<Standard E.2 ..................................................................................................................................Standard SAM.1>

Explain how the following five factors have influenced settlement and the economies of major European countries.

external image 200px-Europe_orthographic_Caucasus_Urals_boundary.svg.png
A. absolute and relative locations
B. climate
  • Global Warming
C. major physical characteristics
D. major natural resources
E. population size
  • Languages and Religions
  • Public Holidays
  • Economy and the European Union
  • Migrants and Refugees
  • Separatist and Independence Movements

First, definitions:

- 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 icon.pngMap of Europe superimposed on Africa to show size

- climate: 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
Location of Europe on a world map

external image Global_Warming_Map.jpg


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

Click here for a guide to European climates

Relief Map of Europe
Relief Map of Europe

Major Physical Characteristics

Four Geographical Regions of Europe:
  • Western Uplands
    • Consists of Scandinavia, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, and parts of France, Spain, and Portugal
    • Formed by glaciers
    • Many marshlands, lakes, fjords, and cliffs
  • Northern Plains
    • 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
  • Central Uplands
    • Consists of western France and Belgium, southern Germany, the Czech Republic, and northern Switzerland and Austria
    • Low in altitude
    • Many forests
  • Alpine Mountains
    • Ranges in the Italian and Balkan peninsulas, northern Spain, and southern France
    • Contains mountains from six different ranges
    • High elevations
    • Many plateaus
      Fjord in Northern Norway
      Fjord in Northern Norway
    • Contains many active volcanoes

Click here for more info on Europe's Physical Geography

Norwegian Fjords
  • 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
  • Click here 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...

Click here for a National Geographic Article on Europe's natural resources

Population Size: 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 2005

Languages and Religions

Languages & Religions of Europe

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Holidays and Celebrations

Europe Public Holidays 2016 & 2017

Economy and the European Union

European Industry from EconomyWatch.com

Data for the Construction Industry in Europe

external image Government_icon.svgList 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 European Union.

There are three policy areas or “pillars” that guide the EU:
  • membership rules and economic ties
  • common foreign policy
  • cooperation in domestic legal matters

external image Big_red_apple.jpgEU 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 elections in June 2009, it has to be ratified by each of the 27 Member States.”

Multimedia.pngView an interactive video of the forming of the European Union here: EU Delegation Map

external image 300px-Map_of_the_European_Migrant_Crisis_2015.png

Migrants and Refugees

Europe's Migration Crisis, Council on Foreign Relations

European Commission Seeks to Resettle 50,000 Refugees (September 2017)

Maps and Charts That Explain the European Refugee Crisis, 2016

Flag of the Basque autonomous community
Flag of the Basque autonomous community

Separatist and Independence Movements

Beyond Catalonia: Separatist Movements in Western Europe
  • Catalonia
  • Basque Country
  • Scotland
  • Flanders
  • Padania
  • South Tyrol
  • Corsica

A Map of Europe's Separatist Movements

Additional Resources:

lessonplan.jpgClick here for a lesson plan from National Geographic about Europe, the people who live there, and the land of Europe