Phew ArMaP, so many posts... Did you hit the character limit or just kick yourself for forgetting something and then posting again
Your whole premise is based on a misnomer and therefore, invalid. Firstly, continents are defined by convention as opposed to any strict indisputable
criteria. Also, the definition of a continent is open to interpretation, for example, "continents are understood to be large, continuous, discrete
masses of land, ideally separated by expanses of water."
Ref.: Lewis, Martin W.; Kären E. Wigen (1997). The Myth of Continents: a Critique of Metageography
That definition alone actually suggest that the British Isles should not
be encapsulated within the concept of a existing continent since it is
not part of a continuous, discrete landmass except in itself. In fact, that definition lends itself to suggesting that the British Isles should be
defined *as* a continent in
itself, notwithstanding the application of the adjective, "large".
I'm not being argumentative you understand, just trying to come to a common understanding - which leads me to my next point: "defined by convention".
This basically means a "step out" - a group gets together and says, "Yes, we even though it is BS, we all accept this!" Note that this pertains to a
group that then promulgates the information as the common understanding. Herein lies the issue again. The 'group' does not represent everybody and the
'common understanding' is not necessarily shared or agreed to by everyone. As an example, the official convention is that the military intervention in
Afghanistan has made the world a safer place, however, I think that the majority of citizens around the world would disagree with that. The world did
not accept 'Greater Germania' during WWII so why do it now for 'Europe' which is just as arbitrary? So much for conventions...
So, now that we have the 'misnomer' out of the way, let us work through your points, energetically provided as they were.
The definitions of the continents are geographic definitions.
Incorrect as I indicated above, they are conventions that effectively make use of lines 'drawn in the sand'. Generally they follow natural boundaries,
e.g. the Urals, coastlines etc, however, the rules are often 'bent' for geo-political purposes. The geographic definitions are a means to an end, not
the defining elements of the continent itself. As an analogy, reality is a photograph taken from a satellite, continents are lines drawn on the map
with a permanent marker and a shakey hand and occasionally connecting bits that aren't really connected. We're then suppose to just accept that are
The Earth doesn't have sovereign boundaries either, only natural bounds, as Europe.
The Earth has obvious natural boundaries, but continents do not necessarily share them. I have already mentioned the Urals and coastlines, but there
is an obvious boundary between the British Isles and the Continental Mainland called "The English Channel". This is conveniently overlooked.
But the British Islands have, as far as I know, always been considered part of Europe, even by the British.
Depends on which of the citizenry you are talking about. If it is pen-pushing Ministers who have egotistical visions of being classed as international
statesmen, then yes, they probably think of themselves as 'European'. The rest of us don't. We are culturally entirely different from the Continental
Mainland and this is perhaps easier to understand if you ask a 'continental' whether they are 'like' the British. I might ask a Portuguese whether
they are really just Spanish... They're all on the same peninsula after all...
Geographically, it's in North America, not Europe.
Ahhh, the convenience of convention. That is the beauty of having 'conventions'. As an example, the European Union itself has stated that,
""Geographers and historians have never agreed on the physical or natural borders of Europe." Europe is amorphous. As such, one person may say that
Greenland is in the North American continent, others may say that it is in Europe. I'm not being contrary, just pointing out the reality.
Did the Iberian Peninsula stopped being part of Europe during the Muslim rule?
Simple answer - yes! Herein lies the issue again and you raise a very valid point. You used the phrase, "To me, it doesn't work that way, as I see
continents as a way of defining geographic regions, not cultural regions," but this is not the reality when it comes to Europe. You may say that for
, but Europe is not solely defined as "the western part of Eurasia starting at the Urals". Europe is
more of a cultural rather
than a geographical definition although the 'convention' is to indicate it as a distinct continent and imply physical boundaries (where I would refer
you to my opening comments).
continued in next post... Damn this limit...
edit on 5-5-2012 by RawkMan because: (no reason given)