Europe is Our Common Home

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I`d like to tell you about Europe. Europe is our common home. All the history is going up from Europe. Europeans had opened other continent and the European languages are speaking all over the world today. It consists of 42 countries, such as the UK, France, Germany and others, and Russia is among them. Europe is the second smallest part of the world after Australia. The area of Europe is about 10 million sq. km. The population is about 700 million people. The largest countries by the area are: the European part of Russia (4 million sq. km.) and the Ukraine (600.000 sq. km.). The largest countries by population are the European part of Russia (100 million people) and Germany (79 million people). There are some facts about Europe.





the Altitude.




million sq. km.

% of the dry-land

the middle (metres)

the highest point (m.)

the lowest point (m.)






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The longest rivers in Europe are: the Volga (3`530 km.) and the Danube. The largest lake is the Caspian Sea (371`000 sq. km.). The highest peak is Elbrus (5`642 m.), the lowest point is the Caspian sea (28 m. below the sea level).

There are much recourse in Europe, among them are: coal, oil, gas, precious metals and metal ores. For example, today in Turkey there is ‘the golden fever’.

Europe is named after a legendary Phoenician princess Europa. The Greeks gave her name to the island and mainland of Greece. A Greek historian Herodotos, when writing about the war between the Greeks and Persians in 5th century BC called all land west of the Bosporus “Europe”; east of the Bosporus - “Asia”, and so it has remained.

There is another explanation of where the name Europe comes from. The Assyrians used to speak “asy” (“the land of rising sun”) and “ereb” (“the land of setting sun” or “the mainland”). They passed these names on to Greeks and eventually they become Asia and Europe.

Europe is a part of the continent of Eurasia.

There are 42 countries in Europe. Most of them are on the mainland. Some of the countries lie on islands, for example the U.K., Iceland, and Cyprus. Such countries as Italy lie on the peninsulas. Europe is washed by the Arctic Ocean in the North, by the Atlantic ocean and the North sea in the West, by the Mediterranean and Black sea in the South. In fact Europe is really a westward exlention of Asia.

There are many mountains in Europe. The best known are: the Alps, the Pyrenies, the Caucasus and the Urals. Elbrus is the highest peak (5`642 m.). There are many rivers in Europe. The most important are: the Volga, the Don, the Dnieper, the North Dvina, the Elber, the Rhine in Germany, the Seine in France. The largest lakes are the lake Onega and the lake Ladoga.

Most winds in Europe come from the West. They are wet because they have come from the Atlantic Ocean. The arrangement of the peninsulas, mountains and seas allows these wet winds to blow far inland, bringing rain. In winter warm Atlantic Ocean current keeps the coast free from ice. Far from the sea, for example in Russia, winters can be very cold. The Mediterranean region has warm, wet winters and hot , dry summers. {There is a long period of sunshine and clean blue sky in summer.}

In sprite of Europe is the second smallest part of the world, it is the most crowded; 1/8 of the entire world`s people live in Europe.

Many languages are spoken in Europe. Among them are English, French, German, Spanish, Russian and others. The languages, spoken in Europe, can tell us much about the history of the countries. German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish and English are all German languages. Polish, Bulgarian, Slovak and Serbo-Croat are Slavonic languages. Russian, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, French developed out of the Latin language. Today European can be heard all over the world: English in North America and Australia, French in Canada and Southeast Asia, and Spanish in Africa. All this facts prove that European languages are spread all over the world.

The borders of European states have changed many times. For example, the states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania became independent states in 1920, but in 1940 they became republics of the USSR. In 1991 they declared their independence again. In 1993 two independent republics, the Czech republic and Slovakia were created out of former Czechoslovakia. These facts prove, that the process of forming the countries still going on.

People belong to different religions in Europe. In southern Europe and Poland most Christians belong to the Catholic Church. In northern Europe the churches are mainly Protestant. Such countries as Great Britain and Ireland belong to the Protestant Church. Greeks, Bulgarians, some Yugoslavs and Russians belong to the Orthodox Church. Also there are many other religions, such as Muslim, Buddhism and others.

There are Jews living in most European countries, through few in Germany and eastern Europe where they exterminated by the Axis in the Holocaust, since WW-II immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean, Turkey, India and Pakistan have settled in parts of France, Germany, Scandinavia and Britain.

So we can see, that there are 42 countries in Europe, people of different nationalities live there, they speak different languages and belong to different religions; but all of them want to live in peaceful coexistence and economic co-operation; that’s why new institutions had to be set up.

After World War II a number of countries in Western Europe began to co-operate more closely with each other. Then in 1957 the European Economic Community commonly known as the Common Market, was founded by the Treaty of Rome. The first six members of the European Community were France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. Goods could be sold between these six countries without extra import taxes and people were free to take jobs in any of the other countries.

In order to make decisions and administer the Community, new institution had to be set up. By 1967 there was a Council of Ministers, a Commission, a European Parliament and a Court of Justice. The Council of Ministers was made up of ministers from each country's government. It has the final say on the policies and programmes of the Community. The Commission is made up of two people from each larger country and one from each smaller country. They take decisions on routine matters and propose new laws.

The members of the European Parliament are directly elected by voters in each member state. The Parliament is able to comment on proposals, put up by the commissioners and influence the budget and it is slowly gaining more powers.

The Court of justice has the power to enforce Community law on member states. {This Court has sometimes overturned a decision made by the British law courts.} All citizens of Community countries have the right to appeal to the European Court of Justice.

From l973 to 1986 Denmark, the Irish Republic, the United Kingdom, Greece, Spain and Portugal joined the Community. So it increased from the original six to twelve member states. In 1987 these twelve member states passed the Single European Act. This meant that from the end of 1992 money, goods, services and people could move Freely within the Community without customs and other controls at the frontiers. Any citizen of a member state can start a business, hire workers and sell product as easily in another member country as in his own. Workers are able to use their skills to find jobs anywhere throughout the Community.

For many people the main purpose of the European Community is to create a continent whose countries need never go to war with each other again, because Europe is our common home.

In the 1st century AD Britain become Roman province as the result of colonises invades in AD 43. By about AD 100 the Romans had conquered many of the lands that now make up countries of modern Europe, including Spain, France and Britain. However, their power didn’t extend beyond the river Rhine, because there were German tribes whom the Romans called ‘barbarians’.

Then the Roman Empire gradually split into a western half and an eastern half (the Byzantine Empire). The West accepted the Pope in Rome as head of the Church and called itself Christendom. In Eastern Europe and Russia, people were gradually converted to Christianity by missionaries from Greek Orthodox Church in Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine empire. From then on the Ural Mountains were regarded as the European eastern border with Asia.

As the Christianity spreads at the end of the 4th century the Roman Empire gradually split.

As the Roman Empire declined and collapsed, many tribes crossed the Rhine and moved into Western Europe. By about AD 500 there were as many as twenty different tribes, including Franks, Saxons, Visigoths and Ostrogoths, controlling particular areas of Europe. These peoples gradually came to accept the power of the Church and throughout Christendom. Latin became the official language of church services, of governments, and of lawyers and scholars. Educated people travelling across the continent could easily understand each other.

The followers of the proper Muhammad, known as Muslim, launched a series of wars in southern Europe after his death in AD 632. They conquered much of the Byzantine Empire, without managing to take Constantinople. They also invaded Spain and France in the West. Charles Martel (‘Hammer’) defeated a Muslim army at a battle near poitiers in 732 and they were driven out of France. But Muslim Moors from North Africa settled in Spain, and for hundreds of years southern Spain was Islamic, not Christian. The Muslim ruled Granada right up to 1492, the year Columbus sailed to the Caribbean.

In the 9th century Vikings conquered Ireland, England, France and Italy.

Vikings from the North made trips for trade and adventure along the great Dnieper and Volga River to Kiev, Novgorod and other cities. Kiev also traded with Greeks in the South and it was from the Greeks that the Russians took their Christianity religion. In 988 Grand Prince Vladimir of Kiev was converted to Christianity. Russians adopted an alphabet based on the Greek rather than the Roman alphabet.

Gradually, during the Middle Age, people in Western Europe who spoken different languages began to separate into nations. The first strong, united country was Francia (France) ruled over by Charlemagne (Charles the Great), grandson of Charles Martel. England became a united country even before the Norman invasion of 1066.

Later Spain, Portugal, Sweden and other countries gradually established themselves. Many German-speaking countries were ruled by the Emperor of Austria, who during many centuries used the title Holy Roman Emperor.

In the 13th century (12 - 14) the Golden Hora of Mongol - Tatars conquered Kiev. Tatars came from the Goby-Desert. Mongolia occupied the countries for two hounded and fifty years cutting it off from important era in Europe. The Russian people constantly struggled against Tatars and didn’t allow them to come to Europe. Thus Russians gave an opportunity to develop. {The princess of Moscow gradually beat Mongol - Tatars off and in the 16th century Ivan the Terrible finally defeated the Tatars at Kazan.}

Between the 14th and 17th centuries great advances took place in learning and the arts. Italian artists, sculptors and architects studied the writings and ruined buildings of the ancient Romans and were inspired by the classical civilisation. Their ideas spread all over Europe. Printing made it possible for books and pamphlets to be produced so that more people had the chance of learning to read.

Many people wanted to read the Bible in their own languages and, for this and other reasons, they split from the Roman Catholic Church. This ‘Reformation’ was created by Protestant Churches, which became powerful in northern Europe, particularly in England, Scotland, Sweden and northern Germany. Terrible wars between Catholics and Protestants followed in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Thirty Years War from 1618 till 1648 caused enormous loss of life and damage right across central Europe.

At that time in Russia after Ivan the Terrible`s death Michael Romanov became tsar. The Romanov family ruled Russia from 1613 until they were overthrown in 1917. Michael Romanov`s grandson Peter I was the greatest of all Russian tsars. He opened a window into West by building a grand new capital Peterborough, where the Neva River meets the Baltic.

After the religious wars France emerged again as the strongest European country, but Britain, her oldest rival began to build an empire. In Seven Year War Britain defeated France, India and Canada.

The new inventions of the Industrial Revolution were also helping Britain economically. In 1789 the French Revolution took place and France become a republic.

After a Revolution a French general Napoleon came to power and crowned himself an Emperor. He wanted France to rule all Europe, and between 1803 and 1812 his armies entered Germany, Austria, Italy, Holland, Prussia, Poland, Spain and Russia.

Not long after Catherine’s death in 1796 Napoleon invaded Russia and captured Moscow in 1812. But he couldn’t make the Russians surrender and his army had to refreat. Napoleon was finally defeated at Waterloo in 1815.

During the 19th century most West European countries took over as many colonies as they could. Britain, France and Holland built the biggest empires.

The influence of Europe spread throughout the world. Many Europeans came to feel superior to all other peoples in the America, Africa, India and China. During the l9th century most west European countries took over as many colonies as they could. Britain, France and Holland built the biggest empires. Rivalry between these nations, particularly after the unification of Italy and then Germany, led to war between France and Germany in 1870-1871 and then to the two great world wars.

In World War II Britain, the USA, the USSR and their allies defeated the Axis powers of Germany, Italy and Japan. After this war the USSR dominated the countries of central and Eastern Europe, including East Germany, for over 40 years. It was as if an iron curtain had split Europe down the middle. While communist governments ruled the eastern European countries, Western Europe recovered from the destruction of the war and grew prosperous. As the new institutions of the European Community developed, the gap between the wealthy, democratic countries of the Community and the economically backward countries under communist dictatorships increased.

In l989 the communist governments lost power in Poland, Hungary, East Germany and Czechoslovakia. During l989 and l990 free elections were held for the first time in 40 years in Russia. The power of the USSR collapsed and the republics that had made it up became independent states.