The European Continent
Europe is the continent on the western end of the Eurasian continent. Dispite it being part of a greater landmass it is considered one of the 7 continents in it's own right. It's geographical borders are hard to define and different sources will tell you different things. It's generally agreed that Europe ends at the Arctic ocean to the north, Atlantic ocean to the west, the middeterranean sea to the south, the Ural river, the Caspian sea and the Black seas. In laymens terms, it is generally agreed it it's the landmass east of the Western Russian border.
The unique nature of this continent dates back to Antiquity, where the definition of a continent was quite different. There was an amphesise on cultural and political elements. Going solely by landmass, Europe is the smallest of the 7 continents and houses around 11% of the world's population. Europe itself is considered the birthplace of European culture, in particular in places like Rome/Italy and Greece where the European Rennaisance drew much inspiration from. The European Nations played a major part from the 15th century and onward in global affairs. Mainly due to colonialism and the advanced in military technology. The later rise of the Industrial Revolution only further put the European nations ahead of its competition. New machines meant greater wealth, faster transportation, etc. Between the 16th and 20th century, European nations controlled or influenced much of the world. Mainly parts of the American continents, Africa, Oceania and large portions of Asia. Although how these regions were regulated nd organised differed per nation. Colonialism in the modern world is generally seen in a negative light, due to the way the Colonists treated the local populations.
Due to this widespread influence, many nations besides the Europeans themselves have a euro-centric view on the world and it's history.
The World Wars were both set in a European Theatre, leading to weakend nations which in turn allowed a number of colonies to declare their indeppendence. As the USSR and the USA grew more dominant and replaced the European powers as the world powers, it became harder and harder for Europeans to hold on to oversea territories. Esspecially due to political and military interference of the before mentioned Super Powers.
During the Cold War that followed the Second World War, the European continent was split into two. The East and the West. It was a divide between territory liberated by the Allied forces of the west and the Soviet forces of the USSR. It was not simply a geographical divide but an ideological one aswell. At the time there was serious competition between Capitalism and Communism as the new world ideology. The USSR backed the Communist ideal while the USA and Western European nations backed the Capitalist ideal. During this time the border between these two zones was heavily guarded, A continent wide line marked off by mine fields, fences, anti tank traps and guard towers. This was known as the Iron Curtain. It was set up both to protect from potential enemy invasion, infiltration or otherwise and to prevent one's own citizens to join forces with the enemy. Berlin in particular had it bad. Whilst in USSR territory, the actual city was devided between the USSR and the Allied forces. Two ideologies were at war in 1 city, and a wall was built between them. This was known as the Berlin Wall. The people were split and families torn apart. The results of this divide are clearly still visible today, both in a more litteral sense and in the sense of cultural changes.
The Iron Curtain and the Berlin Will weren't torn down till the fall of the Soviet Union.
The European Divide
As shown in this image, the East of Berlin still uses differnet lightbulbs from the West.
Both the threat of an armed conflict and the abhorrent events of the World War led the European Nations to, after millenia of war, to attempt to truely unite. This began with the Coal and Steel community which was to regulate the means of war and prevent any nation from gaining enough of an advantage to confidently start a war without the others knowing. This eventually grew into the European Union we know today. We now live in what is called the "Pax Europaea" A long period of peace not common for the European continent. Many contribute this peace to the European Union and the favoured method of governing in Europe; Democracy. Because of this, Democracy is one of the most valued ideologies in Europe.