WESTERN EUROPE is the region comprising the western part of
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
dominated by the
Eastern Orthodox Church . A more contemporary
definition subdivides Western
Europe into several other regions like
Europe or Northern
Western Europe's significant historical events include the time of
Roman Republic (including the Punic, Gallic an Civil Wars fought
by Rome), the reign of
Augustus , the spreading of
The Gospel under St
Pax Romana ,
Fall of the Western Roman Empire reign of
Charlemange , the
Viking Invasions, the
Black Death , the Renaissance
Age of Discovery , the
Protestant Reformation as well as the
Counter-Reformation of the
Catholic Church , the Age of Enlightenment
French Revolution ,
Industrial Revolution , the two World Wars
Cold War .
* 1 Historical divisions
Classical antiquity and medieval origins
* 1.2 Religion
Western European Union
* 2 Modern divisions
Western European and Others Group
* 2.4 EFTA
* 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
CLASSICAL ANTIQUITY AND MEDIEVAL ORIGINS
The Great Schism in
Christianity , the predominant religion in
Europe at the time.
Prior to the Roman conquest, a large part of Western
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
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
Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, and
the gradual fragmentation of the Holy
Roman Empire (which had replaced
Carolingian Empire ), the division between Roman Catholic and
Protestant became more important in
Europe than that with Eastern
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
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
West Schism , which has lasted since the 11th century,
Christianity in Europe, and consequently the world, into
Christianity and Eastern
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
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,
EASTERN EUROPE is formed by countries with dominant Eastern Orthodox
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,
overwhelmingly Orthodox, but is very rarely included in "Eastern
Europe", for a variety of reasons.
Political situation in
Europe during the
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
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
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
World War II by German Propaganda Minister
Joseph Goebbels and
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
Belgrade , Bucharest
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
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
Western European Union - its members and associates
The world changed dramatically with the fall of the
Iron Curtain in
Germany peacefully absorbed
East Germany , in the German
Comecon and the
Warsaw Pact were dissolved, and in
Soviet Union ceased to exist. Several countries which had
been part of the
Soviet Union regained full independence.
WESTERN EUROPEAN UNION
In 1948 the
Treaty of Brussels was signed between
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.
Europe based on
CIA world factbook. Western
light blue; Southwestern
Europe in red
CIA divides Western
Europe into two smaller subregions.
The _Western Europe_ group consists of eight countries:
The _Southwestern_ group consists of three countries:
WESTERN EUROPEAN AND OTHERS GROUP
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.
European Union countries
European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 28
member states that are located primarily in
The Western and Northern European countries of
Liechtenstein are members of EFTA , though cooperating
to varying degree with the
European Union .
Geopolitical boundary of
Western culture according to historian
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
Other groupings and organisations covering the western part of Europe
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.
(2016 est.) Population
(2000 est.) -/+ of
(per km²), 2016
Andorra La Vella
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
North Atlantic Current .
Western European languages mostly fall within two Indo-European
language families: the
Romance languages , descended from the
Roman Empire ; and the
Germanic languages , whose ancestor
language came from southern
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
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:
LARGEST COUNTRIES WHERE SPOKEN
LARGEST REGIONS WHERE SPOKEN
United Kingdom (including
Isle of Man ,
Jersey , Valle d\'Aosta
San Marino ,
Istria County ,
Europe is one of the richest regions of the world. Germany
has the highest GDP in
Europe and the largest financial surplus of any
Luxembourg has the highest GDP per capita , and
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
* ^ Both native and second language speakers residing in Europe
* ^ Country is defined as being one of the 193 members of the
United Nations . 'Recognised minority language' status is not
* ^ 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 .
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23 February 2013.
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* ^ "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
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
* ^ "One very common, but now outdated, definition of Eastern
Europe was the Soviet-dominated communist countries of
* ^ "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
Budapest to Bukhara or Tallinn to Tashkent without acknowledging
Cold War frame of reference is coming apart at the seams.
Europe Review: Re-Viewing Central
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 ..
Eurovoc.europa.eu. Retrieved on 2015-03-04.
* ^ "
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 from 1952
onwards, as _EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY, EUROPEAN COMMUNITY, EUROPEAN
* ^ http://www.scs.illinois.edu/~mcdonald/WorldHaplogroupsMaps.pdf
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* ^ . n.d.
Retrieved 6 June 2017. 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 _
Ethnologue _ (18th ed., 2015)
* ^ Portuguese at _
Ethnologue _ (18th ed., 2015)
* ^ Spanish at _
Ethnologue _ (18th ed., 2015)
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* _Crescent and Cross_, ISBN 1-84212-753-5 , by
* _The Normans_, ISBN 0-7524-2881-0 , by Trevor Rowley
* _1066: The Year of the Three Battles_, ISBN 0-7126-6672-9 , by