Europe has been human-occupied since the dawn of mankind. NeanderthaL? man settled EuropE long before the emergence of modern man, HomoSapiens.
The first well-known civilization in EuropE was that of the MinoanPeoples? and AchaeanPeoples? in GreecE?. Around the same time, the CelticPeoples? spread over most of the interior as far as Spain and later Turkey. As they did not practice a written language, knowledge of them is piecemeal. The Romans encountered them and recorded a great deal about them; these records and the results of archaeological digs form our primary understanding of this extremely influential culture. The Celts posed a formidable, if disorganized, competition to the RomanEmpire?, that had colonized and conquered much of the southern portion of EuropE.
At the end of the BronzeAge the older GreeK kingdoms collapsed and a brilliant new civilization grew up in their place. The HellenicCivilization? took the form of a collection of CityStates?, many having vastly differing types of government and cultures, including what are more or less unprecendent developments in various governmental forms, PhiloSophy, ScienCe, PoLitics, SportS, TheaTer and MuSic.
The campaigns of AlexanderTheGreat brought GreeK culture into contact with the older learnings of PersiA?, EgypT?, and IndiA?, opening up a new period of developments. Much of this learning was assimilated by the nascent RomanEmpire? as it expanded outward from ItalY, taking advantage of its enemies inability to unite. First governed by kings, then a senatorial republic, RomE? finally became an empire under JuliusCaesar? and his AuthoritariaN? successors.
EuropE emerged as the site of a distinct civilization after the fall of the RomanEmpire? (c. 400-500 AD), separated from the rest of the Meditteranean by the Byzantine and Islamic cultures. Huge amounts of technology and learning were lost, and people returned to local agragarian communities.
The first substantial new development was the appearance of the HolyRomanEmpire? around 800 AD. The subsequent period saw the growth of FeudalisM, the development of the CatholicChurch? as a major power, and the first signs of new learning began to appear. By the end of the MiddleAges, powerful NationStates? had appeared and began conquering wide portions of the world.
Philosophy, science and technology developed rapidly throughout. The church broke up and semi-secular governments started developing. In the FrenchRevolution?, people made a significant attempt to create a new government based on freedom and equality, instead launching the NapoleonicEra?. NapoleonBonaparte? also destroyed the HolyRomanEmpire?, leaving GermanY and ItalY to develop into nation-states by 1900.
The twentieth century saw the massively overdone WorldWars?, which ended the pre-eminent position of EuropE. Thereafter it was a zone of contention between the world-powers of the UnitedStates and SovietUnion, which have only just finished.