Until the enlargement of the European Union of 2004, Western Europe was sometimes associated with that Union, although non-members such as Norway and Switzerland unquestionably were considered parts of Western Europe, although the connection to NATO or to the European Union increasingly may be perceived as historical. Today, a common understanding of Western Europe includes the following parts:
It ought to be borne in mind that the concepts of Europe's division overlap. The Nordic countries being counted to Western Europe does not at all hinder their also being considered part of Northern Europe. Similarly, the Alpine countries may be considered part of Central Europe, and Italy, the Iberian countries, Monaco, Greece and southern France part of Southern Europe as well.
Originally defined as Western Europe, most modern uses of the term refer to the societies of Europe and their close genealogical, linguistic, and philosophical colonial descendants, typically included are those countries whose dominant culture is derived from European culture, such as North and South America, Australia and New Zealand.
Western society is sometimes claimed to trace its cultural origins to both Greek thought and Christian religion, thus following an evolution that began in ancient Greece, continued through the Roman Empire and, with the coming of Christianity (which has its origins in the Middle East), spread throughout Europe.
As the eastern and western churches spread their influence, the line between "East" and "West" can be described as moving, but generally followed a cultural divide that was defined by the existence of the Byzantine empire and the fluctuating power and influence of the church in Rome.
Originally defined as Western Europe, most modern uses of the term refer to the societies of Europe and their close genealogical, linguistic, philosophical, colonial and genetic descendants, which include those countries whose dominant culture is derived from European culture, such as the countries of The Americas and most countries of Oceania.
Geographically western nations such as Cuba and Venezuela are normally not considered "western" due to their political opposition to the powerful western leaders.
Westerners accuse Muslims for treating non-Muslims differently and for not recognizing and adopt social accomplishments of Western society (such as the universal concepts of free speech, democracy, universal suffrage, human rights, and gender equality), while largely using Western wealth, science and technology for self development and enrichment.
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