Europe, second smallest of the world’s continents, composed of the westward-projecting peninsulas of Eurasia (the good landmass that it shares with Asia) and occupying virtually one-fifteenth from the world’s whole land region. It really is bordered within the north with the Arctic Ocean, around the west by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the south (west to east) with the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Kuma-Manych Melancholy, as well as the Caspian Sea. The continent’s japanese boundary (north to south) runs together the Ural Mountains and after that roughly southwest along the Emba (Zhem) River, terminating on the northern Caspian coastline.
Europe’s greatest islands and archipelagoes incorporate Novaya Zemlya, Franz Josef Land, Svalbard, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, the British Isles, the Balearic Islands, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, Crete, and Cyprus. Its significant peninsulas include Jutland as well as the Scandinavian, Iberian, Italian, and Balkan peninsulas. Indented by several bays, fjords, and seas, continental Europe’s hugely irregular coastline is about 24,000 miles (38,000 km) prolonged.
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Amongst the continents, Europe is definitely an anomaly. Bigger only than Australia, it really is a small appendage of Eurasia. However the peninsular and insular western extremity on the continent, thrusting toward the North Atlantic Ocean, provides-thanks to its latitude and its physical geography-a comparatively genial human habitat, along with the extended processes of human heritage arrived to mark from the location since the property of a exclusive civilization. Despite its internal variety, Europe has thus functioned, in the time it first emerged while in the human consciousness, as a world apart, concentrating-to borrow a phrase from Christopher Marlowe-“infinite riches in the minor area.”
Like a conceptual assemble, Europa, as the more learned on the ancient Greeks initial conceived it, stood in sharp contrast to both Asia and Libya, the identify then placed on the acknowledged northern element of Africa. Literally, Europa has become imagined to possess meant “Mainland,” relatively compared to the before interpretation, “Sunset.” It appears to own recommended alone to the Greeks, in their maritime world, being an suitable designation for the comprehensive northerly lands that lay over and above, lands with traits vaguely identified nevertheless plainly distinct from those inherent in the concepts of Asia and Libya-both of which, comparatively prosperous and civilized, had been connected carefully with all the society of the Greeks as well as their predecessors.
Through the Greek point of view then, Europa was culturally backward and scantily settled. It absolutely was a barbarian world-that is, a non-Greek one, with its inhabitants producing “bar-bar” noises in unintelligible tongues. Traders and tourists also reported which the Europe past Greece possessed exclusive physical units, with mountain techniques and lowland river basins much bigger than people common to inhabitants from the Mediterranean region. It had been clear as well that a succession of climates, markedly distinct from those on the Mediterranean borderlands, were to become experienced as Europe was penetrated in the south. The roomy japanese steppes and, for the west and north, primeval forests as yet only marginally touched by human occupancy further underlined environmental contrasts.
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