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The empire of ancient Rome , at its greatest extent in the 2nd century ce , revealed, and imprinted its culture on, much of the face of the continent. Trade relations beyond its frontiers also drew the remoter regions into its sphere. Yet it was not until the 19th and 20th centuries that modern science was able to draw with some precision the geologic and geographic lineaments of the European continent, the peoples of which had meanwhile achieved domination over—and set in motion vast countervailing movements among—the inhabitants of much of the rest of the globe see Western colonialism.

As to the territorial limits of Europe, they may seem relatively clear on its seaward flanks, but many island groups far to the north and west—Svalbard, the Faroes, Iceland, and the Madeira and Canary islands—are considered European, while Greenland though tied politically to Denmark is conventionally allocated to North America.


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Furthermore, the Mediterranean coastlands of North Africa and southwestern Asia also exhibit some European physical and cultural affinities. Turkey and Cyprus in particular, while geologically Asian, possess elements of European culture and may be regarded as parts of Europe.


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Among the alternative boundaries proposed by geographers that have gained wide acceptance is a scheme that sees the crest of the Greater Caucasus range as the dividing line between Europe and Asia, placing Ciscaucasia , the northern part of the Caucasus region, in Europe and Transcaucasia , the southern part, in Asia. Still another scheme with many adherents locates the continental boundary along the Aras River and the Turkish border, thereby putting Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia in Europe.

Inhabited plains, with only the minor interruption of the worn-down Urals, extend from central Europe to the Yenisey River in central Siberia.

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Slavic-based civilization dominates much of the territory occupied by the former Soviet Union from the Baltic and Black seas to the Pacific Ocean. In partitioning the globe into meaningful large geographic units, therefore, most modern geographers treated the former Soviet Union as a distinct territorial entity, comparable to a continent, that was somewhat separate from Europe to the west and from Asia to the south and east; that distinction has been maintained for Russia , which constituted three-fourths of the Soviet Union.

Europe occupies some 4 million square miles 10 million square km within the conventional borders assigned to it. That broad territory reveals no simple unity of geologic structure, landform, relief, or climate. Rocks of all geologic periods are exposed, and the operation of geologic forces during an immense succession of eras has contributed to the molding of the landscapes of mountain, plateau, and lowland and has bequeathed a variety of mineral reserves. Glaciation too has left its mark over wide areas, and the processes of erosion and deposition have created a highly variegated and compartmentalized countryside.

Climatically, Europe benefits by having only a small proportion of its surface either too cold or too hot and dry for effective settlement and use.

Culture of Europe - Wikipedia

Regional climatic contrasts nevertheless exist: oceanic, Mediterranean, and continental types occur widely, as do gradations from one to the other. Associated vegetation and soil forms also show continual variety, but only portions of the dominant woodland that clothed most of the continent when humans first appeared now remain. All in all, Europe enjoys a considerable and long-exploited resource base of soil, forest , sea, and minerals notably coal , but its people are increasingly its principal resource. The continent, excluding Russia, contains less than one-tenth of the total population of the world, but in general its people are well educated and highly skilled.

Europe also supports high densities of population, concentrated in urban-industrial regions.

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A growing percentage of people in urban areas are employed in a wide range of service activities, which have come to dominate the economies of most countries. Nonetheless, in manufacturing and agriculture Europe still occupies an eminent, if no longer necessarily predominant, position.

This article treats the physical and human geography of Europe. The new vignettes in the second edition illustrate concepts introduced in each chapter.

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The authors reveal plenty of firsthand experience in the region. Updates in the second edition enhance what was already a fine textbook for undergraduate courses. Retaining the clear structure, accessible writing, and appealing layout that characterized its predecessor, this second edition has been thoroughly revised to cover recent developments in the region.

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In addition to dozens of new images and maps, each chapter is accompanied by new vignettes on diverse topics--including urbanization and environmental change, immigration and nationalism, energy use, and health care--which help bring the region and its people to life for students. Each chapter examines historic and contemporary features of a geographic theme, combining canonic knowledge of Europe with critical insights into the construction of our cultural perspectives.

The clear and consistent structure, engaging writing, and informative illustrations make this book ideal for undergraduate education.


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Robert C. He has lived, studied, and traveled extensively in Europe, and is the author of many publications about European and North American cultural and historical geography. He is a recipient of his university's Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Teaching.

ISBN 13: 9781609181406

Mathias Le Bosse is Assistant Professor of Geography at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches a variety of courses in human, cultural, and regional geography. As a cultural and political geographer, his main publications so far have dealt with issues of identity, regionalism, and nationalism in the context of European integration. Introduction: Europe as a Culture RealmI.

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People and Environment2. European Environments3. Human-Environment InteractionII. Culture and Identity5. Religion and Values7.