Europe, with around 10 million km 2 and around 742 million residents according to COUNTRYAAH.COM, is the second smallest continent (after Australia), which forms a contiguous land mass with Asia (Eurasia); In terms of cultural geography, however, Europe is a separate continent. The dividing line is formed by the Ural Mountains, Ural River, Caspian Sea and Black Sea.
Geography: The surface shape shows a rich structure with deeply penetrating sea bays, peninsulas and islands. A wide lowland stretches from the Urals to the west coast. It separates the Scandinavian mountains from a low mountain range, to which a range of folds from the Atlantic to the Black Sea connects to the south (Pyrenees, Alps, Carpathians, Balkan Mountains). The southern European peninsulas are traversed by foothills or characterized by highlands (e.g. Castile) and lowland basins (e.g. Andalusia, the Po Valley).
The climate ranges from polar to subtropical, but is predominantly temperate and is favored by the Gulf Stream. The west and the middle of the continent receive sufficient precipitation from westerly winds, towards the east there is an increasing continental climate with strong seasonal temperature fluctuations. Southern Europe has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers.
The vegetation in the north is determined by the tundra, followed by a coniferous forest zone, and further south there is a mixed forest belt that runs through western, central and eastern Europe. The hard leaf zone of the Mediterranean is characteristic of the south.
In the animal world, typical representatives of the tundra are reindeer, arctic foxes and many species of birds, in the coniferous forest area fur animals such as bears, foxes and sable and in the deciduous forest area red deer, fallow deer and roe deer, in the high mountains chamois, ibex and marmots. In the Mediterranean area there are more cold-blooded animals (e.g. lizards).
The population consists almost exclusively of whites (Europids), 95% of whom speak Indo-European (mainly Germanic, Romance and Slavic) languages. The non-Indo-European minorities include the Basques, Hungarians, Estonians and Finns. According to their denomination, Europeans are predominantly Christian (Catholic, particularly in Southern and Western Europe; Protestant, particularly in Great Britain, Central and Northern Europe; Orthodox, particularly in Southeast and Eastern Europe).
In terms of economy, Europe has a productive agriculture, the main problem of which is often overproduction. There is a great variety of mineral resources, in some cases the deposits are already exhausted or have been pushed to the edge by non-European deposits (e.g. tin, gold, silver, copper). Along with North America and Japan, Europe is one of the most important industrial centers on earth. The core area is a highly industrialized zone that extends from Great Britain via France, the Benelux countries, Germany and northern Switzerland to Bohemia and southern Poland, with secondary areas in northern Spain, northern Italy and central Sweden. In Eastern Europe, the industry in the Donets Basin and the Southern Urals is particularly important. The service sector is becoming increasingly important.
History: The European history of antiquity leads from the Greek to the Roman culture, after the division of the Roman Empire (395 AD) in the eastern half of the empire to the Byzantine culture. With the Migration of peoples disintegrated the unity of the Western Roman Empire; a Germanic world of states emerged, which gradually took over Christianity. Here that rose Franconian empire under Charlemagne to supremacy, which fell apart in the 9th century. Since then, a majority of larger and medium-sized states have been responsible for the political development of Europe, even if the Roman-German Empire occupied a leading position from the middle of the 10th to the middle of the 13th century. The Germanic and Romanic nations, especially the Germans, French, English, Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese and Dutch, formed the core of the occidental cultural community, into which the Slavic peoples of Eastern and Southeastern Europe were gradually included.
In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church embodied the spiritual unity of the “Occident” with the spiritual head of the papacy in Rome. The denominational unity disintegrated through the Reformation. Just as the nations of Europe replaced each other in terms of cultural leadership, the permanent supremacy of a great state could no longer be enforced: the Spanish-Habsburg Empire of the 16th century, the France of Louis XIV and especially Napoleon I called for the resolute repulsion of the other powers on the scene, and in the sense of the “European equilibrium” a state system with a fixed circle of great powers developed. For centuries, Christian Europe saw itself threatened by the encroachment of Islam; Moorish rule in Spain was broken in 1492, and Turkish rule over south-eastern Europe at the beginning of the 20th century.
With the voyages of discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries, a colonial conquest began, which extended the power of European states almost over the whole world and established a correspondingly broad cultural leadership role in Europe. In the 18th century, medicine, physics, and chemistry enjoyed an unexpected boom, and the Enlightenment unfolded its emancipatory power. The demand for freedom and equality, but also the idea of a nation-state, came with the French Revolution to victory in 1789. Of course, the national struggles intensified, combined with the global political contradictions of the epoch of Imperialism, including the tensions within Europe, which eventually came first World War. This ended the supremacy of Europe.
The rise of the USA to the leading world power, the The October Revolution in Russia, the modernization of China and Japan created new political realities. In Italy in 1922 came the Fascism, in Germany 1933 the National Socialism to Power.
After the second World War I divided Europe into a western camp under the leadership of the USA and an eastern camp under the leadership of the Soviet Union (East-West conflict). In Western Europe, with the USA through the Joined NATO, the efforts to unite and combine political and economic forces in the grew European Communities. In Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union consolidated its supremacy through the formation of the Warsaw Pact and des Council for Mutual Economic Assistance.
The upheavals in Central and Eastern Europe and the reform policy of the Soviet Union led to the collapse of the Soviet system in 1989/90 and the end of the Cold War. The dissolution of the socialist community of states also formed the basis for the peaceful restoration of the national unity of Germany in 1990. Considerable changes in the political map resulted from 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union into numerous independent republics, some of which were part of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) came together in the course of the civil war in Yugoslavia and the division of Czechoslovakia.
While in Eastern Europe the break-up of nationality conflicts that had been suppressed for decades was combined with the already problematic social and economic new beginning, in Western Europe the unification of the EC states took place European Union ahead. At the end of 2009 the Lisbon Treaty came into force, which is the current legal basis for the EU. Since 2014, Europe has been confronted with a sharp increase in the number of refugees (especially from the crisis countries Syria and Afghanistan).