Why did the continents separate
A continent or part of the world is a very large, contiguous area of land. In order of size, there are Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe and Australia together with Oceania, i.e. seven continents.
Most of the continents are clearly separated from each other by oceans. Europe and Asia are an exception because there is no sea in between. The Ural Mountains are the border between west and east. There are various possible boundaries between north and south, i.e. between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. That is why Europe and Asia are often referred to as "Eurasia".
Asia, Europe and Africa are called the "Old World", and in ancient times people traveled back and forth between Europe, Asia and Africa. The Europeans only discovered the “New World” at the beginning of modern times. The New World consisted of North America and South America. These two can also be seen as one big double continent, America. Australia did not belong to the New World. The discovery of Australia followed at least 100 years later.
If you look at Europe and Asia as Eurasia and America as a double continent, then together with Africa, Antarctica and Australia you only get on five continents. Otherwise you can count up to seven continents. Oceania is not a real continent. But it is sometimes also counted, sometimes counted as part of Australia.
How did the continents come about?
The continents used to look different than they do today. Many millions of years ago they were a large land mass. This primary continent was called Pangea. Then they separated again, they “drifted apart”.
Today you can see from the map that Africa and South America used to be next to each other. The east coast of South America and the west coast of Africa go together. People have noticed this before. In 1915, the researcher Alfred Wegener described that the continents had moved.
A drawing of what the earth looked like with Pangea
Simplified graphic from the Middle Ages, with three continents
In a church 350 years ago: The four women for the four continents known at the time
The possible borders between Europe and Asia
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