Monday, June 11, 2007

History of Europe

Europe has a long history of cultural and economic achievement, initial as far back as the Paleolithic. Genesis of Western democratic and individualistic cultures are often laid in Ancient Greece; the Roman Empire divided the continent along the Rhine and Danube for more than a few centuries. Following the decline of the Roman Empire, Europe entered a extended period of stasis, referred to by Renaissance thinkers as the "Dark Ages" and by the Enlightenment and modern historians, as the Middle Ages. During this time remote monastic communities in Ireland and elsewhere carefully safeguarded and compiled knowledge accumulated previously. The Renaissance and the New Monarchs marked the start of a period of discovery, exploration, and increase in scientific knowledge. From the 15th century Portugal opened the age of discoveries soon followed by Spain. They were shortly joined by France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Britain, in building large colonial empires, with vast holdings in Africa, the Americas, and Asia.

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