You see much has changed in geography education since John Harvard donated his library (400 books) and half his estate to First College in American Colonies, and Harvard, as it was renamed in 1638, went on to become the education icon of America. From 1638 to the present, education has grown to encompass about as many degrees of study as you can imagine. My favorite degree: Ufology, at Melbourne College offers a doctorate in Ufology (belief in unidentified flying objects and aliens) through their philosophy department. Personally, I think Melbourne College should also offer a degree in Belieberology. However, as proven by this Utube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nstL61t6Xtk students in Belieberology, would not be able to answer my simple geography question this week. Nor, I imagine would many other current students in our country.
When asked about the continents or simple world geographic locations or features most U.S. adults do no better then Bieber. However, for those geography buffs out there the subject of continents still remains much more controversial then one could ever imagine.
By convention there are seven continents: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and Antarctica. Some geographers list only six continents, combining Europe and Asia into Eurasia. Furthermore in parts of the world, students learn that there are just five continents: Eurasia, Australia, Africa, Antarctica, and the Americas. Through study we are also taught that "continent" is not just a physical term; it also carries cultural connotations. This is why it’s easy to visualize the differences between North American and Asia. But Europe and Asia, which are physically part of the same landmass, are considered 2 separate continents.
Another thing to keep in mind when researching the continents is that Islands located near a continent are generally considered, in a geographical sense, part of that continent. However, Greenland, messes with everyone’s head. It is politically part of Europe but belongs geographically to North America. So what continent is it on? Europe!
To make matters worse, geographically speaking, there are some islands and island groups that are not considered part of any continent. New Zealand, Hawaii, French Polynesia, Oceania (the collective name for the islands of the Pacific Ocean) are among them. It’s a convenient way to name these islands, which, with the exception of Australia, are not part of any continent.
But now, back to my original question, can you map the line between Europe and Asia? I dare you to try. However, as you search sources, you might stumble upon this gem: The Marmaray railway tunnel, linking Turkey(Asia) to Istanbul (Thrice/Turkey Europe). “It is the world's first tunnel connecting two continents.” Who knew we needed to connect two continents that were already connected.