Western Asia

Still often referred to by its pre-World War I European designation: the Middle East.

Geography

Except for Armenia, all of the nations in Western Asia have coastlines - Turkey, Syria and Israel and Lebanon lie on the Mediterranean Sea; Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea; Yemen and Oman the Arabian Sea; and the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran and Iraq have access to the Persian Gulf. Bahrain and Cyprus are island nations in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean. Important cities include Jerusalem, Damascus, Baghdad, Tehran, Tel Aviv, Beirut and Riyadh.

Politics,Economics and Religion

The political and economic importance of this region makes it one of the most heavily scrutinized parts of the world. The extraction of oil is a major activity for the regions countries, producing some of the world's wealthiest nations in the Persian Gulf states. Islam is the region's major religion and dominates politics of the region. Israel, its Judaism and its parliamentary democracy are the exception and have polarized Arab countries since the country's inception in the 1940s. The area has also attained infamy for being prone to violent outbreaks of war, among them the Six Day War of 1967, the Iraq-Iran war of the 80s, the numerous outbreaks between Lebanon and Israel since World War II. Recently the War in Afganistan, Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and and the following First Gulf War of 1990 and the current Iraq War fought by the United States & its allies.

History

To many scholars this is the 'cradle of humanity', where the human race may have began and where much of it's early development took place.

Climate

Climate and temperatures range from warm Mediterranean zones situated around the shores to hot, arid regions the further inland one goes.

South Central Asia

Geography

One-fifth of the world's population: 1.6 billion people live in South Central Asia. A region of nine countries - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar (Burma) [also called Myanmar] India, Iran, the Republic of Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and one territory (the British Indian Ocean Territory). This subcontinent is a peninsular region bordered by the Himalaya mountain range to the north, the Arabian Sea to the west of India and the Bay of Bengal to the east. The Maldives island chain lie off India's southwest and Sri Lanka to the south. The tallest mountain in the world, Everest, is found in Nepal.

Politics,Economics and Religion

The region is a dynamic melting pot of diverse peoples from many ethnic backgrounds. Due to the long history of different groups settling in the region over thousands of years there are a variety of Indo-Aryan, Austric, Saka and Dravidian ways of living spread across the many cities and villages in the area. Religion is easier to classify, with Hinduism being the most predominant religion (about 60% of the population) followed by Islam (30%).

History

In India western colonization took place in the 18th century, allowing aspects of European culture and language to interweave with traditional ways of living. These are still reflected in various degrees across the country today. The English language is used as the official language of business in most of the regions nations.

Climate

Tropical climates favor all of the countries in the southern portion of the region while more temperate climates can be found at higher elevations. Here monsoons are common and occur in the summer. Mountainous Afghanistan and Iran have continental climates and experience colder temperatures during the winter.

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Eastern Asia

Geography

With one-quarter of the world's population calling this region their home Eastern Asia is one of the most populous regions of the world. Consisting of the People's Republic of China (which includes the special administrative regions of China, Hong Kong SAR and Macau), North and Korea, South, Mongolia and Japan, these nations share certain cultural and historical similarities but also have great differences between their forms of government, industrialization and track records in their recognition of human rights. By far China is the largest of the circle, the world's third-largest country in landmass and first in population with an estimated 1.3 billion citizens spread across its twenty-two provinces. Interesting spots of note are the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City in Beijing, the forested, mist-covered slopes of Mount Huangshan, the neon-soaked skyline of China, Hong Kong SAR and the high-stakes gambling mecca of Macau. Nestled between northern China and Russia is landlocked Mongolia. To the south is the Gobi Desert, to the north and west are mountain ranges and in the center are flat, wind-swept plains. East of China the democratic island nation of Japan also has a proud history and has emerged as one of the world's leaders in technology. Over 3,000 minor and four major islands make up the country, with the city of Tokyo on Honshu being the capital. While Japan is one of the most densely populated landmasses on Earth its ordered layout of cities, roads and mass transit make it a world-class example of large-scale urban planning co-existing with rural and traditional values. To the west across the Sea of Japan are North and Korea, South, two very different countries that share the same people. Travel into the totalitarian Korea, North is heavily controlled and limited to its allies while Korea, Southn enjoy a much higher standard of living and greater freedoms accorded by democratic government. Seoul is the largest city and the capital of the south; Pyongyang the North.

Politics,Economics and Religion

China has the world's second-highest grossing economy with 8.9 trillion dollars worth of product manufactured annually. It is a rapidly growing country as the standard of living for the average Chinese citizen rises. This success comes from major Chinese government economic reforms following an embracing of Western capitalism. The country faces increasing criticism of its lax standards towards environmental concerns. The Communist government has also been heavily criticized by Western leaders for it's downplaying of human rights and freedom and its two million strong military causes its neighbours in the region concern.

History

China has a proud cultural and scientific history stretching back for thousands of years.

Climate

China suffers the harshest weather of the region with dry, hot summers and sub-zero winters.

South Eastern Asia

Geography

South East Asia is split into two distinct regions: the Indochine Peninsula (Indochina) which lies south of China on which are found the countries of Cambodia, Laos, the peninsular portion of Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam; and the Malay Archipelago which stretches across the South China Sea and Indian Ocean and is where Brunei, Christmas Island, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysian Borneo, the Philippines and Singapore can be found.
With over 20,000 islands spread across the archipelago, this region is one of the most tectonically active places found on the planet. Frequent earthquakes can produce deadly tsunamis such as the one that killed an estimated 200,000 in 2004.

Politics,Economics and Religion

Ethnic diversity is strong through the area's 600 million residents. While several countries may have a majority population they all have minority cultures residing within their borders. For example, Singapore and Christmas Island may be three-quarters Chinese but in Brunei, Malaysia and Cambodia that ethnicity is a minority; Indonesia is a mixture of Javanese, Sudanese and several other groups; and Vietnamese are less than one percent of any other nation's demographics save for their home country of Vietnam. Most of the people on the peninsula and Singapore follow the teachings of Buddhism while Islam is the more popular religion practiced on the island chain; Christianity is dominant in the Philippines, eastern Indonesia and East Timor.

Climate

A moist, humid climate provides heavy rainfall year round, with many rainforests and a diversity of species that reside within them. Many unique animal species can be found here such as the orangutan, water buffalo and Asian elephant. The waters also contain great coral reefs and an abundance of aquatic life.