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During the Cold War, Europe was divided along the Iron Curtain between NATO in the west and the Warsaw Pact in the east, until the revolutions of 1989 and fall of the Berlin Wall.
In 1955, the Council of Europe was formed in Strasbourg following a speech by Sir Winston Churchill, with the idea of unifying Europe to achieve common goals.
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.
The primarily physiographic term "continent" as applied to Europe also incorporates cultural and political elements whose discontinuities are not always reflected by the continent's current overland boundary with Asia.
It includes all states except for Belarus, Kazakhstan and Vatican City.
Further European integration by some states led to the formation of the European Union, a separate political entity that lies between a confederation and a federation.
The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, gave rise to radical economic, cultural, and social change in Western Europe, and eventually the wider world.
In some Turkic languages the originally Persian name Frangistan ("land of the Franks") is used casually in referring to much of Europe, besides official names such as Avrupa or Evropa.
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.