Asia Overview

Asia, forms the largest part of the world and, including its islands, covers an area of around 44.6 million km 2, which is 33% of the earth’s land area.

In terms of area, Asia is four times the size of Europe, both continents form the contiguous land mass of Eurasia. In Asia (2016) there are 4,463 million people, around 60% of the world population.


As the border between Asia and Europe, the Urals have been considered to be the border between Asia and Europe since the 18th century, but due to its low elevation (Middle Urals up to 994 m above sea level, Southern Urals up to 1,640 m above sea level) it is not a real barrier. The Ural River, the Caspian Sea, the Manytsch lowlands, the Black Sea, the Bosporus, the Marmara Sea, the Dardanelles and the Aegean Sea also form conventional borders with Europe. Asia is separated from Africa by the Strait of Suez and the Red Sea, and from America by the Bering Strait; the island bridge of the Malay Archipelago leads to Australia. The westernmost point of Asia is Cape Baba (26 ° 04 ′ east longitude) in Turkey, easternmost Cape Deschnjow (169 ° 40 ′west longitude) in Russia. Aside from a few islands in the southeast, Asia is in the northern hemisphere.


The population of Asia is the result of numerous migrations of peoples and migrants. The oldest population groups, who settled in Asia more than 60,000 years ago, have been preserved in remnants. These peoples include B. the Ainu in Japan, the Paleosiberians in Siberia, the Aeta in the Philippines, the Dayak in Borneo and the Wedda in Sri Lanka. Around 2,000 peoples are at home in Asia today and the history of the settlement shows the distribution of the different language families.


In their diversity, the languages of Asia do not show any common traits. The Indo-European languages include Armenian, as well as the Indo-Aryan and Iranian languages. The Dravid languages are spoken particularly in the southern part of South Asia, the Sino-Tibetan languages in mainland Southeast Asia, China and Tibet.

Rivers (selection)
Surname Length (in km) Catchment area (in 1,000 km 2) Confluence waters
Yangtze River 6,300 1 810 East China Sea
Ob (with Irtysh) 5 410 2,990 Arctic Ocean
Hwangho 4 845 752 Yellow Sea
Amur (with Argun) 4 440 1,850 Sea of Okhotsk
Lena 4,400 2,490 Arctic Ocean
Mekong 4,500 800 South China Sea
Yenisei 4 092 2,580 Arctic Ocean
Euphrates (with Murat) 3 380 } 1,000 1)
Tigris 1,899
Indus 3,200 960 Arabian Sea
Syr Darja (with Naryn) 3 019 219 Aral Sea 2)
Brahmaputra 2 900 3) 935 Bay of Bengal
Amu Darya (with Pyanj) 2 540 309 Aral Sea 4)
Ganges 2 511 3) 1 125 Bay of Bengal
Irrawaddy 2 092 430 Indian Ocean
Jordan 330 18th Dead Sea
1) Form the common estuary Shatt al-Arab (195 km), which flows into the Persian Gulf.2) Dries up today largely east of the Aral Sea.

3) Together they form the 44,000 km 2 Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta.

4) Achieve this only in rainy years.

The Austro-Asian languages are particularly widespread in southern and mainland Southeast Asia as well as on the Nicobar Islands, the Austronesian languages in Oceania, Indonesia, the highlands of Vietnam and the Philippines.

The Altaic languages (Turkish, Mongolian and Tungusic languages) are spread across the vast Central Asian region north of the area of ​​the Sino-Tibetan languages. They split up the territory of the Finno-Ugric and Samoyed languages that border the Arctic Ocean. The Paleosiberian languages are only spoken in the extreme northeast of Asia. In the retreat area of the Caucasus, the Caucasian languages ​​have retained their peculiarity. The Semitic languages are common in Western Asia (including the Arabian Peninsula). Furthermore, as the language of Islam, Arabic still plays an important role among the educated in the Islamic countries of Central, South and Southeast Asia. In East Asia, the Ainu language differs from that of the Japanese and Koreans.

In contrast to Central and Eastern Europe, even after 1989/91 they were able to live in East and Southeast Asia keep several communist regimes in power (China, Vietnam, North Korea, Laos, see countryaah), however (with the exception of North Korea, which initially still maintained its self-isolation), they were forced to open up more and undertake substantial economic reforms; Political reforms, on the other hand, were largely omitted (cautious approaches in Laos and Vietnam). While maintaining dictatorial one-party rule and eliminating any political opposition (1989 bloody suppression of the democracy movement), China pushed its economic reforms in the sense of a “socialist market economy” (1993 decision of a corresponding program) and sought to expand its role as an Asian regional power; Regardless of the human rights violations accused by Western states of China (i.a. repressive politics in Tibet), it was able to expand economic relations with the western European industrial countries and the USA and, as a rapidly growing economic power (“workbench of the world” with a very high demand for raw materials), was accepted into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. A treaty concluded in 1984 led to the return of the British crown colony of Hong Kong to China on July 1, 1997; 12. Macau also received it in 1999 and pushed Taiwan (partly with threats, 2005 passage of an “anti-secession law”) towards reunification.

Asia Overview