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The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various
region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (environmental geography). Geographic re ...

region
s,
nation A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identity. Communities may share a sense ...

nation
s and
states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
,
Northern America Northern America is the north North is one of the four compass points The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remn ...
, and
Australasia Australasia is a region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. ...

Australasia
.Western Civilization
Our Tradition; James Kurth; accessed 30 August 2011
The Western world is also known as the Occident (from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
word ''occidens'', "sunset, ''West''"), in contrast to the
Orient The Orient is a term for the East, traditionally comprising anything that belongs to the Eastern world Eastern world, also known as the East or the Orient The Orient is a term for the East, traditionally comprising anything that belong ...
(from the Latin word ''oriens'', "rise, East") or
Eastern world Eastern world, also known as the East or the Orient The Orient is a term for the East, traditionally comprising anything that belongs to the Eastern world, in relation to Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of seve ...

Eastern world
. It might mean the Northern half of the
North–South divide
North–South divide
, the countries of the ''Global North'' (often equated with
developed countries A developed country (or industrialized country, high-income country, more economically developed country (MEDC), advanced country) is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized governmen ...
). The concept of the Western part of the earth has its roots in the theological, methodological and emphatical
division Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematics), the inverse of multiplication *Division algorithm, a method for computing the result of mathematical division Military *Division (military), a formation typically consisting o ...
between the Western
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman Catholic
and
Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
Churches. ''The West'' was originally
Western Christendom in Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vatikanstadt, cf. '—' (in Austria: ') * pl, Miasto Watykańskie, cf. '—' * p ...
, opposing
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...
and Protestant Europe with the cultures and civilizations of Orthodox Europe, the
Middle East and North Africa MENA is an English language, English-language acronym referring to the Middle East and North Africa. It is alternatively called the WANA (Western Asia, West Asia and North Africa). The MENA acronym is often used in education in the Middle East ...

Middle East and North Africa
,
sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa (commonly called Black Africa) is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. According to the United Nations, it consists of all list of sovereign states and dependent territories i ...

sub-Saharan Africa
,
South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The region consists of the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri La ...

South Asia
,
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
, and
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia, which is defined in both Geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The modern State (polity), states of East Asia include China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. ...

East Asia
, which
medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...

medieval
and
early modern The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of 's past. It is understood through , , , and , and since the , from and s. Humanity's written history was preceded by its , beginning with ...
Western Europeans saw as
the East ''The'' () is a grammatical Article (grammar), article in English language, English, denoting persons or things already mentioned, under discussion, implied or otherwise presumed familiar to listeners, readers or speakers. It is the definite art ...
. By the mid-20th century, Western culture was exported worldwide through the emergent
mass media Mass media refers to a diverse array of media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Advertising media, various media, content, buying and placement fo ...
: film, radio, television and recorded music; and the development and growth of international
transport Transport (in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and ...

transport
and
telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Gr ...
(such as transatlantic cable and the
radiotelephone A radiotelephone (or radiophone) is a radio communication Radio is the technology of signaling and communicating using radio wave Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum ...
) played a decisive role in modern
globalization Globalization, or globalisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which ha ...

globalization
. In modern usage, ''Western world'' sometimesWestern Civilization
Our Tradition; James Kurth; accessed 30 August 2011
refers to Europe and to areas whose populations have had a large presence of particular European ethnic groups since the 15th century
Age of Discovery The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age of Contact or Contact Period), is an informal and loosely defined term for the early modern period approximately from the 15th century to the 18th century ...
. This is most evident in Australia and New Zealand's inclusion in modern definitions of the Western world: despite being part of the
Eastern Hemisphere 250px, Eastern Hemisphere The Eastern Hemisphere is a geographical term for the half of Earth which is east of the prime meridian A prime meridian is the meridian (geography), meridian (a line of longitude) in a geographic coordinate system ...
; these regions and those like it are included due to its significant
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...

British
influence deriving from the colonisation of British explorers and the immigration of Europeans in the 20th century which has since grounded the country to the Western world politically and culturally.


Introduction

Western culture Western culture, also known as Western civilization, Occidental culture, or Western society, is the heritage Heritage may refer to: History and society * In history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired ...
was influenced by many older civilizations of the
ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and symbol A symbol is a mark ...
, such as
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3 ...
,
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
,Cambridge University Historical Series, ''An Essay on Western Civilization in Its Economic Aspects'', p.40: Hebraism, like Hellenism, has been an all-important factor in the development of Western Civilization; Judaism, as the precursor of Christianity, has indirectly had had much to do with shaping the ideals and morality of western nations since the christian era.
Minoan Crete The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the ...
,
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
,
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
, and also
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

Ancient Egypt
. It originated in the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
basin and its vicinity;
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
and
Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who stud ...
are generally considered to be the birthplaces of Western civilization—Greece having heavily influenced Rome—the former due to its impact on
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...
,
democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to cho ...

democracy
,
science Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well as an invention. ...

science
,
aesthetics Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of m ...

aesthetics
, as well as ; the latter due to its influence on
art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use ...
,
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
,
war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (new ...

war
fare,
governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity ...

governance
,
republicanism Republicanism is a political ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use ...
,
engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more speciali ...
and
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...
. Western civilization is also strongly associated with
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
(and to a lesser extent, with
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
), which is in turn shaped by
Hellenistic philosophy Hellenistic philosophy is the period of Western philosophy Western philosophy encompasses the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...
and
Roman culture The culture of ancient Rome existed throughout the almost 1200-year history of the civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of gover ...
.Role of Judaism in Western culture and civilization
"Judaism has played a significant role in the development of Western culture because of its unique relationship with Christianity, the dominant religious force in the West"
Judaism
at
Encyclopædia Britannica The (Latin for "British Encyclopaedia") is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia which is now published exclusively as an online encyclopedia, online encyclopaedia. It was formerly published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., ...
In the modern era,
Western culture Western culture, also known as Western civilization, Occidental culture, or Western society, is the heritage Heritage may refer to: History and society * In history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired ...
has been heavily influenced by the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
, the Ages of
Discovery Discovery may refer to: * Discovery (observation) Discovery is the act of detecting something new, or something previously unrecognized as meaningful. With reference to sciences and academic disciplines An academic discipline or academic fi ...
and
Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * Age of Enlightenment, period in Western intellectual history from the late 17th to late 18th century, centered in France but also encompassing: ** Midlands Enlightenment ...
and the
Industrial Industrial may also refer to: Industry * Industrial archaeology, the study of the history of the industry * Industrial engineering, engineering dealing with the optimization of complex industrial processes or systems * Industrial loan company, a f ...
and
Scientific Revolution The Scientific Revolution was a series of events that marked the emergence of modern science during the early modern period, when developments in History of mathematics#Mathematics during the Scientific Revolution, mathematics, History of phys ...

Scientific Revolution
s. Through extensive
imperialism Imperialism is a policy or ideology of extending rule over peoples and other countries, for extending political and economic access, power and control, often through employing hard power Hard power is the use of military and economics, economi ...

imperialism
,
colonialism Colonialism is a practice or policy of control by one people or power over other people or areas, often by establishing colony, colonies and generally with the aim of economic dominance. In the process of colonisation, colonisers may impose the ...

colonialism
and
Christianization Christianization ( or Christianisation) was the conversion of societies to Christianity beginning in late antiquity Late antiquity is a used by historians to describe the time of transition from to the in and adjacent areas bordering th ...
by some Western powers in the 15th to 20th centuries and later exportation of
mass culture Popular culture (also called mass culture or pop culture) is generally recognized by members of a society as a set of the practices, beliefs, and objects that are dominant or prevalent in a society at a given point in time. Popular culture al ...
, much of the rest of the world has been extensively influenced by Western culture, in a phenomenon often called
Westernization Westernization ( US) or Westernisation ( UK), also Europeanization/Europeanisation Europeanisation (or Europeanization, see British and American spelling differences, spelling differences) refers to a number of related phenomena and patterns of ch ...
. Over time, their associated
empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". Narrowly defined, an empire is a sovereign state called an empire and ...

empire
s grew first to the east and west to include the rest of
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
and
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
coastal areas, conquering and absorbing. Later, they expanded to the north of the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
to include
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...

Western
,
Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions and generalised locations * Central Africa, a region in the centre of Africa ...

Central
, and
Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the ...

Southeastern Europe
.
Christianization of Ireland Christianization ( or Christianisation) is the conversion of individuals to Christianity or the conversion of entire groups at once. Various strategies and techniques were employed in Christianization campaigns from Late Antiquity and througho ...
(5th century),
Christianization of Scandinavia The Christianization of Scandinavia, as well as other Nordic countries The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe Northern Europe is a loosely defined Geography, geographical and cultu ...
(
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), hu ...

Denmark
,
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a Nort ...

Norway
,
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
; 12th century) and
Christianization of Lithuania The Christianization of Lithuania Lithuania ( ; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region of Europe. It is one of the Baltic states, and lies on the eastern s ...
(14th century) brought the rest of present-day European territory into Western civilization. Historians, such as
Carroll Quigley Carroll Quigley (; November 9, 1910 – January 3, 1977) was an American historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who s ...
in ''"The Evolution of Civilizations"'', contend that Western civilization was born around AD 500, after the total collapse of the
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican ...

Western Roman Empire
, leaving a vacuum for new ideas to flourish that were impossible in Classical societies. In either view, between the
fall Autumn, also known as fall in American English and Canadian English, is one of the four temperate seasons. Outside the tropics, autumn marks the transition from summer to winter, in September (Northern Hemisphere) or March (Southern Hemisphe ...
of the Western Roman Empire and the Renaissance, the West (or those regions that would later become the heartland of the culturally "western sphere") experienced a period of first, considerable decline, and then readaptation, reorientation and considerable renewed material, technological and political development. This whole period of roughly a millennium is known as the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, its early part forming the "
Dark Ages Dark Ages or Dark Age may refer to: History and sociology *Dark Ages (historiography), the use of the term ''Dark Ages'' by historians and lay people **Byzantine Dark Ages (7th–8th centuries), period of large-scale transformation but obscure du ...
", designations that were created during the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
and reflect the perspective on history, and the self-image, of the latter period. The knowledge of the ancient ''Western world'' was partly preserved during this period due to the survival of the
Eastern Roman Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Eastern Roman Empire
and the introduction of the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
; it was also greatly expanded by the Arab importation of both the Ancient Greco-Roman and new technology through the Arabs from India and China to Europe. Since the Renaissance, the West evolved beyond the influence of the ancient Greeks and Romans and the Islamic world, due to the successful Second Agricultural,
Commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective for:) commerce, a system of voluntary exchange of products and se ...
,
Scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well as an invention. ...

Scientific
, and
Industrial Industrial may also refer to: Industry * Industrial archaeology, the study of the history of the industry * Industrial engineering, engineering dealing with the optimization of complex industrial processes or systems * Industrial loan company, a f ...
revolutions (propellers of modern banking concepts). The West rose further with the 18th century's
Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link= ...
and through the
Age of Exploration The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age of Contact or Contact Period), is an informal and loosely defined term for the early modern period The early modern period of modern history ...
's expansion of peoples of Western and Central European empires, particularly the globe-spanning colonial empires of 18th and 19th centuries. Numerous times, this expansion was accompanied by
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...
missionaries A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to promote their faith or provide services, such as education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), va ...

missionaries
, who attempted to proselytize Christianity. There is debate among some as to whether
Latin America * ht, Amerik Latin, link=no * pt, América Latina, link=no , image = Latin America (orthographic projection).svg , area = , population = ( est.) , density = , ethnic_groups = , ethnic_groups_year = 2018 , ethnic ...

Latin America
as a whole is in a category of its own.Cf., Arnold J. Toynbee, ''Change and Habit. The challenge of our time'' (Oxford 1966, 1969) at 153–56; also, Toynbee, ''A Study of History'' (10 volumes, 2 supplements).


Western/European culture

The term "Western culture" is used very broadly to refer to a
heritage Heritage may refer to: History and society * In history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the invention of writing systems are conside ...
of
social norms Social norms are shared standards of acceptance, acceptable behavior by groups. Social norms can both be informal understandings that govern the behavior of members of a society, as well as be codified into wikt:rule, rules and laws. Social norm ...
,
ethical values In ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy ...

ethical values
, ,
religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. Different religions may or may not contain v ...

religious
beliefs,
political system In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such ...
s, and specific artifacts and
technologies Technology ("science of craft", from Greek , ''techne'', "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and , '' -logia'') is the sum of Art techniques and materials, techniques, skills, Scientific method, methods, and Business process, processes used in the ...

technologies
. Specifically, Western culture may imply: :*a
Biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Greek ...

Biblical
Christian cultural influence in spiritual thinking, customs,
laws Law is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way effect is essential in the concept of interaction, as oppose ...
,
education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion ...
,
art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use ...
,
literature Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entitie ...
and either ethic or moral traditions, around the
Post-Classical Era Post-classical history, as used in , generally runs from about 500 CE to 1500 CE (roughly corresponding to the European ). The period is characterized by the expansion of civilizations geographically and development of trade networks between ci ...
and after. :*European cultural influences concerning artistic, musical, folkloric, ethic and oral traditions, whose themes have been further developed by
Romanticism Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to ...
. :*a
Graeco-Roman Roman Theatre of Mérida, Spain. The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the Commonwealth), as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to geographical regions and countries that cultura ...
Classical Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. centered on the Mediterranean Sea *Classical architecture, architecture derived from Greek and ...

Classical
and
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
cultural influence, concerning artistic, philosophic, literary, and
legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...
themes and traditions, the cultural social effects of
migration period The Migration Period, also known as the Barbarian Invasions (from the Roman and Greek perspective), is a term sometimes used for the period in the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the ...
and the heritages of
Celtic The words Celt and Celtic (also Keltic) may refer to: Ethno-linguistics *Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: ...

Celtic
,
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
, Slavic, and other ethnic groups, as well as a tradition of
rationalism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, ...
in various spheres of life, developed by
Hellenistic philosophy Hellenistic philosophy is the period of Western philosophy Western philosophy encompasses the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...
,
Scholasticism Scholasticism was a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people ...
,
Renaissance humanism Renaissance humanism was a revival in the study of classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 6th century AD cent ...
, the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment. The concept of Western culture is generally linked to the classical definition of the ''Western world''. In this definition, Western culture is the set of literary, scientific, political, artistic, and philosophical principles that set it apart from other civilizations. Much of this set of traditions and knowledge is collected in the
Western canon The Western canon is the body of high culture High may refer to: People with the name * High (surname)High is a surname. Notable people with the surname include: *Jason High (born 1981), American mixed martial artist *Martha High (born 1945) ...
. The term has come to apply to countries whose history is strongly marked by European immigration or settlement, such as the Americas, and
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...

Oceania
, and is not restricted to Europe. Some tendencies that define modern Western
societies A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same Politics, political authority ...
are the existence of political pluralism,
secularism Secularism is the principle of seeking to conduct human affairs based on secular Secularity, also the secular or secularness (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-Euro ...

secularism
, generalization of
middle class The middle class is a class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or objects * Class (philosophy), an an ...
, prominent
subcultures A subculture is a group of people within a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, ...
or
counterculture A counterculture is a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilitie ...
s (such as
New Age New Age is a range of spiritual or religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religi ...
movements), increasing cultural
syncretism Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs and various schools of thought A school of thought, or intellectual tradition, is the perspective of a group of people who share common characteristics of opinion or outlook of a philosophy, Lis ...
resulting from
globalization Globalization, or globalisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which ha ...

globalization
and
human migration Human migration involves the movement of people from one place to another with intentions of settling, permanently or temporarily, at a new location (geographic region). The movement often occurs over long distances and from one country to anoth ...

human migration
. The modern shape of these societies is strongly based upon the Industrial Revolution and the societies' associated social and environmental problems, such as
class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or objects * Class (philosophy), an analytical concept used differently f ...
and
pollution Pollution is the introduction of s into the natural environment that cause adverse change. Pollution can take the form of any substance (solid, liquid, or gas) or energy (such as radioactivity, heat, sound, or light). s, the components of po ...

pollution
, as well as reactions to them, such as
syndicalism Syndicalism is a current in the labor movement The labour movement or labor movement consists of two main wings: the trade union movement ( British English) or labor union movement (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USE ...

syndicalism
and
environmentalism Environmentalism or environmental rights is a broad philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical real ...
.


Historical divisions

The geopolitical divisions in Europe that created a concept of ''East'' and ''West'' originated in the
ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3.0
"History"
from ...
tyrannical and imperialistic
Graeco-Roman Roman Theatre of Mérida, Spain. The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the Commonwealth), as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to geographical regions and countries that cultura ...
times. The Eastern
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
was home to the highly urbanized cultures that had
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
as their common language (owing to the older empire of
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
and of the .), whereas the West was much more rural in its character and more readily adopted Latin as its common language. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the beginning of the Medieval times (or ''
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
''), Western and Central Europe were substantially cut off from the East where ''
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...

Byzantine
'' Greek culture and
Eastern Christianity Eastern Christianity comprises Christianity, Christian traditions and Christian denomination, church families that originally developed during Classical antiquity, classical and late antiquity in Western Asia, Northeast Africa, Eastern Europe, ...
became founding influences in the Eastern European world such as the East and South Slavic peoples.
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman Catholic
Western and Central Europe, as such, maintained a distinct identity particularly as it began to redevelop during the Renaissance. Even following the Protestant
Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Cit ...

Reformation
, Protestant Europe continued to see itself as more tied to Roman Catholic Europe than other parts of the perceived ''civilized world''. Use of the term ''West'' as a specific cultural and geopolitical term developed over the course of the
Age of Exploration The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age of Contact or Contact Period), is an informal and loosely defined term for the early modern period The early modern period of modern history ...
as Europe spread its culture to other parts of the world.
Roman Catholics The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ri ...
were the first major religious group to immigrate to the
New World The "New World" is a term for the majority of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The re ...
, as settlers in the colonies of
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
and
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...
(and later,
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...
) belonged to that faith.
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
and
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
colonies, on the other hand, tended to be more religiously diverse. Settlers to these colonies included
Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation. Adherents of Anglicanism are called ''Anglicans''; t ...

Anglican
s, Dutch
Calvinists Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformat ...
, English
Puritans The Puritans were English Protestants Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of J ...
and other
nonconformists Nonconformity or nonconformism may refer to: Culture and society * Insubordination, the act of willfully disobeying an order of one's superior *Dissent, a sentiment or philosophy of non-agreement or opposition to a prevailing idea or entity ** O ...
, English Catholics, Scottish
Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of ...
s, French
Huguenot The Huguenots ( , also , ) were a religious group of French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République fran ...

Huguenot
s, German and Swedish
Lutherans Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Jesus Christ and was founded by Martin Luther, a 16th-century German monk and Protestant Reformers, reformer whose efforts to reform the theology a ...
, as well as
Quakers Quakers are people who belong to a historically Protestant Christian Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Ref ...

Quakers
,
Mennonites Mennonites are members of certain Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), ...
,
Amish The Amish (; pdc, Amisch; german: Amische) are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships with Swiss German Swiss German (Standard German Standard High German (SHG), less precisely Standard German or High German (not to ...

Amish
, and
Moravians Moravians (''Czech language, Czech: Moravané'' or Colloquialism, colloquially ''Moraváci'', outdated ''Moravci'') are a West Slavs, West Slavic ethnographic group from the Moravia region of the Czech Republic, who speak the Moravian dialects ...

Moravians
.


Ancient Greek-Hellenistic worlds (13th–1st centuries BC)

Ancient Greek civilization Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and symbol A symbol i ...
had been growing in the first millennium BC into wealthy poleis, so-called city-states (geographically loose political entities which in time, inevitably end giving way to larger organisations of society, including the
empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". Narrowly defined, an empire is a sovereign state called an empire and ...

empire
and the nation-state) such as Classical Athens, Athens, Sparta, Thebes, Greece, Thebes, and Ancient Corinth, Corinth, by Middle East, Middle and Near East, Near Eastern ones (
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
ian cities such as Uruk and Ur;
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

Ancient Egypt
ian city-states, such as Thebes, Egypt, Thebes and Memphis, Egypt, Memphis; the
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3 ...
n Tyre, Lebanon, Tyre and Sidon; the five Philistines, Philistine city-states; the Berber people, Berber city-states of the Garamantes). The then Ancient Greece, Hellenic division between the barbarians (term used by Ancient Greeks for all non-Greek-speaking people) and the Greek people, Greeks contrasted in many societies the Greek language, Greek-speaking culture of the Greek settlements around the Mediterranean to the surrounding non-Greek cultures. Herodotus considered the Persian Wars of the early 5th century BC a conflict of Europa versus Asia (which he considered all land north and east of the Sea of Marmara, respectively). The Greeks would highlight what they perceived as a lack of freedom in the Persian world, something that they viewed as antithetical to their culture. The terms ''"West"'' and "East" were not used by any Greek author to describe that conflict. The anachronistic application of those terms to that division entails a stark logical contradiction, given that the term ''"West"'' has been used to distinguish Latin-speaking peoples from their Greek-speaking neighbors. Greek culture is said to have influenced Roman civilization in all aspects of society, from History of architecture, architecture to philosophy, Ancient Greek art, art and Ancient Greek warfare, war. According to a few writers, the future conquest of parts of the Roman Empire by Germanic peoples and the subsequent dominance by the Western Christian Papacy (which held combined political and spiritual authority, a State of affairs (sociology), state of affairs absent from Greek civilization in all its stages), resulted in a rupture of the previously existing ties between the Latin West and Greek thought, including Christian Greek thought.


Ancient Roman world (6th century BC – AD 395-476)

Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who stud ...
(6th century BC – AD 476) is a term to describe the ancient Roman society that conquered Central Italy assimilating the Italian Villanovan culture, Etruscan culture, growing from the Latium region since about the 8th century BC, to a massive empire straddling the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
. In its 10-centuries territorial expansion, Roman civilization shifted from a small monarchy (753 – 509 BC), to a Roman Republic, republic (509 – 27 BC), into an autocracy, autocratic empire (27 BC – AD 476). Its Empire came to dominate Western, Central and Southeastern Europe, Northern Africa and, becoming an autocratic Empire a vast Middle Eastern area, when it ended. Conquest was enforced using the Roman legions and then through cultural assimilation by eventual recognition of some form of Roman citizenship's privileges. Nonetheless, despite its great legacy, a number of factors led to the eventual decline and ultimately fall of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire succeeded the approximately 500-year-old Roman Republic ( 510 BC – 30 BC). In 350 years, from the successful and deadliest Second Punic War, war with the
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3 ...
ns began in 218 BC to the rule of Emperor Hadrian by AD 117, Ancient Rome expanded up to twenty-five times its area. The same time passed before its fall in AD 476. Rome had expanded long before the empire reached its zenith with the conquest of Dacia in AD 106 (modern-day Romania) under Emperor Trajan. During its territorial peak, the Roman Empire controlled about of land surface and had a population of 100 million. From the time of Caesar (100 – 44 BC) to the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, Rome dominated Southern Europe, the Mediterranean coast of Northern Africa and the Levant, including the ancient trade Amber Road, routes with population living outside. Ancient Rome has contributed greatly to the development of law, war, art, literature, architecture, technology and language in the ''Western world'', and its History of Rome, history continues to have a major influence on the world today. Latin language has been the base from which Romance languages evolved and it has been the official language of the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
and all Catholic religious ceremonies all over Europe until 1967, as well as an or the official language of countries such as Italy and Poland (9th–18th centuries). In AD 395, a few decades before its Western collapse, the Roman Empire formally split into a Western Roman Empire, Western and an Eastern Roman Empire, Eastern one, each with their own emperors, capitals, and governments, although ostensibly they still belonged to one formal Empire. The
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican ...

Western Roman Empire
provinces eventually were replaced by Northern European
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
ruled kingdoms in the 5th century due to Fall of the Western Roman Empire, civil wars, corruption, and devastating Germanic invasions from such tribes as the Huns, Goths, the Franks and the Vandals by their late Migration period, expansion throughout Europe. The three-day Visigoths's Sack of Rome (410), AD 410 sack of Rome who had been raiding Greece not long before, a shocking time for
Graeco-Roman Roman Theatre of Mérida, Spain. The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the Commonwealth), as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to geographical regions and countries that cultura ...
s, was the first time after almost 800 years that Rome had fallen to a foreign enemy, and Jerome, St. Jerome, living in Bethlehem at the time, wrote that "The City which had taken the whole world was itself taken." There followed the Sack of Rome (455), sack of AD 455 lasting 14 days, this time conducted by the Vandals, retaining Rome's eternal spirit through the Holy See of Rome (the Latin Church) for centuries to come. The ancient Barbarian tribes, often composed of well-trained Roman soldiers paid by Rome to guard the extensive borders, had become militarily sophisticated 'romanized barbarians', and mercilessly slaughtered the Romans conquering their Western territories while looting their possessions. The Roman Empire is where the idea of ''"the West"'' began to emerge. The
Eastern Roman Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Eastern Roman Empire
, governed from Constantinople, is usually referred to as the Byzantine Empire after AD 476, the traditional date for the fall of the Roman Empire and beginning of the Early Middle Ages. The Eastern Roman Empire surviving the fall of the Western protected Roman legal and cultural traditions, combining them with Greek and Christian elements, for another thousand years more. The name Byzantine Empire was first used centuries later, after the Byzantine Empire ended. The dissolution of the Western half, nominally ended in AD 476, but in truth a long process that ended by the rise of Catholic Gaul (modern-day France) ruling from around the year AD 800, left only the Eastern Roman Empire alive. The Eastern half continued to think of itself as the Eastern Roman Empire for a while until AD 610–800, when Latin ceased to be the official language of the empire. The inhabitants calling themselves Romans was because the term “Roman” was meant to signify all Christianity, Christians. The Pope crowned Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor, ''Emperor of the Romans'' of the newly established Holy Roman Empire and the West began thinking in terms of ''Western Latins'' living in the old Western Empire, and ''Eastern Greeks'' (those inside the Roman remnant of the old Eastern Empire).


Middle Ages

In the early 4th century, the central focus of power was on two apart Imperial (including army generals') legacies, within the Roman Empire: the older Aegean Sea Greece, Greek heritage (of Classical Greece, Classical Greece) in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the newer most successful Tyrrhenian Sea
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
heritage (of Etruria, Ancient Latium and Tuscany) in the Western Mediterranean. Constantine the Great's decision to establish the city of Constantinople (today's Istanbul) in modern-day Turkey as the "New Rome" when he picked it as capital of his Empire (later called "Byzantine Empire" by modern historians) in 330 AD, was a turning point. This internal conflict of legacies had possibly emerged since the assassination of Julius Caesar three centuries earlier, when Roman Imperialism had just been born with the Roman Republic becoming "Roman Empire", but reached its zenith during 3rd century's List_of_Roman_civil_wars_and_revolts#3rd_century, many internal civil wars. This is the time when the Huns (part of the ancient Eastern European tribes named ''barbarians'' by the Romans) from modern-day Hungary penetrated into the Dalmatian (modern-day Croatia) region then originating in the following 150 years in the Roman Empire officially splitting in two halves. Also the time of the formal acceptance of Christianity as Empire's
religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. Different religions may or may not contain v ...

religious
policy, when the Emperors began actively banning and fighting previous pagan religions. The Eastern Roman Empire included lands south-west of the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
and bordering on the Eastern Mediterranean and parts of the Adriatic Sea. This division into Eastern and Western Roman Empires was later reflected in the administration of the Greek East and Latin West, Roman Catholic and Eastern Greek Orthodox churches, with Rome and Constantinople debating over whether either city was the capital of Catholicity, Western religion. As the Orthodox Christianity, Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Catholic) churches spread their influence, the line between Eastern and Western Christianity was moving. Its movement was affected by the influence of the Byzantine empire and the fluctuating power and influence of the Catholic church in Rome. The geographic line of religious division approximately followed a line of cultural divide. The influential American conservative political scientist, adviser and academic Samuel P. Huntington argued that this cultural division still existed during the Cold War as the approximate Western boundary of those countries that were allied with the Soviet Union. In AD 800 under Charlemagne, the Early Medieval Franks established an empire that was recognized by the Pope in Rome as the Holy Roman Empire (Latin Christian revival of the ancient Roman Empire, under perpetual Germanic rule from AD 962) inheriting ancient Roman Empire's prestige but offending the Eastern Roman Emperor in Constantinople, and leading to the Crusades and the East-West schism. The crowning of the Emperor by the Pope led to the assumption that the highest power was the history of the Papacy, papal hierarchy, quintessential Roman Empire's spiritual heritage authority, establishing then, until the Protestant Reformation, the civilization of Christendom, Western Christendom. The Latin Rite Catholic Church of western and central Europe split with the eastern Greek Rite, Greek-speaking Patriarchates in the Christian East–West Schism, also known as the "Great Schism", during the Gregorian Reforms (calling for a more central status of the Roman Catholic Church Institution), three months after Pope Leo IX's death in April 1054. Following the 1054 East–West Schism, Great Schism, both the Western Christianity, Western Church and Eastern Orthodoxy, Eastern Church continued to consider themselves ''uniquely'' orthodox and catholic. Augustine wrote in On True Religion: "Religion is to be sought... only among those who are called Catholic or orthodox Christians, that is, guardians of truth and followers of right." Over time, the Western Church gradually identified with the "Catholic" label, and people of Western Europe gradually associated the "Orthodox" label with the Eastern Church (although in some languages the "Catholic" label is not necessarily identified with the Western Church). This was in note of the fact that both Catholic and Orthodox were in use as ecclesiastical adjectives as early as the 2nd and 4th centuries respectively. Meanwhile, the extent of both Christendoms expanded, as Germanic peoples, Bohemia, Poland, Hungary, Scandinavia, Baltic peoples, British Isles and the other non-Christian lands of the northwest were converted by the Western Church, while Eastern Slavic peoples, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Russian territories, Vlachs and Georgia were converted by the Eastern Church. In 1071, the Byzantine army was defeated by the Muslim Turco-Persians of medieval Asia, resulting in the loss of most of Asia Minor. The situation was a serious threat to the future of the Eastern Orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire. The Emperor sent a plea to the Papacy, Pope in Rome to send military aid to restore the lost territories to Christian rule. The result was a series of western European military campaigns into the eastern Mediterranean, known as the ''Crusades''. Unfortunately for the Byzantines, the crusaders (belonging to the members of nobility from France, German territories, the Low countries, England, Italy and Hungary) had no allegiance to the Byzantine Emperor and established their own states in the conquered regions, Fourth Crusade, including the heart of the Byzantine Empire. The Holy Roman Empire would Dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, dissolve on 6 August 1806, after the French Revolution and the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine by Napoleon. Decline of the Byzantine Empire (13th–15th centuries) began with the Roman Catholic Church, Latin Christian Fourth Crusade in AD 1202–04, considered to be one of the most important events, solidifying the East-West Schism, schism between the Christianity, Christian churches of
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
Byzantine Rite and Latin language, Latin Roman Rite. An massacre of the Latins, anti-Western riot in 1182 broke out in Constantinople targeting Latins. The extremely wealthy (after previous Crusades) Republic of Venice, Venetians in particular made a Siege of Zara, successful attempt to maintain control over the coast of Catholic present-day Croatia (specifically the Dalmatia#Middle Ages, Dalmatia, a region of interest to the Maritime Republic, maritime medieval Venetian Republic moneylenders and its rivals, such as the Republic of Genoa) rebelling against the Venetian economic domination. What followed dealt an irrevocable blow to the already weakened Byzantine Empire with the Siege of Constantinople (1204), Crusader army's sack of Constantinople in April 1204, capital of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Greek Christian-controlled Byzantine Empire, described as one of the most profitable and disgraceful sacks of a city in history.Phillips, ''The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople'', Introduction, xiii. This paved the way for Muslim conquests in Anatolia, present-day Turkey and the Balkans in the coming centuries (only a handful of the Crusaders followed to the stated destination thereafter, the Crusader states, Holy Land). The geographical identity of the Balkans is historically known as a crossroads of cultures, a juncture between the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
and
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
bodies of the Roman Empire, the destination of a massive influx of pagans (meaning ''"non-Christians"'') Bulgars and Slavs, an area where Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church, Orthodox Christianity met, as well as the meeting point between Islam and Christianity. The Papal Inquisition was established in AD 1229 on a permanent basis, run largely by clergymen in Rome, and abolished six centuries later. Before AD 1100, the Catholic Inquisition, Catholic Church suppressed what they believed to be heresy, usually through a system of ecclesiastical proscription or imprisonment, but without using torture, and seldom resorting to executions. This very profitable Central European Fourth Crusade had prompted the 14th century Renaissance Italy, Renaissance (translated as 'Rebirth') of Italian city-states including the Papal States, on eve of the Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation (which established the Roman Inquisition to succeed the Medieval Inquisition). There followed the discovery of the American continent, and consequent dissolution of West Christendom as even a theoretical unitary political body, later resulting in the religious Eighty Years War (1568–1648) and Thirty Years War (1618–1648) between List of states in the Holy Roman Empire, various Protestant and Catholic states of the Holy Roman Empire (and emergence of Protestantism, religiously diverse Criticism of the Catholic Church, confessions). In this context, the Protestant Reformation (1517) may be viewed as a schism within the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
. German monk Martin Luther, in the wake of precursors, broke with the pope and with the emperor by the Catholic Church's abusive commercialization of indulgences in the Late Medieval Period, backed by many of the German princes and helped by the development of the printing press, in an attempt to reform corruption within the church. Both these religious wars ended with the Peace of Westphalia (1648), which enshrined the concept of the nation-state, and the principle of absolute national sovereignty in international law. As European influence spread across the globe, these Westphalian sovereignty, Westphalian principles, especially the concept of sovereign states, became central to international law and to the prevailing world order.


Colonialism (15th–20th centuries)

In the 13th and 14th centuries, a number of European travelers, many of them Christian missionary, missionaries, had sought to cultivate trading with Asia and Africa. With the Crusades came the relative contraction of the Orthodox Byzantine silk, Byzantine's large silk industry History of silk#Spread of production (8th-16th centuries), in favour of Catholic Western Europe and the rise of Papal States, Western Papacy. The most famous of these Chronology of European exploration of Asia#Middle Ages, merchant travelers pursuing Spice trade#Age of European Discovery: finding a new route and a New World, East–west trade was Venetian Marco Polo. But these journeys had little permanent effect on east–west trade because of a series of political developments in Asia in the last decades of the 14th century, which put an end to further European exploration of Asia: namely the new Ming dynasty, Ming rulers were found to be unreceptive of religious proselytism by European missionaries and merchants. Meanwhile, the Ottoman Empire, Ottoman Turkish people, Turks consolidated control over the eastern
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
, closing off key overland trade routes. The Kingdom of Portugal, Portuguese spearheaded the drive to find oceanic routes that would provide cheaper and easier access to South and East Asian goods, by advancements in maritime technology such as the caravel ship introduced in the mid-1400s. The charting of oceanic routes between East and West began with the unprecedented voyages of Portuguese and Kingdom of Spain, Spanish sea captains. In 1492 European colonialism expanded across the globe with the Voyages of Christopher Columbus, exploring voyage of merchant, navigator, and Hispano-Kingdom of Italy (Holy Roman Empire), Italian colonialism, colonizer Christopher Columbus. Such voyages were influenced by medieval European adventurers after the European spice trade with Asia, who had journeyed overland to the Far East contributing to geographical knowledge of parts of the Asian continent. They are of enormous significance in History of Western civilization, Western history as they marked the beginning of the European ethnic groups, European exploration, colonization and exploitation of Americas, the American continents and their Indigenous peoples of the Americas#European colonization, native inhabitants. The European colonization of the Americas led to the Atlantic slave trade between the 1490s and the 1800s, which also contributed to the development of African intertribal warfare and racist ideology. Before the abolition of its slave trade in 1807, the British Empire alone (which had started colonial efforts British Empire#"First" British Empire (1583–1783), in 1578, almost a century after Portuguese and Spanish empires) was responsible for the transportation of 3.5 million African slaves to the Americas, a third of all slaves transported across the Atlantic. The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved in 1806 by the French Revolutionary Wars; abolition of the Roman Catholic Inquisition followed. Due to the reach of these empires, Western institutions expanded throughout the world. This process of influence (and imposition) began with the Age of Discovery, voyages of discovery, European colonization of the Americas, colonization, conquest, and exploitation of
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...
enforced as well by papal bulls in 1450s (by the fall of the Byzantine Empire), granting Portugal navigation, war and trade monopoly for any newly discovered lands, and competing Spanish Empire, Spanish navigators. It continued with the rise of the Dutch East India Company by the destabilising Spanish discovery of the New World, and the creation and expansion of the
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
and French colonial empire, French colonial empires, and others. Even after demands for self-determination from subject peoples within Western empires were met with decolonization, these institutions persisted. One specific example was the requirement that Postcolonialism, post-colonial societies were made to form nation-states (in the Western tradition), which often created arbitrary boundaries and borders that did not necessarily represent a whole nation, people, or culture (as in much of Africa), and are often the cause of international conflicts and friction even to this day. Although not part of Western colonization process proper, following the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
Western culture in fact entered other global-spanning cultures during the colonial 15th–20th centuries. The concepts of a world of nation-states born by the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, coupled with the ideologies of the Enlightenment, the coming of modernity, the
Scientific Revolution The Scientific Revolution was a series of events that marked the emergence of modern science during the early modern period, when developments in History of mathematics#Mathematics during the Scientific Revolution, mathematics, History of phys ...

Scientific Revolution
and the Industrial Revolution, would produce powerful social transformations, political and History of banking#17th–19th centuries – The emergence of modern banking, economic institutions that have come to Political philosophy, influence (or been imposed upon) most nations of the world today. Historians agree that the Industrial Revolution has been one of the most important events in history. The course of Early modern period, three centuries since Christopher Columbus' late 15th century's voyages, of Atlantic slave trade, deportation of slaves Slavery in the colonial history of the United States, from Africa and British Isles, British dominant northern-Atlantic location, later developed into modern-day United States of America, evolving from the ratification of the Constitution of the United States by History of the United States Constitution#Ratification of the Constitution, thirteen States on the north American East Coast of the United States, East Coast before end of the 18th century. In the early-19th century, the systematic urbanisation process (migration from villages in search of jobs in manufacturing centers) had begun, and the concentration of labour into factories led to the rise in the population of the towns. World population had been rising as well. It is estimated to have first reached one billion in 1804. Also, the new philosophical movement later known as
Romanticism Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to ...
originated, in the wake of the previous Age of 17th-century philosophy, Reason of the 1600s and the
Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * Age of Enlightenment, period in Western intellectual history from the late 17th to late 18th century, centered in France but also encompassing: ** Midlands Enlightenment ...
of 1700s. These are seen as fostering the 19th century ''Western worlds sustained economic development. Before the urbanisation and industrialization of the 1800s, demand for orientalism, oriental goods such as porcelain, silk, spices and tea remained the driving force behind European imperialism in Asia, and (with the important exception of British East India Company rule in India) the European stake in Asia remained confined largely to trading stations and strategic outposts necessary to protect trade. Industrialisation, however, dramatically increased European demand for Asian raw materials; and the severe Long Depression of the 1870s provoked a scramble for new markets for European industrial products and financial services in Africa, the Americas, Eastern Europe, and especially in Asia (Western powers exploited their advantages in China for example by the Opium Wars). This resulted in the "New Imperialism", which saw a shift in focus from trade and indirect rule to formal colonial control of vast overseas territories ruled as political extensions of their mother countries. The later years of the 19th century saw the transition from "informal imperialism" (hegemony) by military influence and economic dominance, to direct rule (a revival of colonial
imperialism Imperialism is a policy or ideology of extending rule over peoples and other countries, for extending political and economic access, power and control, often through employing hard power Hard power is the use of military and economics, economi ...

imperialism
) in the African continent and Middle East.Kevin Shillington, ''History of Africa''. Revised second edition (New York: Macmillan Publishers Limited, 2005), 301. During the socioeconomically optimistic and innovative decades of the Second Industrial Revolution between the 1870s and 1914, also known as the "Belle Epoque, Beautiful Era", the established colonial powers in Asia (United Kingdom, France, Netherlands) added to their empires also vast expanses of territory in the Indian Subcontinent and South East Asia. Japan was involved primarily during the Meiji period (1868–1912), though earlier contacts with the Portuguese, Spaniards and Dutch were also present in the Empire of Japan, Japanese Empire's recognition of the strategic importance of European nations. Traditional Japanese society became an industrial and militarist power like the Western British Empire and the French Third Republic, and similar to the German Empire. At the close of the Spanish-American War in 1898 the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam and Cuba were ceded to the United States under the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1898), Treaty of Paris. The US quickly emerged as the new imperial power in
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia, which is defined in both Geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The modern State (polity), states of East Asia include China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. ...

East Asia
and in the Pacific Ocean#European exploration, Pacific Ocean area. The Philippines continued to fight against colonial rule in the Philippine-American War. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered , of the Earth's total land area. At its apex, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" described the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun always shone on at least one of its territories. As a result, its political, Common law, legal, English language, linguistic and Culture of the United Kingdom, cultural legacy is widespread throughout the ''Western World''. In the aftermath of the Second World War, decolonizing efforts were employed by all Western powers under United Nations (ex-League of Nations) international directives. Most of colonized nations received independence by 1960. Great Britain showed ongoing responsibility for the welfare of its former colonies as member states of the Commonwealth of Nations. But the end of Western colonial imperialism saw the rise of Western neocolonialism or economic imperialism. Multinational corporations came to offer "a dramatic refinement of the traditional business enterprise", through "issues as far ranging as national sovereignty, ownership of the means of production, environmental protection, consumerism, and policies toward organized labor." Though the overt colonial era had passed, ''Western'' nations, as comparatively rich, well-armed, and culturally powerful states, wielded a Neocolonialism, large degree of influence throughout the world, and with little or no sense of responsibility toward the peoples impacted by its multinational corporations in their exploitation of minerals and markets. The dictum of Alfred Thayer Mahan is shown to have lasting relevance, that whoever controls the seas controls the world.


Enlightenment (17th-18th centuries)

Eric Voegelin described the 18th-century as one where "the sentiment grows that one age has come to its close and that a new age of Western civilization is about to be born". According to Voeglin the Enlightenment (also called the Age of reason, Age of Reason) represents the "atrophy of Christian transcendental experiences and [seeks] to enthrone the Isaac Newton, Newtonian method of science as the only valid method of arriving at truth". Its precursors were John Milton and Baruch Spinoza. Meeting Galileo in 1638 left an enduring impact on John Milton and influenced Milton's great work ''Areopagitica'', where he warns that, without free speech, inquisitorial forces will impose "an undeserved thraldom upon learning". The achievements of the 17th century included the invention of the telescope and acceptance of heliocentrism. 18th century scholars continued to refine Newton's theory of gravitation, notably Leonhard Euler, Pierre Louis Maupertuis, Alexis-Claude Clairaut, Jean Le Rond d'Alembert, Joseph-Louis Lagrange, Pierre-Simon de Laplace. Laplace's five-volume ''Treatise on Celestial Mechanics'' is one of the great works of 18th-century Newtonianism. Astronomy gained in prestige as new observatories were funded by governments and more powerful telescopes developed, leading to the discovery of new planets, asteroids, nebulae and comets, and paving the way for improvements in navigation and cartography. Astronomy became the second most popular scientific profession, after medicine. A common metanarrative of the Enlightenment is the "secularization theory". Modernity, as understood within the framework, means a total break with the past. Innovation and science are the good, representing the modern values of
rationalism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, ...
, while faith is ruled by superstition and traditionalism. Inspired by the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment embodied the ideals of improvement and progress. Descartes and Isaac Newton were regarded as exemplars of human intellectual achievement. Condorcet wrote about the progress of humanity in the ''Sketch of the Progress of the Human Mind'' (1794), from primitive society to agrarianism, the invention of writing, the later invention of the printing press and the advancement to "the Period when the Sciences and Philosophy threw off the Yoke of Authority". French writer Pierre Bayle denounced Spinoza as a pantheist (thereby accusing him of atheism). Bayle's criticisms garnered much attention for Spinoza. The pantheism controversy in the late 18th century saw Gotthold Lessing attacked by Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi over support for Spinoza's pantheism. Lessing was defended by Moses Mendelssohn, although Mendelssohn diverged from pantheism to follow Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in arguing that God and the world were not of the same substance (equivalency). Spinoza was excommunicated from the Dutch Sephardic community, but for Jews who sought out Jewish sources to guide their own path to secularism, Spinoza was as important as Voltaire and Kant.


Cold War (1947–1991) and sexual revolution (1960s-1980s)

During the Cold War, a new definition emerged. Earth was divided into three "worlds". The First World, analogous in this context to what was called ''the West'', was composed of NATO members and other countries aligned with the United States. The Second World was the Eastern bloc in the Soviet sphere of influence, including the Soviet Union (15 republics including the then-occupied and presently independent Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and Warsaw Pact countries like Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, East Germany (now united with Germany), and Czechoslovakia (now split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia). The Third World consisted of countries, many of which were Non-Aligned Movement, unaligned with either, and important members included India, Yugoslavia, Finland (Finlandization) and Switzerland (Foreign relations of Switzerland, Swiss Neutrality); some include the People's Republic of China, though this is disputed, since the People's Republic of China, as communist, had friendly relations—at certain times—with the Soviet bloc, and had a significant degree of importance in global geopolitics. Some Third World countries aligned themselves with either the US-led West or the Soviet-led Eastern bloc. A number of countries did not fit comfortably into this neat definition of partition, including Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, and Republic of Ireland, Ireland, which chose to be neutral. Finland was under the ''Soviet Union's'' military sphere of influence (see FCMA treaty) but remained neutral and was not communist, nor was it a member of the Warsaw Pact or Comecon but a member of the EFTA since 1986, and was west of the Iron Curtain. In 1955, when Austria again became a fully independent republic, it did so under the condition that it remain neutral; but as a country to the west of the Iron Curtain, it was in the ''United States sphere of influence. Spain did not join the NATO until 1982, seven years after the death of the authoritarian Francisco Franco, Franco. The Western debate on the global conflict, aligned Protestantism on the path of Woman's liberation. The Sexual revolution then unveiled in the USA as ecstatic self-congratulation for the triumphant North American culture (as well as England, English and France, French). The transition from the 1800s Industrialization to the 1900s mass production, Consumerism#Mass_production, consumerism and Digital revolution, computing revolution was followed by a fundamental shift from physical labor (male-dominated) to intellectual, thus permitting the 1960s-80s development of revolution in gender roles and male-dominancy. Nonetheless, Nazi-Fascism was regarded as pejoratively masculine for having started the conflict that shed so much blood, and for having been rooted in the militaristic ancient Roman Empire (Holy Roman Empire's Germano-Italian central European hegemony lasted a millennium until early 19th century, after all, even though it did not include Southern Italy). The development of consumerism and the advent of the department store for example represented a paradigm shift in the experience of shopping. Citizens could now buy an astonishing variety of goods, all in one place, and shopping became a popular leisure activity. While previously the norm had been the scarcity of resources, the mass production created an unprecedented economic situation. For the first time in history, products were available in outstanding quantities, at outstandingly low prices, being thus available to virtually everyone in the industrialized West. The 1980s advent of Mikhail Gorbachev led to the end of the Cold War following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.


Cold War II context

In a debated Second Cold War, Cold War II, a new definition emerged inside the realm of western journalism. More specifically, Cold War II, also known as the Second Cold War, New Cold War, Cold War Redux, Cold War 2.0, and Colder War, refers to the tensions, hostilities, and political rivalry that intensified dramatically in 2014 between the Russian Federation on the one hand, and the United States, European Union, NATO and some other countries on the other hand. Tensions escalated in 2014 after Russia's Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, annexation of Crimea, War in Donbass, military intervention in Ukraine, and the Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War, 2015 Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War. By August 2014, both sides had implemented economic, financial, and diplomatic sanctions upon each other: virtually all Western countries, led by the US and EU, imposed International sanctions during the Ukrainian crisis, restrictive measures on Russia; the latter reciprocally introduced retaliatory International sanctions during the Ukrainian crisis#Sanctions by Russia, measures.


Modern definitions

The exact scope of the ''Western world'' is somewhat subjective in nature, depending on whether cultural, economic, spiritual or political criteria are employed. It is a generally accepted western view to recognize the existence of at least three "major worlds" (or "cultures", or "civilizations"), broadly in contrast with the Western: the ''
Eastern world Eastern world, also known as the East or the Orient The Orient is a term for the East, traditionally comprising anything that belongs to the Eastern world, in relation to Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of seve ...

Eastern world
'', the ''Arab world, Arab'' and the ''African'' worlds, with no clearly specified boundaries. Additionally, ''
Latin America * ht, Amerik Latin, link=no * pt, América Latina, link=no , image = Latin America (orthographic projection).svg , area = , population = ( est.) , density = , ethnic_groups = , ethnic_groups_year = 2018 , ethnic ...

Latin America
n'' and ''Eastern Orthodoxy by country, Orthodox'' worlds are sometimes separately considered "akin" to the West. Many anthropologists, sociologists and historians oppose "the West and the Rest" in a categorical manner. The same has been done by Malthusian demographers with a sharp distinction between European and non-European family systems. Among anthropologists, this includes Émile Durkheim, Durkheim, Louis Dumont, Dumont, and Claude Lévi-Strauss, Lévi-Strauss. Since the fall of the iron curtain the following countries are generally accepted as the Western world: the United States, Canada; European Union plus UK,
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a Nort ...

Norway
, Iceland and Switzerland; Australia and New Zealand.


Cultural definition

In modern usage, ''Western world'' refers to
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
and to areas whose populations largely European emigration, originate from Europe, through the Age of Discovery, Age of Discovery's imperialism. In the 20th century, Christianity postchristianity, declined in influence in many Western countries, mostly in the European Union where some member states have experienced falling church attendance and membership in recent years, and also elsewhere. Secularism (separating religion from politics and science) increased. However, while church attendance is in decline, in some Western countries (i.e. Italy, Poland, and Portugal), more than half of the people state that importance of religion by country, religion is important, and most Westerners nominally identify themselves as Christians (e.g. 59% in the United Kingdom) and attend church on major occasions, such as Christmas and Easter. In the Americas, Christianity continues to play an important societal role, though in areas such as Canada, a low level of religiosity is common due to a European-type secularization. The state religion, official religions of the United Kingdom and some Nordic countries are forms of Christianity, while the majority of European countries have no official religion. Despite this, Christianity, in its different forms, remains the largest faith in most Western countries. Christianity remains the dominant religion in the ''Western world'', where 70% are Christians. A 2011 Pew Research Center survey found that 76.2% of
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
ans, 73.3% in
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Eart ...

Oceania
, and about 86.0% in the Americas (90% in Latin America and the Caribbean and 77.4% in
Northern America Northern America is the north North is one of the four compass points The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remn ...
) described themselves as Christians. The Philippines is in a unique situation where although the majority population do not have European roots except for the very significant minority, the culture is very Western-based, with its traditional Art, Bahay na bato, architecture, fashion and clothing in the Philippines, fashion, music, cuisine, Language (Spanish language in the Philippines, Spanish and Philippine English, English) and Christianity. The Philippines itself was a creation of Spain, unifying certain parts of Southeast Asia into one entity as part of Spanish Empire through conquest and negotiation, naming it after Philip II of Spain, King Philip II as Las Islas Filipinas. Most of South Africa's population is not of European ancestry, excepting a sizeable White South Africans, minority. The primary sources of the country's Constitution of South Africa, constitution are Roman-Dutch law, Roman-Dutch mercantile law and personal law as well as English Common law, as imports of Dutch settlement and British colonialism. English, the country's lingua franca, is the main language used in official and business capacities and the sole language of record in South African courts. English and Afrikaans – most similar to Dutch language, Dutch – are two of South Africa's eleven official languages. Christianity is the dominant religion and many denominations incorporate worship practices of traditional African religions. The Methodist, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Dutch Reformed, Lutheran, Pentecostal and Seventh-day Adventist dominations are also popular. Countries in the ''Western world'' are also the most keen on digital and televisual media technologies, as they were in the postwar period on television and radio: from 2000 to 2014, the Internet's market penetration in the ''West'' was twice that in non-''Western'' regions. Wikipedia has been blocked intermittently in China since 2004.


Economic definition

The term ''"Western world"'' is sometimes interchangeably used with the term First World or developed country, developed countries, stressing the difference between First World and the Third World or developing country, developing countries. This usage occurs despite the fact that many countries that may be culturally Western are developing country, developing countries – in fact, a significant percentage of the Americas are developing countries. It is also used despite many developed country, developed countries or regions not being culturally Western (e.g. Israel, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau, Macao). Privatization policies (involving government enterprises and public services) and multinational corporations are often considered a visible sign of Western nations's economic presence, especially in Third World countries, and represent a common institutional environment for powerful politicians, enterprises, trade unions and firms, bankers and thinkers of the ''Western world''.


Latin America

American political scientist, adviser and academic Samuel P. Huntington considered Latin America as separate from the ''Western world'' for the purpose of his geopolitical analysis. However, he also states that, while in general researchers consider that the ''West'' has three main components (European, North American and Latin American), in his view, Latin America has followed a different development path from Europe and North America. Although it is a scion of European (mainly Spanish and Portuguese) civilization, it also incorporates, to an extent, elements of indigenous American civilizations, absent from North America and Europe. It has had a corporatist and authoritarian culture that Europe had to a much lesser extent. Both Europe and North America felt the effects of the Reformation and combined Catholic and Protestant culture. Historically, Latin America has been only Catholic, although this is changing due to the influx of Protestants into the region. Some regions in Latin America incorporate indigenous cultures, which did not exist in Europe and were effectively annihilated in the United States, and whose importance oscillates between two extremes: Mexico, Central America, Paraguay, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile, Peru and Bolivia, on the one hand, and Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina on the other. However, he does mention that the modus operandi of the Catholic Church was to incorporate native elements of pagan European cultures into the general dogma of Catholicism, and the Native American elements could be perceived in the same way. Subjectively, Latin Americans are divided when it comes to identifying themselves. Some say: "Yes, we are part of the West." Others say: "No, we have our own unique culture"; and a vast bibliographical material produced by Latin Americans and North Americans exposes in detail their cultural differences. Huntington goes on to mention that Latin America could be considered a sub-civilization within Western civilization, or a separate civilization intimately related to the West and divided as to its belonging to it. While the second option is the most appropriate and useful for an analysis focused on the international political consequences of civilizations, including relations between Latin America, on the one hand, and North America and Europe, on the other, he also mentions that the underlying conflict of Latin America belonging to the West must eventually be addressed in order to develop a cohesive Latin American identity. Huntington's view has, however, been contested on a number of occasions as biased.


Views on torn countries

According to Samuel P. Huntington, some countries are torn on whether they are Western or not, with typically the national leadership pushing for
Westernization Westernization ( US) or Westernisation ( UK), also Europeanization/Europeanisation Europeanisation (or Europeanization, see British and American spelling differences, spelling differences) refers to a number of related phenomena and patterns of ch ...
, while historical, cultural and traditional forces remain largely non-Western. These include Turkey, whose political leadership has since the 1920s tried to Westernize the predominantly Islam, Muslim country with only 3% of its territory within Europe. It is his chief example of a "torn country" that is attempting to join Western civilization. The country's elite started the
Westernization Westernization ( US) or Westernisation ( UK), also Europeanization/Europeanisation Europeanisation (or Europeanization, see British and American spelling differences, spelling differences) refers to a number of related phenomena and patterns of ch ...
efforts, beginning with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who took power as the first president of the modern Turkish nation-state in 1923, imposed western institutions and dress, removed the Arabic alphabet and embraced the Latin alphabet. It joined NATO and since the 1960s has been seeking to accession of Turkey to the European Union, join the European Union with very slow progress.


Other views

A series of scholars of civilization, including Arnold J. Toynbee, Alfred Kroeber and
Carroll Quigley Carroll Quigley (; November 9, 1910 – January 3, 1977) was an American historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who s ...
have identified and analyzed "Western civilization" as one of the civilizations that have historically existed and still exist today. Toynbee entered into quite an expansive mode, including as candidates those countries or cultures who became so heavily influenced by the West as to adopt these borrowings into their very self-identity. Carried to its limit, this would in practice include almost everyone within the West, in one way or another. In particular, Toynbee refers to the ''intelligentsia'' formed among the educated elite of countries impacted by the European expansion of centuries past. While often pointedly nationalist, these cultural and political leaders interacted within the West to such an extent as to change both themselves and the West. The theologian and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin conceived of the West as the set of civilizations descended from the Nile Valley Civilizations, Nile Valley Civilization of Egypt. Palestinian-American literary critic Edward Said uses the term "Occident" in his discussion of Orientalism. According to his binary opposition, binary, the West, or Occident, created a romanticized vision of the East, or Orient, to justify colonial and imperialist intentions. This Occident-Orient binary focuses on the Western vision of the East instead of any truths about the East. His theories are rooted in Hegel's master-slave dialectic: The Occident would not exist without the Orient and vice versa. Further, Western writers created this irrational, feminine, weak "Other" to contrast with the rational, masculine, strong West because of a need to create a difference between the two that would justify imperialist ambitions, according to the Said-influenced Indian-American theorist Homi K. Bhabha. File:Theodosius_I's_empire.png, Division of the Roman Empire after 395 into western and eastern part. The geopolitical divisions in Europe that created a concept of ''East'' and ''West'' originated in the Roman Empire. File:Latin alphabet world distribution.svg, Latin alphabet world distribution. The dark green areas show the countries where this alphabet is the sole official (or de facto official) national script. The light green places show the countries where the alphabet co-exists with other scripts. File:Christian world map.png, Countries with 50% or more Christianity, Christians are colored purple while countries with 10% to 50% Christians are colored pink File:Religion in the world.PNG, Map showing relative degree of religiosity by country. Based on a 2006–2008 worldwide survey by Gallup. File:Primary Human Language Families Map.png, Human language families. File:Western palearctic.png, Western Palearctic, a part of the Palearctic realm, one of the eight biogeographic realms dividing the Earth's surface. File:Intermediate Region Western Boundary FR.JPG, Geopolitical Occident of Europe, according to the Intermediate Region theory of Dimitri Kitsikis File:Indo-European-speaking world.png, Indo-European languages. File:EU and EFTA.svg, European Union (in blue) and European Free Trade Association (in green). File:2019 UN Human Development Report.svg, Human Development Index Report (based on 2018 data, published in 2019). File:Map of the Legal systems of the world (en).png, Legal systems of the world. File:Secular States Map.svg, Secular states in blue. File:Christ_Islam.png, Relative geographic prevalence of Christianity versus the second most prevalent religion Islam and lack of either religion, in 2006. From a very different perspective, it has also been argued that the idea of the West is, in part, a non-Western invention, deployed in the non-West to shape and define non-Western pathways through or against modernity.Bonnett, A. 2004. ''The Idea of the West''


See also

*Americanization *Anglicisation *English-speaking world, Anglophone *Atlanticism *
Eastern world Eastern world, also known as the East or the Orient The Orient is a term for the East, traditionally comprising anything that belongs to the Eastern world, in relation to Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of seve ...

Eastern world
*East-West dichotomy *Europeanisation *Far West (Taixi), Far West *Francophonie *Free world *North–South divide in the World, Global North *Global South *Golden billion *Hispanophone *History of Western civilization *Mid-Atlantic English *Monroe Doctrine *Three-world model *Western esotericism *Western philosophy *Western civilization ;Organisations: *European Council *European Economic Area, European Economic Area (EEA) *G10 currencies *Group of Seven, Group of Seven (G7) *Group of Twelve, Group of Twelve (G12) ;Representation in the United Nations: *Eastern European Group *Western European and Others Group


Notes


References


Further reading

* *Bavaj, Riccardo
''"The West": A Conceptual Exploration ''
European History Online, Mainz: Institute of European History, 2011, retrieved: 28 November 2011. * Conze, Vanessa
''Abendland''EGO - European History Online
Mainz
Institute of European History
2017, retrieved: 8 March 2021
pdf
. *Daly, Jonathan.
The Rise of Western Power: A Comparative History of Western Civilization
(London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2014). . *Daly, Jonathan.
Historians Debate the Rise of the West
(London and New York: Routledge, 2015). .

– where you can watch each episode on demand for free (Pop-ups required) *J. F. C. Fuller. A Military history, Military History of the Western World. Three Volumes. New York: Da capo, Da Capo Press, Inc., 1987 and 1988. :V. 1. From the earliest times to the Battle of Lepanto; . :V. 2. From The Defeat of the Spanish Armada, the defeat of the Spanish Armada to Battle of Waterloo, the Battle of Waterloo; . :V. 3. From the American Civil War to the end of World War II; . {{Authority control Civilizations Country classifications Cultural concepts Cultural regions Historiography of Europe Western culture