Asian Continent: Regions, Naming to Discoverers

Photo Source: Katadata - The continent of Asia is the largest continent in the world. The area of the continent of Asia is around 44,579,000 km² or 30 percent of the earth's area.

The continent with the highest population level among other continents covers 8.7 percent of the total surface area of the earth and comprises 30 percent of its land area.

The continents of Asia are connected by land and the two form a giant continent known as Eurasia.

Geographically, the Asian Continent is bordered by the Ural Mountains and the Caucasus and the Arctic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The Asian continent is divided into several regions, including North Asia, Central Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and West Asia.

Origin of the word "Asian"

In Indonesian there is the word "Asia", via Dutch, from Ancient Greek, Ασία (Asia). These words and names were first attempted on Herodotus in 440 BC.

The word refers to Asia Minor or with the intent of describing the Persian Wars, to the Persian Empire as the enemy of Greece and Egypt.

Even before Herodotus, Homer knew of the Trojan pass named Asios, son of Hyrtacus, ruler over several cities, and he describes the marshes as "Asios".

Then, the origins of Asia are probably Akkadian (w) asu (m), which is a relative of the Hebrew word meaning "go out" or "go up".

The term refers to the direction of the sun at dawn (sunrise) in the Middle East, and also seems to be related to the Phoenician word asa meaning east.

The word contrasts perhaps with its proposed European origin, from Arabic and Persian erebu "to enter" or "to set" (for the sun).

Discoverer of the Continent of Asia

When referring to a place, the word 'discoverer' for the Asian Continent doesn't seem quite right. Because, basically the place was not invented or created by someone.

Even so, for Europeans, there are several names called the discoverers of the Asian Continent. These figures include Vasco da Gama and Marco Polo.

Vasco da Gama was a Portuguese sailor and aristocrat who lived from 1460-1524 (aged 64 years).

At the age of 37 years (1497), Vasco da Gama sailed from Lisbon and made an expedition to the Asian continent and arrived in India in May 1498.

Another explorer who is called the discoverer of the continent of Asia is Marco Polo. He is said to be the first European to successfully visit Asia, especially China and Mongolia.

Marco Polo started his journey at the age of 17 with his father to China. His name was declared as the discoverer of the continent of Asia because of his courage to explore the seas for 3-4 years from Europe to China.

About Marco Polo's journey, it turns out that many historians doubt that fact. Many questions arise whether it is true that Marco Polo sailed to China or just told about his parents' journey to China.

This makes his name as the discoverer of the continent of Asia in doubt. When referring to Chinese textual evidence of the 13th and 14th centuries AD, there are several facts that are different about China at that time from those written with historical evidence written by Marco Polo.

One of the things most often discussed and there are differences about Marco Polo's meeting with Kublai Khan.

Marco Polo's historical records state that he saw Kublai Khan's ship having 5 masts. However, historical evidence says that Kublai Khan's ship only had 3 masts.

This indeed made his prestige go down as the discoverer of the Asian Continent. However, on the other hand, Marco Polo can still be considered as the discoverer of the continent of Asia when referring to the historical records he made. (SJ/SBB)

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