Adopt the World: Learn About It

Regions of the World:  Democratic Transitions

Africa


Africa is a very diverse continent with a rich heritage.  The second largest continent in the world, Africa is made up of 53 countries, with over 1,000 different ethnic groups and over 900 million people.  Map 1 (pg.36) shows the continent’s size relative to other land masses.  George Hegel, a popular German philosopher of the 19th century was one of the earliest people who wrote that Africa had made no contribution to world civilization.  Today, we know that this is far from the truth. Africa is the birthplace of humanity and the only continent that has evidence of the early evolution of humans.  Aryeetey-Attoh, Samuel. (2003). Geography of Sub-Saharan Africa. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Education, Inc.

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Asia

Asia is a vast region, spanning many square miles and encompassing many different cultures, races, religions, languages, and political ideologies. Most people, when they think of Asia, envision the colorful kimonos of Japanese women, the Great Wall of China, and large elephants of Thailand. However, Asia includes countries such as India, Mongolia, Laos, and Kazakhstan. Each country possesses its own unique and vibrant history, economic structure, and political challenges. For all their differences, the countries that make up Asia share in their desire to industrialize, grow, and prosper.

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Europe

Europe is one of the world’s seven continents. It is divided from Asia by the Ural Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian Sea, and the Caucasus Mountains.

The European Union (EU) now includes 27 nations and is the largest economic entity in Europe. If the EU were a country, it would be the world’s largest economy. Its overall gross domestic product (GDP) is about $16,62 trillion (compared to about $14 trillion for the United States).

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Iran

The Islamic Republic of Iran is strategically located in the middle of Central Eurasia, an oil-rich region in which all of the world’s major powers have vested political and economic interests.  Iran shares borders with Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan (most of which are either U.S. allies or currently occupied by Western armed forces)  and is located on several bodies of water, including the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, as well as the Gulf of Oman and the Caspian Sea. In terms of area, it ranks 18th in size in the world and is slightly larger than the state of Alaska.

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Russia

When people think of Russia, there are many things that might come to mind: the beautiful onion-shaped domes of the Russian Orthodox churches, communist propaganda from the Cold War, harsh winters, ballerinas, matryoshka dolls, the music of Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky, or the rich literature of writers like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. These things are all quintessentially Russian, yet they fail to capture the complexity and vastness that is Russia. Russian territory takes up much of Eastern Europe and all of Northern Asia, sharing borders with 14 different countries. Yet, culturally and historically, Russia is neither a European country nor an Asian one. Russia is the largest country in the world. Yet, with a population of about 141 million, it is one of the least densely populated.

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