Western world

The Western world based-on Samuel P. Huntington's 1996 Clash of Civilizations. Latin America, depicted in turquoise, could be considered a sub-civilization within Western civilization, or a distinct civilization intimately related to the West and descended from it. For political consequences, the second option is the most adequate.
"Western Christian civilization" (red) and "Eastern Christian civilization" (brown), according to Samuel Huntington. For Huntington, Latin America (dark green) was part of the West or a descendant civilization that was twinned to it. For Rouquié, Latin America is the "Third World of the West."
Gold and garnet cloisonné (and mud), military fitting from the Staffordshire Hoard before cleaning
Map with the main travels of the Age of Discovery (began in 15th century).
The Ancient Greek world, c. 550 BC
The Ancient Hellenistic Greek world from 323 BC
The Roman Republic in 218 BC after having managed the conquest of most of the Italian peninsula, on the eve of its most successful and deadliest war with the Carthaginians
The Roman Empire in AD 117. During 350 years the Roman Republic turned into an Empire expanding up to twenty-five times its area
Ending invasions on Roman Empire since the 2nd and throughout the 5th centuries
Apex of Byzantine Empire's conquests (AD 527–565).
Map of the Byzantine Empire in AD 1025 before Christian East-West Schism.
History of the spread of Christianity: in AD 325 (dark blue) and AD 600 (blue) following Western Roman Empire's collapse under Germanic migrations.
Rise of the Germanic Frankish Empire before Charlemagne's coronation in Rome.
Map of the Byzantine Empire in AD 1180 before Latin Fourth Crusade.
Portuguese discoveries and explorations since 1336: first arrival places and dates; main Portuguese spice trade routes in the Indian Ocean (blue); territories claimed by King John III of Portugal (c. 1536) (green).
Apex of Spanish Empire in 1790.
The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain in the 1760s and was preceded by the Agricultural and Scientific revolutions in the 1600s, forever modified the economy worldwide.
Huntington's map of major civilizations. What constitutes Western civilization in post-Cold War world is coloured dark blue. He also dwells that Latin America (shown in purple) is either a sub-civilization within Western civilization or a separate civilization akin to the West.
Countries by income group
Division of the Roman Empire after 395 into western and eastern part. The geopolitical divisions in Europe that created a concept of East and West originated in the Roman Empire.
Latin alphabet world distribution. The dark green areas show the countries where this alphabet is the sole official (or de facto official) national script. The light green places show the countries where the alphabet co-exists with other scripts.
Countries with 50% or more Christians are colored purple while countries with 10% to 50% Christians are colored pink
Map showing relative degree of religiosity by country. Based on a 2006–2008 worldwide survey by Gallup.
Human language families.
Western Palearctic, a part of the Palearctic realm, one of the eight biogeographic realms dividing the Earth's surface.
Geopolitical Occident of Europe, according to the Intermediate Region theory of Dimitri Kitsikis
Indo-European languages.
European Union (in blue) and European Free Trade Association (in green).
Human Development Index Report (based on 2018 data, published in 2019).
Legal systems of the world.
Secular states in blue.
Relative geographic prevalence of Christianity versus the second most prevalent religion Islam and lack of either religion, in 2006.
The Western world based-on Samuel P. Huntington's 1996 Clash of Civilizations. Latin America, depicted in turquoise, could be considered a sub-civilization within Western civilization, or a distinct civilization intimately related to the West and descended from it. For political consequences, the second option is the most adequate.

The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and states, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of Europe, North America, and Oceania.

- Western world

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Eastern world

Umbrella term for various cultures or social structures, nations and philosophical systems, which vary depending on the context.

The Eastern world in a 1796 map, which included the continents of Asia and Australia (then known as New Holland).
An image of the "Eastern world" defined as the "Far East", consisting of three overlapping cultural blocks: East Asia (Green), South Asia (Orange), and Southeast Asia (Blue)
The spread of Syriac Christianity to East Asia.
Distribution of Eastern religions (yellow), as opposed to Abrahamic religions (violet).
East Asia cultural region
Map of the Middle East
Indian cultural sphere
Mongolian Buuz
Kebabs are a popular cuisine among Middle Easterners.
Round challah, a special bread in Jewish cuisine
Sushi has become prevalent even among westerners.
Armenian khash (or pacha), which is also commonly eaten by Assyrians, Arabs and Kurds.
Ramoji Film City located in Hyderabad, holds the Guinness World Record for the World's largest film studio.<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2005/08/03/stories/2005080301301901.htm|title=Ramoji Film City sets record|work=Business Line|access-date=3 August 2007|archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20081208180407/http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2005/08/03/stories/2005080301301901.htm|archive-date=8 December 2008|url-status=dead|df=dmy-all}}</ref>
A movie theater in Qufu, Shandong
A Hindu temple in Sri Lanka.
The Tian Tan Buddha statue in Hong Kong.
A Syro-Malabar Catholic bishop holding the Mar Thoma Christian Cross which symbolizes the heritage and identity of the Syrian Church of Saint Thomas Christians of India
The Monastery of St. Matthew, located atop Mount Alfaf in northern Iraq, is recognized as one of the oldest Christian monasteries in existence.
Assyrian Christians from lake Urmia in north eastern Persia in their traditional costumes.
Mor Hananyo Monastery is located in the Syriac cultural region known as Tur Abdin in Turkey.
Chaldean Catholic from the town of Alqosh, Iraq.
Temple of Confucius in Liuzhou, Guangxi.
Maronite Church in Lebanon.
The Druze Maqam Nabi Shu'ayb.
The Western Wall and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
Aerial view of Masada, Israel
Great synagogue in Afula, Israel
Great Mosque of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Color drenched Gopis during the Holi celebrations in Krishna Temple, Mathura.
Minangkabau Tari Lilin (candle dance)
Izumo-taisha shrine in Izumo, Japan.
Distribution of Haplogroup O-M175
Spread of Buddhism throughout Asia
Dispersal of Austronesian languages

It is often seen as a counterpart to the Western world, and correlates strongly to the southern half of the North–South divide.

Western culture

The Western world based-on Samuel P. Huntington's 1996 Clash of Civilizations. In turquoise are Latin America and the Orthodox World, which are either a part of the West or distinct civilizations intimately related to the West.
Alexander the Great
Representation of Jesus of Nazareth, central figure of Christianity.
The Maison Carrée in Nîmes, one of the best-preserved Roman temples.
The Roman Empire (red) and its client states (pink) at its greatest extent in 117 AD under emperor Trajan.
Mosaic of Justinian I with his court, circa 547–549, Basilica of San Vitale (Ravenna, Italy)
Two main symbols of the medieval Western civilization on one picture: the gothic St. Martin's cathedral in Spišské Podhradie (Slovakia) and the Spiš Castle behind the cathedral
Stone bas-relief of Jesus, from the Vézelay Abbey (Burgundy, France)
Notre-Dame, the most iconic Gothic cathedral, built between 1163 and 1345
Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic philosopher of the Middle Ages, revived and developed natural law from ancient Greek philosophy
Christopher Columbus arrives at the New World.
The United States Constitution
A Watt steam engine. The steam engine, made of iron and fueled primarily by coal, propelled the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain and the world.
Detail of the Bayeux Tapestry showing William the Conqueror (centre), his half-brothers Robert, Count of Mortain (right) and Odo, Bishop of Bayeux in the Duchy of Normandy (left). The Bayeux tapestry is one of the supreme achievements of the Norman Romanesque.
Classical music, opera and ballet: Swan Lake pictured
The Divine Comedy is an epic poem by Dante Alighieri. Engraving by Gustave Doré
Medieval Christians believed that to seek the geometric, physical and mathematical principles that govern the world was to seek and worship God. Detail of a scene in the bowl of the letter 'P' with a woman with a set-square and dividers; using a compass to measure distances on a diagram. In her left hand she holds a square, an implement for testing or drawing right angles. She is watched by a group of students. In the Middle Ages, it is unusual to see women represented as teachers, in particular when the students appear to be monks. She is most likely the personification of Geometry, based on Martianus Capella's famous book De Nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii [5th c.], a standard source for allegorical imagery of the seven liberal arts. Illustration at the beginning of Euclid's Elementa, in the translation attributed to Adelard of Bath.
A doctor of philosophy of the University of Oxford, in full academic dress. The typical dress for graduation are gowns and hoods or hats adapted from the daily dress of university staff in the Middle Ages, which was in turn based on the attire worn by medieval clergy.
The Greek Antikythera mechanism is generally referred to as the first known analogue computer.
Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Apollo Lunar Module pilot of the first crewed mission to land on the Moon, poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during his Extravehicular Activity (EVA) on the lunar surface.
Euler was one of the greatest mathematicians in history
The Bull-Leaping Fresco from the Great Palace at Knossos, Crete. Sport has been an important part of Western cultural expression since Classical Antiquity.
Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee, and considered father of the modern Olympic Games.
A Madonna and Child painting by an anonymous Italian from the first half of the 19th century, oil on canvas.
Claudio Monteverdi, 1567–1643
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, 1678–1741
George Frideric Handel, 1685-1759
Johann Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750
Franz Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1756–1791
Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770–1827
Frédéric François Chopin, 1810-1849
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, 1840–1893
Restoration of a fresco from an Ancient Roman villa bedroom, circa 50-40 BC, dimensions of the room: 265.4 x 334 x 583.9 cm, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1503–1506, perhaps continuing until circa 1517, oil on poplar panel, 77 cm × 53 cm, Louvre, (Paris)
Las Meninas, by Diego Velázquez, 1656, oil on canvas, 318 cm × 276 cm, El Prado (Madrid)
Dance at Le moulin de la Galette, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1876, oil on canvas, height: 131 cm, Musée d'Orsay (Paris)
Photo of the interior of the apartment of Eugène Atget, taken in 1910 in Paris
The Parthenon under restoration in 2008, the most iconic Classical building, built from 447 BC to 432 BC, located in Athens
Stained glass windows of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, completed in 1248, mostly constructed between 1194 and 1220
Saint Basil's Cathedral, built from 1555 to 1561, in the Red Square of Moscow, with its extraordinary onion-shaped domes, painted in bright colors
The Palais Garnier in Paris, built between 1861 and 1875, a Beaux-Arts masterpiece
Borgund Stave Church, built between 1180 and 1250 AD, displays a common palisade church building constructions once common in north-western Europe. Similar constructions are known from buildings from the Viking Age.
The facade of Angoulême Cathedral was built between 1110 and 1128 in the Romanesque style
The Palazzo Farnese, in Rome, built from 1534 to 1545, was designed by Sangallo and Michelangelo and is an important example of renaissance architecture

Western culture, also known as Western civilization, Occidental culture, or Western society, is the heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political systems, artifacts and technologies of the Western world.

Western philosophy

Ionia, source of early Greek philosophy, in western Asia Minor
Bust of Socrates, Roman copy after a Greek original from the 4th century BCE
Aristotle in The School of Athens, by Raphael
Map of Alexander the Great's empire and the route he and Pyrrho of Elis took to India
Roman Epicurus bust
Saint Augustine.
St. Anselm of Canterbury is credited as the founder of scholasticism.
St. Thomas Aquinas, painting by Carlo Crivelli, 1476
Erasmus is Credited as the Prince of the Humanists
Bronze statue of Giordano Bruno by Ettore Ferrari, Campo de' Fiori, Rome
Portrait of René Descartes, after Frans Hals, second half of 17th century
Portrait of John Locke, by Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1697
Portrait of David Hume, by Allan Ramsay, 1754
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, steel engraving, after 1828
Friedrich Nietzsche, photograph by Friedrich Hartmann, c. 1875
Martin Heidegger
Bertrand Russell
Gottlob Frege, c. 1905
Patricia Churchland, 2005
Sigmund Freud by Max Halberstadt, c. undefined 1921
Søren Kierkegaard, sketch by Niels Christian Kierkegaard, c. 1840
Portrait of Immanuel Kant, c. 1790
Edmund Husserl, in the 1910s
Ferdinand de Saussure
William James in 1906
Pyrrho of Elis, marble head, Roman copy, Archaeological Museum of Corfu

Western philosophy encompasses the philosophical thought and work of the Western world.

Ancient Greece

Northeastern Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of classical antiquity (c.

The Parthenon, a temple dedicated to Athena, located on the Acropolis in Athens, is one of the most representative symbols of the culture and sophistication of the ancient Greeks.
The Victorious Youth (c. 310 BC), is a rare, water-preserved bronze sculpture from ancient Greece.
Dipylon Vase of the late Geometric period, or the beginning of the Archaic period, c. 750 BC.
Early Athenian coin, depicting the head of Athena on the obverse and her owl on the reverse – 5th century BC
Map showing events of the first phases of the Greco-Persian Wars.
Delian League ("Athenian Empire"), immediately before the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC
Alexander Mosaic, National Archaeological Museum, Naples.
Map showing the major regions of mainland ancient Greece and adjacent "barbarian" lands.
Greek cities & colonies c. undefined 550 BC (in red color)
Marble bust of Pericles with a Corinthian helmet, Roman copy of a Greek original, Museo Chiaramonti, Vatican Museums; Pericles was a key populist political figure in the development of the radical Athenian democracy.
Inheritance law, part of the Law Code of Gortyn, Crete, fragment of the 11th column. Limestone, 5th century BC
Fresco of dancing Peucetian women in the Tomb of the Dancers in Ruvo di Puglia, 4th–5th century BC
Gravestone of a woman with her slave child-attendant, c. undefined 100 BC
Mosaic from Pompeii depicting Plato's academy
Greek hoplite and Persian warrior depicted fighting, on an ancient kylix, 5th century BC
The carved busts of four ancient Greek philosophers, on display in the British Museum. From left to right: Socrates, Antisthenes, Chrysippus, and Epicurus.
The ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, 4th century BC
A scene from the Iliad: Hypnos and Thanatos carrying the body of Sarpedon from the battlefield of Troy; detail from an Attic white-ground lekythos, c. 440 BC.
The Antikythera mechanism was an analog computer from 150 to 100 BC designed to calculate the positions of astronomical objects.
The Temple of Hera at Selinunte, Sicily
Mount Olympus, home of the Twelve Olympians

In Western history, the era of classical antiquity was immediately followed by the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine period.


King Amanullah Khan of Afghanistan attempted to Westernize his country in the 1920s, but tribal revolts caused his abdication.

Westernization (or Westernisation), also Europeanisation or occidentalization (from the Occident), is a process whereby societies come under or adopt Western culture in areas such as industry, technology, science, education, politics, economics, lifestyle, law, norms, mores, customs, traditions, values, mentality, perceptions, diet, clothing, language, writing system, religion, and philosophy.


Form of government in which the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to choose governing officials to do so ("representative democracy").

A person casts their vote in the second round of the 2007 French presidential election.
Democracy's de facto status in the world as of 2020, according to Democracy Index by The Economist
Democracy's de jure status in the world as of 2020; only Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE, Qatar, Brunei, Afghanistan, and the Vatican do not claim to be a democracy.
Nineteenth-century painting by Philipp Foltz depicting the Athenian politician Pericles delivering his famous funeral oration in front of the Assembly.
Magna Carta, 1215, England
John Locke expanded on Thomas Hobbes's social contract theory and developed the concept of natural rights, the right to private property and the principle of consent of the governed. His ideas form the ideological basis of liberal democracies today.
Statue of Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, in front of the Austrian Parliament Building. Athena has been used as an international symbol of freedom and democracy since at least the late eighteenth century.
The establishment of universal male suffrage in France in 1848 was an important milestone in the history of democracy.
The number of nations 1800–2003 scoring 8 or higher on Polity IV scale, another widely used measure of democracy
Corazon Aquino taking the Oath of Office, becoming the first female president in Asia
Age of democracies at the end of 2015
Meeting of the Grand Committee of the Parliament of Finland in 2008.
Countries autocratizing (red) or democratizing (blue) substantially and significantly (2010–2020). Countries in grey are substantially unchanged.
designated "electoral democracies" in Freedom House's Freedom in the World 2021 survey, covering the year 2020.
A Landsgemeinde (in 2009) of the canton of Glarus, an example of direct democracy in Switzerland
In Switzerland, without needing to register, every citizen receives ballot papers and information brochures for each vote (and can send it back by post). Switzerland has a direct democracy system and votes (and elections) are organised about four times a year; here, to Berne's citizen in November 2008 about 5 national, 2 cantonal, 4 municipal referendums, and 2 elections (government and parliament of the City of Berne) to take care of at the same time.
Queen Elizabeth II, a constitutional monarch
Banner in Hong Kong asking for democracy, August 2019

Western democracy, as distinct from that which existed in antiquity, is generally considered to have originated in city-states such as those in Classical Athens and the Roman Republic, where various schemes and degrees of enfranchisement of the free male population were observed before the form disappeared in the West at the beginning of late antiquity.


Ancient Occident of the Roman Empire

The Occident is a term for the West, traditionally comprising anything that belongs to the Western world.


Process of interaction and integration among people, companies, and governments worldwide.

The 13th century world-system, as described by Janet Abu-Lughod
Portuguese carrack in Nagasaki, 17th-century Japanese Nanban art
The Silk Road in the 1st century
Native New World crops exchanged globally: Maize, tomato, potato, vanilla, rubber, cacao, tobacco
Lisbon in the 1570s had many Africans
The 1843 launch of the Great Britain, the revolutionary ship of Isambard Kingdom Brunel
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the United Kingdom was a global superpower.
D.H. Comet, the world's first commercial jet airliner, entered service in 1949
With a population of 1.4 billion, China is the world's second-largest economy.
Singapore is the top country in the Enabling Trade Index.
U.S. Trade Balance and Trade Policy (1895–2015)
Dividends worth CZK 289 billion were paid to the foreign owners of Czech companies in 2016.
Shakira, a Colombian multilingual singer-songwriter, playing outside her home country
McDonald's is commonly seen as a symbol of Globalization, often called McDonaldization of global society
Use of chili pepper has spread from the Americas to cuisines around the world, including Thailand, Korea, China, and Italy.
The United Nations Headquarters in New York City
U.S. military presence around the world in 2007., the U.S. still had many bases and troops stationed globally.
From the documentary Ukraine Is Not a Brothel. Radical group Femen protest against the increase in sex tourism into Ukraine.
Scheduled airline traffic in 2009
2010 London Youth Games opening ceremony. About 69% of children born in London in 2015 had at least one parent who was born abroad.
The global digital divide: Computers per 100 people
The European Union–Mercosur free trade agreement, which would form one of the world's largest free trade areas, has been denounced by environmental activists and indigenous rights campaigners.
Hu Jintao of China and George W. Bush meet while attending an APEC summit in Santiago de Chile, 2004
As of 2017, there were 2,754 U.S. dollar billionaires worldwide, with a combined wealth of over US$9.2trillion.
Of the factors influencing the duration of economic growth in both developed and developing countries, income equality has a more beneficial impact than trade openness, sound political institutions, and foreign investment.
Worlds regions by total wealth (in trillions USD), 2018
Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev after signing the New START treaty in Prague, 2010
Anti-TTIP demonstration in Hannover, Germany, 2016
World Bank Protester, Jakarta, Indonesia
Differences in national income equality around the world as measured by the national Gini coefficient, as of 2018.
Countries by total wealth (trillions USD), Credit Suisse
Global share of wealth by wealth group, Credit Suisse, 2017
Immigrant rights march for amnesty, Los Angeles, on May Day, 2006
Deforestation of the Madagascar Highland Plateau has led to extensive siltation and unstable flows of western rivers.
a shows carbon footprint (CF) hotspots of foreign final consumption in China. b–d show carbon footprint hotspots of the consumption of the United States, Hong Kong, and Japan, respectively. Among all foreign regions, the United States, Hong Kong, and Japan have the largest CFs in China, contributing ~23.0%, 10.8%, and 9.0%, respectively, to the total foreign CF in China in 2012.

The first is the idea of Eastern Origins, which shows how Western states have adapted and implemented learned principles from the East.

Global North and Global South

Used to describe a grouping of countries along socio-economic and political characteristics.

World map showing a traditional definition of the North–South divide (red countries in this map are grouped as "Global South", blue countries as "Global North")
World map representing Human Development Index categories (based on 2019 data, published in 2020).
Heads of State and Heads of Government at the 1981 North–South Summit in Mexico
The Brandt line, a definition from the 1980s dividing the world into the wealthy north and the poor south
Countries' average latitude and GDP per capita according to The World Factbook (2013). The Brandt Line is shown in bold.
Map showing internet usage by country

The Global North correlates with the Western world—including Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and Israel (among others)—while the South largely corresponds with the developing countries (previously called "Third World") and the Eastern world.

Greek language

For the Greek language used during particular eras, see Proto-Greek language, Mycenaean Greek, Ancient Greek, Koine Greek, Medieval Greek, and Modern Greek.

Idealised portrayal of the author Homer
Proto-Greek-speaking area according to linguist Vladimir I. Georgiev
Distribution of varieties of Greek in Anatolia, 1910. Demotic in yellow. Pontic in orange. Cappadocian Greek in green, with green dots indicating individual Cappadocian Greek villages.
The distribution of major modern Greek dialect areas
Geographic distribution of Greek language in the Russian Empire (1897 census)
Greek inscription in Cypriot syllabic script
Ancient epichoric variants of the Greek alphabet from Euboea, Ionia, Athens, and Corinth comparing to modern Greek

The Greek language holds a very important place in the history of the Western world.