Meaning of EUROPE in English


The vast majority of Europe's inhabitants are of the European (or Caucasoid) geographic race, characterized by white or lightly pigmented skins and variability in eye and hair colour and by a number of biochemical similarities; there is also an increasing number of people of African and Asian ancestry, although their proportion of the population is still small. The origins of the Europeans as a distinct group may never be learned. It is known, however, that the continent had a scanty population of now-extinct hominid species before modern humans appeared some 40,000 years ago and that throughout its prehistoric period it received continual waves of immigrants from Asia. The legacy of these immigrants can be seen in the variety of physical types and cultural features that are found throughout Europe. Cultural patterns Culture groups Distribution of European ethnic culture areas. Efforts have been made to characterize different ethnic types among European peoples, but these are merely selectively defined physical traits that, at best, have only a certain descriptive and statistical value. On the other hand, territorial differences in language and culture are well known; these have been of immense social and political import in Europe. These differences place Europe in sharp contrast to such relatively recently settled lands as the United States, Canada, and Australia. Given the agelong occupation of its soil and minimal mobility for the peasantrylong the bulk of the populationEurope became the home of many linguistic and national core areas, separated by mountains, forests, and marshlands. Its many states, some long-established, introduced another divisive element that was augmented by modern nationalistic sentiments. Efforts to associate groups of states for specific defense and trade functions, especially after World War II, created wider unitary associations, with fundamental EastWest differences. Thus, there appeared two clear-cut, opposing unitsone centred around the Soviet Union and the other around the countries of western Europeand a number of relatively neutral states (Ireland, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, and Spain). This pattern subsequently was altered in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the dissolution of the Soviet bloc (including the Soviet Union itself) and the rapprochement between East and West. The map showing the distribution of European ethnic culture areas identifies some 160 different groups, including a number of groups in the Caucasus region that have affinities with both Asia and Europe. Each of these large groups exhibits two significant features. First, each is characterized by a degree of self-recognition by its members, although the basis for such collective identity varies from group to group. Second, each groupexcept the Jews and Gypsiestends to be concentrated and numerically dominant within a distinctive territorial homeland. For a majority of groups the basis for collective identity is possession of a distinctive language or dialect. The Catalans and Galicians of Spain, for example, have languages notably different from the Castilian of the majority of Spaniards. On the other hand, some peoples may share a common language yet set each other apart because of differences in religion. In the Balkan region, for instance, the Eastern Orthodox Serbs, Muslim Bosnians, and Roman Catholic Croats all speak the Serbo-Croatian language, but the members of each group generally have antagonistic views toward the others. Some groups may share a common language but remain separate from each other because of differing historic paths. Thus, the Walloons of southern Belgium and the Jurassians of Switzerland both speak French, yet they see themselves as quite different from the French because their groups have developed almost completely outside the boundaries of France. Even when coexisting within the same state, some groups may have similar languages and common religions but remain distinctive from each other because of separate past associations. During Czechoslovakia's 75 years as a single state, the historic linkages of Slovaks with the Hungarian kingdom and Czechs with the Austrian state kept the two groups apart; the country was divided into two separate states in 1993. The primary European groups of the map have been associated by ethnographers into some 21 culture areas. The grouping is based primarily on similarities of language and territorial proximity. Although individuals within a primary group generally are aware of their cultural bonds, the various groups within an ethnographic culture area do not necessarily share any self-recognition of their affinities to one another. This is particularly true in the Balkan culture area. Peoples in the Scandinavian and German culture areas, by contrast, are much more aware of belonging to broader regional civilizations. second smallest of the world's continents (after Australia), composed of the westward-projecting peninsulas of Eurasia and occupying nearly one-fifteenth of the world's total land area. It is bordered on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the south (west to east) by the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Kuma-Manych Depression, and the Caspian Sea. The continent's eastern boundary (north to south) runs along the eastern Ural Mountains and the Zhem River. Europe's islands and archipelagoes include Novaya Zemlya, Iceland, the British Isles, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Crete, Malta, and Cyprus. Its major peninsulas include the Scandinavian, Iberian, Italian, Balkan, and Jutland. Indented by numerous bays, fjords, and seas, continental Europe's highly irregular coastline is about 24,000 miles (38,000 km) long. Area 4,000,000 square miles (10,400,000 square km). Pop. (1991 est.) 718,500,000. second smallest of the world's continents, composed of the westward-projecting peninsulas of Eurasia and occupying nearly one-fifteenth of the world's total land area. It is bordered on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the south (west to east) by the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Kuma and Manych rivers, and the Caspian Sea. The continent's eastern boundary (north to south) runs along the eastern Ural Mountains and the Emba River. Europe's islands and archipelagoes include Novaya Zemlya, Iceland, the British Isles, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Crete, Malta, and Cyprus. Its major peninsulas include the Scandinavian, Iberian, Italian, Balkan, and Jutland. Indented by numerous bays, fjords, and seas, continental Europe's highly irregular coastline is about 24,000 miles (38,000 kilometres) long. Among the continents, Europe is an anomaly. Larger only than Australia, it is a small appendage of the great landmass that it shares with an Asia more than four times its size. Yet the peninsular and insular western extremity of Eurasia, thrusting toward the North Atlantic Ocean, providesthanks to its latitude and its physical geographya relatively genial human habitat, and the long processes of human history came to mark off the region as the home of a distinctive civilization. In spite of its internal diversity, Europe has thus functioned, from the time it first emerged in the human consciousness, as a world apart, concentratingto borrow a phrase from Christopher Marloweinfinite riches in a little room. All the continents are conceptual constructs, but only Europe was not first perceived and named by outsiders. Europa, as the more learned of the ancient Greeks first conceived it, stood in sharp contrast to both Asia and Libya, the name then applied to the known northern part of Africa. Literally, Europa is now thought to have meant Mainland, rather than the earlier interpretation, Sunset. It appears to have suggested itself to the Greeks, in their maritime world, as an appropriate designation of the broadening, extensive northerly lands that lay beyond, lands with characteristics but vaguely known; yet these characteristics were clearly different from those inherent in the concepts of Asia and Libya, both of which, relatively prosperous and civilized, were associated closely with the culture of the Greeks and their predecessors. Traders and travelers reported that Europe possessed distinctive physical units, with mountain systems and lowland river basins much larger than those familiar to inhabitants of the Mediterranean region. It also was clear that a succession of climates, markedly different from those of the Mediterranean borderlands, were to be experienced as Europe was penetrated from the south. The spacious eastern steppe and, to the west and north, primeval forests as yet only marginally touched by human occupancy further underlined environmental contrasts. Europe was culturally backward and scantily settled. It was a barbarianthat is, a non-Greekworld, its inhabitants making bar-bar noises in unintelligible tongues. The Roman Empire, at its greatest extent in the 2nd century AD, revealed, and imprinted its culture on, much of the face of the continent, while trading relations beyond its frontiers also drew the remoter regions into its sphere. Yet it was not until the 19th and 20th centuries that modern science was able to draw with some precision the geologic and geographic lineaments of the European continent, the peoples of which had meanwhile achieved domination overand set in motion vast countervailing movements amongthe inhabitants of much of the rest of the globe. As to the territorial limits of Europe, while these seem clear on its three seaward flanks, they have been uncertain and hence much debated on the east, where the continent merges, without sundering physical limits, with parts of western Asia. Even to the north and west, many island groupsSvalbard (Spitsbergen), the British Isles, the Faeroes, Iceland, and the Madeira and Canary islandsthat are European by culture are included in the continent, although Greenland is conventionally allocated to North America. Further, the Mediterranean coastlands of North Africa and southwestern Asia also exhibit some European physical and cultural affinities, and Turkey and Cyprus, while geologically Asian, possess elements of European culture and may, perhaps, be regarded as parts of Europe. Eastward limits, now adopted by most geographers, assign the Caucasus Mountains to Asia and are taken to run southward along the eastern foot of the Urals and then across the Mugodzhar Hills, along the Emba River, and along the northern shore of the Caspian Sea. West of the Caspian, the European limit follows the Kuma-Manych Depression and the Kerch Strait to the Black Sea. This conventional eastern boundary, however, is not a cultural, political, or economic discontinuity on the land comparable, for example, to the insulating significance of the Himalayas, which clearly mark a northern limit to South Asian civilization. Inhabited plains, with only the minor interruption of the worn-down Urals, extend from central Europe to the Yenisey River in central Siberia. A relatively homogeneous, highly centralized, Slavic-based civilization dominates much of the territory occupied by the former Soviet Union from the Baltic and Black seas to the Pacific Ocean. This civilization is distinguished from the rest of Europe by legacies of a medieval Mongol-Tatar domination that precluded sharing many of the innovations and developments of European Western civilization; and it became further distinctive during the relative isolation of the Soviet period. In partitioning the globe into meaningful large geographic units, therefore, most modern geographers treated the former Soviet Union as a distinct territorial entity, comparable to a continent, that was separate from Europe to the west and from the rest of Asia to the south and east; this distinction undoubtedly will be maintained for Russia, which occupied three-fourths of the Soviet Union. The following discussion of Europe focuses primarily upon the territories and peoples lying west of the Russian border, although note is taken of physical and cultural features shared by the European portion of Russia with the rest of the continent. Europe occupies some four million square miles (10.4 million square kilometres) within the conventional borders assigned to it. This broad territory reveals no simple unity of geologic structure, landform, relief, or climate. Rocks of all geologic periods are exposed, and the operation of geologic forces during an immense succession of eras has contributed to the molding of the landscapes of mountain, plateau, and lowland and has bequeathed a variety of mineral reserves. Glaciation, too, has left its mark over wide areas, and the processes of erosion and deposition have created a highly variegated and compartmentalized countryside. Climatically, Europe benefits by having only a small proportion of its surface either too cold or too hot and dry for effective settlement and use. Regional climatic contrasts nevertheless exist: oceanic, Mediterranean, and continental types occur widely, as do gradations from one to the other. Associated vegetation and soil forms also show continual variety, but little is left of the dominant woodland that clothed most of the continent when humans first appeared. All in all, Europe enjoys a considerable and long-exploited resource base of soil, forest, sea, and minerals (notably coal), but its people, considerable numerically, as well as technically highly qualified, are increasingly its principal resource. The continent contains a shrinking seventh of the total population of the world, but this represents a collection of people of high skill and initiative. Europe thus supports high densities of population, concentrated in industrialized regions. In manufacture, commerce, and agriculture it still occupies an eminent, if no longer necessarily predominant, position, and, as agriculture increasingly rationalizes its structure, city life is everywhere becoming the norm. Europe is preeminently the homeland of white peoples. Its early and continuing economic achievements, evidenced by a high standard of living, and its successes in science, technology, and the arts spring from the vigour of its peoples in developing a high civilization, the roots of which lie in ancient Greece and Rome, the Byzantine Empire, and Palestine. Whatever its indebtedness, Europe has always shown its own powers of creativity and leadership: although wracked and exhausted by continued internal conflict, it has nevertheless advanced sufficiently to leave as its heritage the exploration, colonization, and development of other peoples and regions of the globe, if not always to the benefit of the other peoples and regions. W. Gordon East Thomas M. Poulsen This article treats the physical and human geography of Europe. For discussion of individual countries of the continent, see specific articles by namee.g., Italy, Poland, and United Kingdom. For discussion of major cities of the continent, see specific articles by namee.g., London, Rome, and Warsaw. The principal articles discussing the historical and cultural development of the continent include European history; European exploration; colonialism; Aegean civilizations; ancient Greek civilization; ancient Rome; Byzantine Empire; and Holy Roman Empire. Related topics are discussed in such articles as those on religion (e.g., Ancient European Religions; Judaism; and Roman Catholicism) and literature (e.g., Dutch literature; Homer; and Spanish literature). Additional reading General Sources that provide brief but comprehensive information on European states include Western Europe 1989: A Political and Economic Survey (1988), from Europa Publications; and two surveys from The World Today Series: Wayne C. Thompson and Mark H. Mullin , Western Europe 1988, 7th annual ed. (1988); and M. Wesley Shoemaker, The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe 1988, 19th annual ed. (1988). Richard Mayne (ed.), Western Europe, rev. ed. (1987); and George Schpflin (ed.), The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, rev. ed. (1986), both from the series Handbooks to the Modern World, are more detailed analyses. Denys Hay, Europe: The Emergence of an Idea, rev. ed. (1968), is a work of historical geography that explores the concept Europe. Other historical works include Gordon East, An Historical Geography of Europe, 5th ed. (1966); and Norman J.G. Pounds, An Historical Geography of Europe, 450 BCAD 1330 (1973), An Historical Geography of Europe, 15001840 (1979), and An Historical Geography of Europe, 18001914 (1985). Annuals include The Statesman's Year-Book and United Nations, Statistical Yearbook. Thomas M. Poulsen Physical and human geography Geologic history A survey of the geology of the continent is offered in Derek V. Ager, The Geology of Europe: A Regional Approach (1980). Roland Brinkmann, Geologic Evolution of Europe, 2nd rev. ed. (1969; originally published in German, 8th ed., 1959), is an introductory summary. Derek V. Ager and M. Brooks (eds.), Europe from Crust to Core (1977), collects papers on geologic events, from oldest to youngest, presented at a meeting of European geologic societies. M.G. Rutten, The Geology of Western Europe (1969), provides a general geologic background of part of the continent. Basic geologic elements are discussed in two articles published in Geologie en mijnbouw, vol. 57, no. 4 (1978): Peter A. Ziegler, North-Western Europe: Tectonics and Basin Development, pp. 589626; and H.J. Zwart and U.F. Dornsiepen, The Tectonic Framework of Central and Western Europe, pp. 627654. D.V. Nalivkin, Geology of the U.S.S.R. (1973; originally published in Russian, 1962), includes substantial coverage of the European part of the country. Beautiful colour maps illustrating the evolution of Europe are found in Peter A. Ziegler, Geological Atlas of Western and Central Europe (1982). The land General discussions of such topics as climate, topography, relief, vegetation zones, and animal distribution are found in George W. Hoffman (ed.), A Geography of Europe, 5th ed. (1983); Terry G. Jordan, The European Culture Area, 2nd ed. (1988); Margaret Reid Shackleton, Europe, a Regional Geography, 7th enlarged ed., rev. by Gordon East (1969); F.J. Monkhouse, A Regional Geography of Western Europe, 4th ed. (1974); and E.C. Marchant (comp.), The Countries of Europe as Seen by Their Geographers (1970). See also Europe (Excluding Russia), pp. 297388 in W.G. Kendrew, The Climate of the Continents, 5th ed. (1961).Works that focus on the geography of specific regions of Europe include Brian S. John, Scandinavia (1984); Roy E.H. Mellor, The Two Germanies (1978); D.S. Walker, The Mediterranean Lands, 3rd ed. (1965); J.M. Houston, The Western Mediterranean World (1964); Norman J.G. Pounds, Eastern Europe (1969); Dean S. Rugg, Eastern Europe (1985); Paul E. Lydolph, Geography of the U.S.S.R. (1979); and Leslie Symons et al., The Soviet Union, a Systematic Geography (1983). People Historical development of anthropological and ethnological characteristics is outlined in Timothy Champion et al., Prehistoric Europe (1984); Carleton Stevens Coon, The Races of Europe (1939, reprinted 1972); Michael W. Flinn, The European Demographic System, 15001820 (1981); and John Geipel, The Europeans: An Ethnohistorical Survey (1969). Brian W. Ilbery, Western Europe: A Systematic Human Geography, 2nd ed. (1986), is a concise overview. Population trends of Europe in relation to those of the other continents are discussed in J. Beaujeu-Garnier, Geography of Population, 2nd ed. (1978; originally published in French, 2 vol., 195658). For statistical information, United Nations, Demographic Yearbook, is also useful. The growing minority nationalist movements are examined in Charles R. Foster (ed.), Nations Without a State: Ethnic Minorities in Western Europe (1980); Hugh Seton-Watson, Nations and States: An Enquiry into the Origins of Nations and the Politics of Nationalism (1977); Louis L. Snyder, Global Mini-Nationalisms: Autonomy or Independence (1982); George Klein and Milan J. Reban (eds.), The Politics of Ethnicity in Eastern Europe (1981); and Stephen Castles, Here for Good: Western Europe's New Ethnic Minorities (1984), which focuses on the problems of foreign labour forces. In addition, a broad range of other topics is treated in such special studies as Stanley Hoffmann and Paschalis Kitromilides (eds.), Culture and Society in Contemporary Europe (1981); Jan F. Triska and Charles Gati (eds.), Blue-Collar Workers in Eastern Europe (1981); S.H. Franklin, The European Peasantry: The Final Phase (1969); David Lane, The End of Social Inequality?: Class, Status, and Power Under State Socialism (1982); Richard T. De George and James P. Scanlan (eds.), Marxism and Religion in Eastern Europe (1975); and Vernon Mallinson, The Western European Idea in Education (1980). Economy An introduction to European economic history is useful for understanding the modern European economy. The ongoing multivolume series Cambridge Economic History of Europe, begun in the 1960s under the general editorship of M.M. Postan, provides comprehensive surveys. Important historical periods are explored in Harry A. Miskimin, The Economy of Early Renaissance Europe, 13001460 (1975), and The Economy of Later Renaissance Europe, 14601600 (1977); Carlo M. Cipolla, Before the Industrial Revolution: European Society and Economy, 10001700, 2nd ed. (1980; originally published in Italian, 1974); A.G. Kenwood and A.L. Lougheed, The Growth of the International Economy, 18201980 (1983); and M.C. Kaser (ed.), The Economic History of Eastern Europe, 19191975 , 3 vol. (198687).General analyses of the economic character of Europe include Hugh Clout, Regional Development in Western Europe, 3rd ed. (1987); Walter Laqueur, A Continent Astray: Europe, 19701978 (1979); Andrea Boltho (ed.), The European Economy (1982); Andrew J. Pierre (ed.), Unemployment and Growth in the Western Economies (1984); Jozef M. van Brabant, Socialist Economic Integration: Aspects of Contemporary Economic Problems in Eastern Europe (1980); Alan H. Smith, The Planned Economies of Eastern Europe (1983); and Paul Stonham, Major Stock Markets of Europe (1982). For current information on a diversity of economic topics, United Nations, Economic Survey of Europe (annual), is useful. European agriculture is discussed in Michael Tracy, Government and Agriculture in Western Europe, 18801988, 3rd ed. (1989); Ruth Elleson, Performance and Structure of Agriculture in Western Europe (1983); Karl-Eugen Wdekin, Agrarian Policies in Communist Europe (1982); and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Prospects for Agricultural Production and Trade in Eastern Europe, 2 vol. (198182). Industry, technology, and energy are the special focus of Geoffrey Shepherd, Franois Duchne, and Christopher Saunders (eds.), Europe's Industries (1983); and George W. Hoffman, The European Energy Challenge (1985).william Ashworth, A Short History of the International Economy Since 1850, 4th ed. (1987), provides an introduction to the idea of economic cooperation; and cooperation is further explored in Juliet Lodge (ed.), Institutions and Policies of the European Community (1983); Peter Ludlow, The Making of the European Monetary System (1982); Dennis Swann, Competition and Industrial Policy in the European Community (1983); and Valerie J. Assetto, The Soviet Bloc in the IMF and the IBRD (1988). Thomas M. Poulsen Brian Frederick Windley

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