Physical Geography of Europe
The Peninsula of Peninsulas
Chapter 12: Section 1, 2, & 3
Europe consists of 28 countries.
Before 1914, it was divided into 19 countries.
It is located at the western end of the huge landmass of Eurasia
(Europe & Asia).
It was the most important center of political power and economic
strength in the world in the 1800’s and early part of the 1900s.
After fighting two destructive world wars, Western Europe lost this
dominant political & economic position.
WW II also divided Western Europe into independent states and the
Russian—dominated communist countries of Eastern Europe.
Western Europe countries have band together as economic allies by
removing barriers to trade such as taxes & tariffs.
Today, Western Europe is a major economic powder whose 28
countries produce 3 times the wealth of Japan & nearly as much as the
New circumstances, however, present new challenges.
In 1989, the Berlin Wall was torn down. In 1990, West & East Germany
became one country.
Soviet Union collapsed, many left Eastern Europe & all of these events
will affect the future course of Western Europe.
1914 and Today
Section 1: Landforms and
Section 2: Climate and
Section 3: Human-Environment
Section 1:Landforms & Resources
Europe is sometimes called a “peninsula of peninsulas”
1. Scandinavian Peninsula occupied by Norway &
2. Jutland Peninsula forms the largest part of Denmark
& a small part of Germany.
3. Iberian Peninsula is home to Spain & Portugal
4. Italian Peninsula is home to Italy.
5. Balkan Peninsula is bordered by the Adriatic,
Mediterranean, & Aegean Seas.
Large Islands: Great Britain, Ireland, Iceland, &
Other islands are Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, & Crete
Mountains & Uplands: they can be view as a wall, they make it difficult for
people, goods, & ideas to move.
The Alps arc across France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland,
Austria, & the northern Balkan Peninsula.
Pyrenees restrict movement from France to Spain &
The Apennine Mountains divide the Italian Peninsula
between east & west.
Balkan Mountains block off the Balkan Peninsula from
Uplands: are hills or very low mountains
Kjolen mts. of Scandinavia
Brittany low mts in France
Meseta, central plateau of Spain
Central Upland of Germany
Massif Central located in France
Rivers: Europe’s Links
Through Europe there is a network of rivers. They
transport goods between coastal harbors & inland
region, aiding economic growth.
Two major rivers:
The Danube river touches 9 countries over its 1,771
mile length, it links Europeans to the Black sea.
The Rhine river has serve as a watery highway for
centuries. It flows 820 miles from the interior of
Europe north to the north sea.
The Mediterranean Sea is the largest sea bordering
Others are the North Sea & Baltic Sea.
Fertile Plains: Europe’s Bounty
Northern European Plain is the most fertile
agricultural regions of the world. It stretches a
huge curve across parts of France, Belgium, the
Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, & Poland.
Relatively flat, very desirable agricultural
land, but the plain’s flatness has also
allowed armies & groups of invaders to use it
as an open route.
Resources Shape Europe’s Economy & Life
Europe has abundant supplies of two natural resources—
coal & iron ore—needed for an industrialized economy.
Having both of these resources makes it possible to
Europe is heavily industrialized because these minerals are
founded there & good transportation exists.
But as result, these region suffered from industrial pollution.
Oil and natural gas was found beneath the North Sea floor
in 1959. The North Sea oil fields are major sources of petroleum
for the world.
33% of Europe’s land is suitable for agriculture. It produces:
grains, grapes, olives, & even cork & timber.
Resources directly affect the foods people eat, the jobs they
hold, the houses in which they live, and even their culture.
Example: traditional European stories folk tale often take place
in deep, dark forest.
Ireland lacks energy sources so they use peat as fuel. It is
partially decayed plant matter found in bogs.
Section 2: Climate & Vegetation
Most of Europe has mild conditions throughout
the year because of the North Atlantic Drift.
Europe has three major climate types:
A. Marine-west–coast climate throughout most of
Northern & West Central Europe because of
closeness to the Atlantic Oceans & the North Sea.
B. Humid-continental climate to the east & inland.
People who live far from the Atlantic Ocean
experience harsher conditions.
C. Mediterranean climate in the countries of
Portugal, Spain, Italy, Albania, Macedonia, Greece,
& parts of France, Croatia, & Bularia.
The Mediterranean coast of France which is not
protected by high mts receives the mistral
which is a cold, dry wind from the north.
Most of Mediterranean countries experience a
wind called the sirocco which is a hot, steady
south wind that blows from North Africa.
Some times it will pick up moisture from the sea
& produce rain, other times it carry dust from the
The Climate Attracts Tourists
The Mediterranean region has primarily
evergreen & beaches the attract thousands of
In far northern Scandinavia, along the Arctic
Circle, lies the tundra climate. It often in state
of permafrost. Harsh winters.
North of the Arctic Circle, there are winter days
when the sun never rises & summer days when
the sun never sets. The region is often called the
Land of the Midnight Sun.
Section 3: Human-Environment
An old saying declares, “God created the world, but the
Dutch created Holland.” Holland is another name for the
40% of the Netherlands was once under the sea, but
land was reclaimed by diking & draining which is
called a polder.
The Dutch erected seaworks structures to control
the sea’s destructive impact. They include dikes &
high earthen platforms called terpen.
The transformation of the Zuider Zee (ZEYE-duhr-
ZAY) by the Dutch. It was an arm of the North Sea &
is now a fresh-water lake. It eventually became a
fresh-water lake, a dike was built & no saltwater
flows in. It is now called Ijsselmeer (EYE-suhl-MAIR)
Waterways for Commerce: Venice’s Canals
Like the Netherlands, Venice, Italy, is a place where
humans created a unique environment.
120 smalls islands & two major islands (San Marco &
Moving people or goods in Venice depends upon using
the more than 150 canals.
Building Venice required construction techniques that took
account of the swampy land on the islands. (builders sunk
Venice is gradually sinking (rising sea levels also)
Water pollution (industrial waste, sewage, & saltwater is
eating always at the foundation of buildings.
Algae growth called ―killer algae‖, grows rapidly & dies
(decay), the decaying process uses up oxygen in the
water, so the fish dies.
Dead fish attract insects & create a foul smell especially in
A Centuries –Old Problems: Deforestation
Throughout history, humans have damaged &
destroyed Europe’s forests. Deforestation
means clearing of forests from an area.
Acid rain strips forests:
Europe’s factories produce high amounts of
sulfur dioxide & nitrogen oxide emissions.
These combine with water vapor & oxygen to
form acid rain or snow.
To save the remaining forest, nations must work
together to reduce air pollution.
1. Why can Europe be called “a peninsula of peninsulas?
It is a large peninsula made up of smaller ones
2. What European islands are located in the North Atlantic?
Great Britain, Ireland, Iceland, Greenland
3. What the large upland areas of Spain & France?
The Meseta & The Massil Central
4. How do mountains and uplands affect life in Europe?
They make the movement of people, goods, & ideas more difficult. They also
affect the weather.
5. Where does the Danube flow?
Through the heart of Europe, from west to east, & into the Black Sea.
6. How are rivers used in Europe?
To transport goods and people and forge links between regions and with the
7. What is the most important plains in Europe?
The Northern European Plain
8. Where are some other plains in Europe?
Sweden, Hungary, & Lombardy
9. What resources does Europe have in Abundance?
Coal & iron ore
10. Why do the Irish burn peat?
Because Ireland lacks other kinds of energy resources and peat can be burned as
11. What is the North Atlantic Drift?
A current of warm water flowing near Europe’s west coast.
12. How does the North Atlantic Drift affect temperature and rainfall?
It warms westerly winds that elevate temperature and carry
13.What extremes of climate are common in northeastern and east
Summers are warm or hot, & winters snowy & cold.
14. What moderating climate influence is lacking?
Warm westerly winds produced by the North Atlantic Drift
15. What parts Europe benefit from the Mediterranean climate?
Southern Spain and France, Italy, Greece, parts of The Balkans
16. How are the mistral and the sirocco similar? How are they
Both are strong Mediterranean winds; the mistral is cold, dry,
and comes from the north in winter; the sirocco is a hot south
17. Why don’t trees grows in upper Scandinavia?
The subsoil is always frozen
18. What vegetation grows in the land of the Midnight Sun?
Lichens & mosses
19. What is a polder?
Land in the Netherlands that is drained and dried
20. What is remarkable about the Zuider Zee?
The Dutch built a dike across its entrance and gradually it
became a freshwater.
21. Why is water transport so important in Venice?
Because the city is made up of islands and canals
22. Why did Venice grow?
It is on the Adriatic Sea, a good location for a port and for trade
23. What problems face Venice today?
Sinking, pollution, flooding, algae
24. What actions have led to deforestation in Europe?
Clearing of forests for fuel and building; industrial pollution
25. How is acid rain produced?
Sulfur emissions from factories combine with water vapor
26. How much of Europe’s forest land has been affected by acid rain?
On January 1, 1999, 12 European Union countries chose to form an economic and
monetary union (EMU) and start using the euro. The 12 countries locked their
exchange rates to the euro. On January 21, 2002, euro notes and coins became
The 12 countries will also share a single interest rate, set by the European Central
Bank (ECB), and a single foreign exchange rate policy. From this date, the ECB will
be responsible for the monetary policy of these 'euro zone' countries.
Which countries joined the euro zone on January 1, 1999? Austria, Belgium,
Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands,
Portugal and Spain.
Since then, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican (the Holy See) have
adopted the new currency. All other European countries, including Great Britain,
Denmark, and Sweden have not switched. All still use their own currencies, but do
accept the euro.
What is the new money called? The new currency is called the euro. A euro will be
made up of 100 cents. 5, 10, 20 50, 100, 200 and 500 notes are available, as well as
1 and 2 euro coins, and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents coins.
What happened on January 1, 2002? On January 1, 2002, euro notes and coins
became legal tender anywhere in the participating countries, regardless of the
country of origin. They now circulate alongside national notes and coins. Old national
notes and coins were removed from circulation by January 31, 2002. This varied
some, country to country, but by July 2002, only euros will be in circulation and they
will be the official currency. The period from January-July is sometimes referred to as
the "dual circulation" period, and it ends soon.
Can I use the euro in the UK? While the UK is outside EMU the euro will be like
any other foreign currency. Businesses can decide to accept the euro if they wish.
The same may be true for Denmark and Sweden