Europe, the second-smallest of the world’s continents, is made up of peninsulas projecting west of Eurasia (the vast landmass shared with Asia) and occupies about a fifteenth of the world’s total land area. It is bounded by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Kuma-Manich Depression, and the Caspian Sea to the south (west to east). The eastern boundary of the continent (north to south) runs along the Ural Mountains and then ends roughly southwest along the Emba (Zem) River on the northern Caspian coast.
|mapchart europe-image credit-slideshare.net
Europe’s geographical expansion
The largest islands and archipelagos in Europe include Novaya Zemlya, Franz Josef Land, Svalbard, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, the British Isles, the Balearic Islands, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, Crete and Cyprus. Its major peninsulas include Jutland and the Scandinavian, Iberian, Italian and Balkan peninsulas. Driven by numerous creeks, fjords and seas, continental Europe’s highly irregular coastline is approximately 24,000 miles (38,000 km) long.
Europe, the second-smallest of the world’s continents
Among the continents, Europe is an anomaly. Larger than only Australia, it is a small appendage of Eurasia. Yet the peninsular and insular western end of the continent, extending towards the North Atlantic Ocean,—thanks to its latitude and its physical geography—provides relatively normal human habitat, and the long processes of human history have led to the region becoming a region. marked in. Home of a specific civilization. Despite its internal diversity, Europe has acted as such, ever since it first emerged in human consciousness, as a separate world, to focus – to borrow a phrase from Christopher Marlowe – “a Infinite wealth in a small room.”
Ancient history of Europe
As an ideological construct, Europa, as the ancient Greeks first envisioned it, was in contrast to both Asia and Libya, a name then applied to the known northern part of Africa. Literally, Europa is now taken to mean “mainland” rather than the earlier interpretation, “sunset”. This appears to be the case for the Greeks, in their maritime world, as an appropriate designation for the wider northern land that lies beyond, land with characteristics vaguely known yet clearly defined by the concepts of Asia and Libya. distinct from those rooted in the U.S.—both of whom were relatively rich and civilized, closely associated with the culture of the Greeks and their predecessors. From a Greek point of view at the time, Europa was culturally backward and sparsely inhabited. It was a barbaric world—that is, a non-Greece, whose inhabitants were “repeatedly” making noises in ambiguous language.
Traders and travelers also reported that Europe beyond Greece had distinct physical units, with mountain systems and lowland river valleys much larger than the inhabitants of the Mediterranean region. It was also clear that a succession of climates markedly different from those bordering the Mediterranean was to be experienced as Europe entered from the south. The vast eastern steppes and, to the west and north, primitive forests, which have so far only been marginally affected by human occupation, further underline the environmental contrasts.
The Empire of Ancient Rome, at its greatest extent in the 2nd century AD, revealed and imprinted its culture over much of the continent. Trade relations beyond its borders also pulled remote areas into its territory. Yet it was not until the 19th and 20th centuries that modern science was able to draw with some precision the geologic and topographical lines of the European continent, whose people had meanwhile gained dominance – and set in motion the gigantic countervailing movements. did- the inhabitants of much of the rest of the world (see Western Colonialism).
As for the territorial boundaries of Europe, they may seem relatively clear on their seashores, but several island groups to the north and west—Svalbard, the Faroe, Iceland, and Madeira and the Canary Islands—are considered European, while Greenland (though Politically associated with Denmark) is traditionally allocated to North America. In addition, the Mediterranean coast of North Africa and southwestern Asia also exhibits some European physical and cultural similarities. Turkey and Cyprus in particular, while geologically Asian, have elements of European culture and can be considered as part of Europe. Indeed, Turkey has sought membership in the European Union (EU), and the Republic of Cyprus joined the organization in 2004.
Europe’s Major Mountains and Rivers
The boundaries of Europe have been particularly precarious, and therefore much debated in the East, where the continent merges with parts of Western Asia, without physical boundaries. The former boundary now adopted by most geographers covers a small part of Kazakhstan except the Caucasus region, where the European border formed by the northern Caspian coast is connected to the Urals by the Emba River of Kazakhstan and the Mugodzhar (Mugodzhar) hills . Southern extension of the Urals. One of the alternative boundaries proposed by geographers that has gained wide acceptance is a plan that sees the summit of the Greater Caucasus Range as the dividing line between Europe and Asia, placing Ciscaucasia, the northern part of the Caucasus region, into Europe and Transcaucasia. Is. Southern part, in Asia. Another widely supported plan places the western part of the Caucasus region in Europe and the eastern part—that is, a large part of Azerbaijan and a small part of the Caspian Sea coast of Armenia, Georgia and Russia—in Asia. Still another plan with many adherents traces the continental boundary along the Aras River and the Turkish border, placing Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia into Europe.
The eastern boundary of Europe, however, is not a cultural, political or economic discontinuity over land, for example, thanks to the insulating importance of the Himalayas, which clearly marked the northern boundary of South Asian civilization. Inhabited plains, with only minor interruptions of the worn-out Urals, extend from central Europe to the Yenisei River in central Siberia. Slavic-based civilization dominated much of the former Soviet Union-occupied territory, from the Baltic and Black Seas to the Pacific Ocean. That civilization is separated from the rest of Europe by the legacies of medieval Mongol-Tatar domination, which prevented it from sharing many of the innovations and developments of European “Western civilization”; It became more conspicuous during the relative isolation of the Soviet period. In dividing the world into meaningful large geographic units, therefore, most modern geographers regard the former Soviet Union as a distinct regional unit, equivalent to a continent, bounded by Europe to the west and Asia to the south and east to some extent. was different; That distinction is maintained for Russia, which constitutes three-quarters of the Soviet Union.
Natural resources of Europe
Europe occupies about 4 million square miles (10 million sq km) within the traditional boundaries assigned to it. That broad area does not reveal any simple unity of geological structure, topography, relief, or climate. Rocks of all geologic periods have been exposed, and the operation of geological forces during a vast succession of ages has contributed to the molding of mountain, plateau and lowland landscapes and has bequeathed a variety of mineral deposits. Glaciers have also left their mark on wide areas, and processes of erosion and deposition have created a highly diverse and divided countryside. Climatically, Europe benefits from only a small part of its surface being either too cold or too hot and too dry for effective disposal and use. Regional climate contrasts still exist: oceanic, Mediterranean, and continental types are widespread, as do the hierarchies from one to the other. Associated vegetation and soil forms also show continued diversity, but only the portions of the dominant woodland that clad most of the continent when humans first appeared.
Overall, Europe has an important and long-used resource base of soil, forests, seas and minerals (notable coal), but its people are increasingly its major resource. The continent, excluding Russia, has less than a tenth of the world’s population, but in general, its people are well educated and highly skilled. Europe also supports a high density of population concentrated in urban-industrialized areas. An increasing percentage of people in urban areas are employed in a wide range of service activities, which have come to dominate the economies of most countries. Nevertheless, in manufacturing and agriculture, Europe still holds a coveted, if not necessarily dominant, position now. The creation of the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993 greatly enhanced economic cooperation between many countries on the continent. Europe’s continued economic achievements are evidenced by its high standard of living and its successes in science, technology and the arts.
This article considers the physical and human geography of Europe. For a discussion of the individual countries on the continent, see the specific article by name—eg, Italy, Poland, and the United Kingdom. For a discussion of the continent’s major cities, see specific articles by name – eg, Rome, Warsaw and London. Major articles discussing the continent’s historical and cultural development include History of Europe; European exploration; western colonialism; Aegean Civilizations; Ancient Greek Civilization; ancient Rome; Greek Empire; and the Holy Roman Empire. Related topics are discussed in articles such as religion (eg, Judaism and Roman Catholicism) and literature (eg, Greek literature; Dutch literature; and Spanish literature).