Greenland, India, the Middle East and Europe could be described as four subcontinents : Greenland because it is bigger than an island and smaller than a continent, the Middle East and India because they are geographically separate from their larger continent (Asia). Europe, however, is only a subcontinent if considered part of Eurasia.
A subcontinent is usually defined as a peninsula or isthmus of a continent, one that has distinct properties (as on a tectonic plate). It can also include large islands off the shore of a continent.
Fifteen areas that may qualify as subcontinents:
- Iberia (Spain and Portugal)
- Caucasia (between the Black and Caspian Seas)
- the Horn of Africa
- Southeast Asia
- East China
- Amuria (Korea, Manchuria, southeastern Siberia)
- Kolyma (eastern Siberia)
- Meso-America (Mexico, Central America)
- Patagonia (the southern part of the cone of South America)
A good rule of thumb is that any peninsula, isthmus, or island over 500,000 square miles is a subcontinent. Europe is mostly a huge peninsula, but is usually considered a continent (non-peninsular Europe is the portion of Russia west of the Urals). Australia is a huge island, but is considered a continent.
The only subcontinent in the world is India.
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