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Old 06-16-2012, 08:01 PM
 
Location: Montreal, Quebec
5 posts, read 13,486 times
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I've often been confused by this, would anyone care to explain
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Old 06-16-2012, 08:10 PM
 
497 posts, read 914,424 times
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I can't speak for Australia, but Europe is a continent based in part due to the Ural Mountains, the Caucus Mountains, and the strait near which Istanbul, Turkey is located (I think it's the Straits of Bosporus, too lazy to check atm), and in part due to the stark cultural differences between, say, Eastern Russia and Syria, or Vietnam and Portugal.
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Old 06-16-2012, 08:21 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
87,845 posts, read 81,615,624 times
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This is a great question. Actually, Europe isn't a continent anymore, Eurasia is the continent, of which Europe is a peninsula. But for die-hard Eurocentrists, Europe is still a continent.

Australia's too big to be a continent. What we should be asking is: what is Greenland? A continent? A really, really, REALLY big island? It should be a continent.
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Old 06-16-2012, 08:26 PM
 
Location: American Expat
2,189 posts, read 4,972,148 times
Reputation: 1891
Continent - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quote:
A continent is one of several very large landmasses on Earth
Europe is an Island. Well, part of an Island. Every continent is an Island.
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Old 06-16-2012, 09:28 PM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
5,578 posts, read 12,005,819 times
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It could be as simple as:
If the ocean has NO direct influence on any place far away enough from the coast line, it is a continent.

The largest Island would be Greenland.
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Old 06-16-2012, 09:38 PM
 
2,421 posts, read 6,508,554 times
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Australia is technically both a Continent and an Island - depending on what explanation you're using.

Last edited by Kangaroofarmer; 06-16-2012 at 09:50 PM..
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Old 06-16-2012, 10:11 PM
 
Location: The Netherlands
2,942 posts, read 4,690,033 times
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I was taught that Australia was part of the continent of Oceania (along with smaller islands like New Zealand and Papua New Guinea).

Europe is sometimes considered to be part of the continent of Eurasia because it's not a seperate landmass. Likewise, the Americas are sometimes considered to be one continent as well.
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Old 06-16-2012, 10:16 PM
 
Location: Toronto
3,338 posts, read 6,238,933 times
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Cultural conventions.

Depends on what you were taught. I was surprised when I first found out (though I shouldn't be) that not all places teach the same 7-continents model that is kind of taken for granted at least where I grew up.

Some people classify Australia variously as either it's own continent or part of Oceania, and I've heard that in Latin America, some people refer to the Americas as a single continent etc. It apparently varies by school system/country or so I've been told.
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Old 06-16-2012, 10:26 PM
NCN
 
Location: NC/SC Border Patrol
21,142 posts, read 23,082,841 times
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I found this thread very interesting. I don't think we are all learning the same information in school. Here is the very elementary way I was taught in North Carolina. This is just a random website, but it is the same information I remember being taught.

Map of the 7 continents: Identify seven continents game

Yes, some of you caused me to google this. I was beginning to wonder if information was being taught differently now. Evidently only in other countries.
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Old 06-16-2012, 10:47 PM
 
706 posts, read 1,957,068 times
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There is no absolute definition of a continent. It is just a contiguous land mass, and depending on your interest, you can define a land mass according to its relevance. For example, a botanist, a geologist, and a historian would all define a "continent" in a different way, depending on how their discipline is affected by continental influences and effects. The definition comes with no exact limiter of size, which gives people the tacit right to start naming continents until somebody says Hey wait a minute, that's only an island. Then you just spend the rest of eternity arguing about the upper size limit of islands, and that shuts off any further learning.

There are only two large land masses: The Americas, and Europe/Asia/Africa. Our Eurocentric culture thought they were a lot more important than anybody else, so they separated Europe in their minds as someplace that deserved to be called a continent. Africa was across the Mediterranean, and Asia was, like, this really far away place that is inferior to Europe and doesn't deserve to be on our continent.

The study of history (or anything else) is simplified if you start out with the assumption that all the conventions of historical thought are as seen through the filter of European Megalomania.

Last edited by CowanStern; 06-16-2012 at 10:58 PM..
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