Europe Region Overview
Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.
Since around 1850, Europe is most commonly considered as separated from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways of the Turkish Straits. Though the term “continent” implies physical geography, the land border is somewhat arbitrary and has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity. The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural, linguistic, and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The border does not follow political boundaries, with Turkey and Russia being transcontinental countries.
Prehistoric Europe is the designation for the period of human presence in Europe before the start of recorded history, beginning in the Lower Paleolithic. As history progresses, considerable regional irregularities of cultural development emerge and increase. The region of the eastern Mediterranean is, due to its geographic proximity, greatly influenced and inspired by the classical Middle Eastern civilizations, and adopts and develops the earliest systems of communal organisation and writing. The Histories of Herodotus is the oldest known European text that seeks to systematically record traditions, public affairs and notable events. In contrast, the European regions furthest away from the ancient centers of civilisation tended to be the slowest, regarding acculturation. In Northern and Eastern Europe in particular, writing and systematic recording was only introduced in the context of Christianization, after 1000 CE.
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