Portal:Europe Information

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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.

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The European Golden Shoe, also known as European Golden Boot, is an award that is presented each season to the leading goalscorer in league matches from the top division of every European national league. The trophy is a sculpture of a football boot. From its inception in the 1967–68 season, the award, originally called Soulier d'Or, which translates from French as Golden Shoe or Boot, has been given to the top goalscorer in all European leagues during a season. Since 1997, it has been calculated using a weighting in favour of the highest ranked leagues. Originally presented by L'Équipe magazine, it has been awarded by the European Sports Media since the 1996–97 season. Lionel Messi holds the record for winning this award with 6 Golden Shoes. ( Full article...)

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Belgrade montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article.

Belgrade ( /ˈbɛlɡrd/ BEL-grayd; Serbian: Београд, romanizedBeograd, lit. 'White City', pronounced  [beǒɡrad] ( About this sound listen); names in other languages) is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers and the crossroads of the Pannonian Plain and the Balkan Peninsula. Nearly 1.7 million people live within the administrative limits of the City of Belgrade, a quarter of the total population of Serbia.

Belgrade is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe and the World. One of the most important prehistoric cultures of Europe, the Vinča culture, evolved within the Belgrade area in the 6th millennium BC. In antiquity, Thraco- Dacians inhabited the region and, after 279 BC, Celts settled the city, naming it Singidūn. It was conquered by the Romans under the reign of Augustus and awarded Roman city rights in the mid-2nd century. It was settled by the Slavs in the 520s, and changed hands several times between the Byzantine Empire, the Frankish Empire, the Bulgarian Empire, and the Kingdom of Hungary before it became the seat of the Serbian king Stefan Dragutin in 1284. Belgrade served as capital of the Serbian Despotate during the reign of Stefan Lazarević, and then his successor Đurađ Branković returned it to the Hungarian king in 1427. Noon bells in support of the Hungarian army against the Ottoman Empire during the siege in 1456 have remained a widespread church tradition to this day. In 1521, Belgrade was conquered by the Ottomans and became the seat of the Sanjak of Smederevo. It frequently passed from Ottoman to Habsburg rule, which saw the destruction of most of the city during the Austro-Ottoman wars. ( Full article...)

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Painting by Alexander Roslin
Anne Vallayer-Coster (1744 – 1818) was an 18th-century French painter best known for still lifes. She achieved fame and recognition very early in her career, being admitted to the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1770, at the age of twenty-six.Despite the low status that still life painting had at this time, Vallayer-Coster’s highly developed skills, especially in the depiction of flowers, soon generated a great deal of attention from collectors and other artists.

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Black-and-white photograph of Kafka as a young man with dark hair in a formal suit
Kafka in 1923

Franz Kafka (3 July 1883 – 3 June 1924) was a German-speaking Bohemian novelist and short-story writer, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature. His work fuses elements of realism and the fantastic. It typically features isolated protagonists facing bizarre or surrealistic predicaments and incomprehensible socio- bureaucratic powers. It has been interpreted as exploring themes of alienation, existential anxiety, guilt, and absurdity. His best known works include " Die Verwandlung" ("The Metamorphosis"), Der Process (The Trial), and Das Schloss (The Castle). The term Kafkaesque has entered the English language to describe situations like those found in his writing.

Kafka was born into a middle-class German-Jewish family in Prague, the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today the capital of the Czech Republic. He trained as a lawyer and after completing his legal education was employed full-time by an insurance company, forcing him to relegate writing to his spare time. Over the course of his life, Kafka wrote hundreds of letters to family and close friends, including his father, with whom he had a strained and formal relationship. He became engaged to several women but never married. He died in 1924 at the age of 40 from tuberculosis. ( Full article...)

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Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling
The royal wedding between Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, and Daniel Westling took place on 19 June 2010 in Stockholm Cathedral. Westling—now known as Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland—became the first commoner to obtain a new title or rank as the spouse of a Swedish princess since the Middle Ages. He is the first Swedish man to use his wife's ducal title.

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Prague
Credit: David Iliff
A panoramic view of Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, as viewed from the Petřín Lookout Tower. The view is approximately 180 degrees, from north on the left to south on the right. The area on which Prague was founded was settled as early as the Paleolithic age. By the year 800 there was a simple fort with wooden buildings, occupying about two-thirds of the area that is now Prague Castle. Prague was an important seat for trading where merchants from all of Europe settled, and it especially flourished during the reign of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor.

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