A continent can be defined as a large area of land on the earth’s surface. There are no strict criteria used to identify continents; continents can be determined generally by convention. The earth is divided into seven major regions that have been defined as independent continents; these are Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia. All these continents are located in different regions on the earth’s surface. Of these, Africa is the only continent to be situated in all four hemispheres.
The Four Hemispheres
As stated earlier, Africa is the only continent that is located in the four hemispheres. The globe is divided into four parts by the lines of latitude and longitude. The Equator divides the earth horizontally into two halves while the Prime Meridian longitude divides the earth vertically into two halves. Both the latitudes and longitudes are imaginary lines that are used to classify the planet into different regions, for instance, the part of the globe that is situated in the north of the Equator is referred to as the Northern Hemisphere while that in the south of the Equator is known as the Southern Hemisphere. The location of continents between these hemispheres determines the weather patterns and seasons that these individual continents will experience throughout the year.
Location of the Continents
Apart from being the largest continent, Asia is the most populous continent having a population of more than 4.4 billion people; it is located in the Northern and Eastern hemispheres. Africa is the second largest continent measuring approximately 30.3 million square kilometers and has an approximate population of more than 1.2 billion people. Africa is the only continent that is strategically situated between the four hemispheres. The continent of North America is entirely located in the Northern Hemisphere and slightly within the Western Hemisphere. Antarctica and Oceania are located in the Southern Hemisphere; Antarctica being the only continent entirely situated in the Southern Hemisphere. Europe is the second smallest continent after Oceania; this continent is located in the Northern Hemisphere and partly in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Continent of Africa
While the hemispheres separate the majority of the continents, Africa lies in all four hemispheres of the earth, which are the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Hemisphere. Therefore, Africa can be described as the only continent that has its land crossed by both the Prime Meridian and the Equator. Interestingly, the Equator divides Africa into almost two halves. It passes through Gabon, Sao Tome, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ecuador, and Somalia. On the other hand, the Prime Meridian passes through Mali, Algeria, and Ghana. Due to its strategic location between the hemispheres, Africa experiences the most conducive climate and weather patterns throughout the year. Unlike other continents that are known to experience different seasons throughout the year, most of the countries of Africa do not have well defined seasons.