The term hemisphere came from Ancient Greece and was used to refer to half of a spherical object. The earth is spherical and can thus be divided into halves. The world is traditionally divided into four hemispheres namely, the Eastern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere, the Western Hemisphere, and the Northern Hemisphere.
Northern and Southern Hemispheres
The Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere are divided along the horizontal Equator, an imaginary line which is also known as the zero latitude. The Northern Hemisphere contains roughly 68% of the earth's lands mass, which is comprised to the continents of Asia, North America, and Europe in their entirety and significant parts of South America and Africa. The Southern Hemisphere consists of Antarctica, Australia as well as the southern parts of South America and Africa, making it home to only 38% of the earth’s landmass. The Southern Hemisphere’s surface area is composed of 80% water bodies such as the oceans while the rest is occupied by land. The Southern Hemisphere is home to only an estimated 10% of the world’s population due to the relatively smaller landmass and the inhabitable nature of one of the continents namely Antarctica.
Eastern and Western Hemispheres
The Western Hemisphere and the Eastern Hemisphere of the world are divided by an imaginary line of longitude which runs vertically across the globe known as the Prime Meridian. The Western Hemisphere and the Eastern Hemisphere are also sometimes mistakenly associated with various political, cultural, and historical notions. When Europe began colonizing North and South America, the Eastern Hemisphere was at times referred to as the “Old World” while the new western colonies were referred to as the “New World.” The term “Western World” also is sometimes used to refer to portions Europe and North America due to their shared economic and cultural values while the “East” is used to refer to nations with Asiatic cultures.
The nation of Kiribati is the only country on earth that is situated on all four main hemispheres. The country is comprised of 32 atolls, 21 of which are inhabited. The islands are found in the South Pacific regions of Polynesia and Micronesia. The nation consists of four island groups namely Line Islands, Gilbert Islands, Banaba Island, and Phoenix Islands. The Phoenix Islands which are comprised of 8 atolls, as well as Banaba, are found to the south of the Equator which means that they are in the Southern Hemisphere. The Gilbert Islands which consists of 16 atolls are found on both the Southern and Northern hemispheres. In 1995, the International Date Line was realigned so that it does not to divide the country to accommodate all of the islands in the same working day.
Interesting Facts About Kiribati
The Republic of Kiribati is located at GMT +14 making it the furthest country from the Greenwich meantime. The nation is usually the first to welcome the New Year in the world. In 1999, 2 of its islets that were uninhabited disappeared into the sea thereby raising the possibility that the nation could potentially be submerged in case of an adverse natural event.
Significance of Dividing the Earth into Hemispheres
The world is primarily divided into hemispheres by scientists to allow the independent examination of regions of the world while conducting studies such as global climate.