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""Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia

"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. Yet the non-oceanic borders of Europe—a concept dating back to "classical antiquity—are arbitrary. The primarily "physiographic term "continent" as applied to Europe also incorporates "cultural and political elements whose discontinuities are not always reflected by the continent's current overland boundaries.

Europe covers about 10,180,000 square kilometres (3,930,000 sq mi), or 2% of the Earth's surface (6.8% of land area). 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 740 million (about 11% of "world population) as of 2012.

The "history of Europe covers the peoples inhabiting the "European continent from "prehistory to the present. Some of the best-known civilizations of prehistoric Europe were the "Minoan and the "Mycenaean, which flourished during the "Bronze Age until they "collapsed in a short period of time around 1200 BC. The period known as "classical antiquity began with the emergence of the city-states of "Ancient Greece. After ultimately checking the "Persian advance in Europe through the "Greco-Persian Wars in the 5th century BC, Greek influence reached its zenith under the expansive empire of "Alexander the Great, spreading throughout "Asia, Africa, and other parts of Europe. The "Roman Empire came to dominate the entire Mediterranean basin in a vast empire based on "Roman law. By 300 AD the Roman Empire was divided into the "Western and "Eastern empires. During the 4th and 5th centuries, the "Germanic peoples of northern Europe grew in strength and repeated attacks led to the "Fall of the Western Roman Empire. AD 476 traditionally marks the end of the classical period and the start of the "Middle Ages.

The "culture of Europe is rooted in the art, architecture, music, literature, and philosophy that originated from the "European "cultural region. European culture is largely rooted in what is often referred to as its "common cultural heritage".

As a continent, the economy of Europe is currently the largest on Earth and it is the richest region as measured by assets under management with over $32.7 trillion compared to North America's $27.1 trillion in 2008. In 2009 Europe remained the wealthiest region. Its $37.1 trillion in assets under management represented one-third of the world's wealth. It was one of several regions where wealth surpassed its precrisis year-end peak. As with other continents, Europe has a large variation of wealth among its countries. The richer states tend to be in the "West; some of the "Central and Eastern European economies are still emerging from the "collapse of the Soviet Union and the "breakup of Yugoslavia.

Featured panorama

""A Panorama of Toledo as seen from Parador Hotel
Credit: "David Iliff

The "skyline of "Toledo, Spain, at sunset, with the "Alcázar on the left and "Cathedral on the right. The city, a "UNESCO "World Heritage Site, is the "capital of the "province of "Toledo and of the "autonomous community of "Castile-La Mancha. It is one of the former capitals of the "Spanish Empire and a place of coexistence of "Christian, "Jewish and "Moorish cultures.

Featured article

""North View of Gibraltar from Spanish Lines by John Mace (1782)
The "history of Gibraltar, a small peninsula on the southern "Iberian coast near the entrance of the "Mediterranean Sea, spans over 2,900 years. The peninsula has evolved from a place of reverence in ancient times into "one of the most densely fortified and fought-over places in Europe", as one historian has put it. "Gibraltar's location has given it an outsized significance in the history of Europe and its fortified town, established in medieval times, has hosted garrisons that sustained numerous sieges and battles over the centuries.

Gibraltar was first inhabited over 50,000 years ago by "Neanderthals and may have been one of their "last places of habitation before they died out around 24,000 years ago. Gibraltar's "recorded history began around 950 BC with the "Phoenicians, who lived nearby. The "Carthaginians and "Romans later worshipped "Hercules in shrines said to have been built on the "Rock of Gibraltar, which they called Mons Calpe,the "Hollow Mountain", and which they regarded as one of the twin "Pillars of Hercules.

Featured portrait

""Antanas Smetona
Credit: Photo from: "National Museum of Lithuania

A "portrait of "Antanas Smetona, the first "President of Lithuania, a signatory to the "Act of Independence of Lithuania, as well as the last President before the country's occupation by the "Soviet Union in "World War II. During his second term, he expanded the powers of the office and became an authoritarian head of state. Prior to the Soviet invasion, Smetona proposed armed resistance, but was overruled by his army. He fled the country, eventually emigrating to the "United States. Smetona died in "Cleveland, Ohio, in 1944. His remains are currently buried in "Chardon, Ohio.

Featured picture

""Stained glass windows by Jean-Baptiste Capronnier
Credit: Windows: "Jean-Baptiste Capronnier; photograph: "Joaquim Alves Gaspar

Three scenes of the legend of the Miraculous Sacrament in stained glass windows in the "Cathédrale Saints-Michel-et-Gudule of Brussels by "Jean-Baptiste Capronnier (c. 1870). The contributions of Capronnier (1814–1891) helped lead to a revival in glass painting.

Featured biography

"Pavle Đurišić (9 July 1909 – April 1945) was a "Montenegrin Serb regular officer of the "Royal Yugoslav Army who became a "Chetnik commander ("vojvoda) and led a significant proportion of the Chetniks in "Montenegro during World War II. He distinguished himself and became one of the main commanders during the "popular uprising against the Italians in Montenegro in July 1941, and later collaborated with the Italians in actions against the "Yugoslav Partisans. In 1943, his troops carried out several massacres against the "Muslim population of "Bosnia, "Herzegovina and the "Sandžak, and participated in the anti-Partisan "Case White offensive alongside Italian forces. Đurišić was captured by the "Germans in May 1943, escaped and was recaptured.

After the capitulation of Italy, the Germans released Đurišić and he began collaborating with them and the "Serbian puppet government. In 1944, he created the "Montenegrin Volunteer Corps with assistance from the Germans, "Milan Nedić, and "Dimitrije Ljotić. In late 1944, the German commander in Montenegro decorated him with the "Iron Cross 2nd Class. Đurišić was killed following the "Battle of Lijevče Field, after being captured by elements of the "Armed Forces of the Independent State of Croatia near "Banja Luka in an apparent trap set by them and Montenegrin separatist "Sekula Drljević. Some of Đurišić's troops were killed either in this battle or in later attacks by the Partisans as they then continued their withdrawal west. Others attempted to withdraw to Austria; they were forced to surrender to the Partisans and were killed in the "Kočevski Rog area of southern Slovenia in May and June 1945. Đurišić was a very able Chetnik leader; his fighting skills were respected by his allies and opponents alike.

Featured location

""Flag of Dorset
"Dorset is a "county in "South West England on the "English Channel coast. The "ceremonial county comprises the "non-metropolitan county, which is governed by "Dorset County Council, and the "unitary authority areas of "Poole and "Bournemouth. Covering an area of 2,653 square kilometres (1,024 sq mi), Dorset borders "Devon to the west, "Somerset to the north-west, "Wiltshire to the north-east, and "Hampshire to the east. The "county town is "Dorchester which is in the south. After the "reorganisation of local government in 1974 the county's border was extended eastward to incorporate the Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch. Around half of the population lives in the "South East Dorset conurbation, while the rest of the county is largely rural with a low population density.

The county has a long history of human settlement stretching back to the "Neolithic era. The "Romans conquered Dorset's indigenous "Celtic tribe, and during the early Middle Ages, the "Saxons settled the area and made Dorset a "shire in the 7th century.

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