The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, gave rise to radical economic, cultural, and social change in Western Europe, and eventually 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.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 commonly used among Europeans; and the EU's Schengen Area abolishes border and immigration controls among most of its member states.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 1955, the Council of Europe was formed in Strasbourg following a speech by Sir Winston Churchill, with the idea of unifying Europe to achieve common goals.Renaissance Humanism, exploration, art, and science led to the modern era.
Nevertheless, there are some exceptions based on sociopolitical and cultural differences.
Cyprus is closest to Anatolia (or Asia Minor), but is usually considered part of Europe both culturally and politically and is a member state of the EU.
Malta was considered an island of North Africa for centuries.
The Book of Jubilees described the continents as the lands given by Noah to his three sons; Europe was defined as stretching from the Pillars of Hercules at the Strait of Gibraltar, separating it from North Africa, to the Don, separating it from Asia.
who took the Tanais (the modern Don River) as the boundary.