||Washington, D.C.|
7. South America
The final continent is South America, which takes up about 6.9 million square miles, and is home to about 420 million people. South America is home to the largest river in the world, the Amazon River. South America is home to hundreds of different animals, with many animals that have yet to be discovered yet. The climate in South America is very similar to Africa in that the southernmost portions of the continent are subarctic, and the northernmost parts are tropical. The Amazon river valley is very tropical and is massive, taking up most of Brazil.
Here are the countries (and capitals) that are in South America in alphabetical order: