Pangea is the hypothetical supercontinent that allegedly existed over 300 million years ago. Pangea is a conglomerate of all of the modern-day continents smashed together. What if that land mass existed today? What would the world look like if we all lived on Pangea?
This is the idea behind a picture created by the artist Massimo Pietrobon. The original image was featured on his website. If you like his image or his other work, you can buy his art, including this image, from his online gallery.
Without further ado, let's look at what the world would look like with Pangea as our only supercontinent.
The United States Gets New Neighbors
First of all, the United States would lose its status as a largely isolated nation. Instead of just two neighbors, the United States now has over a dozen. Western Africa saddles up nicely to the eastern seaboard. New England now borders Morocco. The smattering of small West African nations would now lie along a long border with the eastern United States.
The Gulf of Mexico is gone. Instead, the rounded portion of South America comes back into the picture and fills in the space previously taken by warm salt water. Now Texas, Cuba, and Venezuela are all cozy with one another.
The United States now only has one major coast instead of two. The west coast would just be The Coast, and it would be up to California, Oregon, and Washington to handle all of the nation’s shipping and naval needs.
Like the United States, Brazil also gets a host of new neighbors, also largely from West Africa. Nigeria and eastern Brazil would share a border creating one of the most populous areas on the planet.
Antarctica Gets Cozy
In today’s timeline, Antarctica is lonely. It sits by itself at the bottom of the planet. It is frozen, isolated, and largely ignored by the rest of the world. Antarctica only gets attention from exotic cruises that sail from Argentina, the large penguin colonies, and a handful of devoted scientists. With Pangea, Antarctica gets some swell neighbors, including India, Australia, and South Africa. Those nations would no doubt pour a lot of new settlers into the virgin lands of Antarctica.
Without lying at the bottom of the world, Antarctica has the potential to be a warm and verdant landscape with a long coastline, large lakes surrounding it, and plenty of nearby lands to interact with. One can only imagine what a temperate Antarctica might look like. Pangea would give Antarctica a chance to have neighbors, friends, comrades, and a little bit of warmth.
Asia Gets Condensed
Asia is the world’s largest continent, and it is home to some of the world’s largest countries. Russia and China dominate the landscape with thousands of miles of diverse landscapes. Modern Asia also has thousands of islands and various island nations. Countries like Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia are made up of thousands of islands of all sizes.
In Pangea, these islands all get compressed and condensed back into the primary landmass. Japan gets suctioned to Manchuria and Korea (thanks to a sordid history, this would be an awkward proposition that would not be popular today) and loses its status as an isolated island. Similarly, the long tendrils and islands of Southeast Asia also get compressed and condensed into a large peninsula rather than a series of archipelagos.
Russia and China remain largely untouched. Russia gains a new neighbor in Japan and lost its access to the Sea of Japan that exists today. China’s unique position in Asia makes it so that even in Pangea, its borders would be largely the same, even if the region looks different. There would be less fighting over the South China Sea because all of the island nations in and around there are now attached to the coastline.
Some Large Lakes
The last interesting feature of Pangea is a series of new massive lakes. Some of these lakes are so large they can safely be considered inland seas. The Arctic Ocean gets transformed into Big Arctic Lake. The Gulf of Mexico gives way to a series of long snake-like lakes that border Venezuela, Texas, Mexico, and Florida. Hudson Bay turns into Hudson Lake. If it is more temperate and warm, Hudson Lake would be a huge boon for Pangea Canada.
In the south, two large lakes form around Antarctica. There is Antarctica Lake and Indian Lake, which would be huge features of this new region. There is also a new lake that forms in northern Australia when New Guinea gets smashed back against the continent.
France, Turkey, and the Balkans are now seaside nations with long coastlines that peer out over the superocean that engulfs the planet. Since so many areas are now completely landlocked, these nations would be extremely lucrative coastal areas with coveted access to the sea.
Iran would go from a landlocked desert nation to a wet coastal lowland. Spain and Portugal would lose their status as peninsular nations and gain access to a few lakes instead. The entire geopolitical landscape, which is largely dominated by natural resources and access to the sea, would change completely.
Pangea is an interesting concept that would take our world and really condense it. Some nations would become landlocked. Others would get access to a vast new ocean. Massive new lakes would be formed. Rivers would run longer and terminate in different locations. Some previously isolated nations would get dozens of new neighbors.
Looking at Pangea with our modern map superposed overtop of it is very interesting, highly entertaining, and a great thought experiment for admirers of history and politics.