Europe

Europe (i/ˈjʊərəp/ EWR-əp or /ˈjɜrəp/ YUR-əp) is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting the Black and Aegean Seas. Europe is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and the Black Sea and connected waterways to the southeast. Yet the borders of Europe—a concept dating back to classical antiquity—are somewhat arbitrary, as the primarily physiographic term "continent" can incorporate cultural and political elements.

Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering about 10,180,000 square kilometres (3,930,000 sq mi) or 2% of the Earth's surface and about 6.8% of its land area. Of Europe's approximately 50 states, Russia is by far the largest by both area and population, taking up 40% of the continent (although the country has territory in both Europe and Asia), while the Vatican City is the smallest. Europe is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of 733 million or about 11% of the world's population.

Europe, in particular Ancient Greece, is the birthplace of Western culture. It played a predominant role in global affairs from the 15th century onwards, especially after the beginning of colonialism. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European nations controlled at various times the Americas, most of Africa, Oceania, and large portions of Asia. In 1900, Europe's share of the world's population was 25%. Both World Wars were largely focused upon Europe, greatly contributing to a decline in Western European dominance in world affairs by the mid-20th century as the United States and Soviet Union took prominence. During the Cold War, Europe was divided along the Iron Curtain between NATO in the west and the Warsaw Pact in the east. European integration led to the formation of the Council of Europe and the European Union in Western Europe, both of which have been expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Read more about Europe:  Definition, Etymology, Geography, Political Geography, Integration, Economy, Demographics, Culture

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Famous quotes containing the word europe:

    Well then! Wagner was a revolutionary—he fled the Germans.... As an artist one has no home in Europe outside Paris: the délicatesse in all five artistic senses that is presupposed by Wagner’s art, the fingers for nuances, the psychological morbidity are found only in Paris. Nowhere else is this passion in questions of form to be found, this seriousness in mise en scène—which is Parisian seriousness par excellence.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)

    The American is said to become full-flavored, and in time a most all-round man, through the polish which Europe can impart.
    M. E. W. Sherwood (1826–1903)

    In everyone’s youthful dreams, philosophy is still vaguely but inseparably, and with singular truth, associated with the East, nor do after years discover its local habitation in the Western world. In comparison with the philosophers of the East, we may say that modern Europe has yet given birth to none.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)