Our survey showed us that many people don’t know Europe, the continent’s history, its politics and its geography very well. We decided to sum up the history of Europe from antiquity to today and to create some apps which help learning more about Europe in a funny way. Enjoy!
The myth of Europe tells the story of Zeus, the Greek father of the gods, who appeared to Europa in the form of a bull. Europa was attracted by his beauty and sat on his back. The Greek father of the gods then abducted her to Crete where their children were born. This relation reflects the connection between the different nations in Europe. There is a diversity of cultural people, but at the same time there is also the idea of a united Europe.
In the IXth century, Charlemagne decided to recreate parts of the former Roman Empire in order to create a European Empire.
During the XVIth century, Charles V of Spain, heir of the Habsbourg, was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire after the death of Maximilian. The huge territory was almost as big as today’s Europe. The idea was to create universality through Christianity and Latin but a reform disturbed the emperor’s plan. Finally, this idea came to an end because of his death and the succession of his son, Phillip II, and Ferdinand I.
Today, the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation is considered as the most important ancestor of Europe’s unity. Indeed, this Empire extended over a huge territory: from East France to Poland with close connections to Portugal and Spain. At this time, it was an important unity in politics, war, trade and other fields. Additionally, it was a big religious territory based on Christianity, which is nowadays seen as one of the most significant legacies of former Europe.
The Age of Enlightenment, also known as the Century of Philophers lasted all the XVIIth century. This century was based on knowledge and the human being. The principal representators were philosophers and inventors like Kant, Newton, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Bacon, Locke, … It was also a time of evolution for many states, which gave up monarchy to more liberal and democratic systems. Additionally, the century is famous for its culture and art with rococo and classical styles. The French Revolution is still perceived as a symbol of the fall of monarchy and the beginning of Republic.
The Spring of Nations in 1848 was a fight for freedom in a united nation. During the XIXth century, many revolutions took place and affected every country in Europe. Those revolutions were inspired by the French Revolution of 1789 and the ideas of freedom, equality and brotherhood. It also represents the aspirations to independence. At the end of the century, many national states were created on one territory with only one language.
World War I was a war between the Allies and the Central Powers between 1914 and 1918. Mainly, the war took place in France, Belgium, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia. The war started because of many different reasons but the most important was the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Then, in consequence of various alliances, Europe was at war. The fighting ended on November 11 in 1918 when a general armistice war signed on both sides. The war officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.
World War II started with the German invasion of Poland. Once again, the system of alliances plunged Europe into chaos. Many countries of Central and East Europe were taken by Germany very fast. The hegemony of Nazi Germany ended with the D-Day invasion in June 1944. In 1945, at the end of the war, Germany was divided by the Allies and the Soviet Union.
The European Union was set up with the aim of ending the frequent and bloody wars between neighbouring countries. In the early 1950’s, the European Coal and Steel Community began to unite European countries through economy and politics. It was reinforced by the Treaty of Rome which created the Common Market. This economic organisation was a success thanks to the three post-war decades.
Denmark, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Greece, and finally Portugal and Spain joined the European Union. At this time, the European Parliament influenced European affairs more and more. It also adopted laws to preserve the environment. In 1986, the Single European Act was signed, which provided a programme which was meant to resolve the problems of the free flow of trade across the European borders.
On 9 November 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. The collapse of the Soviet Union enlarged the European Union and the Common Market, now based on four freedoms: movements of goods, services, people and money. During this time, two more treaties were signed: Treaty of Maastricht (1992) and Treaty of Amsterdam (1999). New countries joined the European Union and a lot of them adopted the Euro. This period was also a time of modernising just as well in East countries as in the European Institutions. However, the economic crisis hit Europe hard, which had to react by creating new institutions and programms like the Banking Union.