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Europe

Continent on Earth, mainly on the northeastern quadrant, i.e. north-western Eurasia

Top 10 Europe related articles

Europe
Area10,180,000 km2 (3,930,000 sq mi)[1]  (6th)[a]
Population746,419,440 (2018; 3rd)[2][3]
Population density72.9/km2 (188/sq mi) (2nd)
GDP (PPP)$30.37 trillion (2021 est; 2nd)[4]
GDP (nominal)$23.05 trillion (2021 est; 3rd)[5]
GDP per capita$31,020 (2021 est; 3rd)[c][6]
HDI 0.845[7]
Religions
DemonymEuropean
Countries50 sovereign states
6 with limited recognition
Dependencies6 dependencies
LanguagesMost common first languages:
Time zonesUTC−1 to UTC+5
Largest citiesLargest urban areas:
  • a. ^ Figures include only European portions of transcontinental countries.[n]
  • b. ^ Istanbul is a transcontinental city which straddles both Europe and Asia.
  • c. ^ "Europe" as defined by the International Monetary Fund.

Europe is a continent entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the continental landmass of Eurasia,[10] and is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and Asia to the east. Europe is commonly considered to be separated from Asia by the watershed of the Ural Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian Sea, the Greater Caucasus, the Black Sea, and the waterways of the Turkish Straits.[11] Although much of this border is over land, Europe is generally accorded the status of a full continent because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions.

Europe covers about 10,180,000 km2 (3,930,000 sq mi), or 2% of the Earth's surface (6.8% of land area), making it the second smallest continent (using the seven-continent model). Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states, of which Russia is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. Europe had a total population of about 741 million (about 11% of the world population) as of 2018.[2][3] The European climate is largely affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent, even at latitudes along which the climate in Asia and North America is severe. Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast.

European culture is the root of Western civilization, which traces its lineage back to ancient Greece and ancient Rome.[12][13] The fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD and the subsequent Migration Period marked the end of Europe's ancient history and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Renaissance humanism, exploration, art and science led to the modern era. Since the Age of Discovery, started by Portugal and Spain, Europe played a predominant role in global affairs. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers colonised at various times the Americas, almost all of Africa and Oceania, and the majority of Asia.

The Age of Enlightenment, the subsequent French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars shaped the continent culturally, politically and economically from the end of the 17th century until the first half of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, gave rise to radical economic, cultural and social change in Western Europe and eventually the wider world. Both world wars took place for the most part in Europe, contributing to a decline in Western European dominance in world affairs by the mid-20th century as the Soviet Union and the United States took prominence.[14] During the Cold War, Europe was divided along the Iron Curtain between NATO in the West and the Warsaw Pact in the East, until the revolutions of 1989 and fall of the Berlin Wall.

In 1949, the Council of Europe was founded with the idea of unifying Europe to achieve common goals and prevent future wars. Further European integration by some states led to the formation of the European Union (EU), a separate political entity that lies between a confederation and a federation.[15] The EU originated in Western Europe but has been expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The currency of most countries of the European Union, the euro, is the most commonly used among Europeans; and the EU's Schengen Area abolishes border and immigration controls between most of its member states and some non-members states.

Europe Intro articles: 37

Name

Statue representing Europa at Palazzo Ferreria, in Valletta, Malta
First map of the world according to Anaximander (6th century BC)

In classical Greek mythology, Europa (Ancient Greek: Εὐρώπη, Eurṓpē) was a Phoenician princess. One view is that her name derives from the ancient Greek elements εὐρύς (eurús), "wide, broad" and ὤψ (ōps, gen. ὠπός, ōpós) "eye, face, countenance", hence their composite Eurṓpē would mean "wide-gazing" or "broad of aspect".[16][17][18] Broad has been an epithet of Earth herself in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion and the poetry devoted to it.[16] An alternative view is that of R.S.P. Beekes who has argued in favor of a Pre-Indo-European origin for the name, explaining that a derivation from ancient Greek eurus would yield a different toponym than Europa. Beekes has located toponyms related to that of Europa in the territory of ancient Greece and localities like that of Europos in ancient Macedonia.[19]

There have been attempts to connect Eurṓpē to a Semitic term for "west", this being either Akkadian erebu meaning "to go down, set" (said of the sun) or Phoenician 'ereb "evening, west",[20] which is at the origin of Arabic Maghreb and Hebrew ma'arav. Michael A. Barry finds the mention of the word Ereb on an Assyrian stele with the meaning of "night, [the country of] sunset", in opposition to Asu "[the country of] sunrise", i.e. Asia. The same naming motive according to "cartographic convention" appears in Greek Ἀνατολή (Anatolḗ "[sun] rise", "east", hence Anatolia).[21] Martin Litchfield West stated that "phonologically, the match between Europa's name and any form of the Semitic word is very poor",[22] while Beekes considers a connection to Semitic languages improbable.[19] Next to these hypotheses there is also a Proto-Indo-European root *h1regʷos, meaning "darkness", which also produced Greek Erebus.

Most major world languages use words derived from Eurṓpē or Europa to refer to the continent. Chinese, for example, uses the word Ōuzhōu (歐洲/欧洲), which is an abbreviation of the transliterated name Ōuluóbā zhōu (歐羅巴洲) (zhōu means "continent"); a similar Chinese-derived term Ōshū (欧州) is also sometimes used in Japanese such as in the Japanese name of the European Union, Ōshū Rengō (欧州連合), despite the katakana Yōroppa (ヨーロッパ) being more commonly used. In some Turkic languages, the originally Persian name Frangistan ("land of the Franks") is used casually in referring to much of Europe, besides official names such as Avrupa or Evropa.[23]

Europe Name articles: 29

Definition

Contemporary definition

The prevalent definition of Europe as a geographical term has been in use since the mid-19th century. Europe is taken to be bounded by large bodies of water to the north, west and south; Europe's limits to the east and northeast are usually taken to be the Ural Mountains, the Ural River, and the Caspian Sea; to the southeast, the Caucasus Mountains, the Black Sea and the waterways connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.[25]

A medieval T and O map printed by Günther Zainer in 1472, showing the three continents as domains of the sons of Noah — Asia to Sem (Shem), Europe to Iafeth (Japheth), and Africa to Cham (Ham)

Islands are generally grouped with the nearest continental landmass, hence Iceland is considered to be part of Europe, while the nearby island of Greenland is usually assigned to North America, although politically belonging to Denmark. Nevertheless, there are some exceptions based on sociopolitical and cultural differences. Cyprus is closest to Anatolia (or Asia Minor), but is considered part of Europe politically and it is a member state of the EU. Malta was considered an island of Northwest Africa for centuries, but now it is considered to be part of Europe as well.[26] "Europe" as used specifically in British English may also refer to Continental Europe exclusively.[27]

The term "continent" usually implies the physical geography of a large land mass completely or almost completely surrounded by water at its borders. However the Europe-Asia part of the border is somewhat arbitrary and inconsistent with this definition because of its partial adherence to the Ural and Caucasus Mountains rather than a series of partly joined waterways suggested by cartographer Herman Moll in 1715. These water divides extend with a few relatively small interruptions (compared to the aforementioned mountain ranges) from the Turkish straits running into the Mediterranean Sea to the upper part of the Ob River that drains into the Arctic Ocean. Prior to the adoption of the current convention that includes mountain divides, the border between Europe and Asia had been redefined several times since its first conception in classical antiquity, but always as a series of rivers, seas, and straits that were believed to extend an unknown distance east and north from the Mediterranean Sea without the inclusion of any mountain ranges.

The current division of Eurasia into two continents now reflects East-West cultural, linguistic and ethnic differences which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The geographic border between Europe and Asia does not follow any state boundaries and now only follows a few bodies of water. Turkey is generally considered a transcontinental country divided entirely by water, while Russia and Kazakhstan are only partly divided by waterways. France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom are also transcontinental (or more properly, intercontinental, when oceans or large seas are involved) in that their main land areas are in Europe while pockets of their territories are located on other continents separated from Europe by large bodies of water. Spain, for example, has territories south of the Mediterranean Sea namely Ceuta and Melilla which are parts of Africa and share a border with Morocco. According to the current convention, Georgia and Azerbaijan are transcontinental countries where waterways have been completely replaced by mountains as the divide between continents.

History of the concept

Early history

Depiction of Europa regina ('Queen Europe') in 1582.

The first recorded usage of Eurṓpē as a geographic term is in the Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo, in reference to the western shore of the Aegean Sea. As a name for a part of the known world, it is first used in the 6th century BC by Anaximander and Hecataeus. Anaximander placed the boundary between Asia and Europe along the Phasis River (the modern Rioni River on the territory of Georgia) in the Caucasus, a convention still followed by Herodotus in the 5th century BC.[28] Herodotus mentioned that the world had been divided by unknown persons into three parts, Europe, Asia, and Libya (Africa), with the Nile and the Phasis forming their boundaries—though he also states that some considered the River Don, rather than the Phasis, as the boundary between Europe and Asia.[29] Europe's eastern frontier was defined in the 1st century by geographer Strabo at the River Don.[30] The Book of Jubilees described the continents as the lands given by Noah to his three sons; Europe was defined as stretching from the Pillars of Hercules at the Strait of Gibraltar, separating it from Northwest Africa, to the Don, separating it from Asia.[31]

The convention received by the Middle Ages and surviving into modern usage is that of the Roman era used by Roman era authors such as Posidonius,[32] Strabo[33] and Ptolemy,[34] who took the Tanais (the modern Don River) as the boundary.

The term "Europe" is first used for a cultural sphere in the Carolingian Renaissance of the 9th century. From that time, the term designated the sphere of influence of the Western Church, as opposed to both the Eastern Orthodox churches and to the Islamic world.

A cultural definition of Europe as the lands of Latin Christendom coalesced in the 8th century, signifying the new cultural condominium created through the confluence of Germanic traditions and Christian-Latin culture, defined partly in contrast with Byzantium and Islam, and limited to northern Iberia, the British Isles, France, Christianised western Germany, the Alpine regions and northern and central Italy.[35] The concept is one of the lasting legacies of the Carolingian Renaissance: Europa often figures in the letters of Charlemagne's court scholar, Alcuin.[36]

Modern definitions

A New Map of Europe According to the Newest Observations (1721) by Hermann Moll draws the eastern boundary of Europe along the Don River flowing southwest, and the Tobol, Irtysh, and Ob Rivers flowing north
1916 political map of Europe showing most of Moll's waterways replaced by von Strahlenberg's Ural Mountains and Freshfield's Caucasus Crest, land features of a type that normally defines a subcontinent

The question of defining a precise eastern boundary of Europe arises in the Early Modern period, as the eastern extension of Muscovy began to include North Asia. Throughout the Middle Ages and into the 18th century, the traditional division of the landmass of Eurasia into two continents, Europe and Asia, followed Ptolemy, with the boundary following the Turkish Straits, the Black Sea, the Kerch Strait, the Sea of Azov and the Don (ancient Tanais). But maps produced during the 16th to 18th centuries tended to differ in how to continue the boundary beyond the Don bend at Kalach-na-Donu (where it is closest to the Volga, now joined with it by the Volga–Don Canal), into territory not described in any detail by the ancient geographers. Around 1715, Herman Moll produced a map showing the northern part of the Ob River and the Irtysh River, a major tributary of the former, as components of a series of partly-joined waterways taking the boundary between Europe and Asia from the Turkish Straits and the Don River all the way to the Arctic Ocean. In 1721, he produced a more up to date map that was easier to read. However, his idea to use major rivers almost exclusively as the line of demarcation was never taken up by other geographers.

Four years later, in 1725, Philip Johan von Strahlenberg was the first to depart from the classical Don boundary by proposing that mountain ranges could be included as boundaries between continents whenever there were deemed to be no suitable waterways, the Ob and Irtysh Rivers notwithstanding. He drew a new line along the Volga, following the Volga north until the Samara Bend, along Obshchy Syrt (the drainage divide between Volga and Ural) and then north along Ural Mountains.[37] This was endorsed by the Russian Empire, and introduced the convention that would eventually become commonly accepted, but not without criticism by many modern analytical geographers like Halford Mackinder who saw little validity in the Ural Mountains as a boundary between continents.[38]

The mapmakers continued to differ on the boundary between the lower Don and Samara well into the 19th century. The 1745 atlas published by the Russian Academy of Sciences has the boundary follow the Don beyond Kalach as far as Serafimovich before cutting north towards Arkhangelsk, while other 18th- to 19th-century mapmakers such as John Cary followed Strahlenberg's prescription. To the south, the Kuma–Manych Depression was identified circa 1773 by a German naturalist, Peter Simon Pallas, as a valley that once connected the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea,[39][40] and subsequently was proposed as a natural boundary between continents.

By the mid-19th century, there were three main conventions, one following the Don, the Volga–Don Canal and the Volga, the other following the Kuma–Manych Depression to the Caspian and then the Ural River, and the third abandoning the Don altogether, following the Greater Caucasus watershed to the Caspian. The question was still treated as a "controversy" in geographical literature of the 1860s, with Douglas Freshfield advocating the Caucasus crest boundary as the "best possible", citing support from various "modern geographers".[41]

In Russia and the Soviet Union, the boundary along the Kuma–Manych Depression was the most commonly used as early as 1906.[42] In 1958, the Soviet Geographical Society formally recommended that the boundary between the Europe and Asia be drawn in textbooks from Baydaratskaya Bay, on the Kara Sea, along the eastern foot of Ural Mountains, then following the Ural River until the Mugodzhar Hills, and then the Emba River; and Kuma–Manych Depression,[43] thus placing the Caucasus entirely in Asia and the Urals entirely in Europe.[44] However, most geographers in the Soviet Union favoured the boundary along the Caucasus crest[45] and this became the common convention in the later 20th century, although the Kuma–Manych boundary remained in use in some 20th-century maps.

Some view separation of Eurasia into Asia and Europe as a residue of Eurocentrism: "In physical, cultural and historical diversity, China and India are comparable to the entire European landmass, not to a single European country. [...]."[46]

Europe Definition articles: 147