Portal:Europe

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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 panorama

Prague
Credit: David Iliff

A panoramic view of Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, as viewed from the Petřín Lookout Tower. The view is approximately 180 degrees, from north on the left to south on the right. The area on which Prague was founded was settled as early as the Paleolithic age. By the year 800 there was a simple fort with wooden buildings, occupying about two-thirds of the area that is now Prague Castle. Prague was an important seat for trading where merchants from all of Europe settled, and it especially flourished during the reign of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor.



Featured article

Coat of arms of the Gediminids dynasty
The family of Gediminas is a group of family members of Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania (ca. 1275–1341), who interacted in the 14th century. The family included the siblings, children, and grandchildren of the Grand Duke and played the pivotal role in the history of Lithuania for the period as the Lithuanian nobility had not yet acquired its influence. Gediminas was also the forefather of the Gediminid dynasty, which ruled the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from 1310s or 1280s to 1572.

Gediminas' origins are unclear, but recent research suggests that Skalmantas, an otherwise unknown historical figure, was Gediminas' grandfather or father and could be considered the dynasty's founder. Because none of his brothers or sisters had known heirs, Gediminas, who sired at least twelve children, had the advantage in establishing sovereignty over his siblings. Known for his diplomatic skills, Gediminas arranged his children's marriages to suit the goals of his foreign policy: his sons consolidated Lithuanian power within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, while his daughters established or strengthened alliances with the rulers of areas in modern-day Russia, Ukraine and Poland.


Featured portrait

Kiril Lazarov, Macedonian handball player, playing for RK Zagreb, on August 22nd, 2009 in Ehingen (Germany), during the Schlecker Cup 2009.
Credit: Armin Kübelbeck

Kiril Lazarov (b. 10 May 1980) is a Macedonian handball player active since 1991.He is also the captain of the Macedonia national handball team.Lazarov was top scorer of the EHF Champions League two times with MVM Veszprém and RK Zagreb. In 2011–12, he was top scorer for Velux EHF Final 4 runner-up Atlético Madrid.

Featured picture

Panel of glazed tiles from Jorge Colaço (1922) representing an episode of the battle of Aljubarrota (1385) between the Portuguese and Castillian armies.
Credit: Joaquim Alves Gaspar

Panel of azulejo (Portuguese 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.

Featured biography

Anne Frank pictured in 1940
Annelies Marie Frank ( 12 June 1929 – February or March 1945) was a German-born diarist and writer. One of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust, she gained fame posthumously following the publication of her diary, The Diary of a Young Girl (originally Het Achterhuis; [The Secret Annex] error: {{lang-xx}}: text has italic markup (help)), which documents her life in hiding from 1942 to 1944, during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. It is one of the world's most widely known books and has been the basis for several plays and films.

Born in Frankfurt, Germany, she lived most of her life in or near Amsterdam, Netherlands, having moved there with her family at the age of four-and-a-half when the Nazis gained control over Germany. Born a German national, Frank lost her citizenship in 1941 and thus became stateless. By May 1940, the Franks were trapped in Amsterdam by the German occupation of the Netherlands. As persecutions of the Jewish population increased in July 1942, the family went into hiding in some concealed rooms behind a bookcase in the building where Anne's father worked. From then until the family's arrest by the Gestapo in August 1944, Anne kept a diary she had received as a birthday present, and wrote in it regularly. Following their arrest, the Franks were transported to concentration camps. In October or November 1944, Anne and her sister, Margot, were transferred to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp from Auschwitz, where they died (probably of typhus) a few months later. They were originally estimated by the Red Cross to have died in March, with Dutch authorities setting 31 March as their official date of death, but research by the Anne Frank House in 2015 suggests they more likely died in February.


Featured location

Clockwise from top: cityscape, Beetham Tower, Manchester Civil Justice Centre, Midland Hotel, One Angel Square, Manchester Town Hall
Manchester is a major city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 514,414 as of 2013. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous urban area, with a population of 2.55 million. Manchester is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council.

The recorded history of Manchester began with the civilian settlement associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium or Mancunium, which was established in about 79 AD on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell. It was historically a part of Lancashire, although areas of Cheshire south of the River Mersey were incorporated during the 20th century. Throughout the Middle Ages Manchester remained a manorial township but began to expand "at an astonishing rate" around the turn of the 19th century. Manchester's unplanned urbanisation was brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution, and resulted in it becoming the world's first industrialised city.


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