How many continents are there? (2023)

1. INTRODUCTION

The ambiguous definition of the word continent, in its geographical sense, has led the scientific community to a lack of consensus in order to establish how many continents there are and what they are. Consequently, there are currently different models that defend a varying number of continents based on the following criteria:

2. VARIABLES THAT DETERMINE THE DIFFERENT MODELS

1. If only the populated continents are considered (America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania).
2. If you consider Antarctica a continent.
3. If America is understood as a single continent or as two (North America and South America).
4. If Europe and Asia are considered a single continent (Eurasia), because there is no land discontinuity between them.
5. If Europe, Asia, and Africa are considered as a single continent (Eurafrasia), because there is no natural separation between them.
6. If you do or do not consider the last continent discovered: Zealandia.

Taking these criteria into account, six main models that range from 4 to 8 continents are established. You can reference those models [HERE].

3. THEN … HOW MANY CONTINENTS ARE THERE?

There is no scientific consensus, therefore there is no single answer. In any case, of the six main models, there are three more popular/widespread models:

The model of five continents (the classic and most populated): America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. (*) Used by the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee.

The model of six continents (the previous five plus Antarctica): America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and Antarctica. (*) The most popular model in Latin America.

The model of seven continents (taking into account Antarctica and America divided into North and South America): North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and Antarctica. (*) Model defended mainly by English speaking countries.

4. CONTINENTS MODELS (GIF)

(*) The gif is missing the model of the 8 continents (7 continents model + Zealandia).

1. Saberespractico.com (2020). ¿Cuántos continentes hay y cuáles son?. Text in spanish. Avaliable [HERE].
2. Wikipedia.org (2020). Continent > Number. Avaliable [HERE].
3. Covarrubias, A. (2015). Continents models gif. Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons. Avaliable [HERE].
4. The Geological Society of America (2017). Zealandia: Earth’s Hidden Continent. Avaliable [HERE].

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