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

Chinese, for example, uses the word Ōuzhōu (歐洲/欧洲); a similar Chinese-derived term Ōshū being more commonly used.

Though the term "continent" implies physical geography defines it, the land border is somewhat arbitrary and has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity.

The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural, linguistic, and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line.

The border does not follow political boundaries, with Turkey and Russia the largest 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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