Counting Continents

How many continents are there, anyway? To English-speakers, the number is seven. To Spanish-speakers, there are only five, hence the following image I saw circulating around Facebook today.


(No surprise, this graphic was made by a Spanish speaker which is why North and South America are one continent.)

How about in other countries? How many do you count?

For that matter, how many does Taiwan count? I’ve asked several people and I get different responses each time.

Taiwan counts 5.
Europe
Asia
Africa
America
Oceania

well, 6 because usually Antarctica is left out.

I think the “American” usage mainly comes from the concept of being “not a part of England.”

Besides, it’s just a short for United States of America, it’s not like there’s only 1 United States in the world either, technically Mexico is also a United States…

I just asked the question on FB, and my classmates responded alternatingly with: 5, but not sure which ones; or 7 (七大洲五大洋), so it really does vary from person to person! Did Taiwan change its continent policy at some point?

Edit: A look at a Taiwan world map shows 7.

Some countries combine Europe and Asia into Eurasia, as well, but not Taiwan or Anglophone countries.

The question is whether one divides ‘The Americas’ (which is what it is called, ‘America’ is the USA) into 2 or 3.

3 was popular when I was young but more recently it seems North America has swallowed up everything north of Columbia, so two would be my answer.

Well, and also whether one divides Eurasia in two (Europe and Asia, which is usually the way it’s done, even if it’s rather absurd), and whether Australia is the smallest continent or largest island. Isn’t “continent” one of those words that doesn’t really mean much scientifically, sort of like “vegetable”?

This came up in one of my university classes the other day, and the Taiwanese students all said they’d learned there were seven continents.

I grew up hearing there were 5 continents, but now I am more inclined to count 7.

  • Europe
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Oceania
  • North America
  • South America
  • Antarctica

DD: I’ve never heard of anyone calling Central America a continent… It’s more like angolcentricism which recognizes everything south of (and sometimes including) Mexico as part of North America, but wants to keep it separate from the white folks.

Novaspes, where are you from?

I thought we had just ONE American continent divided into north, central, and south. Hmm. It seems very odd to me, semantically and visually, to call that area from Mexico to Colombia North America. But I just found out via a search that some (most?) now consider Mexico part of North America, not Central America. Hmm

Central American Continent would mean the central part of the American continent, right? Not a separate continent called Central America.

[quote=“Hokwongwei”]

Novaspes, where are you from?[/quote]

Italy.

:grandpa:

Got to say that in all my growing up, and study of geography to the highest level (just trust me on that one), I never ever came across anyone, scholar or layman, who recognised Central America as a continent in its own right. The isthmus of Panama is widely recognized as the divider between the North and South American continents.

Got to say that in all my growing up, and study of geography to the highest level (just trust me on that one), I never ever came across anyone, scholar or layman, who recognised Central America as a continent in its own right. The isthmus of Panama is widely recognized as the divider between the North and South American continents.[/quote]

Same here.