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Identifying the Continents & Oceans of the World

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Instructor: Nate Sullivan

Nate Sullivan holds a M.A. in History and a M.Ed. He is an adjunct history professor, middle school history teacher, and freelance writer.

In this lesson, we will learn about the location of the seven continents and the five oceans of the world. We will identify their locations and highlight some of their key characteristics. Updated: 09/01/2020

Oceans & Continents of the World

Geography is important. Imagine trying to describe Europe to someone who had no idea where in the world it's located. Geographical location provides us with context. It's important to know where the seven continents are located and what their characteristics are. It's also important to know where the world's five oceans are. That is what we will do in this lesson. To begin with, look at the here map to familiarize yourself with the world's continents.

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This map shows the seven continents in the world.
map

The Seven Continents

Geographers have divided the Earth into seven continents or landmasses. Each of them is distinct, with its own distinct culture and characteristics. We'll begin in the Western Hemisphere of the Earth, which includes North America and South America.

1. North America

On a map, North America is the northern of the two land masses in the Western Hemisphere. For many of us who are Americans, North America is easily recognizable. The Florida peninsula and the narrowing of land in the south are perhaps its key geographical features. Today, the countries of Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and the smaller Central American countries can be seen on a political map of North America. The Caribbean islands are also normally included as part of North America. North America contains a variety of climate zones ranging from polar in the north to tropical further south. English, Spanish, and French are commonly spoken languages throughout North America.

2. South America

The southern half of the continents in the Western Hemisphere is South America, which contains countries like Brazil, Columbia, Peru, and many others. The Andes Mountain range is a key geographical feature along South America's western coast. Spanish is a popular language in South America, but other spoken languages include Portuguese, Italian, and French. South America's climate ranges; while much of it is tropical, there are also arid regions and deserts.

3. Europe

Let's jump across the Atlantic Ocean and explore the Eastern Hemisphere. First, we'll discuss Europe. Europe is located north of Africa and to the west of Asia. Europe is one of the smaller continents, but its cultural influence on the world has been enormous. European culture forms the basis of Western culture as a whole. Countries like Germany, France, Great Britain, and numerous others make up Europe today. In some ways, Europe's climate is similar to that of North America.

4. Africa

South of Europe is Africa. Africa is often considered to be the place of origin of mankind. Africa is made up of countries like Egypt, the Congo, Sudan, South Africa, and others. Africa's climate is hot, and it contains jungles as well as deserts.

5. Asia

To the east of Europe and the north of Africa is the continent of Asia. Asia is the largest continent and is home to countries like China and Russia. As the largest continent, Asia contains a host of climates and land features. The world's tallest mountain, Mt. Everest, is located in Asia in the country of Nepal.

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