Europe is the cradle of Western civilization. It is made up of a number of cultures, which makes the information about Europe, an interesting read.
Being the cradle of Western culture, Europe, comprises the western most part of the continent of Eurasia, lying towards Asia’s west. There are different names with which Europe is referred to with, like the Continent, continental and mainland. These names are often given by people living in Ireland, United Kingdom, Scandinavia, etc. Given below are some more fascinating facts about Europe.
Geography of Europe
Europe is the second smallest continent, according to area, but it is third most populous continent, ranking after Asia and Africa.
The population of Europe is approximately pegged at 857 million, which is about 11% of the world’s population.
It is spread over 10,180,000 sq. km. or 3,930,000 sq. mi.
Although Russia is said to be the largest country in Europe,it is not completely true, as some part of Russia lies in the Asian continent, in other words Russia is said to be a part of Eurasia (Europe and Asia).
After the disintegration of U.S.S.R., the largest country that lies wholly in Europe is Ukraine, while the smallest country is the Vatican City.
Europe is made up of around 50 countries.
Population-wise, the largest city is London.
Five peninsulas are a part of the European continent namely Balkan Peninsula, Iberian Peninsula, Scandinavian Peninsula, Jutland Peninsula and the Apennines Peninsula.
The world’s largest island is Greenland located in Europe and owned by the King of Denmark.
The Caucasus Mountains are the highest mountains.
Europe is known for its diversity even when it comes to the climate. Central and eastern region of the continent is known for its continental climate, where the extremes in climate can be observed. In summers its warm to hot, whereas in winter the region gets cold. It is the southern region of the continent, which is blessed with the best climate, as it has Mediterranean climate. As compared to most other parts, the winters are mild, although the area does experience light snow and rain.
As compared to most other parts of Europe, the winters are mild, although the area does experience light snow and rain. Unlike in other parts of Europe the summers are dry and hot. The northern region has sub-polar and tundra climate, where extremely cold winters is common.
The longest river in Europe is the Volga river, followed by Danube.
Other than on the east, Europe is bordered by different water-bodies. On the east, the European continent shares its border with Asia and the two continents are separated by the watershed divided created by Ural and Caucasus mountains, Caspian Sea, Ural River and Black Sea. In the north, the Arctic Ocean borders Europe, whereas it is the Mediterranean Sea in the south and the Atlantic Ocean in the west.
History of Europe
Although there is no geological separation of the landmass between Europe and Asia, political considerations have played a role in Europe always being regarded as a separate continent. The continent has got its name from a Phoenician Princess, named Europa, in Greek mythology.
The events that have taken place in Europe have been the basis of much of western civilization, as we know it today. Some of the noteworthy events include: The profound impact of Ancient Greece on Western civilization, with the individualism and democratic culture being credited to it.
Many cultural aspects of the West have had its roots in the rationalism, humanism and philosophy of people like Plato, Aristotle and Socrates. Scientists like Archimedes, Euclid and Pythagoras provided the basis for scientific knowledge.
The establishment of the Roman Empire was another major influence, with it leaving its mark on government, law, architecture, language and engineering and which also saw the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church. After the Roman Empire declined, Europe went through epochal periods such as the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment.
The first part of the 20th century saw Europe engulfed in two world wars as well as the great economic depression. World War I, from 1914 to 1918, resulted in drastic changes in the continent. The Russian Revolution took place in Russia, which resulted in the toppling of the Tsars and the country becoming communist Soviet Union. The Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary was broken up into various nations, while many other nations were completely wiped off the map, or their borders changed.
By World War II, which was fought between 1939 and 1945, ended, it also saw the decline of Western Europe as being a preeminent world power. Europe was divided into two blocs, the Eastern bloc comprising communist countries and the Western democracies, divided by the so-called ‘iron curtain’ and thus saw the emergence of the new superpowers of the world, the Soviet Union and the United States, which were locked in a Cold War that lasted for 50 years, centering on nuclear weapon proliferation.
The steady decolonization taking place, most of the colonies of Europe in Africa and Asia started becoming independent. Then, later, during the 1980s saw the solidarity movement taking place in Poland and Mikhail Gorbachev bringing about sweeping reforms in the Soviet Union, which lead to the Cold War ending and the Eastern bloc collapsing. In 1989, the Berlin Wall was broken down and Germany reunited, with the countries of Eastern Europe having their borders redrawn once again.
The years after World War II also saw the move towards the integration of Europe. The European Economic Community, or EEC, was established in 1957, when six Western European countries signed the Treaty of Rome, with the aim being a common market and a unified economic policy. In 1967 saw the formation of the European Community with the combination of the Euratom, the European Coal and Steel Community and the EEC, which turned into the European Union in 1993 with the Maastricht Treaty.
After World War II saw the move towards the integration of Europe. The European Economic Community, or EEC, was established in 1957, when six Western European countries signed the Treaty of Rome, with the aim being a common market and a unified economic policy.
In 1967 saw the formation of the European Community with the combination of the Euratom, the European Coal and Steel Community and the EEC, which turned into the European Union in 1993 with the Maastricht Treaty. Post Cold War, the countries of Eastern Europe also started joining, thus increasing the EU, which now comprises 27 European countries.
Europe is known for its culture. The languages spoken in Europe can be divided into three language families, namely Romance languages (derived from Latin), Germanic languages and Slavic languages. Other than the languages belonging to these three main types, there are a number of other languages that are spoken in Europe.
Other than Austria and Yugoslavia, all countries in Europe have a language named after the country name. German is the official language of Austria, whereas Serbo-Croatian is the language of Yugoslavia.
Christianity is the main religion of the continent. There are three main types of churches in Europe, namely Catholics, Protestants and Eastern Orthodox churches. There are some parts of Europe, where Islam is practiced predominantly. The other religions which are practiced include Buddhism, Judaism and Hinduism. However, there is a growing trend of people becoming irreligious, atheistic and agnostic observed in Europe.
Given the diversity in the continent, every state has its own cuisine, although, some of the cuisines are similar to one another. The cuisines can largely be divided into Eastern European, Northern European, Southern European, Western European. This differentiation has been made on geographical basis.
Interesting Facts about Europe
Vatican City State has been declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO. It is the only ‘country’ in the world, which has been declared so.
An interesting fact about the European continent is that it starts from North America to end at North America again, due to the presence of countries like Iceland and Russia in the continent.
For the past 20 years, the population of Europe has been static, with the birth and death rates being constant.
Like Japan is termed as the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’, Norway in Europe is called the ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’.
In the literal sense of the words, there is no desert in Europe.
There are three time zones in Europe, namely Eastern European Timezone, Western European Timezone and Central European Timezone.
One of the facts on Europe is that , there exists a common currency in 12 nations of the European continent called Euro, which was introduced in 2002. In 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 more countries came under the single currency banner.
The Statue of Liberty was designed by a French, who went with the name Frédéric Bartholdi and it was another French, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, who built the statue in France before it was shipped to America.
The only metropolitan area, which is a part of two continents is Istanbul, as it is located on the Bosphorus Strait, which is a part of Europe as well as Asia. Therefore, it is often said, “if you want to have lunch in Europe and dinner in Asia, then you have to be in Istanbul”.
An interesting fact about Europe is that there are three countries in Europe, whose names start with the alphabet ‘I’, namely Iceland, Italy and Ireland.
You will be astonished to know, that Germany has as many as 9 neighbors, namely Switzerland, Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Austria, Belgium and Czech Republic.
Europe comprises about 2 percent of the total surface of the earth.