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When meeting new people whether on vacation, social events, business travels or even locally the one question that usually comes up is "where are you from". This question may arise because of dialect, cultural habits or visual differences. It seems in the regions of Kentucky the person may state they are from one of the four larger cities Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro and Bowling Green but if from a surrounding rural town it may be by the county name such as Muhlenberg, Trigg, Christian, Warren or another . The surrounding nature and the landmasses define the boundaries of communities, cities and states, countries and continents and in turn creating the differences of man's culture and lifestyles.
Let's examine the continents of the Earth, they are described as large, continuous, distinct masses of land that are separated by expanses of water. Continents are generally defined by geographical, historical, cultural, anthropological, or political attributes, but the tectonic plates of the Earth creates the divisions of the surface or also known as "continental drift". The tectonic plates are composed of oceanic or continental lithosphere, with the movement of the Earth's core causing the slide of the tectonic plates to either create liquid mass or mountain ranges. There are seven familiar continents, Africa, Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Australia and the Antarctica, however not until the late nineteenth century did 3 of the 7 become known as continents. The ancient Greeks mariners and philosophers separated parts of land as Europe and Asia, later Africa and in 1507 the Americas, even the Olympic five rings depicts the “five inhabited continents” — excluding Antarctica with five including America as a single continent, Europe and Asia are two continents and the other two rings representing Africa and Australia.
Greece is a country in southeastern Europe, however parts the North Aegean Islands, Ephesus, Cyprus and Dodecanese lie in Asia Minor which is part of the country Turkey. In the Americas there is North and South America with the US in North America, but if asked about the US/Mexico border it would be said Mexico is in South America along with other Central America countries as Panama and Costa Rica but by geographical lines it would place Central America countries in North America however the culture, visual distinctions and heritage promotes a different idea. Terminology used in conversation and news, places a mental image by such statements as "European history", "Asian cuisine", "African-Americans" and "Middle Easterner", rather than the natural geographical lines defining the continents. There are some states in American that can't be distinguished from another until the road sign says "Welcome to" but with others there is an immediate visual because of the vegetation, terrain and the dialect. Borders along the United States and Canada appear to be the same however the further into Canada the changes in the terrain, vegetation, wildlife, culture and dialect become more noticeable.
During the ancient exploration of natures land and water masses, much excitement and wonderment came from experiencing different vegetation and wildlife to meeting the inhabitants of the lands. Like any new discovery the founder gave the name to the new lands and at times the logical name would be their own. From ancient writings and maps it is noted that not all continents were totally surrounded by water, some mountain ranges depicted the continental drift but political, nationalism and racial, cultural and trade distinctions determined the boundaries. Today we are known as Americans, Asian, European, etc but it has been nature that has determined the distinction of man's culture and also has joined us into one body called Earth.