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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).Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states of which the Russian Federation is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population.Anaximander placed the boundary between Asia and Europe along the Phasis River (the modern Rioni River) in the Caucasus, a convention still followed by Herodotus in the 5th century BC.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.
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.
Europe had a total population of about 741 million (about 11% of world population) as of 2016 The European climate is largely affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent, even at latitudes along which the climate in Asia and North America is severe.
Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast.
Islands are generally grouped with the nearest continental landmass, hence Iceland is generally considered to be part of Europe, while the nearby island of Greenland is usually assigned to North America.
Nevertheless, there are some exceptions based on sociopolitical and cultural differences.