Georgia and North Atlantic Treaty Organization relations began in 1994 when Georgia joined the NATO-run Partnership for Peace. Georgia has moved following the Rose Revolution in 2003 to seek closer ties and eventual membership with NATO. Georgia's powerful northern neighbor, has opposed the closer ties, including those expressed at the 2008 Bucharest summit where NATO members promised that Georgia would join the organization. In the 7 December 2011 statement of the North Atlantic Council Georgia was designated as an "aspirant country". Complications in the relationship between NATO and Georgia includes presence of Russian forces in Georgian territory as a result of multiple recent conflicts, like the 2008 South Ossetia war, over the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are home to large numbers of Russian nationals. A nonbinding referendum in 2008 resulted in 77% of voters supporting NATO accession; the current Georgia–NATO relations occurs in the framework of the Substantial NATO–Georgia Package, a set of measures at the strategic and operational levels launched in 2014.
The package includes a Defence Institution Building School, NATO–Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Centre and Logistics Facility, the facilitation of multi-national and regional military drills, other measures. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia became an independent nation under the nationalistic leadership of Zviad Gamsakhurdia. Georgia had problems with Russian support of Ossetians in Georgia. Like others, Georgia joined the NATO-run North Atlantic Cooperation Council in 1992 and the Partnership for Peace, signing their agreement on March 23, 1994. In 1996, Georgia submitted their first Individual Partnership Plan, in 1997 ratified the Status of Forces Agreement. Georgia opened official relations with NATO in 1998 by opening a diplomatic mission and presenting an ambassador. Following more discussions, the first joint military exercises occurred in Poti in 2001, with more in 2002; the 2003 Rose Revolution replaced Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze with Mikheil Saakashvili, who has promoted closer ties with western institutions including NATO.
In 2004, Georgian forces worked with NATO forces in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, as part of the election security force. Georgia's effort to join NATO began in 2005. NATO and Georgia both signed an agreement on the appointment of Partnership for Peace liaison officer on February 14, 2005; the liaison office between them came into force and was assigned to Georgia. On March 2, 2005, the agreement was signed on the provision of the host nation supporting and aiding transit of NATO forces and NATO personnel. On March 6–9, 2006, the IPAP implementation interim assessment team arrived in Tbilisi. On April 13, 2006, the discussion of the assessment report on implementation of the Individual Partnership Action Plan was held at NATO Headquarters, within 26+1 format. Located on the northeastern border of NATO member Turkey, Georgia is the furthest of all countries considering NATO membership. Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty limits membership extension to European states.
Georgia's location on the juncture of continents is a subject of debate, yet positioned Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952 Russia sees NATO's eastward expansion as a threat against their strategic interests in Europe and has accused the West of having double standards. In 2014, prior to its 65th anniversary since its creation, NATO announced that it would not be offering any new countries membership into the organization that year. Analysts confirmed this as a sign that NATO members are becoming skeptical about further Eastern expansion due to worries about Russian retaliation to these new security guarantees so close to is borders. Georgia believes that membership in NATO is a guarantee of stability to the region by acting as a counterweight to Russia, which it considers a dangerous neighbor; this view was once again confirmed by the referendum in 2008 in which the majority of Georgians voted in favour of NATO membership. In 2006, the Georgian parliament voted unanimously for a bill which calls for the integration of Georgia into NATO.
On January 5, 2008 Georgia held a non-binding referendum on NATO membership with 77% voting in favor of joining the organization. During the NATO summit in Bucharest, United States and Poland called for Georgia to be allowed to join the Membership Action Plan; the alliance decided not to offer Georgia a MAP due to opposition from several countries, led by Germany and France, who feared the decision would anger Russia. Instead NATO countries assured the Georgian side in a special communiqué that they would join the alliance once the requirement for membership were met. Members further pledged to review the decision in December 2008 at the meeting of NATO foreign ministers. Responding on April 11, 2008, the head of the Russian military, general Yuri Baluyevsky stated that if Georgia joins NATO, "Russia will take steps aimed at ensuring its interests along its borders and these will not only be military steps, but steps of a different nature". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia released a statement that said that it was "a demonstration of open aggression against Georgia" and called on the international community to react adequately to this "serious threat".
The NATO communiqué which promised the country eventual membership still angered Moscow. After the summit, Russian president Vladimir Putin vowed support and protection to then-unrecognized
Svaneti or Svanetia is a historic province of Georgia, in the northwestern part of the country. It is inhabited by an ethnic subgroup of Georgians. Situated on the southern slopes of the central Caucasus Mountains and surrounded by 3,000–5,000 meter peaks, Svaneti is the highest inhabited area in the Caucasus. Four of the 10 highest peaks of the Caucasus are located in the region; the highest mountain in Georgia, Mount Shkhara at 5,201 meters, is located in the province. Prominent peaks include Tetnuldi, Shota Rustaveli, Mount Ushba, Ailama, as well as Lalveri and others. Svaneti has two parts corresponding to two inhabited valleys: Upper Svaneti on the upper Inguri River. Historical Svaneti included the Kodori Gorge in the adjoining rebel province of Abkhazia, part of the adjacent river valleys of Kuban and Baksan north of the crest of the Caucasus. Writing in 1848, Bodenstedt said that Upper Svaneti could only be reached by a difficult footpath, closed in winter; the landscape of Svaneti is dominated by mountains.
Most of the region which lies below 1,800 meters above sea level is covered by mixed and coniferous forests. The forest zone is made up of tree species such as spruce, beech and hornbeam. Other species that are less common but may still be found in some areas include chestnut, maple and box; the zone which extends from 1,800 meters to about 3,000 meters above sea level consists of alpine meadows and grasslands. Eternal snows and glaciers take over in areas; the region is notable for its picturesque summits. Svaneti's signature peak is Mount Ushba which towers over the Inguri Gorge and can be seen from many parts of the region; the climate of Svaneti is humid and is influenced by the air masses coming in from the Black Sea throughout the year. Average temperatures and precipitation vary with elevation. Annual precipitation ranges between 1000 and 3200 mm; the highest amount of precipitation falls on the Greater Caucasus Mountains. The region is characterized by heavy snowfall in the winter and avalanches are a frequent occurrence.
Snow cover may reach 5 meters in some areas. In general, the lowest regions of Svaneti are characterized by long, warm summers and cold and snowy winters. Middle altitudes experience warm summers and cold winters. Areas above 2000 meters above sea level lie within a zone that experiences short, cool summers and long and cold winters. Large parts of Svaneti lie above 3000 meters above sea level, a zone which does not have a real summer. Due to Svaneti's close proximity to the Black Sea, the region is spared from the cold winter temperatures that are characteristic of high mountains; the Svans are identified with the Soanes mentioned by Greek geographer Strabo, who placed them more or less in the area still occupied by the modern-day Svans. The province had been a dependency of Colchis, of its successor kingdom of Lazica until AD 552, when the Svans took advantage of the Lazic War, repudiated this connection and went over to the Persians; the Byzantines wanted the region, for if they secured its passes, they could prevent Persian raids on the border areas of Lazica.
With the end of the war, Svanetia again became part of Lazica. The province joined the Kingdom of Abkhazia to form a unified monarchy, incorporated into the Kingdom of Georgia in the early 11th century. Svanetia became a duchy within it, governed by a duke; the province’s Orthodox culture flourished during the Georgian “golden age” under Queen Tamar, respected as goddess by the Svanetians. The legend has it; the Svans had been known as fierce warriors for centuries. Their inflatable war banner was named Lemi because of its shape; the marauding Mongols never reached Svanetia and, for a time, the region became a cultural safe house. Following the final disintegration of the Kingdom of Georgia in the 1460s, fighting broke out for controlling the province. Part of Upper Svanetia formed an independent principality under the Princes Dadeshkeliani, a branch of the Gelovani family, while Lower Svanetia ruled by the Princes Gelovani, was temporarily usurped and subdued by the Mingrelian princes Dadiani.
Facing serious internal conflict, Prince Tsioq’ Dadeshkeliani of Svanetia signed a treaty of protectorate with the Russian Empire on November 26, 1833. Difficult to access, the region retained significant autonomy until 1857, when Russia took advantage of the dynastic feud in Svanetia and abolished the principality’s autonomy. In 1875, the Russians toughened their rule by imposing additional taxes. Protests ensued, Russia deployed troops against the province. Despite having suffered heavy losses, the Russian army units crushed the rebels burning their stronghold Khalde to the ground in 1876. Part of the Russian governorate of Kutais, Svanetia was divided into two raions — Mestia (for
Petroleum is a occurring, yellowish-black liquid found in geological formations beneath the Earth's surface. It is refined into various types of fuels. Components of petroleum are separated using a technique called fractional distillation, i.e. separation of a liquid mixture into fractions differing in boiling point by means of distillation using a fractionating column. It consists of occurring hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and may contain miscellaneous organic compounds; the name petroleum covers both occurring unprocessed crude oil and petroleum products that are made up of refined crude oil. A fossil fuel, petroleum is formed when large quantities of dead organisms zooplankton and algae, are buried underneath sedimentary rock and subjected to both intense heat and pressure. Petroleum has been recovered by oil drilling. Drilling is carried out after studies of structural geology, sedimentary basin analysis, reservoir characterisation have been completed, it is refined and separated, most by distillation, into a large number of consumer products, from gasoline and kerosene to asphalt and chemical reagents used to make plastics and pharmaceuticals.
Petroleum is used in manufacturing a wide variety of materials, it is estimated that the world consumes about 95 million barrels each day. The use of petroleum as fuel is controversial due to its impact on global warming and ocean acidification. Fossil fuels, including petroleum, need to be phased out by the end of 21st century to avoid "severe and irreversable impacts for people and ecosystems", according to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; the word petroleum comes from Medieval Latin petroleum, which comes from Latin petra', "rock", Latin oleum, "oil". The term was used in the treatise De Natura Fossilium, published in 1546 by the German mineralogist Georg Bauer known as Georgius Agricola. In the 19th century, the term petroleum was used to refer to mineral oils produced by distillation from mined organic solids such as cannel coal, refined oils produced from them. Petroleum, in one form or another, has been used since ancient times, is now important across society, including in economy and technology.
The rise in importance was due to the invention of the internal combustion engine, the rise in commercial aviation, the importance of petroleum to industrial organic chemistry the synthesis of plastics, solvents and pesticides. More than 4000 years ago, according to Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, asphalt was used in the construction of the walls and towers of Babylon. Great quantities of it were found on the banks of the river Issus, one of the tributaries of the Euphrates. Ancient Persian tablets indicate the medicinal and lighting uses of petroleum in the upper levels of their society; the use of petroleum in ancient China dates back to more than 2000 years ago. In I Ching, one of the earliest Chinese writings cites that oil in its raw state, without refining, was first discovered and used in China in the first century BCE. In addition, the Chinese were the first to use petroleum as fuel as early as the fourth century BCE. By 347 AD, oil was produced from bamboo-drilled wells in China. Crude oil was distilled by Arabic chemists, with clear descriptions given in Arabic handbooks such as those of Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi.
The streets of Baghdad were paved with tar, derived from petroleum that became accessible from natural fields in the region. In the 9th century, oil fields were exploited in the area around Azerbaijan; these fields were described by the Arab geographer Abu al-Hasan'Alī al-Mas'ūdī in the 10th century, by Marco Polo in the 13th century, who described the output of those wells as hundreds of shiploads. Arab and Persian chemists distilled crude oil in order to produce flammable products for military purposes. Through Islamic Spain, distillation became available in Western Europe by the 12th century, it has been present in Romania since the 13th century, being recorded as păcură. Early British explorers to Myanmar documented a flourishing oil extraction industry based in Yenangyaung that, in 1795, had hundreds of hand-dug wells under production. Pechelbronn is said to be the first European site where petroleum has been used; the still active Erdpechquelle, a spring where petroleum appears mixed with water has been used since 1498, notably for medical purposes.
Oil sands have been mined since the 18th century. In Wietze in lower Saxony, natural asphalt/bitumen has been explored since the 18th century. Both in Pechelbronn as in the coal industry dominated the petroleum technologies. Chemist James Young noticed a natural petroleum seepage in the Riddings colliery at Alfreton, Derbyshire from which he distilled a light thin oil suitable for use as lamp oil, at the same time obtaining a more viscous oil suitable for lubricating machinery. In 1848, Young set up a small business refining the crude oil. Young succeeded, by distilling cannel coal at a low heat, in creating a fluid resembling petroleum, which when treated in the same way as the seep oil gave similar products. Young found that by sl
Copper is a chemical element with symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a soft and ductile metal with high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement. Copper is one of the few metals; this led to early human use in several regions, from c. 8000 BC. Thousands of years it was the first metal to be smelted from sulfide ores, c. 5000 BC, the first metal to be cast into a shape in a mold, c. 4000 BC and the first metal to be purposefully alloyed with another metal, tin, to create bronze, c. 3500 BC. In the Roman era, copper was principally mined on Cyprus, the origin of the name of the metal, from aes сyprium corrupted to сuprum, from which the words derived and copper, first used around 1530.
The encountered compounds are copper salts, which impart blue or green colors to such minerals as azurite and turquoise, have been used and as pigments. Copper used in buildings for roofing, oxidizes to form a green verdigris. Copper is sometimes used in decorative art, both in its elemental metal form and in compounds as pigments. Copper compounds are used as bacteriostatic agents and wood preservatives. Copper is essential to all living organisms as a trace dietary mineral because it is a key constituent of the respiratory enzyme complex cytochrome c oxidase. In molluscs and crustaceans, copper is a constituent of the blood pigment hemocyanin, replaced by the iron-complexed hemoglobin in fish and other vertebrates. In humans, copper is found in the liver and bone; the adult body contains between 2.1 mg of copper per kilogram of body weight. Copper and gold are in group 11 of the periodic table; the filled d-shells in these elements contribute little to interatomic interactions, which are dominated by the s-electrons through metallic bonds.
Unlike metals with incomplete d-shells, metallic bonds in copper are lacking a covalent character and are weak. This observation explains the low high ductility of single crystals of copper. At the macroscopic scale, introduction of extended defects to the crystal lattice, such as grain boundaries, hinders flow of the material under applied stress, thereby increasing its hardness. For this reason, copper is supplied in a fine-grained polycrystalline form, which has greater strength than monocrystalline forms; the softness of copper explains its high electrical conductivity and high thermal conductivity, second highest among pure metals at room temperature. This is because the resistivity to electron transport in metals at room temperature originates from scattering of electrons on thermal vibrations of the lattice, which are weak in a soft metal; the maximum permissible current density of copper in open air is 3.1×106 A/m2 of cross-sectional area, above which it begins to heat excessively. Copper is one of a few metallic elements with a natural color other than silver.
Pure copper acquires a reddish tarnish when exposed to air. The characteristic color of copper results from the electronic transitions between the filled 3d and half-empty 4s atomic shells – the energy difference between these shells corresponds to orange light; as with other metals, if copper is put in contact with another metal, galvanic corrosion will occur. Copper does not react with water, but it does react with atmospheric oxygen to form a layer of brown-black copper oxide which, unlike the rust that forms on iron in moist air, protects the underlying metal from further corrosion. A green layer of verdigris can be seen on old copper structures, such as the roofing of many older buildings and the Statue of Liberty. Copper tarnishes when exposed to some sulfur compounds, with which it reacts to form various copper sulfides. There are 29 isotopes of copper. 63Cu and 65Cu are stable, with 63Cu comprising 69% of occurring copper. The other isotopes are radioactive, with the most stable being 67Cu with a half-life of 61.83 hours.
Seven metastable isotopes have been characterized. Isotopes with a mass number above 64 decay by β−, whereas those with a mass number below 64 decay by β+. 64Cu, which has a half-life of 12.7 hours, decays both ways.62Cu and 64Cu have significant applications. 62Cu is used in 62Cu-PTSM as a radioactive tracer for positron emission tomography. Copper is produced in massive stars and is present in the Earth's crust in a proportion of about 50 parts per million. In nature, copper occurs in a variety of minerals, including native copper, copper sulfides such as chalcopyrite, digenite and chalcocite, copper sulfosalts such as tetrahedite-tennantite, enargite, copper carbonates such as azurite and malachite, as copper or copper oxides such as cuprite and tenorite, respectively; the largest mass of elemental copper discovered weighed 420 tonnes and was found in 1857 on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan, US. Native copper is a polycrystal
Air pollution occurs when harmful or excessive quantities of substances including gases and biological molecules are introduced into Earth's atmosphere. It may cause diseases and death to humans. Both human activity and natural processes can generate air pollution. Indoor air pollution and poor urban air quality are listed as two of the world's worst toxic pollution problems in the 2008 Blacksmith Institute World's Worst Polluted Places report. According to the 2014 World Health Organization report, air pollution in 2012 caused the deaths of around 7 million people worldwide, an estimate echoed by one from the International Energy Agency. An air pollutant is a material in the air that can have adverse effects on the ecosystem; the substance can be liquid droplets, or gases. A pollutant can be of man-made. Pollutants are classified as secondary. Primary pollutants are produced by processes such as ash from a volcanic eruption. Other examples include carbon monoxide gas from motor vehicle exhausts or sulphur dioxide released from the factories.
Secondary pollutants are not emitted directly. Rather, they form in the air when primary pollutants interact. Ground level ozone is a prominent example of secondary pollutants; some pollutants may be both primary and secondary: they are both emitted directly and formed from other primary pollutants. Substances emitted into the atmosphere by human activity include: Carbon dioxide – Because of its role as a greenhouse gas it has been described as "the leading pollutant" and "the worst climate pollution". Carbon dioxide is a natural component of the atmosphere, essential for plant life and given off by the human respiratory system; this question of terminology has practical effects, for example as determining whether the U. S. Clean Air Act is deemed to regulate CO2 emissions. CO2 forms about 410 parts per million of earth's atmosphere, compared to about 280 ppm in pre-industrial times, billions of metric tons of CO2 are emitted annually by burning of fossil fuels. CO2 increase in earth's atmosphere has been accelerating.
Sulfur oxides – sulphur dioxide, a chemical compound with the formula SO2. SO2 is produced in various industrial processes. Coal and petroleum contain sulphur compounds, their combustion generates sulphur dioxide. Further oxidation of SO2 in the presence of a catalyst such as NO2, forms H2SO4, thus acid rain; this is one of the causes for concern over the environmental impact of the use of these fuels as power sources. Nitrogen oxides – Nitrogen oxides nitrogen dioxide, are expelled from high temperature combustion, are produced during thunderstorms by electric discharge, they can be seen as a plume downwind of cities. Nitrogen dioxide is a chemical compound with the formula NO2, it is one of several nitrogen oxides. One of the most prominent air pollutants, this reddish-brown toxic gas has a characteristic sharp, biting odor. Carbon monoxide – CO is a colorless, toxic yet non-irritating gas, it is a product of combustion of fuel such as natural coal or wood. Vehicular exhaust contributes to the majority of carbon monoxide let into our atmosphere.
It creates a smog type formation in the air, linked to many lung diseases and disruptions to the natural environment and animals. In 2013, more than half of the carbon monoxide emitted into our atmosphere was from vehicle traffic and burning one gallon of gas will emit over 20 pounds of carbon monoxide into the air. Volatile organic compounds – VOCs are a well-known outdoor air pollutant, they are categorized as either non-methane. Methane is an efficient greenhouse gas which contributes to enhanced global warming. Other hydrocarbon VOCs are significant greenhouse gases because of their role in creating ozone and prolonging the life of methane in the atmosphere; this effect varies depending on local air quality. The aromatic NMVOCs benzene and xylene are suspected carcinogens and may lead to leukemia with prolonged exposure. 1,3-butadiene is another dangerous compound associated with industrial use. Particulate matter / particles, alternatively referred to as particulate matter, atmospheric particulate matter, or fine particles, are tiny particles of solid or liquid suspended in a gas.
In contrast, aerosol refers to gas. Some particulates occur originating from volcanoes, dust storms and grassland fires, living vegetation, sea spray. Human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels in vehicles, power plants and various industrial processes generate significant amounts of aerosols. Averaged worldwide, anthropogenic aerosols—those made by human activities—currently account for 10 percent of our atmosphere. Increased levels of fine particles in the air are linked to health hazards such as heart disease, altered lung function and lung cancer. Particulates are related to respiratory infections and can be harmful to those suffering from conditions like asthma. Persistent free radicals connected to airborne fine particles are linked to cardiopulmonary disease. Toxic metals, such as lead and mercury their compounds. Chlorofluorocarbons – harmful to the ozone layer; these are gases which are released from air conditioners, aerosol sprays, etc. On release into the air, CFCs rise to the stratosphere.
Here they come in contact with other gases and
Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres, about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Asia is notable for not only its overall large size and population, but dense and large settlements, as well as vast populated regions, its 4.5 billion people constitute 60% of the world's population. In general terms, Asia is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean, on the north by the Arctic Ocean; the border of Asia with Europe is a historical and cultural construct, as there is no clear physical and geographical separation between them. It has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity.
The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East–West cultural and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The most accepted boundaries place Asia to the east of the Suez Canal separating it from Africa. China and India alternated in being the largest economies in the world from 1 to 1800 CE. China was a major economic power and attracted many to the east, for many the legendary wealth and prosperity of the ancient culture of India personified Asia, attracting European commerce and colonialism; the accidental discovery of a trans-Atlantic route from Europe to America by Columbus while in search for a route to India demonstrates this deep fascination. The Silk Road became the main east–west trading route in the Asian hinterlands while the Straits of Malacca stood as a major sea route. Asia has exhibited economic dynamism as well as robust population growth during the 20th century, but overall population growth has since fallen. Asia was the birthplace of most of the world's mainstream religions including Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Sikhism, as well as many other religions.
Given its size and diversity, the concept of Asia—a name dating back to classical antiquity—may have more to do with human geography than physical geography. Asia varies across and within its regions with regard to ethnic groups, environments, historical ties and government systems, it has a mix of many different climates ranging from the equatorial south via the hot desert in the Middle East, temperate areas in the east and the continental centre to vast subarctic and polar areas in Siberia. The boundary between Asia and Africa is the Red Sea, the Gulf of Suez, the Suez Canal; this makes Egypt a transcontinental country, with the Sinai peninsula in Asia and the remainder of the country in Africa. The border between Asia and Europe was defined by European academics; the Don River became unsatisfactory to northern Europeans when Peter the Great, king of the Tsardom of Russia, defeating rival claims of Sweden and the Ottoman Empire to the eastern lands, armed resistance by the tribes of Siberia, synthesized a new Russian Empire extending to the Ural Mountains and beyond, founded in 1721.
The major geographical theorist of the empire was a former Swedish prisoner-of-war, taken at the Battle of Poltava in 1709 and assigned to Tobolsk, where he associated with Peter's Siberian official, Vasily Tatishchev, was allowed freedom to conduct geographical and anthropological studies in preparation for a future book. In Sweden, five years after Peter's death, in 1730 Philip Johan von Strahlenberg published a new atlas proposing the Urals as the border of Asia. Tatishchev announced; the latter had suggested the Emba River as the lower boundary. Over the next century various proposals were made until the Ural River prevailed in the mid-19th century; the border had been moved perforce from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea into which the Ural River projects. The border between the Black Sea and the Caspian is placed along the crest of the Caucasus Mountains, although it is sometimes placed further north; the border between Asia and the region of Oceania is placed somewhere in the Malay Archipelago.
The Maluku Islands in Indonesia are considered to lie on the border of southeast Asia, with New Guinea, to the east of the islands, being wholly part of Oceania. The terms Southeast Asia and Oceania, devised in the 19th century, have had several vastly different geographic meanings since their inception; the chief factor in determining which islands of the Malay Archipelago are Asian has been the location of the colonial possessions of the various empires there. Lewis and Wigen assert, "The narrowing of'Southeast Asia' to its present boundaries was thus a gradual process." Geographical Asia is a cultural artifact of European conceptions of the world, beginning with the Ancient Greeks, being imposed onto other cultures, an imprecise concept causing endemic contention about what it means. Asia does not correspond to the cultural borders of its various types of constituents. From the time of Herodotus a minority of geographers have rejected the three-continent system on the grounds that there is no substantial physical separation between
Greater Caucasus is the major mountain range of the Caucasus Mountains. The range stretches for about 1,200 kilometres from west-northwest to east-southeast, between the Taman Peninsula of the Black Sea to the Absheron Peninsula of the Caspian Sea: from the Western Caucasus in the vicinity of Sochi on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea and reaching nearly to Baku on the Caspian; the range is traditionally separated into three parts: Western Caucasus, from the Black Sea to Mount Elbrus Central Caucasus, from Mount Elbrus to Mount Kazbek Eastern Caucasus, from Mount Kazbek to the Caspian SeaIn the wetter Western Caucasus, the mountains are forested. In the drier Eastern Caucasus, the mountains are treeless; the watershed of the Caucasus is considered the boundary between Eastern Europe and Western Asia. The European part north of the watershed is known as Ciscaucasia, the Asiatic part to the south as Transcaucasia, dominated by the Lesser Caucasus mountain range and whose western portion converges with Eastern Anatolia.
The border of Russia with Georgia and Azerbaijan runs along the most of the Caucasus' length. The Georgian Military Road and Trans-Caucasus Highway traverse this mountain range at altitudes of up to 3,000 metres; the watershed of the Caucasus was the border between the Caucasia province of the Russian Empire in the north and the Ottoman Empire and Persia in the south in 1801, until the Russian victory in 1813 and the Treaty of Gulistan which moved the border of the Russian Empire well within Transcaucasia. The border between Russia and Georgia still follows the watershed exactly, while Azerbaijan in its northeastern corner has five districts north of the watershed. Mount Elbrus, 5,642 m, 43°21′18″N 42°26′21″E is the highest mountain in Europe. Dykh-Tau, 5,205 m, 43°3′N 43°8′E Shkhara, 5,201 m, 43.01°N 43.17°E / 43.01.