The Western Europe is an area geographical Politique or which corresponds to the part Occident ale of the Europe, but this concept remains badly defined. It is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the limits of the Northern Europe, the Europe of the South, and the Central Europe, with which it can be superimposed.
The historical vision, inherited the political relations of the Cold war, attenuates little by little with the widening of the European Union, to approach a more geographical and economic vision, which remains fuzzy.
- the United Kingdom;
- San Marino;
- the Vatican.
In its current meaning, Western Europe is inherited a geopolitical concept resulting from the cold war, which would gather the worldwide known as capitalist, including the neutral countries during the Cold war. This vision includes the German Democratic republic which belonged to the Eastern bloc.
Geopolitical opposition of the cold war
See also: Eastern bloc
During the Cold war, Western Europe indicated the countries of the continent which were side Occident Al of the Iron curtain. In opposition to the Eastern Europe, Western Europe gathered the noncommunist countries, often combined the United States. Among these countries those appear which created the European Communities.
Name Western Europe did not integrate the Turkey.
In the history of the continent of Europe, the countries of Western Europe known in certain fields of the evolutions different from those of the countries more to the Is continent, for geographical reasons or cultural. Basically, one distinguishes two units constitutive of Western Europe, with the very different history and the culture:
the Latin Europe (except for the Romania), whose linguistic and legal heritage Roman still is very marked, and whose bonds with the Catholic church and the the Mediterranean forged the national identities.
the Germanic Europe (Europe of the North-West), formed of the country not having belonged to the Roman Empire (or not sufficiently deeply to develop Romance Languages to with it). These countries were, with the Moyen-âge, more tried by the development of the reformed Protestant Églises, and have for the majority taken their distances compared to the Catholic church. The print of the Protestantism and the right of origin Germanic deeply forged their mentalities and their companies.
However, from their geographical proximity and the multiple reciprocal contacts, the countries of Western Europe also often knew a similar history:
- the development and the influence of the Italian rebirth, mainly in France, but also in Spain and to a lesser extent in Germany and England.
- the development in all Western Europe of the Lights.
- a historical fact: the abolition of the Servage was early in Western Europe.
- the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean supported the explorations and the Colonisation S starting from Spain, of Portugal, of France and the United Kingdom.
Lastly, and especially, recent history of after Second world war, where the countries of Western Europe took the way of companies Capitaliste S on the American model, while the countries of Eastern Europe were subjected to the Soviet model .
UNO uses another classification of which the concept of Central Europe is excluded (cf chart of left).
It is a very restrictive vision and which can seem very arbitrary. It corresponds in fact to a geopolitical design of Europe of before the Second world war which was supposed to represent the democratic regimes of the beginning of the 20th century.
Europe being today in very great democratic majority, this old design tends today to fall in disuse. That is all the more explained by the fact why this one does not present homogeneity: there is no geographical unit (Spain and Portugal are excluded from it well that being geographically more in the west that France), of ic unit Climat (certain areas are Mediterranean, others continental), of cultural unit (certain countries are of Romance culture, the other Germanic one; some are of Protestant tradition, the other catholic), of monetary unit (in 2007, the Euro is used only in thirteen countries), and not of unit of the Political systems (parliamentary republics and monarchies).
After 1989, return of the Central Europe or " middle Europa"Since the fall of the wall and the German reunification, the European geography found a Central Europe which, as before the cold war, is a vast zone under German influence. The return of “large Germany” in Europe makes reappear a fracture within Western Europe.
Other areas of Europe
See also: Contenu=Insertion of Western Europe among the other European units, to see: [[Geography of Europe#Régions of Europe]], [[Areas of Europe]]
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