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Explore the World's Largest Continent - Asia - with Maps101

Posted on July 10 2022

Explore the World's Largest Continent - Asia - with Maps101

Dear Educator,

There are more than 40 countries in Asia. And many of these countries are among the most populated on the globe, including China, India, and Indonesia. In fact, sixty percent of the world’s population lives in Asia. The continent stretches from the Mediterranean Sea east to the Pacific. Most of its land is part of the continental mass, but there are numerous large and small islands as well, including those of Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Taiwan. Asia is so big we can’t look at every place, but this week, we will start exploring this massive, amazing continent.

Also, check out our Summer of Where landing page to discover even more content to inspire you as you plan how to bridge the learning gap that comes with the inevitable summer slide.


Our first stop needs to be a map of the continent, so we can have an idea of which countries are actually included. Notice that most of the countries commonly referred to as the Middle East are also considered part of the continent of Asia. Russia is so large that it spans two continents. Moscow, its capital, is in Europe, but much of the land mass of the country is in Asia.


We’ve looked at the countries in Asia, so now let’s consider the land itself. The Himalaya include the world’s tallest mountain: Mount Everest. The Ural Mountains separate Asia from Europe. Note that much of southern Asia is tropical. The Saudi Arabian Peninsula is famously a desert, as you can see on the map. Have students compare the physical map with the political map. They should come up with questions and answer them. Examples might include: Does Asia have land resources for its population? Or what regions are difficult to live in?, etc.

Lesson Map

Italian explorer Marco Polo is famous for travelling to Asia in the late 1200s. He visited the Mongol court of Kublai Khan, opening up China to the West. This Lesson Map fully explains Polo’s travels on the Silk Road and the importance of his explorations. The teacher edition provides numerous, leveled activities for all learners by subheading at point of use. With Lesson Maps, you can be confident that you have all the context, story, facts, and activities you need for students to be engaged with, and thus understand, the lesson topic.

Interactive Map

The Silk Road was not a single path through Asia for the purpose of trade. It was a network of land and sea routes that connected the far eastern reaches of the continent with traders in the Middle East who could bring goods into the Mediterranean region, including Europe. The Silk Road had a long history throughout the region, lasting more than 1,500 years, from about 130 B.C.E. until 1453 C.E., when the Ottoman Empire ended trade with the West.


Like the Americas and Africa, Asia was colonized by European powers. Later, the United States, too, became involved in the region when it controlled the Philippines. Note that like the United States, India was under British rule. Have students review the map key and research the effects of the colonizing countries on the colony or colonies they held in Asia around 1912. Is that influence still felt today? If so, how?

Geography News Network

The Korean Peninsula had been a single country, Korea, for most of its history. People began living there about 6,000-8,000 years ago. In modern history, Japan ruled Korea from 1910-1945. The end date is significant. It is when Japan surrendered to the Allies at the end of World War II. Then, Korea was controlled by the United States and the Soviet Union—two of the Allied powers. Read this exclusive GNN article to find out more!


This is a small sample of the kind of content available to you with your Maps101 subscription. Every week, the editors at Maps101 will provide you with highlights from our extensive collection in this GeoJournal newsletter. We suggest you make a folder to store them for future reference. Expand your students’ world with Maps101!

Don’t forget to visit our Summer of Where landing page to discover even more content to inspire you this summer, and frankly, anytime!

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