During the zenith of Asiatic civilization the continent of Europe remained in utter barbarism. At length the light broke out in Greece, and she attained an eminence in learning, arms, art, literature, and law which is yet the enviable pride of nations. Next followed Rome, in the eighth century before Christ, and with its fall the Dark Ages again settled down upon the continent, and had not her treasury of history and learning been preserved in another land the world would have been robbed of this great storehouse of knowledge.
In succession barbarians, tribes of Huns and Goths and Scythians, devastated the greater part of Europe's surface, ultimately to settle and start a new civilization - the
About 800 A.D. the accession of Charlemagne changed the political map of Continental Europe from the Pyrenees to the Carpathian mountains, uniting this vast territory under his dominion. After his death there were carved out of this empire the several kingdoms of Frarce, Germany, Lombardy, Burgundy, Lorraine, etc.
Two centuries later the Scandinavian powers of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Russia joined the European family of nations. Near the end of the eleventh century the Moors were driven out of Spain, and the European autonomy was definitely established in 1453, when Constantinople was taken by the Turks.
In the sixteenth century the war which resulted in the independence of the Netherlands was the great historical event. The seventeenth century was characterized by the Thirty Years' War, ending in the triumph of Protestantism in German), together with the civil war in England, with Cromwell as its great leader.
The eighteenth century began with the terrible wars of the Spanish Succession, followed by the Seven Years' War, carried on between Frederick II. of Prussia and the Emperor of Austria, England being the ally of the former and Germany, France, Russia, and Sweden assisting Austria. This war, though it terminated in succeeding massacres and later the French Revolution, added new territory to Prussia and established the Prussian line of kings, who, after the Franco-German War in 1870, became the.Royal Family of United Germany in the person of King William of Prussia, first Emperor of Germany.