South Asia

From ArticleWorld

South Asia, very often confused with the term the Indian Sub-continent, lies at the southern tip of Asia. Although it covers only 10% of the land area of the continent, 40% of the total population of Asia lives in South Asia. Though, Afghanistan is geographically not located within South Asia, it is considered a part of the area since it shares a large part of history with it. All the countries that comprise South Asia also belong to the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation or (SAARC)


South Asia is bounded on the north by the mighty Himalayas, on its west lies the Hindukush range of mountains and the Arabian Sea. To the east it is bounded by the Bay of Bengal and on its southern side lies the Indian Ocean. Most of the area of the sub-continent rests on a tectonic plate, which, to begin with, was a continent island called the Gondwanaland. A part of this broke off and started moving north where it collided with another land mass and fused with it, giving birth to the young fold mountains of the Himalayas. In fact the land is still pushing north and the Himalayas are still growing (at a rate of a few centimeters per decade). Even though, in size it is about half the size of America, South Asia has all the major geographical features possible squeezed in, in that area. Thus, it has mountains, valleys, glaciers, deserts, oceans rain forests, truly a land of contrasts.

The name

The boundaries of South Asia have changed at various times in history and with each change the area has also undergone a name change. Before India got its independence from the British, South Asia was known as British India or Hindustan. It has from time to time been called the Mughal Sultanate and also the East Indies.


The climate of the area may be divided into three main types. Summer, winter and the rainy season called the monsoon. The short winters are for the most part cool and dry but the long summer months can become very hot and humid. The rains offer some respite from the heat when they arrive during the months of June and July and last for a couple of months, until September.