Europe
Language arts
By: Andrew Flaherty
Europe is generally divided from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting the Black and Aegean Seas. Europe is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and the Black Sea and connected waterways to the southeast. Yet the borders of Europe—a concept dating back to classical antiquity—are somewhat arbitrary, as the primarily physiographic term "continent" can incorporate cultural and political elements. is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering about 10,180,000 square kilometers (3,930,000 sq mi) or 2% of the Earth's surface and about 6.8% of its land area. Of Europe's approximately 50 states, Russia is by far the largest by both area and population, taking up 40% of the continent (although the country has territory in both Europe and Asia), while Vatican City is the smallest. Europe is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of 733 million or about 11% of the world's population. Europe, in particular Ancient Greece, is the birthplace of Western culture. It played a predominant role in global affairs from the 15th century onwards, especially after the beginning of colonialism. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European nations controlled at various times the Americas, most of Africa, Oceania, and large portions of Asia. In 1900, Europe's share of the world's population was 25%.Both World Wars were largely focused upon Europe, greatly contributing to a decline in Western European dominance in world affairs by the mid-20th century as the United States and Soviet Union took prominence. During the Cold War, Europe was divided along the Iron Curtain between NATO in the west and the Warsaw Pact in the east. European integration led to the formation of the Council of Europe and the European Union in Western Europe, both of which have been expanding eastward since the revolutions of 1989 and the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.Europeis the second smallest of the inhabited continents. It is a part of the Eurasian land mass that includes Europe, Asia, Asia Minor and the Arabian Peninsula. As many large islands east and south of Asia are usually included in Asia, the Eurasian land mass extends from Iceland to New Guinea, from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Arctic to the Indian Oceans. Just where to divide this mass into continents has long been debated. Traditionally the Ural Mountains inRussia have been used as a division. This line then had to curve back through the Caspian and Black Seas to avoid leaving Turkey in Europe. The fact that this separated Christian Europe from Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist Asia is not coincidental. With the creation of many new countries from the collapse of the Soviet Union the division is more difficult as so many want to be included in Europe for economic reasons. In order to show complete countries only we have included Russia in Asia, where most of its area lies, rather than in Europe.

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