When I lived in Florida I worked with a woman who thought Alaska was an island floating off the coast of California near Hawaii, because that’s where it was on the map. I laughed and laughed at both her and Florida’s educational system. Ridiculous.
Then someone I knew told me they were driving to Nova Scotia. I asked if there was a ferry, because, you know, Maine is a peninsula. They laughed at me as hard as I had laughed at my poor friend from Florida. Spoiler: it’s connected by a whole heck of a lot of land. Un-freaking-believable.
Elementary school maps messed me up for life.
Let’s talk about continents.
Can we just agree that Europe and Asia are really Eurasia? What’s the border, a mountain range? Yet India is only a sub-continent. It is separated by a substantial mountain range, which should let it be its own continent if Europe gets to be one. I mean the Himalayas are nothing to sneeze at when it comes to impassability. They have Mount Everest for goodness' sake. I’m calling bullshit.
But Greenland—the twelfth largest country in the world and an actual freaking island, therefore completely fitting the definition of a land mass? Not a continent. Part of North America. What about its close neighbor, Iceland, from whence Erik the Red purportedly sailed when he discovered Greenland, and which is also an island nation? Part of Europe.
And Egypt? On two bloody continents connected by a land bridge. Technically they separated it when they created the Suez Canal, but they did that of their own accord. Which continent do Egyptian children say they are from? Mostly Africa? Sometimes Asia?
Look, I am a relatively smart person, but the cartographers who made elementary school maps did me a disservice. OK, maybe I should have been paying closer attention in class, but I can't be the only one who somehow screwed this whole thing up.
Copyright © 2017 Lara Lillibridge
Public domain imagery courtesy of Snappygoat.com