The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and states, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of Europe, the Americas, and Australasia. The Western world is also known as the Occident (from the Latin word occidens, "sunset, West"), in contrast to the Orient (from the Latin word oriens, "rise, East") or Eastern world. It might mean the Northern half of the North–South divide.
This article's factual accuracy is disputed. (July 2020)
The concept of the Western part of the earth has its roots in the theological, methodological and emphatical division between the Western Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. The West was originally Western Christendom, opposing Catholic and Protestant Europe with the cultures and civilizations of Orthodox Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia, which medieval and early modern Western Europeans saw as the East.
By the mid-20th century, Western culture was exported worldwide through the emergent mass media: film, radio, television and recorded music; and the development and growth of international transport and telecommunication (such as transatlantic cable and the radiotelephone) played a decisive role in modern globalization.
In modern usage, Western world sometimes refers to Europe and to areas whose populations have had a large presence of particular European ethnic groups since the 15th century Age of Discovery. This is most evident in Australia and New Zealand's inclusion in modern definitions of the Western world: despite being part of the Eastern Hemisphere; these regions and those like it are included due to its significant British influence deriving from the colonisation of British explorers and the immigration of Europeans in the 20th century which has since grounded the country to the Western world politically and culturally.