Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Continent
(1,428 words)

1. Concept and terminological history

The concept is attested from the 16th century as the Latin (terra) continens (“continuous [land]”), and from the 17th century in French (continent) to denote the European continent. It developed in the 19th century to refer to the five great land masses of the earth [3]. However, the original usage was sometimes preserved, for example in the continental system (imposed by Napoleon in 1806) or the Continental Shelf (the underwat…

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Lindgren, Uta, “Continent”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 24 July 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_022568>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20170206



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