Europe is a continent which is home to more than a quarter of the world's countries. The climate of Europe varies from Arctic conditions to temperate in the south. Every world religion is represented in Europe and hundreds of languages are spoken too.
What is Europe?
Europe extends from Iceland in the west to Russia and Georgia in the east, Norway in the far north to Spain in the south. The map below shows geographical Europe, the countries generally referred to as Western Europe are highlighted in yellow. There are 50 countries in Europe at the moment although a few of these (Russia, Cyprus, etc.) are considered to be mostly or entirely in Asia. However, they are considered European for social-political, cultural, or other reasons. As well as these 50 countries, there are a number of small dependent territories which have their own governments but are not sovereign countries, such as the Faroe Islands and the Isle of Man.
What is WikiJunior Europe about?
Wikijunior is a part of Wikibooks which is devoted to creating books for children and teenagers. These books must be useful and accurate but they should also be interesting to read and not too in-depth. Wikijunior Europe provides a profile of each country with maps and flags plus information about the history, people and geography of each country. If you are reading this and wondering where to get more information, try the Web links for more detail on each country.
Is Europe the same as the European Union?
Europe is a geographic entity which runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural mountains (which are in western Russia). The European Union is a political, social and economic union of 27 countries in Europe. The members of the European Union (in order of when they joined) are: France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Malta, Cyprus, Romania (January 1st, 2007) and Bulgaria (January 1st, 2007).
There are also several countries which are in the process of joining the European Union. These countries are Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey. Many other nations (Serbia, Ukraine, etc.) have also said that they wish to join the European Union in the future.
What are the languages of Europe?
More than 100 languages are spoken in Europe. The most spoken languages are German, English, French, Russian, Spanish, Italian and Polish. Visit Wikijunior Languages to find out more about European languages and other languages from around the world.
What are the religions of Europe?
Like every other continent, all religions are practised in Europe. Christianity is by far the most common religion and almost every country in Europe has a majority of people who are Christian. Islam is the major religion in Turkey and Azerbaijan and a large parts of Bosnia Herzegovina, Albania and Russia. Judaism is represented in small numbers in every country but especially in France and the United Kingdom. Indian religions like Sikhism and Hinduism are practised especially in the United Kingdom. Atheism (not believing in a god) is very common in Czech Republic (more than 50%), Estonia, the United Kingdom, Germany and many parts of Central and Eastern Europe. Visit Wikijunior World Religions to find out more about religion.
What are the currencies of Europe?
Fifteen countries in the European Union use the Euro. All countries in the European Union (except the United Kingdom and Denmark) are expected to start using the Euro in the future. All other countries in Europe have their own currencies.