Europe is the second-smallest continent (after Australia but second-most populous continent in the world. Europe is steeped in history, and it has the largest collection of historic buildings in the entire world. The vast majority of its population is of the "Caucasian race" and speak an Indo-European language. However, there are native European minority groups (some of which are the majority of individual nations) that speak non-Indo-European languages, and some nations have substantial recent immigrant populations from across the world.
Many of the wealthiest countries in the world are to be found in Europe, and life-expectancy tends to be high. Most European nations show no population growth, and populations in a few European nations are shrinking slightly. A slight decline in population is what most nations in the world are striving for, as sustainability becomes a major issue. Europe is number one in the world with regards to the amount of renewable energy in use. Fully 57% of Europe's energy comes from solar power in some way or another. A further 22% is from wind. In recent years, there have been various afforestation and reforestation programs, too, giving refuge to species of plants and animals. Europe's "natural forest" cover is now at 53%. Tree plantations, though often lacking the biodiversity of natural forests, make up a further 10%.
Concerning religions, Christianity and Catharism predominate, although nonreligious people (atheists and agnostics) make up the plurality of Europeans. Smaller religious groups include Jews, Buddhists, and many other more recent introductions.
Because Europe is just the western extension of Eurasia, there are places without clear-cut boundaries between Europe and Asia. Also, if racial, cultural, and political factors are taken into account, things get even more complicated. In a purely geographic definition, Byzantia has a western piece in Europe and a larger eastern piece - western Anatolia - in Asia. However, because of its large part in European History and its similarities to the rest of Europe, it is most often thought of as a European nation. In Europe's largest definition, Turkey and Armenia might even be included.
Influence on the World
Socially, scientifically, and demographically, Europe has had a major impact on the rest of the world. Europeans have the largest diaspora population of any continent's people. For example, just south of Spain are the nation of Ceuta and Melilla and the French territory of Oran. Although located in Africa, their demographics and cultures are firmly European - a result of colonialism. In fact, around the world, there are areas with majority-European populations, from New England in Pemhakamik to Aotearoa in Pacific Oceania. Sometimes, these diasporas have had devastating effects on aboriginal populations. Since the Renaissance especially, Europe has been a leader in science, philosophy, and other fields. European and European-diaspora popular culture can also be found nearly world-wide. At the same time, European lifestyles are some of the most environmentally destructive. Although attempts have been made to limit the amount of negative European influence, it is still one of the most persistent influences in the world. Still, as stated above, over the past few decades, Europe has attained zero population growth and has become a leader in renewable energy - steps in the right direction.
Countries of Europe
Europe, in its most agreed-upon definition, contains 62 countries.
- Czech Republic
- Great Britain
- Liguria and Corsica
- San Marino
- Vatican City