The oldest traces of modern humans, Homo sapiens
sapiens, in Europe are from about 43,000-40,000 BCE.
Younger Stone Age grew in Southeastern Europe around 7000
BCE. and in Northern Europe around 3000 BCE. This age was
characterized by agriculture and animal husbandry as well as
large stone settlements (the megalithic culture) along the
coasts of Western Europe.
The Bronze Age of Europe began around 3200 BCE. in Greece
and the earliest Iron Age around 1200 BCE, and led to the
emergence of small towns in Greek and Phoenician areas on
the Mediterranean. Dorers immigrated around 1100 BCE. from
northern Greece to Peloponnese and the southeastern Aegean
region while Etruscans immigrated from western Asia Minor to
Traders like the Phoenicians of the Inner Mediterranean
founded colonies around 1000 BCE. In the centuries that
followed, a number of city states emerged in Greece,
including Athens and Sparta, and in Italy (Etruscan cities,
From the 7th century BCE. overcrowding in Greece led to
widespread Greek colonization, especially along the northern
Mediterranean coast, in Asia Minor and in the Black Sea. In
the latter area, they got in touch with the shooters, a
Central Asian people who had immigrated to much of central
In the 600–400 BCE. dominated cellars in Central Europe.
In the same period, Persian conquest attempts to the west
were backed by alliances between Greek city-states, and
Athenian democracy grew.
The rivalry between Athens and Sparta that triggered the
Peloponnesian war led to Macedonia gradually exerting
greater influence on Greek soil. It reached the pinnacle of
Alexander the Great's kingdom from the Adriatic to Egypt and
Indus. After his death in 323 BCE. the kingdom was divided,
but Greek culture (Hellenism) in the areas lasted for
hundreds of years.
From about 500 BCE. Rome undermined the Etruscan city
states and gradually emerged as the greatest power factor in
the central and western Mediterranean. The Romans subjugated
Spain, Carthage and the Peloponnese, and later Gallic
peoples in the north, in present Switzerland, Austria,
France and Belgium. The expansion to the north stopped in
later Germany with the battle against the Germans in the
Teutoburg Forest in year 14, but the Romans humbled
themselves and occupied England for about 400 years.
In 380, Christianity became a state religion in the Roman
Empire, and the bishop of Rome emerged as the apostle
Peter's successor and church leader (pope).
After the peoples' groups of Goths, Huns and Vandals
invaded a weakened Roman empire to an increasing degree of
dissolution, the Roman Empire was divided into an eastern
and a western part in 395. The last West Roman emperor was
deposed in 476, but the East Roman Empire centered in
Byzantine (Istanbul) resisted Arab and Turkish attacks until
Byzant's fall for Turkish attack in 1453.
In the period 700–800, the Arabs conquered the Iberian
Peninsula and threatened France. The Arab expansion was
halted in the Battle of Poitiers in 732. Under Charlemagne,
France became a great power, and in 800 Karl was crowned
Roman emperor. In 843, Karl the Great's kingdom was divided,
and the eastern part became the origin of the German Empire.
In 962 the German-Roman Empire was established.
In much of northern Europe, the period was approximately
800–1050 characterized by Viking kingdoms and Viking trains.
Hungary and Poland were founded further south. And the Kiev
kingdom covered much of Russia west of the Ural Mountains.
The Normans conquered Anglo-Saxon England in 1066, and in
the High Middle Ages (c. 1050 - 1350) the political
conditions in Europe stabilized. The new state formation was
built on a hierarchical social organization, feudalism,
which laid the foundation for a strong royal power and the
emergence of nation states. Another important feature was an
ever-increasing number of cities and trade between them, and
a gradual transition to monetary economics.
The power of the Church at this time and demands for
independence from worldly rulers in France and Germany led
to the struggle between the princes and the pope (the
investiture struggle). The church acted as a cultural
spreader (monasteries and universities) and supported the
Crusades, which were a territorial expansion into areas of
the eastern Mediterranean about 1100–1300. The Crusades
initiated the establishment of several knighthoods and an
increase in trade between Europe and Asia.
The geographical discoveries of the late 1400s opened new
trade routes to Asia, Africa and America, laying the
foundations for the creation of Spanish and Portuguese
colonies in South and Central America. From the mid-17th
century England, the Netherlands and France also became
Not all countries in Europe are part of the largest
economic bloc in the world, the European Union. The economic
and political bloc is responsible for the largest export of
services, goods and products, representing the free movement
of goods, individuals and goods among its members. According
Abbreviationfinder, the EU
The European Union aims to promote peace, values and
the well-being of its citizens; guarantee freedom, security
and justice; promote sustainable development aiming at
balanced economic growth; fight against social exclusion and
discrimination; respect cultural and linguistic diversity
among its members.
- United Kingdom