The Info List - Western Europe

--- Advertisement ---

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

For centuries, Western Europe
was defined as the countries with dominant Catholic and Protestant churches, while Eastern Europe
was dominated by the Eastern Orthodox Church . A more contemporary definition subdivides Western Europe
into several other regions like Central Europe
or Northern 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
, the spreading of The Gospel under St Paul , Pax Romana , Fall of the Western Roman Empire reign of Charlemange , the Viking Invasions, the Black Death , the Renaissance , the Age of Discovery , the Protestant Reformation as well as the Counter-Reformation of the Catholic Church , the Age of Enlightenment , the French Revolution , Industrial Revolution , the two World Wars and the Cold War .


* 1 Historical divisions

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

* 2 Modern divisions

* 2.1 CIA definitions * 2.2 Western European and Others Group * 2.3 European Union * 2.4 EFTA * 2.5 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



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

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

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

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

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


Eastern and Western Christianity in 1054

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

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

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

EASTERN EUROPE is formed by countries with dominant Eastern Orthodox churches, like Greece , Belarus , Bulgaria , Serbia , Romania , Russia , 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
for centuries, in opposition to the rather short lived Cold War division of 4 decades.


Division between the Eastern and Western Churches *

Religious division in 1054

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


Political situation in Europe
during the Cold War

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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

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

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

The _Southwestern_ group consists of three countries:

* Andorra * Portugal * Spain


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

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

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

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


European Union countries

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

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

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

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


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


Geopolitical boundary of Western culture according to historian Dimitri Kitsikis

The 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 and the Indus River form the Intermediate Region, and are considered a bridge between Western and Eastern civilisations .


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 (OECD) *

Development Assistance Committee *

IMF developed economies *

European Space Agency


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

Other 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
today. The Council of Europe
Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the Council of Europe's European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages set up a legal framework for language rights in Europe.

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


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

Dutch 21,944,690 Belgium , Netherlands

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

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

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

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

Portuguese 10,000,000 Portugal

Spanish 45,000,000+ Andorra , Spain


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

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


* Geography portal * Europe

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


* ^ Both native and second language speakers residing in Europe only. * ^ Country is defined as being one of the 193 members of the 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.


* ^ 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
has outlived its usefulness as a phrase.""Regions, Regionalism, Eastern Europe
by Steven Cassedy". New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, Charles Scribner's Sons. 2005. Retrieved 2010-01-31 * ^ "The Economist: Eastern Europe
a bogus term - South Eastern Europe
- The Sofia Echo". * ^ "One very common, but now outdated, definition of Eastern