The USC Libraries Collection of Western Europe History

Western europe history is the social and cultural development of a large group of European countries. Historians use terms such as the “Romantic Era”, “Middle Ages” and “Enlightenment” to describe periods in the evolution of European societies. The USC Libraries collects materials primarily in print that support teaching, research and learning in the study of Western European history. The collection includes resources in the major areas of emphasis for the discipline, as well as historiography and all historical aspects of the countries comprising Western Europe (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland).

Throughout most of its history, the Western world has been the center of international affairs and economic power. This has been partially due to the natural geographic and human resource advantages of the region, as well as the relative isolation that has allowed the development of a highly developed culture based primarily on Christianity.

Europeans have also been able to develop an extensive network of communications, which has enabled them to exchange ideas and information across the continent and beyond. This has been facilitated by the invention of writing, which allowed books to be copied and distributed widely, and the invention of the printing press, which made it possible for ideas to be spread without physical contact. In the modern period, scientific discoveries have accelerated the pace of technological progress, and the rise of capitalism and colonization has given the countries of Europe access to new markets outside their borders.

Western Europe became the dominant part of the world in the 20th century, mainly as a result of economic and political integration that began with economic organisations such as the European Coal and Steel Community. The political process of integration was sped up by the anti-communist revolutions of the 1960s and 1970s, which ultimately brought about the end of the Iron Curtain in 1989.

By the beginning of the 21st century, the United States had emerged as a major global power, and the European Union had been established to provide a structure for the social, environmental and military policies of its member countries. The EU has been undergoing a period of expansion in recent years, but public opinion has turned against further enlargement, especially after the accession of Turkey. This has led to a backlash against the EU by some member nations. It remains to be seen whether the EU can survive this reversal of popular sentiment. The future of the EU will depend on how quickly it can adapt to the changes that are happening. It will also have to address the increasing role of China and India as major global powers. This may require cooperation with other regional organizations, such as ASEAN and the Commonwealth of Independent States. This is a complicated and difficult task, but it is essential to the future of the international system.

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