The WESTERN WORLD, or simply THE WEST, is a term usually referring to
various nations, depending on the context , most often including at
least part of
Europe . There are many accepted definitions based on
Western world is also known as THE OCCIDENT (from
Latin : occidens "sunset, West", as contrasted with
The concept of the Western part of the Earth has its roots in
Greco-Roman world in
Judaism and the advent of Christianity
Ancient Israel . In the modern era,
Western culture has been
heavily influenced by the traditions of the
Renaissance , Protestant
Age of Enlightenment – and shaped by the expansive
imperialism and colonialism of the 15th to 20th centuries. Before the
Cold War era, the traditional Western viewpoint identified Western
Civilization with the
Western Christian (
countries and culture. Its political usage was temporarily changed by
the antagonism during the
Cold War in the mid-to-late 20th Century
The term originally had a literal geographic meaning. It contrasted
Europe with the cultures and civilizations of the Middle East and
North Africa ,
Sub-Saharan Africa ,
South Asia ,
Southeast Asia , and
Far East which early-modern Europeans saw as the East . In
the contemporary cultural meaning, the phrase
Western world includes
Europe , as well as many countries of European colonial origin with
substantial European ancestral populations in the
Americas and Oceania
* 1 Introduction
* 2 Western/
* 3 Historical divisions
* 3.1 Hellenic
* 3.2 Roman
* 3.4 Colonial "West"
Cold War context
* 4 Modern definitions
* 4.1 Cultural definition
* 4.2 Modern political definition
* 4.3 Economic definition
* 5 Other views
* 5.1 Definition by the statistics bureau of Norway
* 6 Gallery
* 7 Maps
* 8 See also
* 9 References
* 10 Further reading
Western culture was influenced by many older great civilizations of
the ancient Near East , such as
Phoenicia , Minoan Crete ,
Babylonia , and also
Ancient Egypt . It originated in the
Mediterranean basin and its vicinity;
Rome are often cited
as its originators. Over time, their associated empires grew first to
the east and west to include the rest of Mediterranean and Black Sea
coastal areas, conquering and absorbing. Later, they expanded to the
north of the
Mediterranean Sea to include Western , Central , and
Christianization of Ireland (5th century),
Christianization of Bulgaria
Christianization of Bulgaria (9th century), Christianization of Kievan
Belarus ; 10th century), Christianisation of
Scandinavia (12th century) and
Christianization of Lithuania (14th
century) brought the rest of present-day European territory into
Historians, such as
Carroll Quigley in The Evolution of
Civilizations, contend that Western civilization was born around 500
AD, after the total collapse of the Western Roman
Empire , leaving a
vacuum for new ideas to flourish that were impossible in Classical
societies. In either view, between the fall 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 , its early part forming the
"Dark Ages ", designations that were created during the Renaissance
and reflect the perspective on history, and the self-image, of the
The knowledge of the ancient
Western world was partly preserved
during this period due to the survival of the Eastern Roman
the institutions of the
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 Commercial ,
Scientific , and Industrial Revolutions , and the expansion of the
peoples of Western and Central European empires, and particularly the
globe-spanning empires of the 18th and 19th centuries. Numerous
times, this expansion was accompanied by
Christian missionaries , who
attempted to proselytize Christianity.
Generally speaking, the current consensus would locate the West, at
the very least, in the cultures and peoples of
Europe (at least the
European Union member states , EFTA countries,
European microstates ),
the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of
Latin America. There is debate among some as to whether
is in a category of its own. The
Russian culture (particularly
literature, music, painting, philosophy and architecture) is
classified as a part of the Western culture.
Western culture ,
Western literature , Western art
history , and
Classical music Further information: History of Western
* Western world
The term "Western culture" is used very broadly to refer to a
heritage of social norms , ethical values , traditional customs ,
religious beliefs, political systems , and specific artifacts and
Western culture may imply:
* a Biblical
Christian cultural influence in spiritual thinking,
customs and either ethic or moral traditions, around the
Post-Classical Era and after.
* European cultural influences concerning artistic, musical,
folkloric, ethic and oral traditions, whose themes have been further
Graeco-Roman Classical and
Renaissance cultural influence,
concerning artistic, philosophic, literary, and legal themes and
traditions, the cultural social effects of migration period and the
heritages of Celtic , Germanic , Slavic and other ethnic groups, as
well as a tradition of rationalism in various spheres of life,
Hellenistic philosophy ,
Scholasticism , Humanisms , 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 term has come to apply to countries whose history is strongly
marked by European immigration or settlement, such as the Americas,
Oceania , and is not restricted to Europe.
Some tendencies that define modern Western societies are the
existence of political pluralism , laicism , generalization of middle
class , prominent subcultures or countercultures (such as New Age
movements), increasing cultural syncretism resulting from
globalization and 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
and pollution , as well as reactions to them, such as syndicalism and
The geopolitical divisions in
Europe that created a concept of East
and West originated in the Roman
Empire . The Eastern Mediterranean
was home to the highly urbanized cultures that had Greek as their
common language (owing to the older empire of
Alexander the Great and
of the Hellenistic successors ), 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, Western and
Europe were substantially cut off from the East where
Byzantine Greek culture and Eastern
Christianity became founding
influences in the Arab /Muslim world and among the Eastern and
Southern Slavic peoples. 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
Europe continued to see itself as more tied to
Europe than other parts of the perceived civilized
Use of the term West as a specific cultural and geopolitical term
developed over the course of the
Age of Exploration as
its culture to other parts of the world. In the past two centuries the
Western world has sometimes been used synonymously with Christian
world because of the numerical dominance of Roman Catholicism and
Protestantism compared to other
Christian traditions, ancient Roman
ideas, and heresies . As secularism rose in
Europe and elsewhere
during the 19th and 20th centuries, the term West came to take on less
religious connotations and more political connotations, especially
during the Cold War. Additionally, closer contacts between the West
and Asia and other parts of the world in recent times have continued
to cloud the use and meaning of the term.
The Ancient Greek world , c. 550 BC
The Hellenic division between the barbarians and the Greeks
contrasted in many societies the Greek-speaking culture of the Greek
settlements around the Mediterranean to the surrounding non-Greek
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 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, when the
term "West" appeared, it was used in opposition to the Greeks and
Western society traces its cultural origins, at least partially, to
Greek thought and
Christian religion , thus following an evolution
that began in ancient
Greece and the
Levant , continued through the
Empire , and spread throughout Europe. The inherently "Greek"
classical ideas of history (which one might easily say they invented)
and art may, however, be considered almost inviolate in the West, as
their original spread of influence survived the Hellenic period of
Roman classical antiquity, The Dark Ages, its resurgence during the
Western Renaissance, and has managed somehow to keep and exert its
pervasive influence down into the present age, with every expectation
of it continuing to dominate any secular Western cultural
However, the conquest of the Western parts of the Roman
Germanic peoples and the subsequent dominance by the Western Christian
Papacy (which held combined political and spiritual authority, a state
of affairs absent from Greek civilization in all its stages), resulted
in a rupture of the previously existing ties between the
and Greek thought, including
Christian Greek thought. The Great
Schism and the
Fourth Crusade confirmed this deviation.
On the other hand, the Modern West, emerging after the
a new civilization, has been greatly influenced by (its own
interpretation of) Greek thought, which was preserved in the Roman
Empire and the medieval Islamic world during the Medieval West's Dark
Ages and transmitted from there by emigration of Greek scholars ,
courtly marriages , and
Latin translations . The
Renaissance in the
West emerged partly from currents within the Roman (Byzantine) Empire.
Main article: Roman
Empire The Roman
Empire in 210 AD, at its
greatest extent under
Septimius Severus (its vassals in pink).
Trajan in 117 AD.
Ancient Rome (510 BC–AD 476) was a civilization that grew from a
city-state founded on the
Italian Peninsula about the 9th century BC
to a massive empire straddling the Mediterranean Sea. In its
12-century existence, Roman civilization shifted from a monarchy , to
a republic , to an autocratic empire. It came to dominate Western,
Central and Southeastern
Europe and the entire area surrounding the
Mediterranean Sea through conquest using the
Roman legions and then
through cultural assimilation by giving Roman privileges and
eventually citizenship to the whole empire. Nonetheless, despite its
great legacy, a number of factors led to the eventual decline of the
The Western Roman
Empire provinces eventually were replaced by
Germanic ruled kingdoms in the 5th century AD due to civil wars,
corruption, and devastating Germanic invasions from such tribes as the
Goths , the
Franks and the
The Eastern Roman
Empire , governed from
Constantinople , is usually
referred to as the Byzantine
Empire after 476, the traditional date
for the "fall of the Western Roman Empire" and for the beginning of
Middle Ages . The Eastern Roman
Empire survived the fall of
the West, and protected Roman legal and cultural traditions, combining
them with Greek and
Christian elements, for another thousand years.
The name Byzantine
Empire was used after the Byzantine
the inhabitants of the Byzantine
Empire continued to call themselves
Plato , Seneca , and
Aristotle in a medieval manuscript
Empire succeeded the approximately 500-year-old Roman
Republic (510 BC – 1st century BC), which had been weakened by the
Gaius Marius and
Sulla and the civil war of Julius
Marcus Brutus . During these struggles
hundreds of senators were killed, and the
Roman Senate had been
refilled with loyalists of the
First Triumvirate and later those of
Second Triumvirate .
Several dates are commonly proposed to mark the transition from
Republic to Empire, including the date of Julius Caesar's appointment
Roman dictator (44 BC), the victory of Caesar's heir
Octavian at the
Battle of Actium
Battle of Actium ( 2, 31 September BC), and the Roman
Senate's granting to Octavian the honorific
Augustus . (16, 27 January
Augustus officially proclaimed that he had saved the
Roman Republic and carefully disguised his power under republican
forms: Consuls continued to be elected, tribunes of the plebeians
continued to offer legislation, and senators still debated in the
Curia . However, it was Octavian who influenced everything and
controlled the final decisions, and in final analysis, had the legions
to back him up, if it became necessary.
Roman expansion began long before the empire and reached its zenith
Trajan with the conquest of
Dacia in AD 106. During this
territorial peak, the Roman
Empire controlled about 5 900 000 km²
(2,300,000 sq.mi.) of land surface and had a population of 100
million. From the time of Caesar to the Fall of the Western Roman
Rome dominated Western Eurasia (as well as the Mediterranean
coast of northern Africa) comprising the majority of its population,
and trading with population living outside it through trade (Amber
Ancient Rome has contributed greatly to the development of
law, war, art, literature, architecture, technology and language in
the Western world, and its history continues to have a major influence
on the world today.
Latin language has been the base from which Roman
languages evolved and it has been the official language of the
Catholic Church and all
Catholic religious ceremonies all over Europe
until 1967, as well as an or the official language of countries such
as Poland (9th–18th centuries).
Empire is where the idea of the "West" began to emerge. Due
to Rome's central location at the heart of the Empire, "West" and
"East" were terms used to denote provinces West and east of the
capital itself. Therefore, Iberia (
Portugal and Spain),
Mediterranean coast of
North Africa (Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco)
Britannia were all part of the "West", while Greece, Cyprus,
Anatolia, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, and Libya were
part of the "East". Italy itself was considered central, until the
Diocletian , with the idea of formally dividing the Empire
into true two halves: Eastern and Western.
In 395, the Roman
Empire formally split into a Western Roman Empire
and an Eastern one, each with their own emperors, capitals, and
governments, although ostensibly they still belonged to one formal
Empire. The dissolution of the Western half (nominally in 476, but in
truth a long process that ended by 500) left only the Eastern Roman
Empire alive. For centuries, the East continued to call themselves
Eastern Romans, while the West began to think in terms of Latins
(those living in the old Western Empire) and Greeks (those inside the
Roman remnant to the east).
This section may need to be REWRITTEN ENTIRELY to comply with
Wikipedia's quality standards . You can help . The discussion page may
contain suggestions. (September 2015)
The global distribution of Christians: Countries colored a
darker shade have a higher proportion of Christians
In the early 4th century, the
Roman Emperor Constantine the Great
established the city of
Constantinople as the capital of the Eastern
Roman Empire. The Eastern Roman
Empire included lands east of the
Adriatic Sea and bordering on the
Eastern Mediterranean and parts of
Black Sea . This division into Eastern and Western Roman Empires
was reflected in the administration of the Roman
Catholic and Eastern
Greek Orthodox churches, with
Constantinople debating over
whether either city was the capital of Western religion.
As the Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (firstly Catholic, then
Protestant as well) 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. Beginning in the Middle Ages
religious cultural hegemony slowly waned in
Europe generally. This
process may have prompted the geographic line of religious division to
approximately follow a line of cultural divide .
The influential American conservative political scientist , adviser
Samuel P. Huntington
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 . Others
have fiercely criticized these views arguing they confuse the Eastern
Empire with Russia, especially considering the fact that the
country that had the most historical roots in Byzantium, Greece,
expelled communists and was allied with the West during the Cold War.
Still, Russia accepted Eastern
Christianity from the Byzantine Empire
(by the Patriarch of Constantinople: Photios I) linking Russia very
close to the Eastern Roman
Empire world. Later on, in 16th century
Russia created its own religious centre in Moscow.
in Russia beside severe persecution carrying values alternative to the
Charlemagne , the
Franks established an empire that was
recognized as the Holy Roman
Empire by the
Pope in Rome, offending the
Roman Emperor in Constantinople. The crowning of the Emperor by the
Pope led to the assumption that the highest power was the papal
hierarchy, establishing, until the
Protestant Reformation, the
civilization of West
Christendom . The
Catholic Church of
western and central
Europe headed by the
Pope split with the eastern,
Greek-speaking Patriarchates during the Great Schism. Meanwhile, the
extent of each expanded, as British Isles, Germanic peoples, Bohemia,
Poland, Hungary, Scandinavia, Baltic peoples and the other
Christian lands of the northwest were converted by the Western
Church, while Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Russia,
Belarus, Ukraine, and Georgia were converted by the
Eastern Church .
In this context, the
Protestant reformation may be viewed as a schism
Martin Luther , in the wake of precursors,
broke with the pope and with the emperor, backed by many of the German
princes in an attempt to reform corruption within the church. These
changes were adopted by the Scandinavian kings. Later, the commoner
Jean Cauvin (John Calvin) assumed the religio-political leadership in
Geneva, a former ecclesiastical city whose prior ruler had been the
bishop. The English King later improvised on the Lutheran model, but
subsequently many Calvinist doctrines were adopted by popular
dissenters, leading to the
English Civil War .
Both royalists and dissenters colonized North America, eventually
resulting in an independent United States of America.
The Reformation, and consequent dissolution of West
even a theoretical unitary political body, resulted in the Thirty
Years War . The war ended in the
Peace of Westphalia , which enshrined
the concept of the nation-state and the principle of absolute national
sovereignty in international law . The
Industrial Revolution ,
which began in
Great Britain in the mid 18th to early 19th century,
forever modified the economy worldwide.
These concepts of a world of nation-states, coupled with the
ideologies of the Enlightenment, the coming of modernity , the
Scientific Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution, produced
powerful political and economic institutions that have come to
influence (or been imposed upon) most nations of the world today.
Historians agree that the
Industrial Revolution was one of the most
important events in history.
This process of influence (and imposition) began with the voyages of
discovery, colonization, conquest, and exploitation of
Spain it continued with the rise of the
Dutch East India Company , and
the creation and expansion of the British and French colonial empires.
Due to the reach of these empires, Western institutions expanded
throughout the world. 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 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, and are often the cause of international conflicts and
friction even to this day. Though the overt colonial era has passed,
Western nations, as comparatively rich, well-armed, and culturally
powerful states, still wield a large degree of influence throughout
Although not part of Western colonization process proper, Western
culture entered Japan primarily in the so-called Meiji period
(1868–1912), though earlier contact with the Portuguese, the
Spaniards and the Dutch were also present in the recognition of
European nations as strategically important to the Japanese. The
traditional Japanese society was virtually overturned into an
industrial and militarist power like Western countries such as the
United Kingdom, the
French Third Republic , and the German
COLD WAR CONTEXT
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 presently independent Estonia, Latvia,
Warsaw Pact countries like Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary,
Romania, East Germany (now united with Germany),
split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia).
Third World consisted of countries, many of which were unaligned
with either , and important members included India,
Finlandization ) and 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.
European trade blocs as of the late 1980s. EEC member states
are marked in blue, EFTA – green, and
Comecon – red.
East and West in 1980, as defined by the
Cold War . The Cold
War had divided
Europe politically into East and West, with the Iron
Curtain splitting Central Europe.
A number of countries did not fit comfortably into this neat
definition of partition, including Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, and
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
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,
towards the end of the
Cold War and after the death of the
authoritarian Franco .
The exact scope of the
Western world is somewhat subjective in
nature, depending on whether cultural, economic, spiritual or
political criteria are employed.
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
Durkheim , Dumont and
As the term "Western world" does not have a strict international
definition, governments do not use the term in legislation of
international treaties and instead rely on other definitions.
Western culture and Culture of
Latin alphabet world distribution. The dark green areas shows the
countries where this alphabet is the sole main script. The light green
shows the countries where the alphabet co-exists with other scripts.
In addition, nearly all languages which don't regularly use the Latin
alphabet have romanization systems.
From a cultural and sociological approach the
Western world is
defined as including all cultures that are directly derived from and
influenced by European cultures , i.e.
Europe (at least the European
Union member states , EFTA countries,
European microstates ); in the
Colombia , Costa
Mexico , United States of America,
Uruguay , in Africa
South Africa ), and in
Oceania (Australia and New Zealand). Together
these countries constitute Western society.
20th century ,
Christianity 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 the people state that 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, low
level of religiosity is common as a result of experiencing processes
of secularization similar to European ones. The official religions of
the United Kingdom and some Nordic countries are forms of
Christianity, even though 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
Pew Research Center survey found
that 76% of Europeans , 73% in
Oceania , and about 86% in the Americas
Latin America and 77% in
North America ) described themselves
MODERN POLITICAL DEFINITION
Legal systems of the world.
Countries of the
Western world are generally considered to share
certain fundamental political ideologies, including those of liberal
democracy, the rule of law, human rights and gender equality. All of
these are prerequisites, for example, for a state to become a full
member of the
European Union and therefore from a modern political
point of view all
European Union member states from Western, Central
Europe are considered part of the Western world.
Map of the Western world, defined by the
Anglosphere and the
European Single Market
European Single Market (2017).
Cold War has ended, and some members of the former Eastern
Bloc make a general movement towards liberal democracy and other
beliefs held in common by traditionally Western states, most of the
former Soviet republics (except
Baltic states ) are not considered
Western because of the small presence of social and political reform,
as well as the significant cultural, economic and political
differences to what is known today as described by the term "The
United States of America and Canada,
European Union and
European Free Trade Association member states, Australia and New
The term "Western world" is sometimes interchangeably used with the
First World or developed countries , stressing the difference
First World and the
Third World or developing countries . This
usage occurs despite the fact that many countries that may be
culturally "Western" are developing countries – in fact, a
significant percentage of the
Americas are developing countries. It is
also used despite many developed countries or regions not being
Western (e.g., Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong,
Macao, Qatar, Israel), and therefore left out when "Western world" is
used to denote developed countries.
The existence of "The North" implies the existence of "The South ",
and the socio-economic divide between North and South. The term "the
North" has in some contexts replaced earlier usage of the term "the
West", particularly in the critical sense, as a more robust
demarcation than the terms "West" and "East". The North provides some
absolute geographical indicators for the location of wealthy
countries, most of which are physically situated in the Northern
Hemisphere , although, as most countries are located in the northern
hemisphere in general, some have considered this distinction equally
The 35 high-income countries in the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD), which include: Australia, Canada,
Iceland , Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea,
Switzerland, the United States and the countries of the EU (except
for: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Lithuania,
Malta and Romania), are
generally included in what used to be called developed world, although
the OECD includes countries, namely Chile,
Mexico and Turkey, that are
not yet fully industrial countries, but newly industrialised countries
Andorra , Cyprus,
Hong Kong ,
Macau , Malta, Liechtenstein
San Marino , Singapore,
Vatican City , are not
members of the OECD, they might also be regarded as developed
countries, because of their high living standards, high per capita
incomes, and their social, economic and political structure are quite
similar to those of the high income OECD countries.
The clash of civilizations according to Samuel P. Huntington
(1996), as presented in the book. Huntington's map of major
civilizations. What constitutes Western civilization in his view is
coloured dark blue, although he considers that
Latin America (shown in
purple) might be either an additional part of the West or a separate
civilization akin to the West.
Turkey , Russia and
considered "torn countries" that are either already part of the West
or in the process of joining the West.
A series of scholars of civilization, including
Arnold J. Toynbee ,
Alfred Kroeber , and
Carroll Quigley 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
Palestinian-American literary critic
Edward Said uses the term
occident in his discussion of orientalism . According to his binary ,
the West, or Occident, created a romanticized vision of the East, or
Orient to justify colonial and imperialist intentions. This
Orient binary focuses on the Western vision of the East
instead of any truths about the East. His theories are rooted in Hegel
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, Said
influenced Indian-American theorist
Homi K. Bhabha .
The term the "West" may also be used pejoratively by certain
tendencies and especially critical of the influence of the traditional
West, due to the history of most of the members of the traditional
West being previously involved, at one time or another, in outright
imperialism and colonialism. Some of these critics also claim that the
traditional West has continued to engage in what might be viewed as
modern implementations of imperialism and colonialism, such as
neoliberalism and globalization. (It should be noted that many
Westerners who subscribe to a positive view of the traditional West
are also very critical of neoliberalism and globalization, for their
allegedly negative effects on both the developed and developing
Allegedly, definitions of the term "Western world" that some may
consider "ethnocentric " others consider "constructed " around one or
another Western culture. The British writer
Rudyard Kipling wrote
about this contrast: East is East and West is West and never the twain
shall meet, expressing his belief that somebody from the West "can
never understand the Asian cultures" as the latter "differ too much"
from the Western cultures. Some may view this alleged incompatibility
as a precursor to Huntington's "clash of civilizations " theory.
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
DEFINITION BY THE STATISTICS BUREAU OF NORWAY
The official statistics bureau of Norway,
Statistics Norway , has
used a definition of the "West" as "EU28 /EEA , United States, Canada,
Australia and New Zealand", and a definition of the "Rest of the
World" as "Asia, Africa,
Oceania excluding Australia
and New Zealand, and
Europe outside EU/EEA", for the purpose of
Turkey, an EU candidate and member state of NATO, in the
Turkey Customs Union .
Samuel P. Huntington
Samuel P. Huntington , Turkey, whose political
leadership has systematically tried to Westernize the predominantly
Muslim country with only 3% of its territory within
Europe since the
1920s, is his chief example of a "torn country" that is attempting to
join Western civilization. The country's elite started the
Westernization efforts, beginning with
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
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, joined NATO, and are seeking
to join the
European Union since the 1960s with very slow progress.
Roman Forum (
Parliament of the United Kingdom (
The National Assembly (
United States Congress
United States Congress (
Washington, D.C. ).
The School of
Athens depicts a fictional gathering of the most
prominent thinkers of classical antiquity. Fresco by
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
The major Hellenistic realms; the
Ptolemaic kingdom (dark blue); the
Seleucid empire (yellow); Macedon (green) and Epirus (pink).
Religions of the world, mapped by distribution.
Map showing relative degree of religiosity by country. Based on a
2006–2008 worldwide survey by Gallup.
Human language families .
Western Palaearctic , a part of the
Palaearctic ecozone , one of the
eight ecozones dividing the Earth's surface.
Geopolitical Occident of Europe.
European Union and its member candidate countries.
NATO has added 13 new members since the German reunification and the
end of the Cold War.
World map by quartiles of Human Development Index in 2014.
Secular states in blue.
Countries with 50% or more Christians are colored purple while
countries with 10% to 50% Christians are colored pink
Map showing relative degree of religiosity by country. Based on a
2006-2008 worldwide survey by Gallup.
Western world defined by
European Single Market
European Single Market and spread of the
Romance languages (2017) *
European Union and European Free
Trade Association. EU member states (as of 2013) EFTA member
Distribution of Roman Catholics
Distribution of Protestants
* Far West
European Economic Area
Group of Eight
Group of Eight (G8)
Representation in the UN
Eastern European Group
Western European and Others Group
* ^ Western Civilization, Our Tradition; James Kurth; accessed 30
* ^ Religions in Global Society. p. 146, Peter Beyer (2006)
* ^ 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.
* ^ Caltron J.H Hayas,
Christianity and Western Civilization
(1953),Stanford University Press, p. 2: That certain distinctive
features of our Western civilization – the civilization of western
Europe and of America – have been shaped chiefly by
Catholic and Protestant.
* ^ Horst Hutter, University of New York, Shaping the Future:
Nietzsche's New Regime of the Soul And Its Ascetic Practices (2004),
p. 111: three mighty founders of Western culture, namely Socrates,
Jesus, and Plato.
* ^ Fred Reinhard Dallmayr, Dialogue Among Civilizations: Some
Exemplary Voices (2004), p. 22: Western civilization is also sometimes
described as "Christian" or "Judaeo-Christian" civilization.
* ^ A B Google books results in English language between the
* ^ A B Thompson, William; Hickey, Joseph (2005). Society in Focus.
Boston, MA: Pearson. 0-205-41365-X.
* ^ "The Evolution of Civilizations – An Introduction to
Historical Analysis (1979)". Archive.org. 10 March 2001. p. 84.
Retrieved 31 January 2014.
Of the three great civilizations of Western Eurasia and North Africa,
Europe began as the least developed in virtually all aspects
of material and intellectual culture, well behind the Islamic states
H. G. Wells ,
The Outline of History
The Outline of History , Section 31.8, The
Intellectual Life of Arab
For some generations before Muhammad, the Arab mind had been, as it
were, smouldering, it had been producing poetry and much religious
discussion; under the stimulus of the national and racial successes it
presently blazed out with a brilliance second only to that of the
Greeks during their best period. From a new angle and with a fresh
vigour it took up that systematic development of positive knowledge,
which the Greeks had begun and relinquished. It revived the human
pursuit of science. If the Greek was the father, then the Arab was the
foster-father of the scientific method of dealing with reality, that
is to say, by absolute frankness, the utmost simplicity of statement
and explanation, exact record, and exhaustive criticism. Through the
Arabs it was and not by the
Latin route that the modern world received
that gift of light and power.
* ^ Lewis, Bernard (2002). What Went Wrong. Oxford University Press
. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-06-051605-5 .
For many centuries the world of
Islam was in the forefront of human
civilization and achievement ... In the era between the decline of
antiquity and the dawn of modernity, that is, in the centuries
designated in European history as medieval, the Islamic claim was not
without justification. * ^ "Science, civilization and society".
Es.flinders.edu.au. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
* ^ Richard J. Mayne, Jr. "Middle Ages". Britannica.com. Retrieved
6 May 2011.
* ^ InfoPlease.com, commercial revolution
* ^ "The Scientific Revolution". Wsu.edu. 6 June 1999. Archived
from the original on 1 May 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
* ^ Eric Bond; Sheena Gingerich; Oliver Archer-Antonsen; Liam
Purcell; Elizabeth Macklem (17 February 2003). "Innovations". The
Industrial Revolution. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
* ^ "How
Islam Created Europe; In late antiquity, the religion
split the Mediterranean world in two. Now it is remaking the
Continent.". TheAtlantic.com. May 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
* ^ A B C Questions about immigrant-related statistics. "Key
figures Immigration and immigrants – SSB". Ssb.no. Retrieved 15
* ^ A B C Innvandrere og norskfødte med innvandrerforeldre, 1.
Statistics Norway (in Norwegian) retrieved 15 December
* ^ A B 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).
* ^ Auster, Lawrence (3 April 2006). "Are Hispanics Westerners? The
Debate Continues". Amnation.com. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
* ^ Duran 1995, p. 81
* ^ Bideleux,Robert; Jeffries, Ian. A history of eastern Europe:
crisis and change. Routledge. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-415-16112-1 .
* ^ Charles Freeman . The Closing of the Western Mind. Knopf, 2003.
* ^ Karin Friedrich et al., The Other Prussia: Royal Prussia,
Poland and Liberty, 1569–1772, Cambridge University Press, 2000,
ISBN 0-521-58335-7 , Google Print, p. 88
* ^ ANALYSIS (19 December 2011). "Table: Religious Composition by
Country, in Percentages". Pewforum.org. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
* ^ "Modern West Civ. 7: The
Scientific Revolution of the 17 Cent".
Fordham.edu. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
* ^ "The Industrial Revolution". Mars.wnec.edu. Archived from the
original on 18 October 2000. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
Industrial Revolution and the Standard of Living: The Concise
Encyclopedia of Economics, Library of Economics and Liberty
* ^ A B "New Left Review - Jack Goody: The Labyrinth of Kinship".
Retrieved 24 July 2007.
* ^ "Embassy of
Brazil – Ottawa". Brasembottawa.org. Retrieved 6
* ^ Falcoff, Mark. "
Chile Moves On". AEI. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
* ^ Ford, Peter (22 February 2005). "What place for God in Europe".
USA Today. Retrieved 24 July 2009.
Eurostat (2005). "Social values, Science and Technology" (PDF).
Eurobarometer 225. Europa, web portal: 9. Retrieved 11 June
* ^ See ARDA data archives:
* ^ A B ANALYSIS (19 December 2011). "Global Christianity".
Pewforum.org. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
* ^ ANALYSIS (19 December 2011). "Europe". Pewforum.org. Retrieved
17 August 2012.
* ^ ANALYSIS (19 December 2011). "Americas". Pewforum.org.
Retrieved 17 August 2012.
* ^ ANALYSIS (19 December 2011). "Global religious landscape:
Christians". Pewforum.org. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
* ^ The World of Civilizations: Post-1990 scanned image Archived 12
March 2007 at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ Huntington, Samuel P. (August 2, 2011). The Clash of
Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Simon & Schuster. pp.
151–54. ISBN 978-1451628975 .
* ^ Cf., Teilhard de Chardin, Le Phenomene Humain (1955),
translated as The Phenomena of Man (New York 1959).
* ^ Bonnett, A. 2004. The Idea of the West
* ^ Samuel P. Huntington. The
Clash of Civilizations and the
Remaking of World Order. The Free Press. pp. 144–49.
* Ankerl, Guy (2000). Coexisting contemporary civilizations:
Arabo-Muslim, Bharati, Chinese, and West. INU societal research.
Vol.1:. Global communication without universal civilization. Geneva:
INU Press. ISBN 2881550045 .
* Bavaj, Riccardo: "The West": A Conceptual Exploration , European
History Online , Mainz:
Institute of European History , 2011,
retrieved: 28 November 2011.
* Daly, Jonathan. “The Rise of Western Power: A Comparative
History of Western Civilization” (
London and New York: Bloomsbury,
2014). ISBN 978-1441161314 .
* Daly, Jonathan. "Historians Debate the Rise of the West" (London
and New York: Routledge, 2015). ISBN 978-1138774810 .
* The Western
Tradition homepage at Annenberg/CPB - where you can
watch each episode on demand free (Pop-ups required)
J. F. C. Fuller . A Military History of the Western World. Three
Volumes. New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1987 and 1988.
V. 1. From the earliest times to the
Battle of Lepanto
Battle of Lepanto ; ISBN
0306803046 . V. 2. From the defeat of the Spanish Armada to the Battle
of Waterloo ; ISBN 0306803054 . V. 3. From the
American Civil War
American Civil War to
the end of
World War II
World War II ; ISBN 0306803062 .
Western world and culture
* Modern/Contemporary Painting
Early modern period
* World Wars
Social generations of Western society
* WorldCat Identities
* VIAF : 252383743