Western Europe

Western Europe is the region comprising the western part of Europe. Though the term Western Europe is commonly used, there is no commonly agreed-upon definition of the countries that it encompasses.

Significant historical events that have shaped the concept of Western Europe include the rise of Rome, the adoption of Greek culture during the Roman Republic, the adoption of Christianity by Roman Emperors, the division of the Latin West and Greek East, the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, the reign of Charlemagne, the Viking invasions, the East–West Schism, the Black Death, the Renaissance, the Age of Discovery, the Protestant Reformation as well as the Counter-Reformation of the Catholic Church, the Age of Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the two world wars, the Cold War, the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the expansion of the European Union.

Video taken by the crew of Expedition 29 on board the ISS on a pass over Western Europe in 2011

Historical divisions

Classical antiquity and medieval origins

Expansion of christianity
The Great Schism in Christianity, the predominant religion in Western Europe at the time[1][2]

Prior to the Roman conquest, a large part of Western Europe had adopted the newly developed La Tène culture. As the Roman domain expanded, a cultural and linguistic division appeared between the mainly Greek-speaking eastern provinces, which had formed the highly urbanized Hellenistic civilization, and the western territories, which in contrast largely adopted the Latin language. This cultural and linguistic division was eventually reinforced by the later political east-west division of the Roman Empire. The Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire controlled the two divergent regions between the 3rd and the 5th centuries.

The division between these two was enhanced during Late antiquity and the Middle Ages by a number of events. The Western Roman Empire collapsed, starting the Early Middle Ages. By contrast, the Eastern Roman Empire, mostly known as the Greek or Byzantine Empire, survived and even thrived for another 1000 years. The rise of the Carolingian Empire in the west, and in particular the Great Schism between Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, enhanced the cultural and religious distinctiveness between Eastern and Western Europe.

After the conquest of the Byzantine Empire, center of the Eastern Orthodox Church, by the Muslim Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, and the gradual fragmentation of the Holy Roman Empire (which had replaced the Carolingian Empire), the division between Roman Catholic and Protestant became more important in Europe than that with Eastern Orthodoxy.

In East Asia, Western Europe was historically known as taixi in China and taisei in Japan, which literally translates as the "Far West". The term Far West became synonymous with Western Europe in China during the Ming dynasty. The Italian Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci was one of the first writers in China to use the Far West as an Asian counterpart to the European concept of the Far East. In Ricci's writings, Ricci referred to himself as "Matteo of the Far West".[3] The term was still in use in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Religion

Great Schism 1054 with former borders
Religious division in 1054[4]

Christianity is still the largest religion in Western Europe, according to a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center, 71.0% of the Western European population identified themselves as Christians.[5]

The East–West Schism, which has lasted since the 11th century, divided Christianity in Europe, and consequently the world, into Western Christianity and Eastern Christianity.

With certain simplifications, Western Europe is thus Catholic or Protestant and uses the Latin alphabet. Eastern Europe is Orthodox and uses the Greek alphabet or Cyrillic script.

According to this definition, Western Europe is formed by countries with dominant Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, including countries which are considered part of Central Europe now: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

Eastern Europe, meanwhile is formed by countries with dominant Eastern Orthodox churches, including Greece, Belarus, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine for instance.

The schism is the break of communion and theology between what are now the Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Roman Catholic from the 11th century, as well as from the 16th-century, also Protestant) churches.

This division dominated Europe for centuries, in opposition to the rather short-lived Cold War division of four decades.

Since the Great Schism of 1054, Europe has been divided between Roman Catholic and Protestant churches in the West and the Eastern Orthodox Christian (many times incorrectly labeled "Greek Orthodox") churches in the east. Due to this religious cleavage, Eastern Orthodox countries are often associated with Eastern Europe. A cleavage of this sort is, however, often problematic; for example, Greece is overwhelmingly Orthodox, but is very rarely included in "Eastern Europe", for a variety of reasons.[6]

Cold War

Europe-blocs-49-89x4
Political spheres of influence in Europe during the Cold War

During the four decades of the Cold War, the definition of East and West was rather simplified by the existence of the Eastern Bloc. Historians and social scientists generally view the Cold War definition of Western and Eastern Europe as outdated or relegating.[7][8][9][10]

During the final stages of World War II, the future of Europe was decided between the Allies in the 1945 Yalta Conference, between the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, the U.S. President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the Premier of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin.

Post-war Europe would be divided into two major spheres: the Western Bloc, influenced by the United States, and the Eastern Bloc, influenced by the Soviet Union. With the onset of the Cold War, Europe was divided by the Iron Curtain. This term had been used during World War II by German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels and, later, Count Lutz Schwerin von Krosigk in the last days of the war; however, its use was hugely popularized by Winston Churchill, who used it in his famous "Sinews of Peace" address on 5 March 1946 at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri:

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.

Although some countries were officially neutral, they were classified according to the nature of their political and economic systems. This division largely defines the popular perception and understanding of Western Europe and its borders with Eastern Europe.

KarteWEUStaaten
Former Western European Union – its members and associates

The world changed dramatically with the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. West Germany peacefully absorbed East Germany, in the German reunification. Comecon and the Warsaw Pact were dissolved, and in 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Several countries which had been part of the Soviet Union regained full independence.

Western European Union

In 1948 the Treaty of Brussels was signed between Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. It was further revisited in 1954 at the Paris Conference, when the Western European Union was established. It was declared defunct in 2011 after the Treaty of Lisbon, and the Treaty of Brussels was terminated. When the Western European Union was dissolved, it had 10 member countries, six associate member countries, five observer countries and seven associate partner countries.

Modern divisions

Geography: Realms, Regions, and Concepts

Geography: Realms, Regions, and Concepts has been published since 1971 and now in its 17th edition.[11] It was written by the authors Jan Nijman, Peter O. Muller and Harm J. de Blij. It is used in many US schools to teach students world geography.

Here, the definition of Western Europe includes:[11]

CIA classification

Europe subregion map world factbook
Regions of Europe based on CIA world factbook. Western Europe in light blue; Southwestern Europe in red

The CIA classifies seven countries as belonging to "Western Europe":[12]

The CIA also classifies three countries as belonging to "Southwestern Europe":

Western European and Others Group

The Western European and Others Group is one of several unofficial Regional Groups in the United Nations that act as voting blocs and negotiation forums. Regional voting blocs were formed in 1961 to encourage voting to various UN bodies from different regional groups. The European members of the group are:[13]

In addition, Australia, Canada, Israel and New Zealand are members of the group, with the United States as observer.

Population

Using the CIA classification strictly would give the following calculation of Western Europe's population. All figures based on the projections for 2018 by the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.[14]

Rank Country or territory Population (most recent estimates) Languages Capital
1 United Kingdom 66,040,229 English London
2 France (metropolitan) 65,058,000 French Paris
3 Netherlands 17,249,632 Dutch Amsterdam
4 Belgium 11,420,163 Dutch, French Brussels
5 Ireland 4,857,000 Irish, English Dublin
6 Luxembourg 602,005 French, Luxembourgish and German Luxembourg City
7 Monaco 38,300 French Monaco (city-state)
Total 165,265,329

Using the CIA classification a little more liberally and including "South-Western Europe", would give the following calculation of Western Europe's population.[14]

Rank Country or territory Population (most recent estimates) Languages Capital
1 United Kingdom 66,040,229 English London
2 France (metropolitan) 65,058,000 French Paris
3 Spain 46,700,000 Spanish Madrid
4 Netherlands 17,249,632 Dutch Amsterdam
5 Belgium 11,420,163 Dutch, French Brussels
6 Portugal 10,291,027 Portuguese Lisbon
7 Ireland 4,857,000 Irish, English Dublin
8 Luxembourg 602,005 French, Luxembourgish and German Luxembourg City
9 Andorra 78,264 Catalan Andorra la Vella
10 Monaco 38,300 French Monaco (city-state)
Total 222,293,922

Climate

The climate of Western Europe varies from subtropical and semi-arid in the southern coast of Italy and Spain to alpine in the Pyrenees. The Mediterranean climate of the south is dry and warm. The western and northwestern parts have a mild, generally humid climate, influenced by the North Atlantic Current.

Languages

Western European languages mostly fall within two Indo-European language families: the Romance languages, descended from the Latin of the Roman Empire; and the Germanic languages, whose ancestor language (Proto-Germanic) came from southern Scandinavia.[15] Romance languages are spoken primarily in the southern and central part of Western Europe, Germanic languages in the northern part (the British Isles and the Low Countries), as well as a large part of Northern and Central Europe.[15]

Other Indo-European languages include the Celtic group (that is, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Manx, Welsh, Cornish and Breton[15]). Basque is the only currently living Western European language isolate.

Multilingualism and the protection of regional and minority languages are recognized political goals in Western Europe today. The Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the Council of Europe's European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages set up a legal framework for language rights in Europe.

Economy

Western Europe is one of the richest regions of the world. Germany has the highest GDP in Europe and the largest financial surplus of any country, Luxembourg has the world's highest GDP per capita, and the United Kingdom has the highest net national wealth of any European state.

Switzerland and Luxembourg have the highest average wage in the world, in nominal and PPP, respectively. Denmark ranks highest in the world on the Social Progress Index.

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ "Atlas of the Historical Geography of the Holy Land". Rbedrosian.com. Archived from the original on 10 June 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  2. ^ "home.comcast.net". Archived from the original on 13 February 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  3. ^ Ricci, Matteo (1610) [2009]. On Friendship: One Hundred Maxims for a Chinese Prince. Translated by Timothy Billings. Columbia University Press. pp. 19, 71, 87. ISBN 978-0231149242.
  4. ^ Dragan Brujić (2005). "Vodič kroz svet Vizantije (Guide to the Byzantine World)". Beograd. p. 51.
  5. ^ "Being Christian in Western Europe", Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 2018, retrieved 29 May 2018
  6. ^ Peter John, Local Governance in Western Europe, University of Manchester, 2001, ISBN 9780761956372
  7. ^ "The geopolitical conditions (...) are now a thing of the past, and some specialists today think that Eastern Europe has outlived its usefulness as a phrase.""Regions, Regionalism, Eastern Europe by Steven Cassedy". New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, Charles Scribner's Sons. 2005. Retrieved 31 January 2010.
  8. ^ "One very common, but now outdated, definition of Eastern Europe was the Soviet-dominated communist countries of Europe."http://www.cotf.edu/earthinfo/balkans/BKdef.html
  9. ^ "Too much writing on the region has – consciously or unconsciously – clung to an outdated image of 'Eastern Europe', desperately trying to patch together political and social developments from Budapest to Bukhara or Tallinn to Tashkent without acknowledging that this Cold War frame of reference is coming apart at the seams. Central Europe Review: Re-Viewing Central Europe By Sean Hanley, Kazi Stastna and Andrew Stroehlein, 1999
  10. ^ Berglund, Sten; Ekman, Joakim; Aarebrot, Frank H. (2004). The handbook of political change in Eastern Europe. Edward Elgar Publishing [via Google Books]. p. 2. ISBN 9781781954324. Retrieved 5 October 2011. The term 'Eastern Europe' is ambiguous and in many ways outdated.
  11. ^ a b "Confirmed: Czech Republic is in Western Europe, says US textbook". News.expats.cz.
  12. ^ "Field listing: Location". CIA World Factbook. Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  13. ^ UNAIDS, The Governance Handbook, January 2010 (p. 29).
  14. ^ a b "World Population Prospects 2018".
  15. ^ a b c "Europe". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2008.

Sources

External links

Discovery Networks Northern Europe

Discovery Networks Northern Europe was a branch of Discovery, Inc..

Was responsible for overseeing Discovery Networks International channels in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe is the eastern part of the European continent. There is no consensus on the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, cultural, and socioeconomic connotations. There are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region". A related United Nations paper adds that "every assessment of spatial identities is essentially a social and cultural construct".One definition describes Eastern Europe as a cultural entity: the region lying in Europe with the main characteristics consisting of Greek, Byzantine, Eastern Orthodox, Russian, and some Ottoman culture influences. Another definition was created during the Cold War and used more or less synonymously with the term Eastern Bloc. A similar definition names the formerly communist European states outside the Soviet Union as Eastern Europe. Majority of historians and social scientists view such definitions as outdated or relegated, but they are still sometimes used for statistical purposes.

Europe

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 been redefined several times since its first conception in classical antiquity. The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural, linguistic and ethnic differences which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The geographic border also does not follow political boundaries, with Turkey, Russia and Kazakhstan being transcontinental countries. A strict application of the Caucasus Mountains boundary also places two comparatively small countries, Azerbaijan and Georgia, in both continents.

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) as of 2016. 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.

Europe, in particular ancient Greece, was the birthplace of Western civilization. The fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD and the subsequent Migration Period marked the end of ancient history and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Renaissance humanism, exploration, art and science led to the modern era. Since the Age of Discovery started by Portugal and Spain, Europe played a predominant role in global affairs. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers controlled at various times the Americas, almost all of Africa and Oceania and the majority of Asia.

The Age of Enlightenment, the subsequent French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars shaped the continent culturally, politically and economically from the end of the 17th century until the first half of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, gave rise to radical economic, cultural and social change in Western Europe and eventually the wider world. Both world wars took place for the most part in Europe, contributing to a decline in Western European dominance in world affairs by the mid-20th century as the Soviet Union and the United States 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, until the revolutions of 1989 and fall of the Berlin Wall.

In 1949 the Council of Europe was founded, following a speech by Sir Winston Churchill, with the idea of unifying Europe to achieve common goals. It includes all European states except for Belarus, Kazakhstan and Vatican City. Further European integration by some states led to the formation of the European Union (EU), a separate political entity that lies between a confederation and a federation. The EU originated in Western Europe but has been expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The currency of most countries of the European Union, the euro, is the most commonly used among Europeans; and the EU's Schengen Area abolishes border and immigration controls among most of its member states. The European Anthem is "Ode to Joy", and states celebrate peace and unity on Europe Day.

European science in the Middle Ages

European science in the Middle Ages comprised the study of nature, mathematics and natural philosophy in medieval Europe. Following the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the decline in knowledge of Greek, Christian Western Europe was cut off from an important source of ancient learning. Although a range of Christian clerics and scholars from Isidore and Bede to Buridan and Oresme maintained the spirit of rational inquiry, Western Europe would see a period of scientific decline during the Early Middle Ages. However, by the time of the High Middle Ages, the region had rallied and was on its way to once more taking the lead in scientific discovery. Scholarship and scientific discoveries of the Late Middle Ages laid the groundwork for the Scientific Revolution of the Early Modern Period.

According to Pierre Duhem, who founded the academic study of medieval science as a critique of the Enlightenment-positivist theory of a 17th-century anti-Aristotelian and anticlerical scientific revolution, the various conceptual origins of that alleged revolution lay in the 12th to 14th centuries, in the works of churchmen such as Aquinas and Buridan.In the context of this article, "Western Europe" refers to the European cultures bound together by the Roman Catholic Church and the Latin language.

Hinduism by country

Hinduism has over 1.1 billion adherents worldwide (15–16% of world's population), 94.3% of their population living in India alone. Along with Christianity (31.5%), Islam (23.2%) and Buddhism (7.1%), Hinduism is one of the four major religions of the world by percentage of population. Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world after Christianity and Islam, followed by Buddhism.Presently, India, Nepal are the two Hindu majority countries. Most Hindus are found in Asian countries. The countries with more than 500,000 Hindu residents and citizens include (in decreasing order) – India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia (especially in Bali, which is 84% Hindu), Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, United States, Myanmar, United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Mauritius, and the Caribbean (West Indies).

There are significant numbers of Hindu enclaves around the world, with many in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Hinduism is also practised by the non-Indic people like Balinese of Bali island (Indonesia), Tengger of Java (Indonesia) and Balamon Cham of Vietnam.

IX Fighter Command

The IX Fighter Command was a United States Army Air Forces formation. Its last assignment was with the Ninth Air Force, based at Erlangen, Germany. It was inactivated on 16 November 1945.

IX Fighter Command was the primary tactical fighter air arm of Ninth Air Force in the Western Desert Campaign in North Africa during 1942-1943. Reassigned to England, it became the dominant tactical air force over the skies of Western Europe during the 1944 Battle of Normandy and the Western Allied invasion of Germany in 1945.

After its inactivation, the majority of its (along with Twelfth Air Force) units were incorporated into the postwar United States Air Force Tactical Air Command.

Iberian Peninsula

The Iberian Peninsula , also known as Iberia, is located in the southwest corner of Europe. The peninsula is principally divided between Spain and Portugal, comprising most of their territory. It also includes Andorra, small areas of France, and the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. With an area of approximately 596,740 square kilometres (230,400 sq mi)), it is both the second largest European peninsula by area, after the Scandinavian Peninsula, and by population, after the Balkan Peninsula.

Islam in Europe

Islam is the second-largest (after Christianity) and fastest-growing religion in Europe. Although the majority of Muslim communities in Europe formed recently, there are centuries-old Muslim societies in the Balkans.

Islam entered southern Europe through the invading "Moors" of North Africa in the 8th–10th centuries; Muslim political entities existed firmly in what is today Spain, Portugal, South Italy and Malta for several centuries. The Muslim community in these territories was converted or expelled by the end of the 15th century (see Reconquista). Islam expanded into the Caucasus through the Muslim conquest of Persia in the 7th century. The Ottoman Empire expanded into southeastern Europe, invading and conquering huge portions of the Byzantine Empire in the 14th and 15th centuries. Over the centuries, the Ottoman Empire also gradually lost almost all of its European territories, until the empire collapsed in 1922. The countries of the Balkans continue to have large populations of native Muslims, though the majority are secular.

The term "Muslim Europe" is used for the Muslim-majority countries of Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Transcontinental countries, such as Turkey, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have large Muslim populations, as does Russia in the North Caucasus.

In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, large numbers of Muslims immigrated to Western Europe. By 2010, an estimated 44 million Muslims were living in Europe (6%), including an estimated 19 million in the EU (3.8%). They are projected to comprise 8% by 2030. They are often the subject of intense discussion and political controversy created by events such as terrorist attacks, the cartoons affair in Denmark, debates over Islamic dress, and ongoing support for populist right-wing parties that view Muslims as a threat to European culture. Such events have also fueled growing debate regarding the topic of Islamophobia, attitudes toward Muslims and the populist right.

List of cities by GDP

This is a list of cities and/or their metropolitan areas in the world by GDP. The methodology may differ between the studies and are widely based on projections and sometimes approximate estimations, notably for non-OECD cities (refer to sources for more information.)

Notes

List of musical instruments

This is a list of musical instruments.

List of urban areas in the European Union

This is a list of urban areas in the European Union with over 500,000 inhabitants as of 2014. The data comes from Demographia and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Demographia provides figures for urban areas (including conurbations), while the UN DESA figures are for agglomerations only. For comparison, Function Urban Area (FUA) population figures by Eurostat are also provided, however, these measure the wider metropolitan areas.

Metropolitan France

Metropolitan France (French: France métropolitaine or la Métropole) (also known as European France or Mainland France) is the part of France in Europe. It comprises mainland France and nearby islands in the Atlantic Ocean, the English Channel (French: la Manche), and the Mediterranean Sea, including Corsica.

Overseas France (la France d'outre-mer, or l'Outre-mer, or colloquially les DOM-TOM) is the collective name for the part of France outside Europe: French overseas regions (départements et régions d'outre-mer or DROM), territories (territoires d'outre-mer or TOM), collectivities (collectivités d'outre-mer or COM), and the sui generis collectivity (collectivité sui generis) of New Caledonia.

Metropolitan France and Overseas France together form the French Republic. Metropolitan France accounts for 82.0% of the land territory, 3.3% of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and 95.9% of the population of the French Republic.

The five overseas regions (departments)— French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Réunion, and Mayotte—have the same political status as metropolitan France's regions. Metropolitan France and these five overseas regions together are sometimes called la France entière ("the whole of France") by the French administration. But this France entière does not include the French overseas collectivities and territories that have more autonomy than do the overseas departments.

In overseas France, a person from metropolitan France is often called a métro, short for métropolitain.

Middle Ages

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages (or medieval period) lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority, invasions, and mass migrations of tribes, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages. The large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete. The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire, Rome's direct continuation, survived in the Eastern Mediterranean and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became widely admired later in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded as campaigns to Christianise pagan Europe continued. The Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty, briefly established the Carolingian Empire during the later 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but later succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, and Saracens from the south.

During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased greatly as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, and feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages. The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation-states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, and by the founding of universities. The theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, and the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages.

The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine, plague, and war, which significantly diminished the population of Europe; between 1347 and 1350, the Black Death killed about a third of Europeans. Controversy, heresy, and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, and peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.

Northwestern Europe

Northwestern Europe, or Northwest Europe, is a loosely defined region of Europe, overlapping northern and western Europe. The region can be defined both geographically and ethnographically.

Patriarch

The highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Catholic Church (above major archbishop and primate), and the Church of the East are termed patriarchs (and in certain cases also popes).

The word is derived from Greek πατριάρχης (patriarchēs), meaning "chief or father of a family", a compound of πατριά (patria), meaning "family", and ἄρχειν (archein), meaning "to rule".Originally, a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is termed patriarchy. Historically, a patriarch has often been the logical choice to act as ethnarch of the community identified with his religious confession within a state or empire of a different creed (such as Christians within the Ottoman Empire). The term developed an ecclesiastical meaning, within the Christian Church. The office and the ecclesiastical circumscription of a Christian patriarch is termed a patriarchate.

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are referred to as the three patriarchs of the people of Israel, and the period during which they lived is termed the Patriarchal Age. The word patriarch originally acquired its religious meaning in the Septuagint version of the Bible.

Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Western Europe

The Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Western Europe (Serbian: Српска православна епархија западноевропска / Srpska pravoslavna eparhija zapadnoevropska, French: Diocèse d'Europe occidentale) is a Serbian Orthodox Church diocese in Western Europe. It has its headquarters in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. The church has parishes in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Spain. It also has a missionary parish in Portugal. Since 1997, diocesan bishop is Luka Kovačević.

Western European Time

Western European Time (WET, UTC±00:00) is a time zone covering parts of western and northwestern Europe. The following countries and regions use WET in winter months:

Canary Islands, since 1946 (rest of Spain is CET, UTC+01:00)

Faroe Islands, since 1908

North Eastern Greenland (Danmarkshavn and surrounding area)

Iceland, since 1968, without summer time changes

Portugal, since 1912 with pauses (except Azores, UTC−01:00)

Madeira islands, since 1912 with pauses

Ireland (legally known as Greenwich Mean Time), since 1916, except between 1968 and 1971

United Kingdom and Crown dependencies (legally known as Greenwich Mean Time), since 1847 in England, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man, and since 1916 in Northern Ireland, with pausesAll the above countries except Iceland implement daylight saving time in summer (from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October each year), switching to Western European Summer Time (WEST, UTC+01:00), which is one hour ahead of WET. WEST is called British Summer Time in the UK and is officially known as Irish Standard Time in Ireland.

The nominal span of the time zone is 7.5°E to 7.5°W (0° ± 7.5°), but the WET zone does not include the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Gibraltar or Spain which use Central European Time (CET), although these are mostly (France) or completely (the rest) west of 7.5°E. Conversely, Iceland and eastern Greenland are included although both are west of 7.5°W. In September 2013, a Spanish parliamentary committee recommended switching to WET.

Winter of 1990–91 in Western Europe

The winter of 1990–91 was a particularly cold winter in Western Europe, noted especially for its effect on the United Kingdom, and for two significantly heavy falls of snow which occurred in December 1990 and February 1991. Sandwiched in between was a period of high winds and heavy rain which caused widespread damage. The winter was the coldest since January 1987, and the snowfall experienced in many parts of the United Kingdom would not be seen again until the snowfall of February 2009.

Earth's primary regions
History
Geography
Politics
Economy
Society

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.