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Europe is a very diverse region, generally defined as the western half of the Eurasian continent. It is often subdivided culturally and geographically into east and west and north and south. To write your essay, you might subdivide it into sections.
The northwestern part of Europe includes the region known as Scandanavia, where there are two major language groups. The first, including Dutch, Norwegian, and Swedish are Germanic, while Finnish and Estonian are part of the Uralic language family. Historically, this area was primarily Christian but now tends to be mainly secular. Scandinavia is known as highly progressive, at the forefront of gender equality, with a strong commitment to fairness and equality and strong social services. It is generally wealthy, has low crime, and strong educational systems.
Russia and the former Soviet republics tend to speak Slavic languages, and include members of Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, with substantial Muslim areas or minorities. Located on the eastern edge of Europe, their cultures blend eastern and western elements.
Several countries in Europe, including Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain (sometimes known as the PIGS) have a distinct southern or Mediterranean culture, which includes the practice of taking siestas, economies dependent on agriculture and tourism, and a long history dating back to the great empires of the ancient world.
France and Germany, located in the center of Europe, are the largest and most powerful of the European countries, each being global leaders in the arts and sciences. Britain, an island located just west of France, was a colonial superpower in the period from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries, and the origin of the English language which is now the dominant language of international business.
Most European countries (except neutral Switzerland and Russia) are members of the European Union, use the Euro as their currency, and allow free internal migration of labor and goods.
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