Western Europe

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Western Europe
Chapter 7
Western Europe
 Western Europe is made up of seven
countries: France, the Netherlands,
Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Germany,
and Switzerland.
 They are located in the middle latitudes,
between 43° and 55° north.
Western Europe
 The North Sea and the English Channel lie
to the north of western Europe.
 The countries of Poland, the Czech
Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary lie to the
east of western Europe.
 The Mediterranean Sea and the countries of
southern Europe lie to the south of western
Europe.
 The Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic Ocean lie
to the west of western Europe.
Western Europe
 Western Europe's location has helped it
influence the world.
 It is near both Africa and some parts of Asia.
 For hundreds of years, people and goods
have traveled to North and South America
from western Europe's many ports.
 Explorers and settlers left these ports on
long sea voyages around the world.
 These voyages spread European beliefs,
cultures, and languages.
Western Europe
 World War I, which was fought between
1914 and 1918, took place in western
Europe.
 About 20 years later, World War II, which
took place between 1939 and 1945, was
also fought partly in western Europe.
 These two wars were the largest ones
people have ever fought.
 Millions of people died.
Western Europe
 Western Europe has three physical regions.
 The largest region is the Central Lowlands.
 Geographers call it the Northern European
Plain.
 This fairly flat area extends from southern
England to the Ural Mountains in Russia.
Western Europe
 The region is almost totally flat in the
Netherlands, but somewhat hilly everywhere
else.
 Most Europeans live in this region.
 It has Europe's biggest cities and most of
the industry.
 It also has the biggest transportation
system, such as roads, highways, and
railways.
Western Europe
 The second physical region of western
Europe is the Central Uplands.
 It lies between the Central Lowlands and the
Alps Mountains.
 This region stretches from the Atlantic coast
of Spain to Poland.
 It includes central and eastern France.
 It also includes the Black Forest and the
Bohemian Forest areas of southern
Germany.
Western Europe
 The third physical region of western Europe is the
Alps.
 These mountains stretch far beyond western
Europe.
 When people think of the Alps, they think of
Switzerland.
 However, the Alps also cover parts of
southeastern France, northern Italy, southwestern
Germany, Austria, and Slovenia.
 The region that contains the Alps has a low
population density, except for some of its larger
valleys.
Western Europe
 Geography has played a big role in the
history of western Europe.
 For example, Switzerland has mountains.
 These high mountains allowed Switzerland
to stay out of wars.
 People who lived in mountain valleys
developed their own culture because they
were away from other people.
Western Europe
 The cultures often differed from that of the
other people in their country.
 They often developed a different language.
 In fact, these people became more loyal to
their region than to their country.
 That is one reason why Germany did not
become one country until the late 1800s.
Western Europe
 Having no mountains can also shape history.
 For example, invaders, or soldiers from other
places, have often marched into the plains of the
Central Lowlands.
 They took over the land from the people who lived
there.
 These invaders used the many lowland rivers as
highways.
 Of course, the people in the Central Lowlands
have always used these rivers to ship goods and
to travel.
Western Europe
 World War I is a good example of how
geography influences history.
 In 1914, Germany declared war against
France.
 However, the border between the two
countries kept German soldiers from
attacking France directly.
 Thick forests covered much of the border;
the rugged Vosges Mountains formed the
rest of the border.
Western Europe
 Belgium, a small neighbor of the two
countries, wanted to stay out of the war.
 This was impossible, however, because of
the French-German dispute.
 To reach the French capital of Paris,
German generals decided that the best way
to reach Paris was to go through Belgium.
 They quickly took over nearly all of Belgium
and the industrial area of northeastern
France.
Physical Features and Climate
 The biggest physical feature of western
Europe is the Alps.
 This range of young mountains is about 700
miles long and stretches across several
countries.
 Mont Blanc, which stands 15,771 feet tall, is
the highest of all the Alps.
 It is also the tallest mountain in western
Europe.
Physical Features and Climate
 Snow covers many of the peaks, or tops, of
the Alps.
 Tourists can see huge glaciers, large
waterfalls, and many streams in these
mountains.
 They contain many passes, or openings.
Physical Features and Climate
 France has other large upland areas.
 The Massif Central is located in the
southeast-central part of France.
 This area of low, worn-down mountains and
newer peaks covers about one-sixth of the
country.
 France's other mountain ranges are the
Vosges in the northeast; the Jura in the
east; and the Pyrenees in the south on the
Spanish border.
Physical Features and Climate
 Huge, sandy plains cover northern France
and northern Germany.
 They stretch for hundreds of miles.
 In the Netherlands, the Dutch people have
created polders by taking back land from the
sea.
Physical Features and Climate
 For hundreds of years, the people of the
Netherlands have built dikes, or walls, to
prevent floods.
 They use huge electric pumps to keep the
seawater from returning to the polders.
 Half of the Netherlands is made up of polder
land.
Physical Features and Climate
 Some people describe Europe as a giant
peninsula because water surrounds it on
three sides.
 The peninsula is on the western part of
Eurasia, which is the world's largest piece of
land.
 Eurasia includes the continents of Europe
and Asia.
 Water surrounds western Europe on the
north, the south, and the west.
Physical Features and Climate
 The North Sea to the north is somewhat
shallow.
 The Mediterranean Sea touches the
southern coast of France.
 The Bay of Biscay forms the western shore.
 This bay is part of the Atlantic Ocean.
 Rivers are important to western Europe.
 The four most important rivers of France are
the Loire, the Seine, the Garonne, and the
Rhone.
Physical Features and Climate
 The Loire is its longest river.
 It flows from the Massif Central to the Bay of
Biscay.
 Paris, the capital of France, is located on the
Seine, which flows north.
 The Garonne flows from the Pyrenees to the
Atlantic.
 The Rhone starts in the Swiss Alps and
flows into the Mediterranean.
Physical Features and Climate
 The three important rivers of Germany are the
Rhine, the Danube, and the Elbe.
 The Rhine links northern and southern Europe.
 It is Germany's most important waterway.
 Every year, thousands of large barges carry goods
on this river.
 The Danube begins in Germany and flows nearly
800 miles eastward through seven other countries.
 Then it reaches the Black Sea.
 The Elbe flows from the southeast to the
northwest.
 The great German harbor of Hamburg is located
where the Elbe meets the North Sea.
Physical Features and Climate
 Western Europe has at least three climates.
 The main climate is marine west coast.
Northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands,
Luxembourg, and Germany share this
climate with the British Isles.
 The Gulf Stream makes it neither too hot nor
too cold.
 However, cold air from the north may cause
temperatures to drop well below freezing.
 This is especially true in Germany.
Physical Features and Climate
 The southern part of western Europe, near
the Mediterranean, has a different climate.
 The French Riviera borders the
Mediterranean Sea.
 It has mild winters and dry, hot summers.
 Of course, the mountain areas of western
Europe have their own climate.
Physical Features and Climate
 Southern France has mistrals, which can
blow over 100 miles per hour!
 These strong, cold, dry winds blow down
from the Alps.
 They cause temperatures in southern
France to drop quickly.
The People
 Each country in western Europe has its own
rich culture.
 The people are proud of their language and
of their influence on world civilization.
 What is surprising about western Europe is
how much the seven countries share in
common.
 The day-to-day life of the people is much the
same.
The People
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
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All the children go to school.
Their parents work.
Most people live in cities.
These cities mix the old with the new.
Some parts look the same as they did
hundreds of years ago.
 Other parts have tall buildings and fast
highways.
The People
 Europeans share an interest in music, art,
and books.
 Most larger cities have many theaters, opera
houses, art museums, and dance
companies.
 In nice weather, people sit outside in
sidewalk cafes.
 There they share meals and talk.
The People
 Western Europe has a long history of
making and enjoying delicious food.
 Western Europeans also enjoy sports.
Soccer is a popular sport.
 However, in Europe, soccer is called
football.
 In mountain areas, skiing is also popular.
The People
 Each country in western Europe has its own
language.
 Some of these languages are related.
 For example, German and Dutch, the language of
the Netherlands, are Germanic languages.
 People in some parts of Switzerland, Austria, and
Belgium speak a German dialect.
 That is, they speak different forms of the German
language.
The People
 The people of southern Belgium and France
speak French.
 This Romance language grew out of Latin,
the language of the ancient Romans.
 Switzerland has four official languages.
 Most people there speak a German dialect.
The People
 Smaller groups speak French and Italian.
 The fourth language is Romansh, a
language also based on Latin.
 Many people in western Europe speak
several languages, including English.
The People
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Most western Europeans are Christians.
The largest number are Roman Catholics.
The rest are Protestants.
These two groups have sometimes fought
one another.
 The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) was a
religious war between the Catholics and the
Protestants.
 Most European powers fought in this war.
The People
 Immigrants have come to all the countries of
western Europe.
 Many of these immigrants brought with them
a different culture, language, or religion.
 Because of this, all the major world religions
can be found in western Europe.
The People
 Most western Europeans live in urban areas
in the Central Lowlands.
 In fact, western Europe has one of the
highest population densities in the world.
 People have been moving to the cities since
the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
 More than a million people live in several
western European cities.
 The largest city in western Europe is Paris,
France.
The People
 In Germany, Hamburg, Berlin, and Munich
have more than a million people each.
 Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands,
is also large.
 Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is its
biggest city.
 The region in which most of these cities are
located forms a huge megalopolis of 4
million people.
The People
 Western Europe has an aging population.
 Its population is growing slowly.
 People are living longer because of new
technology in medicine.
 This means that more older people will need
care in the future.
The People
 Most governments believe that they have a
duty to take care ofthe health and well-being
of the elderly.
 In the future, this aging population could be
a burden for younger people.
The People
 A second problem is the economy.
 Economic growth in many of the countries
has slowed down.
 France and Germany have a lot of
unemployment.
 In the 1960s and 1970s,factories had lots of
work but not enough workers.
 Because of this, they hired foreigners, or
people from other countries.
The People
 Now, some unemployed workers in France
and Germany dislike these foreigners.
 They say that the foreigners are taking jobs
away from them.
 Political parties in many western European
countries have spoken out against new
immigration.
Economy and Environment
 All the countries of western Europe have
successful freemarket economies and a
large manufacturing base.
 Many western European countries have
high-tech industries, such as airplane and
space technology.
Economy and Environment
 After World War II, France, Italy, West Germany,
Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg
wanted closer ties with one another.
 To do this, they agreed to get rid of tariffs and
some trade barriers.
 A tariff is a tax that countries put on goods they
import. I
 n 1957, these countries created the European
Economic Community, also known as the
Common Market.
Economy and Environment
 During the 1980s and 1990s the European
Economic Community grew.
 In 1992, it became the European Union.
 The members agreed to reduce trade
barriers even more.
 They also agreed to create a common
European currency, or system of money.
 The new Euro will replace the currency that
each country has now.
Economy and Environment
 In 2000, the European Union had 15
member nations.
 More than 12 other countries in eastern and
southern Europe may join soon.
 Slowly, the people are taking steps to unite
Europe.
Economy and Environment
 Business people try to sell their goods and
services for the highest price.
 They also try to find the cheapest way to
make goods and deliver them to other
countries.
 When they do this, they make more money.
 This explains why European explorers set
sail to find new lands.
Economy and Environment
 Columbus was not looking for the Americas
when he found them.
 He was looking for a better and faster way
to get to Asia.
 Then Europe could more easily sell its
goods to the people there.
 This is an example of international trade.
 It is the buying ,and selling of goods and
services among people in different countries
Economy and Environment
 People around the world want the products made
in western Europe.
 Germany exports machine tools, electrical
equipment, chemical products, and cars.
 The Netherlands is the world's leading maker of
machinery for food and chemical processing.
 Factories in the United States, England, Germany,
and other industrialized countries depend on these
machines.
 Perfumes, fashions, and wines from France are
world famous.
Economy and Environment
 France, the largest western European
country, has few resources.
 It does have large coal deposits, but many
of its mines are closed.
 Importing coal from other countries is now
cheaper than mining its own coal.
 France has only a little oil, so it imports oil
from the North Sea, the Middle East, and
Africa.
Economy and Environment
 France does have lots of fast-running rivers.
 Workers have built dams on many of these
rivers.
 They supply France with hydroelectric
power.
 France has built the world's first power
station that depends on tides, the regular
daily rise and fall of ocean waters.
Economy and Environment
 Like France, Germany also has large
coalfields.
 Some of this coal is near the surface.
 Huge mines remove tons of coal at one
time.
 Mining provides cheap energy, but it harms
the environment.
 Like France, Germany must import oil.
Economy and Environment
 Hydroelectricity is an important source of
power in parts of southern Germany, where
fast-moving rivers flow.
 Germany is also trying out wind and sun
power.
 The Netherlands is the only country in
western Europe with large amounts of
natural gas.
Economy and Environment
 The Netherlands uses about half of the
natural gas it produces.
 It exports the rest to its European neighbors.
 The port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands is
always busy.
 Many European exports and imports pass
through this harbor.
Economy and Environment
 People use much of western Europe's land
for farming.
 European farmers are some of the most
productive in the world.
 As their farms become bigger, they use a lot
of machinery.
 They grow many grains, especially wheat.
Economy and Environment
 Another important crop is grapes, which
they grow to make wine.
 France produces more wine than any other
country in the world.
 Germany also produces wine.
 The Netherlands exports tulips and other
flowers around the world.
Economy and Environment
 area. It is made up of the Benelux countries
of Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg;
the northeast corner of France; and
northwest Germany.
 Its main industries are steel, automobiles,
machines, textiles, and chemicals.
Economy and Environment
 However, most people work in service
industries.
 For example, Switzerland is famous for its
banks.
 Millions of people work in tourism in western
Europe.
 Some work in hotels and restaurants; others
work as guides, bus drivers, or taxi drivers.
Economy and Environment
 The historical places, beautiful scenery, and
cultural centers of western Europe appeal
to many tourists.
 Most of them are other Europeans, but
many come from the United States and
Japan.
 Some like to hike or ski in the mountains.
 Others like to lie on the Mediterranean
beaches.
Economy and Environment
 Western Europe faces the same environmental
challenges as other industrialized countries.
 Among these are air and water pollution.
 Automobile traffic causes air pollution.
 Western Europe could build more roads, but that
would hurt the environment.
 Because of this, the countries of western Europe
have invested a lot of money in railroads.
Economy and Environment
 They have some of the world's fastest and most
comfortable trains.
 Many cities do not let people drive cars in their
central business areas.
 The rivers of western Europe are badly polluted.
 As the population grows and river traffic increases,
so does water pollution.
 The Rhine River is so polluted that many people
do not want to eat its fish.
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