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The Asia Portal
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Asia (orthographic projection).svg

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. Asia is notable for not only its overall large size and population, but also dense and large settlements, as well as vast barely populated regions. 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.

Selected panorama

150pxSingapore's Marina Bay at Dusk in 2018. From left to right, Marina Bay Sands (MBS), Louis Vuitton store and the CBD.
Credit: Benh LIEU SONG

The Central Area of Singapore surrounded by the perimeter of five planning areas: the Marina Bay, the Downtown Core, Marina East, Marina South and Straits View. The area surrounding the bay itself, also called Marina Bay, is a 360 hectare extension to the adjacent CBD. It is also the new downtown of Singapore built on reclaimed land.

Featured picture

Guanyin with bare chest. Japan, 12th century
Credit: Սէրուժ Ուրիշեան (Serouj Ourishian)

Mount Ararat and the Yerevan skyline. The Opera house is visible in the center.

Selected Country

Flag of Singapore.svg

Singapore (/ˈsɪŋ(ɡ)əpɔːr/ (About this soundlisten)), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign island city-state in Southeast Asia. The country is situated one degree (137 kilometres or 85 miles) north of the equator, at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, with Indonesia's Riau Islands to the south and Peninsular Malaysia to the north. Singapore's territory consists of one main island along with 62 other islets. Since independence, extensive land reclamation has increased its total size by 23% (130 square kilometres or 50 square miles).

Although its history stretches back millennia, modern Singapore was founded in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles as a trading post of the British East India Company. After the Company's collapse in 1858, the islands came under direct British control as a crown colony known as the Straits Settlements. During the Second World War, Singapore was occupied by Japan, following which Britain occupied it again. Singapore gained independence from the British Empire in 1963 by joining Malaysia along with Sabah and Sarawak, but separated two years later over ideological differences, becoming a fully sovereign state in 1965. After early years of turbulence and despite lacking natural resources and a hinterland, the nation developed rapidly as an Asian Tiger economy, based on external trade and its workforce. Read more...

Featured biography

A three-quarter view portrait of General Urip Sumoharjo, the first chief of staff of the Indonesian National Armed Forces. He is wearing a peci hat, also called a songkok, and faces towards the viewer's left.
Oerip in uniform, c. 1947

Oerip Soemohardjo ([uˈrɪp sumoˈhardʒo]; Perfected Spelling: Urip Sumoharjo, 22 February 1893 – 17 November 1948) was an Indonesian general and the first chief of staff of the Indonesian National Armed Forces. He received several awards from the Indonesian government, including the title National Hero of Indonesia in 1964.

Born in Purworejo, Dutch East Indies, Oerip exhibited leadership skills from an early age. As his parents wanted him to become a regent, after elementary school Oerip was sent to the School for Native Government Employees in Magelang. His mother died during his second year at the school, and Oerip left to undertake military training in Meester Cornelis, Batavia (modern-day Jatinegara, Jakarta). Upon graduating in 1914, he became a lieutenant in the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army; during almost 25 years of service he was stationed on three different islands and promoted several times, eventually becoming the highest-ranking Native officer in the country. Read more...

Featured article

Map of China in 1141 with Jin dynasty controlling the north and Southern Song dynasty controlling the south
Jin dynasty (blue) and Song dynasty (orange) in 1141

The Jin–Song Wars were a series of conflicts between the Jurchen Jin dynasty (1115–1234) and Han Chinese Song dynasty (960–1279). In 1115, Jurchen tribes rebelled against their overlords, the Khitan Liao dynasty (907–1125), and declared the formation of the Jin. Allying with the Song against their common enemy the Liao dynasty, the Jin promised to return to the Song the Sixteen Prefectures that had fallen under Liao control since 938. The Chinese agreed but the Jurchens' quick defeat of the Liao dynasty combined with Song dynasty military failures made the Jin reluctant to cede these territories. After a series of negotiations that embittered both sides, the Jurchens attacked the Song dynasty in 1125, dispatching one army to Taiyuan and the other to Bianjing (modern Kaifeng), the Song capital.

Surprised by news of an invasion, Song general Tong Guan retreated from Taiyuan, which was besieged and later captured. As the second Jin army approached the capital, Song emperor Huizong abdicated and fled south. Qinzong, his eldest son, was enthroned. The Jurchens laid siege to Kaifeng in 1126, but Qinzong negotiated their retreat from the capital by agreeing to a large annual indemnity. Qinzong reneged on the deal and ordered Song forces to defend the prefectures instead of fortifying the capital. The Jin resumed war and again besieged Kaifeng in 1127. Read more...

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Updated: 14:30, 14 October 2019

In the news

14 October 2019 – Syrian Civil War, 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria, NES–Syria relations
In the early hours of the morning, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces hands over control of Tabqa, and the nearby Tabqa Airbase in the Raqqa Governorate to the Syrian Army. (Reuters) (Al Jazeera)
14 October 2019 –
Convicted British serial sex offender and paedophile Richard Huckle, who sexually abused dozens of children in Malaysia, is found stabbed to death in his cell at HM Prison Full Sutton. (BBC)
The IRGC say they captured Ruhollah Zam, an Iranian journalist-activist exiled in Europe, accusing him of having stoked anti-government unrest in early 2018 using social media. (Reuters)
13 October 2019 – 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria, NES–Syria relations
The Syrian Democratic Forces agree to allow the Syrian Army to enter the SDF-held cities of Manbij and Kobani in an attempt to deter Turkey from attacking the towns. (Defence Post) (Reuters) (Al Arabiya)
As many as 700 ISIL family members escape an Ayn Issa camp. (CNN)
A thousand U.S. soldiers are to be pulled out of Syria because of the Turkish offensive. (BBC)

Updated: 19:30, 14 October 2019

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