Europe is home to many different cultures and languages. Its varied geography has had a profound impact on how those cultures prospered and interacted with one another throughout history.
The continent is divided into peninsulas and mountain ranges. The main peninsulas are the Iberian, Balkan, and Italian. These regions make Europe a powerful economic, cultural, and political force throughout recorded history.
European culture is rich in the arts, sciences, and literature. This richness has made the continent an attractive destination for travelers and immigrants alike. It is also a world leader in environmentally friendly technologies and legislation.
The European Union (EU) is an economic and political association of 27 member nations. It aims to create a unified structure for social, environmental, and military policies among its members. In addition, it aims to promote the free movement of goods, services, people, and capital across borders. The EU is a key player in global affairs and influences international policy through its membership and trade agreements.
Historically, Europe was a highly influential power in the international arena. The ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome greatly influenced how Western civilizations governed their territories and citizens. European exploration and Western colonialism helped spread the influence of these ancient civilizations around the world.
In more recent times, European countries have had to deal with the fallout from global financial crises. These issues have created tensions between financially competitive countries and the indebted states that they are helping to rescue. In addition, depopulation and climate change have raised concerns about the future of some parts of Europe.
The continent has a long coastline on the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. It also has numerous lakes and fjords, which are long inlets surrounded by steep cliffs. Europe has a number of major rivers, including the Rhine, Weser, and Elbe.
Climate varies widely throughout the region. The Atlantic Ocean looms over much of the eastern part of the continent, while the Arctic Ocean borders on the north. The great variety of climates in Europe makes it a good place for many different types of plants and animals.
The Alps are a major feature in central Europe. These mountains have a distinctive appearance thanks to glaciation, which left behind large deposits of rock. Some peaks reach over 5,000 meters (16,510 feet). The mountains are known for their ski resorts and as the site of several important battles during the First World War. In southern France, glitzy cities like Cannes and Saint-Tropez attract visitors looking for luxury vacations. On Spain’s southern coast, the city of Barcelona draws travelers to its landmarks like the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell.