a VirtualTourist member from Cork asked on Jan 10, 2016
I grew up thinking that Skellig Rock in Kerry was the most western point in Europe and next stop America. Then I discovered that Spain and Portugal had places that they claimed to be the most westerly point in Europe.
But at breakfast yesterday, moving the marmalade westwards towards Greenland, it was glaringly obvious that Iceland has to be the most westerly point in Europe.
But is Iceland in Europe ? It appears that opinions are divided, despite the 'facts' stating that it is. And what about Greenland ? Is it in Europe or North America ?
Back to the drawing board/aka my kitchen tablecloth.
Greenland is part of Denmark, so it is in Europe.
The concept of a 'continent' is a construct rather than a finite fact.
Where a location is placed depends whether 'continent' is defined geographically or culturally/politically. Both are acceptable, depending on context.
Greenland is geographically part of N America but culturally/politically part of Europe.
Iceland is historically included in geographical Europe because it is nearer to mainland Europe than to mainland N America. It is also in Europe under the cultural/political definition of 'continent'.
I think the 'most westerly' points in Spain and Portugal may refer to mainland Europe rather than islands...but the earth's curve may well be skewing my perceptions. :-)
There are many differences of opinion on this question, especially regarding Greenland. If you google the question 'Is Greenland part of Europe ?', you'll see just how many. In terms of geographical proximity, Greenland is certainly closer to North America then Europe. Politically, culturally, socially, economically etc., Iceland is definitely part of Europe. But if this is universally accepted, how come Reykjavik or any part of Iceland is not named the most westerly point in Europe ?
slightly off the main subject we were talking about continents at work the other day- i put forward the statement that i thought britain was a small continent due to the fact that it was made up of different countries( not including "europe")
Usually, when people discuss the most westerly part of Europe, its the mainland and the British Isles. And indeed there are numerous ways to approach the subject. Iceland, which is an independent country can easily be stated as the most westerly part of Europe.
Greenland on the other hand is not. Its regarded as a possession, like Puerto Rico is a possession of the USA. But, PR is not part of the US I the common sense and neither is Greenland for that matter. Its not part of Europe. Its a possession of Denmark.
A full listing of the possessions of various countries can be found in the World Almanac.
La Reunion is as much a part of France as Greenland is for Danmark, so it should be considdered to be in Europe rather than Africa !
I think that most of these superlatives dont make sense anyway !
I always thought that Cape Hoorn is the southernmost point of South America and when I got there it was just an island and not the end of the Continent !
and the famous Northcape is also not the nothernmost place of Europe, not even of the continent but the real place is not so easily accesible !
....and when we count islands as well the northnmost place of Europe should be in Svalbard/Spitzbergen or in Greenland !
I would vote for Iceland as it is on both the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. You can actually walk between the two plates.
Any cartographer would tell you that the most westerly location of continental Europe is Cabo da Roca in Portugal. This unassailable fact is determined strictly by its most westerly longitude coordinates reference O (zero) degree longitude at the Greenwich Prime Meridian. Nearest towns to Cabo da Roca are Cascais and Sintra. I was there in 1971 and it was so marked then. The Portuguese natives nearby brag of it also.
A true definition of a easterly, westerly, northerly or southerly geographic location in our world is established solely by its geographic coordinates of longitude east or west from the prime meridian and latitude north or south from the equator. Culture has nothing to do with defined and measured cartography.
Our oldest son was 6 at the time of our first visit to Iceland.
When we visited the 'bridge between continents' on the Reykjanes peninsula, he said "no one at school will believe me if I tell them that I walked from Europe to America without getting my feet wet and in only 30 seconds time!" ... but in fact that was exactly what he did ... :-)
As the Dingle Peninsula, and especially The island of Skellig Michil, are quite clearly further west then Cabo Da Roco in Portugal, I would have been puzzled about this. Now o f course I realise, that as an Island, Ireland may have the most westerly spot in Europe, but not on mainland Europe. But Iceland's a European island too, so why aren't we giving it it's rightful title of westernmost spot in Europe ?
In Iceland are a couple lf places where the tectonic plates surface above ground.
One side is the north American plate, the other one is the Eurasian plate. There is a 'gap' inbetween them, so you could say this is like no-man's land ...
In the Thingvellir national park there is a waterfall that falls off of the North American plate, into a gorge between the plates and then tumbles off of the Eurasian plate.
You can read a more scientific explanation here: icelandontheweb.com/articles...
Here's my tip on this 'bridge between 2 continents'. The weather was quite bad, so the pictures are foggy.
[original VT link]
Regina's pictures are a lot brighter :-) [original VT link]
This debate also depends on whether the question is politically or geographically. Cabo de Roca is the most westerly of the mainland. But if one was to include Iceland and the UK and Ireland and their respective islands, then Dunmore Head (10° 28' 48' W) on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland is the westernmost point. That's according to wiki.
Plate tectonics really does say it is Iceland as the two plates run through Iceland. See picture of the plates.
What on *earth* does the UK and the euro have to do with this discussion? What a bizarre comment......
I can only assume that there is, yet again, confusion between the EU and 'Europe'. The geographical continent of Europe is not just the 28 EU countries and neither is the 'political' continent of Europe. There are about 50 countries in the 'political' continent of Europe. The EU is made up of 28 of those countries. Therefore the EU is not in any way 'Europe', although I am aware that in certain parts of the world the term 'Europe' is used as commonplace shorthand for the EU.
You stated that the most westerly point of 'continental' Europe is Cabo da Roca. I prefer to use the term 'mainland' Europe to make it absolutely clear. The geographical continent of Europe is not just the main landmass but also includes the islands of the UK, Ireland and Iceland.
Perhaps cartographers include only the main landmass in their definition of 'continent'? I do not know.
[original VT link]
[original VT link]
[original VT link]
or maybe even:
[original VT link]
Iceland and Greenland are part of Europe. Period.
That's true Tugboat ! No consistency at all on this subject.
What about St Pierre and Miquelon? These are two French "overseas collectivity" of France that lie just south of Newfoundland, Canada? Are these European the same way some people consider Iceland (the most populated part that lies on the North American Plate) or Greenland?
What about St Barths or St Martin, both in the Caribbbean? To stick with the French Island, but of course there are places even further east if we look at some of the Dutch or British islands. Historically and culturally, perhaps, but geographically, no.
That remark Chinggis has nothing to do with the topic.
Katherine mentioned her tablecloth in her original post, as well as showing it in her photograph.
There is anyway no requirement to keep every post specifically and entirely on-topic. The Misc forum guidelines require only that members are nice to each other (e.g. refrain from making unpleasant and unnecessary personal comments) and do not advertise etc.
But it not is relevant to the subject matter of this thread, and as a long time member and one time administrator, I can attest of the rules and guidelines.
>But it not is relevant to the subject matter of this thread, and as a long time member and one time administrator, I can attest of the rules and guidelines.
Roamer, things change...just as attitudes do.
Just try actually reading the forum guidelines, eh?
I totally understood what Chinggis was saying and thought is was quite funny - the OP did mention the table cloth and even posted a picture of it - it was what started the entire discussion.
The table cloth is quite relevant as I'm eyeballing Iceland and Greenland at every meal :) I probably wouldn't notice this question of which country is the western-most point in Europe, while looking at an atlas or a smaller map. It's a good table cloth to enjoy a cuppa at and dream a few travel dreams.