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

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

The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of written records. During the Neolithic era and the time of the Indo-European migrations, Europe saw human inflows from east and southeast and subsequent important cultural and material exchange. The period known as classical antiquity began with the emergence of the city-states of ancient Greece. Later, the Roman Empire came to dominate the entire Mediterranean basin. The fall of the Roman Empire in AD 476 traditionally marks the start of the Middle Ages. Beginning in the 14th century a Renaissance of knowledge challenged traditional doctrines in science and theology. Simultaneously, the Protestant Reformation set up Protestant churches primarily in Germany, Scandinavia and England. After 1800, the Industrial Revolution brought prosperity to Britain and Western Europe. The main European powers set up colonies in most of the Americas and Africa, and parts of Asia. In the 20th century, World War I and World War II resulted in massive numbers of deaths. The Cold War dominated European geo-politics from 1947 to 1989. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, the European countries grew together.

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

The economy of Europe comprises more than 744 million people in 50 countries. The formation of the European Union (EU) and in 1999, the introduction of a unified currency, the Euro, brings participating European countries closer through the convenience of a shared currency and has led to a stronger European cash flow. The difference in wealth across Europe can be seen roughly in former Cold War divide, with some countries breaching the divide (Greece, Estonia, Portugal, Slovenia and the Czech Republic). Whilst most European states have a GDP per capita higher than the world's average and are very highly developed (Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Andorra, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany), some European economies, despite their position over the world's average in the Human Development Index, are poorer.

The European Commission (EC) is part of the executive of the European Union (EU). It operates as a cabinet government, with 27 members of the Commission (directorial system, informally known as "Commissioners") headed by a President. It includes an administrative body of about 32,000 European civil servants. The commission is divided into departments known as Directorates-General (DGs) that can be likened to departments or ministries each headed by a Director-General who is responsible to a Commissioner.

There is one member per member state, but members are bound by their oath of office to represent the general interest of the EU as a whole rather than their home state. The Commission President (currently Ursula von der Leyen) is proposed by the European Council (the 27 heads of state/governments) and elected by the European Parliament. The Council of the European Union then nominates the other members of the Commission in agreement with the nominated President, and the 27 members as a team are then subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament. The current Commission is the Von der Leyen Commission, which took office in December 2019, following the European Parliament elections in May of the same year. (Full article...)

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Main façade

The Marciana Library or Library of Saint Mark (Italian: Biblioteca Marciana, but in historical documents commonly referred to as Libreria pubblica di san Marco) is a public library in Venice, Italy. It is one of the earliest surviving public libraries and repositories for manuscripts in Italy and holds one of the world's most significant collections of classical texts. It is named after St Mark, the patron saint of the city.

The library was founded in 1468 when the humanist scholar Cardinal Bessarion, bishop of Tusculum and titular Latin patriarch of Constantinople, donated his collection of Greek and Latin manuscripts to the Republic of Venice, with the stipulation that a library of public utility be established. The collection was the result of Bessarion's persistent efforts to locate rare manuscripts throughout Greece and Italy and then acquire or copy them as a means of preserving the writings of the classical Greek authors and the literature of Byzantium after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. His choice of Venice was primarily due to the city's large community of Greek refugees and its historical ties to the Byzantine Empire. The Venetian government was slow, however, to honour its commitment to suitably house the manuscripts with decades of discussion and indecision, owing to a series of military conflicts in the late-fifteenth and early-sixteenth centuries and the resulting climate of political uncertainty. The library was ultimately built during the period of recovery as part of a vast programme of urban renewal aimed at glorifying the republic through architecture and affirming its international prestige as a centre of wisdom and learning. (Full article...)

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Kostas Martakis
Kostas Martakis
Credit: Universal Music Greece
Kostas Martakis is a Greek singer most known for his participation in a talent show called Dream Show aired by Alpha TV in 2006, and his participation in the Greek national final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2008. He released his debut album Anatropi and numerous singles through Sony BMG Greece, with whom he was originally signed. In 2009, he signed with Universal Music Greece and then released his second album Pio Konta in November 2009.

In the News

14 February 2024 – Russian invasion of Ukraine
Crimea attacks
Ukraine claims to have sunk the Russian ship Tsezar Kunikov off the coast of Katsiveli, Crimea. A video appears to show the vessel being struck with unmanned surface drones. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
13 February 2024 – Estonia–Russia relations
Prime Minister of Estonia, Kaja Kallas, is reportedly placed on the Russian Interior Ministry's register of wanted people due to the country's removal of Soviet War Memorials, making Kallas the first known government leader to be added to a wanted list by Russian authorities. (The Guardian)
12 February 2024 – Israel–Hamas war
Israel–Netherlands relations
A Dutch appeals court orders a suspension of exports of F-35 jet parts to Israel within the next seven days over concerns that the aircraft parts are being used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law. Prime Minister Mark Rutte says that the government will appeal the suspension. (Reuters)
12 February 2024 – Israel–United Kingdom relations
British Foreign Secretary David Cameron announces sanctions against four Israeli settlers for engaging in extremist violence towards Palestinians in the occupied-West Bank. (Al Jazeera)

Updated: 16:33, 14 February 2024


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Jürgen Ehlers (German: [ˈjʏʁɡŋ̩ ˈeːlɐs]; 29 December 1929 – 20 May 2008) was a German physicist who contributed to the understanding of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity. From graduate and postgraduate work in Pascual Jordan's relativity research group at Hamburg University, he held various posts as a lecturer and, later, as a professor before joining the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Munich as a director. In 1995, he became the founding director of the newly created Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam, Germany.

Ehlers' research focused on the foundations of general relativity as well as on the theory's applications to astrophysics. He formulated a suitable classification of exact solutions to Einstein's field equations and proved the Ehlers–Geren–Sachs theorem that justifies the application of simple, general-relativistic model universes to modern cosmology. He created a spacetime-oriented description of gravitational lensing and clarified the relationship between models formulated within the framework of general relativity and those of Newtonian gravity. In addition, Ehlers had a keen interest in both the history and philosophy of physics and was an ardent populariser of science. (Full article...)

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Detail showing Alexander
Detail showing Alexander
Credit: Unknown
Alexander the Great (356–323 BC), the King of Macedonia, as depicted in a detail from the Alexander Mosaic. Originally from the House of the Faun in Pompeii and dated to c. 100 BC, the mosaic depicts a battle between the armies of Alexander the Great and Darius III of Persia. It is believed to be a copy of an early 3rd century BC Hellenistic painting, probably by Philoxenos of Eretria.

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Major Religions in Europe

Northern Europe

Western Europe

Central Europe

Central and Eastern Europe and Caucasus

Southern Europe

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A panoramic view of Rüdesheim am Rhein, looking towards east.
A panoramic view of Rüdesheim am Rhein, looking towards east.
Credit: DXR
Rüdesheim am Rhein is a winemaking town in the Rhine Gorge and thereby part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It lies in the Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis district in the Regierungsbezirk of Darmstadt in Hesse, Germany. It is officially known as Rüdesheim am Rhein, which distinguishes it from Rüdesheim an der Nahe.


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