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  • Europe is the second smallest continent on Earth. Only Oceania has less landmass.
  • It is located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere.
  • It includes 44 countries and the people are called the Europeans.
  • Europeans constitute about one-seventh of the world’s population.
  • Most of the continent’s approximately 60 native languages belong to either the Romance, Germanic, or Slavic language groups.
  • Europe’s population is overwhelmingly Christian.

Geography of Europe

  • It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Mediterranean, Black, and Caspian seas.
  • The continent’s eastern boundary runs along the Ural Mountains and the Ural River.

History of Europe

  • The Greek civilizations were the earliest in Europe and laid the foundation for European civilization.
  • By the mid-2nd century BC, the Greeks had come under Roman control.
    • It was through the Romans that Christianity penetrated Europe.
  • The Roman Empire in the West finally collapsed in the 5th century AD.
  • The modern European traditions of science, exploration, and discovery began with the Renaissance (15th–16th centuries).
  • The “Protestant Reformation” of the 16th century ended the dominance of the Roman Catholic church over western and northern Europe.
  • The “Enlightenment period” of the 17th and 18th centuries stressed the primacy of reason.
  • In the late 18th century, Enlightenment ideas helped spur the French Revolution, which toppled Europe’s most powerful monarchy.
  • The late 18th century also marked the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, which led to Europe’s military and political dominance over much of the world for the next century.
  • In the early 20th century, the European powers were divided in World War I, which led to the effective end of monarchy in Europe and created a host of new countries in central and eastern Europe.
  • World War II marked the passing of world power from the states of western Europe.
  • Changes after World War II:
    • The Soviet Union collapsed in the late 20th century, leading to a general demise of communism throughout the continent;
    • Soviet satellites became independent, and most began to democratize;
    • East and West Germany were reunified; and
    • Yugoslavia and its successor states were devastated by ethnic conflict.
  • Beginning in the mid-1900s the countries of Europe created a variety of organizations to help them become more unified.
  • In 1993, one of these organizations became the European Union.

Europe in Data

  • Roughly one-third of the continent is arable, and about half of that land is devoted to cereals, principally wheat and barley.
  • One-third of the continent is forested.
  • Continental Europe’s irregular coastline is about 24,000 mi (38,000 km) long.
  • About three-fifths of the land is below 600 ft (180 m) above sea level, and another one-third is between 600 and 3,000 ft (180 and 900 m).
  • Glaciers cover an area of about 44,800 sq mi (116,000 sq km), mostly in the north.

Interesting Facts about Europe

  1. It was the first of the world’s regions to develop a modern economy based on commercial agriculture and industry.
  2. It is one of the world’s major industrial regions, with average annual income per capita among the world’s highest.

Quick Facts about Europe

Area – 3,844,905 sq mi (9,958,258 sq km)
Population – (2008 estimate) 696,933,440
Largest Country by Area – European portion of Russia: 1,526,200 sq mi (3,952,840 sq km)
Smallest Country by Area – Vatican City: 0.2 sq mi (0.4 sq km)
Largest Country by Population – European portion of Russia: (2008 estimate) 103,560,740
Smallest Country by Population – Vatican City: (2008 estimate) 930
Largest Cities – Moscow, Russia; London, England; Saint Petersburg, Russia; Berlin, Germany; Madrid, Spain
Longest River – Volga River, Russia: 2,193 mi (3,530 km)
Largest Lake – Caspian Sea (Europe/Asia): 143,000 sq mi (370,000 sq km)


  1. Britannica
  2. Wikipedia

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