Asia (/ˈeɪʒə/ (listen), UK also /ˈeɪʃə/) 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, having more people than all other continents combined.
Asia shares the landmass of Eurasia with Europe and 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 alternated in being the largest economies in the world from 1 to 1,800 CE. China was a major economic power and attracted many to the east, and for many the legendary wealth and prosperity of the ancient culture of India personified Asia, 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. 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...)
The Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus), also known as the Javan rhino, Sunda rhinoceros or lesser one-horned rhinoceros, is a very rare member of the family Rhinocerotidae and one of five extant rhinoceroses. It belongs to the same genus as the Indian rhinoceros, and has similar mosaic, armour-like skin, but at 3.1–3.2 m (10–10 ft) in length and 1.4–1.7 m (4.6–5.6 ft) in height, it is smaller (closer in size to the black rhinoceros of the genus Diceros). Its horn is usually shorter than 25 cm (9.8 in), and is smaller than those of the other rhino species. Only adult bulls have horns; cows lack them altogether.Once the most widespread of Asian rhinoceroses, Javan rhinos ranged from the islands of Java and Sumatra, throughout Southeast Asia, and into India and China. The species is critically endangered, with only one known population in the wild, and no individuals in captivity. It is possibly the rarest large mammal on Earth, with a population of approximately 74 in Ujung Kulon National Park at the western tip of Java in Indonesia. The Javan rhinoceros population in Vietnam's Cat Tien National Park was declared to be locally extinct in 2011. The decline of Javan rhinos is attributed to poaching, primarily for their horns, which are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine, fetching as much as US$30,000 per kg on the black market. As European presence in their range increased, trophy hunting also became a serious threat. Loss of habitat, especially as the result of wars, such as the Vietnam War, in Southeast Asia, has also contributed to the species' decline and hindered recovery. The remaining range is within one nationally protected area, but the rhinos are still at risk from poachers, disease, and loss of genetic diversity leading to inbreeding depression. (Full article...)
Thailand (/ˈtaɪlænd, -lənd/ TY-land, -lənd), officially the Kingdom of Thailand and historically known as Siam (/saɪˈæm, ˈsaɪæm/), is a country in Southeast Asia on the Indochinese Peninsula. With a population of almost 70 million, it spans 513,120 square kilometres (198,120 sq mi). Thailand is bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea; it also shares maritime borders with Vietnam to the southeast, and Indonesia and India to the southwest. Bangkok is the nation's capital and largest city.Tai peoples migrated from southwestern China to mainland Southeast Asia from the 6th to 11th century. Indianised kingdoms such as the Mon, Khmer Empire and Malay states ruled the region, competing with Thai states such as the Kingdoms of Ngoenyang, Sukhothai, Lan Na and Ayutthaya, which also rivalled each other. European contact began in 1511 with a Portuguese diplomatic mission to Ayutthaya, which became a regional power by the end of the 15th century. Ayutthaya reached its peak during the 18th century, until it was destroyed in the Burmese–Siamese War. Taksin quickly reunified the fragmented territory and established the short-lived Thonburi Kingdom. He was succeeded in 1782 by Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, the first monarch of the current Chakri dynasty. Throughout the era of Western imperialism in Asia, Siam remained the only nation in the region to avoid colonization by foreign powers, although it was often forced to make territorial, trade and legal concessions in unequal treaties. The Siamese system of government was centralised and transformed into a modern unitary absolute monarchy in the reign of Chulalongkorn. In World War I, Siam sided with the Allies, a political decision made in order to amend the unequal treaties. Following a bloodless revolution in 1932, it became a constitutional monarchy and changed its official name to Thailand, becoming an ally of Japan in World War II. In the late 1950s, a military coup under Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat revived the monarchy's historically influential role in politics. Thailand became a major ally of the United States, and played an anti-communist role in the region as a member of the failed SEATO, but from 1975 sought to improve relations with Communist China and Thailand's neighbours. (Full article...)
Preity G Zinta (pronounced [ˈpriːt̪i ˈzɪɳʈa]; born 31 January 1975) is an Indian actress and entrepreneur primarily known for her work in Hindi films. After graduating with degrees in English honours and criminal psychology, Zinta made her acting debut in Dil Se.. in 1998, followed by a role in Soldier in the same year. These performances earned her the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut, and she was later recognised for her role as a teenage single mother in Kya Kehna (2000). She subsequently established a career as a leading actress of Hindi cinema with a variety of character types. Her roles, often deemed culturally defiant, along with her unconventional screen persona have been credited with contributing to a change in the concept of Indian film heroines, and won her several accolades.Following critically appreciated roles in Chori Chori Chupke Chupke (2001), Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Dil Hai Tumhaara (2002), and Armaan (2003), Zinta received the Filmfare Award for Best Actress for her performance in Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003). She starred in two consecutive annual top-grossing films in India, Koi... Mil Gaya (2003) and Veer-Zaara (2004), and was noted for her portrayal of independent, modern Indian women in Salaam Namaste (2005) and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006), top-grossing productions in overseas markets. For her first international role in the Canadian drama Heaven on Earth (2008) she was awarded the Silver Hugo Award for Best Actress and nominated for the Genie Award for Best Actress. She followed this with a hiatus from acting work for several years, with the exception of her self-produced comeback film, Ishkq in Paris (2013), which failed to leave a mark. (Full article...)
The following are images from various Asia-related articles on Wikipedia.
The Darvaza gas crater, also called the "Door to Hell" or the "Gates of Hell" by locals, a crater of natural gas that has been burning since 1971, is located in the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan. The crater is a major tourist attraction, with hundreds of visitors arriving each year.
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Updated: 1:33, 20 March 2022
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Panorama of the city of Luang Prabang in northern Laos, as seen from Phu Si hill. The city was formerly the capital of a kingdom of the same name, and after Laos's independence from France, it was the royal capital and seat of government of the Kingdom of Laos. This view features the Nam Khan river on the left, and Luang Prabang International Airport on the very far left.
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