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There are almost 200 sovereign states in the world today; in 1950 there were only 82. Over the last half-century national self-determination has been a driving force for many states with a history of colonialism and oppression. As more borders have been added to the world map, the number of international border disputes has increased. In many cases, where the impetus toward independence has been religious or ethnic, disputes with minority groups have also caused violent internal conflict. While many newly-formed states have moved peacefully toward independence, successfully establishing government by multiparty democracy, dictatorship by military regime or individual despot is often the result of the internal power-struggles which characterize the early stages in the lives of new nations.

World Route Planner provides a searchable Asia gazetteer based on Google Maps, Driving Directions and Google Street view in the cities of Asia. World Route Planner and Google Maps together are the most comprehensive Online Satellite Imagery ever available on the Internet. Thousands of cities in Asia divided into countries, counties, administrative regions and cities. World Route Planner also provides detailed Time Zones and Daylight map for Asia. Google Maps is here for you, do not wait, explore Asia now!

The Google Street View service, i.e. to activate Street View on any city of Asia, drag above the Zoom feature the yellow little man in the map.

Facts of Asia

Asia, the world’s largest continent, covers 16,838,365 sq miles (43,608,000 sq km). It comprises 48 separate countries, including 97% of Turkey and 72% of the Russian Federation. Almost 60% of the world’s population lives in Asia.

 
  • Greatest extent, North–South: 4000 miles / 6440 km
  • Greatest extent, East–West: 6000 miles / 9650 km
  • Most northerly point: Mys Articesku, Russian Federation 81° 12’ N
  • Most southerly point: Pulau Pamana, Indonesia 11’ S
  • Largest lake: Caspian Sea 143,205 sq miles (371,000 sq km)
  • Most westerly point: Bozca Adası, Turkey 26° 2’ E
  • Most easterly point: Mys Dezhneva, Russian Federation 169° 40’ W
  • Lowest point: Dead Sea, Israel/Jordan -1286 ft (-392 m) below sea level
  • Highest point: Mount Everest, China/Nepal 29,035 ft (8850 m)
  • Highest recorded temperature: Tirat Tsvi, Israel 129°F (54°C)
  • Lowest recorded temperature: Verkhoyansk, Russian Federation -90°F (-68°C)

Physical Asia

The structure of Asia can be divided into two distinct regions. The landscape of northern Asia consists of old mountain chains, shields, plateaus, and basins, like the Ural Mountains in the west and the Central Siberian Plateau to the east. To the south of this region, are a series of plateaus and basins, including the vast Plateau of Tibet and the Tarim Basin. In contrast, the landscapes of southern Asia are much younger, formed by tectonic activity beginning about 65 million years ago, leading to an almost continuous mountain chain running from Europe, across much of Asia, and culminating in the mighty Himalayan mountain belt, formed when the Indo-Australian Plate collided with the Eurasian Plate. They are still being uplifted today. North of the mountains lies a belt of deserts, including the Gobi and the Takla Makan. In the far south, tectonic activity has formed narrow island arcs, extending over 4000 miles (7000 km). To the west lies the Arabian Shield, once part of the African Plate. As it was rifted apart from Africa, the Arabian Plate collided with the Eurasian Plate, uplifting the Zagros Mountains.

Climate

The climate of Asia exhibits marked differences from region to region, with freezing polar conditions in the north, hot and cold deserts in central regions and subtropical conditions throughout the south. Much of this variation can be attributed to enormous mountain barriers and internal depressions found across the continent. Monsoon winds, which reverse semiannually, cause alternate wet and dry seasons across southern Asia. These air masses moving north from the ocean are stripped of their moisture over the Himalayas causing arid conditions across the Plateau of Tibet. Both the south and east are susceptible to tropical cyclones or typhoons.

Shaping the landscape

In the north, melting of extensive permafrost leads to typical periglacial features such as thermokarst. In the arid areas wind action transports sand creating extensive dune systems. An active tectonic margin in the south causes continued uplift, and volcanic and seismic activity, but also high rates of weathering and erosion. Across the continent, huge rivers erode and transport vast quantities of sediment depositing it on the plains or forming large deltas.

Political Asia

Asia is the world’s largest continent, encompassing many different and discrete realms, from the desert Arab lands of the southwest to the subtropical archipelago of Indonesia; from the vast barren wastes of Siberia to the fertile river valleys of China and South Asia, seats of some of the world’s most ancient civilizations. The collapse of the Soviet Union has fragmented the north of the continent into the Siberian portion of the Russian Federation, and the new republics of Central Asia. Strong religious traditions heavily influence the politics of South and Southwest Asia. Hindu and Muslim rivalries threaten to upset the political equilibrium in South Asia where India – in terms of population – remains the world’s largest democracy. Communist China another population giant, is reasserting its position as a world and political power, while on its doorstep, the economically progressive and dynamic Pacific Rim countries, led by Japan, continue to assert their worldwide economic force.

Population

Some of the world’s most populous and least populous regions are in Asia. The plains of eastern China, the Ganges river plains in India, Japan, and the Indonesian island of Java, all have very high population densities; by contrast parts of Siberia and the Plateau of Tibet are virtually uninhabited. China has the world’s greatest population – 20% of the globe’s total – while India, with the second largest, is likely to overtake China within 30 years.

Languages

During the 19th century, Russian was introduced into Central Asia and Siberia. Under the Soviet regime, Russian-speaking became mandatory – replacing the indigenous Ural-Altaic languages in many urban areas – although today the use of Central Asian languages is being revived in the new republics. India’s linguistic mosaic comprises Dravidian languages, such as Tamil, in the south, and the Indo-Aryan languages of the north such as Hindi. In China, three main languages, Mandarin Chinese, Wu Chinese, and Cantonese, share the same written form but their spoken dialects are mutually unintelligible.

Transportation

The transportation system varies enormously in extent and quality across Asia. Early trade routes included the Silk Route, from Beijing across Central Asia, and the sea routes around the coastline of southern Asia. Today, transportation networks often radiate from coastal ports, reflecting the continuing importance of sea and river travel for trade and external communications. In the interior, high mountain barriers such as the Himalayas, the Altai Mountains and the Tien Shan, deserts like the Gobi, Takla Makan, and Ar Rub‘ al Khali, remain virtually impenetrable to most modern terrestrial transportation. Major engineering feats are necessary to conquer these hostile frontier territories, although the success of the Trans-Siberian Railroad in overcoming the harsh Siberian landscape, proves that cross-continental transportation, if not economically viable, is physically possible.

Asian resources

Although agriculture remains the economic mainstay of most Asian countries, the number of people employed in agriculture has steadily declined, as new industries have been developed during the past 30 years. China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Turkey have all experienced far-reaching structural change in their economies, while the breakup of the Soviet Union has created a new economic challenge in the Central Asian republics. The countries of The Persian Gulf illustrate the rapid transformation from rural nomadism to modern, urban society which oil wealth has brought to parts of the continent. Asia’s most economically dynamic countries, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan, fringe the Pacific Ocean and are known as the Pacific Rim. In contrast, other Southeast Asian countries like Laos and Cambodia remain both economically and industrially underdeveloped.

Industry

East Asian industry leads the continent in both productivity and efficiency; electronics, hi-tech industries, car manufacture, and shipbuilding are important. The so-called economic “tigers” of the Pacific Rim are Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan and in recent years China has rediscovered its potential as an economic superpower. Heavy industries such as engineering, chemicals, and steel typify the industrial complexes along the corridor created by the Trans-Siberian Railroad, the Fergana Valley in Central Asia, and also much of the huge industrial plain of east China. The discovery of oil in the Persian Gulf has brought immense wealth to countries that previously relied on subsistence agriculture on marginal desert land.

Standard of living

Despite Japan’s high standards of living, and Southwest Asia’s oil-derived wealth, immense disparities exist across the continent. Afghanistan remains one of the world’s most underdeveloped nations, as do the mountain states of Nepal and Bhutan. Further rapid population growth is exacerbating poverty and overcrowding in many parts of India and Bangladesh.

Environmental issues

The transformation of Uzbekistan by the former Soviet Union into the world’s fifth largest producer of cotton led to the diversion of several major rivers for irrigation. Starved of this water, the Aral Sea diminished in volume by over 75% since 1960, irreversibly altering the ecology of the area. Heavy industries in eastern China have polluted coastal waters, rivers, and urban air, while in Myanmar, Malaysia, and Indonesia, ancient hardwood rainforests are felled faster than they can regenerate.

Mineral resources

At least 60% of the world’s known oil and gas deposits are found in Asia; notably the vast oil fields of the Persian Gulf, and the less-exploited oil and gas fields of the Ob’ basin in west Siberia. Immense coal reserves in Siberia and China have been utilized to support large steel industries. Southeast Asia has some of the world’s largest deposits of tin, found in a belt running down the Malay Peninsula to Indonesia.

Using the land and sea

Vast areas of Asia remain uncultivated as a result of unsuitable climatic and soil conditions. In favourable areas such as river deltas, farming is intensive. Rice is the staple crop of most Asian countries, grown in paddy fields on waterlogged alluvial plains and terraced hillsides, and often irrigated for higher yields. Across the black earth region of the Eurasian steppe in southern Siberia and Kazakhstan, wheat farming is the dominant activity. Cash crops, like tea in Sri Lanka and dates in the Arabian Peninsula, are grown for export, and provide valuable income. The sovereignty of the rich fishing grounds in the South China Sea is disputed by China, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Vietnam, because of potential oil reserves.

Countries in Asia with Google maps and Gazetteers

Browse the most comprehensive and up-to-date online directory of countries and administrative regions in Asia. Regions and Google maps with places in Asia are sorted in alphabetical order from level 1 to level 2 and eventually up to level 3 regions. Google Maps and Driving Directions to Asia are here for you, do not wait, explore Asia and the beautiful countries of this continent now!

Afghanistan (32 google map locations)
Armenia (104 google map locations)
Azerbaijan (71 google map locations)
Bahrain (13 google map locations)
Bangladesh (33 google map locations)
Bhutan (147 google map locations)
Brunei (216 google map locations)
Burma (14 google map locations)
Cambodia (19 google map locations)
China (31 google map locations)
Christmas Island (6 google map locations)
Cyprus (6 google map locations)
Gaza Strip (42 google map locations)
Georgia (3270 google map locations)
Hong Kong (1039 google map locations)
India (435 google map locations)
Indonesia (16025 google map locations)
Iran (12521 google map locations)
Iraq (18 google map locations)
Israel (21 google map locations)
Japan (55 google map locations)
Jordan (10 google map locations)
Kazakhstan (3985 google map locations)
Korea, South (16 google map locations)
Kuwait (137 google map locations)
Kyrgyzstan (763 google map locations)
Laos (18 google map locations)
Lebanon (6 google map locations)
Macau
Malaysia (16 google map locations)
Maldives (19 google map locations)
Mongolia (22 google map locations)
Nepal (10 google map locations)
No Man's Land (8 google map locations)
North Korea (44 google map locations)
Oman (8 google map locations)
Pakistan (8 google map locations)
Paracel Islands
Philippines (133 google map locations)
Qatar (144 google map locations)
Saudi Arabia (13 google map locations)
Singapore (285 google map locations)
Spratly Islands (1 google map locations)
Sri Lanka (8 google map locations)
Syria (14 google map locations)
Taiwan (4 google map locations)
Tajikistan (1143 google map locations)
Thailand (76 google map locations)
Timor Leste (2638 google map locations)
Turkey (81 google map locations)
Turkmenistan (5 google map locations)
United Arab Emirates (7 google map locations)
Uzbekistan (37 google map locations)
Vietnam (3183 google map locations)
West Bank (626 google map locations)
Yemen (3350 google map locations)

The nature of politics

Democracy is a broad term: it can range from the ideal of multiparty elections and fair representation to, in countries such as Singapore, a thin disguise for singleparty rule. In despotic regimes, on the other hand, a single, often personal authority has total power; institutions such as parliament and the military are mere instruments of the dictator.

The changing world map

Decolonization In 1950, large areas of the world remained under the control of a handful of European countries. The process of decolonization had begun in Asia, where, following the Second World War, much of southern and southeastern Asia sought and achieved self-determination. In the 1960s, a host of African states achieved independence, so that by 1965, most of the larger tracts of the European overseas empires had been substantially eroded. The final major stage in decolonization came with the breakup of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc after 1990. The process continues today as the last toeholds of European colonialism, often tiny island nations, press increasingly for independence.

The determination of international boundaries can use a variety of criteria. Many of the borders between older states follow physical boundaries; some mirror religious and ethnic differences; others are the legacy of complex histories of conflict and colonialism, while others have been imposed by international agreements or arbitration.

Post-colonial borders

When the European colonial empires in Africa were dismantled during the second half of the 20th century, the outlines of the new African states mirrored colonial boundaries. These boundaries had been drawn up by colonial administrators, often based on inadequate geographical knowledge. Such arbitrary boundaries were imposed on people of different languages, racial groups, religions, and customs. This confused legacy often led to civil and international war.

Physical borders

Many of the world’s countries are divided by physical borders: lakes, rivers, mountains. The demarcation of such boundaries can, however, lead to disputes. Control of waterways, water supplies, and fisheries are frequent causes of international friction.

International disputes

There are more than 60 disputed borders or territories in the world today. Although many of these disputes can be settled by peaceful negotiation, some areas have become a focus for international conflict. Ethnic tensions have been a major source of territorial disagreement throughout history, as has the ownership of, and access to, valuable natural resources. The turmoil of the postcolonial era in many parts of Africa is partly a result of the 19th century “carve-up” of the continent, which created potential for conflict by drawing often arbitrary lines through linguistic and cultural areas.

This Asia map is for informational use only. No representation is made or warranty given as to its content. User assumes all risk of using Google maps and Google Driving Directions. World Route Planner assumes no responsibility for any loss or delay resulting from such use of free Asia map.

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