Asia

Asia (/ˈeɪʒə, ˈeɪʃə/ (listen)) 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,[4] 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 (as of September 2018) constitute roughly 60% of the world's population.[5]

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.[6]

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,[7][8][9] and for many the legendary wealth and prosperity of the ancient culture of India personified Asia,[10] 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.[11] 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.

Given its size and diversity, the concept of Asia—a name dating back to classical antiquity—may actually have more to do with human geography than physical geography. Asia varies greatly across and within its regions with regard to ethnic groups, cultures, environments, economics, historical ties and government systems. It also has a mix of many different climates ranging from the equatorial south via the hot desert in the Middle East, temperate areas in the east and the continental centre to vast subarctic and polar areas in Siberia.

Asia
Asia (orthographic projection)
Area44,579,000 km2 (17,212,000 sq mi)  (1st)[1]
Population4,462,676,731 (2016; 1st)[2]
Population density100/km2 (260/sq mi)
GDP (nominal)$30.22 trillion (2018; 1st)[3]
GDP (PPP)$61.25 trillion (2018; 1st)[3]
GDP per capita$7,090 (2018; 5th)[3]
DemonymAsian
Countries49 UN members,
1 UN observer, 5 other states
Dependencies
Non-UN states
LanguagesList of languages
Time zonesUTC+2 to UTC+12
Internet TLD.asia
Largest cities

Definition and boundaries

Asia–Africa boundary

The boundary between Asia and Africa is the Red Sea, the Gulf of Suez, and the Suez Canal. This makes Egypt a transcontinental country, with the Sinai peninsula in Asia and the remainder of the country in Africa.

Asia–Europe boundary

Palazzo Ferreria statue.jpeg
Statue representing Asia at Palazzo Ferreria, in Valletta, Malta

The border between Asia and Europe was historically defined by European academics.[12] The Don River became unsatisfactory to northern Europeans when Peter the Great, king of the Tsardom of Russia, defeating rival claims of Sweden and the Ottoman Empire to the eastern lands, and armed resistance by the tribes of Siberia, synthesized a new Russian Empire extending to the Ural Mountains and beyond, founded in 1721. The major geographical theorist of the empire was actually a former Swedish prisoner-of-war, taken at the Battle of Poltava in 1709 and assigned to Tobolsk, where he associated with Peter's Siberian official, Vasily Tatishchev, and was allowed freedom to conduct geographical and anthropological studies in preparation for a future book.

In Sweden, five years after Peter's death, in 1730 Philip Johan von Strahlenberg published a new atlas proposing the Urals as the border of Asia. Tatishchev announced that he had proposed the idea to von Strahlenberg. The latter had suggested the Emba River as the lower boundary. Over the next century various proposals were made until the Ural River prevailed in the mid-19th century. The border had been moved perforce from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea into which the Ural River projects.[13] The border between the Black Sea and the Caspian is usually placed along the crest of the Caucasus Mountains, although it is sometimes placed further north.[12]

Asia–Oceania boundary

The border between Asia and the region of Oceania is usually placed somewhere in the Malay Archipelago. The Maluku Islands in Indonesia are often considered to lie on the border of southeast Asia, with New Guinea, to the east of the islands, being wholly part of Oceania. The terms Southeast Asia and Oceania, devised in the 19th century, have had several vastly different geographic meanings since their inception. The chief factor in determining which islands of the Malay Archipelago are Asian has been the location of the colonial possessions of the various empires there (not all European). Lewis and Wigen assert, "The narrowing of 'Southeast Asia' to its present boundaries was thus a gradual process."[14]

Ongoing definition

Afro-Eurasia (orthographic projection)
Afro-Eurasia shown in green

Geographical Asia is a cultural artifact of European conceptions of the world, beginning with the Ancient Greeks, being imposed onto other cultures, an imprecise concept causing endemic contention about what it means. Asia does not exactly correspond to the cultural borders of its various types of constituents.[15]

From the time of Herodotus a minority of geographers have rejected the three-continent system (Europe, Africa, Asia) on the grounds that there is no substantial physical separation between them.[16] 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".[17]

Geographically, Asia is the major eastern constituent of the continent of Eurasia with Europe being a northwestern peninsula of the landmass. Asia, Europe and Africa make up a single continuous landmass – Afro-Eurasia (except for the Suez Canal) – and share a common continental shelf. Almost all of Europe and the better part 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 Chersky Range) on the North American Plate.

Etymology

Gulf5.
Ptolemy's Asia

The idea of a place called "Asia" was originally a concept of Greek civilization,[18] though this might not correspond to the entire continent currently known by that name. The English word comes from Latin literature, where it has the same form, "Asia". Whether "Asia" in other languages comes from Latin of the Roman Empire is much less certain, and the ultimate source of the Latin word is uncertain, though several theories have been published. One of the first classical writers to use Asia as a name of the whole continent was Pliny.[19] This metonymical change in meaning is common and can be observed in some other geographical names, such as Scandinavia (from Scania).

Bronze Age

Before Greek poetry, the Aegean Sea area was in a Greek Dark Age, at the beginning of which syllabic writing was lost and alphabetic writing had not begun. Prior to then in the Bronze Age the records of the Assyrian Empire, the Hittite Empire and the various Mycenaean states of Greece mention a region undoubtedly Asia, certainly in Anatolia, including if not identical to Lydia. These records are administrative and do not include poetry.

The Mycenaean states were destroyed about 1200 BCE by unknown agents although one school of thought assigns the Dorian invasion to this time. The burning of the palaces baked clay diurnal administrative records written in a Greek syllabic script called Linear B, deciphered by a number of interested parties, most notably by a young World War II cryptographer, Michael Ventris, subsequently assisted by the scholar, John Chadwick. A major cache discovered by Carl Blegen at the site of ancient Pylos included hundreds of male and female names formed by different methods.

Some of these are of women held in servitude (as study of the society implied by the content reveals). They were used in trades, such as cloth-making, and usually came with children. The epithet lawiaiai, "captives", associated with some of them identifies their origin. Some are ethnic names. One in particular, aswiai, identifies "women of Asia".[20] Perhaps they were captured in Asia, but some others, Milatiai, appear to have been of Miletus, a Greek colony, which would not have been raided for slaves by Greeks. Chadwick suggests that the names record the locations where these foreign women were purchased.[21] The name is also in the singular, Aswia, which refers both to the name of a country and to a female of it. There is a masculine form, aswios. This Aswia appears to have been a remnant of a region known to the Hittites as Assuwa, centered on Lydia, or "Roman Asia". This name, Assuwa, has been suggested as the origin for the name of the continent "Asia".[22] The Assuwa league was a confederation of states in western Anatolia, defeated by the Hittites under Tudhaliya I around 1400 BCE.

Alternatively, the etymology of the term may be from the Akkadian word (w)aṣû(m), 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').[18] The ideas of Occidental (form Latin Occidens 'setting') and Oriental (from Latin Oriens for 'rising') are also European invention, synonymous with Western and Eastern.[18] Reid 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 civilizations on the Eurasian continent.[18] Kazuo Ogura and Tenshin Okakura are two outspoken Japanese figures on the subject.[18]

Classical antiquity

Roman Empire - Asia (125 AD)
The province of Asia highlighted (in red) within the Roman Empire.

Latin Asia and Greek Ἀσία appear to be the same word. Roman authors translated Ἀσία as Asia. The Romans named a province Asia, located in western Anatolia (in modern-day Turkey). There was an Asia Minor and an Asia Major located in modern-day Iraq. As the earliest evidence of the name is Greek, it is likely circumstantially that Asia came from Ἀσία, but ancient transitions, due to the lack of literary contexts, are difficult to catch in the act. The most likely vehicles were the ancient geographers and historians, such as Herodotus, who were all Greek. Ancient Greek certainly evidences early and rich uses of the name.[23]

The first continental use of Asia is attributed to Herodotus (about 440 BCE), not because he innovated it, but because his Histories are the earliest surviving prose to describe it in any detail. He defines it carefully,[24] mentioning the previous geographers whom he had read, but whose works are now missing. By it he means Anatolia and the Persian Empire, in contrast to Greece and Egypt.

Herodotus comments that he is puzzled as to why three women's names were "given to a tract which is in reality one" (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 Asies, son of Cotys, who passed the name on to a tribe at Sardis.[25] In Greek mythology, "Asia" (Ἀσία) or "Asie" (Ἀσίη) was the name of a "Nymph or Titan goddess of Lydia".[26]

In ancient Greek religion, places were under the care of female divinities, parallel to guardian angels. The poets detailed their doings and generations in allegoric language salted with entertaining stories, which subsequently playwrights transformed into classical Greek drama and became "Greek mythology". For example, Hesiod mentions the daughters of Tethys and Ocean, among whom are a "holy company", "who with the Lord Apollo and the Rivers have youths in their keeping".[27] Many of these are geographic: Doris, Rhodea, Europa, Asia. Hesiod explains:[28]

For there are three-thousand neat-ankled daughters of Ocean who are dispersed far and wide, and in every place alike serve the earth and the deep waters.

The Iliad (attributed by the ancient Greeks to Homer) mentions two Phrygians (the tribe that replaced the Luvians in Lydia) in the Trojan War named Asios (an adjective meaning "Asian");[29] and also a marsh or lowland containing a marsh in Lydia as ασιος.[30]

History

Silkroutes
The Silk Road connected civilizations across Asia[31]
Mongol dominions1
The Mongol Empire at its greatest extent. The gray area is the later Timurid Empire.

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 Valley and the Yellow River 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 Siberia, 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 Himalaya 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.

The Islamic Caliphate's defeats of the Byzantine and Persian empires led to West Asia and southern parts of Central Asia and western parts of South Asia under its control during its conquests of the 7th century. The Mongol Empire conquered a large part of Asia in the 13th century, an area extending from China to Europe. Before the Mongol invasion, Song dynasty reportedly had approximately 120 million citizens; the 1300 census which followed the invasion reported roughly 60 million people.[32]

The Black Death, one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, is thought to have originated in the arid plains of central Asia, where it then travelled along the Silk Road.[33]

The Russian Empire began to expand into Asia from the 17th century, and would eventually take control of all of Siberia and most of Central Asia by the end of the 19th century. The Ottoman Empire controlled Anatolia, most of the Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans from the mid 16th century onwards. In the 17th century, the Manchu conquered China and established the Qing dynasty. The Islamic Mughal Empire and the Hindu Maratha Empire controlled much of India in the 16th and 18th centuries respectively.[34]

A Map of the Countries between Constantinople and Calcutta- Including Turkey in Asia, Persia, Afghanistan and Turkestan WDL11753

Map of western, southern, and central Asia in 1885[35]

Modern Asia (1796)

The map of Asia in 1796, which also included the continent of Australia (then known as New Holland).

Asien Bd1

1890 map of Asia

Geography and climate

Himalayas
The Himalayan range is home to some of the planet's highest peaks.

Asia is the largest continent on Earth. It covers 9% of the Earth's total surface area (or 30% of its land area), and has the largest coastline, at 62,800 kilometres (39,022 mi). Asia is generally defined as comprising the eastern four-fifths of Eurasia. It is located to the east of the Suez Canal and the Ural Mountains, and south of the Caucasus Mountains (or the Kuma–Manych Depression) and the Caspian and Black Seas.[6][36] It is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean and on the north by the Arctic Ocean. Asia is subdivided into 48 countries, three of them (Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkey) having part of their land in Europe.

Asia has extremely diverse climates and geographic features. Climates range from arctic and subarctic in Siberia to tropical in southern India and Southeast Asia. It is moist across southeast sections, and dry across much of the interior. Some of the largest daily temperature ranges on Earth occur in western sections of Asia. The monsoon circulation dominates across southern and eastern sections, due to the presence of the Himalayas forcing the formation of a thermal low which draws in moisture during the summer. Southwestern sections of the continent are hot. Siberia is one of the coldest places in the Northern Hemisphere, and can act as a source of arctic air masses for North America. The most active place on Earth for tropical cyclone activity lies northeast of the Philippines and south of Japan. The Gobi Desert is in Mongolia and the Arabian Desert stretches across much of the Middle East. The Yangtze River in China is the longest river in the continent. The Himalayas between Nepal and China is the tallest mountain range in the world. Tropical rainforests stretch across much of southern Asia and coniferous and deciduous forests lie farther north.

Naadam rider 2

Mongolian steppe

Main regions

Climate change

A survey carried out in 2010 by global risk analysis farm Maplecroft identified 16 countries that are extremely vulnerable to climate change. Each nation's vulnerability was calculated using 42 socio, economic and environmental indicators, which identified the likely climate change impacts during the next 30 years. The Asian countries of Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were among the 16 countries facing extreme risk from climate change. Some shifts are already occurring. For example, in tropical parts of India with a semi-arid climate, the temperature increased by 0.4 °C between 1901 and 2003. A 2013 study by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) aimed to find science-based, pro-poor approaches and techniques that would enable Asia's agricultural systems to cope with climate change, while benefitting poor and vulnerable farmers. The study's recommendations ranged from improving the use of climate information in local planning and strengthening weather-based agro-advisory services, to stimulating diversification of rural household incomes and providing incentives to farmers to adopt natural resource conservation measures to enhance forest cover, replenish groundwater and use renewable energy.[37]

Economy

1 singapore city skyline dusk panorama 2011
Singapore has one of the busiest ports in the world and is the world's fourth largest foreign exchange trading center.
Rank Country GDP (PPP, Peak Year)
millions of USD
Peak Year
1  China 25,313,268 2018
2  India 10,401,440 2018
3  Japan 5,632,475 2018
4  Russia 4,179,597 2018
5  Indonesia 3,495,920 2018
6  Turkey 2,314,398 2018
7  South Korea 2,139,681 2018
8  Saudi Arabia 1,856,946 2018
9  Iran 1,652,888 2018
10  Thailand 1,323,209 2018
Rank Country GDP (nominal, Peak Year)
millions of USD
Peak Year
1  China 13,457,267 2018
2  Japan 6,203,213 2012
3  India 2,689,992 2018
4  Russia 2,297,125 2013
5  South Korea 1,655,608 2018
6  Indonesia 1,015,411 2017
7  Turkey 950,328 2013
8  Saudi Arabia 769,878 2018
9  Taiwan 602,678 2018
10  Iran 577,214 2011

Asia has the largest continental economy by both GDP Nominal and PPP in the world, and is the fastest growing economic region.[38] As of 2018, the largest economies in Asia are China, Japan, India, Russia, South Korea, Indonesia and Turkey based on GDP in both nominal and PPP.[39] Based on Global Office Locations 2011, Asia dominated the office locations with 4 of the top 5 being in Asia: Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Seoul. Around 68 percent of international firms have office in Hong Kong.[40]

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the economies of China[41] 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 Israel, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Cyprus and the Philippines, and mineral-rich nations such as Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman.

According to economic historian Angus Maddison in his book The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective, India had the world's largest economy during 0 BCE and 1000 BCE.[42][43] China was the largest and most advanced economy on earth for much of recorded history,[44][45][46] until the British Empire (excluding India) overtook it in the mid-19th century. For several decades in the late twentieth century Japan was the largest economy in Asia and second-largest of any single nation in the world, after surpassing the Soviet Union (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). This ended in 2010 when China overtook Japan to become the world's second largest economy.

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.[47] In 1995, Japan's economy nearly equaled that of the US as the largest economy in the world for a day, after the Japanese currency reached a record high of 79 yen/US$. 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.[48]

Mumbai 03-2016 10 skyline of Lotus Colony
Mumbai is one of the most populous cities on the continent. The city is an infrastructure and tourism hub, and plays a crucial role in the Economy of India.

It is forecasted that India will overtake Japan in terms of nominal GDP by 2020.[49] By 2027, according to Goldman Sachs, China will have the largest economy in the world. Several trade blocs exist, with the most developed being the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

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 China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, India, the Philippines, and Singapore. Japan and South Korea continue to dominate in the area of multinational corporations, but increasingly the PRC and India 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.

According to Citigroup 9 of 11 Global Growth Generators countries came from Asia driven by population and income growth. They are Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Mongolia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.[50] Asia has three main financial centers: Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore. Call centers 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 centers. Due to its large and extremely competitive information technology industry, India has become a major hub for outsourcing.

In 2010, Asia had 3.3 million millionaires (people with net worth over US$1 million excluding their homes), slightly below North America with 3.4 million millionaires. Last year Asia had toppled Europe.[51] Citigroup in The Wealth Report 2012 stated that Asian centa-millionaire overtook North America's wealth for the first time as the world's "economic center of gravity" continued moving east. At the end of 2011, there were 18,000 Asian people mainly in Southeast Asia, China and Japan who have at least $100 million in disposable assets, while North America with 17,000 people and Western Europe with 14,000 people.[52]

Tourism

Grand Palace Bangkok
Wat Phra Kaeo in the Grand Palace is among Bangkok's major tourist attractions.

With growing Regional Tourism with domination of Chinese visitors, MasterCard has released Global Destination Cities Index 2013 with 10 of 20 are dominated by Asia and Pacific Region Cities and also for the first time a city of a country from Asia (Bangkok) set in the top-ranked with 15.98 international visitors.[53]

Demographics

Historical populations
YearPop.±%
1500 243,000,000—    
1700 436,000,000+79.4%
1900 947,000,000+117.2%
1950 1,402,000,000+48.0%
1999 3,634,000,000+159.2%
2016 4{{{3}}}462{{{3}}}676{{{3}}}731—    
Source: "UN report 2004 data" (PDF).
The figure for 2016 is provided by the 2017 revision of the World Population Prospects[2].
WorldPopulation
Graph showing population by continent as a percentage of world population (1750–2005)

East Asia had by far the strongest overall Human Development Index (HDI) improvement of any region in the world, nearly doubling average HDI attainment over the past 40 years, according to the report's analysis of health, education and income data. China, the second highest achiever in the world in terms of HDI improvement since 1970, is the only country on the "Top 10 Movers" list due to income rather than health or education achievements. Its per capita income increased a stunning 21-fold over the last four decades, also lifting hundreds of millions out of income poverty. Yet it was not among the region's top performers in improving school enrollment and life expectancy.[54]
Nepal, a South Asian country, emerges as one of the world's fastest movers since 1970 mainly due to health and education achievements. Its present life expectancy is 25 years longer than in the 1970s. More than four of every five children of school age in Nepal now attend primary school, compared to just one in five 40 years ago.[54]
Hong Kong ranked highest among the countries grouped on the HDI (number 7 in the world, which is in the "very high human development" category), followed by Singapore (9), Japan (19) and South Korea (22). Afghanistan (155) ranked lowest amongst Asian countries out of the 169 countries assessed.[54]

Languages

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.

Religions

Many of the world's major religions have their origins in Asia, including the five most practiced in the world (excluding irreligion), which are Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Chinese folk religion (classified as Confucianism and Taoism), and Buddhism respectively. Asian mythology is complex and diverse. The story of the Great Flood for example, as presented to Jews in the Hebrew Bible in the narrative of Noah—and later to Christians in the Old Testament, and to Muslims in the Quran—is earliest found in Mesopotamian mythology, in the Enûma Eliš and Epic of Gilgamesh. Hindu mythology similarly tells about an avatar of Vishnu in the form of a fish who warned Manu of a terrible flood. Ancient Chinese mythology also tells of a Great Flood spanning generations, one that required the combined efforts of emperors and divinities to control.

Abrahamic

Beyt-i Haram
Pilgrims in the annual Hajj at the Kaabah in Mecca.

The Abrahamic religions including Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Bahá'í Faith originated in West Asia.

Judaism, the oldest of the Abrahamic faiths, is practiced primarily in Israel, the indigenous homeland and historical birthplace of the Hebrew nation: which today consists both of those Israelites who remained in Asia/North Africa and those who returned from diaspora in Europe, North America, and other regions;[55] though various diaspora communities persist worldwide. Jews are the predominant ethnic group in Israel (75.6%) numbering at about 6.1 million,[56] although the levels of adherence to Jewish religion vary. Outside of Israel there are small ancient Jewish communities in Turkey (17,400),[57] Azerbaijan (9,100),[58] Iran (8,756),[59] India (5,000) and Uzbekistan (4,000),[60] among many other places. In total, there are 14.4–17.5 million (2016, est.)[61] Jews alive in the world today, making them one of the smallest Asian minorities, at roughly 0.3 to 0.4 percent of the total population of the continent.

Christianity is a widespread religion in Asia with more than 286 million adherents according to Pew Research Center in 2010,[62] and nearly 364 million according to Britannica Book of the Year 2014.[63] Constituting around 12.6% of the total population of Asia. In the Philippines and East Timor, Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion; it was introduced by the Spaniards and the Portuguese, respectively. In Armenia, Cyprus, Georgia and Asian Russia, Eastern Orthodoxy is the predominant religion. In the Middle East, such as in the Levant, Syriac Christianity (Church of the East) and Oriental Orthodoxy are prevalent minority denominations, which are both Eastern Christian sects mainly adhered to Assyrian people or Syriac Christians. Saint Thomas Christians in India trace their origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century.[64]

Islam, which originated in the Hejaz located in modern-day Saudi Arabia, is the second largest and most widely-spread religion in Asia with at least 1 billion Muslims constituting around 23.8% of the total population of Asia.[65] With 12.7% of the world Muslim population, the country currently with the largest Muslim population in the world is Indonesia, followed by Pakistan (11.5%), India (10%), Bangladesh, Iran and Turkey. Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem are the three holiest cities for Islam in all the world. The Hajj and Umrah attract large numbers of Muslim devotees from all over the world to Mecca and Medina. Iran is the largest Shi'a country.

The Bahá'í Faith originated in Asia, in Iran (Persia), and spread from there to the Ottoman Empire, Central Asia, India, and Burma during the lifetime of Bahá'u'lláh. Since the middle of the 20th century, growth has particularly occurred in other Asian countries, because Bahá'í activities in many Muslim countries has been severely suppressed by authorities. Lotus Temple is a big Baha'i Temple in India.

Indian and East Asian religions

Akshardham Lotus
The Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple in Delhi, according to the Guinness World Records is the World's Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple[66]

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 the material world. 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.

As of 2012, Hinduism has around 1.1 billion adherents. The faith represents around 25% of Asia's population and is the largest religion in Asia. However, it is mostly concentrated in South Asia. Over 80% of the populations of both India and Nepal adhere to Hinduism, alongside significant communities in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bali, Indonesia. Many overseas Indians in countries such as Burma, Singapore and Malaysia also adhere to Hinduism.

Buddhism has a great following in mainland Southeast Asia and East Asia. Buddhism is the religion of the majority of the populations of Cambodia (96%),[67] Thailand (95%),[68] Burma (80–89%),[69] Japan (36–96%),[70] Bhutan (75–84%),[71] Sri Lanka (70%),[72] Laos (60–67%)[73] and Mongolia (53–93%).[74] Large Buddhist populations also exist in Singapore (33–51%),[75] Taiwan (35–93%),[76][77][78][79] South Korea (23–50%),[80] Malaysia (19–21%),[81] Nepal (9–11%),[82] Vietnam (10–75%),[83] China (20–50%),[84] North Korea (2–14%),[85][86][87] and small communities in India and Bangladesh. In many Chinese communities, Mahayana Buddhism is easily syncretized with Taoism, thus exact religious statistics is difficult to obtain and may be understated or overstated. The Communist-governed countries of China, Vietnam and North Korea are officially atheist, thus the number of Buddhists and other religious adherents may be under-reported.

Jainism is found mainly in India and in oversea Indian communities such as the United States and Malaysia. Sikhism is found in Northern India and amongst overseas Indian communities in other parts of Asia, especially Southeast Asia. Confucianism is found predominantly in Mainland China, South Korea, Taiwan and in overseas Chinese populations. Taoism is found mainly in Mainland China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. Taoism is easily syncretized with Mahayana Buddhism for many Chinese, thus exact religious statistics is difficult to obtain and may be understated or overstated.

A day of devotion – Thaipusam in Singapore (4316108409)

Hindu festival celebrated by Singapore's Tamil community

Cross Procession in Novosibirsk 01

Orthodox cross procession in Novosibirsk

Black Nazarene procession

Catholic procession of the Black Nazarene in Manila

İstanbul 4258

Muslim men praying in Turkey

Modern conflicts

Napalm
US forces drop Napalm on suspected Viet Cong positions in 1965
Wounded civilians arrive at hospital Aleppo
Wounded civilians arrive at a hospital in Aleppo during the Syrian Civil War, October 2012

Some of the events pivotal in the Asia territory related to the relationship with the outside world in the post-Second World War were:

Culture

Nobel prizes

Rabindranath Tagore in 1909
Bengali polymath Rabindranath Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, and became Asia's first Nobel laureate

The polymath Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali poet, dramatist, and writer from Santiniketan, now in West Bengal, 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.

Other Asian writers who won Nobel Prize for literature include Yasunari Kawabata (Japan, 1968), Kenzaburō Ōe (Japan, 1994), Gao Xingjian (China, 2000), Orhan Pamuk (Turkey, 2006), and Mo Yan (China, 2012). Some may consider the American writer, Pearl S. Buck, an honorary Asian Nobel laureate, having spent considerable time in China as the daughter of missionaries, and based many of her novels, namely The Good Earth (1931) and The Mother (1933), as well as the biographies of her parents of their time in China, The Exile and Fighting Angel, all of which earned her the Literature prize in 1938.

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 Burma 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. Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China" on 8 October 2010. He is the first Chinese citizen to be awarded a Nobel Prize of any kind while residing in China. In 2014, Kailash Satyarthi from India and Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education".

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".

Japan has won the most Nobel Prizes of any Asian nation with 24 followed by India which has won 13.

Amartya Sen, (born 3 November 1933) is an Indian economist who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory, and for his interest in the problems of society's poorest members.

Other Asian Nobel Prize winners include Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Abdus Salam, Malala Yousafzai, Robert Aumann, Menachem Begin, Aaron Ciechanover, Avram Hershko, Daniel Kahneman, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Ada Yonath, Yasser Arafat, José Ramos-Horta and Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo of Timor Leste, Kim Dae-jung, and 13 Japanese scientists. Most of the said awardees are from Japan and Israel except for Chandrasekhar and Raman (India), Abdus Salam and Malala yousafzai, (Pakistan), Arafat (Palestinian Territories), Kim (South Korea), and Horta and Belo (Timor Leste).

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 PhD in economics from Vanderbilt University, United States. He is internationally known for the concept of micro credit which allows poor and destitute people 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 approximately eighty-four awards over his spiritual and political career.[88] 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, Norway on 10 December 1989.

Political geography

20091002 Hong Kong 6269
From 1841 to 1997, Hong Kong was a British colony.
Asia-Recoloured
Flag Symbol Name Population[2]
(2016)
Area
(km²)
Capital
Afghanistan National emblem of Afghanistan.svg Afghanistan 34,656,032 647,500 Kabul
Armenia Armenia Armenia 2,924,816 29,743 Yerevan
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan Azerbaijan[89] 9,725,376 86,600 Baku
Bahrain Emblem of Bahrain.svg Bahrain 1,425,171 760 Manama
Bangladesh National emblem of Bangladesh.svg Bangladesh 162,951,560 147,570 Dhaka
Bhutan Emblem of Bhutan.svg Bhutan 797,765 38,394 Thimphu
Brunei Emblem of Brunei.svg Brunei 423,196 5,765 Bandar Seri Begawan
Cambodia Cambodia Cambodia 15,762,370 181,035 Phnom Penh
China National Emblem of the People's Republic of China (2).svg China (PRC) 1,403,500,365 9,596,961 Beijing
Cyprus Cyprus Cyprus 1,170,125 9,251 Nicosia
East Timor East Timor East Timor 1,268,671 14,874 Dili
Egypt Egypt Egypt[89] 95,688,681 1,010,408 Cairo
Georgia (country) Georgia (country) Georgia[89] 3,925,405 69,700 Tbilisi
Hong Kong Regional Emblem of Hong Kong.svg Hong Kong 7,448,900 1,108 Hong Kong
India India India 1,324,171,354 3,287,263 New Delhi
Indonesia Indonesia Indonesia[89] 261,115,456 1,904,569 Jakarta
Iran Emblem of Iran.svg Iran 80,277,428 1,648,195 Tehran
Iraq Iraq Iraq 37,202,572 438,317 Baghdad
Israel Israel Israel 8,191,828 20,770 Jerusalem (disputed)
Japan Imperial Seal of Japan.svg Japan 127,748,513 377,915 Tokyo
Jordan Jordan Jordan 9,455,802 89,342 Amman
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan Kazakhstan[89] 17,987,736 2,724,900 Astana
Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait 4,052,584 17,818 Kuwait City
Kyrgyzstan National emblem of Kyrgyzstan 2016.svg Kyrgyzstan 5,955,734 199,951 Bishkek
Laos Emblem of Laos.svg Laos 6,758,353 236,800 Vientiane
Lebanon Lebanon Lebanon 6,006,668 10,400 Beirut
Malaysia Malaysia Malaysia 31,187,265 329,847 Kuala Lumpur
Maldives Emblem of Maldives.svg Maldives 427,756 298 Malé
Mongolia State emblem of Mongolia.svg Mongolia 3,027,398 1,564,116 Ulaanbaatar
Myanmar Myanmar Myanmar 52,885,223 676,578 Naypyidaw
Nepal Emblem of Nepal.svg Nepal 28,982,771 147,181 Kathmandu
North Korea Emblem of North Korea.svg North Korea 25,368,620 120,538 Pyongyang
Oman National emblem of Oman.svg Oman 4,424,762 309,500 Muscat
Pakistan Pakistan Pakistan 211,103,000 881,913 Islamabad
State of Palestine Coat of arms of Palestine.svg Palestine 4,790,705 6,220 Ramallah
(Jerusalem) (claimed)
Philippines Philippines Philippines 103,320,222 343,448 Manila
Qatar Emblem of Qatar.svg Qatar 2,569,804 11,586 Doha
Russia Russia Russia[89] 143,964,513 17,098,242 Moscow
Saudi Arabia Emblem of Saudi Arabia.svg Saudi Arabia 32,275,687 2,149,690 Riyadh
Singapore Singapore Singapore 5,622,455 697 Singapore
South Korea Emblem of South Korea.svg South Korea 50,791,919 100,210 Seoul
Sri Lanka Emblem of Sri Lanka.svg Sri Lanka 20,798,492 65,610 Colombo
Syria Syria Syria 18,430,453 185,180 Damascus
Taiwan National Emblem of the Republic of China.svg Taiwan (ROC) 23,556,706 36,193 Taipei
Tajikistan Emblem of Tajikistan.svg Tajikistan 8,734,951 143,100 Dushanbe
Thailand Emblem of Thailand.svg Thailand 68,863,514 513,120 Bangkok
Turkey Emblem of Turkey.svg Turkey[90] 79,512,426 783,562 Ankara
Turkmenistan Emblem of Turkmenistan.svg Turkmenistan 5,662,544 488,100 Ashgabat
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates 9,269,612 83,600 Abu Dhabi
Uzbekistan Emblem of Uzbekistan.svg Uzbekistan 31,446,795 447,400 Tashkent
Vietnam Emblem of Vietnam.svg Vietnam 94,569,072 331,212 Hanoi
Yemen Emblem of Yemen.svg Yemen 27,584,213 527,968 Sana'a

Within the above-mentioned states are several partially recognized countries with limited to no international recognition. None of them are members of the UN:

Flag Symbol Name Population
Area
(km²)
Capital
Abkhazia Coat of arms of Abkhazia.svg Abkhazia 242,862 8,660 Sukhumi
Republic of Artsakh Coat of arms of Artsakh.svg Artsakh 146,573 11,458 Stepanakert
Northern Cyprus Northern Cyprus Northern Cyprus 285,356 3,355 Nicosia
South Ossetia South Ossetia South Ossetia 51,547 3,900 Tskhinvali

See also

References to articles:

Special topics:

Lists:

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  89. ^ a b c d e f transcontinental country.
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Bibliography

  • Lewis, Martin W.; Wigen, Kären (1997). The myth of continents: a critique of metageography. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-20743-1.
  • Ventris, Michael; Chadwick, John (1973). Documents in Mycenaean Greek (2nd ed.). Cambridge: University Press.

Further reading

  • Higham, Charles. Encyclopedia of Ancient Asian Civilizations. Facts on File library of world history. New York: Facts On File, 2004.
  • Kamal, Niraj. "Arise Asia: Respond to White Peril". New Delhi: Wordsmith, 2002, ISBN 978-81-87412-08-3
  • 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.

External links

  • "Display Maps". The Soil Maps of Asia. European Digital Archive of Soil Maps – EuDASM. Archived from the original on 12 August 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  • "Asia Maps". Perry–Castañeda Library Map Collection. University of Texas Libraries. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  • "Asia". Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  • Bowring, Philip (12 February 1987). "What is Asia?". Eastern Economic Review. 135 (7).
2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on 26 December, with an epicentre off the west coast of northern Sumatra. It was an undersea megathrust earthquake that registered a magnitude of 9.1–9.3 Mw, reaching a Mercalli intensity up to IX in certain areas. The earthquake was caused by a rupture along the fault between the Burma Plate and the Indian Plate.

A series of large tsunamis up to 30 metres (100 ft) high were created by the underwater seismic activity that became known collectively as the Boxing Day tsunamis. Communities along the surrounding coasts of the Indian Ocean were seriously affected, and the tsunamis killed an estimated 227,898 people in 14 countries. The Indonesian city of Banda Aceh reported the largest number of victims. The earthquake was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. The direct results caused major disruptions to living conditions and commerce particularly in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.

The earthquake was the third largest ever recorded and had the longest duration of faulting ever observed; between eight and ten minutes. It caused the planet to vibrate as much as 1 centimetre (0.4 inches), and it remotely triggered earthquakes as far away as Alaska. Its epicentre was between Simeulue and mainland Sumatra. The plight of the affected people and countries prompted a worldwide humanitarian response, with donations totaling more than US$14 billion. The event is known by the scientific community as the Sumatra–Andaman earthquake.

Anatolia

Anatolia (from Greek Ἀνατολή Anatolḗ; Turkish: Anadolu "east" or "[sun]rise"), also known as Asia Minor (Medieval and Modern Greek: Μικρά Ἀσία Mikrá Asía, "small Asia"; Turkish: Küçük Asya), Asian Turkey, the Anatolian peninsula, or the Anatolian plateau, is the westernmost protrusion of Asia, which makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region is bounded by the Black Sea to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, the Armenian Highlands to the east, and the Aegean Sea to the west. The Sea of Marmara forms a connection between the Black and Aegean Seas through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits and separates Anatolia from Thrace on the European mainland.

The eastern border of Anatolia is traditionally held to be a line between the Gulf of Alexandretta and the Black Sea, bounded by the Armenian Highland to the east and Mesopotamia to the southeast. Thus, traditionally Anatolia is the territory that comprises approximately the western two-thirds of the Asian part of Turkey. Nowadays, Anatolia is also often considered to be synonymous with Asian Turkey, which comprises almost the entire country; its eastern and southeastern borders are widely taken to be Turkey's eastern border. By some definitions, the area called the Armenian highlands lies beyond the boundary of the Anatolian plateau. The official name of this inland region is the Eastern Anatolia Region.The ancient inhabitants of Anatolia spoke the now-extinct Anatolian languages, which were largely replaced by the Greek language starting from classical antiquity and during the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. Major Anatolian languages included Hittite, Luwian, and Lydian among other more poorly attested relatives. The Turkification of Anatolia began under the Seljuk Empire in the late 11th century and continued under the Ottoman Empire between the late 13th and early 20th centuries. However, various non-Turkic languages continue to be spoken by minorities in Anatolia today, including Kurdish, Neo-Aramaic, Armenian, Arabic, Laz, Georgian and Greek. Other ancient peoples in the region included Galatians, Hurrians, Assyrians, Hattians, Cimmerians, as well as Ionian, Dorian, and Aeolian Greeks.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN AH-see-ahn, AH-zee-ahn) is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising ten countries in Southeast Asia, which promotes intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational, and sociocultural integration among its members and other countries in Asia. It also regularly engages other countries in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. ASEAN maintains a global network of alliances and dialogue partners and is considered by many as a global powerhouse, the central union for cooperation in Asia-Pacific, and a prominent and influential organisation. It is involved in numerous international affairs, and hosts diplomatic missions throughout the world.

Central Asia

Central Asia stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. The region consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It is also colloquially referred to as "the stans" as the countries generally considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of".Central Asia has a population of about 70 million, consisting of five republics: Kazakhstan (pop. 18 million), Kyrgyzstan (6 million), Tajikistan (9 million), Turkmenistan (6 million), and Uzbekistan (31 million). Afghanistan (pop. 35 million), which is a part of South Asia, is also sometimes included in Central Asia.Central Asia has historically been closely tied to its nomadic peoples and the Silk Road. It has acted as a crossroads for the movement of people, goods, and ideas between Europe, Western Asia, South Asia, and East Asia. The Silk Road connected Muslim lands with the people of Europe, India, and China. This crossroads position has intensified the conflict between tribalism and traditionalism and modernization.In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, Central Asia was predominantly Iranian, populated by Eastern Iranian-speaking Bactrians, Sogdians, Chorasmians and the semi-nomadic Scythians and Dahae. After expansion by Turkic peoples, Central Asia also became the homeland for the Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Tatars, Turkmen, Kyrgyz, and Uyghurs; Turkic languages largely replaced the Iranian languages spoken in the area.

From the mid-19th century until almost the end of the 20th century, most of Central Asia was part of the Russian Empire and later the Soviet Union, both Slavic-majority countries, and the five former Soviet "-stans" are still home to about 7 million ethnic Russians and 500,000 Ukrainians.

Continent

A continent is one of several very large landmasses of the world. Generally identified by convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest in area to smallest, they are: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.Geologically, the continents largely correspond to areas of continental crust that are found on the continental plates. However, some areas of continental crust are regions covered with water not usually included in the list of continents. Zealandia is one such area (see submerged continents below).

Islands are frequently grouped with a neighbouring continent to divide all the world's land into geopolitical regions. Under this scheme, most of the island countries and territories in the Pacific Ocean are grouped together with the continent of Australia to form a geopolitical region called Oceania.

East Asia

East Asia is the eastern subregion of Asia, which can be defined in either geographical or ethno-cultural terms. Culturally, China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam are commonly seen as being encompassed by cultural East Asia (East Asian cultural sphere). Geographically and geopolitically, the region constitutes China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, and South Korea.The region was the cradle of various ancient civilizations such as ancient China, ancient Japan, ancient Korea, and the Mongol Empire. East Asia was one of the cradles of world civilization, with China, an ancient East Asian civilization being one of the earliest cradles of civilization in human history. For thousands of years, China largely influenced East Asia as it was principally the leading civilization in the region exerting its enormous prestige and influence on its neighbors. Historically, societies in East Asia have been part of the Chinese cultural sphere, and East Asian vocabulary and scripts are often derived from Classical Chinese and Chinese script. The Chinese calendar preserves traditional East Asian culture and serves as the root to which many other East Asian calendars are derived from. Major religions in East Asia include Buddhism (mostly Mahayana), Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism, Taoism, Ancestral worship, and Chinese folk religion in Greater China, Buddhism and Shintoism in Japan, and Christianity, Buddhism, and Sindoism in Korea. Shamanism is also prevalent among Mongols and other indigenous populations of northern East Asia such as the Manchus.East Asians comprise around 1.6 billion people, making up about 38% of the population in Continental Asia and 22% of the global population. The region is home to major world metropolises such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei, and Tokyo. Although the coastal and riparian areas of the region form one of the world's most populated places, the population in Mongolia and Western China, both landlocked areas, is very sparsely distributed, with Mongolia having the lowest population density of any sovereign state. The overall population density of the region is 133 inhabitants per square kilometre (340/sq mi), about three times the world average of 45/km2 (120/sq mi).

Georgia (country)

Georgia (Georgian: საქართველო, translit.: sakartvelo, IPA: [sɑkʰɑrtʰvɛlɔ] (listen)) is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital and largest city is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometres (26,911 sq mi), and its 2017 population is about 3.718 million. Georgia is a unitary semi-presidential republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy.During the classical era, several independent kingdoms became established in what is now Georgia, such as Colchis and Iberia. The Georgians adopted Christianity in the early 4th century. The common belief had an enormous importance for spiritual and political unification of early Georgian states. A unified Kingdom of Georgia reached its Golden Age during the reign of King David IV and Queen Tamar in the 12th and early 13th centuries. Thereafter, the kingdom declined and eventually disintegrated under hegemony of various regional powers, including the Mongols, the Ottoman Empire, and successive dynasties of Iran. In the late 18th century, the eastern Georgian Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti forged an alliance with the Russian Empire, which directly annexed the kingdom in 1801 and conquered the western Kingdom of Imereti in 1810. Russian rule over Georgia was eventually acknowledged in various peace treaties with Iran and the Ottomans and the remaining Georgian territories were absorbed by the Russian Empire in a piecemeal fashion in the course of the 19th century. During the Civil War following the Russian Revolution in 1917, Georgia briefly became part of the Transcaucasian Federation and then emerged as an independent republic before the Red Army invasion in 1921 which established a government of workers' and peasants' soviets. Soviet Georgia would be incorporated into a new Transcaucasian Federation which in 1922 would be a founding republic of the Soviet Union. In 1936, the Transcaucasian Federation was dissolved and Georgia emerged as a Union Republic. During the Great Patriotic War, almost 700,000 Georgians fought in the Red Army against the German invaders. After Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, a native Georgian, died in 1953, a wave of protest spread against Nikita Khrushchev and his de-Stalinization reforms, leading to the death of nearly one hundred students in 1956. From that time on, Georgia would become marred with blatant corruption and increased alienation of the government from the people.

By the 1980s, Georgians were ready to abandon the existing system altogether. A pro-independence movement led to the secession from the Soviet Union in April 1991. For most of the following decade, post-Soviet Georgia suffered from civil conflicts, secessionist wars in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and economic crisis. Following the bloodless Rose Revolution in 2003, Georgia strongly pursued a pro-Western foreign policy; aimed at NATO and European integration, it introduced a series of democratic and economic reforms. This brought about mixed results, but strengthened state institutions. The country's Western orientation soon led to the worsening of relations with Russia, culminating in the brief Russo-Georgian War in August 2008 and Georgia's current territorial dispute with Russia.

Georgia is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development. It contains two de facto independent regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which gained very limited international recognition after the 2008 Russo-Georgian War. Georgia and most of the world's countries consider the regions to be Georgian territory under Russian occupation.

Indian subcontinent

The Indian subcontinent is a southern region and peninsula of Asia, mostly situated on the Indian Plate and projecting southwards into the Indian Ocean from the Himalayas. Geologically, the Indian subcontinent is related to the land mass that rifted from Gondwana and merged with the Eurasian plate nearly 55 million years ago. Geographically, it is the peninsular region in south-central Asia delineated by the Himalayas in the north, the Hindu Kush in the west, and the Arakanese in the east. Politically, the Indian subcontinent includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.Sometimes, the geographical term 'Indian subcontinent' is used interchangeably with 'South Asia', although that last term is used typically as a political term and is also used to include Afghanistan. Which countries should be included in either of these remains the subject of debate.

Iron Age

The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, preceded by the Stone Age (Neolithic) and the Bronze Age. It is an archaeological era in the prehistory and protohistory of Europe and the Ancient Near East, and by analogy also used of other parts of the Old World.

The three-age system was introduced in the first half of the 19th century for the archaeology of Europe in particular, and by the later 19th century expanded to the archaeology of the Ancient Near East. Its name harks back to the mythological "Ages of Man" of Hesiod. As an archaeological era it was first introduced for Scandinavia by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen in the 1830s. By the 1860s, it was embraced as a useful division of the "earliest history of mankind" in general and began to be applied in Assyriology. The development of the now-conventional periodization in the archaeology of the Ancient Near East was developed in the 1920s to 1930s.

As its name suggests, Iron Age technology is characterized by the production of tools and weaponry by ferrous metallurgy (ironworking), more specifically from carbon steel.

The duration of the Iron Age varies depending on the region under consideration. It is defined by archaeological convention, and the mere presence of some cast or wrought iron is not sufficient to represent an Iron Age culture; rather, the "Iron Age" begins locally when the production of iron or steel has been brought to the point where iron tools and weapons superior to their bronze equivalents become widespread. For example, Tutankhamun's meteoric iron dagger comes from the Bronze Age. In the Ancient Near East, this transition takes place in the wake of the so-called Bronze Age collapse, in the 12th century BC. The technology soon spreads throughout the Mediterranean region and to South Asia.

Its further spread to Central Asia, Eastern and Central Europe is somewhat delayed, and Northern Europe is reached still later, by about 500 BC.

The Iron Age is taken to end, also by convention, with the beginning of the historiographical record.

This usually does not represent a clear break in the archaeological record; for the Ancient Near East the establishment of the Achaemenid Empire c. 550 BC (considered historical by virtue of the record by Herodotus) is usually taken as a cut-off date, and in Central and Western Europe the Roman conquests of the 1st century BC serve as marking for the end of the Iron Age. The Germanic Iron Age of Scandinavia is taken to end c. AD 800, with the beginning of the Viking Age.

In South Asia, the Iron Age is taken to begin with the ironworking Painted Gray Ware culture and to end with the reign of Ashoka (3rd century BC). The use of the term "Iron Age" in the archaeology of South, East and Southeast Asia is more recent, and less common, than for western Eurasia; at least in China prehistory had ended before iron-working arrived, so the term is infrequently used. The Sahel (Sudan region) and Sub-Saharan Africa are outside of the three-age system, there being no Bronze Age, but the term "Iron Age" is sometimes used in reference to early cultures practicing ironworking such as the Nok culture of Nigeria.

Malaysia

Malaysia ( (listen) mə-LAY-zee-ə, -⁠zhə; Malay: [məlejsiə]) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of 13 states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two similarly sized regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo). Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand in the north and maritime borders with Singapore in the south, Vietnam in the northeast, and Indonesia in the west. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia and a maritime border with the Philippines and Vietnam. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital and largest city while Putrajaya is the seat of federal government. With a population of over 30 million, Malaysia is the world's 44th most populous country. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia, Tanjung Piai, is in Malaysia. In the tropics, Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse countries, with large numbers of endemic species.

Malaysia has its origins in the Malay kingdoms which, from the 18th century, became subject to the British Empire when the Straits Settlements became British protectorates. Peninsular Malaysia was unified as the Malayan Union in 1946. Malaya was restructured as the Federation of Malaya in 1948, and achieved independence on 31 August 1957. Malaya united with North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore on 16 September 1963 to become Malaysia. In 1965, Singapore was expelled from the federation. The country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, which plays a large role in its politics. About half the population is ethnically Malay, with large minorities of Malaysian Chinese (the second largest community of Overseas Chinese in the world), Malaysian Indians, and indigenous peoples. The constitution grants freedom of religion but recognises Islam as the established religion of the state. The government system is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system and the legal system is based on common law. The head of state is the king, known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. He is an elected monarch chosen from the hereditary rulers of the nine Malay states every five years. The head of government is the Prime Minister. The country's official language is Bahasa Melayu, commonly known as the Malay language. English remains an active second language. In 2017, English proficiency in Malaysia was ranked the 2nd best in Asia (after Singapore) and the 13th best in the world.A member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Malaysia has had one of the best economic records in Asia since its independence from the United Kingdom with its GDP growing at an average of 6.5% per annum for almost 50 years. The economy has traditionally been fuelled by its natural resources, but is expanding in the sectors of science, tourism, commerce and medical tourism. It is also one of the few developing countries to heavily subsidise education and healthcare. Malaysian citizens are entitled to free public education up to secondary level and public tertiary education fees are subsidised by up to 90%. Basic healthcare services at government-run clinics with prescription cost RM1. Disabled persons, senior citizens and public school students are entitled to free healthcare. Malaysian healthcare services have been described as among the best in the world, and the UN Development Program called the Malaysian healthcare system "a model to other developing countries".Malaysia's recent rapid development has attracted millions of migrant workers from across Asia. The majority of these migrants are undocumented, a situation which the Malaysian government is struggling to combat, with its treatment and crackdown on migrant workers often criticised by international human rights watchdogs. Malaysia has a newly industrialised market economy, ranked 4th largest in Southeast Asia and 38th largest in the world. With a GDP per capita of $10,430 and an HDI of 0.802, Malaysia is classified as an emerging economy by the World Bank. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also classifies Malaysia as an emerging and developing country. Malaysia is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the East Asia Summit, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Non-Aligned Movement. In 2019, Malaysian citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 179 countries and territories, ranking the Malaysian passport the 12th most accepted in the world.

Middle East

The Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia, Turkey (both Asian and European), and Egypt (which is mostly in North Africa). Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest Middle Eastern nation while Bahrain is the smallest. The corresponding adjective is Middle Eastern and the derived noun is Middle Easterner. The term has come into wider usage as a replacement of the term Near East (as opposed to the Far East) beginning in the early 20th century.

Arabs, Turks, Persians, Kurds, and Azeris (excluding Azerbaijan) constitute the largest ethnic groups in the region by population. Arabs constitute the largest ethnic group in the region by a clear margin. Indigenous minorities of the Middle East include Jews, Baloch, Assyrians, Berbers (who primarily live in North Africa), Copts, Druze, Lurs, Mandaeans, Samaritans, Shabaks, Tats, and Zazas. European ethnic groups that form a diaspora in the region include Albanians, Bosniaks, Circassians (including Kabardians), Crimean Tatars, Greeks, Franco-Levantines, and Italo-Levantines. Among other migrant populations are Chinese, Filipinos, Indians, Indonesians, Pakistanis, Pashtuns, Romani, and sub-Saharan Africans.

The history of the Middle East dates back to ancient times, with the (geopolitical) importance of the region being recognized for millennia. Several major religions have their origins in the Middle East, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; the Baha'i faith, Mandaeism, Unitarian Druze, and numerous other belief systems were also established within the region.

The Middle East generally has a hot, arid climate, with several major rivers providing irrigation to support agriculture in limited areas such as the Nile Delta in Egypt, the Tigris and Euphrates watersheds of Mesopotamia, and most of what is known as the Fertile Crescent.

Most of the countries that border the Persian Gulf have vast reserves of crude oil, with monarchs of the Arabian Peninsula in particular benefiting economically from petroleum exports.

Philippines

The Philippines ( (listen) FIL-ə-peenz; Filipino: Pilipinas [ˌpɪlɪˈpinɐs] or Filipinas [ˌfɪlɪˈpinɐs]), officially the Republic of the Philippines (Filipino: Republika ng Pilipinas), is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of about 7,641 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The capital city of the Philippines is Manila and the most populous city is Quezon City, both part of Metro Manila. Bounded by the South China Sea on the west, the Philippine Sea on the east and the Celebes Sea on the southwest, the Philippines shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Vietnam to the west, Palau to the east, and Malaysia and Indonesia to the south.

The Philippines' location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator makes the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons, but also endows it with abundant natural resources and some of the world's greatest biodiversity. The Philippines has an area of 300,000 km2 (120,000 sq mi), according to the Philippines Statistical Authority and the WorldBank and, as of 2015, had a population of at least 100 million. As of January 2018, it is the eighth-most populated country in Asia and the 12th most populated country in the world. Approximately 10 million additional Filipinos lived overseas, comprising one of the world's largest diasporas. Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. In prehistoric times, Negritos were some of the archipelago's earliest inhabitants. They were followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples. Exchanges with Malay, Indian, Arab and Chinese nations occurred. Then, various competing maritime states were established under the rule of datus, rajahs, sultans and lakans.

The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer leading a fleet for the Spanish, in Homonhon, Eastern Samar in 1521 marked the beginning of Hispanic colonization. In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Philip II of Spain. With the arrival of Miguel López de Legazpi from Mexico City, in 1565, the first Hispanic settlement in the archipelago was established. The Philippines became part of the Spanish Empire for more than 300 years. This resulted in Catholicism becoming the dominant religion. During this time, Manila became the western hub of the trans-Pacific trade connecting Asia with Acapulco in the Americas using Manila galleons.As the 19th century gave way to the 20th, the Philippine Revolution quickly followed, which then spawned the short-lived First Philippine Republic, followed by the bloody Philippine–American War. The war, as well as the ensuing cholera epidemic, resulted in the deaths of thousands of combatants as well as tens of thousands of civilians. Aside from the period of Japanese occupation, the United States retained sovereignty over the islands until after World War II, when the Philippines was recognized as an independent nation. Since then, the unitary sovereign state has often had a tumultuous experience with democracy, which included the overthrow of a dictatorship by a non-violent revolution.The Philippines is a founding member of the United Nations, World Trade Organization, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and the East Asia Summit. It also hosts the headquarters of the Asian Development Bank. The Philippines is considered to be an emerging market and a newly industrialized country, which has an economy transitioning from being based on agriculture to one based more on services and manufacturing. Along with East Timor, the Philippines is one of Southeast Asia's predominantly Christian nations.

Silk Road

The Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes that connected the East and West. It was central to cultural interaction between the regions for many centuries. The Silk Road primarily refers to the terrestrial routes connecting East Asia and Southeast Asia with East Africa, West Asia and Southern Europe.

The Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in silk carried out along its length, beginning in the Han dynasty (207 BCE–220 CE). The Han dynasty expanded the Central Asian section of the trade routes around 114 BCE through the missions and explorations of the Chinese imperial envoy Zhang Qian. The Chinese took great interest in the safety of their trade products and extended the Great Wall of China to ensure the protection of the trade route.Trade on the Road played a significant role in the development of the civilizations of China, Korea, Japan, the Indian subcontinent, Iran/Persia, Europe, the Horn of Africa and Arabia, opening long-distance political and economic relations between the civilizations. Though silk was the major trade item exported from China, many other goods were traded, as well as religions, syncretic philosophies, sciences, and technologies. Diseases, most notably plague, also spread along the Silk Road. In addition to economic trade, the Silk Road was a route for cultural trade among the civilizations along its network.In June 2014, UNESCO designated the Chang'an-Tianshan corridor of the Silk Road as a World Heritage Site. The Indian portion is on the tentative site list.

South Asia

South Asia or Southern Asia, is a term used to represent the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan SAARC countries and, for some authorities, adjoining countries to the west and east. Topographically, it is dominated by the Indian Plate, which rises above sea level as Nepal and northern parts of India situated south of the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush. South Asia is bounded on the south by the Indian Ocean and on land (clockwise, from west) by West Asia, Central Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.

The current territories of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka form South Asia. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic cooperation organisation in the region which was established in 1985 and includes all eight nations comprising South Asia.South Asia covers about 5.2 million km2 (2 million mi2), which is 11.71% of the Asian continent or 3.5% of the world's land surface area. The population of South Asia is about 1.891 billion or about one fourth of the world's population, making it both the most populous and the most densely populated geographical region in the world. Overall, it accounts for about 39.49% of Asia's population, over 24% of the world's population, and is home to a vast array of people.In 2010, South Asia had the world's largest population of Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. It also has the largest population of Muslims in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as over 35 million Christians and 25 million Buddhists.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia. Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SAARC comprises 3% of the world's area, 21% of the world's population and 3.8% (US$2.9 trillion) of the global economy, as of 2015.

SAARC was founded in Dhaka on 8 December 1985. Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. The organization promotes development of economic and regional integration. It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006. SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the United Nations as an observer and has developed links with multilateral entities, including the European Union.

Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of Japan, Korea and China, east of India, west of Papua New Guinea, and north of Australia. Southeast Asia is bordered to the north by East Asia, to the west by South Asia and the Bay of Bengal, to the east by Oceania and the Pacific Ocean, and to the south by Australia and the Indian Ocean. The region is the only part of Asia that lies partly within the Southern Hemisphere, although the majority of it is in the Northern Hemisphere. In contemporary definition, Southeast Asia consists of two geographic regions:

Mainland Southeast Asia, also known historically as Indochina, comprising parts of Eastern India (India stretches from South Asia to Southeast Asia), Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and West Malaysia.

Maritime Southeast Asia, also known historically as Nusantara, the East Indies and Malay Archipelago, comprises the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India, Indonesia, East Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, East Timor, Brunei, Christmas Island, and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Taiwan is also included in this grouping by many anthropologists.The region lies near the intersection of geological plates, with both heavy seismic and volcanic activities. The Sunda Plate is the main plate of the region, featuring almost all Southeast Asian countries except Myanmar, northern Thailand, northern Vietnam, and northern Luzon of the Philippines. The mountain ranges in Myanmar, Thailand, and peninsular Malaysia are part of the Alpide belt, while the islands of the Philippines are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Both seismic belts meet in Indonesia, causing the region to have relatively high occurrences of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.Southeast Asia covers about 4.5 million km2 (1.7 million mi2), which is 10.5% of Asia or 3% of earth's total land area. Its total population is more than 641 million, about 8.5% of the world's population. It is the third most populous geographical region in the world after South Asia and East Asia. The region is culturally and ethnically diverse, with hundreds of languages spoken by different ethnic groups. Ten countries in the region are members of ASEAN, a regional organization established for economic, political, military, educational and cultural integration amongst its members.

Troy

Troy (Ancient Greek: Τροία, Troia or Τροίας, Troias and Ἴλιον, Ilion or Ἴλιος, Ilios; Latin: Troia and Ilium; Hittite: Wilusha or Truwisha; Turkish: Truva or Troya) was a city in the far northwest of the region known in late Classical antiquity as Asia Minor, now known as Anatolia in modern Turkey, just south of the southwest mouth of the Dardanelles strait and northwest of Mount Ida. The present-day location is known as Hisarlik. It was the setting of the Trojan War described in the Greek Epic Cycle, in particular in the Iliad, one of the two epic poems attributed to Homer. Metrical evidence from the Iliad and the Odyssey suggests that the name Ἴλιον (Ilion) formerly began with a digamma: Ϝίλιον (Wilion); this is also supported by the Hittite name for what is thought to be the same city, Wilusa.

A new capital called Ilium (from Greek: Ἴλιον, Ilion) was founded on the site in the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus. It flourished until the establishment of Constantinople, became a bishopric and declined gradually in the Byzantine era, but is now a Latin Catholic titular see.

In 1865, English archaeologist Frank Calvert excavated trial trenches in a field he had bought from a local farmer at Hisarlik, and in 1868, Heinrich Schliemann, a wealthy German businessman and archaeologist, also began excavating in the area after a chance meeting with Calvert in Çanakkale. These excavations revealed several cities built in succession. Schliemann was at first skeptical about the identification of Hisarlik with Troy, but was persuaded by Calvert and took over Calvert's excavations on the eastern half of the Hisarlik site, which was on Calvert's property. Troy VII has been identified with the city called Wilusa by the Hittites (the probable origin of the Greek Ἴλιον) and is generally (but not conclusively) identified with Homeric Troy.

Today, the hill at Hisarlik has given its name to a small village near the ruins, which supports the tourist trade visiting the Troia archaeological site. It lies within the province of Çanakkale, some 30 km south-west of the provincial capital, also called Çanakkale. The nearest village is Tevfikiye. The map here shows the adapted Scamander estuary with Ilium a little way inland across the Homeric plain. Due to Troy's location near the Aegean Sea, the Sea of Marmara, and the Black Sea, it was a central hub for the military and trade.Troy was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1998.

Unilever

Unilever is a British-Dutch transnational consumer goods company co-headquartered in London, United Kingdom and Rotterdam, Netherlands. Its products include food and beverages (about 40 per cent of its revenue), cleaning agents, beauty products, and personal care products. It is Europe’s seventh most valuable company. Unilever is one of the oldest multinational companies; its products are available in around 190 countries.Unilever owns over 400 brands, with a turnover in 2017 of 53.7 billion euros, and thirteen brands with sales of over one billion euros: Axe/Lynx, Dove, Omo, Heartbrand ice creams, Hellmann's, Knorr, Lipton, Lux, Magnum, Rexona/Degree, Sunsilk and Surf. It is a dual-listed company consisting of Unilever plc, based in London, and Unilever N.V., based in Rotterdam. The two companies operate as a single business, with a common board of directors. Unilever is organised into four main divisions – Foods, Refreshment (beverages and ice cream), Home Care, and Beauty & Personal Care. It has research and development facilities in the United Kingdom (two), the Netherlands, China, India and the United States.Unilever was founded on September 2, 1929, by the merger of the Dutch margarine producer Margarine Unie and the British soapmaker Lever Brothers. During the second half of the 20th century the company increasingly diversified from being a maker of products made of oils and fats, and expanded its operations worldwide. It has made numerous corporate acquisitions, including Lipton (1971), Brooke Bond (1984), Chesebrough-Ponds (1987), Best Foods (2000), Ben & Jerry's (2000), Alberto-Culver (2010), Dollar Shave Club (2016) and Pukka Herbs (2017). Unilever divested its speciality chemicals businesses to ICI in 1997. In the 2010s, under leadership of Paul Polman, the company started gradually shifted its focus towards health and beauty brands and away from food brands showing slow growth.Unilever plc has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. Unilever N.V. has a primary listing on Euronext Amsterdam and is a constituent of the AEX index. The company is also a component of the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index.

Western Asia

Western Asia, West Asia, Southwestern Asia or Southwest Asia is the westernmost subregion of Asia. The concept is in limited use, as it significantly overlaps with the Middle East (or the Near East), the main difference usually being the exclusion of the majority of Egypt (which would be counted as part of North Africa) and the inclusion of the Caucasus. The term is sometimes used for the purposes of grouping countries in statistics. The total population of Western Asia is an estimated 300 million as of 2015. Although the term "Western Asia" is mostly used as a convenient division of contemporary sovereign states into a manageable number of world regions for statistical purposes, it is sometimes used instead of the more geopolitical term "Middle East".

In an unrelated context, the term is also used in ancient history and archaeology to divide the Fertile Crescent into the "Asiatic" or "Western Asian" cultures as opposed to ancient Egypt. As a geographic concept, Western Asia includes the Levant, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Iran, the Armenian Highlands, the South Caucasus, the Arabian peninsula as well as the Sinai Peninsula, making Egypt a transcontinental country.

The term is used pragmatically and has no "correct" or generally agreed-upon definition. The National Geographic Style Manual as well as Maddison's The World Economy: Historical Statistics (2003) by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) only includes Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Palestinian territories (called West Bank and Gaza in the latter), Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, UAE, and Yemen as West Asian countries. In contrast to this definition, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in its 2015 yearbook also includes Armenia and Azerbaijan, and excludes Israel (as Other) and Turkey (as Europe).

Unlike the UNIDO, the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) excludes Iran from Western Asia and includes Turkey, Georgia, and Cyprus in the region. In the United Nation's geopolitical Eastern European Group, Armenia and Georgia are included in Eastern Europe, whereas Cyprus and East Thracian Turkey are in Southern Europe. These three nations are listed in the European category of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

National members of West Asian sports governing bodies are limited to Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The Olympic Council of Asia's multi-sport event West Asian Games are contested by athletes representing these thirteen countries. Among the region's sports organisations are the West Asia Basketball Association, West Asian Billiards and Snooker Federation, West Asian Football Federation, and the West Asian Tennis Federation.

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