Europe was, for a long time, the most powerful continent on Earth. From the 16th to the 20th centuries European nations governed parts of the Americas, Africa, Oceania, and a good part of Asia too.
Europe though, was the victim of its own success. The scientific and industrial advances which had begun on the continent created terrible weapons which were unleashed in two world wars - both centred on Europe. The destruction caused brought an end to Europe's dominance, and in the aftermath the United States of America and the Soviet Union stepped into Europe's shoes as the most powerful nation's on Earth.
In the latter half of the 20th century Europe was divided between a capitalist west and a communist east, but with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Europe has become more integrated than ever before under the mantle of the EU.
Here are some of the flags which represent European countries - some historic, some modern, and from both the east and the west of the continent.