ASIA IS THE LARGEST of the six continents, occupying a third of the world's land space and containing about two-thirds of the world's population. In Greek mythology, Asia was a water-nymph, the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys; the continent Asia was supposedly named after her. According to one version, fabulous Asia was a wife of Prometheus. Another legend allegorizes her as mother of Prometheus and Atlas. Asia may have been the leader of the Okeanides, who carried rain to the Asian mainland.

Notions of Asia as an integrated unit reflect an inherently Western view of the world, but even in ordinary language, Asia designates large geographic areas that house diverse political entities and their people, with drastically different cultures and religions, and unevenly developed (or undeveloped) ...

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