Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering about 10,180,000 square kilometres (3,930,000sqmi) or 2% of the Earth's surface and about 6.8% of its land area. Of Europe's approximately 50 countries, Russia is by far the largest by both area and population, taking up 40% of the continent (although the country has territory in both Europe and Asia), while Vatican City is the smallest. Europe is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of 739–743million or about 11% of the world's population. Europe has a climate heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents, tempering winters and enabling warm summers on most of the continent, even on latitudes that have severe climates in North America and Asia. Further from the Atlantic, seasonal differences increase, but the mildness of the climate remains.
In Greek mythologyEuropa (/jʊˈroʊpə, jə-/; Greek: ΕὐρώπηEurṓpē) was the mother of KingMinos of Crete, a woman with Phoenician origin of high lineage, and for whom the continentEurope was named. The story of her abduction by Zeus in the form of a white bull was a Cretan story; as Kerényi points out "most of the love-stories concerning Zeus originated from more ancient tales describing his marriages with goddesses. This can especially be said of the story of Europa".
Europa's earliest literary reference is in the Iliad, which is commonly dated to the 8th century B.C. Another early reference to her is in a fragment of the HesiodicCatalogue of Women, discovered at Oxyrhynchus. The earliest vase-painting securely identifiable as Europa, dates from mid-7th century B.C.
The etymology of her Greek name (εὐρύςeurys "wide" or "broad" and ὤψops "eye(s)" or "face") suggests that Europa as a divine spirit represented the wide-faced cow Hathor, at least on some symbolic level. Metaphorically, at a later date her name could be construed as the intelligent or open-minded, analogous to glaukopis (γλαυκῶπις) attributed to Athena. However, Ernest Klein and Giovanni Semerano suggest a possible Semitic origin in Akkadian erebu "to go down, set" (in reference to the sun) which would parallel occident.
The term Team Europe is used in a number of sports to designate a unified team of European countries in several sports competitions. Whilst neither the European Union nor the Council of Europe are countries themselves, European teams have been formed to compete in several international competitions. The most famous of these is the Ryder Cup in golf which sees a European team play against a team from the USA in even-numbered years. In football, a selection of European footballers play occasionally for charity games and anniversary games in the Europe XI team.
Examples of competitions featuring a European team
"Team Europe" is the official designation of the team representing Europe in several international competitions