How Naming the Continents Works

Naming the Continents: Cheat Sheet

Stuff you need to know:

  • Scientists believe that 200 million years ago, there was just a single, connected land mass. They've named it Pangaea, which is Greek for "all lands."
  • Antarctica officially received its name in March 1904, derived from ant (opposite) and arctic (of the North Pole).
  • It's possible that "America" is not, in fact, named for Amerigo Vespucci. One lesser-known theory posits the continent is named for the Ameriqque Mountains in Nicaragua, which were believed to be rich in gold.
  • Until a few decades ago, experts were pretty sure "Australia" was coined in 1802. Then the National Library of Australia stumbled upon a map dated 1545 with the continent labeled "Australia."
  • Both Turkey and Russia reside on two continents, Europe and Asia, which aren't exactly continents because neither is completely surrounded by water. North and South America aren't technically continents, either.

Now, test your knowledge with these quizzes!

  • Travel the World: World Geography
  • Travel the World: Africa
  • Travel the World: Australia
  • Travel the World: Europe
  • Travel the World: China

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