Europe is a continent that comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. Europe is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. To the east and southeast, Europe is generally 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.
Europe, in particular ancient Greece, was the birthplace of Western civilization. The fall of the Western Roman Empire, during the migration period, marked the end of ancient history and the beginning of an era known as the Middle Ages. Renaissance, humanism, exploration, art, and science led to the modern era. From the Age of Discovery onwards, Europe played a predominant role in global affairs. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers controlled at various times the Americas, most of Africa, Oceania, and the majority of Asia.
- Whoever speaks of Europe is wrong: it is a geographical expression.
- Otto von Bismarck, speech to Reichstag, 14 May 1872
- My conclusion will be simple. It will consist of saying, in the very midst of the sound and the fury of our history: "Let us rejoice." Let us rejoice, indeed, at having witnessed the death of a lying and comfort-loving Europe and at being faced with cruel truths.
- Albert Camus, "Create Dangerously," lecture given at the University of Uppsala, Sweden (December 1957); republished by Camus in Resistance, Rebellion and Death (1961), Justin O'Brien, translator, p. 270.
- Soon nostalgia will be another name for Europe.
- Angela Carter (1940–92), British postmodern novelist. repr. Vintage (1992). Expletives Deleted, review of John Berger, Once in Europa, The Washington Post (1989)
- Many of the traits on which modern Europe prides itself came to it from Muslim Spain. Diplomacy, free trade, open borders, the techniques of academic research, of anthropology, etiquette, fashion, various types of medicine, hospitals, all came from this great city of cities. (...) The surprise is the extent to which Islam has been a part of Europe for so long, first in Spain, then in the Balkans, and the extent to which it has contributed so much towards the civilisation which we all too often think of, wrongly, as entirely Western. Islam is part of our past and our present, in all fields of human endeavour. It has helped to create modern Europe. It is part of our own inheritance, not a thing apart.
- It was the fate of Europe to be always a battleground. Differences in race, in religion, in political genius and social ideals, seemed always... to be invitations to contest by battle.
- As to the territorial limits of Europe, they may seem relatively clear on its seaward flanks, but many island groups far to the north and west—Svalbard, the Faroes, Iceland, and the Madeira and Canary islands—are considered European, while Greenland (though tied politically to Denmark) is conventionally allocated to North America. Furthermore, the Mediterranean coastlands of North Africa and southwestern Asia also exhibit some European physical and cultural affinities. Turkey and Cyprus in particular, while geologically Asian, possess elements of European culture and may be regarded as parts of Europe.
- Purity of race does not exist. Europe is a continent of energetic mongrels.
- Herbert Albert Laurens Fisher, A history of Europe, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1939, p.14
- Oui, c'est l'Europe, depuis l'Atlantique jusqu'à l'Oural, c'est l'Europe, c'est toute l'Europe, qui décidera du destin du monde!
- Translation: Yes, it is Europe, from the Atlantic to the Urals, it is Europe, it is the whole of Europe, that will decide the fate of the world.
- Charles de Gaulle, 23 November 1959, Strasbourg.
- The peoples of Europe are a work in progress and always must be... The history of the people of Europe has not ended -- it never will. Ethnogenesis is a process of the present and future as much as it is the past. No efforts of romantics, politicians, or social scientists can preserve once and for all some essential soul of a people or nation. Nor can any effort ensure that nations, ethnic groups, and communities of today will not vanish utterly in the future. The past may have set the parameters within which one can build the future, but it cannot determine what that future must be.
- Patrick J. Geary, The Myth of Nations: The Medieval Origins of Europe, Princeton University Press, 2003
- Europe is not really even a geographic entity; it is separated from Asia only at one point, the Bosphorus, by a small stretch of water. North of that there is continuity over the russians steppes, a complete terrestrial flow. I suggest that is also true of culture, and indeed of social organization. Indeed Europe has never been purely isolated, purely Christian. Instead of Christian Europe, one has to see the continent as penetrated by the three world religions that originated in the Near East and which indeed had a common mythology or sacred text; in order of arrival these were Judaism, Christianity and Islam. (...) All have equal entitlements to be present, and in this general ('objective') sense none can be considered only as the Other; they are part of Europe, part of our heritage.
- Jack Goody, Islam in Europe, Polity, 2004, p.14
- I have ever deemed it fundamental for the United States never to take active part in the quarrels of Europe. Their political interests are entirely distinct from ours... They are nations of eternal war.
- Thomas Jefferson, from Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 11 June 1823, online in [From Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 11 June 1823 founders.archive.gov]
- There is no place for concern that it would change the structure and operation of the EU in a radical way. 90% of the constitution agreement is already in the current agreements. The innovations in the draft will clarify the structure of the EU and make its activity more efficient, as well as strengthen citizens’ rights.
- Egils Levits (Latvian ECJ Judge), Quoted in “Latvijas avize”, 21 June 2004
- So there is no single European people. There is no single all-embracing community of culture and tradition among, say, Warsaw, Amsterdam, Berlin and Belgrade. In fact, there are at least four communities: the Northern Protestant, the Latin Catholic, the Greek Orthodox, and the Muslim Ottoman. There is no single language - there are more than twenty. (...) There are no real European political parties (...). And most significantly of all: unlike the United States, Europe still does not have a common story.
- People often think that Europeans are homogeneous group that arrived in a simple way there maybe 40 or 50 thousand years ago maybe based on the archaeology and just kind of sat there until they became the Europeans they are today, but that's probably not true: the Europeans today are a replacement population who came in much more recently and replaced the people who were there originally 40 thousand years ago.
- Europe is and will be a Union of States.
- José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, speech (15 June 2004)