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Introduction to Areas in Asia

Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent. Over 4 billion people - more than half the world's population  - live there. Asia has more kinds of people, more kinds of land, and more kinds of climate than any other country. A space traveler flying miles above the earth might be able to see all of Asia at one time. He would see that Europe is connected to Asia but is very much smaller. He would see that Asia is much larger than Europe and Africa put together, or North and South America together. Asian covers almost one third of the earth's land surface. (Map of Asia)

Our imaginary space traveler would see many strange and different landscapes. Asia has more mountains than any other continent. Plateaus and mountain ranges criss-cross the central part of Asia. The plateaus are higher than most mountains in other places, and the mountain peaks are thousands of feet higher still. Even the clouds are below the mountain tops. In summer these mountains are covered with ice and snow.

Mt. Everest in Asia

There are thousands of miles of deserts too. Some are hot all year round. Other are very cold. Deserts stretch from the Red Sea to Mongolia. Very few people live in the deserts. Water is scarce. The people must wander from place to place in search of grass to feed their flocks.

Great, dark evergreen forests cover northern Asia. Only a small number of hardy people live there. They hunt animals fur or cut the trees for lumber. Still farther north in Asia are the frozen Arctic plains. It is so cold that the land is frozen solid most of the year. Only mosses and lichens can grow. And only a few wandering tribes live here with their herds of reindeer.

Map of Northern Asia

South of the frozen tundra and the evergreen forests are thousands of mile of grassland. Cattle graze and millions of bushels of wheat are grown. Father to the south of Asia are hot, rainy lands. Here in the steaming jungles live tigers, elephants, monkeys, and tropical birds. Millions of people live in the hot lands. Some live in tiny crowded villages and farm the rich soil along the river banks. Over the world, the greatest numbers of people live close to the water.

East and Southeast Asia

In east Asia too, millions of people live on little farms close to the rivers. Some live on river boats and even grow food there. Others live in cities more crowded than any other place in the world. But the high, dry central part of Asia is bare. Very few people can live there.

To the east of Asia, on the islands of Japan, farms are planted even on the sides of mountains. Japan is so crowded that every available inch of land is used for food. Still not enough food is grown. On many islands South of Asia it rains most of the year. These islands are covered with hot tropical jungles. Some islands grow rubber, coffee, sugar, tea, and spices.

Wit the highest mountains and the lowest depressions in the world, tropical heat and arctic code, dense rain forests and barren deserts-Asia is truly a continent of great contrasts.


Next Page: Asia Climate

Table of Contents

Asia Introduction
Asia Climate
Asia People
Transportation in Asia