Subject Index / Countries / Europe
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Europe is included as one of the world's seven continents, but it is really a peninsula of Eurasia. The borders for Europe are somewhat arbitrary, and the term continent can refer to a political distinction or a physiographic one. Western culture derives from Europe. European nations played a predominant role in global affairs from the 16th century onwards, especially after the beginning of Colonialism. By the mid 17th century, European nations controlled most of Africa, the Americas, and large portions of Asia. Destruction during World War I and World War II, which were largely European Wars, led to a decline in European dominance in world affairs and the United States and Soviet Union took over as global powers.