Portal:Europe

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Satellite image of Europe

Europe is one of the seven continents of the world. Europe covers approximately 2% of the Earth's surface and about 6.8% of the planet's total land area. It hosts around fifty sovereign states, the precise number depending on the underlying definition of Europe's border, as well as on the inclusion or exclusion of states which are not fully recognised internationally. Europe has a population of 731,000,000 or about 11% of the world's population.

Europe is the birthplace of Western culture. European nations played a predominant role in global affairs from the 16th century onwards, especially after the beginning of colonization. By the 17th and 18th centuries European nations controlled most of Africa, the Americas, and large portions of Asia. World War I and World War II led to a decline in European dominance in world affairs as the United States and Soviet Union took prominence. The Cold War between those two superpowers divided Europe along the Iron Curtain. 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.

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Tagus River
Credit: David Iliff

The Tagus River, seen here passing through the World Heritage listed city of Toledo, Spain. It is the longest river on the Iberian Peninsula at 1,038 kilometres (645 mi). It begins its journey in the Albarracín mountains in Spain, and follows a very constricted course for much of its length before reaching the Atlantic Ocean in Portugal.

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Flag of Armenia
The national flag of Armenia consists of three horizontal bands of equal width, red on the top, blue in the middle, and orange on the bottom. The Armenian Supreme Soviet adopted the current flag on August 24, 1990. On June 15, 2006, the Law on the National Flag of Armenia, governing its usage, was passed by the National Assembly of Armenia. Throughout history, there have been many variations of the Armenian flag. In ancient times, Armenian dynasties were represented by different symbolic animals displayed on their flags. In the twentieth century, various Soviet flags represented the Armenian nation. The meanings of the colors have been interpreted in many different ways. For example, red has stood for the blood shed by Armenian soldiers in war, blue for the Armenian sky, and orange represents the fertile lands of Armenia and the workers who work them. Today's tricolor flag bears little resemblance to the earliest Armenian 'flags'; in ancient times, armies went into battle behind carvings mounted on poles. The carvings might represent a dragon, an eagle, a lion or "some mysterious object of the gods." With the advent of Christianity, the Armenian empire adopted many different flags representing various dynasties. The Artaxiad Dynasty's flag, for instance, consisted of a red cloth displaying two eagles gazing at each other, separated by a flower.


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Lichtenstein Castle
Credit: Andreas Tille

Lichtenstein Castle is a fairy-tale castle located near Honau in the Swabian Alb, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. Although there have been previous castles on the site, the current castle was constructed by Duke Wilhelm of Urach in 1840 after being inspired by Wilhelm Hauff's novel Lichtenstein. The romantic Neo-Gothic design of the castle was created by the architect Carl Alexander Heideloff.

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