Portal:Asia
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Portal:Asia
The Asia Portal
Asia (orthographic projection).svg

Asia 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.

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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.

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The Monastery, Petra, Jordan
Credit: Diego Delso

Petra, originally known to its inhabitants as Raqmu, is a historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan. Petra lies on the slope of Jabal Al-Madbah in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of the Arabah valley that runs from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba.

Selected Country

Flag of Uzbekistan.svg

Uzbekistan (, ; Uzbek: O?zbekiston pronounced [ozbeki'st?n]), officially the Republic of Uzbekistan (Uzbek: O?zbekiston Respublikasi), is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and also a former Soviet Republic. The sovereign state is a secular, unitary constitutional republic, comprising 12 provinces, one autonomous republic, and a capital city. Uzbekistan is bordered by five landlocked countries: Kazakhstan to the north; Kyrgyzstan to the northeast; Tajikistan to the southeast; Afghanistan to the south; and Turkmenistan to the southwest. Along with Liechtenstein, it is one of the world's only two doubly landlocked countries.

What is now Uzbekistan was in ancient times part of the Iranian-speaking region of Transoxiana and Turan. The first recorded settlers were Eastern Iranian nomads, known as Scythians, who founded kingdoms in Khwarezm (8th-6th centuries BC), Bactria (8th-6th centuries BC), Sogdia (8th-6th centuries BC), Fergana (3rd century BC - 6th century AD), and Margiana (3rd century BC - 6th century AD). The area was incorporated into the Iranian Achaemenid Empire and, after a period of Macedonian Greek rule, was ruled by the Iranian Parthian Empire and later by the Sasanian Empire, until the Arab conquest of Iran in the 7th century. The Muslim conquest in the 7th century converted the majority of the population, including the local ruling classes, into adherents of Islam. During this period, cities such as Samarkand, Khiva and Bukhara began to grow rich from the Silk Road. The local Khwarezmian dynasty, and Central Asia as a whole, were decimated by the Mongol invasion in the 13th century. After the Mongol Conquests, the area became increasingly dominated by Turkic peoples. The city of Shahrisabz was the birthplace of the Turco-Mongol warlord Timur, who in the 14th century established the Timurid Empire and was proclaimed the Supreme Emir of Turan with his capital in Samarkand. The area was conquered by Uzbek Shaybanids in the 16th century, moving the centre of power from Samarkand to Bukhara. The region was split into three states: Khanate of Khiva, Khanate of Kokand, and Emirate of Bukhara. It was gradually incorporated into the Russian Empire during the 19th century, with Tashkent becoming the political center of Russian Turkestan. In 1924, after national delimitation, the constituent republic of the Soviet Union known as the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic was created. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, it declared independence as the Republic of Uzbekistan on 31 August 1991. Read more...

Featured biography

Rani Mukerji looks directly at the camera
Mukerji promoting Hichki in 2018

Rani Mukerji ([r?:ni: m?kh?rd?i:]; born 21 March 1978) is an Indian film actress. One of the most popular and highest-paid Hindi film actresses in the 2000s, she has received several awards, including seven Filmfare Awards. Her roles have been cited in the media as a significant departure from previous screen portrayals of Indian women.

Although Mukerji was born into the Mukherjee-Samarth family, in which her parents and relatives were members of the Indian film industry, she did not aspire to pursue a career in film. However, while still a teenager she dabbled with acting by playing a supporting role in her father's Bengali language film Biyer Phool (1996) and accepted a leading role in the 1996 social drama Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat on the insistence of her mother. She then began a full-time career in films and the 1998 action drama Ghulam was her first commercial success. She gained wider recognition for a supporting role in the romance Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998). The year 2002 marked a turning point for Mukerji when she was cast by Yash Raj Films as the star of the drama Saathiya. Read more...

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.

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, in the 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. Read more...

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Updated: 11:30, 17 November 2019

In the news

17 November 2019 - 2019 Hong Kong protests
Clashes erupt at the campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Police uses tear gas and water cannons. Protesters fire bows and arrows, petrol bombs and set fires. (Reuters)
Democracy activist Joshua Wong urges Germany to stop military assistance to Chinese military. (Outlook)
17 November 2019 -
A gas explosion in Chittagong, Bangladesh, kills at least seven people and injures eight. (Reuters)
17 November 2019 - 2018-19 Korean peace process
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and South Korean Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo announce that their countries will postpone their annual joint military air exercises to help facilitate the peace process. (San Francisco Chronicle)
17 November 2019 - Japan-United States relations, Japan-North Korea relations
Japanese Defence Minister Tar? K?no tells his U.S. and South Korea counterparts that "no one could be optimistic about North Korea" after "they launched over 20 missiles so far this year". (Yahoo! News)
16 November 2019 - Terrorism in Sri Lanka
Gunmen open fire on two buses carrying Muslim voters to the polls near Anuradhapura. No casualties are reported and no arrests take place. (The Guardian)

Updated: 21:30, 17 November 2019

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