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.