EUROPE. The name is derived, according to the researches of Kiepert, Egli. and other scholars from the old Assyrian Irib or Ereb = sunset or west, which was applied to Greece to distinguish that region from Asia Minor, which was desig nated as Assn = sunrise or east. These names, in their later forms, were filially extended, the one from Greece over all Europe, and the other from Asia Minor over all Asia.
Europe is the smallest of the continents except ing Australia. Its area is about 3,850,000 square miles, or approximately one-fourth greater than that of the United States exclusive of Alaska. It includes, with its polar and other islands, only 7.8 per cent. of the land surface of the world. It is surrounded on three sides by the sea, but its eastern frontier foi about 2000 miles joins that of Asia. The political boundary in the east does not entirely conform with the natural boundary. The line is carried to the east of the central and southern Ural Mountains, the natural boundary, in order to include the rich mining districts, east of the mountains, in Russia ; to the south of the Ural Mountains the Ural River is the boundary. Between the Black and Caspian seas, the main ridge of the Caucasus is generally taken to be the boundary between Europe and Asia. The natu ral boundary in the southeast is, however, now considered by some geographers to be through the depressions of the Sea of Azov and the East and West Slanitch rivers to the Caspian Sea, the entire Russian possessions south of the Alanitch rivers (Ciscaucasia and Transcaucasia ) being in this way included in Asia. The continent ex
tends west and east through nearly 75 degrees of longitude from Cape Roca, near Lisbon, to the Tohol River. Penetrating the polar ice zone (North Cape, 71° 11' N.), its most southerly point is Cape Tarifa, Spain, which is crossed by the thirty-sixth parallel. In proportion to area it has a much longer coast-line than any other continent, over 20.000 miles, including the more important indentations, but double that length if the entire shore line is closely followed. While Europe is merely a peninsula of the great land mass of Asia, there are many natural and his torical reasons which make it imperative to treat it as a distinct subdivision of the earth's surface.
The situation of Europe gives it a central posi tion in the land hemisphere. It is separated from America by the comparatively narrow Atlantic Ocean, Africa is plainly in view across the Strait of Gibraltar, nine Dines Wide; Europe also closely approaches Africa at the strait between Sicily and Tunis.