Continental Europe

Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent of Europe, excluding its surrounding islands.[1] It can also be referred to ambiguously as the European continent,[2][3] – which can conversely mean the whole of Europe – and, by some, simply as the Continent.

Extent of the contiguous mainland of Europe, Continental Europe
The European continent's eastern half in Russia, as bounded by the Caucasus Mountains to the south, and which extends as far as the Ural Mountains
Europa Regina map (Sebastian Munster, 1570), excluding the greater part of Fennoscandia, but including Great Britain and Ireland, Bulgaria, Scythia, Moscovia and Tartaria; Sicily is clasped by Europe in the form of a Globus cruciger.

The old notion of Europe as a cultural term was centred on core Europe (Kerneuropa), the continental territory of the historical Carolingian Empire, corresponding to modern France, Italy, German-speaking Europe and the Benelux states (historical Austrasia).[4] This historical core of "Carolingian Europe" was consciously invoked in the 1950s as the historical ethno-cultural basis for the prospective European integration (see also Multi-speed Europe).[5][6]

Extent of Carolingian Europe
The "core Europe" of the Inner Six signatories of the Treaty of Paris (1951) (shown in blue; the French Fourth Republic shown with Algeria).

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