Open main menu

border=#000000
Main   Geography   Projects


Europe is a continent that comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. Europe is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. To the east and southeast, Europe is generally considered as separated from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways of the Turkish Straits. Yet the non-oceanic borders of Europe—a concept dating back to classical antiquity—are arbitrary. The primarily physiographic term "continent" as applied to Europe also incorporates cultural and political elements whose discontinuities are not always reflected by the continent's current overland boundaries.

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 is divided into about fifty sovereign states of which the Russian Federation is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. Europe had a total population of about 740 million (about 11% of world population) as of 2012.


The history of Europe covers the peoples inhabiting the European continent from prehistory to the present. Some of the best-known civilizations of prehistoric Europe were the Minoan and the Mycenaean, which flourished during the Bronze Age until they collapsed in a short period of time around 1200 BC. The period known as classical antiquity began with the emergence of the city-states of Ancient Greece. After ultimately checking the Persian advance in Europe through the Greco-Persian Wars in the 5th century BC, Greek influence reached its zenith under the expansive empire of Alexander the Great, spreading throughout Asia, Africa, and other parts of Europe. The Roman Empire came to dominate the entire Mediterranean basin in a vast empire based on Roman law. By 300 AD the Roman Empire was divided into the Western and Eastern empires. During the 4th and 5th centuries, the Germanic peoples of northern Europe grew in strength and repeated attacks led to the Fall of the Western Roman Empire. AD 476 traditionally marks the end of the classical period and the start of the Middle Ages.

The culture of Europe is rooted in the art, architecture, music, literature, and philosophy that originated from the European cultural region. European culture is largely rooted in what is often referred to as its "common cultural heritage".

As a continent, the economy of Europe is currently the largest on 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. In 2009 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. As with other continents, 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 and the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Featured panorama

Prague
Credit: David Iliff

A panoramic view of Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, as viewed from the Petřín Lookout Tower. The view is approximately 180 degrees, from north on the left to south on the right. The area on which Prague was founded was settled as early as the Paleolithic age. By the year 800 there was a simple fort with wooden buildings, occupying about two-thirds of the area that is now Prague Castle. Prague was an important seat for trading where merchants from all of Europe settled, and it especially flourished during the reign of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor.



Featured article

The Bal des Ardents depicted in a 15th-century miniature from Froissart's Chronicles. The Duchess of Berry holds her blue skirts over a barely visible Charles VI of France as the dancers tear at their burning costumes. One dancer has leapt into the wine vat; in the gallery above, musicians continue to play.
The Bal des Ardents was a masquerade ball held on 28 January 1393 in Paris at which Charles VI of France performed in a dance with five members of the French nobility. Four of the dancers were killed in a fire caused by a torch brought in by a spectator, Charles' brother Louis, Duke of Orléans. King Charles and the remaining dancer, the noble knight Ogier de Nantouillet, survived. The ball was one of a number of events intended to entertain the young king, who the previous summer had suffered an attack of insanity. The event undermined confidence in Charles' capacity to rule; Parisians considered it proof of courtly decadence and threatened to rebel against the more powerful members of the nobility. The public's outrage forced the king and his brother Orléans, whom a contemporary chronicler accused of attempted regicide and sorcery, into offering penance for the event.

Charles' wife, Isabeau of Bavaria, held the ball to honor the remarriage of a lady-in-waiting. Scholars believe it may have been a traditional charivari, with the dancers disguised as wild men, mythical beings often associated with demonology, that were commonly represented in medieval Europe and documented in revels of Tudor England. The event was chronicled by contemporary writers such as the Monk of St Denis and Jean Froissart, and illustrated in a number of 15th-century illuminated manuscripts by painters such as the Master of Anthony of Burgundy. The incident later provided inspiration for a scene in Edgar Allan Poe's short story "Hop-Frog".


Featured portrait

Featured picture

River Amstel
Credit: Massimo Catarinella

The river Amstel, flowing through the centre of Amsterdam. Visible are some of the city's most important landmarks located adjacent to the river in this panorama, such as the Magere Brug (crossing the river), the Koninklijk Theater Carré, Amstel Hotel and Rembrandt Tower.

Featured biography

Pavle Đurišić (9 July 1909 – April 1945) was a Montenegrin Serb regular officer of the Royal Yugoslav Army who became a Chetnik commander (vojvoda) and led a significant proportion of the Chetniks in Montenegro during World War II. He distinguished himself and became one of the main commanders during the popular uprising against the Italians in Montenegro in July 1941, and later collaborated with the Italians in actions against the Yugoslav Partisans. In 1943, his troops carried out several massacres against the Muslim population of Bosnia, Herzegovina and the Sandžak, and participated in the anti-Partisan Case White offensive alongside Italian forces. Đurišić was captured by the Germans in May 1943, escaped and was recaptured.

After the capitulation of Italy, the Germans released Đurišić and he began collaborating with them and the Serbian puppet government. In 1944, he created the Montenegrin Volunteer Corps with assistance from the Germans, Milan Nedić, and Dimitrije Ljotić. In late 1944, the German commander in Montenegro decorated him with the Iron Cross 2nd Class. Đurišić was killed following the Battle of Lijevče Field, after being captured by elements of the Armed Forces of the Independent State of Croatia near Banja Luka in an apparent trap set by them and Montenegrin separatist Sekula Drljević. Some of Đurišić's troops were killed either in this battle or in later attacks by the Partisans as they then continued their withdrawal west. Others attempted to withdraw to Austria; they were forced to surrender to the Partisans and were killed in the Kočevski Rog area of southern Slovenia in May and June 1945. Đurišić was a very able Chetnik leader; his fighting skills were respected by his allies and opponents alike.


Featured location

Clockwise from top: cityscape, Beetham Tower, Manchester Civil Justice Centre, Midland Hotel, One Angel Square, Manchester Town Hall
Manchester is a major city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 514,414 as of 2013. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous urban area, with a population of 2.55 million. Manchester is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council.

The recorded history of Manchester began with the civilian settlement associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium or Mancunium, which was established in about 79 AD on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell. It was historically a part of Lancashire, although areas of Cheshire south of the River Mersey were incorporated during the 20th century. Throughout the Middle Ages Manchester remained a manorial township but began to expand "at an astonishing rate" around the turn of the 19th century. Manchester's unplanned urbanisation was brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution, and resulted in it becoming the world's first industrialised city.


Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database