Want to know more about Europe? Here are 25 Interesting Facts about Europe that you probably didn’t know before reading this!
To make this even more fun, I want to challenge you as well. How many of these Europe facts did you know before reading this? Share your result in the comment section!
1. Europe has the highest GDP (income per person)
Some of the richest countries in the world can be found in Europe, such as Luxembourg, Switzerland, Norway, Austria, and Iceland to name a few that has some of the highest GDP per capita in the world.
The reason for Europe having the highest GDP per capita as a continent is due to the fact that many countries have strong economies, whereas the other continents have a large share of poor countries.
2. It was named after the Phoenician princess Europa
The Ancient Greeks divided the world into three major units, Europe, Asia, and Libya. There are actually several theories on how Europe got its name, but one of the most popular legends is the one where the Phoenician Princess Europa was kidnapped by Zeus.
3. Europeans eat 50% of all the world’s chocolate
And yes, we love chocolate. More than 50% of the total world production of chocolate is sold and eaten by Europeans. Switzerland has the highest consumption per capita, second to Germany.
Every supermarket on the continent will sell some kind of chocolate.
4. The first humans arrived here around 38,000 B.C
This time was known as the Upper Palaeolithic and the first Europeans are thought to have come from Central and West Asia. Europeans also have the highest amount of Neanderthal which strengthens the theory of Neanderthals and Modern humans mixed from time to time.
Neanderthals lived on the continent before modern humans arrived some 40,000 years ago. Definitely one of the most interesting facts about Europe!
5. Blonde hair in humans developed in Northern Europe
Blonde hair is believed to have evolved to enable more efficient synthesis of vitamin D, due to the fact that there is less sunlight in Northern Europe.
Scientists have estimated that the mutation that resulted in blonde hair in Europe happened during the last ice age, some 11,000 years ago.
But it isn’t unique to Northern Europe because some natives of the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Fiji, as well as the Berbers of North Africa, have all developed blonde hair within their population.
6. Counting European countries is difficult
If you ask someone how many countries there are in Europe, the answers you get can vary from 44 to as many as 64 depending on how you count countries, and if countries that are not wholly European should be included or not.
For example, Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia have a land area in both the European and Asian continent, mostly on the Asian continent though. And Cyprus and Armenia often count towards Europe even though they’re closer to Asia geographically.
To make it even more confusing, Cyprus is a member of the European Union. Then there are non-sovereign territories that could be counted as a country: Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Faroe Islands, Åland, and Svalbard.
50 countries are the most commonly used answer number though with additional 5 territories that have yet to be fully recognized.
7. Europe is actually made up of several cultures
While Europeans can identify themselves as a European, they also have their own country identity or even regional identity. Europe has some of the most diverse cultures and traditions preserved in the world.
The national pride is high in several European countries.
In the picture below, you can see some of the different folk costumes. Every European country has its own version, and many wear these attires on national holidays or big celebrations.
Many regions within the countries have their own costumes as well. This is just one of the many interesting facts about Europeans!
8. There is a rainforest in Europe
It is not the same as the Amazon rainforest though, but the Perucica forest in Bosnia and Hercegovina is the last surviving rainforest in Europe. It’s a primeval forest and it is only allowed to explore it in the company of trained rangers. It is located in the Sutjeska National Park.
9. Almost half of the world’s wine is produced on the continent
Italy, Spain, and France are the biggest wine producing countries in Europe, and together they account for about 70% of the total wine production in the world. But Europeans really love their wine, and most European countries have at least a small production of local wines.
10. The Plague killed about 60% of all Europeans
More than half of the European population died during the plague, also known as the Black Death.
It spread during medieval times and in just a couple of years it had wiped out more than 50 million people. It spread mostly via infected rodents, mostly the black rat. Most victims died in just 10 days after getting the disease.
In total it is believed that the plague killed up to 200 million people, and it is still not fully eradicated.
11. Home to the second most active volcano in the world
Mount Etna in Italy is the second most active volcano in the world and has had several eruptions in recent history. It’s a stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily in Italy.
12. Europeans have formed Western civilization
European settlers have traveled worldwide and “discovered” the new world and brought along their culture. The European influence can be found in every continent. In the USA, Australia and New Zealand, the majority of “white” people are descendants of Europeans.
Many South American countries have European ancestry as well, especially Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.
Some of the most impacting civilizations originated on the European continent as well, such as the Ancient Greeks and the Roman empire.
13. There used to be lions on the European continent
The European lions became extinct in 1000 AD. Fossils have been found and excavated in several countries in Southern- and Eastern Europe. They probably became extinct due to hunting and lack of living space.
Greek lions were used in the Gladiator games in the Roman Empire.
14. Russia is the most populous country
While Germany is the most populous country wholly inside the European continent, about 77% of Russians live on the European side of the country.
Germany has a population of about 82,8 million people, however, there are about 110 million Russians living on the European side of Russia, which would make it the most populous European country.
15. There is a European Union
Not every country in Europe is part of the European Union, but 28 countries have entered the union. And 19 out of these countries use the currency EURO, which is the collective currency within the Union.
However, not everyone has switched their local currencies yet. In total 23 countries use the EURO as their currency.
The European Union is basically a trading union that allows citizens of the included nations to move freely and trade with each other without tolls. This means that any citizen from a European Union country can move to another EU country to work or live.
5 x Fun Facts about Europe
- The longest town name in Europe is Lanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogo, in Wales
- The Czech Republic is the most beer-drinking country per capita
- There are more UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe than any other continent in the world
- The highest toilet can be found at Mount Blanc
- Tomatoes didn’t arrive here until the 16th century but are now one of the most common vegetables
5 x Europe Facts for Kids
- More than 200 languages are being spoken throughout Europe
- It is part of the supercontinent Eurasia (Europe and Asia)
- Christianity is the main religion, although many consider themselves non-religious
- The continent is home to about 11% of the world’s population despite the continent only cover 3% of the world’s land area
- The Vatican is the smallest country in the world, and home to the Pope
General Facts about Europe
Below are some general info such as total population, land area, biggest lake, highest mountain and other general facts about Europe that might be interesting to know.
- Total Population: 741 million people
- Number of Countries: 50
- Demonym: European
- Most spoken languages: English, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, French, Polish
- Largest city: Istanbul
- Life expectancy: 75 years (males) 82 years (females)
- Highest Mountain: Mount Elbrus in Russia – 5,642 meters above the sea (18,510ft)
- Land area: 10,180,000 km2 (3,930,000 sq mi)
- Largest Lake: Lake Ladoga
- Religion: The majority are Christians or non-religious. There is a growing Muslim population as well.
- Time zone: UTC−1 to UTC+5
The Biggest Cities in Europe
If you’re looking for facts about Europe, it might also be interesting to know which are the biggest cities. Here’s a list of the 10 biggest cities ranked after population.
Map of Europe
Below you can see all countries on the European continent. Both Turkey and Russia are located in Asia as well.
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How many of these Europe Facts did you know beforehand? Share your result in the comment section below!