Asia is the world's largest continent, encompassing Russia (the largest country), China and India (with the greatest populations), and small island nations such as East Timor, Taiwan, and the Maldives.
Here we will explore the histories and cultures of Asia's various and varied nations.
East Asia encompasses the ancient cultural centers of China, Japan, and the Koreas, as well as Taiwan. With a written history stretching back over 4,000 years, this is one of the great centers of human civilization.
Southeast Asia includes the mainland countries of Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Burma (Myanmar), as well as a number of island nations: Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and East Timor. This is a diverse region of rich and ancient cultures, but the more recent history of much of this area has been tragic.
The Indian subcontinent is one of the oldest sites of human civilization, and has had a rich and varied cultural and political history down through the millennia. Today, it covers the nations of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Nepal, and Bhutan.
The steppes and jagged mountains of Central Asia have been a cultural crossroads for centuries. This was the home of the great Silk Road, these nations are once more gaining attention for their fossil fuel resources in an energy-hungry world. The countries that make up this region are: Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan.
The Middle East and Asia Minor
The Middle East and Asia Minor have long been a pivot point between the cultures of the Mediterranean world and those of greater Asia. This region includes Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
United Arab Emirates