How Many Continents Are There? Depends Who You Ask!

One of the most fascinating things I discovered when I started traveling when young is that, depending on the country of your birth, you would have been taught there are different number of Continents.

Did you know that? Crazy right?

According to Wiki (hey don’t judge my source…I am lazy) there are indeed different models to teach this. Check out this animated graph with the different models or the chart below.

4 to 7 continents

  • The seven-continent model is usually taught in China, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, parts of Western Europe and most English-speaking countries including Australia and the UK.
  • The six-continent combined-Eurasia model is mostly used in Russia, Eastern Europe and Japan. 
  • The six-continent combined-America model is used in France and its former colonies, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Latin America and Greece.
  • A five-continent model is obtained from the six-continent combined-America model by excluding Antarctica as uninhabited. This is used, for example, in the Olympic Charter.

“The terms Oceania or Australasia are sometimes substituted for Australia to denote a region encompassing the Australian continent and various islands in the Pacific Ocean that are not included in the seven-continent model. For example, the Atlas of Canada names Oceania, as does the model taught in France, Italy and Greece, the Ibero-American countries (Spain, Portugal, Brazil and Spanish-speaking Latin America), China and South Korea.”

See why Latin people look so confused when you explain about North America? And let’s not even get into the debate of Central America being a region, etc.

There you have it. Your random post of the day and something to bust out next time you find yourself with a group of people from different countries and want to spark up conversation. Be warned it may lead to hours of cultural exchange, so get some coffee!




4 thoughts on “How Many Continents Are There? Depends Who You Ask!”

  1. I had to laugh at this post too. I remember in Spanish language classes in Cuernavaca Mexico when we were practicing conversational Spanish. Cuantos continentes hay? the teacher asks. Hay siete continentes. No, hay cinco. No, siete. Back and forth. Then we discover there’s five in Mexico but seven in the US. 🙂 That blew my mind that two countries that share a huge long border can think about something so fundamental in two very different ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. totally crazy right? I was so fortunate to travel all over the world when young (competing for my sport so with many other kids my age from all over) and things like that were amazing. Also for Spanish speaking countries the word for “straw” (for example) vary so much (popote, pajilla, pitillo), to the point that some mean something very offensive in other countries (etc). Learned some of these things the hard way haha. I also love that the ‘tooth fairy’ is actually a ‘tooth mouse’ in most of Latin America (who thought that was a charming idea, waiting for a mouse to go under your pillow to leave some pesos?!).

      By the way, did you ever make it to Tepoztlán while in Cuernavaca?


      1. Yes! We went to Tepoztlan twice (once when I was down there on study abroad and a second time when Mrs. RoG and I returned to Mexico). Cool pyramid and those little monkeys or critters or whatever. I remember the hike down being way worse than the hike up. And the second class chicken bus to go out there (this was 15 years ago FYI).


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