Does anyone remember there only being five continents? Or are you abroad and there are still only 6?

(60 Posts)
littleducks Thu 08-Apr-10 23:30:03

Domestic argument here atm.

According to dh he was taught there are 5 continents, he combines the Americas and ignores Antartica.

I was taught 7 (Asia, Antartica, Africa, Australasia, Europe, South america and North America).

Seven appears to be the textbook answer now, but apparently in some parts of the world 'America' is one continent.

PlumBumMum Thu 08-Apr-10 23:34:24

I was taught 5

(sorry to side with your dhgrin)

littleducks Thu 08-Apr-10 23:36:25

Its ok, and when roughly were you taught that? Should have asked in OP blush

According to dh there are only 13 countries in the EU too, i dont think they bothered to teach is a number as it kept changing!

PlumBumMum Thu 08-Apr-10 23:38:37

well I'm 33 now, really should keep up to date with these things, 20 odd years ago

littleducks Thu 08-Apr-10 23:40:34

DH is happy now!

PlumBumMum Thu 08-Apr-10 23:41:16


beagle101 Thu 08-Apr-10 23:43:23

I was taught 7 continents - I guess in the early 80's but I lived abroad - maybe it just all depends! grin

beagle101 Thu 08-Apr-10 23:48:49

Oooh just asked DH as he wandered in - he is adamant there are only 5 - but then he was taught in the mid 70's! He has now disappeared off upstairs (I suspect to google) muttering darkly about shifting sands and change .... grin

Nemain Thu 08-Apr-10 23:51:31

blush I cannot actually remember being taught this at all at school, but when I read the title in Active I thought 6... I missed Antarctica.

So I side with neither and stand alone in the Dunce corner! grin

senua Fri 09-Apr-10 09:06:00

You only have to look at the Olympic rings: the answer is def 5.

Bucharest Fri 09-Apr-10 09:08:25

I was taught 5 (am very old) but I believe there are now 6.

(reason being Antartica is one, the Artic isn't because it's not land) (or something)

I guess Antartica isn't on the Olympic flag because penguins are rubbish at hurdles and horseriding?

Bucharest Fri 09-Apr-10 09:09:12

( and I think the 5 are Asia, Africa, Europe, Australasia and America)

soapboxqueen Fri 09-Apr-10 09:28:15

There are 7 but i do agree I think it all depends on where and when you went to school.

Bucharest you are correct in your reasoning about the antarctic.

Portoeufino Fri 09-Apr-10 09:33:26

National Geographic makes it 7

ZZZenAgain Fri 09-Apr-10 09:37:07

dd learnt seven with a little ditty: there are 7 continents in this world, in this world, yeah etc : Europe, Africa, North and South America, Antartica, Australia, Asia

Dh stuck his oar in here to say that South America is not a different continent but she put him firmly in his place.

I'm siding with dd. I can't remember what they taught us at school, too long ago.

ZZZenAgain Fri 09-Apr-10 09:40:40

Bit like this:

sing it

MissAnneElk Fri 09-Apr-10 09:40:45

I was taught there are 5. I am very old...

Jolibee Fri 09-Apr-10 13:58:21

Just to add to the confusion Australasia since the early '90s has been called Oceania. Have taught in UK and abroad and we teach 7.

Tinuviel Fri 09-Apr-10 14:01:13

I was taught 5 but accept that times change and there are now 7. I suppose we know more about continental plates etc.

However, Australia is a country, not a continent. You can call it Australasia or Oceania!! It includes New Zealand (they get very upset, remember, if you call them Australian grin) and I believe Malaysia/Indonesia (can't remember which!)

They've also changed the number of oceans - it used to be Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific but they've now added Southern which encircles Antarctica!!

ZZZenAgain Fri 09-Apr-10 14:26:06

good point

dd was taught 4 oceans still, southern not included.

IMoveTheStars Fri 09-Apr-10 14:29:23

definitely 7, (I went to school in the UK)

Loving the mental image of penguins doing hurdles and horseriding (although they'd be quite good at luge)

prh47bridge Fri 09-Apr-10 17:21:55

I was taught 5 in the 1950s/60s but I would now say 7. And 27 countries in the EU.

mrz Fri 09-Apr-10 20:14:28

Your dh is correct originally 5 continents (hence the 5 Olympic rings - These five rings represent the five (inhabited) continents of the world: Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Australasia.) Spain & Portugal apparently still teach 5 (inhabited) continents.

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 09-Apr-10 20:17:50

7 and I'm from Canada.

morejuiceplease Fri 09-Apr-10 20:20:09

7, I was taught in the 80s and 90s

mrz Fri 09-Apr-10 20:30:24

Apparently China and English speaking countries generally teach 7
North America
South America

Latin America Russia and large parts of Europe teach 6

and Spain & Portugal teach 5 America Antarctica

Hulababy Fri 09-Apr-10 20:33:21

DH says 6 or 7 depending on whether you group the Americas. He also added that there are 5 rings on Oylmpic flag as Antartica isn't included, noone living there, etc.

I had seperated them all into 7.

DH is 36y and I am 37y (same academic year, same LEA, different schools).

sherby Fri 09-Apr-10 20:36:09


taught in 80s/90s


ByTheSea Fri 09-Apr-10 21:48:08

I was taught seven and I grew up in the USA and am in my mid-forties now.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 09-Apr-10 21:57:21

5. I seem to remember reading about it in a children's encyclopedia in primary school, so late 1970s. And Australasia was called Oceania in that I'm sure.

NadiaWadia Sat 10-Apr-10 00:18:24

It's seven I'm sure. It just makes sense. North American may be joined to South America but that is just an accident. Millions of years ago it was joined to Antarctica and Australasia, so that's why you have some marsupials living in S America.

(or so I read once)

OzMama22 Sat 10-Apr-10 12:49:04

Australia is a country, an island AND a continent - at least that's how I was taught! grin

Though I truly believe Australia is not a "country" but a federation of states - no national curriculum, different laws in different states and the only place you can truly get away with anything is in the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) where they invented Canberra to avoid the fight between Sydney and Melbourne as to who should be the capital?! Crazy "country"!

I could only think of 6 (North and South America and forgot Antarctica!) but don't ask me what I was taught...too long ago! grin

On a similar topic - how many planets are there these days? Have they finally decided? smile

I love how Australia settled the dispute!! Priceless!

mathanxiety Thu 15-Apr-10 17:19:36

It depends on the continental plates, I was taught (in Ireland, 70s) and there were 7 -- N & S America, Asia, Africa, Europe, Antarctica, Australasia, with India being a 'sub-continent' as it has its own plate and is bashing into Asia even as we speak (hence the Himalayas).

strandedatsea Thu 15-Apr-10 17:25:30

So which continent do the Caribbean islands belong to?

mathanxiety Fri 16-Apr-10 15:19:57

Map of various plates in the Caribbean area. There's a Caribbean plate, which is moving eastwards into the N. American plate (Haiti is on a plate boundary). I think the Caribbean islands are lumped in with N. America, but they may be divided between N & S America.

strandedatsea Sat 17-Apr-10 11:33:02

Thanks, I have often pondered this....

LittlePushka Thu 28-Feb-13 00:05:34

Five, taught in mid plenty time for platectonics to slip in another couple since then wink

mymeatballishorse Thu 28-Feb-13 00:13:59


bulletpoint Thu 28-Feb-13 07:19:49

Five! same as what bucharest listed.

Vietnammark Thu 28-Feb-13 07:27:06

In Vietnamese the word for continent is "luc dia" which literally translates as "six lands"

bruffin Thu 28-Feb-13 07:29:38

Zombie thread
Strange one to bump

BeckAndCall Thu 28-Feb-13 07:32:26

Well now that we've sorted continents and oceans, what about 'KiNGDOMS'??

When I was at school there was the ANIMAL kingdom and the PLANT kingdom. Sorted.

Now I find there are 5 or it might even be 7!!

Plants, animals, fungi, squirmy little things you see under a microscope and more squirmy things you see under a microscope! Where were they when I was little!

PoppyAmex Thu 28-Feb-13 07:33:02

I was taught 7 in the early 80's abroad.

We were told Oceania, not Australasia.

LittlePushka Thu 28-Feb-13 20:51:12

Bruffin, bumped by accident looking for someone!

2rebecca Thu 28-Feb-13 22:43:09

I was taught 5 in the 1970s. Europe, America, Africa, Asia and Australia (can't remeber calling it Australasia at school although NZ was incorporated into the Australia continent.
I remember my son having this as a homework question 10 years ago and arguing with him about it and being amazed they had invented a few extra ones, it's not like the land mass has changed since the 1970s..

AutumnMadness Mon 04-Mar-13 13:46:56

In my memory, a "continent" is defined as a very large land mass (as opposed to an island). Considering that the Americas are joined by a rather thin strip of land that is now cut through by the Panama canal, we can count 6 continents:

1. North America
2. South America
3. Eurasia
4. Africa
5. Australia
6. Antarctica

Islands could be incorporated into continents, esp. if they are close by and are part of the tectonic plate that the continent is sitting on.

littleducks Mon 04-Mar-13 13:51:33

This just came up in active convos, I came on to post about my dh (still adamant 5) only to realise its actually my OP! grin

Timetoask Mon 04-Mar-13 13:53:49

America is one continent.

BackforGood Mon 04-Mar-13 13:57:57

Defintely 5 when I was at school.
I too, am very old....

AutumnMadness Mon 04-Mar-13 14:13:14

Sorry, I am going to get pedantic. I have a problem with "America" being one continent considering that North and South Americas sit on completely different tectonic plates. There are actually six continental tectonic plates (there is some overlap, however, like a chunk of Eastern Siberia being on the North American plate).

But then, my definition is purely geological. There are lots of weird cultural ones out there.

Patchouli Mon 04-Mar-13 14:18:08

haha you be pedantic Autumn
It obviously means a lot to you (this thread is almost 3 years old)

LaVolcan Mon 04-Mar-13 14:55:23

The CIA World Database refers to Europe as a sub-continent. India a sub-continent - yes, Europe - no, most people would agree.

(But then it also says that there are a couple of thousand Cornish speakers in the UK, so it's not 100% reliable.)

LittlePushka Mon 04-Mar-13 21:21:39

Think that even more continents have been found since littleducks first posted. Possibly nine now wink

LegoAcupuncture Mon 04-Mar-13 21:24:54

grin littleducks

LittlePushka Mon 04-Mar-13 21:29:36

I certainly have discovered another in that time,...stress incontinent...

edam Mon 04-Mar-13 21:31:39

Given the CIA's propensity to do all sorts of appalling things, I'm quite glad they are too thick to notice how few Cornish speakers there are in the UK, or to spot that Europe is a continent... Hopefully reduces the chances of them deciding to overthrow Europe or bomb Kernow, or install dictatorships.

steppemum Mon 04-Mar-13 21:33:48

5 oceans
7 continents

Africa, Asia, Europe, Australasia, North America, South America (or should it be Latin America?), and Antarctica

watfordmummy Mon 04-Mar-13 21:37:15

Yip I learnt 5, again old!! wink

LaVolcan Mon 04-Mar-13 21:39:28

Should be South America rather than Latin America, because Mexico is in North America.

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