The currency of most countries of the European Union, the euro, is the most commonly used among Europeans; and the EU's Schengen Area abolishes border and immigration controls among most of its member states.The European Anthem is "Ode to Joy" and states celebrate peace and unity on Europe Day.Most major world languages use words derived from Eurṓpē or Europa to refer to the continent.Chinese, for example, uses the word Ōuzhōu (歐洲/欧洲); a similar Chinese-derived term Ōshū being more commonly used.Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast.Europe, in particular ancient Greece, was the birthplace of Western civilization.
Europe covers about 10,180,000 square kilometres (3,930,000 sq mi), or 2% of the Earth's surface (6.8% of land area).
From the Age of Discovery onwards, Europe played a predominant role in global affairs.
Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers controlled at various times the Americas, most of Africa, Oceania, and the majority of Asia.
Though the term "continent" implies physical geography defines it, the land border is somewhat arbitrary and has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity.
The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural, linguistic, and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line.