What Nations Surround the Atlantic?

The Atlantic Ocean covers an area larger than 41 million square miles, making it the second-largest ocean after the Pacific. It is an ocean with rocky shores, stunning tropical islands, and the largest drainage area in the entire planet.

According to Greek philosopher Plato’s dialogues “Timaeus” and “Critias,” the Atlantic Ocean connects four distinct continents as well as the fabled Atlantis. However, for the purposes of this article, we will only discuss the continents and coastlines that actually exist. Continue reading to discover the limits of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Atlantic Ocean’s definition

After the Pangea supercontinent split into the continents Laurasia and Gondwanaland 150 million years ago, the Atlantic Ocean was formed. In addition to Greenland, the fracture of the Laurasia continent caused a separation between the current North American continent and the continents of Europe and Asia.

As a result, the Gondwanaland supercontinent split into the continents we now know as Antarctica, Australia, Africa, and South America. The separation of the North American continent from the Eurasian plate is where the Atlantic Ocean got its start.

The Atlantic Ocean currently forms the border between the continents of North and South America, Africa, and Europe. Central America also has nations that border the ocean, despite not being a continent.

One-fifth of the Earth’s surface is currently covered by the Atlantic Ocean, which separates the western hemispheres of the North and South American continents from the European and African continents. In addition, it is thought to be the newest of the five oceans.

The Name of the Atlantic Ocean’s Origin

Greek mythology gave the Atlantic Ocean its name in homage to the Atlas god. It refers to the “Sea of Atlas,” where it is stated that Atlas carried out his tasks. In Greek mythology, Atlas, a Titan who had fought the Olympic Gods, was given the responsibility of holding up the sky. The Atlas Mountains and sea features off the Strait of Gibraltar are called in Atlas’s honour as a tribute to him.

The Histories of Herodotus, written in 450 BC in Greece, are said to be when the name Atlantic was first used.

The southern Atlantic Ocean was formerly referred to as the Ethiopian Ocean until the late 19th century. Aethiopian, sea, and ocean were other names for the southern Atlantic Ocean at the period. The South Atlantic Ocean was referred to as the Ethiopian Ocean, which was also used to refer to the Ethiopian Sea.

Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations in the world, despite not being on the African coast. Europeans frequently used the name “Aethiopia” to refer to numerous regions of Africa.

Beginning and Ending Points of the Atlantic Ocean

The Atlantic Ocean is located between Europe and Africa on its eastern side and North and South America on its western front. The Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean are connected by the Denmark Strait, the Barents Sea, and the Norwegian Sea. Additionally, the Gulf of Mexico was historically regarded as a part of the Atlantic Ocean until the 1540s.

Coast of the Atlantic

One of the nations with an Atlantic Ocean border is the United States, which has 14 states along the coast.








Hampshire, New

Jersey, New

A new York

N. Carolina

Providence, RI

Carolina, South


Florida, North Carolina, and Maine have the longest coastlines among the 14 American States that make up the Atlantic Coast, often known as the East Coast or the Eastern Seaboard. The Atlantic Coast is also home to Canada’s Eastern Seaboard. One of the nations bordering the Atlantic Ocean is Greenland, a neighbouring nation.

nations having coastlines along the Atlantic

There are currently 51 countries in the Atlantic Ocean, despite scientific predictions that the ocean may disappear in roughly 220 million years.

The Atlantic Coast of Africa

There are 22 nations that border the Atlantic Ocean on the African continent overall.





Equitable Guinea



Equatorial Guinea

Coast of Ivory







Liberia Sierra

S. Africa

Congo, Democratic Republic of

Senegal, The



Occidental Sahara

Tropical storms and hurricanes also originate off the west coast of Africa and move into the African Atlantic.

Atlantic Coast of South America

There are eight nations in South America that border the Atlantic Ocean.









The Atlantic Ocean borders the South American islands, the Falklands, French Guiana, South Georgia, and South Sandwich islands.

The Atlantic Coast of Europe

Europe’s Atlantic Ocean neighbours include the United Kingdom, Iceland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Portugal, Spain, western France, western Scandinavia, and a portion of northern Germany are some of the other Atlantic Ocean nations in Europe.

Spain’s Canary Islands and Portugal’s Azores are also located on the Atlantic Ocean.

Mexico and Central America

The Yucatán Peninsula serves as a junction between America and the Atlantic Ocean. The Gulf of Mexico joins the Atlantic Ocean by the Straits of Florida.

Central America has Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama have coastlines on the Atlantic. Mexico borders the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The Caribbean

Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Aruba, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba are among 29 island territories and countries on the Atlantic Ocean.

Atlantic Ocean’s Main Seas

As the Atlantic Ocean continues getting wider, the configuration of its current ten seas may change in the future. But for now, the Atlantic Ocean contains the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Norwegian, Greenland, Scotia, North, Baltic and Irish seas. In addition, the English Channel and Hudson Bay are also considered Atlantic Ocean seas.

Atlantic Coastlines of Interest

Africa, South America, and European continents feature countries and island territories that are not only unique in terms of beauty and travel destinations but also geographically.

Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route

The Causeway Coastal Route spans roughly 120 miles from Belfast to Derry-Londonderry. It is a major tourist destination. The Gobbins cliff is along the Irish Sea and features a walking path carved into its rugged cliff for cave exploration.

Namibia’s Skeleton Coast

In the Caribbean, tourists book flights to scout Namibia’s 1,570-kilometer coastline. The wreckage of reportedly 500 ships littered along the coast and dunes is among the wildlife like lions, elephants and seals.

Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard

Along Cape Town’s jagged Atlantic Shoreline are touristic beaches like Queens Beach and Bakoven Beach. Cape Town’s Lion Head Mountain rises 2,195 ft above sea level. Lion Head also has the rare distinction of having three different rock layers.

The 12 Apostles is a mountain that is part of the Table Mountain ranges. This mountain range straddles the Atlantic coast and is full of ravines, ridges and gorges. Some of the 12 Apostles’ mountain cracks are five meters deep.

Spain’s Cathedral Beach

Also referred to in Portuguese as Catedrais, Cathedral Beach is in the Spanish province of Galicia. The natural chambers within the mountain’s edge along the Atlantic coast were formed when the Cantabrian Sea carved and carried away the softer parts of the rock. Many naturally carved-out caves and mountain arches are up to 30 meters high.

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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