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Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located in the eastern and northern hemispheresmarker. It covers 8.6% of the earth's total surface area (or 29.9% of its land area) and with approximately 4 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population.

Asia is traditionally defined as part of the landmass of Eurasia — with the western portion of the latter occupied by Europe — located to the east of the Suez Canalmarker, east of the Ural Mountainsmarker and south of the Caucasus Mountainsmarker (or the Kuma-Manych Depression) and the Caspianmarker and Black Seasmarker. It is bounded on the east by the Pacific Oceanmarker, on the south by the Indian Oceanmarker and on the north by the Arctic Oceanmarker. Given its size and diversity, Asia — a toponym dating back to classical antiquity — is more a cultural concept incorporating a number of regions and peoples than a homogeneous physical entity" Asia". McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. 2006. New York: McGraw-Hill Inc. (see Subregions of Asia, Asian people).

The wealth of Asia differs very widely among and within its regions, due to its vast size and huge range of different cultures, environments, historical ties and government systems. In terms of nominal GDP, Japanmarker has the largest economy on the continent and the second largest in the world. In purchasing power parity terms, however, Chinamarker has the largest economy in Asia and the third largest in the world.


The term Asia is originally a concept exclusively of Western civilization. The peoples of ancient Asia (Chinese, Japanese, Indians, Persians, Arabs etc.) never conceived the idea of Asia, simply because they did not see themselves collectively. In their perspective, they were vastly varied civilizations, contrary to ancient European belief.

The word Asia originated from the Greek word Ἀσία, first attributed to Herodotus (ca. 440 BC) in reference to Anatoliamarker or — in describing the Persian Wars — to the Persian Empire, in contrast to Greecemarker and Egyptmarker. Herodotus comments that he is puzzled as to why three women's names are used to describe one enormous and substantial land mass (Europa, Asia, and Libya, referring to Africa), stating that most Greeks assumed that Asia was named after the wife of Prometheus (i.e. Hesione), but that the Lydians say it was named after Asias, son of Cotys, who passed the name on to a tribe in Sardismarker. Even before Herodotus, Homer knew of two figures in the Trojan War named Asios; and elsewhere he describes a marsh as ασιος (Iliad 2, 461).

In actuality, he Greek name Ἀσία was most probably derived from Assuwa, a 14th century BC confederation of states in Western Anatolia. Hittite assu- 'good' may be an element in that name.

Usage of the term soon became common in ancient Greece, and subsequently by the ancient Romans. Ancient and medieval European maps depict the Asian continent as a "huge amorphous blob" extending eastward. It was presumed in antiquity to end with Indiamarker — the Macedonian king Alexander the Great believing he would reach reach the "end of the world" upon his arrival in the East.

Other alternatives

Alternatively, the etymology of the term may be from the Akkadian word , which means 'to go outside' or 'to ascend', referring to the direction of the sun at sunrise in the Middle East and also likely connected with the Phoenician word asa meaning east. This may be contrasted to a similar etymology proposed for Europe, as being from Akkadian erēbu(m) 'to enter' or 'set' (of the sun).

T.R. Reid supports this alternative etymology, noting that the ancient Greek name must have derived from asu, meaning 'east' in Assyrian (ereb for Europe meaning 'west'). The terms/ideas of occidental (form Latin Occidens 'setting') and oriental (from Latin Oriens for 'rising') are also European invention, synonymous with Western and Eastern. He further emphasizes that it explains the Western point of view of placing all the peoples and cultures of Asia into a single classification, almost as if there were a need for setting the distinction between Western and Eastern civilization on the Eurasian continent. Ogura Kazuo and Tenshin Okakura are two Japanese outspoken figures over the subject.

However, this etymology is considered doubtful, because it does not explain how the term "Asia" first came to be associated with Anatolia, which is west of the Semitic-speaking areas, unless they refer to the viewpoint of a Phoenicianmarker sailor sailing through the straits between the Mediterranean Seamarker and the Black Sea.

Definition and boundaries

Physical geography

See also: Geography of Asia, Countries in both Asia and Europe, Geographic criteria for the definition of Europe

Medieval Europeans considered Asia as a continent a distinct landmass. The European concept of the three continents in the Old World goes back to Classical Antiquity, but during the Middle Ages was notably due to 7th century Spanishmarker scholar Isidore of Sevilla (see T and O map). The demarcation between Asia and Africa (to the southwest) is the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Seamarker. The boundary between Asia and Europe is conventionally considered to run through the Dardanellesmarker, the Sea of Marmaramarker, the Bosporusmarker, the Black Sea, the Caucasus Mountains, the Caspian Sea, the Ural River to its source and the Ural Mountains to the Kara Seamarker near Kara, Russia. While this interpretation of tripartite continents (i.e., of Asia, Europe and Africa) remains common in modernity, discovery of the extent of Africa and Asia have made this definition somewhat anachronistic. This is especially true in the case of Asia, which would have several regions that would be considered distinct landmasses if these criteria were used (for example, Southern Asia and Eastern Asia).

In the far northeast of Asia, Siberiamarker is separated from North America by the Bering Straitmarker. Asia is bounded on the south by the Indian Oceanmarker (specifically, from west to east, the Gulf of Adenmarker, Arabian Seamarker and Bay of Bengalmarker), on the east by the waters of the Pacific Oceanmarker (including, counterclockwise, the South China Seamarker, East China Seamarker, Yellow Seamarker, Sea of Japanmarker, Sea of Okhotskmarker and Bering Seamarker) and on the north by the Arctic Oceanmarker. Australia (or Oceania) is to the southeast.

Some geographers do not consider Asia and Europe to be separate continents, as there is no logical physical separation between them. For example, Sir Barry Cunliffe, the emeritus professor of European archeology at Oxford, argues that Europe has been geographically and culturally merely “the western excrescence of the continent of Asia.” Geographically, Asia is the major eastern constituent of the continent of Eurasia with Europe being a northwestern peninsula of the landmass – or of Afro-Eurasia: geologically, Asia, Europe and Africa comprise a single continuous landmass (save the Suez Canal) and share a common continental shelf. Almost all of Europe and most of Asia sit atop the Eurasian Plate, adjoined on the south by the Arabian and Indian Plate and with the easternmost part of Siberia (east of the Cherskiy Rangemarker) on the North American Plate.

In geography, there are two schools of thought. One school follows historical convention and treats Europe and Asia as different continents, categorizing subregions within them for more detailed analysis. The other school equates the word "continent" with a geographical region when referring to Europe, and use the term "region" to describe Asia in terms of physiography. Since, in linguistic terms, "continent" implies a distinct landmass, it is becoming increasingly common to substitute the term "region" for "continent" to avoid the problem of disambiguation altogether.

Given the scope and diversity of the landmass, it is sometimes not even clear exactly what "Asia" consists of. Some definitions exclude Turkeymarker, the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia while only considering the Far East, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent to compose Asia,World University Service of Canada. Asia-WUSC WorldWide. 2006. October 7, 2006. />. especially in the United Statesmarker after World War II. The term is sometimes used more strictly in reference to the Asia-Pacific region, which does not include the Middle East or Russia,BBC News 2006. September 9, 2006. />. but does include islands in the Pacific Ocean—a number of which may also be considered part of Australasia or Oceania, although Pacific Islanders are not considered Asian.American Heritage Book of English Usage. Asian. 1996. September 29, 2006. />.

Political geography

Territories and regions

File:Location-Asia-UNsubregions orthographic projection.png|Geographical Subregions of Asia:

File:United Nations geoscheme (Asia).svg|UN geoscheme subregions of Asia:

Name of region  Continental regions as per , except 12. Depending on definitions, various territories cited below (notes 6, 11-13, 15, 17-19, 21-23) may be in one or both of Asia and Europe, Africa, or Oceania.


territory, with flag


(1 July 2008 est.)
Population density

(per km²)
Central Asia:
  Kazakhstanmarker is sometimes considered a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe; population and area figures are for Asian portion only.

2,724,927 15,666,533 5.7 Astanamarker
198,500 5,356,869 24.3 Bishkekmarker
143,100 7,211,884 47.0 Dushanbemarker
488,100 5,179,573 9.6 Ashgabatmarker
447,400 28,268,441 57.1 Tashkentmarker
Eastern Asia:
  The state "People's Republic of Chinamarker" is commonly known as simply "China", which is subsumed by the eponymous entity and civilization marker. Figures given are for mainland China only, and do not include Hong Kongmarker, Macaumarker and Taiwanmarker.

9,584,492 1,322,044,605 134.0 Beijing
  Hong Kongmarker is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China.

1,092 7,008,300 6,417.9
  Macaumarker is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China.

25 460,823 18,473.3
377,835 127,288,628 336.1 Tokyomarker
  Figures are for the area under the de facto control of the Republic of Chinamarker (ROC) government, commonly referred to as Taiwanmarker. Claimed in whole by the PRC; see political status of Taiwan.

35,980 22,920,946 626.7 Taipeimarker
120,540 23,479,095 184.4 Pyongyangmarker
98,480 49,232,844 490.7 Seoulmarker
1,565,000 2,996,082 1.7 Ulaan Baatarmarker
Northern Asia:
  Russia is considered a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia; population and area figures are for the entire state.

17,075,400 142,200,000 26.8 Moscowmarker
Southeastern Asia:Excludes Christmas Islandmarker and Cocos Islandsmarker (Australian external territories in the Indian Oceanmarker southwest of Indonesiamarker).

5,770 381,371 66.1 Bandar Seri Begawanmarker
676,578 47,758,224 70.3 Naypyidawmarker
181,035 13,388,910 74 Phnom Penhmarker
  East Timormarker is often considered a transcontinental country in Southeastern Asia and Oceania.

15,007 1,108,777 73.8 Dilimarker
  Indonesiamarker is often considered a transcontinental country in Southeastern Asia and Oceania; figures do not include Irian Jayamarker and Maluku Islandsmarker, frequently reckoned in Oceania (Melanesia/Australasia).

1,919,440 230,512,000 120.1 Jakartamarker
236,800 6,677,534 28.2 Vientianemarker
329,847 27,780,000 84.2 Kuala Lumpurmarker
300,000 92,681,453 308.9 Manilamarker
704 4,608,167 6,545.7 Singaporemarker
514,000 65,493,298 127.4 Bangkokmarker(Krung Thep Mahanakhon)
331,690 86,116,559 259.6 Hanoimarker
Southern Asia:
647,500 32,738,775 42.9 Kabulmarker
147,570 153,546,901 1040.5 Dhakamarker
38,394 682,321 17.8 Thimphumarker
  Includes Jammu and Kashmirmarker, a contested territory among India, Pakistanmarker, and the PRCmarker.

3,287,263 1,147,995,226 349.2 New Delhimarker
300 379,174 1,263.3 Malémarker
147,181 29,519,114 200.5 Kathmandumarker
803,940 167,762,049 208.7 Islamabadmarker
65,610 21,128,773 322.0 Sri Jayawardenapura-Kotte
Western Asia:
  Armeniamarker is sometimes considered a transcontinental country: physiographically in Western Asia, it has historical and sociopolitical connections with Europe.

  Azerbaijanmarker is often considered a transcontinental country in Western Asia and Eastern Europe; population and area figures are for Asian portion only. Figures include Nakhchivanmarker, an autonomous exclave of Azerbaijan bordered by Armeniamarker, Iranmarker and Turkeymarker.

46,870 3,845,127 82.0 Bakumarker
665 718,306 987.1 Manamamarker
  The island of Cyprusmarker is sometimes considered a transcontinental territory: in the Eastern Basin of the Mediterranean Seamarker south of Turkeymarker, it has historical and socio-political connections with Europe. However, the U.N. considers Cyprus to be in Western Asia, while the C.I.A. considers it to be in the Middle East.

9,250 792,604 83.9 Nicosiamarker
  Georgiamarker is often considered a transcontinental country in Western Asia and Eastern Europe; population and area figures are for Asian portion only.

437,072 28,221,181 54.9 Baghdadmarker
1,648,195 70,472,846 42.8 Tehranmarker
20,770 7,112,359 290.3 Jerusalemmarker
92,300 6,198,677 57.5 Ammanmarker
17,820 2,596,561 118.5 Kuwait Citymarker
10,452 3,971,941 353.6 Beirutmarker
212,460 3,311,640 12.8 Muscatmarker
6,257 4,277,000 683.5 Ramallahmarker
11,437 928,635 69.4 Dohamarker
1,960,582 23,513,330 12.0 Riyadhmarker
185,180 19,747,586 92.6 Damascusmarker
  Turkeymarker is generally considered a transcontinental country in Western Asia and Southern Europe; population and area figures are for Asian portion only, excluding all of Istanbulmarker.

82,880 4,621,399 29.5 Abu Dhabimarker
527,970 23,013,376 35.4 Sanaámarker
Total 43,810,582 4,162,966,086 89.07

Note: Part of Egyptmarker (Sinai Peninsulamarker) is geographically in Western Asia

Country name changes

Various Asian countries have undergone name changes during the previous century as the result of consolidations, secessions, territories gaining sovereignty and regime changes.

Previous Name Year Current Name
Dominion of India, formerly British India 1950 Republic of Indiamarker
East Bengal province 1905-1911 and 1947-1955


East Pakistan state

Bangladeshmarker, People's Republic of
Democratic Kampuchea 1975 Cambodiamarker, Kingdom of
Empire of Great Qing of Chinamarker 1912

Chinamarker, Republic of

China, People's Republic of
Portuguese Timormarker 1975

Timor Timurmarker (province of Indonesia)

East Timormarker, Democratic Republic of
Dutch East Indiesmarker 1949 Indonesiamarker, Republic of
Persiamarker 1935


Iranmarker, Islamic Republic of
Transjordanmarker 1946 Jordanmarker, Kingdom of
Kirghiz SSRmarker (USSR) 1991 Kyrgyzstan, Republic
Malayamarker, North Borneo, Sarawakmarker and Singaporemarker 1963

Malaysiamarker (including Singaporemarker)

Malaysiamarker and Singaporemarker
Burmamarker 1989 Myanmarmarker, Union of
Muscatmarker 1971 Omanmarker, Sultanate of
Dominion of Pakistan 1947-1956


West Pakistan, Islamic State of

Pakistanmarker, Islamic Republic of
Islas de San Lorenzo, Spanish East Indies, Philippine Islandsmarker and Las Islas Filipinasmarker 1965 Philippinesmarker, Republic of the
Hejaz-Nejd, The Kingdom of 1932 Saudi Arabiamarker, Kingdom of
Adenmarker 1970 South Yemen, People's Republic of
Ceylonmarker 1972 Sri Lankamarker, Democratic Socialist Republic of
Tajik SSRmarker (USSR) 1991 Tajikistanmarker, Republic of
Siammarker 1939 Thailandmarker, Kingdom of
Ottoman Empire 1923 Turkeymarker, Republic of
Turkmen SSRmarker (USSR) 1991 Turkmenistanmarker
Trucial Oman and Trucial States 1971 United Arab Emiratesmarker
French Indo-China 1949 Cambodiamarker, Laosmarker and Vietnammarker
Yemenmarker, People's Democratic and Southern Yemen 1990 Yemenmarker, Republic of


Economy of Asia

During 2003 unless otherwise stated
Population: 4,162,966,086 (2006 Estimate)
GDP (PPP): US$18.077 trillion
GDP (Currency): $8.782 trillion
GDP/capita (PPP): $4,518
GDP/capita (Currency): $2,143
Millionaires: 2.0 million (0.05%)
Most numbers are from the UNDP from 2002, some numbers exclude certain countries for lack of information.

Asia has the third largest nominal GDP of all continents, after North America and Europe, but the largest when measured in PPP. As of 2007, the largest national economy within Asia, in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), is that of China followed by that of Japanmarker, Indiamarker, South Koreamarker and Indonesiamarker. However, in nominal (exchange value) terms, they rank as follows: Japan, China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabiamarker, Taiwanmarker, Indonesiamarker. Since the 1960s, South Korea had maintained the highest economic growth rate in Asia, nicknamed as an Asian tiger, becoming a newly industrialized country in the 1980s and a developed country by the 21st century. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the economies of the PRC and India have been growing rapidly, both with an average annual growth rate of more than 8%. Other recent very high growth nations in Asia include Malaysiamarker, the Philippinesmarker, Pakistanmarker, Vietnammarker, Mongoliamarker, Uzbekistanmarker and mineral-rich nations such as Kazakhstanmarker, Turkmenistanmarker, Iranmarker, Bruneimarker, United Arab Emiratesmarker, Qatarmarker, Kuwaitmarker, Saudi Arabiamarker, Bahrainmarker and Omanmarker.

Chinamarker was the largest and most advanced economy on earth for much of recorded history, until the British Empire (excluding India) overtook it in the mid 19th century. Japan has had for only several dacades after WW2 the largest economy in Asia and second-largest of any single nation in the world, after surpassing the Soviet Unionmarker (measured in net material product) in 1986 and Germany in 1968. (NB: A number of supernational economies are larger, such as the European Union (EU), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or APEC). In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Japan's GDP was almost as large (current exchange rate method) as that of the rest of Asia combined. In 1995, Japan's economy nearly equalled that of the USA to tie as the largest economy in the world for a day, after the Japanese currency reached a record high of 79 yen/dollar. Economic growth in Asia since World War II to the 1990s had been concentrated in Japan as well as the four regions of South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore located in the Pacific Rim, known as the Asian tigers, which have now all received developed country status, having the highest GDP per capita in Asia.

It is forecasted that the People's Republic of Chinamarker will surpass Japanmarker to have the largest nominal and PPP-adjusted GDP in Asia within a decade. Indiamarker is also forecast to overtake Japan in terms of Nominal GDP by 2020. In terms of GDP per capita, both nominal and PPP-adjusted, South Korea will become the second wealthiest country in Asia by 2025, overtaking Germany, the United Kingdom and France. By 2050, according to a 2006 report by Price Waterhouse Cooper, China will have the largest economy in the world (43% greater than the United States when PPP adjusted, although perhaps smaller than the United States in nominal terms).

Trade blocs

Natural resources

Asia is the largest continent in the world by a considerable margin, and it is rich in natural resources, such as petroleum, forests, fish, water, rice, copper and silver.


Manufacturing in Asia has traditionally been strongest in East and Southeast Asia, particularly in mainland Chinamarker, Taiwanmarker, South Koreamarker, Japanmarker, Indiamarker , Philippinesmarker and Singaporemarker. Japanmarker and South Koreamarker continue to dominate in the area of multinational corporations, but increasingly mainland Chinamarker, and Indiamarker are making significant inroads. Many companies from Europe, North America, South Korea and Japan have operations in Asia's developing countries to take advantage of its abundant supply of cheap labour and relatively developed infrastructure.

Financial and other services

Asia has four main financial centres: Tokyomarker, Hong Kongmarker, Singaporemarker and Shanghai. Call centres and business process outsourcing (BPOs) are becoming major employers in India and the Philippines due to the availability of a large pool of highly-skilled, English-speaking workers. The increased use of outsourcing has assisted the rise of India and the China as financial centres. Due to its large and extremely competitive information technology industry, India has become a major hub for outsourcing.

Early history

Map of Asia, 1892.
The history of Asia can be seen as the distinct histories of several peripheral coastal regions: East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, linked by the interior mass of the Central Asian steppes.

The coastal periphery was home to some of the world's earliest known civilizations, each of them developing around fertile river valleys. The civilizations in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valleymarker and the Huanghe shared many similarities. These civilizations may well have exchanged technologies and ideas such as mathematics and the wheel. Other innovations, such as writing, seem to have been developed individually in each area. Cities, states and empires developed in these lowlands.

The central steppe region had long been inhabited by horse-mounted nomads who could reach all areas of Asia from the steppes. The earliest postulated expansion out of the steppe is that of the Indo-Europeans, who spread their languages into the Middle East, South Asia, and the borders of China, where the Tocharians resided. The northernmost part of Asia, including much of Siberiamarker, was largely inaccessible to the steppe nomads, owing to the dense forests, climate and tundra. These areas remained very sparsely populated.

The center and the peripheries were mostly kept separated by mountains and deserts. The Caucasus and Himalayamarker mountains and the Karakum and Gobi deserts formed barriers that the steppe horsemen could cross only with difficulty. While the urban city dwellers were more advanced technologically and socially, in many cases they could do little in a military aspect to defend against the mounted hordes of the steppe. However, the lowlands did not have enough open grasslands to support a large horsebound force; for this and other reasons, the nomads who conquered states in China, India, and the Middle East often found themselves adapting to the local, more affluent societies.

Languages and literature

Asia is home to several language families and many language isolates. Most Asian countries have more than one language that is natively spoken. For instance, according to Ethnologue, more than 600 languages are spoken in Indonesia, more than 800 languages spoken in India and more than 100 are spoken in the Philippines. China has many languages and dialects in different provinces.

Nobel prizes

Rabindranath Tagore
Sir C.V.Raman

The polymath Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali poet, dramatist, and writer from Santiniketanmarker, now in West Bengalmarker, India, became in 1913 the first Asian Nobel laureate. He won his Nobel Prize in Literature for notable impact his prose works and poetic thought had on English, French, and other national literatures of Europe and the Americas. He is also the writer of the national anthems of Bangladesh and India.

Tagore is said to have named another Bengali Indian Nobel prize winner, the 1998 laureate in Economics, Amartya Sen. Sen's work has centered around global issues including famine, welfare, and third-world development. Amartya Sen was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge University, UK, from 1998-2004, becoming the first Asian to head an 'Oxbridge' College.

Other Asian writers who won Nobel Prizes include Yasunari Kawabata (Japan, 1966), Kenzaburō Ōe (Japan, 1994), Gao Xingjian (People's Republic of China, 2000) and Orhan Pamuk (Turkey, 2006).

Also, Mother Teresa of India and Shirin Ebadi of Iran were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their significant and pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially for the rights of women and children. Ebadi is the first Iranian and the first Muslim woman to receive the prize. Another Nobel Peace Prize winner is Aung San Suu Kyi from Burmamarker for her peaceful and non-violent struggle under a military dictatorship in Burma. She is a nonviolent pro-democracy activist and leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma(Myanmar) and a noted prisoner of conscience. She is a Buddhist and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

Sir C.V.Raman is the first Asian to get a Nobel prize in Sciences. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics "for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the effect named after him".

Other Asian Nobel Prize winners include Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Abdus Salam, Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Robert Aumann, Menachem Begin, Aaron Ciechanover, Avram Hershko, Daniel Kahneman, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Yaser Arafat, Jose Ramos Horta and Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo of Timor Lestemarker, Kim Dae-jung, and thirteen Japanese scientists. Most of the said awardees are from Japanmarker and Israelmarker except for Chandrasekhar and Raman (India), Salam (Pakistan), Arafat (Palestinian Territories) and Kim (South Korea).

In 2006, Dr. Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the establishment of Grameen Bank, a community development bank that lends money to poor people, especially women in Bangladesh. Dr. Yunus received his Ph.D. in economics from Vanderbilt University, United States. He is internationally known for the concept of micro credit which allows poor and destitutes with little or no collateral to borrow money. The borrowers typically pay back money within the specified period and the incidence of default is very low.

The Dalai Lama has received numerous awards over his spiritual and political career.[129] On 22 June 2006, he became one of only four people ever to be recognized with Honorary Citizenship by the Governor General of Canada. On 28 May 2005, he received the Christmas Humphreys Award from the Buddhist Society in the United Kingdom. Most notable was the Nobel Peace Prize, presented in Oslo on 10 December 1989



Asian mythology is complex and diverse. The story of the Great Flood for example, as presented to Christians in the Old Testament, is first found in Mesopotamian mythology, in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Hindu mythology tells about an avatar of the God Vishnu in the form of a fish who warned Manu of a terrible flood. In ancient Chinese mythology, Shan Hai Jing, the Chinese ruler Da Yu, had to spend 10 years to control a deluge which swept out most of ancient China and was aided by the goddess Nüwa who literally fixed the broken sky through which huge rains were pouring.


Almost all Asian religions have philosophical character and Asian philosophical traditions cover a large spectrum of philosophical thoughts and writings. Indian philosophy includes Hindu philosophy and Buddhist philosophy. They include elements of nonmaterial pursuits, whereas another school of thought from India, Cārvāka, preached the enjoyment of material world. Christianity is also present in most Asian countries.


The Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam originated in West Asia. Judaism, the oldest of the Abrahamic faiths, is practiced primarily in Israel (which has the world's largest Jewish population) , though small communities exist in other countries, such as the Bene Israel in India. In the Philippines and East Timormarker, Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion; it was introduced by the Spaniardsmarker and the Portuguesemarker, respectively. In Armeniamarker, Georgiamarker and Russiamarker Eastern Orthodoxy is the predominant religion. Various Christian denomination have adherents in portions of the Middle East, as well as China and India. The world's largest Muslim community (within the bounds of one nation) is in Indonesia. South Asia (mainly Pakistanmarker, India and Bangladeshmarker) holds 30% of Muslims. There are also significant Muslim populations in China, Iranmarker, Malaysiamarker, southern Philippinesmarker (Mindanaomarker), Russia and most of West Asia and Central Asia.

Dharmic & Taoist

The religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism originated in India, South Asia. In East Asia, particularly in China and Japan, Confucianism, Taoism and Zen Buddhism took shape.

See also


  1. " Asia". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
  2. "Europe" (pp. 68-9); "Asia" (pp. 90-1): "A commonly accepted division between Asia and Europe ... is formed by the Ural Mountains, Ural River, Caspian Sea, Caucasus Mountains, and the Black Sea with its outlets, the Bosporus and Dardanelles."
  3. Reid, T.R. Confucius Lives Next Door: What living in the East teaches us about living in the west Vintage Books(1999).
  4. " Asia." MSN Encarta Encyclopedia. 2007. Archived 2009-10-31.
  5. Welty, Paul Thomas. The Asians Their Evolving Heritage, 6th ed., p. 21. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1984. ISBN 0-06-047001-1.
  6. Menon, Sridevi. Duke University. "Where is West Asia in Asian America?Asia and the Politics of Space in Asian America." 2004. April 26, 2007. page 71 [1]
  7.   The administrative capital of Burma was officially moved from Yangon to a militarised greenfield just west of Pyinmana on 6 November 2005.
  8. General Population Census of Cambodia 2008 - Provisional population totals, National Institute of Statistics, Ministry of Planning, released 3rd September, 2008
  9. In 1980, Jerusalem was proclaimed Israel's united capital, following its annexation of Arab-dominant East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War. The United Nations and many countries do not recognize this claim, with most countries maintaining embassies in Tel Aviv instead.
  10. Five Years of China's WTO Membership. EU and US Perspectives on China's Compliance with Transparency Commitments and the Transitional Review Mechanism, Legal Issues of Economic Integration, Kluwer Law International, Volume 33, Number 3, pp. 263-304, 2006. by Paolo Farah
  11. Professor M.D. Nalapat. Ensuring China's "Peaceful Rise". Accessed January 30, 2008.
  12. Dahlman, Carl J; Aubert, Jean-Eric. China and the Knowledge Economy: Seizing the 21st Century. WBI Development Studies. World Bank Publications. Accessed January 30, 2008.
  13. The Real Great Leap Forward. The Economist. Sept 30, 2004
  14. Chris Patten. Financial Times. Comment & Analysis: Why Europe is getting China so wrong. Accessed January 30, 2008.
  15. Rise of Japan and 4 Asian Tigers from

Further reading

Reference works
  • Higham, Charles. Encyclopedia of Ancient Asian Civilizations. Facts on File library of world history. New York: Facts On File, 2004.
  • Kapadia, Feroz, and Mandira Mukherjee. Encyclopaedia of Asian Culture and Society. New Delhi: Anmol Publications, 1999.
  • Levinson, David, and Karen Christensen. Encyclopedia of Modern Asia. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2002.
  • Kamal,Niraj. "Arise Asia: Respond to White Peril". New Delhi:Wordsmith,2002, ISBN 81-87412-08-9

External links

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