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WESTERN EUROPE is the region comprising the western part of Europe
Europe
. Below, some different geographic, geopolitical and cultural definitions of the term are outlined.

For centuries, Western Europe
Europe
was defined as the countries with dominant Catholic and Protestant churches, while Eastern Europe
Europe
was dominated by the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
. A more contemporary definition subdivides Western Europe
Europe
into several other regions like Central Europe
Europe
or Northern Europe
Europe
.

Western Europe's significant historical events include the time of the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
(including the Punic, Gallic an Civil Wars fought by Rome), the reign of Augustus
Augustus
, the spreading of The Gospel
The Gospel
under St Paul , Pax Romana
Pax Romana
, Fall of the Western Roman Empire
Fall of the Western Roman Empire
reign of Charlemange , the Viking
Viking
Invasions, the Black Death
Black Death
, the Renaissance , the Age of Discovery , the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
as well as the Counter-Reformation
Counter-Reformation
of the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
, the Age of Enlightenment , the French Revolution
French Revolution
, Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
, the two World Wars and the Cold War
Cold War
.

CONTENTS

* 1 Historical divisions

* 1.1 Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity
and medieval origins * 1.2 Religion * 1.3 Cold War
Cold War
* 1.4 Western European Union
Western European Union

* 2 Modern divisions

* 2.1 CIA
CIA
definitions * 2.2 Western European and Others Group * 2.3 European Union
European Union
* 2.4 EFTA * 2.5 Intermediate Region
Intermediate Region
* 2.6 Other groupings and organisations

* 3 Population * 4 Climate * 5 Languages * 6 Economy * 7 See also * 8 Notes * 9 References * 10 Sources * 11 External links

HISTORICAL DIVISIONS

CLASSICAL ANTIQUITY AND MEDIEVAL ORIGINS

The Great Schism in Christianity
Christianity
, the predominant religion in Western Europe
Europe
at the time.

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

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

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

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

RELIGION

Eastern and Western Christianity
Christianity
in 1054

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

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

WESTERN EUROPE according to this definition is formed by countries with dominant Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, including countries which are considered part of Central Europe
Europe
now:

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
Switzerland
and United Kingdom.

EASTERN EUROPE is formed by countries with dominant Eastern Orthodox churches, like Greece
Greece
, Belarus
Belarus
, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
, Serbia
Serbia
, Romania
Romania
, Russia , Ukraine
Ukraine
for instance.

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

This division dominated Europe
Europe
for centuries, in opposition to the rather short lived Cold War
Cold War
division of 4 decades.

*

Division between the Eastern and Western Churches *

Religious division in 1054

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

COLD WAR

Political situation in Europe
Europe
during the Cold War
Cold War

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

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

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

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

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

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

WESTERN EUROPEAN UNION

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

MODERN DIVISIONS

CIA
CIA
DEFINITIONS

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

The CIA
CIA
divides Western Europe
Europe
into two smaller subregions. The Western Europe
Europe
group consists of eight countries:

* Belgium
Belgium
* France
France
* Ireland * Luxembourg
Luxembourg
* Monaco
Monaco
* Netherlands
Netherlands
* Switzerland
Switzerland
* United Kingdom
United Kingdom

The Southwestern group consists of three countries:

* Andorra
Andorra
* Portugal
Portugal
* Spain
Spain

WESTERN EUROPEAN AND OTHERS GROUP

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

* Andorra
Andorra
* Austria
Austria
* Belgium
Belgium
* Denmark
Denmark
* Finland
Finland
* France
France
* Germany
Germany
* Greece
Greece
* Australia
Australia

* Iceland
Iceland
* Ireland * Italy
Italy
* Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
* Luxembourg
Luxembourg
* Malta
Malta
* Monaco
Monaco
* Netherlands
Netherlands
* Canada
Canada

* Norway
Norway
* Portugal
Portugal
* San Marino
San Marino
* Spain
Spain
* Sweden
Sweden
* Switzerland
Switzerland
* Turkey
Turkey
* Israel
Israel
* New Zealand
New Zealand
* United Kingdom
United Kingdom

EUROPEAN UNION

European Union
European Union
countries

The European Union
European Union
(EU) is an economic and political union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe
Europe
.

* Austria
Austria
* Belgium
Belgium
* Bulgaria
Bulgaria
* Croatia
Croatia
* Cyprus
Cyprus
* Czech Republic
Czech Republic
* Denmark
Denmark
* Estonia
Estonia
* Finland
Finland
* France
France

* Germany
Germany
* Greece
Greece
* Hungary
Hungary
* Ireland * Italy
Italy
* Latvia
Latvia
* Lithuania
Lithuania
* Luxembourg
Luxembourg
* Malta
Malta
* Netherlands
Netherlands

* Poland
Poland
* Portugal
Portugal
* Romania
Romania
* Slovakia
Slovakia
* Slovenia
Slovenia
* Spain
Spain
* Sweden
Sweden
* United Kingdom
United Kingdom

EFTA

The Western and Northern European countries of Iceland
Iceland
, Norway
Norway
, Switzerland
Switzerland
and Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
are members of EFTA , though cooperating to varying degree with the European Union
European Union
.

INTERMEDIATE REGION

Geopolitical boundary of Western culture
Western culture
according to historian Dimitri Kitsikis

The Intermediate Region
Intermediate Region
is an established geopolitical model set forth in the 1970s by the Greek historian Dimitri Kitsikis . Under this model, the lands between the Adriatic Sea
Adriatic Sea
and the Indus River form the Intermediate Region, and are considered a bridge between Western and Eastern civilisations .

OTHER GROUPINGS AND ORGANISATIONS

Other groupings and organisations covering the western part of Europe include:

*

R1b is the most common haplogroup amid Western Europeans. *

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD) *

Development Assistance Committee
Development Assistance Committee
*

IMF developed economies *

European Space Agency
European Space Agency

POPULATION

Population of various countries that are commonly referred to as "Western Europe", between the years 2000 and 2016.

COUNTRY Population (2016 est.) Population (2000 est.) -/+ of Population Percent change CAPITAL Population density (per km²), 2016

Andorra
Andorra
69,165 65,399 3766 5.76% Andorra
Andorra
La Vella 147

Austria
Austria
8,569,633 8,002,186 567,447 7.09% Vienna
Vienna
104

Belgium
Belgium
11,371,928 10,296,350 1,075,578 10.45% Brussels
Brussels
376

Denmark
Denmark
5,690,750 5,330,020 360,730 6.77% Copenhagen
Copenhagen
134

Finland
Finland
5,523,904 5,167,486 356,418 6.89% Helsinki
Helsinki
17

France
France
64,668,129 60,537,977 4,130,152 6.39% Paris
Paris
118

Germany
Germany
80,682,351 82,163,475 -1,481,124 -1.80% Berlin
Berlin
231

Iceland
Iceland
331,778 279,049 52,729 18.90% Reykjavík
Reykjavík
3.22

Ireland 4,713,993 3,777,763 936,230 24.78% Dublin
Dublin
68

Italy
Italy
59,801,004 56,923,524 2,877,480 5.05% Rome
Rome
201

Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
37,776 33,282 4,494 13.50% Vaduz
Vaduz
236

Luxembourg
Luxembourg
576,243 433,600 142,643 32.89% Luxembourg
Luxembourg
223

Malta
Malta
419,615 381,363 38,252 10.00% Valletta
Valletta
1311

Monaco
Monaco
37,863 32,081 5,782 18.02% Monaco
Monaco
25,411

Netherlands
Netherlands
16,979,729 15,863,950 1,115,779 7.03% Amsterdam
Amsterdam
505

Norway
Norway
5,271,958 4,478,497 793,461 17.72% Oslo
Oslo
15

Portugal
Portugal
10,304,434 10,195,014 109,420 1.07% Lisbon
Lisbon
113

San Marino
San Marino
31,950 27,420 4,530 16.52% San Marino
San Marino
533

Spain
Spain
46,064,604 40,049,708 6,014,896 15.02% Madrid
Madrid
92

Sweden
Sweden
9,851,852 8,861,426 990,426 1.18% Stockholm
Stockholm
24

Switzerland
Switzerland
8,379,477 7,162,444 1,217,033 16.99% Bern
Bern
212

United Kingdom
United Kingdom
65,111,143 58,785,246 6,325,897 10.76% London
London
269

Vatican City
Vatican City
840 880 -40 -4.54% Vatican City
Vatican City
1909

CLIMATE

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

LANGUAGES

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

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

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

The following is a table displaying the number of speakers of the languages in Western Europe
Europe
spoken by more than 5 million people:

LANGUAGE SPEAKERS LARGEST COUNTRIES WHERE SPOKEN LARGEST REGIONS WHERE SPOKEN

Catalan 9,200,000 Andorra
Andorra
, Spain
Spain
Catalonia
Catalonia
, Valencian Community

Dutch 21,944,690 Belgium
Belgium
, Netherlands
Netherlands

English 59,800,000 Ireland , United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(including Isle of Man , Jersey
Jersey
, Guernsey
Guernsey
and Gibraltar
Gibraltar
)

French 65,700,000 Belgium
Belgium
, France
France
, Luxembourg
Luxembourg
, Monaco
Monaco
, Switzerland
Switzerland
Jersey
Jersey
, Valle d\'Aosta

German 95,000,000 Austria
Austria
, Belgium
Belgium
, Germany
Germany
, Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
, Luxembourg
Luxembourg
, Switzerland
Switzerland
South Tyrol

Italian 59,400,000 Italy
Italy
, Monaco
Monaco
, San Marino
San Marino
, Switzerland
Switzerland
, Vatican City
Vatican City
Istria County , Malta
Malta
, Slovene Istria

Portuguese 10,000,000 Portugal
Portugal

Spanish 45,000,000+ Andorra
Andorra
, Spain
Spain

ECONOMY

Western Europe
Europe
is one of the richest regions of the world. Germany has the highest GDP in Europe
Europe
and the largest financial surplus of any country, Luxembourg
Luxembourg
has the highest GDP per capita , and France
France
has the highest Net National Wealth of any European state.

Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
has the highest average wage of any state in Europe, Switzerland
Switzerland
ranks highest in Europe
Europe
on the Social Progress Index.

SEE ALSO

* Geography portal * Europe
Europe
portal

* Central Europe
Europe
* Eastern Europe
Europe
* Northern Europe
Europe
* Southern Europe
Europe
* Far West
West
* Marshall Plan
Marshall Plan
* Eurovoc#Western Europe
Europe

NOTES

* ^ Both native and second language speakers residing in Europe only. * ^ Country is defined as being one of the 193 members of the United Nations
United Nations
. 'Recognised minority language' status is not included. * ^ Region is defined as being a subordinate constituent of a country, where a legitimate political entity has granted the language official status in that region.

REFERENCES

* ^ Ricci, Matteo (1610) . On Friendship: One Hundred Maxims for a Chinese Prince. Translated by Timothy Billings. Columbia University Press. pp. 19, 71, 87. ISBN 978-0231149242 . * ^ "Atlas of the Historical Geography of the Holy Land". Rbedrosian.com. Archived from the original on 10 June 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2013. * ^ "home.comcast.net". Archived from the original on February 13, 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2013. * ^ Dragan Brujić (2005). "Vodič kroz svet Vizantije (Guide to the Byzantine World)". Beograd. p. 51. * ^ Peter John, Local Governance in Western Europe, University of Manchester, 2001, ISBN 9780761956372 * ^ "The geopolitical conditions (...) are now a thing of the past, and some specialists today think that Eastern Europe
Europe
has outlived its usefulness as a phrase.""Regions, Regionalism, Eastern Europe
Europe
by Steven Cassedy". New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, Charles Scribner's Sons. 2005. Retrieved 2010-01-31 * ^ "The Economist: Eastern Europe
Europe
a bogus term - South Eastern Europe
Europe
- The Sofia
Sofia
Echo". * ^ "One very common, but now outdated, definition of Eastern Europe
Europe
was the Soviet-dominated communist countries of Europe."http://www.cotf.edu/earthinfo/balkans/BKdef.html * ^ "Too much writing on the region has – consciously or unconsciously – clung to an outdated image of 'Eastern Europe', desperately trying to patch together political and social developments from Budapest
Budapest
to Bukhara or Tallinn to Tashkent without acknowledging that this Cold War
Cold War
frame of reference is coming apart at the seams. Central Europe
Europe
Review: Re-Viewing Central Europe
Europe
By Sean Hanley, Kazi Stastna and Andrew Stroehlein, 1999 * ^ Berglund, Sten; Ekman, Joakim; Aarebrot, Frank H. (2004). The handbook of political change in Eastern Europe. Edward Elgar Publishing . p. 2. ISBN 9781781954324 . Retrieved 2011-10-05. The term 'Eastern Europe' is ambiguous and in many ways outdated. * ^ Archived April 3, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
.. Eurovoc.europa.eu. Retrieved on 2015-03-04. * ^ " United Nations
United Nations
Statistics Division- Standard Country and Area Codes Classifications (M49)". * ^ "Population Division, DESA, United Nations: World Population Ageing 1950-2050" (PDF). * ^ "Basic information on the European Union". European Union. europa.eu. Retrieved 4 October 2012. * ^ "European". Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 5 b. spec. Designating a developing series of economic and political unions between certain countries of Europe
Europe
from 1952 onwards, as EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY, EUROPEAN COMMUNITY, EUROPEAN UNION * ^ http://www.scs.illinois.edu/~mcdonald/WorldHaplogroupsMaps.pdf * ^ "European Y-DNA haplogroups frequencies by country". Eupedia. * ^ . unknown https://www.essex.ac.uk/armedcon/world/europe/western_europe/default.html. Retrieved 6 June 2017. Check date values in: date= (help ); Missing or empty title= (help ) * ^ A B C "Europe". Encyclopædia Britannica . 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2008. * ^ "Catalan". * ^ Dutch at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) * ^ English at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) * ^ French at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) * ^ Le Statut spécial de la Vallée d\'Aoste, Article 38, Title VI. Region Vallée d'Aoste. Archived from the original on 4 November 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2014. * ^ http://www.regione.taa.it/normativa/statuto_speciale.pdf * ^ Italian at