The Soviet Union is a federal union of fifteen constituent republics, partly in Eastern Europe and in Northern and Western Asia, occupying nearly one-sixth of the world’s land surface.

France is the largest of the West European countries in space. West Germany has the most people.

To keep the European countries in perspective think of all of Sweden as having about the same population as New York City, all of Scandinavia about the same number of people as California.

Europe also has its micro-states, the smallest being the Vatican with one thousand people living within that enclave. Andorra, sitting between France and Spain in the Pyrenees Mountains, has thirty-four thousand. Liechtenstein, between Austria and Switzerland, has twenty-six thousand. San Marino, the village atop a small Italian mountain, has twenty-one thousand.

Counting the mini-countries Europe includes thirty-one countries. The island republic of Malta, in the Mediterranean, and Iceland, in the Atlantic, are also sometimes considered part of the European region.

Much of the continent is mountainous, especially Eastern and Southern France, Switzerland, Southern Germany, Austria, Northern Spain and Northern Italy. The Alps are the best known of the mountain ranges. There are also the Pyrenees, the Sudeten, the Erz, the Urals, and the Caucasus. The Balkan Mountains extend from Western Bulgaria to the Black Sea.


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