India known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia; the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Gupta empires. In the medieval era, Zoroastrianism and Islam arrived, Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947. In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
A pluralistic and multi-ethnic society, it is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historical local appellation for the Indus River; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "The people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations, it is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India, it was introduced into India by the Mughals and used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety; the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan; these developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Kalibangan, relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones; the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.
Most historians consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, craft traditions. In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas; the emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of Mahavira.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle
Proto-Indo-European society is the hypothesized culture of the ancient speakers of Proto-Indo-European, ancestors of all modern Indo–European ethnic groups who are speakers of Indo-European languages. Theories about the culture are based on linguistics and not ethnic, social, or cultural study, as the origin of Indo–European and their urheimat is still debated. There is no direct evidence of the nature of as such. Much of our modern ideas in this field involve the unsettled Indo-European homeland debate about the precise origins of the language itself. There are three main approaches researchers have employed in their attempts to study this culture, but all are subject to resolution of the debate and all are the subject of criticism: Archeology: Interpretations that are based on archaeological evidence. Comparative linguistics: Interpretations that are based on the comparative analysis of the languages of known societies. Linguistic reconstruction: Interpretations that are based on the reconstruction and identification of words which formed part of the vocabulary of the Proto-Indo-European language.
These are reconstructed on the basis of sounds. What these terms may have referred to at the stage of Proto-Indo-European is therefore less certain; the technique of inferring culture from such reconstructions is known as linguistic palaeontology. What follows in this page are interpretations based only on the assumption of the Kurgan hypothesis of Indo-European origins, are by no means universally accepted. Whether these people regarded themselves as a linguistic or ethnic community cannot be known, nor by which name they may have referred to themselves. Linguistics has allowed the reliable reconstruction of a large number of words relating to kinship relations; these all agree in exhibiting a patriarchal and patrilineal social fabric. Patrilocality is confirmed by lexical evidence, including the word *h2u̯edh, "to lead", being the word that denotes a male wedding a female, it is the dominant pattern in historical IE societies, matrilocality would be unlikely in a patrilineal society. Inferences have been made for sacral kingship, suggesting the tribal chief at the same time assumed the role of high priest.
Georges Dumézil suggested for Proto-Indo-European society a threefold division of a clerical class, a warrior class and a class of farmers or husbandmen, on his interpretations that many known groups speaking Indo-European languages show such a division, but Dumézil's approach has been criticised. If there was a separate class of warriors, it consisted of single young men, they would have followed a separate warrior code unacceptable in the society outside their peer-group. Traces of initiation rites in several Indo-European societies suggest that this group identified itself with wolves or dogs; the people were organized in settlements each with its chief. These settlements or villages were further divided in each headed by a patriarch. Technologically, linguistic reconstruction suggests a culture of the Bronze Age: words for bronze can be reconstructed from Germanic and Indo-Iranian, while no word for iron can be dated to the proto-language. Gold and silver were known. An *n̥sis was a bladed weapon a dagger of bronze or of bone.
An * iḱmos was a similar pointed weapon. Words for axe include *h₂égʷsih₂ and *péleḱu-; the wheel was known for ox-drawn carts. The wheel was not invented by the Proto-Indo-Europeans, but the word *kʷékʷlos is a native derivation of the root *kʷel- "to turn" rather than a borrowing, suggesting that the PIE speakers' contact with the people who introduced the wheel to them was short. Horse-drawn chariots developed after the breakup of the proto-language, originating with the Proto-Indo-Iranians around 2000 BC. Judging by the vocabulary, techniques of weaving, tying knots etc. were important and well-developed and used for textile production as well as for baskets, walls etc. Proto-Indo-European society depended on animal husbandry. People valued cattle as their most important animals, measuring a man's wealth by the number of cows he owned. Sheep and goats were kept by the less wealthy. Agriculture and catching fish featured; the domestication of the horse may have originated with these peoples: scholars sometimes invoke this as a factor contributing to their rapid expansion.
They practiced a polytheistic religion centered on sacrificial rites administered by a class of priests or shamans. Animals were dedicated to the gods in the hope of winning their favour; the king as the high priest would have been the central figure in establishing favourable relations with the other world
Proto-Indo-European mythology is the body of myths and stories associated with the Proto-Indo-Europeans. Although these stories are not directly attested, they have been reconstructed by scholars of comparative mythology based on the similarities in the belief systems of various Indo-European peoples. Various schools of thought exist regarding the precise nature of Proto-Indo-European mythology, which do not always agree with each other; the main mythologies used in comparative reconstruction are Vedic and Norse supported with evidence from the Baltic, Greek and Hittite traditions as well. The Proto-Indo-European pantheon includes well-attested deities such as *Dyḗus Pḥatḗr, the god of the daylit skies, his daughter *Haéusōs, the goddess of the dawn, the divine twins, the storm god *Perkwunos. Other probable deities include *Péh2usōn, a pastoral god, *Seh2ul, a female solar deity. Well-attested myths of the Proto-Indo-Europeans include a myth involving a storm god who slays a multi-headed serpent that dwells in water and a creation story involving two brothers, one of whom sacrifices the other to create the world.
The Proto-Indo-Europeans may have believed that the Otherworld was guarded by a watchdog and could only be reached by crossing a river. They may have believed in a world tree, bearing fruit of immortality, either guarded by or gnawed on by a serpent or dragon, tended by three goddesses who spun the thread of life; the mythology of the Proto-Indo-Europeans is not directly attested and it is difficult to match their language to archaeological findings related to any specific culture from the Chalcolithic. Nonetheless, scholars of comparative mythology have attempted to reconstruct aspects of Proto-Indo-European mythology based on the existence of similarities among the deities, religious practices, myths of various Indo-European peoples; this method is known as the comparative method. Different schools of thought have approached the subject of Proto-Indo-European mythology from different angles; the Meteorological School holds that Proto-Indo-European mythology was centered around deified natural phenomena such as the sky, the Sun, the Moon, the dawn.
This meteorological interpretation was popular among early scholars, such as Friedrich Max Müller, who saw all myths as fundamentally solar allegories. This school lost most of its scholarly support in early twentieth centuries; the Ritual School, which first became prominent in the late nineteenth century, holds that Proto-Indo-European myths are best understood as stories invented to explain various rituals and religious practices. The Ritual School reached the height of its popularity during the early twentieth century. Many of its most prominent early proponents, such as James George Frazer and Jane Ellen Harrison, were classical scholars. Bruce Lincoln, a contemporary member of the Ritual School, argues that the Proto-Indo-Europeans believed that every sacrifice was a reenactment of the original sacrifice performed by the founder of the human race on his twin brother; the Functionalist School holds that Proto-Indo-European society and their mythology, was centered around the trifunctional system proposed by Georges Dumézil, which holds that Proto-Indo-European society was divided into three distinct social classes: farmers and priests.
The Structuralist School, by contrast, argues that Proto-Indo-European mythology was centered around the concept of dualistic opposition. This approach tends to focus on cultural universals within the realm of mythology, rather than the genetic origins of those myths, but it offers refinements of the Dumézilian trifunctional system by highlighting the oppositional elements present within each function, such as the creative and destructive elements both found within the role of the warrior. One of the earliest attested and thus most important of all Indo-European mythologies is Vedic mythology the mythology of the Rigveda, the oldest of the Vedas. Early scholars of comparative mythology such as Friedrich Max Müller stressed the importance of Vedic mythology to such an extent that they equated it with Proto-Indo-European myth. Modern researchers have been much more cautious, recognizing that, although Vedic mythology is still central, other mythologies must be taken into account. Another of the most important source mythologies for comparative research is Roman mythology.
Contrary to the frequent erroneous statement made by some authors that "Rome has no myth", the Romans possessed a complex mythological system, parts of which have been preserved through the characteristic Roman tendency to rationalize their myths into historical accounts. Despite its late attestation, Norse mythology is still considered one of the three most important of the Indo-European mythologies for comparative research due to the vast bulk of surviving Icelandic material. Baltic mythology has received a great deal of scholarly attention, but has so far remained frustrating to researchers because the sources are so comparatively late. Nonetheless, Latvian folk songs are seen as a major source of information in the process of reconstructing Proto-Indo-European myth. Despite the popularity of Greek mythology in western culture, Greek mythology is seen as having little importance in comparative mythology due to the heavy influence of Pre-Greek and Near Eastern cultures, which overwhelms what little Indo-European material can be extracted from it.
Greek mythology received minimal scholarly attention until the mid 2000s. Although Scythians are considered conservative in regards to Proto-Indo-European cultures, retaining a similar lifestyle and culture, their mythology has rarely been examined in
The Indo-European migrations are the migrations of the peoples speaking the Proto-Indo-European language towards the locations where Indo-European languages are spoken today the earliest migrations following the split of the ancestor language. According to the most held hypothesis, the Kurgan hypothesis, the earliest proto-Indo-European speech community was identical with the archeological Yamnaya culture, other related cultures in the Pontic–Caspian steppe, at c. 4000 BCE. Their descendants spread throughout Europe and parts of Asia, forming new cultures with the people they met on their way, including the Corded Ware culture in Northern Europe and the Vedic culture in the Indian subcontinent; these migrations seeded the cultures and languages of most of Europe, Greater Iran, much of the Indian subcontinent. Alternative theories, such as the Anatolian hypothesis see the migrations as starting in Anatolia, at a much earlier date. Modern understandings of these migrations depend on synthesis of data from linguistics, archaeology and genetics.
Comparative linguistics describes the similarities between various languages and the linguistic laws at play in the changes in those languages. Archaeological data traces the spread of cultures presumed to be created by speakers of Proto-Indo-European in several stages: from the hypothesized locations of the Proto-Indo-European homeland, into their locations Western Europe, Central and Eastern Asia by migrations and by language shift through élite-recruitment as described by anthropological research. Recent genetic research has contributed to understanding of the relations between various prehistoric cultures. Proto-Celtic and Proto-Italic developed in and spread from Central Europe into western Europe after new Yamnaya migrations into the Danube Valley, while Proto-Germanic and Proto-Balto-Slavic may have developed east of the Carpathian mountains, in present-day Ukraine, moving north and spreading with the Corded Ware culture in Middle Europe. Alternatively, a European branch of Indo-European dialects, termed "North-west Indo-European" and associated with the Beaker culture, may have been ancestral to not only Celtic and Italic, but to Germanic and Balto-Slavic.
The Indo-Iranian language and culture emerged within the Sintashta culture, at the eastern border of the Yamnaya horizon and the Corded ware culture, growing into the Andronovo culture. Indo-Aryans moved into the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex and spread to the Levant, northern India, China; the Iranian languages spread throughout the steppes with the Scyths and into Iran with the Medes and Persians from c. 800 BCE. The Indo-European languages constitute a family of several hundred related dialects. There are about 439 languages and dialects, according to the 2009 Ethnologue estimate, about half of these belonging to the Indo-Aryan subbranch originating in South Asia; the Indo-European family includes most of the major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, the northern half of the Indian Subcontinent, Sri Lanka and was spoken in ancient Anatolia. With written attestations appearing since the Bronze Age in the form of the Anatolian languages and Mycenaean Greek, the Indo-European family is significant to the field of historical linguistics as possessing the second-longest recorded history, after the Afroasiatic family.
Indo-European languages are spoken by 3 billion native speakers, the largest number by far for any recognised language family. Of the 20 languages with the largest numbers of native speakers according to Ethnologue, twelve are Indo-European: Spanish, Hindi, Bengali, German, Marathi, Urdu, accounting for over 1.7 billion native speakers. The similarities between various European languages and Persian were noted by Sir William Jones when learning Sanskrit in India, concluding that all these languages originated from the same source. Several disputed proposals link Indo-European to other major language families; the Proto-Indo-European language is the linguistic reconstruction of a common ancestor of the Indo-European languages spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans. PIE was the first proposed proto-language to be accepted by linguists. Far more work has gone into reconstructing it than any other proto-language and it is by far the most well-understood of all proto-languages of its age. During the 19th century, the vast majority of linguistic work was devoted to reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European or its daughter proto-languages such as Proto-Germanic, most of the current techniques of historical linguistics were developed as a result.
Scholars estimate that PIE may have been spoken as a single language around 3500 BCE, though estimates by different authorities can vary by more than a millennium. The most popular hypothesis for the origin and spread of the language is the Kurgan hypothesis, which postulates an origin in the Pontic–Caspian steppe of Eastern Europe; the existence of PIE was first postulated in the 18th century by Sir William Jones, who observed the similarities between Sanskrit, Ancient Greek, Latin. By the early 20th century, well-defined descriptions of PIE had been developed that are still accepted today; the largest developments of the 20th century have been the discovery of Anatolian and Tocharian languages and the acceptance of the laryngeal
The Indo people or Indos are Eurasian people living in or connected with Indonesia. In its narrowest sense, the term refers to people in the former Dutch East Indies who held European legal status but who were of mixed descent, that are descendants of various indigenous peoples of Indonesia and Dutch settlers. In the broadest sense, an Indo is anyone of mixed European and Indonesian descent. Indos are associated with colonial culture of the former Dutch East Indies, a Dutch colony in Southeast Asia and a predecessor to modern Indonesia after its proclamation of independence shortly after World War II; the term was used to describe people acknowledged to be of mixed Dutch and Indonesian descent, or it was a term used in the Dutch East Indies to apply to Europeans who had partial Asian ancestry. The European ancestry of these people was predominantly Dutch, but included Portuguese, French, Belgian and others; the term "Indo" is first recorded from 1898, an abbreviation of the Dutch term "indo-Europeaan".
Other terms used at various times are Dutch Indonesians, Indo-Europeans, Indo-Dutch, Dutch-Indos. In the Indonesian language, common synonymous terms are Sinjo, Belanda-Indo, Indo-Belanda, Indo means Eurasian: a person with European and Indonesian parentage. Indo is an abbreviation of the term Indo-Europeaan which originated in the Dutch East Indies of the 19th century as an informal term to describe the Eurasians. Indische is an abbreviation of the Dutch term Indische Nederlander. Indische was a term. In the Netherlands, the term Indische Nederlander includes all Dutch nationals who lived in the Dutch East Indies, either Dutch or mixed ancestry. To distinguish between the two, Eurasians are called native Dutch are called Totok. In the Dutch East Indies, these families formed "a racially and homogenous community between the Totoks and the indigenous population", they were Christians and spoke Dutch, Portuguese and Indonesian. They were compared to Afrikaners from South Africa, who share Dutch ancestry and culture, but are not mixed-race.
In the 16th-18th centuries, Eurasians were referred to by as coloured. Additionally, a wide range of more contumacious terms, such as liplap, can be found in the literature. Eurasians in the Dutch East Indies were descendants of Europeans who travelled to Asia between the 16th and the 20th century; the earliest Europeans in South East Asia were Spanish traders. Portuguese explorers discovered two trade routes to Asia, sailing around the south of Africa or the Americas to create a commercial monopoly. In the early 16th century the Portuguese established important trade posts in South East Asia, a diverse collection of many rival kingdoms and tribes spread over a huge territory of peninsulas and islands. A main Portuguese stronghold was in the Maluku Islands, the fabled "Spice Islands"; the Spanish established a dominant presence further north in the Philippines. These historical developments were instrumental in building a foundation for large Eurasian communities in this region. Old Eurasian families in the Philippines descend from the Spanish.
While the oldest Indo families descend from Portuguese traders and explorers, some family names of old Indo families include Simao, De Fretes, Henriques, etc. During the 1620s Jan Pieterszoon Coen in particular insisted that families and orphans be sent from Holland to populate the colonies; as a result, a number of single women were sent and an orphanage was established in Batavia to raise Dutch orphan girls to become East India brides. Around 1650, the number of mixed marriages, frequent in the early years of the Dutch East India Company, declined sharply. There was a large number of women from the Netherlands recorded as marrying in the years around 1650. At least half the brides of European men in Batavia came from Europe. Many of these women were widows previously married in the Indies, but half of them were single women from the Netherlands marrying for the first time. There were still considerable numbers of women sailing eastwards to the Indies at this time; the ships' passenger lists from the 17th century evidence this.
Not until in the 17th century did the numbers of passengers to Asia drop drastically. Given the small population of their country, the Dutch had to fill out their recruitment for Asia by looking for overseas emigration candidates in the underprivileged regions of north-western Europe. Most Dutch VOC employees were traders, accountants and adventurers. In 1622, over half the Batavia garrison of 143 consisted of foreigners, there were French, English, Danes and Walloons. Europeans living in Batavia included Norwegians, Maltese, Irish, Spaniards and Swedes; the number of Swedes travelling to the East on Dutch ships numbered in the thousands. Many settled in Batavia for long periods; some of the settlers in the 18th and early 19th centuries were men without wives, intermarriage occurred with the local inhabitants. The VOC and the colonial government to a certain extent encouraged this to maintain their control over the region; the existing Indo population of Portuguese descent was therefore welcome to integrate.
An Indo-European society developed in the East Indies. Although most of its members became Dutch citizens, their culture was Eurasian in nature, with focus on both Asian and European he
The Proto-Indo-Europeans were the prehistoric people of Eurasia who spoke Proto-Indo-European, the ancestor of the Indo-European languages according to linguistic reconstruction. Knowledge of them comes chiefly from that reconstruction, along with material evidence from archaeology and archaeogenetics; the Proto-Indo-Europeans lived during the late Neolithic, or the 4th millennium BC. Mainstream scholarship places them in the Pontic–Caspian steppe zone in Eastern Europe; some archaeologists would extend the time depth of PIE to the middle Neolithic or the early Neolithic, suggest alternative location hypotheses. By the early second millennium BC, offshoots of the Proto-Indo-Europeans had reached far and wide across Eurasia, including Anatolia, the Aegean, the north of Europe, the edges of Central Asia, southern Siberia. Using linguistic reconstruction, hypothetical features of the Proto-Indo-European language are deduced. Assuming that these linguistic features reflect culture and environment of the Proto-Indo-Europeans, the following cultural and environmental traits are proposed: pastoralism, including domesticated cattle and dogs agriculture and cereal cultivation, including technology ascribed to late-Neolithic farming communities, e.g. the plow a climate with winter snow transportation by or across water the solid wheel, used for wagons, but not yet chariots with spoked wheels worship of a sky god, *Dyḗus Ph2tḗr, vocative *dyeu ph2ter oral heroic poetry or song lyrics that used stock phrases such as imperishable fame and wine-dark sea a patrilineal kinship-system based on relationships between menThe Proto-Indo-Europeans had domesticated horses – *eḱwos.
The cow played a central role, in mythology as well as in daily life. A man's wealth would have been measured by the number of his animals, *peḱu; as for technology, reconstruction indicates a culture of the late Neolithic bordering on the early Bronze Age, with tools and weapons likely composed of "natural bronze". Silver and gold were known. Sheep were kept for wool, textiles were woven. Burials in barrows or tomb chambers apply to the Kurgan culture, in accordance with the original version of the Kurgan hypothesis, but not to the previous Sredny Stog culture, generally associated with PIE. Important leaders would have been buried with their belongings in kurgans. Many Indo-European societies know a threefold division of priests, a warrior class, a class of peasants or husbandmen. Georges Dumézil has suggested such a division for Proto-Indo-European society. If there was a separate class of warriors, traces of initiation rites in several Indo-European societies suggest that this group would have identified with wolves.
Researchers have made many attempts to identify particular prehistoric cultures with the Proto-Indo-European-speaking peoples, but all such theories remain speculative. Any attempt to identify an actual people with an unattested language depends on a sound reconstruction of that language that allows identification of cultural concepts and environmental factors associated with particular cultures; the scholars of the 19th century who first tackled the question of the Indo-Europeans' original homeland, had only linguistic evidence. They attempted a rough localization by reconstructing the names of plants and animals as well as the culture and technology; the scholarly opinions became divided between a European hypothesis, positing migration from Europe to Asia, an Asian hypothesis, holding that the migration took place in the opposite direction. In the early 20th century, the question became associated with the expansion of a supposed "Aryan race," a fallacy promoted during the expansion of European empires and the rise of "scientific racism."
The question remains contentious within some flavours of ethnic nationalism. A series of major advances occurred in the 1970s due to the convergence of several factors. First, the radiocarbon dating method had become sufficiently inexpensive to be applied on a mass scale. Through dendrochronology, pre-historians could calibrate radiocarbon dates to a much higher degree of accuracy, and before the 1970s, parts of Eastern Europe and Central Asia had been off limits to Western scholars, while non-Western archaeologists did not have access to publication in Western peer-reviewed journals. The pioneering work of Marija Gimbutas, assisted by Colin Renfrew, at least addressed this problem by organizing expeditions and arranging for more academic collaboration between Western and non-Western scholars; the Kurgan hypothesis, as of 2017 the most held theory, depends on linguistic and archaeological evidence, but is not universally accepted. It suggests PIE origin in the Pontic-Caspian steppe during the Chalcolithic.
A minority of scholars prefer the Anatolian hypothesis, suggesting an origin in Anatolia d
Europe is a continent located in the Northern Hemisphere and in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south, it comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. Since around 1850, Europe is most considered to be 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. Although the term "continent" implies physical geography, the land border is somewhat arbitrary and has been redefined several times since its first conception in classical antiquity; the division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural and ethnic differences which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The geographic border does not follow political boundaries, with Turkey and Kazakhstan being transcontinental countries. A strict application of the Caucasus Mountains boundary places two comparatively small countries and Georgia, in both continents.
Europe covers 2 % of the Earth's surface. Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states of which the Russian Federation 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 as of 2016; the European climate is affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent 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. Europe, in particular ancient Greece, was the birthplace of Western civilization; the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD and the subsequent Migration Period marked the end of ancient history and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Renaissance humanism, exploration and science led to the modern era. Since the Age of Discovery started by Portugal and Spain, Europe played a predominant role in global affairs. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers controlled at various times the Americas all of Africa and Oceania and the majority of Asia.
The Age of Enlightenment, the subsequent French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars shaped the continent culturally and economically from the end of the 17th century until the first half of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, gave rise to radical economic and social change in Western Europe and the wider world. Both world wars took place for the most part in Europe, contributing to a decline in Western European dominance in world affairs by the mid-20th century as the Soviet Union and the United States took prominence. During the Cold War, Europe was divided along the Iron Curtain between NATO in the West and the Warsaw Pact in the East, until the revolutions of 1989 and fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1949 the Council of Europe was founded, following a speech by Sir Winston Churchill, with the idea of unifying Europe to achieve common goals, it includes all European states except for Belarus and Vatican City. Further European integration by some states led to the formation of the European Union, a separate political entity that lies between a confederation and a federation.
The EU originated in Western Europe but has been expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The currency of most countries of the European Union, the euro, is the most used among Europeans. In classical Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician princess; the word Europe is derived from her name. The name contains the elements εὐρύς, "wide, broad" and ὤψ "eye, countenance", hence their composite Eurṓpē would mean "wide-gazing" or "broad of aspect". Broad has been an epithet of Earth herself in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion and the poetry devoted to it. There have been attempts to connect Eurṓpē to a Semitic term for "west", this being either Akkadian erebu meaning "to go down, set" or Phoenician'ereb "evening, west", at the origin of Arabic Maghreb and Hebrew ma'arav. Michael A. Barry, professor in Princeton University's Near Eastern Studies Department, finds the mention of the word Ereb on an Assyrian stele with the meaning of "night, sunset", in opposition to Asu " sunrise", i.e. Asia.
The same naming motive according to "cartographic convention" appears in Greek Ἀνατολή. Martin Litchfield West stated that "phonologically, the match between Europa's name and any form of the Semitic word is poor." Next to these hypotheses there is a Proto-Indo-European root *h1regʷos, meaning "darkness", which produced Greek Erebus. Most major world languages use words derived from Europa to refer to the continent. Chinese, for example, uses the word Ōuzhōu. In some Turkic languages the Persian name Frangistan is used casually in referring to much of Europe, besides official names such as Avrupa or Evropa; the prevalent definition of Europe as a geographical term has been in use since the mid-19th century. Europe is taken to be bounded by large bodies of water