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Explain how the following five factors have influenced settlement and the economies of major European countries.
A. absolute and relative locations
C. major physical characteristics
D. major natural resources
E. population size
Languages and Religions
Economy and the European Union
absolute and relative locations
: absolute location is the coordinates of a place on longitude and latitude; relative location is where a place is in comparison with landmarks, or other places.
Map of Europe superimposed on Africa to show size
repeated weather patterns in a certain location
- major physical characteristics
features of the terrain, like mountains, lakes, rivers, deserts, etc.
- major natural resources:
parts of nature used by people, such as water, oil, trees, minerals, etc.
- population size
: how many people live in a place
the top 5 most populated nations are 1. China, 2. India, 3. United States, 4. Indonesia 5. Brazil
Absolute and Relative Locations
Location of Europe on a world map
The figure to the right was prepared by Robert A. Rohde from public domain data and is incorporated into the Global Warming Art project. The average increase on this graph is 0.48 °C, and the widespread temperature increases are considered to be an aspect of global warming.
Climate Hot Map: Global Warming Effects Around the World
from the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Climate Change Evident Across Europe, Report Says
from BBC, November 2012.
European Climate Foundation
for a guide to European climates
Relief Map of Europe
Major Physical Characteristics
Four Geographical Regions of Europe:
Consists of Scandinavia, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, and parts of France, Spain, and Portugal
Formed by glaciers
Many marshlands, lakes, fjords, and cliffs
Consists of parts of France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Poland and the Baltics
Most is below sea level
Contains many rivers
Supports many crops
Most populated region of Europe
Consists of western France and Belgium, southern Germany, the Czech Republic, and northern Switzerland and Austria
Low in altitude
Ranges in the Italian and Balkan peninsulas, northern Spain, and southern France
Contains mountains from six different ranges
Fjord in Northern Norway
Contains many active volcanoes
for more info on Europe's Physical Geography
Fjord is a long, deep, narrow body of water
Reach far inland
Usually formed by glaciers
Usually have steep rock walls on each side
Formed thousands of years ago
Norwegian fjords contain coral reefs
Rocky islands called "skerries" are found in fjords
for more information
Major Natural Resources
One of the most important resources in Europe is forestry
Grosses more than $600 billion in each year
Over 3.7 million employees
Create paper, furniture, etc.
Another important industry is fishing
The Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and other northern seas are popular fishing locations
Fish production has dropped every year for the past 20 years
Bluefin tuna is in danger of becoming extinct by 2050 due to overfishing
The European Union is trying to prevent overfishing
Mining is also important in Europe
Mining for metal is not common except a few countries
silver in Poland, titanium in Norway, etc...
More common to mine for industrial minerals
Feldspar, kaolin, magnesite, etc...
used in ceramics, cosmetics, rubber, etc...
for a National Geographic Article on Europe's natural resources
Settlement and Peoples
Europe has a high population density, in all parts of the region, including mountainous, near rivers, seas, or oceans, or in the plains.
Only India, Japan, and parts of China have higher population density than Europe.
So, unlike some less densely populated parts of the world, current human settlement in Europe has little to do with the physical geography on a basic level (as does, say, South American human settlement, which is concentrated on the coasts). Source:
The Oxford Atlas of the World
Languages & Religions of Europe
Explore the linguistic diversity of Europe at the website
European Day of Languages
European Languages Quiz
Lesson Plans and Curriculum Resources
on West European Studies from the Indiana University at Bloomington.
Europe Public Holidays 2016 & 2017
Economy and the European Union
Data for the Construction Industry in Europe
List of European Union Member States by Political System
In contrast, geography is pivotal to the European economy, with the formation and growing importance of the
There are three policy areas or “pillars” that guide the EU:
membership rules and economic ties
common foreign policy
cooperation in domestic legal matters
EU Lesson Plans and Teaching Material
The EU was started in 1950 by six nations— Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Originally called the European Coal and Steel Community, the group sought peace in the region right after the end of World War II, and, undoubtedly, economic recovery and power.
In 1957, the European Economic Community (EEC, also called the Common Market) is created with the Treaty of Rome.
In the 1960s, the member nations end customs duties in trade, and joint food production. In the 1973, three more nations join the group: Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom.
In 1979 all citizens of member nations can directly elect members of the European Parliament. In the 1980s, Greece, Spain, and Portugal join the EU.
“In 1987 the Single European Act is signed. This is a treaty which provides the basis for a vast six-year programme aimed at sorting out the problems with the free-flow of trade across EU borders and thus creates the ‘Single Market’.”
“In 1993 the Single Market is completed with the 'four freedoms' of: movement of goods, services, people and money. The 1990s is also the decade of two treaties, the ‘Maastricht’ Treaty on European Union in 1993 and the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999.” Austria, Finland and Sweden join the EU in 1995.
In 2004, ten more countries join the EU, and the Euro unit of currency is created and adopted by member nations. An EU Constitution was written in 2004 and voted on in 2005, and was rejected by France and the Netherlands. On the Constitutional-approval front, the EU is currently in a “period of reflection.”
The ten new countries from 2004 are: Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia. Romania and Bulgaria are now also members. Croatia, Macedonia, and Turkey are candidates for membership. Turkish membership is being disputed in large part due to geography: most of that nation is in Asia, not Europe. There is also ongoing tension with Greece over disputed Cyprus, and both Greece and Cyprus are EU member nations.
The latest news: On December 7, 2007, the “27 EU countries sign the
Treaty of Lisbon
, which amends the previous Treaties. It is designed to make the EU more democratic, efficient and transparent, and thereby able to tackle global challenges such as climate change, security and sustainable development. Before the Treaty can come into force, which is hoped to be before the next European Parliament
in June 2009, it has to be ratified by each of the 27 Member States.”
View an interactive video of the forming of the European Union here:
EU Delegation Map
for a lesson plan from National Geographic about Europe, the people who live there, and the land of Europe
The Oxford Atlas of the World
The European Union
EU homepage in English © European Communities, 1995-2008
Background info on the EU
History of the EU
Details on events in the EU in the 2000s
Animated map showing the growing EU
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