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 article -
Liverpool Football Club is a professional association football club in Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) competitions. Since 1964, they have won fourteen European and Worldwide trophies, more than any other British club. These consist of the UEFA Champions League (formerly known as the European Cup) six times, the UEFA Europa League (formerly the UEFA Cup) three times, the UEFA Super Cup four times, and the FIFA Club World Cup once.
Qualification for European competitions is determined by a team's success in its domestic league and cup competitions from the previous season. Liverpool competed in European competitions for 21 consecutive seasons until the 1985 European Cup Final
, the occasion of the Heysel Stadium disaster
, following which the club was banned from European competitions for six seasons. Since being readmitted in 1991, they have qualified for the UEFA Champions League (the successor to the European Cup) twelve times, the UEFA Europa League (the successor to the UEFA Cup) twelve times, and the (now-defunct) UEFA Cup Winners Cup
twice. Read more...
Featured location -
Overview of Village Bay, St Kilda
St Kilda (Scottish Gaelic: Hiort) is an isolated archipelago situated 40 miles (64 km) west-northwest of North Uist in the North Atlantic Ocean. It contains the westernmost islands of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The largest island is Hirta, whose sea cliffs are the highest in the United Kingdom. Three other islands (Dùn, Soay and Boreray) were also used for grazing and seabird hunting. The islands are administratively a part of the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar local authority area.
The origin of the name St Kilda
is a matter of conjecture. The islands' human heritage includes numerous unique architectural features from the historic and prehistoric periods, although the earliest written records of island life date from the Late Middle Ages
. The medieval village on Hirta was rebuilt in the 19th century, but illnesses brought by increased external contacts through tourism and the upheaval of the First World War
contributed to the island's evacuation in 1930. The story of St Kilda has attracted artistic interpretations, including Michael Powell
's film The Edge of the World
and an opera. Read more...
Featured biography -
A 1611 woodcut
of Josquin des Prez, copied from a now-lost oil painting done during his lifetime
Josquin des Prez (French: [ʒɔskɛ̃ depʁe]; c. 1450/1455 – 27 August 1521), often referred to simply as Josquin, was a French composer of the Renaissance. He was the most famous European composer between Guillaume Dufay and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, and is usually considered to be the central figure of the Franco-Flemish School. Josquin is widely considered by music scholars to be the first master of the high Renaissance style of polyphonic vocal music that was emerging during his lifetime.
During the 16th century, Josquin gradually acquired the reputation as the greatest composer of the age, his mastery of technique and expression universally imitated and admired. Writers as diverse as Baldassare Castiglione
and Martin Luther
wrote about his reputation and fame, with Luther declaring that "he is the master of the notes. They must do as he wills; as for the other composers, they have to do as the notes will." Theorists such as Heinrich Glarean
and Gioseffo Zarlino
held his style as that best representing perfection. He was so admired that many anonymous compositions were attributed to him by copyists, probably to increase their sales. More than 370 works are attributed to him; it was only after the advent of modern analytical scholarship that some of these attributions were challenged, and revealed as mistaken, on the basis of stylistic features and manuscript evidence. Yet in spite of Josquin's colossal reputation, which endured until the beginning of the Baroque
era and was revived in the 20th century, his biography is shadowy, and virtually nothing is known about his personality. The only surviving work which may be in his own hand is a graffito on the wall of the Sistine Chapel
, and only one contemporary mention of his character is known, in a letter to Duke Ercole I
. The lives of dozens of less revered Renaissance composers are better documented than that of Josquin. Read more...
Panel of azulejo
blue glazed tiles) by artist Jorge Colaço (1922) representing an episode of the Battle of Aljubarrota
(1385) between the Portuguese and Castilian
armies. The Ala dos Namorados
("Wing of the fiancés") depicted in this scene was the left wing of the Portuguese defense formation.
The Gorce Mountains
are part of the Western Beskids
spreading across southernmost Poland
. They are situated in Małopolska Province
, at the western tip of the long Carpathian range
extending east beyond the Dunajec
River for some 1,500 kilometres (930 mi). The Gorce are characterized by numerous ridges reaching in all directions for up to 40 kilometres (25 mi) east–west
with a series of higher elevations cut by deep river valleys.