Europe has undergone transformation on cultural economic and political front during last few centuries. The foundation of European culture was laid by the Greeks, strengthened by the Romans, stabilized by Christianity, reformed by the 15th century renaissance and reformation, modernized by the 18th century age of enlightenment and globalized by successive European empires between the 16th and 20th centuries.
In the Western World Capitalism has been dominant. In the late 18th century the Industrial Revolution which started in Europe, specifically the United Kingdom and also in the 19th century saw Western Europe industrialize. Economies were disrupted by World War I but by the beginning of World War II they had recovered and were having to compete with the growing economic strength of the United States. World War II, again, damaged much of Europe’s industries.
After World War II the economy of the UK was in a state of ruin and continued to suffer relative economic decline in the following decades. By 1950s almost all the parts of Europe which were in poor economic condition regained high level of growth and staged a remarkable comeback and recorded huge unprecedented economic growth and modernization.
Europe played a predominant role in global affairs from the beginning of 16th century. During 16th at 20th centuries, European nations controlled at various times the Americas, most of Africa, Oceania and large portions of Asia. Even both World Wars were largely focused upon Europe, greatly contributing to a decline in Western European dominance in world affairs.