The Number of Continents on Earth

Six or Seven?

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Rosenberg, Matt. "The Number of Continents on Earth." ThoughtCo, Oct. 16, 2017, thoughtco.com/six-or-seven-continents-on-earth-1435100. Rosenberg, Matt. (2017, October 16). The Number of Continents on Earth. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/six-or-seven-continents-on-earth-1435100 Rosenberg, Matt. "The Number of Continents on Earth." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/six-or-seven-continents-on-earth-1435100 (accessed October 17, 2017).
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A continent is one of several major land masses on the earth. There is no standard definition for the number of continents but you will commonly find that the numbers six or seven are used.

Many consider there to be seven continents - Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. Most students in the United States are taught that there are seven continents.

European Division of Continents

In Europe and other parts of the world, many students are taught of six continents, where North and South America are combined to form a single continent of America.

Thus, these six continents are Africa, America, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, and Europe. In France, it is not taught that Antarctica is a continent and thus there are five continents for French students.

Many scientists now refer to six continents, where Europe and Asia are combined (since they're one solid geologic landmass) as Eurasia. Thus, these six continents are Africa, Antarctica, Australia, Eurasia, North America, and South America.

Geographers divide the planet into regions, and generally not continents, for ease of study. Various geographers have various definitions of these world regions. This Official Listing of Countries by Region divides the world into eight regions: Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, Europe, North America, Central America and the Caribbean, South America, Africa, and Australia and Oceania.