"Reducing" the view of Europe to a few countries?


Ad Honorem
Jan 2012
Northern part of European lowland
The question here is if there is some tendency to see some ("great" or "important") countries of Europe as more representative for all or more "all-important" than they are. Europe, and european science, innovation, culture, is not only about a few countries (say: France, Britain, Germany) even if those countries have been more populous than the rest - west of Russia. And today a very significant proportion of people on european territory are living in countries with less than 30 million inhabitants (and some countries with a larger population has not any recent history as big powers - as Ukraine, Poland, Spain, Italy). not least due to splitting empires and states in the 20.th century, like that of the Hapsburgs, Imperial Russia/USSR, the Ottoman Empire, even Britain(Irish Republic).


Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
Welsh Marches
Yes, there is definitely that tendency, and a resulting failure to see the overall pattern of European culture and history. The focus varies, though, in different ages, with different countries being seen as central and others as more 'provincial' in different periods, e.g. Italy as central in the Renaissance, and the little Netherlands being a major power, commercially and culturally, in the 17th Century.
Jun 2017
I think this is largely appropriate because some countries do drive events more than others and are more worthy of attention. Countries with larger populations are more likely to drive events. Germany, France and England have been far more pivotal in driving events than most countries in Europe, along with other more populated countries like Spain and Italy. If a country's history is not focused on as much there's usually a reason.

That being said of course small countries can punch above their weight and for brief periods, the Burgundians/Dutch, Swedish, Danes, Portuguese and even the Serbs and Bulgars did. However you notice when a smaller country reaches great power status it is usually for a shorter isolated period whereas France and Germany's importance in terms of driving events has been quite sustained. For example Linschoten mentions the Netherlands being a major power in the 17th century, for France and Germany and to a lesser extent Spain(before 1800s) no such citation is really needed. Having a good percentage of Europe's people contributes heavily to this and means driving events is the norm not an exception.

I will say I think there is too much focus on England's earlier internal affairs that wouldn't be there if not for the UK's later success, but even there the Normans French holdings and their conflicts with the French over them was critical too European history.

In terms of Spain and Italy not receiving as much attention. Spain is just a declining former great power and Italy was the base of the former Roman Empire(so it was formerly all important) and wasn't unified again until the 1860s, being a bunch of city states that aside from Venice couldn't really project power outside Italy. I also think Italy from that point until today has a status as the least important of the European great powers.

Then there's Greece which I'd say is a very unique case for a bunch of reason.

Typically though why should a country with sub 10 or 20 million people that doesn't drive events on the continent get more attention? Today the UK and France are nuclear powers and have UN Security Council Seats and Germany is Europe's economic hegemony, and most populated country. Why should other countries get the same attention today? Brussels, the European capital is in Belguim I guess and Catalonia seceding from Spain is interesting. Poland maybe?
Last edited:

At Each Kilometer

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
These maps are fun. My country is part of the great Yugoland in one of the maps above along with Hungary. Probably the author of the map is serbian american like Tesla :)

Ok, just for fun. Not an occidental, but oriental pov for a change. World map according to serbs. My people are former chinese, now part of slavic herrenvolk :lol: