LivingTravelWhy is Asia called 'Asia'?

Why is Asia called 'Asia'?

Well, no one can say for sure where Asia got its name; although there are many theories about the origin of the word “Asia”.

The Greeks are generally credited with creating the concept of Asia, which at the time included Persians, Arabs, Indians, and anyone who was not African or European. “Asia” was the name of a Titan goddess in Greek mythology.

History of the word

Some historians say that the word “Asia” is derived from the Phoenician word asa which means “east.” The ancient Romans picked up the word from the Greeks. The Latin word oriens means “rising” – the sun rises in the east, so anyone originating in that direction was eventually called eastern.

Even to this day, the boundaries of what we call Asia are in dispute. Asia, Europe, and Africa technically share the same continental shelf; however, political, religious and cultural differences make clearly defining what is considered Asia almost impossible.

One thing that is for sure is that the concept of Asia came from the first Europeans. Asians are so varied in culture and beliefs that they never collectively referred to themselves as Asian or “Asian.”

The ironic part? Americans still refer to Asia as the Far East, yet Europe is to our east. Even people from the eastern US, like me, still have to fly west to get to Asia.

Regardless, Asia is undisputed as the largest and most populous continent on earth, and is home to more than 60% of the world’s population. Imagine the possibilities of travel and adventure!

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