How Big is Australia?

Just how big is mainland Australia? How does it compare to the United States or India? 

The Guessing Game

If the "Land Down Under" were dropped on the United States, how much territory would it consume? Here's a list of choices:

The Smallest Continent
While it is easy to mistake Australia for a "small" continent*, answer choice A is the closest to mainland Australia's true size.  Australia is the smallest continent, but a continent nonetheless. Aside from its position as the "smallest" continent, another reason it is easy to underestimate Australia's size is due to its location. Placed below the massiveness that is Asia, any continent would appear small and because Australia does not touch any other continents, a viewer's eyes are not immediately drawn to a comparison. The only other continent that is near Australia is Antarctica, but most maps heavily distort that frozen landmass and basically make a fair comparison impossible. 

A Large Nation
As a continent, Australia may be "small", but in terms of nations it is the 6th largest. It is slightly smaller than Brazil, but more than twice the size of the world's 7th largest country, India.  

An overlay shows that Australia is more than twice the size of India
Thanks for reading.

Want to learn more about Australia? Enjoy this article on Australia's flag. It is part of the series Star-Crossed: The Flags of the Southern Cross Constellation and one of our most popular articles.

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*Modern convention is to recognize Australia as the largest part of the continent of Oceania.

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