Why Is India a Subcontinent?

Why are we taught in US public schools that India is a sub-continent? Is it based on geological reasons? Political map making purposes ? Population reasons? I don’t get it. Why is no other large country designated as such?

Perhaps it’s because India is on a geologic plate mostly to itself. It was once like Australia, an island/continent in the middle of the Indian Ocean. But once it rammed into Asia (creating the Himalayas in the process), it was obviously now a part of Asia. But it also still acts independent of the rest of Asia, continually ramming into it.

In quite a few million years, Africa will move north enough to completely squeeze shut the Mediterranean Sea and mergo with Europe. At that time, it’s very likely that it would be called the Africal sub-continent.

African sub-continent, that is. :rolleyes:

Politically, it was the “Indian Empire” of the U.K.; geomorphologically, it is separated from the rest of Asia by mountain ranges except for the Pakistan-Iran border. (Don’t forget that “the Indian subcontinent” includes not only India but also Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan.) Plate tectonics did not enter into its being designated a subcontinent; the whole “continental drift” theory was heterodox to orthodox geology at the time. But recognition of its separate Gondwanan ancestry was a part of retaining the concept as the political grounds for doing so faded.

I used to think that was the reason, but now I’m not so sure. I’ve heard Alaska described as a sub-continent, but it’s on the North American plate. The Arabian peninsula is on its own plate, but I’ve never heard it called a subcontinent.

Why not the European subcontinent? I mean, Europe’s just a pimple on the Eurasian landmass, and nobody calls it a subcontinent, now do they?

No, Europe is The Continent. :wink: