Coordinates:21°30′00″N 86°30′00″E / 21.5000°N 86.5000°E / 21.5000; 86.5000

Afro-Eurasia (orthographic projection) political.svg
Afro-Eurasia (orthographic projection) blank.svg
(c) GFDL, CC BY-SA 3.0
Area84,980,532 km2 (32,811,167 sq mi)
Population6.7 billion (2019)
DemonymAfro-Eurasian, Eurafrasian
Time zonesUTC-1 - UTC+12

Afro-Eurasia[1] (also Afroeurasia[2] or Eurafrasia[3]) is a landmass comprising the continents of Africa, Asia, and Europe. The terms are compound words of the names of its constituent parts.[3] Its mainland is the largest and most populous contiguous landmass on Earth.

Afro-Eurasia encompasses 84,980,532 square kilometres (32,811,167 sq mi), 57% of the world's land area, and has a population of approximately 6.7 billion people, roughly 86% of the world population.[4]

Related terms

Afro-Eurasia on a cylindrical projection, with the contiguous "World Island" landmass in dark green and islands in light green

The following terms are used for similar concepts:


Although Afro-Eurasia is typically considered to comprise two or three separate continents, it is not a proper supercontinent. Instead, it is the largest present part of the supercontinent cycle.

The oldest part of Afro-Eurasia is probably the Kaapvaal Craton, which together with Madagascar and parts of India and western Australia formed part of the first supercontinent Vaalbara or Ur around 3 billion years ago. It has made up parts of every supercontinent since. At the breakup of Pangaea around 200 million years ago, the North American and Eurasian Plates together formed Laurasia while the African Plate remained in Gondwana, from which the Indian Plate split off. This impacted southern Asia around 50 million years ago and began the formation of the Himalayas. (Around the same time, it also fused with the Australian Plate.) The Arabian Plate broke off of Africa around 30 million years ago and impacted the Iranian Plate between 19 and 12 million years ago, ultimately forming the Alborz and Zagros chains of Iranian Plate. After this initial connection of Afro-Eurasia, the Betic corridor along the Gibraltar Arc closed a little less than 6 million years ago, fusing Northwest Africa and Iberia together. This led to the nearly complete desiccation of the Mediterranean Basin, the Messinian salinity crisis. Eurasia and Africa were then again separated: the Zanclean Flood around 5.33 million years ago refilled the Mediterranean Sea through the Strait of Gibraltar and the Red Sea and Gulf of Suez Rifts further divided Africa from the Arabian Plate.

Today, Africa is joined to Asia only by a relatively narrow land bridge (which has been split by the Suez Canal at the Isthmus of Suez) and remains separated from Europe by the straits of Gibraltar and Sicily. Paleogeologist Ronald Blakey has described the next 15 to 100 million years of tectonic development as fairly settled and predictable.[7] In that time, Africa is expected to continue drifting northward. It will close the Strait of Gibraltar,[8] quickly evaporating the Mediterranean Sea.[9] No supercontinent will form within the settled time frame, however, and the geologic record is full of unexpected shifts in tectonic activity that make further projections "very, very speculative".[7] Three possibilities are known as Novopangaea, Amasia, and Pangaea Proxima.[10] In the first two, the Pacific closes and Africa remains fused to Eurasia, but Eurasia itself splits as Africa and Europe spin towards the west; in the last, the trio spin eastward together as the Atlantic closes, creating land borders with the Americas.

Extreme points

This is a list of the points that are farther north, south, east or west than any other location on Afro-Eurasia.

Afro-Eurasia (including islands)

Afro-Eurasia (mainland only)

  • Easternmost Point — Cape Dezhnev, Russia
  • Northernmost Point — Cape Chelyuskin, Russia
  • Southernmost Point — Cape Agulhas, South Africa
  • Westernmost Point — Cap-Vert, Senegal

The 180th meridian passes through Asia, meaning that these points are in the Western Hemisphere.

See also


  1. ^ Frank, Andre G. (1998), ReORIENT: Global Economy in the Asian Age, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0-520-21474-3
  2. ^ Field, Henry. "The University of California African Expedition: I, Egypt", American Anthropologist, New Series Vol. 50, No. 3, Part 1 (Jul. - Sep., 1948), pp. 479-493.
  3. ^ a b R. W. McColl, ed. (2005). 'continents' - Encyclopedia of World Geography, Volume 1. Golson Books, Ltd. p. 215. ISBN 9780816072293. Retrieved 2012-06-26. And since Africa and Asia are connected at the Suez Peninsula, Europe, Africa, and Asia are sometimes combined as Afro-Eurasia or Eurafrasia.
  4. ^ Based upon 2019 population estimates from
  5. ^ Mackinder, Halford John. The Geographical Pivot of History.
  6. ^ See Francis P. Sempa, Mackinder's World
  7. ^ a b Manaugh, Geoff & al. "What Did the Continents Look Like Millions of Years Ago?" in The Atlantic online. 23 Sept 2013. Accessed 22 July 2014.
  8. ^ "Future World".
  9. ^ "Only the inflow of Atlantic water maintains the present Mediterranean level. When that was shut off sometime between 6.5 to 6 MYBP, net evaporative loss set in at the rate of around 3,300 cubic kilometers yearly. At that rate, the 3.7 million cubic kilometres of water in the basin would dry up in scarcely more than a thousand years, leaving an extensive layer of salt some tens of meters thick and raising global sea level about 12 meters." Cloud, P. (1988). Oasis in space. Earth history from the beginning, New York: W.W. Norton & Co. Inc., 440.ISBN 0-393-01952-7
  10. ^ Williams, Caroline; Ted Nield (20 October 2007). "Pangaea, the comeback". NewScientist. Archived from the original on 13 April 2008. Retrieved 28 September 2009.

External links

  • Interactive scholarly edition, with critical English translation and multimodal resources mashup (publications, images, videos) Engineering Historical Memory.

Media files used on this page

Afro-Eurasia (orthographic projection) political.svg
Author/Creator: Keepscases, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Afro-Eurasia, "The Old World", (orthographic projection) with national borders.
Africa (orthographic projection).svg
Author/Creator: Martin23230, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Orthographic map of Africa with colonial borders, except Somalia.
Antarctica (orthographic projection).svg
Author/Creator: Heraldry, Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
Antarctica (orthographic projection)
Australia-New Guinea (orthographic projection).svg
Author/Creator: , Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
Map highlighting the continent of Australia-New Guinea. Includes Australia (including Tasmania) and New Guinea (including eastern portion of Indonesia (Aru Islands)) and mainland provinces of Papua New Guinea) south/east of Lydekker Line (delimiting continental shelf)
Europe orthographic Caucasus Urals boundary.svg
Map of Europe. The continental boundary to Asia as indicated is the standard convention following the Caucasus crest, the Ural River and the Urals Mountains to the Sea of Kara
Location North America.svg
Author/Creator: Bosonic dressing, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
North America: orthographic projection with the addition of national borders, based on File:United States (orthographic projection).svg
South America (orthographic projection).svg
Author/Creator: by Luan Tokyoship Talk icon.svg Tango style Wikipedia Icon.svg, Licence: CC BY 3.0
South America (orthographic projection)
Americas (orthographic projection).svg
Author/Creator: Martin23230, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Orthographic map of the Americas with national borders added
Eurasia (orthographic projection).svg
Author/Creator: Keepscases, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Eurasia (orthographic projection)
Oceania (orthographic projection).svg
Author/Creator: Ch1902, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Orthographic map of the Australasian part of Oceania: Australia, New Guinea, Island Melanesia, and New Zealand, but excluding the Maluccas.
The Earth seen from Apollo 17.jpg
"The Blue Marble" is a famous photograph of the Earth taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft en route to the Moon at a distance of about 29,000 kilometres (18,000 mi). It shows Africa, Antarctica, and the Arabian Peninsula.
Afro-Eurasia (orthographic projection) blank.svg
(c) GFDL, CC BY-SA 3.0
Afro-Eurasia, "The Old World", (orthographic projection).
Afro-Eurasia with islands highlighted.svg
Author/Creator: LukeSurl, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Created from Image:World_map_blank_without_borders.svg. Collectively, the coloured area is Afro-Euraisa. The dark green is the contiguous landmass, also known as the "World Island". The lighter green indicates the islands of Africa, Europe, and Asia.