What are the 12 world geographic realms?

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Here are the 12 geographic realms that form the spatial framework:

  1. Europe
  2. Russia
  3. North America
  4. Middle America
  5. South America
  6. Sub-Saharan Africa
  7. North Africa/Southwest Asia
  8. South Asia
  9. East Asia
  10. Southeast Asia
  11. Austral Realm
  12. Pacific Realm

The purpose of dividing the world into these realms is to organize the world geographically into regions based on land and human geography. Spatially, these realms group similar land masses and physical characteristics of the world together. However, it is important to note that these realms do not simply focus on land geography/topography but also include human geography as well. Each realm is unique for its cultural, political, and economic traits. This is sometimes a fluid list. You may see a geographer's work that breaks down a particular realm that I have listed here into two, but these twelve are the most common that you will find.

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The 12 world geographic realms are: Europe, Russia, North America, Middle America, South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa/Southwest Asia, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Austral Realm, and Pacific Realm.  Geographers divide the world into geographic realms based upon contiguity of landmass and human and physical characteristics of the earth within each section, or realm.  As the classification system is based upon the surface of the earth, it reflects spatial relationships, and allows for construction of a framework based upon both human and physical characteristics. 

The division of the world into 12 distinct realms helps to provide a broad outline for understanding the way the planet formed and the manner in which humans have occupied it over thousands of years.  Within each realm, there are identifiable characteristics among people, reflected in the establishment of political boundaries separating them.

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