Portal:Europe

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Introduction

Europe orthographic Caucasus Urals boundary (with borders).svg

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

Since around 1850, Europe is most commonly considered to be 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. Although the term "continent" implies physical geography, the land border is somewhat arbitrary and has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity. The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural, linguistic and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The border does not follow political boundaries, with Turkey, Russia and Kazakhstan being transcontinental countries.

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 741 Million (about 11% of the world population) . The European climate is largely affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent, even at latitudes along which the climate in Asia and North America is severe. Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast.

Featured panorama

Averbode Abbey
Credit: JH-man

Averbode Abbey, founded about 1134–35 by Count Arnold II of Loon, is a Premonstratensian monastery situated in the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels in Belgium. The abbey reached its peak in the 16th and 17th centuries, though over the past hundred years it has been in a state of decline.



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

Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia
Credit: Boissonnas and Eggler

Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia (1901 – 1918) was the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last sovereign of Imperial Russia, and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna. At age 17, she was executed with her family in an extrajudicial killing by members of the Cheka – the Bolshevik secret police – on July 17, 1918. Rumors have abounded that she survived, and multiple women have claimed to be her. However, this possibility has been conclusively disproven.

Featured picture

Christmas icon, Adoration of the Shepherds, from the Ivan Honchar Museum collection. Artist unknown, c. 1670.
Credit: Unknown

The History of Christianity in Ukraine dates back to the earliest centuries of the apostolic church. It has remained the dominant religion in the country since its acceptance in 988 by Vladimir the Great (Volodymyr the Great), who instated it as the state religion of Kievan Rus', a medieval East Slavic state and establishment of the Kiev Metropolis.

Featured biography

George I in the uniform of an Admiral of the Royal Hellenic Navy
George I (24 December 1845 – 18 March 1913) was King of Greece from 1863 until his assassination in 1913.

Originally a Danish prince, George was born in Copenhagen, and seemed destined for a career in the Royal Danish Navy. He was only 17 years old when he was elected king by the Greek National Assembly, which had deposed the unpopular former king Otto. His nomination was both suggested and supported by the Great Powers: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Second French Empire and the Russian Empire. He married the Russian grand duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia, and became the first monarch of a new Greek dynasty. Two of his sisters, Alexandra and Dagmar, married into the British and Russian royal families. King Edward VII and Tsar Alexander III were his brothers-in-law and King George V and Tsar Nicholas II were his nephews.

George's reign of almost 50 years (the longest in modern Greek history) was characterized by territorial gains as Greece established its place in pre-World War I Europe. Britain ceded the Ionian Islands peacefully, while Thessaly was annexed from the Ottoman Empire after the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878). Greece was not always successful in its territorial ambitions; it was defeated in the Greco-Turkish War (1897). During the First Balkan War, after Greek troops had captured much of Greek Macedonia, George was assassinated in Thessaloniki. Compared to his own long tenure, the reigns of his successors Constantine, Alexander, and George II proved short and insecure.


Featured location

St Giles Church, Wormshill
Wormshill is a small village and civil parish within the Borough of Maidstone, Kent, England. The parish is approximately 7 miles (11 km) south of the Swale and 8 miles (13 km) east of Maidstone. The village of Frinsted lies 0.6 miles (1 km) to the east and Bicknor 1 12 miles (2.4 km) to the north-west; while Hollingbourne is 3 miles (5 km) to the south-west. The village lies on an exposed high point of the North Downs, within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Archaeological and toponymic evidence of Wormshill's existence predates its appearance in the Domesday survey of 1086. The village contains a number of heritage-listed buildings, which include a Norman church, a public house and one of the oldest surviving post office buildings in the United Kingdom. The fields and woodland surrounding Wormshill have changed little in the past 500 years, and the village itself remains rural with a low population density compared to the national average. The population of 200 is a mixture of agricultural workers employed by local farms and professional residents who commute to nearby towns.


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