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

A panoramic view of Rüdesheim am Rhein, looking towards east.
Credit: DXR

Rüdesheim am Rhein is a winemaking town in the Rhine Gorge and thereby part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It lies in the Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis district in the Regierungsbezirk of Darmstadt in Hesse, Germany. It is officially known as Rüdesheim am Rhein, which distinguishes it from Rüdesheim an der Nahe.



Featured article

The IFK Göteborg squad year 1905.
Idrottsföreningen Kamraterna Göteborg, commonly known as IFK Göteborg or simply Göteborg, is a Swedish professional football club based in Gothenburg. Founded on 4 October 1904, it is the only club in the Nordic countries that has won a pan-European competition, as the club won the UEFA Cup in 1982 and 1987. IFK is affiliated with Göteborgs Fotbollförbund and play all their home games at Gamla Ullevi since the start of the 2009 season. The club colours are blue and white, colours shared both with the sports society—Idrottsföreningen Kamraterna—which the club originated from, and with the home town of Gothenburg.

Besides the two UEFA Cup titles, they have won 18 Swedish championship titles, second most in Swedish football after Malmö FF, and have the third most national cup titles with seven. The team has qualified for four group stages of the UEFA Champions League, and reached the semi-finals of the 1985–86 European Cup. IFK Göteborg is the only Swedish club team in any sport to have won the Radiosportens Jerringpris—an award for best sports performance of the year voted by the Swedish people—for the 1982 UEFA Cup victory. IFK is one of the most popular football clubs in Sweden, with diverse country-wide support.They currently play in the highest Swedish league, Allsvenskan, where they have played for the majority of their history. They have played top-flight football in Sweden continuously since 1977, which currently is the longest top-flight tenure of any club in Sweden—the second longest is Helsingborgs IF, since 1993.


Featured portrait

Ana Santos Aramburo at the headquarters of the National Library of Spain
Credit: National Library of Spain

Ana Santos Aramburo (born 1957, Zaragoza) is the director of the National Library of Spain, since February 2013. Santos received a degree in geography and history from the University of Saragossa, and a diploma in Librarianship and Documentation from the Centre of Documentary Studies from the Ministry of Culture. Her thesis was “Artistic Documentation in the Archive of Notarial Protocols of Saragossa in the 17th century”.

Featured picture

Yule log
Credit: Jebulon

A Yule log cake made of chocolate sponge cake, filled with raspberry jam, and decorated to resemble its namesake. Such cakes, known as bûche de Noël in French, are traditional desserts served near Christmas in France and several of its former colonies.

Featured biography

Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, c. 1914
Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia (November 15 [O.S. November 3] 1895 – July 17, 1918) was the eldest daughter of the last Tsar of the Russian Empire, Emperor Nicholas II, and of Empress Alexandra of Russia.

During her lifetime, Olga's future marriage was the subject of great speculation within Russia. Matches were rumored with Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia, Crown Prince Carol of Romania, Edward, Prince of Wales, eldest son of Britain's George V, and with Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia. Olga herself wanted to marry a Russian and remain in her home country. During World War I, Olga nursed wounded soldiers in a military hospital until her own nerves gave out and, thereafter, oversaw administrative duties at the hospital.

Olga's murder following the Russian Revolution of 1917 resulted in her canonization as a passion bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church. In later years, when dozens of people made claims to be surviving members of the imperial family, a woman named Marga Boodts claimed to be Grand Duchess Olga, but her claim was not taken seriously. Olga was assassinated along with her family at Yekaterinburg. Her remains were identified through DNA testing and were buried during a funeral ceremony in 1998 at Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg along with those of her parents and two of her sisters.


Featured location

The Mendip Hills from Crook Peak, near Compton Bishop
The Mendip Hills is a range of limestone hills to the south of Bristol and Bath in Somerset, England. Running east to west between Weston-super-Mare and Frome, the hills overlook the Somerset Levels to the south and the Chew Valley and other tributaries of the Avon to the north. The hills give their name to the local government district of Mendip, which administers most of the area. The higher, western part of the hills, covering 198 km2 (76 sq mi) has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which gives it a level of protection comparable to a national park.

The hills are largely formed from Carboniferous Limestone, which is quarried at several sites. Three nationally important semi-natural habitats are characteristic of the area: ashmaple woodland, calcareous grassland and mesotrophic grassland. With their temperate climate these support a range of flora and fauna including birds, butterflies and small mammals. The dry stone walls that divide the pasture into fields are of botanical importance as they support important populations of the nationally scarce wall whitlowgrass (Draba muralis).


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