Europe in Maps

Europe stands as one of the world’s seven continents, encapsulating the western peninsulas of the larger Eurasian landmass. Situated primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere and entirely in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s framed by a quartet of waters: the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the warm currents of the Mediterranean to the south, and the vast stretch of Asia to the east. The continent’s geographical definition often includes the division from Asia by the natural boundaries formed by the Ural Mountains, Ural River, Caspian Sea, Greater Caucasus, Black Sea, and the Turkish Straits.

The continent, occupying approximately 10.18 million square kilometers, is noted for its modest footprint on Earth’s total surface, representing just 2% of it and 6.8% of the land area. Europe’s political landscape is marked by a diverse array of approximately fifty sovereign states, with Russia claiming the largest territory. The continent’s population, estimated at 745 million as of 2021, is only surpassed by Asia and Africa, positioning Europe as the third most populous continent.

Culturally, Europe is the birthplace of Western civilization, deeply rooted in the intellectual and cultural heritage of Ancient Greece and Rome. The dark ages that followed the collapse of the Roman Empire gave way to the Middle Ages. The epoch of the Renaissance, which commenced in Florence, propagated a rejuvenation of humanism, the arts, science, and exploration, seeding the modern age’s inception. The subsequent periods of the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and the Napoleonic Wars had profound impacts on the continent’s socio-political and economic makeup.

Industrialization, which originated in the United Kingdom, swept through the continent with transformative effects, subsequently spreading globally. Europe’s influence continued through colonial expansions, until the devastations of two world wars in the 20th century reshaped global power dynamics, leading to a rise in influence of the United States and the Soviet Union.

Institutionally, Europe has sought unity and representation through bodies like the Council of Europe and the European Union (EU). The latter marks a significant stride in political and economic integration, encompassing a broad spectrum of nations while nurturing an exclusive currency, the euro, and fostering a singular market economy. The Schengen Area epitomizes the continent’s drive towards open borders and cooperative governance, with the EU’s parliamentary elections being among the largest exercises in democracy worldwide.