South Asia 

 Asia is the world’s largest continent, stretching from Europe in the west to Japan in the east. It has a total area of 44,680,718 sq km. Asia has huge climate extremes, from a cold polar climate in the north to a hot tropical one in the south. Verkhoyansk in Siberia has had temperatures as high as 37°C and as low as -68°C. The Himalayas are the highest mountains in the world, with 14 peaks over 8000 m high. To the north are vast deserts, broad grasslands and huge coniferous forests. To the south are fertile plains and valleys and tropical jungles.


Northern Asia 

 India is on a separate plate that crashed into the north Asia plate 50 million years ago. It is piling up the Himalayas as it ploughs on northwards.Asia’s longest river is China’s Yangtze, 5520 km long. Asia’s highest mountain is the world’s highest - Mt Everest, or Sagarmatha, in Nepal at 8848 m. The Caspian Sea between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan is the world’s largest lake, covering 378,400 sq km. There is a huge variety of people living in southern Asia from India to the Philippines. India has hundreds of different ethnic groups speaking 30 languages and 1652 dialects. Indonesia also has many different ethnic groups and over 400 different languages and dialects. In Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, people are mostly Buddhists. In Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Bangladesh, people are mostly Muslim.In India, 81 percent of people are Hindus. The word Hindu comes from the Indus river where Dravidian people created one of the worlds great ancient civilizations 4500 years ago. The official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese, though English is increasingly favoured as a second language. However, most Vietnamese children only learn to read and write by the time they are 15.By Hindu tradition people are born into social classes called castes. Members of each caste can only do certain jobs, wear certain clothes and eat certain food. Indians are descended from both the Dravidians and from the Aryans who invaded and pushed the Dravidians into the south about 3500 years ago.The people of East Timor in Indonesia are mainly Christian. Before they became independent they were under the oppressive rule of the Indonesian military government descended from both the Dravidians and from the Aryans who invaded and pushed the Dravidians into the south about 3500 years ago. An estimated 86 percent of Russians are descended from a group of people called Slavs who first lived in eastern Europe 5000 years ago.East Slavs are the Great Russians (or Russians), the Ukrainians and the Belarusians (or White Russians). West Slavs are eastern Europeans such-as Czechs, Poles and Slovaks. South Slavs are people such as Croats, Serbs and Slovenes. Slavs speak Slavic or Slavonic languages such as Russian, Polish or Czech.In the old Soviet Union there were over 100 ethnic groups. 70 percent were Slavs. Many of the rest were Turkic people such as Uzbeks, Kazakhs and Turkmen. Many of these now have their own nations. Mongolian nomads live on the grassland steppes of central Asia, where they raise herds of goats, cattle and yaks. These nomads live in tents called yurts, which are traditionally covered with felt. Slavic people are mainly Christian; Turkic people are mainly Islamic. Many Turkic peoples such as the Kazakhs have a nomadic tradition that is fast vanishing.The Mongols were a people whose empire under the great Khans once spread far south into China and far west across Asia. The Tatars are 4.6 million Turkic people who now live mainly in the Tatar Republic in the Russian Federation.

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