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Eurasia is a large landmass 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). Often considered a single continent, Eurasia comprises the traditional continents of Europe and Asia (and Eurasia is a portmanteau of the two), concepts which date back to classical antiquity and the borders for which are somewhat arbitrary. Eurasia, in turn, is part of the yet larger landmass of Afro-Eurasia, whereby Eurasia is joined to Africa at the Isthmus of Suezmarker.

Eurasia is inhabited by almost 4.8 billion people, more than 71% of the world's population.

History and culture

Jared Diamond, in his book Guns, Germs and Steel, credits Eurasia's dominance in world history to the east-west extent of Eurasia and its climate zones, and the availability of Eurasian animals and plants suitable for domestication. He sometimes includes North Africa in his definition of Eurasia.

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. It formed 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.

Use of term

Anthropology and genetics

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

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 homogenous population of West Asia, Europe and related areas, specially North Africa. The peoples of this region are often described collectively as West or Western Eurasians.

Geography

Located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheresmarker, Eurasia is considered a supercontinent, part of the supercontinent of Afro-Eurasia or simply a continent its own right. 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 Rangemarker.

Post-Soviet countries

Eurasia is also sometimes used in geopolitics as a neutral way to refer to organizations of or affairs concerning the post-Soviet states, in particular Russiamarker, 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 Moscowmarker and Astanamarker.

The word "Eurasia" is often used in Kazakhstanmarker 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 ( ; ) (Lev Gumilev's Eurasianism ideas having been popularized in Kazakhstan by Olzhas Suleimenov), the Eurasian Media Forum, the Eurasian Culture Foundation ( ), the Eurasian Development Bank ( ), or the Eurasian Bank. In 2007, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed that a "Eurasia Canal" be built to connect the Caspian Seamarker and the Black Seamarker 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 Canalmarker. This usage is somewhat analogous to the U.S. usage of the term Western Hemispheremarkerwhen referring to the concepts and organizations dealing with the Americas (e.g., Council on Hemispheric Affairs or Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation).

History of the Europe and Asia division

In ancient times, the Greeks classified Europe (derived from the mythological Phoenicianmarker 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 Mountainsmarker form the south-east boundary is disputed, since Mount Elbrusmarker would be part of Europe in the latter case, making it (and not Mont Blancmarker) 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 Seamarker, Dardanellesmarker, Sea of Marmaramarker, Bosporusmarker, Black Seamarker, Kuma-Manych Depression, Caspian Seamarker, Ural River, and Ural Mountainsmarker. 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.

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 Britainmarker and Irelandmarker (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 Koreamarker, Chinamarker and Japanmarker. Indiamarker was a contested border zone between Eurasia and Oceania and was the most famous state involved.




  • 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.






  • 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 biggest country in the Eurasian continent at the time.




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