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Europe
Europe
is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere
Northern Hemisphere
and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic
Arctic
Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. Since around 1850, Europe
Europe
is most commonly considered as separated from Asia
Asia
by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus
Caucasus
Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways of the Turkish Straits.[5] Though the term "continent" implies physical geography, the land border is somewhat arbitrary and has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity. The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural, linguistic, and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The border does not follow political boundaries, with Turkey
Turkey
and Russia
Russia
being transcontinental countries. Europe
Europe
covers about 10,180,000 square kilometres (3,930,000 sq mi), or 2% of the Earth's surface (6.8% of land area). Politically, Europe
Europe
is divided into about fifty sovereign states of which the Russian Federation
Russian Federation
is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. Europe
Europe
had a total population of about 741 million (about 11% of world population) as of 2016[update].[1] 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
Asia
and North America
North America
is severe. Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast. Europe, in particular ancient Greece, was the birthplace of Western civilization.[6][7][8] The fall of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
during the Migration Period
Migration Period
marked the end of ancient history and the beginning of an era known as the Middle Ages. Renaissance
Renaissance
Humanism, exploration, art, and science led to the modern era. From the Age of Discovery onwards, Europe
Europe
played a predominant role in global affairs. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers controlled at various times the Americas, most of Africa, Oceania, and the majority of Asia. The Age of Enlightenment, the subsequent French revolution
French revolution
and the Napoleonic wars
Napoleonic wars
shaped the continent culturally, politically, and economically from the end of the 17th century till 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
Soviet Union
and the United States took prominence.[9] During the Cold War, Europe
Europe
was divided along the Iron Curtain
Iron Curtain
between NATO
NATO
in the west and the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
in the east, until the revolutions of 1989 and fall of the Berlin
Berlin
Wall. In 1955, the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
was formed in Strasbourg
Strasbourg
following a speech by Sir Winston Churchill, with the idea of unifying Europe
Europe
to achieve common goals. It includes all states except for Belarus, Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
and Vatican City. Further European integration
European integration
by some states led to the formation of the European Union, a separate political entity that lies between a confederation and a federation.[10] The EU originated in Western Europe
Western Europe
but has been expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union
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 among most of its member states. The European Anthem
European Anthem
is "Ode to Joy" and states celebrate peace and unity on Europe
Europe
Day.

Contents

1 Name 2 Definition

2.1 Contemporary definition 2.2 History of the concept

2.2.1 Early history 2.2.2 Modern definitions

3 History

3.1 Prehistory 3.2 Classical antiquity 3.3 Early Middle Ages 3.4 High and Late Middle Ages 3.5 Early modern period 3.6 18th and 19th centuries 3.7 20th century to the present

4 Geography

4.1 Climate 4.2 Geology 4.3 Flora 4.4 Fauna

5 Politics 6 List of states and territories 7 Economy

7.1 Economic history

8 Demographics

8.1 Ethnic groups 8.2 Migration 8.3 Languages

9 Culture

9.1 Religion

10 See also 11 Notes 12 References 13 Sources 14 External links

Name

Further information: Europa (mythology)

Statue representing Europa at Palazzo Ferreria, in Valletta, Malta

Reconstruction of Herodotus' world map (450 BC)

In classical Greek mythology, Europa (Ancient Greek: Εὐρώπη, Eurṓpē) is the name of either a Phoenician princess or of a queen of Crete. The name contains the elements εὐρύς (eurús), "wide, broad"[11] and ὤψ (ōps, gen. ὠπός, ōpós) "eye, face, countenance",[12] hence their composite Eurṓpē would mean "wide-gazing" or "broad of aspect". Broad has been an epithet of Earth herself in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion
Proto-Indo-European religion
and the poetry devoted to it.[13] For the second part compare also the divine attributes of "grey-eyed" Athena (γλαυκῶπις, glaukōpis) or ox-eyed Hera
Hera
(βοῶπις, boōpis). 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",[14] which is at the origin of Arabic Maghreb
Maghreb
and Hebrew ma'arav. Michael A. Barry, professor in Princeton University's Near Eastern Studies Department, 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).[15] Martin Litchfield West
Martin Litchfield West
stated that "phonologically, the match between Europa's name and any form of the Semitic word is very poor."[16] 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); 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
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.[17] Definition Further information: List of transcontinental countries
List of transcontinental countries
and Boundaries between the continents of Earth Contemporary definition

Clickable map of Europe, showing one of the most commonly used continental boundaries[18] Key: blue: states which straddle the border between Europe
Europe
and Asia; green: countries not geographically in Europe, but closely associated with the continent

Alb. Andorra Austria Azer. Belarus Belg. Bosnia Bulgaria Channel Is.(UK) Croatia Cz. Rep. Denmark Estonia Finland France Gib. (UK) Germany Georgia Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy IoM (UK) S. Mar. Kazakhstan Kos. Latvia Liech. Lithuania Lux. Mac. Malta Moldova Mon. Mont. Nether. Norway Svalbard
Svalbard
(Nor) Poland Portugal Romania Russia Serbia Slovakia Slo. Spain Sweden Switz- erland Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom Far. (Dk) Vat. Armenia Cyprus Greenland
Greenland
(Dk) Adr- iatic Sea Arctic
Arctic
Ocean Baltic Sea Aegean Sea Barents Sea Bay of Biscay Black Sea Caspian Sea Celtic Sea Greenland
Greenland
Sea Baffin Bay Gulf of Cádiz Ligurian Sea Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Sea North Atlantic Ocean North Sea Norwegian Sea Strait of Gibraltar

The prevalent definition of Europe
Europe
as a geographical term has been in use since the mid-19th century. Europe
Europe
is taken to be bounded by large bodies of water to the north, west and south; Europe's limits to the far east are usually taken to be the Urals, the Ural River, and the Caspian Sea; to the southeast, including the Caucasus
Caucasus
Mountains, the Black Sea
Black Sea
and the waterways connecting the Black Sea
Black Sea
to the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Sea.[19] Islands are generally grouped with the nearest continental landmass, hence Iceland
Iceland
is generally considered to be part of Europe, while the nearby island of Greenland
Greenland
is usually assigned to North America. Nevertheless, there are some exceptions based on sociopolitical and cultural differences. Cyprus
Cyprus
is closest to Anatolia
Anatolia
(or Asia
Asia
Minor), but is usually considered part of Europe
Europe
both culturally and politically and is a member state of the EU. Malta
Malta
was considered an island of North Africa
Africa
for centuries.[20] "Europe" as used specifically in British English
British English
may also refer to Continental Europe
Continental Europe
exclusively.[21] History of the concept Early history

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

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
Anaximander
and Hecataeus. Anaximander placed the boundary between Asia
Asia
and Europe
Europe
along the Phasis River (the modern Rioni River) in the Caucasus, a convention still followed by Herodotus
Herodotus
in the 5th century BC.[22] Herodotus
Herodotus
mentioned that the world had been divided by unknown persons into three parts, Europe, Asia, and Libya (Africa), with the Nile
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
Europe
and Asia.[23] Europe's eastern frontier was defined in the 1st century by geographer Strabo
Strabo
at the River Don.[24] The Book
Book
of Jubilees
Jubilees
described the continents as the lands given by Noah
Noah
to his three sons; Europe
Europe
was defined as stretching from the Pillars of Hercules
Pillars of Hercules
at the Strait of Gibraltar, separating it from North Africa, to the Don, separating it from Asia.[25] The convention received by the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
and surviving into modern usage is that of the Roman era
Roman era
used by Roman era
Roman era
authors such as Posidonius,[26] Strabo[27] and Ptolemy,[28] who took the Tanais
Tanais
(the modern Don River) as the boundary. The term "Europe" is first used for a cultural sphere in the Carolingian Renaissance
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
Eastern Orthodox
churches and to the Islamic world. A cultural definition of Europe
Europe
as the lands of Latin
Latin
Christendom coalesced in the 8th century, signifying the new cultural condominium created through the confluence of Germanic traditions and Christian- Latin
Latin
culture, defined partly in contrast with Byzantium
Byzantium
and Islam, and limited to northern Iberia, the British Isles, France, Christianised western Germany, the Alpine regions and northern and central Italy.[29] The concept is one of the lasting legacies of the Carolingian
Carolingian
Renaissance: Europa often[dubious – discuss] figures in the letters of Charlemagne's court scholar, Alcuin.[30] Modern definitions Further information: Regions of Europe
Regions of Europe
and Core Europe

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

The question of defining a precise eastern boundary of Europe
Europe
arises in the Early Modern period, as the eastern extension of Muscovy
Muscovy
began to include Northern Asia. Throughout the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
and into the 18th century, the traditional division of the landmass of Eurasia
Eurasia
into two continents, Europe
Europe
and Asia, followed Ptolemy, with the boundary following the Turkish Straits, the Black Sea, the Kerch Strait, the Sea of Azov
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
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. Philip Johan von Strahlenberg in 1725 was the first to depart from the classical Don boundary by drawing the 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.[31] This was adopted by the Russian Empire, and introduced the convention that would eventually become adopted as standard, but not without criticism by many modern analytical geographers.[32] 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
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
Kuma–Manych Depression
was identified circa 1773 by a German naturalist, Peter Simon Pallas, as a valley that, once upon a time, connected the Black Sea
Black Sea
and the Caspian Sea,[33][34] 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
Volga–Don Canal
and the Volga, the other following the Kuma–Manych Depression
Kuma–Manych Depression
to the Caspian and then the Ural River, and the third abandoning the Don altogether, following the Greater Caucasus watershed
Greater Caucasus watershed
to the Caspian. The question was still treated as a "controversy" in geographical literature of the 1860s, with Douglas Freshfield
Douglas Freshfield
advocating the Caucasus
Caucasus
crest boundary as the "best possible", citing support from various "modern geographers".[35] In Russia
Russia
and the Soviet Union, the boundary along the Kuma–Manych Depression was the most commonly used as early as 1906.[36] In 1958, the Soviet Geographical Society formally recommended that the boundary between the Europe
Europe
and Asia
Asia
be drawn in textbooks from Baydaratskaya Bay, on the Kara Sea, along the eastern foot of Ural Mountains, then following the Ural River
Ural River
until the Mugodzhar Hills, and then the Emba River; and Kuma–Manych Depression,[37] thus placing the Caucasus entirely in Asia
Asia
and the Urals entirely in Europe.[38] However, most geographers in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
favoured the boundary along the Caucasus
Caucasus
crest[39] and this became the standard convention in the later 20th century, although the Kuma–Manych boundary remained in use in some 20th-century maps. History Main article: History of Europe Prehistory Main article: Prehistoric Europe

Paleolithic cave paintings from Lascaux
Lascaux
in France
France
(c 15,000 BC)

Homo erectus georgicus, which lived roughly 1.8 million years ago in Georgia, is the earliest hominid to have been discovered in Europe.[40] Other hominid remains, dating back roughly 1 million years, have been discovered in Atapuerca, Spain.[41] Neanderthal man (named after the Neandertal
Neandertal
valley in Germany) appeared in Europe 150,000 years ago and disappeared from the fossil record about 28,000 BC, with their final refuge being present-day Portugal. The Neanderthals were supplanted by modern humans (Cro-Magnons), who appeared in Europe
Europe
around 43 to 40 thousand years ago.[42]

Stonehenge
Stonehenge
in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(Late Neolithic
Neolithic
from 3000–2000 BC).

Neolithic
Neolithic
terracotta figurine from Vinča in Serbia
Serbia
(4500–4000 BC)

The Nebra sky disk
Nebra sky disk
from the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
(1600 BC), Germany

The European Neolithic
European Neolithic
period—marked by the cultivation of crops and the raising of livestock, increased numbers of settlements and the widespread use of pottery—began around 7000 BC in Greece
Greece
and the Balkans, probably influenced by earlier farming practices in Anatolia and the Near East.[43] It spread from the Balkans
Balkans
along the valleys of the Danube
Danube
and the Rhine
Rhine
(Linear Pottery culture) and along the Mediterranean coast
Mediterranean coast
(Cardial culture). Between 4500 and 3000 BC, these central European neolithic cultures developed further to the west and the north, transmitting newly acquired skills in producing copper artefacts. In Western Europe
Western Europe
the Neolithic
Neolithic
period was characterised not by large agricultural settlements but by field monuments, such as causewayed enclosures, burial mounds and megalithic tombs.[44] The Corded Ware
Corded Ware
cultural horizon flourished at the transition from the Neolithic
Neolithic
to the Chalcolithic. During this period giant megalithic monuments, such as the Megalithic
Megalithic
Temples of Malta
Malta
and Stonehenge, were constructed throughout Western and Southern Europe.[45][46] The European Bronze Age
Bronze Age
began c. 3200 BC in Greece
Greece
with the Minoan civilization on Crete, the first advanced civilization in Europe.[47] The Minoans were followed by the Myceneans, who collapsed suddenly around 1200 BC, ushering the European Iron Age.[48] Iron Age colonisation by the Greeks
Greeks
and Phoenicians
Phoenicians
gave rise to early Mediterranean
Mediterranean
cities. Early Iron Age Italy
Italy
and Greece
Greece
from around the 8th century BC gradually gave rise to historical Classical antiquity, whose beginning is sometimes dated to 776 BC, the year the first Olympic Games.[49] Classical antiquity Main article: Classical antiquity See also: Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
and Ancient Rome

The Parthenon
Parthenon
in Athens
Athens
(432 BC)

Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
was the founding culture of Western civilisation. Western democratic and rationalist culture are often attributed to Ancient Greece.[50] The Greeks
Greeks
city-state, the polis, was the fundamental political unit of classical Greece.[50] In 508 BC, Cleisthenes
Cleisthenes
instituted the world's first democratic system of government in Athens.[51] The Greek political ideals were rediscovered in the late 18th century by European philosophers and idealists. Greece
Greece
also generated many cultural contributions: in philosophy, humanism and rationalism under Aristotle, Socrates
Socrates
and Plato; in history with Herodotus
Herodotus
and Thucydides; in dramatic and narrative verse, starting with the epic poems of Homer;[52] in drama with Sophocles
Sophocles
and Euripides, in medicine with Hippocrates
Hippocrates
and Galen; and in science with Pythagoras, Euclid
Euclid
and Archimedes.[53][54][55] In the course of the 5th century BC, several of the Greek city states would ultimately check the Achaemenid Persian advance in Europe
Europe
through the Greco-Persian Wars, considered a pivotal moment in world history,[56] as the 50 years of peace that followed are known as Golden Age of Athens, the seminal period of ancient Greece
Greece
that laid many of the foundations of Western civilization.

The Roman Empire
Roman Empire
at its greatest extent in 117 AD.

Augustus
Augustus
wearing the Civic Crown

Greece
Greece
was followed by Rome, which left its mark on law, politics, language, engineering, architecture, government and many more key aspects in western civilisation.[50] Expanding from their base in Italy
Italy
beginning in the 3rd century BC, the Romans gradually expanded to eventually rule the entire Mediterranean basin
Mediterranean basin
and western Europe by the turn of the millennium. The Roman Republic
Roman Republic
ended in 27 BC, when Augustus
Augustus
proclaimed the Roman Empire. The two centuries that followed are known as the pax romana, a period of unprecedented peace, prosperity, and political stability in most of Europe.[57] The empire continued to expand under emperors such as Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius, who spent time on the Empire's northern border fighting Germanic, Pictish and Scottish tribes.[58][59] The Empire began to decline in the 3rd century, particularly in the west. Christianity
Christianity
was legalised by Constantine I
Constantine I
in 313 AD after three centuries of imperial persecution. Constantine also permanently moved the capital of the empire from Rome
Rome
to the city of Byzantium, which was renamed Constantinople
Constantinople
in his honour (modern-day Istanbul) in 330 AD. Christianity
Christianity
became the sole official religion of the empire in 380 AD, and in 391-392 AD, the emperor Theodosius outlawed pagan religions.[60] This is sometimes considered to mark the end of antiquity; alternatively antiquity is considered to end with the fall of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
in 476 AD; the closure of the pagan Platonic Academy
Platonic Academy
of Athens
Athens
in 529 AD;[61] or the rise of Islam
Islam
in the early 7th century AD. Early Middle Ages Main articles: Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
and Early Middle Ages See also: Dark Ages (historiography)
Dark Ages (historiography)
and Age of Migrations

Europe
Europe
c. 650

Charlemagne's empire in 814:      Francia,      Tributaries

During the decline of the Roman Empire, Europe
Europe
entered a long period of change arising from what historians call the "Age of Migrations". There were numerous invasions and migrations amongst the Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Goths, Vandals, Huns, Franks, Angles, Saxons, Slavs, Avars, Bulgars
Bulgars
and, later on, the Vikings, Pechenegs, Cumans
Cumans
and Magyars.[57] Renaissance
Renaissance
thinkers such as Petrarch
Petrarch
would later refer to this as the "Dark Ages".[62] Isolated monastic communities were the only places to safeguard and compile written knowledge accumulated previously; apart from this very few written records survive and much literature, philosophy, mathematics, and other thinking from the classical period disappeared from Western Europe
Western Europe
though they were preserved in the east, in the Byzantine Empire.[63] While the Roman empire in the west continued to decline, Roman traditions and the Roman state remained strong in the predominantly Greek-speaking Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire. During most of its existence, the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Emperor Justinian I
Justinian I
presided over Constantinople's first golden age: he established a legal code that forms the basis of many modern legal systems, funded the construction of the Hagia Sophia, and brought the Christian
Christian
church under state control.[64]

Roland
Roland
pledges fealty to Charlemagne, Holy Roman Emperor

Delegations of Croats
Croats
and Serbs
Serbs
at Byzantine court of Basil I

From the 7th century onwards, as the Byzantines and neighbouring Sasanid Persians were severely weakened due the protracted, centuries-lasting and frequent Byzantine–Sasanian wars, the Muslim Arabs began to make inroads into historically Roman territory, taking the Levant
Levant
and North Africa
Africa
and making inroads into Asia
Asia
Minor. In the mid 7th century AD, following the Muslim
Muslim
conquest of Persia, Islam penetrated into the Caucasus
Caucasus
region.[65] Over the next centuries Muslim
Muslim
forces took Cyprus, Malta, Crete, Sicily and parts of southern Italy.[66] Between 711 and 720, most of the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
was brought under Muslim
Muslim
rule — save for small areas in the northwest (Asturias) and largely Basque regions in the Pyrenees. This territory, under the Arabic name Al-Andalus, became part of the expanding Umayyad
Umayyad
Caliphate. The unsuccessful second siege of Constantinople
Constantinople
(717) weakened the Umayyad
Umayyad
dynasty and reduced their prestige. The Umayyads were then defeated by the Frankish leader Charles Martel
Charles Martel
at the Battle of Poitiers in 732, which ended their northward advance. During the Dark Ages, the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
fell under the control of various tribes. The Germanic and Slav tribes established their domains over Western and Eastern Europe
Europe
respectively.[67] Eventually the Frankish tribes were united under Clovis I.[68] Charlemagne, a Frankish king of the Carolingian
Carolingian
dynasty who had conquered most of Western Europe, was anointed "Holy Roman Emperor" by the Pope
Pope
in 800. This led in 962 to the founding of the Holy Roman Empire, which eventually became centred in the German principalities of central Europe.[69] East Central Europe
East Central Europe
saw the creation of the first Slavic states and the adoption of Christianity
Christianity
(circa 1000 AD). The powerful West Slavic state of Great Moravia
Great Moravia
spread its territory all the way south to the Balkans, reaching its largest territorial extent under Svatopluk I and causing a series of armed conflicts with East Francia. Further south, the first South Slavic states emerged in the late 7th and 8th century and adopted Christianity: the First Bulgarian Empire, the Serbian Principality (later Kingdom and Empire), and the Duchy of Croatia (later Kingdom of Croatia). To the East, the Kievan Rus
Kievan Rus
expanded from its capital in Kiev
Kiev
to become the largest state in Europe
Europe
by the 10th century. In 988, Vladimir the Great
Vladimir the Great
adopted Orthodox Christianity
Christianity
as the religion of state.[70][71] Further East, Volga Bulgaria
Bulgaria
became an Islamic state in the 10th century, but was eventually absorbed into Russia
Russia
several centuries later.[72] High and Late Middle Ages Main articles: High Middle Ages, Late Middle Ages, and Middle Ages See also: Medieval demography The period between the year 1000 and 1300 is known as the High Middle Ages, during which the population of Europe
Europe
experienced significant growth, culminating in the Renaissance
Renaissance
of the 12th century. Economic growth, together with the lack of safety on the mainland trading routes, made possible the development of major commercial routes along the coast of the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
and Baltic Seas. The growing wealth and independence acquired by some coastal cities gave the Maritime Republics a leading role in the European scene.

Tancred of Sicily
Tancred of Sicily
and Philip II of France, during the Third Crusade (1189–1192)

The Middle Ages
Middle Ages
on the mainland were dominated by the two upper echelons of the social structure: the nobility and the clergy. Feudalism
Feudalism
developed in France
France
in the Early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
and soon spread throughout Europe.[73] A struggle for influence between the nobility and the monarchy in England
England
led to the writing of the Magna Carta
Magna Carta
and the establishment of a parliament.[74] The primary source of culture in this period came from the Roman Catholic
Catholic
Church. Through monasteries and cathedral schools, the Church was responsible for education in much of Europe.[73] The Papacy
Papacy
reached the height of its power during the High Middle Ages. An East-West Schism
East-West Schism
in 1054 split the former Roman Empire religiously, with the Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox
Church in the Byzantine Empire and the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
in the former Western Roman Empire. In 1095 Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II
called for a crusade against Muslims
Muslims
occupying Jerusalem
Jerusalem
and the Holy Land.[75] In Europe
Europe
itself, the Church organised the Inquisition
Inquisition
against heretics. In Spain, the Reconquista concluded with the fall of Granada
Granada
in 1492, ending over seven centuries of Islamic rule in the Iberian Peninsula.[76] In the east a resurgent Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
recaptured Crete
Crete
and Cyprus from the Muslims
Muslims
and reconquered the Balkans. Constantinople
Constantinople
was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe
Europe
from the 9th to the 12th centuries, with a population of approximately 400,000.[77] The Empire was weakened following the defeat at Manzikert and was weakened considerably by the sack of Constantinople
Constantinople
in 1204, during the Fourth Crusade.[78][79][80][81][82][83][84][85][86] Although it would recover Constantinople
Constantinople
in 1261, Byzantium
Byzantium
fell in 1453 when Constantinople
Constantinople
was taken by the Ottoman Empire.[87][88][89]

The sacking of Suzdal
Suzdal
by Batu Khan
Batu Khan
in 1238, during the Mongol invasion of Europe.

In the 11th and 12th centuries, constant incursions by nomadic Turkic tribes, such as the Pechenegs
Pechenegs
and the Cuman-Kipchaks, caused a massive migration of Slavic populations to the safer, heavily forested regions of the north and temporarily halted the expansion of the Rus' state to the south and east.[90] Like many other parts of Eurasia, these territories were overrun by the Mongols.[91] The invaders, who became known as Tatars, were mostly Turkic-speaking peoples under Mongol suzerainty. They established the state of the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
with headquarters in Crimea, which later adopted Islam
Islam
as a religion and ruled over modern-day southern and central Russia
Russia
for more than three centuries.[92][93] After the collapse of Mongol dominions, the first Romanian states (principalities) emerged in the 14th century: Moldova and Walachia. Previously, these territories were under the successive control of Pechenegs
Pechenegs
and Cumans.[94] From the 12th to the 15th centuries, the Grand Duchy of Moscow
Moscow
grew from a small principality under Mongol rule to the largest state in Europe, overthrowing the Mongols in 1480 and eventually becoming the Tsardom of Russia. The state was consolidated under Ivan III the Great
Ivan III the Great
and Ivan the Terrible, steadily expanding to the east and south over the next centuries. The Great Famine of 1315–1317
Great Famine of 1315–1317
was the first crisis that would strike Europe
Europe
in the late Middle Ages.[95] The period between 1348 and 1420 witnessed the heaviest loss. The population of France
France
was reduced by half.[96][97] Medieval Britain was afflicted by 95 famines,[98] and France
France
suffered the effects of 75 or more in the same period.[99] Europe
Europe
was devastated in the mid-14th century by the Black Death, one of the most deadly pandemics in human history which killed an estimated 25 million people in Europe
Europe
alone—a third of the European population at the time.[100] The plague had a devastating effect on Europe's social structure; it induced people to live for the moment as illustrated by Giovanni Boccaccio in The Decameron
The Decameron
(1353). It was a serious blow to the Roman Catholic
Catholic
Church and led to increased persecution of Jews, foreigners, beggars and lepers.[101] The plague is thought to have returned every generation with varying virulence and mortalities until the 18th century.[102] During this period, more than 100 plague epidemics swept across Europe.[103] Early modern period Main article: Early modern period See also: Renaissance, Protestant
Protestant
Reformation, Scientific Revolution, and Age of Discovery

The School of Athens
Athens
by Raphael
Raphael
(1511): Contemporaries such as Michelangelo
Michelangelo
and Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
(centre) are portrayed as classical scholars.

The Renaissance
Renaissance
was a period of cultural change originating in Florence
Florence
and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The rise of a new humanism was accompanied by the recovery of forgotten classical Greek and Arabic knowledge from monastic libraries, often translated from Arabic into Latin.[104][105][106] The Renaissance
Renaissance
spread across Europe between the 14th and 16th centuries: it saw the flowering of art, philosophy, music, and the sciences, under the joint patronage of royalty, the nobility, the Roman Catholic
Catholic
Church, and an emerging merchant class.[107][108][109] Patrons in Italy, including the Medici family of Florentine bankers and the Popes in Rome, funded prolific quattrocento and cinquecento artists such as Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci.[110][111] Political intrigue within the Church in the mid-14th century caused the Western Schism. During this forty-year period, two popes—one in Avignon
Avignon
and one in Rome—claimed rulership over the Church. Although the schism was eventually healed in 1417, the papacy's spiritual authority had suffered greatly.[112]

Martin Luther
Martin Luther
(1483–1546) initiated the Protestant
Protestant
Reformation.

The Church's power was further weakened by the Protestant
Protestant
Reformation (1517–1648), initially sparked by the works of German theologian Martin Luther, an attempt to start a reform within the Church. The Reformation also damaged the Holy Roman Emperor's influence, as German princes became divided between Protestant
Protestant
and Roman Catholic faiths.[113] This eventually led to the Thirty Years War (1618–1648), which crippled the Holy Roman Empire
Roman Empire
and devastated much of Germany, killing between 25 and 40 percent of its population.[114] In the aftermath of the Peace of Westphalia, France rose to predominance within Europe.[115] The 17th century in southern, central and eastern Europe
Europe
was a period of general decline.[116] Central and Eastern Europe
Central and Eastern Europe
experienced more than 150 famines in a 200-year period between 1501 and 1700.[117] From the Union of Krewo
Union of Krewo
(1385) central and eastern Europe
Europe
was dominated by Kingdom of Poland
Poland
and Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Between 1648 and 1655 in the central and eastern Europe
Europe
ended hegemony of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. From the 15th to 18th centuries, when the disintegrating khanates of the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
were conquered by Russia, Tatars
Tatars
from the Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate
frequently raided Eastern Slavic lands to capture slaves.[118] Further east, the Nogai Horde
Nogai Horde
and Kazakh Khanate
Kazakh Khanate
frequently raided the Slavic-speaking areas of Russia, Ukraine
Ukraine
and Poland
Poland
for hundreds of years, until the Russian expansion and conquest of most of northern Eurasia
Eurasia
(i.e. Eastern Europe, Central Asia
Asia
and Siberia). Meanwhile, in the south, the Ottomans had conquered the Balkans
Balkans
by the 15th century, laying siege to Vienna
Vienna
in 1529. In the Battle of Lepanto
Battle of Lepanto
in 1571, the Holy League checked Ottoman power in the Mediterranean. The Ottomans again laid siege to Vienna
Vienna
in 1683, but the Battle of Vienna
Battle of Vienna
permanently ended their advance into Europe, and marked the political hegemony of the Habsburg dynasty
Habsburg dynasty
in central Europe. The Renaissance
Renaissance
and the New Monarchs marked the start of an Age of Discovery, a period of exploration, invention, and scientific development.[119] Among the great figures of the Western scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries were Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Isaac Newton.[120] According to Peter Barrett, "It is widely accepted that 'modern science' arose in the Europe
Europe
of the 17th century (towards the end of the Renaissance), introducing a new understanding of the natural world."[104] In the 15th century, Europe
Europe
started to extend itself beyond its geographic frontiers. Portugal
Portugal
and Spain, two of the greatest naval powers of the time, took the lead in exploring the world.[121][122] Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
reached the New World
New World
in 1492 and Vasco da Gama opened the ocean route to the East in 1498, and soon after the Spanish and Portuguese began establishing colonial empires in the Americas
Americas
and Asia.[123] France, the Netherlands
Netherlands
and England
England
soon followed in building large colonial empires with vast holdings in Africa, the Americas, and Asia. 18th and 19th centuries Main article: Modern history See also: Industrial Revolution, French Revolution, and Age of Enlightenment

Napoleon's retreat from Russia
Russia
in 1812. Napoleon's Grande Armée
Grande Armée
had lost about half a million men.

The Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
was a powerful intellectual movement during the 18th century promoting scientific and reason-based thoughts.[124][125][126] Discontent with the aristocracy and clergy's monopoly on political power in France
France
resulted in the French Revolution and the establishment of the First Republic
Republic
as a result of which the monarchy and many of the nobility perished during the initial reign of terror.[127] Napoleon
Napoleon
Bonaparte rose to power in the aftermath of the French Revolution
French Revolution
and established the First French Empire that, during the Napoleonic Wars, grew to encompass large parts of Europe
Europe
before collapsing in 1815 with the Battle of Waterloo.[128][129] Napoleonic rule resulted in the further dissemination of the ideals of the French Revolution, including that of the nation-state, as well as the widespread adoption of the French models of administration, law, and education.[130][131][132] The Congress of Vienna, convened after Napoleon's downfall, established a new balance of power in Europe
Europe
centred on the five "Great Powers": the UK, France, Prussia, Austria, and Russia.[133] This balance would remain in place until the Revolutions of 1848, during which liberal uprisings affected all of Europe
Europe
except for Russia
Russia
and the UK. These revolutions were eventually put down by conservative elements and few reforms resulted.[134] The year 1859 saw the unification of Romania, as a nation-state, from smaller principalities. In 1867, the Austro-Hungarian empire
Austro-Hungarian empire
was formed; and 1871 saw the unifications of both Italy
Italy
and Germany
Germany
as nation-states from smaller principalities.[135] In parallel, the Eastern Question
Eastern Question
grew more complex ever since the Ottoman defeat in the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774). As the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
seemed imminent, the Great Powers struggled to safeguard their strategic and commercial interests in the Ottoman domains. The Russian Empire
Russian Empire
stood to benefit from the decline, whereas the Habsburg Empire
Habsburg Empire
and Britain perceived the preservation of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
to be in their best interests. Meanwhile, the Serbian revolution
Serbian revolution
(1804) and Greek War of Independence
Greek War of Independence
(1821) marked the beginning of the end of Ottoman rule in the Balkans, which ended with the Balkan Wars
Balkan Wars
in 1912-1913.[136] Formal recognition of the de facto independent principalities of Montenegro, Serbia
Serbia
and Romania ensued at the Congress of Berlin
Congress of Berlin
in 1878.

Marshall's Temple Works
Temple Works
(1840), the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
started in Great Britain

The Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
started in Great Britain
Great Britain
in the last part of the 18th century and spread throughout Europe. The invention and implementation of new technologies resulted in rapid urban growth, mass employment, and the rise of a new working class.[137] Reforms in social and economic spheres followed, including the first laws on child labour, the legalisation of trade unions,[138] and the abolition of slavery.[139] In Britain, the Public Health Act of 1875
Public Health Act of 1875
was passed, which significantly improved living conditions in many British cities.[140] Europe's population increased from about 100 million in 1700 to 400 million by 1900.[141] The last major famine recorded in Western Europe, the Irish Potato Famine, caused death and mass emigration of millions of Irish people.[142] In the 19th century, 70 million people left Europe
Europe
in migrations to various European colonies abroad and to the United States.[143] Demographic growth meant that, by 1900, Europe's share of the world's population was 25%.[144] 20th century to the present Main articles: Modern era
Modern era
and History of Europe See also: World War I, Great Depression, Interwar period, World War II, Cold War, and History of the European Union

Leaders of the Central Powers
Central Powers
in 1918 (left to right): Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, Kaiser Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary, Sultan Mehmed V of the Ottoman Empire, and Tsar Ferdinand of Bulgaria.

Two world wars and an economic depression dominated the first half of the 20th century. World War I
World War I
was fought between 1914 and 1918. It started when Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
Austria
was assassinated by the Yugoslav nationalist[145] Gavrilo Princip.[146] Most European nations were drawn into the war, which was fought between the Entente Powers (France, Belgium, Serbia, Portugal, Russia, the United Kingdom, and later Italy, Greece, Romania, and the United States) and the Central Powers
Central Powers
(Austria-Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire). The war left more than 16 million civilians and military dead.[147] Over 60 million European soldiers were mobilised from 1914 to 1918.[148]

Serbian war efforts (1914–1918) cost the country one quarter of its population.[149][150][151][152][153]

Russia
Russia
was plunged into the Russian Revolution, which threw down the Tsarist monarchy and replaced it with the communist Soviet Union.[154] Austria- Hungary
Hungary
and the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
collapsed and broke up into separate nations, and many other nations had their borders redrawn. The Treaty of Versailles, which officially ended World War I
World War I
in 1919, was harsh towards Germany, upon whom it placed full responsibility for the war and imposed heavy sanctions.[155] Excess deaths in Russia
Russia
over the course of World War I
World War I
and the Russian Civil War (including the postwar famine) amounted to a combined total of 18 million.[156] In 1932–1933, under Stalin's leadership, confiscations of grain by the Soviet authorities contributed to the second Soviet famine which caused millions of deaths;[157] surviving kulaks were persecuted and many sent to Gulags to do forced labour. Stalin
Stalin
was also responsible for the Great Purge
Great Purge
of 1937–38 in which the NKVD
NKVD
executed 681,692 people;[158] millions of people were deported and exiled to remote areas of the Soviet Union.[159] The social revolutions sweeping through Russia
Russia
also affected other European nations following The Great War: in 1919, with the Weimar Republic
Republic
in Germany, and the First Austrian Republic; in 1922, with Mussolini's one party fascist government in the Kingdom of Italy, and in Ataturk's Turkish Republic, adopting the Western alphabet, and state secularism. Economic instability, caused in part by debts incurred in the First World War and 'loans' to Germany
Germany
played havoc in Europe
Europe
in the late 1920s and 1930s. This and the Wall Street Crash of 1929 brought about the worldwide Great Depression. Helped by the economic crisis, social instability and the threat of communism, fascist movements developed throughout Europe
Europe
placing Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
in power of what became Nazi Germany.[160][161] In 1933, Hitler became the leader of Germany
Germany
and began to work towards his goal of building Greater Germany. Germany
Germany
re-expanded and took back the Saarland
Saarland
and Rhineland
Rhineland
in 1935 and 1936. In 1938, Austria became a part of Germany
Germany
following the Anschluss. Later that year, following the Munich Agreement
Munich Agreement
signed by Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Italy, Germany
Germany
annexed the Sudetenland, which was a part of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
inhabited by ethnic Germans, and in early 1939, the remainder of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
was split into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, controlled by Germany, and the Slovak Republic. At the time, Britain and France
France
preferred a policy of appeasement.

Bombed and burned-out buildings in Hamburg, 1944/45

With tensions mounting between Germany
Germany
and Poland
Poland
over the future of Danzig, the Germans turned to the Soviets, and signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, which allowed the Soviets to invade the Baltic states
Baltic states
and parts of Poland
Poland
and Romania. Germany
Germany
invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, prompting France
France
and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
to declare war on Germany
Germany
on 3 September, opening the European Theatre of World War II.[162][163] The Soviet invasion of Poland
Poland
started on 17 September and Poland
Poland
fell soon thereafter. On 24 September, the Soviet Union attacked the Baltic countries and later, Finland. The British hoped to land at Narvik and send troops to aid Finland, but their primary objective in the landing was to encircle Germany
Germany
and cut the Germans off from Scandinavian resources. Around the same time, Germany moved troops into Denmark. The Phoney War
Phoney War
continued. In May 1940, Germany
Germany
attacked France
France
through the Low Countries. France capitulated in June 1940. By August Germany
Germany
began a bombing offensive on Britain, but failed to convince the Britons to give up.[164] In 1941, Germany
Germany
invaded the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in the Operation Barbarossa.[165] On 7 December 1941 Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor drew the United States
United States
into the conflict as allies of the British Empire and other allied forces.[166][167]

The "Big Three" at the Yalta Conference
Yalta Conference
in 1945; seated (from the left): Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin

After the staggering Battle of Stalingrad
Battle of Stalingrad
in 1943, the German offensive in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
turned into a continual fallback. The Battle of Kursk, which involved the largest tank battle in history, was the last major German offensive on the Eastern Front. In June 1944, British and American forces invaded France
France
in the D-Day landings, opening a new front against Germany. Berlin
Berlin
finally fell in 1945, ending World War II
World War II
in Europe. The war was the largest and most destructive in human history, with 60 million dead across the world.[168] More than 40 million people in Europe
Europe
had died as a result of World War II,[169] including between 11 and 17 million people who perished during the Holocaust.[170] The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
lost around 27 million people (mostly civilians) during the war, about half of all World War II
World War II
casualties.[171] By the end of World War II, Europe
Europe
had more than 40 million refugees.[172] Several post-war expulsions in Central and Eastern Europe
Central and Eastern Europe
displaced a total of about 20 million people.[173] World War I
World War I
and especially World War II
World War II
diminished the eminence of Western Europe
Western Europe
in world affairs. After World War II
World War II
the map of Europe was redrawn at the Yalta Conference
Yalta Conference
and divided into two blocs, the Western countries and the communist Eastern bloc, separated by what was later called by Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
an "Iron Curtain". The United States and Western Europe
Western Europe
established the NATO
NATO
alliance and later the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and Central Europe
Central Europe
established the Warsaw
Warsaw
Pact.[174]

The Schuman Declaration
Schuman Declaration
led to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community. It began the integration process of the European Union (9 May 1950, at the French Foreign Ministry).

The two new superpowers, the United States
United States
and the Soviet Union, became locked in a fifty-year-long Cold War, centred on nuclear proliferation. At the same time decolonisation, which had already started after World War I, gradually resulted in the independence of most of the European colonies in Asia
Asia
and Africa.[9] In the 1980s the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
and the Solidarity movement in Poland accelerated the collapse of the Eastern bloc and the end of the Cold War. Germany
Germany
was reunited, after the symbolic fall of the Berlin
Berlin
Wall in 1989, and the maps of Central and Eastern Europe
Central and Eastern Europe
were redrawn once more.[160]

Flag
Flag
of Europe, adopted by the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
in 1955 as the flag for the whole of Europe.[175]

European integration
European integration
also grew after World War II. The Treaty of Rome in 1957 established the European Economic Community
European Economic Community
between six Western European states with the goal of a unified economic policy and common market.[176] In 1967 the EEC, European Coal and Steel Community and Euratom
Euratom
formed the European Community, which in 1993 became the European Union. The EU established a parliament, court and central bank and introduced the euro as a unified currency.[177] Between 2004 and 2013, more Central and Eastern European countries began joining, expanding the EU to its current size of 28 European countries, and once more making Europe
Europe
a major economical and political centre of power.[178] However, in June 2016 the people of the United Kingdom, in a non-binding referendum on EU membership voted to leave the European Union. Geography Main article: Geography of Europe

Relief map of Europe
Europe
and surrounding regions

Europe
Europe
makes up the western fifth of the Eurasian landmass.[19] It has a higher ratio of coast to landmass than any other continent or subcontinent.[179] Its maritime borders consist of the Arctic Ocean
Arctic Ocean
to the north, the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
to the west, and the Mediterranean, Black, and Caspian Seas to the south.[180] Land relief in Europe
Europe
shows great variation within relatively small areas. The southern regions are more mountainous, while moving north the terrain descends from the high Alps, Pyrenees, and Carpathians, through hilly uplands, into broad, low northern plains, which are vast in the east. This extended lowland is known as the Great European Plain, and at its heart lies the North German Plain. An arc of uplands also exists along the north-western seaboard, which begins in the western parts of the islands of Britain and Ireland, and then continues along the mountainous, fjord-cut spine of Norway. This description is simplified. Sub-regions such as the Iberian Peninsula and the Italian Peninsula
Italian Peninsula
contain their own complex features, as does mainland Central Europe
Central Europe
itself, where the relief contains many plateaus, river valleys and basins that complicate the general trend. Sub-regions like Iceland, Britain, and Ireland
Ireland
are special cases. The former is a land unto itself in the northern ocean which is counted as part of Europe, while the latter are upland areas that were once joined to the mainland until rising sea levels cut them off. Climate Main article: Climate of Europe

Biomes of Europe
Europe
and surrounding regions:      tundra      alpine tundra      taiga      montane forest      temperate broadleaf forest      mediterranean forest      temperate steppe      dry steppe

Europe
Europe
lies mainly in the temperate climate zones, being subjected to prevailing westerlies. The climate is milder in comparison to other areas of the same latitude around the globe due to the influence of the Gulf Stream.[181] The Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream
is nicknamed "Europe's central heating", because it makes Europe's climate warmer and wetter than it would otherwise be. The Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream
not only carries warm water to Europe's coast but also warms up the prevailing westerly winds that blow across the continent from the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, the average temperature throughout the year of Naples is 16 °C (61 °F), while it is only 12 °C (54 °F) in New York City which is almost on the same latitude. Berlin, Germany; Calgary, Canada; and Irkutsk, in the Asian part of Russia, lie on around the same latitude; January temperatures in Berlin average around 8 °C (14 °F) higher than those in Calgary, and they are almost 22 °C (40 °F) higher than average temperatures in Irkutsk.[181] Similarly, northern parts of Scotland have a tempertate marine climate. The yearly average temperature in city of Inverness is 9.05 °C (48.29 °F). However, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, is on roughly the same latitude and has an average temperature of −6.5 °C (20.3 °F), giving it a nearly subarctic climate. Geology Main articles: Geology of Europe
Geology of Europe
and Geological history of Europe

Mount Elbrus
Mount Elbrus
in Russia
Russia
is the highest mountain in Europe.

The geological history of Europe
Europe
traces back to the formation of the Baltic Shield
Baltic Shield
(Fennoscandia) and the Sarmatian craton, both around 2.25 billion years ago, followed by the Volgo–Uralia
Volgo–Uralia
shield, the three together leading to the East European craton
East European craton
(≈ Baltica) which became a part of the supercontinent Columbia. Around 1.1 billion years ago, Baltica
Baltica
and Arctica
Arctica
(as part of the Laurentia
Laurentia
block) became joined to Rodinia, later resplitting around 550 million years ago to reform as Baltica. Around 440 million years ago Euramerica
Euramerica
was formed from Baltica
Baltica
and Laurentia; a further joining with Gondwana
Gondwana
then leading to the formation of Pangea. Around 190 million years ago, Gondwana
Gondwana
and Laurasia
Laurasia
split apart due to the widening of the Atlantic Ocean. Finally, and very soon afterwards, Laurasia
Laurasia
itself split up again, into Laurentia
Laurentia
(North America) and the Eurasian continent. The land connection between the two persisted for a considerable time, via Greenland, leading to interchange of animal species. From around 50 million years ago, rising and falling sea levels have determined the actual shape of Europe, and its connections with continents such as Asia. Europe's present shape dates to the late Tertiary period about five million years ago.[182]

Europa Point as seen from the Strait of Gibraltar.

The geology of Europe
Europe
is hugely varied and complex, and gives rise to the wide variety of landscapes found across the continent, from the Scottish Highlands
Scottish Highlands
to the rolling plains of Hungary.[183] Europe's most significant feature is the dichotomy between highland and mountainous Southern Europe
Southern Europe
and a vast, partially underwater, northern plain ranging from Ireland
Ireland
in the west to the Ural Mountains
Ural Mountains
in the east. These two halves are separated by the mountain chains of the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
and Alps/Carpathians. The northern plains are delimited in the west by the Scandinavian Mountains
Scandinavian Mountains
and the mountainous parts of the British Isles. Major shallow water bodies submerging parts of the northern plains are the Celtic Sea, the North Sea, the Baltic Sea complex and Barents Sea. The northern plain contains the old geological continent of Baltica, and so may be regarded geologically as the "main continent", while peripheral highlands and mountainous regions in the south and west constitute fragments from various other geological continents. Most of the older geology of western Europe
Europe
existed as part of the ancient microcontinent Avalonia. Flora Having lived side-by-side with agricultural peoples for millennia, Europe's animals and plants have been profoundly affected by the presence and activities of man. With the exception of Fennoscandia
Fennoscandia
and northern Russia, few areas of untouched wilderness are currently found in Europe, except for various national parks.

Land use map of Europe
Europe
with arable farmland (yellow), forest (dark green), pasture (light green), and tundra or bogs in the north (dark yellow)

The main natural vegetation cover in Europe
Europe
is mixed forest. The conditions for growth are very favourable. In the north, the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Drift warm the continent. Southern Europe could be described as having a warm, but mild climate. There are frequent summer droughts in this region. Mountain ridges also affect the conditions. Some of these (Alps, Pyrenees) are oriented east-west and allow the wind to carry large masses of water from the ocean in the interior. Others are oriented south-north (Scandinavian Mountains, Dinarides, Carpathians, Apennines) and because the rain falls primarily on the side of mountains that is oriented towards the sea, forests grow well on this side, while on the other side, the conditions are much less favourable. Few corners of mainland Europe have not been grazed by livestock at some point in time, and the cutting down of the pre-agricultural forest habitat caused disruption to the original plant and animal ecosystems.

Floristic regions of Europe
Europe
and neighbouring areas, according to Wolfgang Frey and Rainer Lösch

Probably 80 to 90 percent of Europe
Europe
was once covered by forest.[184] It stretched from the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
to the Arctic
Arctic
Ocean. Though over half of Europe's original forests disappeared through the centuries of deforestation, Europe
Europe
still has over one quarter of its land area as forest, such as the broadleaf and mixed forests, taiga of Scandinavia
Scandinavia
and Russia, mixed rainforests of the Caucasus
Caucasus
and the Cork oak forests in the western Mediterranean. During recent times, deforestation has been slowed and many trees have been planted. However, in many cases monoculture plantations of conifers have replaced the original mixed natural forest, because these grow quicker. The plantations now cover vast areas of land, but offer poorer habitats for many European forest dwelling species which require a mixture of tree species and diverse forest structure. The amount of natural forest in Western Europe
Western Europe
is just 2–3% or less, in European Russia
Russia
5–10%. The country with the smallest percentage of forested area is Iceland
Iceland
(1%), while the most forested country is Finland
Finland
(77%).[185] In temperate Europe, mixed forest with both broadleaf and coniferous trees dominate. The most important species in central and western Europe
Europe
are beech and oak. In the north, the taiga is a mixed spruce–pine–birch forest; further north within Russia
Russia
and extreme northern Scandinavia, the taiga gives way to tundra as the Arctic
Arctic
is approached. In the Mediterranean, many olive trees have been planted, which are very well adapted to its arid climate; Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Cypress is also widely planted in southern Europe. The semi-arid Mediterranean region hosts much scrub forest. A narrow east-west tongue of Eurasian grassland (the steppe) extends eastwards from Ukraine
Ukraine
and southern Russia
Russia
and ends in Hungary
Hungary
and traverses into taiga to the north. Fauna Main article: Fauna of Europe

Biogeographic regions of Europe
Europe
and bordering regions

Glaciation during the most recent ice age and the presence of man affected the distribution of European fauna. As for the animals, in many parts of Europe
Europe
most large animals and top predator species have been hunted to extinction. The woolly mammoth was extinct before the end of the Neolithic
Neolithic
period. Today wolves (carnivores) and bears (omnivores) are endangered. Once they were found in most parts of Europe. However, deforestation and hunting caused these animals to withdraw further and further. By the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
the bears' habitats were limited to more or less inaccessible mountains with sufficient forest cover. Today, the brown bear lives primarily in the Balkan peninsula, Scandinavia, and Russia; a small number also persist in other countries across Europe
Europe
(Austria, Pyrenees
Pyrenees
etc.), but in these areas brown bear populations are fragmented and marginalised because of the destruction of their habitat. In addition, polar bears may be found on Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago far north of Scandinavia. The wolf, the second largest predator in Europe
Europe
after the brown bear, can be found primarily in Central and Eastern Europe
Central and Eastern Europe
and in the Balkans, with a handful of packs in pockets of Western Europe (Scandinavia, Spain, etc.).

Once roaming the great temperate forests of Eurasia, European bison now live in nature preserves in Białowieża Forest, on the border between Poland
Poland
and Belarus.[186][187]

European wild cat, foxes (especially the red fox), jackal and different species of martens, hedgehogs, different species of reptiles (like snakes such as vipers and grass snakes) and amphibians, different birds (owls, hawks and other birds of prey). Important European herbivores are snails, larvae, fish, different birds, and mammals, like rodents, deer and roe deer, boars, and living in the mountains, marmots, steinbocks, chamois among others. A number of insects, such as the small tortoiseshell butterfly, add to the biodiversity.[188] The extinction of the dwarf hippos and dwarf elephants has been linked to the earliest arrival of humans on the islands of the Mediterranean.[189] Sea creatures are also an important part of European flora and fauna. The sea flora is mainly phytoplankton. Important animals that live in European seas are zooplankton, molluscs, echinoderms, different crustaceans, squids and octopuses, fish, dolphins, and whales. Biodiversity is protected in Europe
Europe
through the Council of Europe's Bern
Bern
Convention, which has also been signed by the European Community as well as non-European states.

Politics Main article: Politics
Politics
of Europe See also: List of sovereign states and dependent territories in Europe, International organizations in Europe, Regions of Europe, and European integration

A clickable Euler diagram
Euler diagram
showing the relationships between various multinational European organisations and agreements.

v t e

The political map of Europe
Europe
is substantially derived from the re-organisation of Europe
Europe
following the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
in 1815. The prevalent form of government in Europe
Europe
is parliamentary democracy, in most cases in the form of Republic; in 1815, the prevalent form of government was still the Monarchy. Europe's remaining eleven monarchies[190] are constitutional. European integration
European integration
is the process of political, legal, economic (and in some cases social and cultural) integration of European states as it has been pursued by the powers sponsoring the Council of Europe since the end of World War II
World War II
The European Union
European Union
has been the focus of economic integration on the continent since its foundation in 1993. More recently, the Eurasian Economic Union
Eurasian Economic Union
has been established as a counterpart comprising former Soviet states. 28 European states are members of the politico-economic European Union, 26 of the border-free Schengen Area
Schengen Area
and 19 of the monetary union Eurozone. Among the smaller European organizations are the Nordic Council, the Benelux, the Baltic Assembly
Baltic Assembly
and the Visegrád Group. List of states and territories Main articles: List of sovereign states and dependent territories in Europe
Europe
and Area and population of European countries

It has been suggested that this section be split out into another article titled List of sovereign states and dependent territories in Europe. (Discuss) (October 2016)

The list below includes all entities[clarification needed] falling even partially under any of the various common definitions of Europe,[clarification needed] geographic or political.

Flag Symbol Name Area (km2) Population Population density (per km2) Capital Name(s) in official language(s)

Albania 28,748 2,831,741 98.5 Tirana Shqipëria

Andorra 468 68,403 146.2 Andorra
Andorra
la Vella Andorra

Armenia [j] 29,743 3,060,631 101.5 Yerevan Hayastan

Austria 83,858 8,169,929 97.4 Vienna Österreich

Azerbaijan [k] 86,600 9,165,000 105.8 Baku Azǝrbaycan

Belarus 207,560 9,458,000 45.6 Minsk Беларусь (Belaruś)

Belgium 30,528 11,007,000 360.6 Brussels België/Belgique/Belgien

Bosnia and Herzegovina 51,129 3,531,159 68.97 Sarajevo Bosna i Hercegovina/Боснa и Херцеговина

Bulgaria 110,910 7,621,337 68.7 Sofia България (Bǎlgariya)

Croatia 56,542 4,284,889 75.8 Zagreb Hrvatska

Cyprus [d] 9,251 788,457 85 Nicosia Kýpros/Kıbrıs

Czech Republic 78,866 10,256,760 130.1 Prague Česko

Denmark 43,094 5,564,219 129 Copenhagen Danmark

Estonia 45,226 1,340,194 29 Tallinn Eesti

Finland 336,593 5,157,537 15.3 Helsinki Suomi/Finland

France [g] 547,030 66,104,000 115.5 Paris France

Georgia [l] 69,700 4,661,473 64 Tbilisi Sakartvelo

Germany 357,021 80,716,000 233.2 Berlin Deutschland

Greece 131,957 11,123,034 80.7 Athens Elláda

Hungary 93,030 10,075,034 108.3 Budapest Magyarország

Iceland 103,000 307,261 2.7 Reykjavík Ísland

Ireland 70,280 4,234,925 60.3 Dublin Éire/Ireland

Italy 301,230 60,655,464 197.7 Rome Italia

Kazakhstan [i] 2,724,900 15,217,711 5.6 Astana Қазақстан (Qazaqstan)

Latvia 64,589 2,067,900 34.2 Riga Latvija

Liechtenstein 160 32,842 205.3 Vaduz Liechtenstein

Lithuania 65,300 2,988,400 45.8 Vilnius Lietuva

Luxembourg 2,586 448,569 173.5 Luxembourg Lëtzebuerg/Luxemburg/Luxembourg

Macedonia 25,713 2,054,800 81.1 Skopje Македонија (Makedonija)

Malta 316 397,499 1,257.9 Valletta Malta

Moldova [a] 33,843 4,434,547 131.0 Chișinău Moldova

Monaco 1.95 31,987 16,403.6 Monaco Monaco

Montenegro 13,812 616,258 44.6 Podgorica Crna Gora/Црна Гора

Netherlands [h] 41,526 16,902,103 393.0 Amsterdam Nederland

Norway 385,178 5,018,836 15.5 Oslo Norge/Noreg/Norga

Poland 312,685 38,625,478 123.5 Warsaw Polska

Portugal [e] 91,568 10,409,995 110.1 Lisbon Portugal

Romania 238,391 21,698,181 91.0 Bucharest România

Russia [b] 17,075,400 143,975,923 8.3 Moscow Россия (Rossiya)

San Marino 61 27,730 454.6 San Marino San Marino

Serbia [f] 88,361 7,120,666 91.9 Belgrade Srbija/Србија

Slovakia 48,845 5,422,366 111.0 Bratislava Slovensko

Slovenia 20,273 2,050,189 101 Ljubljana Slovenija

Spain 504,851 47,059,533 93.2 Madrid España

Sweden 449,964 9,090,113 19.7 Stockholm Sverige

Switzerland 41,290 7,507,000 176.8 Bern Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera/Svizra

Turkey [m] 783,562 77,695,904 101 Ankara Türkiye

Ukraine 603,700 45,360,000 75.1 Kiev Україна (Ukraina)

United Kingdom 244,820 65,110,000 244.2 London United Kingdom

Vatican City 0.44 900 2,045.5 Vatican City Città del Vaticano/Civitas Vaticana

Total 50 10,180,000[n] 742,000,000[n] 73

Within the above-mentioned states are several de facto independent countries with limited to no international recognition. None of them are members of the UN:

Flag Symbol Name Area (km²) Population (1 July 2002 est.) Population density (per km²) Capital

Abkhazia [p] 8,432 216,000 29 Sukhumi

Artsakh [q] 11,458 138,800 12 Stepanakert

Kosovo [o] 10,887 1,804,838[191] 220 Pristina

Northern Cyprus [d] 3,355 265,100 78 Nicosia

South Ossetia [p] 3,900 70,000 18 Tskhinvali

Transnistria [a] 4,163 537,000 133 Tiraspol

Several dependencies and similar territories with broad autonomy are also found within or in close proximity to Europe. This includes Åland
Åland
(a region of Finland), two constituent countries of the Kingdom Denmark
Denmark
(other than Denmark
Denmark
itself), three Crown dependencies, and two British Overseas Territories. Svalbard
Svalbard
is also included due to its unique status within Norway, although it is not autonomous. Not included are the three countries of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
with devolved powers and the two Autonomous Regions of Portugal, which despite having a unique degree of autonomy, are not largely self-governing in matters other than international affairs. Areas with little more than a unique tax status, such as Heligoland
Heligoland
and the Canary Islands, are also not included for this reason.

Flag Symbol Name Area (km²) Population (1 July 2002 est.) Population density (per km²) Capital

Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia
Akrotiri and Dhekelia
(UK) 254 15,000 59.1 Episkopi Cantonment

Åland
Åland
(Finland) 13,517 26,008 16.8 Mariehamn

Bailiwick of Guernsey [c] (UK) 78 64,587 828.0 St. Peter Port

Bailiwick of Jersey [c] (UK) 116 89,775 773.9 Saint Helier

Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
(Denmark) 1,399 46,011 32.9 Tórshavn

Gibraltar
Gibraltar
(UK) 5.9 27,714 4,697.3 Gibraltar

Greenland
Greenland
(Denmark) [r] 2,166,086 55,847 0.0028 Nuuk

Isle of Man [c] (UK) 572 73,873 129.1 Douglas

Svalbard
Svalbard
(Norway) 61,022 2,655 0.04 Longyearbyen

Economy

European and bordering nations by GDP
GDP
(PPP) per capita

Main articles: Economy of Europe, List of sovereign states in Europe by GDP
GDP
(nominal), and List of sovereign states in Europe
Europe
by GDP
GDP
(PPP) As a continent, the economy of Europe
Europe
is currently the largest on Earth
Earth
and it is the richest region as measured by assets under management with over $32.7 trillion compared to North America's $27.1 trillion in 2008.[192] In 2009 Europe
Europe
remained the wealthiest region. Its $37.1 trillion in assets under management represented one-third of the world's wealth. It was one of several regions where wealth surpassed its precrisis year-end peak.[193] As with other continents, Europe
Europe
has a large variation of wealth among its countries. The richer states tend to be in the West; some of the Central and Eastern European economies are still emerging from the collapse of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and the breakup of Yugoslavia. The European Union, a political entity composed of 28 European states, comprises the largest single economic area in the world. 19 EU countries share the euro as a common currency. Five European countries rank in the top ten of the world's largest national economies in GDP (PPP). This includes (ranks according to the CIA): Germany
Germany
(5), the UK (6), Russia
Russia
(7), France
France
(8), and Italy
Italy
(10).[194] There is huge disparity between many European countries in terms of their income. The richest in terms of GDP
GDP
per capita is Monaco
Monaco
with its US$172,676 per capita (2009) and the poorest is Moldova
Moldova
with its GDP
GDP
per capita of US$1,631 (2010).[195] Monaco
Monaco
is the richest country in terms of GDP
GDP
per capita in the world according to the World Bank report. As a whole, Europe's GDP
GDP
per capita is US$21,767 according to a 2016 International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
assessment.[196]

Rank Country GDP
GDP
(nominal, Peak Year) millions of USD Peak Year

 European Union 19,202,993 2008

1  Germany 3,896,788 2014

2  United Kingdom 3,064,351 2007

3  France 2,937,321 2008

4  Italy 2,402,062 2008

5  Russia 2,297,125 2013

6  Spain 1,642,738 2008

7  Turkey 950,328 2013

8  Netherlands 940,665 2008

9   Switzerland 709,259 2014

10  Sweden 578,742 2013

Rank Country GDP
GDP
(PPP, Peak Year) millions of USD Peak Year

 European Union 20,854,818 2017

1  Germany 4,149,573 2017

2  Russia 4,000,096 2017

3  United Kingdom 2,880,254 2017

4  France 2,826,456 2017

5  Italy 2,307,073 2017

6  Turkey 2,132,717 2017

7  Spain 1,768,574 2017

8  Poland 1,110,735 2017

9  Netherlands 915,175 2017

10  Belgium 526,434 2017

Economic history

Industrial growth (1760–1945)

Capitalism has been dominant in the Western world since the end of feudalism.[197] From Britain, it gradually spread throughout Europe.[198] The Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
started in Europe, specifically the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
in the late 18th century,[199] and the 19th century saw Western Europe
Western Europe
industrialise. Economies were disrupted by World War I but by the beginning of World War II
World War II
they had recovered and were having to compete with the growing economic strength of the United States. World War II, again, damaged much of Europe's industries.

Cold War
Cold War
(1945–1991)

Fall of the Berlin
Berlin
Wall in 1989.

After World War II
World War II
the economy of the UK was in a state of ruin,[200] and continued to suffer relative economic decline in the following decades.[201] Italy
Italy
was also in a poor economic condition but regained a high level of growth by the 1950s. West Germany
Germany
recovered quickly and had doubled production from pre-war levels by the 1950s.[202] France
France
also staged a remarkable comeback enjoying rapid growth and modernisation; later on Spain, under the leadership of Franco, also recovered, and the nation recorded huge unprecedented economic growth beginning in the 1960s in what is called the Spanish miracle.[203] The majority of Central and Eastern European states came under the control of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and thus were members of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON).[204] The states which retained a free-market system were given a large amount of aid by the United States
United States
under the Marshall Plan. [205] The western states moved to link their economies together, providing the basis for the EU and increasing cross border trade. This helped them to enjoy rapidly improving economies, while those states in COMECON were struggling in a large part due to the cost of the Cold War. Until 1990, the European Community
European Community
was expanded from 6 founding members to 12. The emphasis placed on resurrecting the West German economy led to it overtaking the UK as Europe's largest economy.

Reunification (1991–present)

Eurozone
Eurozone
(blue colour)

With the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe
Central and Eastern Europe
in 1991, the post-socialist states began free market reforms: Poland, Hungary, and Slovenia
Slovenia
adopted them reasonably quickly, while Ukraine
Ukraine
and Russia
Russia
are still in the process of doing so. After East and West Germany
Germany
were reunited in 1990, the economy of West Germany
Germany
struggled as it had to support and largely rebuild the infrastructure of East Germany. By the millennium change, the EU dominated the economy of Europe comprising the five largest European economies of the time namely Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Spain. In 1999, 12 of the 15 members of the EU joined the Eurozone
Eurozone
replacing their former national currencies by the common euro. The three who chose to remain outside the Eurozone
Eurozone
were: the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Sweden. The European Union
European Union
is now the largest economy in the world.[206] Figures released by Eurostat
Eurostat
in 2009 confirmed that the Eurozone
Eurozone
had gone into recession in 2008.[207] It impacted much of the region.[208] In 2010, fears of a sovereign debt crisis[209] developed concerning some countries in Europe, especially Greece, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal.[210] As a result, measures were taken, especially for Greece, by the leading countries of the Eurozone.[211] The EU-27 unemployment rate was 10.3% in 2012.[212] For those aged 15–24 it was 22.4%.[212] Demographics Main article: Demographics of Europe See also: List of European countries by population
List of European countries by population
and Ageing of Europe

Population growth
Population growth
in and around Europe
Europe
in 2010[213]

In 2016, the population of Europe
Europe
was estimated to be 741 million according to the 2017 revision of the World Population Prospects[1], which is slightly more than one-ninth of the world's population. A century ago, Europe
Europe
had nearly a quarter of the world's population.[214] The population of Europe
Europe
has grown in the past century, but in other areas of the world (in particular Africa
Africa
and Asia) the population has grown far more quickly.[215] Among the continents, Europe
Europe
has a relatively high population density, second only to Asia. Most of Europe
Europe
is in a mode of Sub-replacement fertility, which means that each new(-born) generation is being less populous than the older. The most densely populated country in Europe (and in the world) is the microstate of Monaco. Ethnic groups Main article: Ethnic groups in Europe Further information: Genetic history of Europe Pan and Pfeil (2004) count 87 distinct "peoples of Europe", of which 33 form the majority population in at least one sovereign state, while the remaining 54 constitute ethnic minorities.[216] According to UN population projection, Europe's population may fall to about 7% of world population by 2050, or 653 million people (medium variant, 556 to 777 million in low and high variants, respectively).[215] Within this context, significant disparities exist between regions in relation to fertility rates. The average number of children per female of child bearing age is 1.52.[217] According to some sources,[218] this rate is higher among Muslims
Muslims
in Europe. The UN predicts a steady population decline in Central and Eastern Europe
Central and Eastern Europe
as a result of emigration and low birth rates.[219]

Galician bagpipers or gaiteiros in Spain

Migration Main articles: Immigration to Europe
Immigration to Europe
and European diaspora Europe
Europe
is home to the highest number of migrants of all global regions at 70.6 million people, the IOM's report said.[220] In 2005, the EU had an overall net gain from immigration of 1.8 million people. This accounted for almost 85% of Europe's total population growth.[221] The European Union
European Union
plans to open the job centres for legal migrant workers from Africa.[222][223][needs update] In 2008, 696,000 persons were given citizenship of an EU27 member state, a decrease from 707,000 the previous year.[224] Emigration from Europe
Emigration from Europe
began[dubious – discuss] with Spanish and Portuguese settlers in the 16th century,[225][226] and French and English settlers in the 17th century.[227] But numbers remained relatively small until waves of mass emigration in the 19th century, when millions of poor families left Europe.[228] Today, large populations of European descent are found on every continent. European ancestry predominates in North America, and to a lesser degree in South America
South America
(particularly in Uruguay, Argentina, Chile
Chile
and Brazil, while most of the other Latin
Latin
American countries also have a considerable population of European origins). Australia and New Zealand
New Zealand
have large European derived populations. Africa
Africa
has no countries with European-derived majorities (or with the exception of Cape Verde
Cape Verde
and probably São Tomé and Príncipe, depending on context), but there are significant minorities, such as the White South Africans. In Asia, European-derived populations predominate in Northern Asia
Asia
(specifically Russians), some parts of Northern Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
and Israel.[229] Languages Main article: Languages of Europe

Overview map of the distribution of major European languages

European languages mostly fall within three Indo-European language groups: the Romance languages, derived from the Latin
Latin
of the Roman Empire; the Germanic languages, whose ancestor language came from southern Scandinavia; and the Slavic languages.[182] Slavic languages
Slavic languages
are most spoken by the number of native speakers in Europe, they are spoken in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. Romance languages
Romance languages
are spoken primarily in south-western Europe
Europe
as well as in Romania
Romania
and Moldova, in Eastern Europe. Germanic languages
Germanic languages
are spoken in Northern Europe, the British Isles
British Isles
and some parts of Central Europe.[182] Many other languages outside the three main groups exist in Europe. Other Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
include the Baltic group (that is, Latvian and Lithuanian), the Celtic group (that is, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Manx, Welsh, Cornish, and Breton[182]), Greek, Armenian, and Albanian. In addition, a distinct non-Indo-European family of Uralic languages (Estonian, Finnish, and Hungarian) is spoken mainly in Estonia, Finland, and Hungary, while Kartvelian languages
Kartvelian languages
(Georgian, Mingrelian, and Svan), are spoken primarily in Georgia, and two other language families reside in the North Caucasus
Caucasus
(termed Northeast Caucasian, most notably including Chechen, Avar and Lezgin and Northwest Caucasian, notably including Adyghe). Maltese is the only Semitic language
Semitic language
that is official within the EU, while Basque is the only European language isolate. Turkic languages
Turkic languages
include Azerbaijani and Turkish, in addition to the languages of minority nations in Russia. Multilingualism and the protection of regional and minority languages are recognised political goals in Europe
Europe
today. The Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
and the Council of Europe's European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages set up a legal framework for language rights in Europe. Culture

Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette, 1876, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Main article: Culture of Europe Further information: European folklore and European art "Europe" as a cultural concept is substantially derived from the shared heritage of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
and its culture. The boundaries of Europe
Europe
were historically understood as those of Christendom
Christendom
(or more specifically Latin
Latin
Christendom), as established or defended throughout the medieval and early modern history of Europe, especially against Islam, as in the Reconquista
Reconquista
and the Ottoman wars in Europe.[230] This shared cultural heritage is combined by overlapping indigenous national cultures and folklores, roughly divided into Slavic, Latin (Romance) and Germanic, but with several components not part of either of these group (notably Greek and Celtic). Cultural contact and mixtures characterise much of European regional cultures; Kaplan (2014) describes Europe
Europe
as "embracing maximum cultural diversity at minimal geographical distances".[clarification needed][231] Religion

Percentage of popular belief in God per European country according to the Eurobarometer (2005).

Main article: Religion in Europe Historically, religion in Europe
Europe
has been a major influence on European art, culture, philosophy and law. The largest religion in Europe
Europe
is Christianity, with 76.2% of Europeans considering themselves Christians,[232] including Catholic, Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox
and various Protestant
Protestant
denominations. Among Protestants, the most popular are historically state-supported European denominations such as Lutheranism, Anglicanism
Anglicanism
and the Reformed faith. Other Protestant
Protestant
denominations such as historically significant ones like Anabaptists
Anabaptists
were never supported by any state and thus are not so widespread, as well as these newly arriving from the United States
United States
such as Pentecostalism, Adventism, Methodism, Baptists
Baptists
and various Evangelical Protestants; although Methodism
Methodism
and Baptists
Baptists
both have European origins. The notion of "Europe" and the "Western World" has been intimately connected with the concept of " Christianity
Christianity
and Christendom"; many even attribute Christianity
Christianity
for being the link that created a unified European identity.[233]

St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica
in Vatican City, the largest church in Europe

Christianity, including the Roman Catholic
Catholic
Church,[234][235] has played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization
Western civilization
since at least the 4th century,[236][237][238][239] and for at least a millennium and a half, Europe
Europe
has been nearly equivalent to Christian culture, even though the religion was inherited from the Middle East. Christian
Christian
culture was the predominant force in western civilization, guiding the course of philosophy, art, and science.[240][241] The second most popular religion is Islam
Islam
(6%)[242] concentrated mainly in the Balkans
Balkans
and eastern Europe
Europe
(Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, North Cyprus, Turkey, Azerbaijan, North Caucasus, and the Volga-Ural region). Other religions, including Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism
Buddhism
are minority religions (though Tibetan Buddhism
Buddhism
is the majority religion of Russia's Republic
Republic
of Kalmykia). The 20th century saw the revival of Neopaganism
Neopaganism
through movements such as Wicca
Wicca
and Druidry. Europe
Europe
has become a relatively secular continent, with an increasing number and proportion of irreligious, atheist and agnostic people, who make up about 18.2% of Europe's population,[243] actually the largest secular population in the Western world. There are a particularly high number of self-described non-religious people in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Sweden, former East Germany, and France.[244] See also Main articles: List of Europe-related articles
List of Europe-related articles
and Outline of Europe

Politics

Eurodistrict Euroregion Flags of Europe List of sovereign states by date of formation Names of European cities in different languages OSCE countries statistics European Union
European Union
as a potential superpower

Demographics

Area and population of European countries European Union
European Union
statistics Largest cities of the EU Largest urban areas of the European Union List of cities in Europe List of metropolitan areas in Europe List of villages in Europe Pan-European identity

Economics

Economy of the European Union Financial and social rankings of European countries Healthcare in Europe Telecommunications in Europe List of European television stations List of European countries by GDP
GDP
(nominal)

Europe
Europe
portal Geography portal

Notes

^ a b Transnistria, internationally recognised as being a legal part of the Republic
Republic
of Moldova, although de facto control is exercised by its internationally unrecognised government which declared independence from Moldova
Moldova
in 1990. ^ Russia
Russia
is considered a transcontinental country in both Eastern Europe
Europe
and Northern Asia. The vast majority of its population (78%) lives in European Russia.[245] However only the population figure includes the entire state. ^ a b c Guernsey, the Isle of Man
Isle of Man
and Jersey
Jersey
are Crown Dependencies
Crown Dependencies
of the United Kingdom. Other Channel Islands
Channel Islands
legislated by the Bailiwick of Guernsey
Guernsey
include Alderney
Alderney
and Sark. ^ a b Cyprus
Cyprus
can be considered part of Europe
Europe
or Southwest Asia; it has strong historical and sociopolitical connections with Europe. The population and area figures refer to the entire state, including the de facto independent part Northern Cyprus
Cyprus
which is not recognised as a sovereign nation by the vast majority of sovereign nations, nor the UN. ^ Figures for Portugal
Portugal
include the Azores
Azores
and Madeira
Madeira
archipelagos, both in Northern Atlantic. ^ Area figure for Serbia
Serbia
includes Kosovo, a province that unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia
Serbia
on 17 February 2008, and whose sovereign status is unclear. Population and density figures are from the first results of 2011 census and are given without the disputed territory of Kosovo. ^ Figures for France
France
include only metropolitan France: some politically integral parts of France
France
are geographically located outside Europe. ^ Netherlands
Netherlands
population for November 2014. Population and area details include European portion only: Netherlands
Netherlands
and three entities outside Europe
Europe
(Aruba, Curaçao
Curaçao
and Sint Maarten, in the Caribbean) constitute the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Amsterdam
Amsterdam
is the official capital, while The Hague
The Hague
is the administrative seat. ^ Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
is physiographically considered a transcontinental country, mostly in Central Asia
Asia
(UN region), partly in Eastern Europe, with European territory west of the Ural Mountains
Ural Mountains
and Ural River. However, only the population figure refers to the entire country. ^ Armenia
Armenia
can be considered part of Eastern Europe
Europe
and/or Western Asia; it has strong historical and sociopolitical connections with Europe. The population and area figures include the entire state respectively. ^ Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
can be considered part of Europe
Europe
and/or Western Asia.[246] However the population and area figures are for the entire state. This includes the exclave of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and the region Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh
that has declared, and de facto achieved, independence. Nevertheless, it is not recognised de jure by sovereign states. ^ Georgia can be considered part of Eastern Europe
Europe
and/or West Asia; it has strong historical and sociopolitical connections with Europe.[247] The population and area figures include Georgian estimates for Abkhazia
Abkhazia
and South Ossetia, two regions that have declared and de facto achieved independence. International recognition, however, is limited. ^ Turkey
Turkey
is physiographically considered a transcontinental country, mostly in Western Asia
Asia
(the Middle East) and Southeast Europe. Turkey has a small part of its territory (3%) in Southeast Europe
Europe
called Turkish Thrace.[248] However only the population figure includes the entire state. ^ a b c d The total figures for area and population include only European portions of transcontinental countries. The precision of these figures is compromised by the ambiguous geographical extent of Europe
Europe
and the lack of references for European portions of transcontinental countries. ^ Kosovo
Kosovo
unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia
Serbia
on 17 February 2008. Its sovereign status is unclear. Its population is July 2009 CIA
CIA
estimate. ^ a b Abkhazia
Abkhazia
and South Ossetia, both of which can be considered part of Eastern Europe
Europe
and/or West Asia[249] unilaterally declared their independence from Georgia on 25 August 1990 and 28 November 1991 respectively. Their status as sovereign nations is not recognised by a vast majority of sovereign nations, nor the UN. Population figures stated as of 2003 census and 2000 estimates respectively. ^ Nagorno-Karabakh, which can be considered part of Eastern Europe and/or West Asia, unilaterally declared its independence from Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
on 6 January 1992. Its status as a sovereign nation is not recognised by any sovereign nation, nor the UN. Population figures stated as of 2003 census and 2000 estimates respectively. ^ Greenland, an autonomous constituent country within the Danish Realm, is geographically a part of the continent of North America, but has been politically and culturally associated with Europe.

References

^ a b c "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision". ESA.UN.org (custom data acquired via website). United Nations
United Nations
Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved 10 September 2017.  ^ "IMF (WEO April 2017 Edition) GDP
GDP
nominal per capita – international dollar".  ^ http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2011/ ^ Annual Population of Urban Agglomerations with 300,000 Inhabitants or More in 2014, by Country, 1950–2030 (thousands), World Urbanization Prospects, the 2014 revision, Population Division of the United Nations
United Nations
Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved 21 August 2015. Note: List based on estimates for 2015, from 2014. ^ National Geographic Atlas of the World (7th ed.). Washington, DC: National Geographic. 1999. ISBN 0-7922-7528-4.  "Europe" (pp. 68–69); "Asia" (pp. 90–91): "A commonly accepted division between Asia
Asia
and Europe ... is formed by the Ural Mountains, Ural River, Caspian Sea, Caucasus
Caucasus
Mountains, and the Black Sea
Black Sea
with its outlets, the Bosporus and Dardanelles." ^ Lewis & Wigen 1997, p. 226 ^ Kim Covert (1 July 2011). Ancient Greece: Birthplace of Democracy. Capstone. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-4296-6831-6. Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
is often called the cradle of western civilization. ... Ideas from literature and science also have their roots in ancient Greece.  ^ Ricardo Duchesne (7 February 2011). The Uniqueness of Western Civilization. Brill. p. 297. ISBN 90-04-19248-4. The list of books which have celebrated Greece
Greece
as the “cradle” of the West is endless; two more examples are Charles Freeman's The Greek Achievement: The Foundation of the Western World
Western World
(1999) and Bruce Thornton's Greek Ways: How the Greeks
Greeks
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Western civilization
owes far more to Catholic
Catholic
Church than most people – Catholic
Catholic
included – often realize. The Church in fact built Western civilization." ^ Koch, Carl (1994). The Catholic
Catholic
Church: Journey, Wisdom, and Mission. Early Middle Ages: St. Mary's Press. ISBN 978-0-88489-298-4.  ^ Dawson, Christopher; Glenn Olsen (1961). Crisis in Western Education (reprint ed.). ISBN 978-0-8132-1683-6.  ^ "THE GLOBAL RELIGIOUS LANDSCAPE: Muslims". pewforum. Retrieved 18 December 2012.  ^ "Religiously Unaffiliated". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2015.  ^ Dogan, Mattei (1998). "The Decline of Traditional Values in Western Europe". International Journal of Comparative Sociology. Sage. 39: 77–90. doi:10.1177/002071529803900106.  ^ Vishnevsky, Anatoly (15 August 2000). "Replacement Migration: Is it a solution for Russia?" (PDF). Expert Group Meeting on Policy Responses to Population Ageing and Population Decline /UN/POP/PRA/2000/14. United Nations
United Nations
Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. pp. 6, 10. Retrieved 14 January 2008.  ^ The UN Statistics Department [4] places Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
in Western Asia for statistical convenience [5]: "The assignment of countries or areas to specific groupings is for statistical convenience and does not imply any assumption regarding political or other affiliation of countries or territories." The CIA World Factbook
The CIA World Factbook
[6] places Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
in South Western Asia, with a small portion north of the Caucasus
Caucasus
range in Europe. National Geographic and Encyclopædia Britannica also place Georgia in Asia. ^ Council of Europe
Council of Europe
"47 countries, one Europe". Archived from the original on 8 January 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2011. , British Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
"Country profiles › Europe
Europe
› Georgia". Archived from the original on 31 December 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2011. , World Health Organization
World Health Organization
[7], World Tourism Organization [8], UNESCO
UNESCO
[9], UNICEF
UNICEF
[10], UNHCR
UNHCR
[11], European Civil Aviation Conference "Member States". Archived from the original on 23 July 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2011. , Euronews
Euronews
[12], BBC
BBC
[13], NATO
NATO
[14], Russian Foreign Ministry
Russian Foreign Ministry
[15], the World Bank "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 February 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2011. . ^ FAO. "Inland fisheries of Europe". FAO. Retrieved 26 March 2011.  ^ The UN Statistics Department [16] places Georgia in Western Asia
Asia
for statistical convenience [17]: "The assignment of countries or areas to specific groupings is for statistical convenience and does not imply any assumption regarding political or other affiliation of countries or territories." The CIA World Factbook
The CIA World Factbook
[18], National Geographic, and Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
also place Georgia in Asia.

Sources

National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
(2005). National Geographic Visual History of the World. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society. ISBN 0-7922-3695-5. Bulliet, Richard; Crossley, Pamela; Headrick, Daniel; Hirsch, Steven; Johnson, Lyman (2011). The Earth
Earth
and Its Peoples, Brief Edition. 1. Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-0495913115.  Brown, Stephen F.; Anatolios, Khaled; Palmer, Martin (2009). O'Brien, Joanne, ed. Catholicism & Orthodox Christianity. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 978-1604131062. 

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East Africa

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North

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West

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Latin

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v t e

Regions of Oceania

Australasia

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New Zealand

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Australia Capital Country Eastern Australia Lake Eyre basin Murray–Darling basin Northern Australia Nullarbor Plain Outback Southern Australia

Maralinga

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Regions of South America

East

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North

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Caribbean
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South

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West

Andes

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Altiplano Atacama Desert

Latin Hispanic American Cordillera Ring of Fire LAC

v t e

Polar regions

Antarctic

Antarctic
Antarctic
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Arctic

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v t e

Earth's oceans and seas

Arctic
Arctic
Ocean

Amundsen Gulf Barents Sea Beaufort Sea Chukchi Sea East Siberian Sea Greenland
Greenland
Sea Gulf of Boothia Kara Sea Laptev Sea Lincoln Sea Prince Gustav Adolf Sea Pechora Sea Queen Victoria Sea Wandel Sea White Sea

Atlantic Ocean

Adriatic Sea Aegean Sea Alboran Sea Archipelago Sea Argentine Sea Baffin Bay Balearic Sea Baltic Sea Bay of Biscay Bay of Bothnia Bay of Campeche Bay of Fundy Black Sea Bothnian Sea Caribbean
Caribbean
Sea Celtic Sea English Channel Foxe Basin Greenland
Greenland
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Mediterranean
Sea Myrtoan Sea North Sea Norwegian Sea Sargasso Sea Sea of Åland Sea of Azov Sea of Crete Sea of the Hebrides Thracian Sea Tyrrhenian Sea Wadden Sea

Indian Ocean

Andaman Sea Arabian Sea Bali Sea Bay of Bengal Flores Sea Great Australian Bight Gulf of Aden Gulf of Aqaba Gulf of Khambhat Gulf of Kutch Gulf of Oman Gulf of Suez Java Sea Laccadive Sea Mozambique Channel Persian Gulf Red Sea Timor
Timor
Sea

Pacific Ocean

Arafura Sea Banda Sea Bering Sea Bismarck Sea Bohai Sea Bohol Sea Camotes Sea Celebes Sea Ceram Sea Chilean Sea Coral Sea East China Sea Gulf of Alaska Gulf of Anadyr Gulf of California Gulf of Carpentaria Gulf of Fonseca Gulf of Panama Gulf of Thailand Gulf of Tonkin Halmahera Sea Koro Sea Mar de Grau Molucca Sea Moro Gulf Philippine Sea Salish Sea Savu Sea Sea of Japan Sea of Okhotsk Seto Inland Sea Shantar Sea Sibuyan Sea Solomon Sea South China Sea Sulu Sea Tasman Sea Visayan Sea Yellow Sea

Southern Ocean

Amundsen Sea Bellingshausen Sea Cooperation Sea Cosmonauts Sea Davis Sea D'Urville Sea King Haakon VII Sea Lazarev Sea Mawson Sea Riiser-Larsen Sea Ross Sea Scotia Sea Somov Sea Weddell Sea

Landlocked seas

Aral Sea Caspian Sea Dead Sea Salton Sea

  Book   Category

v t e

European diasporas

Central Europe

Czechs Germans Hungarians Poles

Kashubians

Slovaks Slovenes Swiss

Eastern Europe

Armenians3 Azerbaijanis3 Belarusians Georgians3 Kazakhs4 Russians1

Chechens1

Ukrainians

Crimean Tatars

Northern Europe

British

English Scottish Welsh Cornish

Danes Estonians Finns Icelanders Irish Latvian Lithuanians Norwegians Swedes

Southeast Europe

Albanians

Kosovar

Bosnians Bulgarians Croats Cypriots

Greek Cypriots5 Turkish Cypriots5

Greeks Macedonians Romanians

Moldovans

Serbian Turkish2

Southern Europe

Italians

Calabrians

Maltese Portuguese Spaniards

Basques Isleños

Western Europe

Belgians

Flanders

Dutch French

Basques

1 Russia
Russia
is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe
Europe
and Northern Asia. The vast majority of its population (80%) lives in European Russia, therefore Russia
Russia
as a whole is included as a European country here. 2 Turkey
Turkey
is a transcontinental country in the Middle East
Middle East
and Southeast Europe. It has a small part of its territory (3%) in Southeast Europe
Europe
called Turkish Thrace. 3 Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia are transcontinental countries. Both have a small part of their territories in the European part of the Caucasus. 4 Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
is a transcontinental country. It has a small part of its territories located west of the Urals in Eastern Europe. 5 Cyprus
Cyprus
is entirely in Southwest Asia, but has socio-political and historical connections with Europe.

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 252680782 LCCN: sh85045631 GND: 4015701-5 HDS:

.