The purpose for this topic will be to embrace issues related to Asia as a whole, as well as information related to multiple Asian nations. We will abide by the delineations recognized by the United Nations in determining which nations can be grouped into the Asian continent.
The conceptual label “Asia” covers a vast amount of territory with an even more vast level of diversity. Asia is the largest and most populous continent in the world. The boundaries of it are recognized but not geographically distinct; the typical line of separation between Asia and Europe is the Ural Mountain Range. Asia includes the region often referred to as the Middle East and a range of Pacific Islands; sections of Turkey and Russia are also considered to be a part of the Asian continent. There are 50 Asian nations recognized by the U.N. There are thousands of languages and dialects, as well as thousands of people groups within these political national boundaries.
Asia contains some of the world’s most impoverished nations and some of the world’s most rapidly developing nations. Nations such as China, Korea, and Japan have risen to become world superpowers. But Asia has perhaps one of the largest rich-poor gaps world-wide, with both multi-millionaires and communities of abject poverty within its borders.
Asian civilizations have a rich history of philosophy, medicine, scientific and technological developments, religions, and empires. The heritage is notable and a source of great pride for many Asian nations.
Asia has a great amount of religious diversity and is the birthplace of numerous world religions. According to the Pew Research Center, Asia is home to 99% of the world’s Hindus, 99% of the world’s Buddhists, 90% of the world’s traditional or folk religionists, as well as nearly three quarters of the world’s unaffiliated non-religious. It is also home to the majority of the world’s Muslims and the majority of “other religions,” including Bahai’s, Jains, Sikhs, Shintoists, and Taoists. Asia has also been experiencing a high growth of Christianity, particularly in nations such as Korea and China. Pew reports at 10-fold increase in the number of Christians in the region over the last century (“A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population,” 2011). We could easily say that Asia is the most religiously diverse region of the world.
A land of such rich and exotic diversity of people, cultures, geography, climates, flora and fauna surely cannot be contained within such a brief introduction, but we hope this Overview will be a start to your study of Asia, to be continued through further research and your expertise.