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Portal:Asia

The Asia Portal
The Asia Portal
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Asia (/ˈʒə/ AY-zhə, UK also /ˈʃə/ AY-shə) is the largest continent in the world by both land area and population. It covers an area of more than 44 million square kilometers, about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8% of Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Its 4.7 billion people constitute roughly 60% of the world's population.

Asia shares the landmass of Eurasia with Europe, and of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. In general terms, 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. 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. A commonly accepted division places 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.

China and India traded places as the largest economies in the world from 1 to 1800 CE. China was a major economic power for much of recorded history, with the highest GDP per capita until 1500. 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 as well as robust population growth during the 20th century, but overall population growth has since fallen. 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. (Full article...)

Featured article

A cat-sized primate with a dark stripe down its back is held in a gloved hand against the chest
Slow lorises, such as this Bengal slow loris (Nycticebus bengalensis) were once considered common, but are now recognized as threatened species.

Slow lorises are nocturnal strepsirrhine primates in the genus Nycticebus that live in the rainforests of South and Southeast Asia. They are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation from deforestation, selective logging, and slash-and-burn agriculture, as well as by collection and hunting for the wildlife trade, including the exotic pet trade, and for use in traditional medicine and as bushmeat. Because of these and other threats, all five species of slow loris are listed as either "Vulnerable" or "Endangered" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Their conservation status was originally listed as "Least Concern" in 2000 because of imprecise population surveys and the frequency in which these primates were found in animal markets. Because of their rapidly declining populations and local extinctions, their status was updated and in 2007 the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) elevated them to Appendix I, which prohibits international commercial trade. Local laws also protect slow lorises from hunting and trade, but enforcement is lacking in most areas.

Traditional beliefs regarding slow lorises have been part of the folklore of Southeast Asia for at least several hundred years. Their remains are buried under houses and roads to bring good luck, and every part of their body is used in traditional medicine to make products ranging from love potions to unproven cures for cancer, leprosy, epilepsy, and sexually transmitted diseases. The primary users of this traditional medicine are urban, middle-aged women who are reluctant to consider alternatives. (Full article...)
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China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. With a population exceeding 1.4 billion, it is the world's second-most populous country. China spans the equivalent of five time zones and borders fourteen countries by land. With an area of nearly 9.6 million square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third-largest country by total land area. The country is divided into 33 province-level divisions, inclusive of 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities, and two semi-autonomous special administrative regions. Beijing is the national capital, while Shanghai is its most populous city and largest financial center.

One of the cradles of civilization, China has been inhabited since the Paleolithic era, with the earliest dynasties emerging in the Yellow River basin before the late second millennium BCE. The eighth to third centuries BCE saw a breakdown in the authority of the Zhou dynasty, accompanied by the emergence of administrative and military techniques, literature, philosophy, and historiography. In 221 BCE, China was unified under an emperor for the first time. Appointed non-hereditary officials began ruling counties instead of the aristocracy, ushering in more than two millennia of imperial dynasties including the Qin, Han, Tang, Yuan, Ming, and Qing. With the invention of gunpowder and paper, the establishment of the Silk Road, and the building of the Great Wall, Chinese culture—including languages, traditions, architecture, philosophy and technology—flourished and has heavily influenced East Asia and beyond. (Full article...)

Featured biography

Tōru Takemitsu (武満 徹, pronounced [takeꜜmitsɯ̥ toːɾɯ]; 8 October 1930 – 20 February 1996) was a Japanese composer and writer on aesthetics and music theory. Largely self-taught, Takemitsu was admired for the subtle manipulation of instrumental and orchestral timbre. He is known for combining elements of oriental and occidental philosophy and for fusing sound with silence and tradition with innovation.

He composed several hundred independent works of music, scored more than ninety films and published twenty books. He was also a founding member of the Jikken Kōbō (Experimental Workshop) in Japan, a group of avant-garde artists who distanced themselves from academia and whose collaborative work is often regarded among the most influential of the 20th century. (Full article...)

General images

The following are images from various Asia-related articles on Wikipedia.

Featured picture

The town of Ortahisar
The town of Ortahisar
The town of Ortahisar in Cappadocia, a region in central Turkey famous for its fairy chimneys, rock formations that may reach 40 m (130 ft) in height. Over thousands of years, wind and rain have eroded layers of consolidated volcanic ash to form the area's landscape. Early occupants of the area dug tunnels into the exposed rock face to build residences, stores, and churches, now home to Byzantine artwork.

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Updated: 6:33, 14 February 2024

In the news


19 April 2024 – 2024 Iran–Israel conflict
2024 Israeli strikes on Iran
Missiles are launched by the Israel Defense Forces towards Iran near the city of Isfahan. Places in Iraq and radar sites in Syria were attacked by Israel as well. (Al Jazeera) (Times of Israel) (Washington Post)
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia tells its citizens to leave Israel, citing a high threat of military reprisals and terrorist attacks. (Times of Israel)
19 April 2024 –
A man threatens to blow himself up near the Iranian Embassy in Paris, France, being later arrested. (Forbes)
19 April 2024 – 2024 Indian general election
Indians begin voting to elect members to the 18th Lok Sabha. With 968 million people eligible to vote, this election is expected to be the largest election in history. Voting will continue in a total of seven phases, lasting until June. (AP)
18 April 2024 – Palestine and the United Nations, Enlargement of the United Nations
The United States vetoes a UN Security Council resolution supporting the State of Palestine joining the United Nations. The vote was 12 in favor, the United States opposed and two abstentions, from the United Kingdom and Switzerland. France, Japan, Ecuador and South Korea supported the resolution. (AP)

More current events...

Related portals


Major Religions in Asia


Middle East

Central Asia and Surroundings

Indian Subcontinent

Southeast Asia

East Asia

Selected panorama

150pxPanorama of Masjid al-Haram on Mecca, Saudi Arabia
150pxPanorama of Masjid al-Haram on Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Credit: Bluemangoa2z

The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence.

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