The Western countries refer to countries mainly in Europe, the Americas, and Australasia. There are numerous definitions of what constitutes the Western world that are closely related. Another word commonly used to refer to the Western countries is the Occident, which is derived from the Latin word “occidens,” meaning sunset or west. On the other hand, the Orient is derived from the Latin word “oriens,” rise or east.
List of Western Countries
The origin of Western Civilization
It is largely accepted that the origin of Western civilization is ancient Greece and ancient Rome. The Greeks influenced the Romans through their science, philosophy, social structure, and architecture. Western civilization is also linked to Christianity, which had a significant impact on Roman culture, Hellenistic philosophy. The Renaissance had a great influence on Western culture, as did the Age of Enlightenment, the Age of Discovery, the Scientific Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution. Starting from the 15th century and through to the 20th century, Western powers carried out extensive colonization and later engaged in mass culture exportation to other countries. As a result, the whole world has been heavily influenced by Western culture in what has been popularly referred to as Westernization.
In economics, the phrase "Western World" is occasionally used in place of developed countries or the First World. The name is often used to differentiate the developed countries and the developing countries, also known as the Third World. The name is used despite several countries that may be culturally Western, but nonetheless developing countries. For instance, several countries in the Americas are developing countries. The name is also used even when the countries of the region are not in the West, for instance, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea.
The cultural definition of the Western world
In contemporary usage, the Western World refers to Europe and other areas whose population originated from Europe. During the 20th century, there was a significant decline in Christian influence among most of the Western countries, particularly in the European Union. Church attendance in some of the Western countries has been declining, particularly in Italy, Portugal, and Poland. More than half of the people in Western countries claim that religion is important, and most of them identify with Christianity. In the UK, 59% of the population identify themselves as Christians and attend primary functions in church, such as Easter and Christmas. In areas such as Canada, there is a low level of religiosity because of secularization in the same way it has happened in Europe. Christianity is still the dominant religion in the Western world, where about 70% of the population is Christian. According to Pew Research Center, in 2011, they found that 86% of the people of the Americas, 73.5% from Oceania, and 76.2% of Europeans identify themselves as Christians.
A Partial List of Western Countries in Alphabetical Order
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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