Brookes’ Universal Gazetteer, page 289
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at; in Europe, it is mind we admire. Here hu-
manity has her chosen seat, and from hence have
emanated her noblest gifts.

The superficial extent of Europe has been va-
riously estimated by different geographers. Our
want of information respecting the extent of some
countries, and the doubts regarding the real boun-
daries between Europe and Asia, noticed above,
increase the difficulty of stating precisely the ex-
tent of surface belonging to Europe. Kitchen
reckons 3,258,038 English square miles ; Hassel,
3,331,579 ; and Crome, 3,79G,349. Perhaps, not-
withstanding its irregularity of form, we may as-
certain the superficial ar'ea of this continent with
tolerable accuracy, by reducing it to an oblong
square. If for angles of this square, be taken the
North Cape in Norway, and the town of Ekate-
rineburg in the Russian government of Perm,
Bordeaux in France, and Cape Solomon the east-
ern extremity of the Island of Crete, the sides
of this parallelogram will measure 2,100 m., and

1,500 m. respectively, and will enclose a super-
ficies of 3,150,000 square m.; and the different
portions of land excluded from this measure-
ment, will amount to about 300,000 square m.,
making in all a superficial extent of 3,450,000
square m. Europe thus embraces about one-
sixteenth part of the whole terrestrial surface
of the globe; and, with all its islands, does not
exceed in superficial extent, the Australian con-
tinent. Europe is particularly distinguished by
the seas and numerous gulfs that wash its shores,
and the number and extent of its inland -waters.
Hence the facility with which the commercial in-
tercourse of nations is here conducted ; and hence
too the influence which Britain has been enabled
to exert over the political destinies of Europe, as
a great maritime power. Europe has an abun-
dance of inland lakes. The greater part of them
are situated in Switzerland, Upper Italy, Ger-
many, Russia, and Sweden; but very few of
them can be compared, in point of extent, to
those found in other parts of the world. The
largest European lake is the Ladoga, in Russia,
which has a superficial extent of 6,340 square m.;
the Onega, in the same country, is about half that
size, and greatly exceeds the largest of the re-
maining lakes. The accumulation of lakes, or
insulated pools of water, in some places of Europe,
is verv remarkable. Some Russian governments
possess an incredible number. They are less nu-
merous in the western parts of Europe. But in
Iceland, a hundredth part of the territory is occu-
pied by lakes. Europe is abundantly watered,
though its rivers are greatly inferior in size to
those of the other continents. In fact, this con-
tinent is too much intersected by the sea, and
presents too small a mass of land, to abound in
such magnificent streams as are found elsewhere.
In the eastern part only, where it stands con-
nected with the great Asiatic mass of land, is found
any considerable breadth of contiguous territory,
and here also do we find its largest rivers.

The greater part of Europe is a mountainous
surface : but the masses which tower up in the
south greatly exceed those of the north. The
plains of Europe are much inferior in dimensions
to the same physical feature in the other conti-
nents. With the exception of the wide valley of
the Theiss, and the basin of the Po, we do not
recognise any extensive plain on the south of the
Sudetic chain; but an enormous plain extends
from the mouth of the Rhine, over the whole of
northern Germany and the greater part of Poland,
37
to the foot of the Uralian chain. The difference
in general elevation between northern and south-
ern Europe may be illustrated by stating, that if
the waters of the Atlantic Ocean were to rise

1,500 or 1,600 feet above their present level, the
whole of northern Europe, with the exception of
the mountainous districts of Norway and Scot-
land, would be laid under water ; while southern
Europe, on the contrary, being higher than the
level of such inundation, would form one or two
large and high islands. The most elevated dis-
tricts in Europe are Switzerland and Savoy. In
the comparatively level countries of Europe, ex-
tending from Iceland to the Caspian sea, the
mountains rise in insulated groupk; while in the
southern and central parts of this continent, or
from Etna in Sicily, to the Blocksberg of the Harz,
and from the Strait of Gibraltar, to the Bosphorus,
all the mountains belong to one great connected
sj'stem. In this quarter are the Alps,—the high-
est, and beyond comparison the most extensive
range of mountains in Europe, though scarcely-
exceeding t s-half of the average height of the
great South American chain under the equator.
Perpetual ice commences here at the elevation of

7.000 or 8,000 feet. At the height of 10,800 feet
the ice disappears, and the atmospheric vapour,
congealed as it descends, covers the ground with
eternal snow. The Alps extend over a space of

13.000 square miles. They branch out, in vari-
ous angular directions, into the Maritime, Cot-
tian, Graian, Peninne, Lepontine, Swiss, Rhe-
tian, Norian, Carnian, Julian, and Dinarian Alps,
which again spread out in many secondary chains.
The Apennines, stretching in a vast crescent
through the whole length of the Italian peninsula,
and evidently connected with the mountains of
Sicily, may he regarded as a southern branch of
the Alpine series. The average height of this
chain is about 5,000 feet. A second great chain
stretches its branches over the whole peninsula
of the Pyrenees. The two outer bulwarks of this
peninsula— which consists of a central plain ele-
vated from 2,000 to 4,000 feet—are the moun-
tains commonly called the Pyrenees, stretching
betwreen France and Spain on the north, and the
Alpujarras or
Sierra Nevada of Spain on the south.
The mountains of Auvergne, which are connect-
ed with those of Vivarais and the Cevennes, are
united to the Pyrenees by the Logere. At the
other extremity of Europe, three chains of moun-
tains meet together, collectively called Argen-
taro, at a point nearly equidistant from the Danube,
the Adriatic, and the iEgean Sea. This central
point may be considered as the nucleus of all the
mountain in European Turkey. From it pro-
ceeds the ancient Hajmus or modern. Balkan,
eastwards to the Black Sea. A second range runs
N. W. till it joins the Carnian Alps; and a third
runs southwards through the peninsula, dividing
the northern continent of Greece into two parts
of nearly equal breadth, and passing into the
islands of the Archipelago. As the Hellenic
Mountains, with the exception perhaps of Athos
and Olympus, have never been accurately meas-
ured, it is impossible to determine whether or
not they are higher than the Apennines. Mount
Orbelns, the northern boundary of the country,
has, according to Pouqueville, its summit perpetu-
ally covered with snow, and must therefore, ac-
cording to the laws that fix the lower limit of con-
gelation. exceed 8,500 feet of elevation. None
of the other Hellenic Mountains, however, wheth
er they be insulated or disposed in groups and






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Brookes' Universal Gazetteer of the World (1850)


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