Portal:Europe

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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.

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A bowl of borscht garnished with dill and a dollop of smetana (sour cream)
A bowl of borscht garnished with dill and a dollop of smetana (sour cream)

Borscht (English: /ˈbɔːrʃ, ˈbɔːrʃt/ (About this soundlisten)) is a beet soup of Ukrainian origin common in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is typically made using a large amount of beets (originally, sour beets), by combining meat or bone stock with sautéed or boiled vegetables, which may include cabbage, carrots, onions, potatoes and tomatoes. Depending on the recipe, borscht may vastly vary in thickness (from porrige-like thick to drink-like smooth). A pot of borscht, however, may be cooked with meat, or with its boullion or neither.

Borscht is normally served with smetana or sour cream, hard-boiled eggs or potatoes, but there is an ample choice of more garnishes and side dishes involved (such as dumplings, like uszka or pampushky). (Full article...)

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The Dorset Cross flag of Dorset

Dorset (/ˈdɔːrsɪt/; archaically: Dorsetshire) is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The ceremonial county comprises the unitary authority areas of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and Dorset. Covering an area of 2,653 square kilometres (1,024 sq mi), Dorset borders Devon to the west, Somerset to the north-west, Wiltshire to the north-east, and Hampshire to the east. The county town is Dorchester which is in the south. After the reorganisation of local government in 1974, the county's border was extended eastward to incorporate the Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch. Around half of the population lives in the South East Dorset conurbation, while the rest of the county is largely rural with a low population density.

The county has a long history of human settlement stretching back to the Neolithic era. The Romans conquered Dorset's indigenous Celtic tribe, and during the Early Middle Ages, the Saxons settled the area and made Dorset a shire in the 7th century. The first recorded Viking raid on the British Isles occurred in Dorset during the eighth century, and the Black Death entered England at Melcombe Regis in 1348. Dorset has seen much civil unrest: in the English Civil War, an uprising of vigilantes was crushed by Oliver Cromwell's forces in a pitched battle near Shaftesbury; the doomed Monmouth Rebellion began at Lyme Regis; and a group of farm labourers from Tolpuddle were instrumental in the formation of the trade union movement. During the Second World War, Dorset was heavily involved in the preparations for the invasion of Normandy, and the large harbours of Portland and Poole were two of the main embarkation points. The former was the sailing venue in the 2012 Summer Olympics, and both have clubs or hire venues for sailing, Cornish pilot gig rowing, sea kayaking and powerboating. (Full article...)

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Gioachino Rossini
Gioachino Antonio Rossini (1792–1868) was an Italian composer who wrote 39 operas as well as sacred music, chamber music, songs, and some instrumental and piano pieces. His best-known operas include the Italian comedies Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) and La Cenerentola (Cinderella), and the French-language epics Moïse et Pharaon and Guillaume Tell (William Tell). A tendency for inspired, song-like melodies is evident throughout his scores, which led to the nickname "The Italian Mozart."

In the News

15 June 2021 – Australia–United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement
The British government announces that a free trade agreement has been reached between Australia and the United Kingdom. (BBC)
15 June 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Europe
COVID-19 pandemic in France, COVID-19 vaccination in France
France begins to vaccinate children between the ages of 12 and 18 using special child-sized needles in order to achieve herd immunity and reduce the spread of variants of COVID-19. The age eligibility of 12 years is one of the lowest of any European Union nation. (The Independent)
COVID-19 pandemic in Slovenia
Slovenia declares the end of its eight-month state of emergency, which means that cultural and sports events will be able to reopen at 75% capacity for people who can demonstrate that they have either been vaccinated, tested negative or have recovered from COVID-19. (U.S. News and World Report)

Updated: 15:33, 16 June 2021

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A middle-aged woman with shoulder-length black hair looking to her left dressed in a high-necked shirt and a large cross on a chain
Drawing of Spitzeder from the 1873 book Die Gartenlaube, based on a photograph

Adelheid Luise "Adele" Spitzeder ([ˈaːdl̩haɪt ʔaˈdeːlə ˈʃpɪtˌtseːdɐ]; 9 February 1832 – 27 or 28 October 1895), also known by her stage name Adele Vio, was a German actress, folk singer, and con artist. Initially a promising young actress, Spitzeder became a well-known private banker in 19th-century Munich when her theatrical success dwindled. Running what was possibly the first recorded Ponzi scheme, she offered large returns on investments by continually using the money of new investors to pay back the previous ones. At the height of her success, contemporary sources considered her the wealthiest woman in Bavaria.

Opening her bank in 1869, Spitzeder managed to fend off attempts to discredit her for a few years before authorities were able to bring her to trial in 1872. Because Ponzi schemes were not yet illegal, she was convicted instead of bad accounting and mishandling customers' money and sentenced to three years in prison. Her bank was closed and 32,000 people lost 38 million gulden, the equivalent of almost 400 million euros in 2017 money, causing a wave of suicides. Her personal fortune in art and cash was stripped from her. (Full article...)

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Great coat of arms of the Russian Empire (1800)
Credit: Unknown
The Great Coat of Arms of the Russian Empire, as presented to Emperor Paul I in October 1800. The use of the double-headed eagle in the coat of arms (seen in multiple locations here) goes back to the 15th century. With the fall of Constantinople and the end of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the Grand Dukes of Muscovy came to see themselves as the successors of the Byzantine heritage, a notion reinforced by the marriage of Ivan III to Sophia Paleologue. Ivan adopted the golden Byzantine double-headed eagle in his seal, first documented in 1472, marking his direct claim to the Roman imperial heritage and his assertion as sovereign equal and rival to the Holy Roman Empire.

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Grimsel Pass
The Grimsel Pass is a mountain pass in Switzerland which crosses the Bernese Alps at an elevation of 2,164 metres (7,100 ft). It connects the Haslital, the upper valley of the river Aare, with the upper valley of the Rhone. A 38-kilometre (24 mi) paved road between Gletsch and Meiringen follows the pass; owing to high snowfall, this road is generally closed between October and May.

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