Portal:Asia

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, and for many the legendary wealth and prosperity of the ancient culture of India personified Asia, attracting European commerce, exploration, and colonialism. 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...)

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The Ming dynasty (/mɪŋ/ MING), officially the Great Ming, was an imperial dynasty of China, ruling from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last imperial dynasty of China ruled by the Han people, the majority ethnic group in China. Although the primary capital of Beijing fell in 1644 to a rebellion led by Li Zicheng (who established the short-lived Shun dynasty), numerous rump regimes ruled by remnants of the Ming imperial family—collectively called the Southern Ming—survived until 1662.

The Ming dynasty's founder, the Hongwu Emperor (r. 1368–1398), attempted to create a society of self-sufficient rural communities ordered in a rigid, immobile system that would guarantee and support a permanent class of soldiers for his dynasty: the empire's standing army exceeded one million troops and the navy's dockyards in Nanjing were the largest in the world. He also took great care breaking the power of the court eunuchs and unrelated magnates, enfeoffing his many sons throughout China and attempting to guide these princes through the Huang-Ming Zuxun, a set of published dynastic instructions. This failed when his teenage successor, the Jianwen Emperor, attempted to curtail his uncles' power, prompting the Jingnan campaign, an uprising that placed the Prince of Yan upon the throne as the Yongle Emperor in 1402. The Yongle Emperor established Yan as a secondary capital and renamed it Beijing, constructed the Forbidden City, and restored the Grand Canal and the primacy of the imperial examinations in official appointments. He rewarded his eunuch supporters and employed them as a counterweight against the Confucian scholar-bureaucrats. One eunuch, Zheng He, led seven enormous voyages of exploration into the Indian Ocean as far as Arabia and the eastern coasts of Africa. Hongwu and Yongle emperors had also expanded the empire's rule into Inner Asia. (Full article...)
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Qatar (/ˈkɑːtɑːr, kəˈtɑːr/; Arabic: قطر Qaṭar [ˈqɑtˤɑr], local vernacular pronunciation: [ˈɡɪtˤɑr]), officially the State of Qatar, is a country in West Asia. It occupies the Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East; it shares its sole land border with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf. The Gulf of Bahrain, an inlet of the Persian Gulf, separates Qatar from nearby Bahrain. The capital is Doha, home to over 80% of the country's inhabitants, and the land area is mostly made up of flat, low-lying desert.

Qatar has been ruled as a hereditary monarchy by the House of Thani since Mohammed bin Thani signed "an agreement, not a formal treaty" with Britain in 1868 that recognised its separate status. Following Ottoman rule, Qatar became a British protectorate in 1916 and gained independence in 1971. The current emir is Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who holds nearly all executive, legislative, and judicial authority under the Constitution of Qatar. He appoints the prime minister and cabinet. The partially-elected Consultative Assembly can block legislation and has a limited ability to dismiss ministers. (Full article...)

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Portrait of Sudirman, 1950

Sudirman (Old Spelling: Soedirman; 24 January 1916 – 29 January 1950) was a high-ranking Indonesian military officer during the Indonesian National Revolution. The first commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces, he continues to be widely respected in the country.

Born in Purbalingga, Dutch East Indies, Sudirman moved to Cilacap in 1916 and was raised by his uncle. A diligent student at a Muhammadiyah-run school, he became respected within the community for his devotion to Islam. After dropping out of teacher's college, in 1936 he began working as a teacher, and later headmaster, at a Muhammadiyah-run elementary school. After the Japanese occupied the Indies in 1942, Sudirman continued to teach, before joining the Japanese-sponsored Defenders of the Homeland as a battalion commander in Banyumas in 1944. In this position he put down a rebellion by his fellow soldiers, but was later interned in Bogor. After Indonesia proclaimed its independence on 17 August 1945, Sudirman led a break-out then went to Jakarta to meet President Sukarno. Tasked with overseeing the surrender of Japanese soldiers in Banyumas, he established a division of the People's Safety Body there. On 12 November 1945, at an election to decide the military's commander-in-chief in Yogyakarta, Sudirman was chosen over Oerip Soemohardjo in a close vote. While waiting to be confirmed, Sudirman ordered an assault on British and Dutch forces in Ambarawa. The ensuing battle and British withdrawal strengthened Sudirman's popular support, and he was ultimately confirmed on 18 December. (Full article...)

General images

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

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Sikh pilgrim at the Golden Temple
Sikh pilgrim at the Golden Temple
A Sikh pilgrim at the Harmandir Sahib, known informally as the "Golden Temple", located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. The temple is the best-known of the Sikh gurdwaras and was completed in 1604. In the early nineteenth century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh covered the upper floors of the gurdwara with gold, giving it its distinctive appearance.

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Updated: 6:33, 14 February 2024

In the news


28 February 2024 –
China urges the world's largest nuclear states to negotiate a "no first use treaty". China and India are currently the only two nuclear powers to formally maintain a no first use policy. (Reuters)
27 February 2024 – Red Sea crisis
German Navy warship Hessen shoots down two drones launched by Houthi forces in Yemen as part of the European Union's mission to protect international shipping in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
27 February 2024 –
Japanese technology company Sony announces it will cut 900 jobs across its global workforce and that its London Studio will also be closed down as part of the restructuring. (Sky News)
26 February 2024 – Israel–Hezbollah clashes
Israel conducts airstrikes on Hezbollah positions in Lebanon's Beqaa Valley, marking Israel's deepest incursion into Lebanon since the outbreak of hostilities. (Reuters)
26 February 2024 – Iran–Israel relations
The Israeli Air Force announces the establishment of a new department dedicated to monitoring the Iranian Armed Forces. (Jerusalem Post)
26 February 2024 – Israel–Hamas war protests
Israel–Hamas war protests in the United States

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Major Religions in Asia


Middle East

Central Asia and Surroundings

Indian Subcontinent

Southeast Asia

East Asia

Selected panorama

150pxHiroshima Peace Memorial
150pxHiroshima Peace Memorial
Credit: Dean S. Pemberton

A panoramic view of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, the site of the first atomic bomb to be used in warfare on August 6, 1945, during the final stages of World War II. Over 70,000 people were killed immediately, and another 70,000 suffered fatal injuries from the radiation, after the U.S. Army Air Force bomber Enola Gay dropped the bomb, codenamed "Little Boy". The Genbaku ("A-bomb") Dome (center) was directly beneath the blast, but managed to survive mostly intact.

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