EUROPE AND THE MEDITERRANEAN 399. The mother of nations.—Europe is the smallest of the inhabited continents, except Australia, but the people of Europe and the people who have recently gone from Europe rule most of the world. (Fig. 10.) Euro peans have settled North and South America and Australia.
400. A very good continent.— European races have gained this great leadership in the world, because Europe, for its size, is the best continent for making energetic civilized men. No other conti nent has,on the whole, a climate that is as good for man. In no other continent is such a large part of the land good for farming and manufacturing, and so suitable for easy transportation.
401. Good climate and surface.—Much of North America is too cold to support many people. In Europe, the cold region is small.
North America has a large dry region. The European dry region is less than one-tenth of the continent. Europe has a larger wheat belt than Amer ica, a larger potato belt, and a larger ter ritory where the fruits like those of Califor nia can grow. North America has a much greater corn belt than Europe, and it has two things that Europe lacks entirely, (1) a large cotton belt, and (2) a great section with moist, tropic climate. While Europe lacks a tropic section, we must remember that it is in the tropic part of North America that white men are few. Europe is the only continent whose climate nearly everywhere suits the white man.
a low plain. Throughout its great extent the plain has rain enough to reward the farmers who till the soil, and grass enough to feed the flocks and herds. It is only near the Caspian Sea that the grassland, like some of our own great plains, is too dry for grain crops. Crop failure and fam ine sometimes happen here.
402. Europe has more people than any other con tinent except Asia.—Europe - has about three times as many people as all of North America. As Europe is only about half as large as North America, it is plain that it has much less land per person, so we say that Europe is densely populated. The average size of farms in the United States is about 130 acres, while in France it is only about 14 acres, and in Italy still less. The size of the farms in Europe tells why the people are not so rich as the people of the In addition to having a climate good for crops and for men, the shape of Europe and the character of its surface help to make it a good place in which to live. Through the
center of the continent, reaching from the Atlantic Ocean to the boundary of Asia, lies people from every coun try in Europe have come to America seeking homes.
403. Many nations. —In the days before steamships and railroads, sheltered places, like mountain valleys, p3ninsulas, a n d islands, helped the inhab itants to defend their land and to protect themselves while they tilled the fields, educated their children, built cities, and developed a civilization. In Europe, countries like Greece, Italy, Switzerland, and England were thus protected for a long time. Their peoples have developed languages of their own and a strong national spirit. Because Europe has so many of these naturally protected pieces of land, many different nations have grown up.
We are very fortunate indeed that most of the United States was settled after the rail road and the steamboat made it possible for a wide area to become one country with one language, rather than fifteen or twenty countries and languages, as in Europe.
404. A continent of interesting sights and sad wars.—The peoples of Europe are proud of their cities, their buildings, their statues, their books, and their traditions. Most of the world's greatest paintings, sculpture, and music have been produced somewhere in Europe. The peoples of Europe have been settled where they now are for a period of time long enough to allow many things to happen.
That is one reason why Europe has so many places we want to visit. Travelers there may visit cities that are one or two thousand years old. They may see interesting buildings that were built before the time of Columbus, great walls and ruined forts that tell stories of many wars fought in times long past. Indeed, the people of Europe suf fered untold miseries and died by millions, because of the hundreds of wars that the different nations and kings of Europe have had among themselves.
405. Sidaylig ttiftispi.Efirope has many regions that are much like the regions in North America. As in North America, so also in Europe we find an area of manufacturing and other areas producing food and raw materials. Can you tell from the popula tion map (Fig. 323) where the manufacturing area is located?