Ethnology of Europe

Europe includes a large number of ethnic groups—persons associated by a common culture, especially language.

European nations are generally composed of one dominant group, such as the Germans of Germany and the French of France.

Several countries, particularly in south central Europe, have large minorities, and most countries contain smaller groups, such as the Basques of Spain and the Saami of Norway. In addition, substantial numbers of Asian Turks, black Africans, and Arabs live in western Europe, many of them as workers on a temporary basis.

The collapse of Communism during the period from 1989 to 1991 led to the breakup of the USSR into 15 separate republics, each with its own dominant ethnic group. The Croats, Slovenes, and Macedonian Slavs, each of which constituted the largest part of the population in their respective republics within Yugoslavia, all voted to secede from Yugoslavia in 1991 to become independent nations. Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a more diverse array of ethnic groups, became the site of great ethnic conflict after declaring its independence from Yugoslavia in 1992. More recently, Serbia’s southern province of Kosovo (administered by UN) has been the site of additional ethnic conflict between Serbian nationalists and ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo (administered by UN).