Portal:Europe
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Portal:Europe
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Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the continental landmass of Eurasia, and is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and Asia to the east. Europe is commonly considered to be separated from Asia by the watershed of the Ural Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian Sea, the Greater Caucasus, the Black Sea, and the waterways of the Turkish Straits. Although much of this border is over land, Europe is generally accorded the status of a full continent because of its great physical size and the weight of history and tradition.

Europe covers about 10,180,000 km2 (3,930,000 sq mi), or 2% of the Earth's surface (6.8% of land area), making it the second smallest continent (using the seven-continent model). Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states, of which Russia is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. Europe had a total population of about 741 million (about 11% of the world population), as of 2018. The European climate is largely affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent, even at latitudes along which the climate in Asia and North America is severe. Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast.

The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of written records. During the Neolithic era and the time of the Indo-European migrations, Europe saw human inflows from east and southeast and subsequent important cultural and material exchange. The period known as classical antiquity began with the emergence of the city-states of ancient Greece. Later, the Roman Empire came to dominate the entire Mediterranean basin. The fall of the Roman Empire in AD 476 traditionally marks the start of the Middle Ages. Beginning in the 14th century a Renaissance of knowledge challenged traditional doctrines in science and theology. Simultaneously, the Protestant Reformation set up Protestant churches primarily in Germany, Scandinavia and England. After 1800, the Industrial Revolution brought prosperity to Britain and Western Europe. The main European powers set up colonies in most of the Americas and Africa, and parts of Asia. In the 20th century, World War I and World War II resulted in massive numbers of deaths. The Cold War dominated European geo-politics from 1947 to 1989. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, the European countries grew together.

The culture of Europe is rooted in the art, architecture, film, different types of music, economic, literature, and philosophy that originated from the continent of Europe. European culture is largely rooted in what is often referred to as its "common cultural heritage".

The economy of Europe comprises more than 744 million people in 50 countries. The formation of the European Union (EU) and in 1999, the introduction of a unified currency, the Euro, brings participating European countries closer through the convenience of a shared currency and has led to a stronger European cash flow. The difference in wealth across Europe can be seen roughly in former Cold War divide, with some countries breaching the divide (Greece, Estonia, Portugal, Slovenia and the Czech Republic). Whilst most European states have a GDP per capita higher than the world's average and are very highly developed (Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Andorra, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany), some European economies, despite their position over the world's average in the Human Development Index, are poorer.

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Painting of a panoramic view from the Spanish lines, showing four men, two in British Army uniform, looking across a sandy isthmus towards the Rock of Gibraltar with the bay and the African coast visible in the background
North View of Gibraltar from Spanish Lines by John Mace (1782)

The history of Gibraltar, a small peninsula on the southern Iberian coast near the entrance of the Mediterranean Sea, spans over 2,900 years. The peninsula has evolved from a place of reverence in ancient times into "one of the most densely fortified and fought-over places in Europe", as one historian has put it. Gibraltar's location has given it an outsized significance in the history of Europe and its fortified town, established in the Middle Ages, has hosted garrisons that sustained numerous sieges and battles over the centuries.

Gibraltar was first inhabited over 50,000 years ago by Neanderthals and may have been one of their last places of habitation before they died out around 24,000 years ago. Gibraltar's recorded history began around 950 BC with the Phoenicians, who lived nearby. The Carthaginians and Romans later worshipped Hercules in shrines said to have been built on the Rock of Gibraltar, which they called Mons Calpe, the "Hollow Mountain", and which they regarded as one of the twin Pillars of Hercules. (Full article...)

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A white sign on a post with the German inscription "Halt! Hier Grenze" (Stop! Here border) and below, in smaller letters, "Bundesgrenzschutz" (Federal Border Guard). In the background a wire fence with an open gate, behind that are trees and a watchtower on the skyline.

The Inner German border (German: Innerdeutsche Grenze pronounced ['?n?dt 'gnts?] or Deutsch-deutsche Grenze pronounced ['dtdt 'gnts?]; initially also Zonengrenze pronounced ['ts?n?n?gnts?]) was the border between the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, West Germany) from 1949 to 1990. Not including the similar and physically separate Berlin Wall, the border was 1,393 kilometres (866 miles) long and ran from the Baltic Sea to Czechoslovakia.

It was formally established on 1July 1945 as the boundary between the Western and Soviet occupation zones of former Nazi Germany. On the eastern side, it was made one of the world's most heavily fortified frontiers, defined by a continuous line of high metal fences and walls, barbed wire, alarms, anti-vehicle ditches, watchtowers, automatic booby traps, and minefields. It was patrolled by fifty thousand armed East German guards who faced tens of thousands of West German, British, and U.S. guards and soldiers. In the frontier areas on either side of the border were stationed more than a million North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and Warsaw Pact troops. (Full article...)

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Charles Baudelaire by Étienne Carjat, 1863
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) was a French poet best known for his collection Les Fleurs du mal (1857), which expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the 19th century. The author also worked as an essayist, art critic, and translator; in the 1850s and 1860s, he published several translations of works by Edgar Allan Poe.

In the News

18 September 2021 - Cannabis in Italy
Activists in Italy say they have gathered enough signatures to trigger a referendum on liberalising the use of cannabis. (Reuters)
17 September 2021 - COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Slovenia
The Slovenian government announces that all public sector employees, with the exception of employees working in the education sector, will have to show a proof of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 beginning on October 1 or they risk losing their jobs. (AFP via Barron's)
17 September 2021 - AUKUS
France recalls its ambassadors from the United States and Australia in protest of the security pact, which also includes the United Kingdom. The French Foreign Ministry says that the "exceptional decision" was justified by the seriousness of the pact, which has replaced its own security agreement with Australia. (BBC)
17 September 2021 - Ukraine-United States relations
Ukraine and the United States announce that they will begin joint military exercises involving 15 other countries in western Ukraine next week. (VOA)
17 September 2021 -
Ank Bijleveld, the Minister of Defence of the Netherlands, resigns following a motion of censure for her handling of the Dutch evacuation during the Fall of Kabul, a day after the resignation of Minister of Foreign Affairs Sigrid Kaag. (NOS) (Radio France Internationale)

Updated: 21:33, 18 September 2021

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Historiated initial depicting Johan of Arc from Archives Nationales, Paris, AE II 2490, allegedly dated to the second half of the but most likely art forgery by the Alsatian painter Georges Spetz (1844-1914) in the late 19th or early 20th centuries, according to medievalists Philippe Contamine and Olivier Bouzy.

Joan of Arc (French: Jeanne d'Arc pronounced [?an da?k]; c. 1412 - 30 May 1431), nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" (French: La Pucelle d'Orléans) or "Maid of Lorraine" (French: La Pucelle de Lorraine), is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years' War, and was canonized as a saint. She was born to Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romée, a peasant family, at Domrémy in the Vosges of northeast France. Joan said that she received visions of the archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years' War. The as-yet-unanointed King Charles VII sent Joan to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief army. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted only nine days later. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII's consecration at Reims. This long-awaited event boosted French morale and paved the way for the final French victory at Castillon in 1453.

On 23 May 1430, she was captured at Compiègne by the Burgundian faction, a group of French nobles allied with the English. She was later handed over to the English and put on trial by the pro-English bishop, Pierre Cauchon, on a variety of charges. After Cauchon declared her guilty, she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about nineteen years of age. (Full article...)

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Stained glass windows by Jean-Baptiste Capronnier
Credit: Windows: Jean-Baptiste Capronnier; photograph: Joaquim Alves Gaspar
Three scenes of the legend of the Miraculous Sacrament in stained glass windows in the Cathédrale Saints-Michel-et-Gudule of Brussels by Jean-Baptiste Capronnier (c. 1870). The contributions of Capronnier (1814-1891) helped lead to a revival in glass painting.

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Castle of São Jorge
The Moorish Castle of São Jorge occupies a commanding position overlooking the city of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, and the Tagus River beyond. The fortified citadel, which dates from medieval times, is located atop the highest hill in the historic centre of the city. The castle is one of the main historical and touristic sites of Lisbon.

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