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.
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The goldcrest (Regulus regulus) is a very small passerine bird in the kinglet family. Its colourful golden crest feathers, as well as being called the "king of the birds" in European folklore, gives rise to its English and scientific names. The scientific name, R. regulus, means king or knight. Several subspecies are recognised across the very large distribution range that includes much of the Palearctic and the islands of Macaronesia and Iceland. Birds from the north and east of its breeding range migrate to winter further south.
This kinglet has greenish upper-parts, whitish under-parts, and has two white wingbars. It has a plain face contrasting black irises and a bright head crest, orange and yellow in the male and yellow in the female, which is displayed
during breeding. It superficially resembles the common firecrest
, which largely shares its European range, but the latter's bronze shoulders and strong face pattern are distinctive. The song
is a repetition of high thin notes, slightly higher-pitched than those of its relative. Birds on the Canary Islands
are now separated into two subspecies of the goldcrest, but were formerly considered to be a subspecies
of the firecrest or a separate species, Regulus teneriffae
. Read more...
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Titchwell Marsh is an English nature reserve owned and managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Located on the north coast of the county of Norfolk, between the villages of Titchwell and Thornham, about 8 km (5.0 mi) east of the seaside resort of Hunstanton, its 171 hectares (420 acres) include reed beds, saltmarshes, a freshwater lagoon and sandy beach, with a small woodland area near the car park. This internationally important reserve is part of the North Norfolk Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and is also protected through Natura 2000, Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar listings.
The reserve is important for some scarce breeding birds, such as pied avocets
on the islands, and western marsh harriers
, Eurasian bitterns
and bearded reedlings
in the reeds. To encourage bitterns to breed, the reed beds have been improved to make them wetter, and the lagoon has been stocked with the common rudd
. Typical wetland birds such as the water rail
, reed warbler
and sedge warbler
also appear, and little egrets
are common. The reserve has regularly attracted rarities, as its location is important for migrating birds
. Ducks and geese winter at Titchwell in considerable numbers, and the reserve shelters the endangered European water vole
. Read more...
(1746–1828) was a Spanish romantic
painter and printmaker
regarded as both the last of the Old Masters
and the first of the moderns. Goya was a court painter to the Spanish Crown
, and through his works was both a commentator on and chronicler of his era. This portrait was completed when Goya was 80 years old.
Featured biography -
Pavle Đurišić (Serbian Cyrillic: Павле Ђуришић, pronounced [pâːvle dʑǔriʃitɕ]; 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, but later collaborated with the Italians in actions against the Communist-led 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, the leader of the Serbian puppet government, Milan Nedić
, and the leader of the fascist Yugoslav National Movement
, 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. Read more...