The main difference between a continent and a country is that a continent is a large landmass that is separated from other continents by the ocean, while a country is a single unit of land situated inside a continent and governed by a single government.
There are seven continents on Earth: Asia, Africa, Australia, Antarctica, Europe, North America, and South America. Moreover, there a total of 195 different countries in these seven continents. Hence, countries are parts of these continents.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is a Continent
– Definition, Features
2. What is a Country
– Definition, Features
2. Similarities Between a Continent and a Country
– Outline of Common Features
3. Difference Between a Continent and a Country
– Comparison of Key Differences
What is a Continent?
A continent is a large landmass that is separated from other continents by oceans. There are seven main land divisions on Earth, and we call them continents. Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia are the seven continents. Asia is the largest continent in the world while Australia is the smallest.
When geographers identify a continent, they consider all the islands associated with that particular continent. For example, Japan, though a separate country, is part of the Asian continent. Likewise, Greenland and all the other islands in the Caribbean Sea are areas that belong to the continent of North America.
Together, continents cover around 148 million square kilometres of land on Earth’s surface. In brief, continents consist of most of Earth’s land surface. The continental shelves, which are gently sloping areas that spread outward from the beach far into the ocean, generally indicate the actual boundaries of the continents.
What is a Country
A country is a land area within a continent. A country is a single political unit that prevails under a specific government. The land area of one country differs from the land area of another. Similar to continents, some countries are larger, but some are smaller in landmass. Australia, China, Brazil, Canada, the United States, and Russia are the largest countries in the world. On the contrary, the world’s smallest country is Vatican City, and it consists of a land area of less than 2.6 square kilometres.
Most countries have smaller divisions like states or provinces to facilitate governance. Generally, a state or a province has its own state or provincial government. Therefore, the country’s government shares power with the state or provincial governments. In such cases, the law of the country’s central government typically applies to all the people of the country, while the laws of the state or provincial government only apply to the people living within that particular state or province.
Similarities Between a Continent and a Country
- Continents and countries are geographical landmasses with specific boundaries.
- They provide habitats for millions of humans, animals, and plant species.
- Moreover, both cover around 148 million square kilometres of land on Earth’s surface.
Difference Between a Continent and a Country
A country is an individual unit located within a continent governed by a single government, while a continent is one of the Earth’s major landmasses, separated from the other landmasses on the basis of ocean boundaries and tectonic plates.
A continent is a larger landmass defined by geographical locations while a country is a smaller piece of landmass located within the continent.
Generally, most countries have imaginary boundaries whereas the boundaries of a continent is the ocean.
A country is governed by a specific political authority in power. They are responsible for the betterment of the country. However, except for the continents of Australia and Antarctica, a continent cannot be governed by a single political body of authority.
The main difference between a continent and a country is that a country is an individual unit of land located within a continent and is governed by a single government, while a continent is a culmination of all the countries separated from the other landmasses on the basis of ocean boundaries and tectonic plates. Furthermore, a country originates as a result of historic battles, political tensions, faiths, or unity among tribes, while the formation of continents is natural, with the geographical evolution of Earth.