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The first recorded usage of Eurṓpē as a geographic term is in the Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo, in reference to the western shore of the Aegean Sea.As a name for a part of the known world, it is first used in the 6th century BC by Anaximander and Hecataeus.Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere.

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Anaximander placed the boundary between Asia and Europe along the Phasis River (the modern Rioni River) in the Caucasus, a convention still followed by Herodotus in the 5th century BC.

Herodotus mentioned that the world had been divided by unknown persons into three parts, Europe, Asia, and Libya (Africa), with the Nile and the Phasis forming their boundaries—though he also states that some considered the River Don, rather than the Phasis, as the boundary between Europe and Asia.

The EU originated in Western Europe but has been expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The currency of most countries of the European Union, the euro, is the most commonly used among Europeans; and the EU's Schengen Area abolishes border and immigration controls among most of its member states.

Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers controlled at various times the Americas, most of Africa, Oceania, and the majority of Asia.

The French Enlightenment, the subsequent revolution and the Napoleonic wars are events that deeply modeled and structured the future of the European continent, culturally, politically and economically from the end of the 17th century till the first half of the 19th century.

The prevalent definition of Europe as a geographical term has been in use since the mid-19th century.

Europe is taken to be bounded by large bodies of water to the north, west and south; Europe's limits to the far east are usually taken to be the Urals, the Ural River, and the Caspian Sea; to the southeast, including the Caucasus Mountains, the Black Sea and the waterways connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.

Yet the non-oceanic boundary between Europe and Asia—a concept dating back to classical antiquity—is arbitrary and amounts to a historical and social construct.

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