Europe is not a continent in the geological sense but a peninsula
of the World Island sometimes called Eurasia.
It is, however, a cultural and political area. The peoples of
the area share a common history. However, they are also diverse
in origin and show the results of successive invasions into the
area from further east - though DNA evidence also shows that
many people are descended from ancestors who have been in place
for millennia, no doubt since the end of the Ice Age. Thus a
series of cultural invasions can be traced, with the earliest
known that of the Kelts now represented in Ireland and the west
of Britain. The Greeks and Italic speakers followed. Then came
Germanic speaking groups, including the ancestors of the English.
These in turn were followed by Slavs and the Finno-Ugrian groups
of Magyars and Finns. (There are views opposing this theory of
the Great Westward Shunt: that the Kelts were there from the
Turks, who were themselves a very mixed group, invaded and
besieged Wien (Vienna) as late as the mid 17th century.
The Europeans are thus not a long established genetically
homogeneous group (as claimed by some extreme right politicians)
but are the descendants of peoples from all over northern and
central Eurasia. In recent times there have been new immigrants
from other parts of Eurasia and from north and central Africa.
These movements are likely to continue as a result of the wealth
of Europe and the poverty of the other areas. The world is likely
to continue to experience large movements of peoples, especially
as drastic changes in Climate
seem to be happening.
Europe can be considered an overcrowded area as its population
probably could not be supported on the income of energy within its land.
Many other kingdoms, duchies and states have
existed in the past.
Norman Davies - Vanished Kingdoms
Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe
- Aragon, and its Mediterranean empire
- the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (and Poland)
- Bourgogne (Burgundy)
- Bayern (Bavaria)
- the Papal States
- the Swedish empire
- and others