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Europe Images Index

<EuropeLarge.html> A larger map of Europe. (258kb)
<Europe2Large.html> The largest map of Europe. (558kb)
<EuropeFranceWater.html> A map of Europe: France - with Rivers and Lakes Included. (133kb)
<EuropeIrelandWater.html> A map of Europe: Ireland - with Rivers and Lakes Included.
<EuropeGreeceSatellite.html> Greece Satellite Photo.
<EuropeIcelandSatellite.html> Iceland Satellite Photo.

North America (map)

Full color elevation map of Europe.
Click here to return to main world map.

Click here for a larger map of Europe. (258kb)
Or click here for the largest map of Europe. (558kb)

Asia (map)

Africa (map)

Middle East (map, 100kb)

NASA/JPL/NIMA. “WorldSRTM-noPoles-giant” Online Image. Earth Observatory. 16 May 2005 <>


This image was created from a larger Public Domain world map produced from data obtained by NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). The world map was cropped to the Europe and resized to 600 pixels wide using a trial version of Adobe Photoshop. Using Google's free Picasa2 program, the color and lighting were then enhanced and finally sharpened to obtain the image above. The original image can be viewed at the NASA link above.

Europe is the geographic puzzle of history. Out in what can only be described as the hinterlands of Eurasia, it has repeatedly had an importance in history out of proportion to its position. It is effectively bordered by mountains, rivers, and the vast Russian steppe; while it has had to fend off the depredations of the same barbarians that have ravaged Asia, Western Europe survived every invasion of the major Asian powers unscathed. The same cannot be said for Asia. While these European barbarians were spared the worst that Asia's elite civilizations could do, the expansion and colonialism of Europe since the Renaissance is only the latest example of Europe's ability to conquer and dominate across vast distances. Alexander the Great's Hellenistic Empire (c. 330BC), the Roman Empire (c. 1AD), and the Crusades (c. 1100AD) are all examples that border on the inexplicable where upstart European kingdoms became world powers on the back of military victories and luck. The problem is not an academic one. The set of values and institutions that have become known as Western civilization would not be of international interest or importance without these improbable "accidents" of world history.

Europe first emerged from the shadows of the great Asian and African states around 800BC with the foundation of Carthage. By 700BC the Phoenician homeland was wiped out by the Assyrians, and Carthage had emerged as the heir to Phoenician culture and the dominant power in the Western Mediterranean. Also circa 700BC the Etruscans were temporarily dominating the Romans for control of Italy, and the Greek city states were emerging. 500BC was a watershed year for Europe: the Carthaginian Empire was at its peak, Rome expelled its Etruscan king forming a republic, and Athens formed the world’s first democracy. Within a decade Athens emerged from the backwaters of Greece to become the most important city state, sometimes single handedly fending off the advances of the Formative Era’s most dominant superpower, the Persian Empire. With Athens emergence a fierce cultural rivalry was touched off in the other city states bringing Europe into the Ancient Era, as political and legal institutions, military science, art & culture, and perhaps most importantly education blossomed. Within 200 years Alexander the Great emerged as the champion of Greek culture and crushed the Persian Empire by 328BC. In 146BC the Romans usurped Greek leadership in Europe by conquest and Greece became a province in the Roman Empire. Rome became the first, and in many senses last, lords of Europe until its Western Empire collapsed in 476AD.

The drive of the German barbarians decentralized power in Europe; the states that have emerged have one way or another maintained a balance of power into the Information Age. However, the East Roman Empire survived at Constantinople until the Ottoman Turks sacked the city in 1453AD. The flood of Greek scholar/refugees helped swell the Italian humanist movement until the movement emerged in the full blown Renaissance which would transform Europe in the 1500s, and revived interest in secular education. The larger world view pushed European colonialism across the globe at the time when the Ottomans thought in local terms, and the Ming dynasty cut itself off from the rest of the world. Britain, Spain, and France (and after 1871, Germany) had relatively little success eliminating each other for European hegemony, but they were remarkably successful in transforming their international possessions sowing the seeds of Western Civilization, for better and for worse, across the globe. That legacy would be challenged by two world wars between 1914 and 1945, and the heirs of Europe, the US and USSR engaged in a cold war for global supremacy throughout the Industrial Era.

Author: chroniclemaster1 Date Received: 2006/01/02
Editor: chroniclemaster1 First Date Posted: 2006/01/02
Proofreader: chroniclemaster1 Last Date Revised: 2006/01/02
Researcher(s): chroniclemaster1
Subjects: Maps
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