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Asia (/ˈʒə, ˈʃə/ (About this soundlisten)) is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres (17,212,000 sq mi), about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Its 4.5 billion people () constitute roughly 60% of the world's population.

In general terms, Asia is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean, and on the north by the Arctic Ocean. The border of Asia with Europe is a historical and cultural construct, as there is no clear physical and geographical separation between them. It is somewhat arbitrary and has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity. The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East–West cultural, linguistic, and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The most commonly accepted boundaries place Asia to the east of the Suez Canal separating it from Africa; and to the east of the Turkish Straits, the Ural Mountains and Ural River, and to the south of the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian and Black Seas, separating it from Europe.

China and India alternated in being the largest economies in the world from 1 to 1800 CE. China was a major economic power and attracted many to the east, and for many the legendary wealth and prosperity of the ancient culture of India personified Asia, attracting European commerce, exploration and colonialism. The accidental discovery of a trans-Atlantic route from Europe to America by Columbus while in search for a route to India demonstrates this deep fascination. The Silk Road became the main east–west trading route in the Asian hinterlands while the Straits of Malacca stood as a major sea route. Asia has exhibited economic dynamism (particularly East Asia) as well as robust population growth during the 20th century, but overall population growth has since fallen. Asia was the birthplace of most of the world's mainstream religions including Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, as well as many other religions. (Full article...)

Featured article

A couple hundred men are all facing the camera, smiling and cheering. Many have their hands raised. The men are wearing uniforms, t-shirts, and shorts. Huts and trees can be seen in the background.
Former Cabanatuan City POWs in celebration, January 30, 1945

The Raid at Cabanatuan (Filipino: Pagsalakay sa Cabanatuan), also known as The Great Raid (Filipino: Ang Dakilang Pagsalakay), was a rescue of Allied prisoners of war (POWs) and civilians from a Japanese camp near Cabanatuan City, Philippines. On January 30, 1945, during World War II, United States Army Rangers, Alamo Scouts and Filipino guerrillas liberated more than 500 from the POW camp.

After the surrender of tens of thousands of American troops during the Battle of Bataan, many were sent to the Cabanatuan prison camp after the Bataan Death March. The Japanese shifted most of the prisoners to other areas, leaving just over 500 American and other Allied POWs and civilians in the prison. Facing brutal conditions including disease, torture, and malnourishment, the prisoners feared they would be executed by their captors before the arrival of General Douglas MacArthur and his American forces returning to Luzon. In late January 1945, a plan was developed by Sixth Army leaders and Filipino guerrillas to send a small force to rescue the prisoners. A group of over 100 Rangers and Scouts and 200 guerrillas traveled 30 miles (48 km) behind Japanese lines to reach the camp. (Full article...)
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Cambodia (/kæmˈbdiə/ (About this soundlisten); also Kampuchea /ˌkæmpʊˈə/; Khmer: កម្ពុជា, Kâmpŭchéa [kampuciə]), officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochinese Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is 181,035 square kilometres (69,898 square miles) in area, bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the north, Vietnam to the east, the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest, and maritime borders with Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Phnom Penh is the nation's capital and largest city.

The sovereign state of Cambodia has a population of over 15 million. Buddhism is enshrined in the constitution as the official state religion, and is practised by more than 97% of the population. Cambodia's minority groups include Vietnamese, Chinese, Chams and 30 hill tribes. The capital and largest city is Phnom Penh, the political, economic and cultural centre of Cambodia. The kingdom is an elective constitutional monarchy with a monarch, currently Norodom Sihamoni, chosen by the Royal Council of the Throne as head of state. The head of government is the Prime Minister, currently Hun Sen, the longest serving non-royal leader in Southeast Asia, who has ruled since 1985. (Full article...)

Featured biography

Hasekura portrayed during his mission in Rome by Archita Ricci, 1615

Hasekura Rokuemon Tsunenaga (支倉 六右衛門 常長, 1571–1622) was a kirishitan Japanese samurai and retainer of Date Masamune, the daimyō of Sendai. He was of Japanese imperial descent with ancestral ties to Emperor Kanmu. Other names include Philip Francis Faxicura, Felipe Francisco Faxicura, and Philippus Franciscus Faxecura Rocuyemon in period European sources.

In the years 1613 through 1620, Hasekura headed the Keichō Embassy (慶長使節), a diplomatic mission to Pope Paul V. He visited New Spain and various other ports-of-call in Europe on the way. On the return trip, Hasekura and his companions re-traced their route across New Spain in 1619, sailing from Acapulco for Manila, and then sailing north to Japan in 1620. He is considered the first Japanese ambassador in the Americas and in Spain, despite other less well-known and less well-documented missions preceding his mission. (Full article...)

General images

The following are images from various Asia-related articles on Wikipedia.

Featured picture

Wild Asian elephants (Elephas maximus maximus) in Minneriya National Park, Sri Lanka. The elephant calf is suckling. White birds wait for insects to jump scared by the elephants and then catch them.

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Updated: 21:33, 4 December 2021

In the news

4 December 2021 – 2021 Semeru eruption
One person is killed and 41 others are injured as the Semeru volcano erupts in East Java, Indonesia. (BBC News)
4 December 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in South Korea
South Korea reports a record 5,352 new cases and 70 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide total of confirmed cases to 467,907 and the nationwide death toll to 3,809. (Yonhap News Agency)
4 December 2021 – Pakistan–Saudi Arabia relations
The Pakistani Minister of Finance announces the country has received a $3 billion (11.3m SAR, ₨.530B) one-year loan from Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)
3 December 2021 – Islamic State insurgency in Iraq
Seven Peshmerga fighters and three civilians are killed by Islamic State gunmen in a village in Makhmour, Erbil Governorate, Kurdistan Region, Iraq. (Al Jazeera)
3 December 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Asia

Updated: 21:33, 4 December 2021

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150pxThe Indus River near Leh, Ladakh, India
Credit: KennyOMG

The Indus River (locally called Sindhu) is one of the longest rivers in Asia. Originating in the Tibetan Plateau in the vicinity of Lake Manasarovar, the river runs a course through the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, India, towards the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Kashmir and the Hindukush ranges, and then flows in a southerly direction along the entire length of Pakistan to merge into the Arabian Sea near the port city of Karachi in Sindh.



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