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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.

It includes all European states except for Belarus, Kazakhstan and Vatican City.

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 Book of Jubilees described the continents as the lands given by Noah to his three sons; Europe was defined as stretching from the Pillars of Hercules at the Strait of Gibraltar, separating it from North Africa, to the Don, separating it from Asia.

As a name for a part of the known world, it is first used in the 6th century BC by Anaximander and Hecataeus.

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Cyprus is closest to Anatolia (or Asia Minor), but is usually considered part of Europe both culturally and politically and is a member state of the EU.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 prevalent definition of Europe as a geographical term has been in use since the mid-19th century.The border does not follow political boundaries, with Turkey and Russia being transcontinental countries.Europe covers about 10,180,000 square kilometres (3,930,000 sq mi), or 2% of the Earth's surface (6.8% of land area).

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