"I want to know when exactly did men begin to sit down and think in terms of that continent over there- that's Asia. This one, the Americas. That over there is Africa and so on." Then: "well wouldn't it have been the first time someone successfully established some sort of trade route that reached more that a 100 miles or so? something like that?" I keep using 2,000 years as a kind of a benchmark familiar to all. From the rough context of the thread, we're talking about europe mostly, and I dont think we really thought about continents etc until the last 6 or 700 years, whereas there were trade routes over 100 miles long long, before that, ie well over 2,000 years ago.