Teacher | Student
Originally produced in: Spain
Also available in: en

Curricular level

2nd year Compulsory Secondary Education (History): “European History from the 8th Century” (13 years)

3rd year Compulsory Secondary Education (Geography): “European Geography” (14 years)

4th year Compulsory Secondary Education (History): “Contemporary World History”(15 years)

1st year Bachillerato (History) “Contemporary World History” (16 years) Spain


The concept of Europe and its external /internal borders has been changing dramatically throughout History. From the most ancient concepts developed by the Greeks and the Romans about what Europe was and how it was physically up to present time , our continent has exceedingly changed its external and internal shapes depending on the knowledge which was being obtained about it. Thus from an eminently Mediterranean Europe as described and observed by the Greeks and Romans ,it started to turn into a continental Europe where new peoples, unknown up to then, were appearing in the centre and the north of the continent. These changes are due to both the geographic science development and the interest in discovering and studying all those peoples which were considered European ones. The overall result is our present concept of Europe and our sense of being members of this community.

The internal borders in our continent have dramatically changed along its complex and long History. Most times these border movements have been the reason for wars which have caused a lot of victims. The change of borders among the European countries in the 20th century has been very tragic especially in the case of both World Wars which meant, as well as war killed people, a massive movement of people from their lands of origin to other different places. Luckily it seems that this stage has been got through and presently we tend to remove borders and to create a Common European Space.

After an extremely nationalist period during the last century, where the internal borders of our continent suffered a lot of changes and numerous confrontations took place because of them, it seems it is time to think about what brings us closer more than what separates us. This project is presented with the aim to make the students think about the concept of Europe from a geographical perspective. Several geographical sources from all over the world have been used to gain knowledge about the evolution of our continent. The ultimate aim is to make students aware of how the European reality changes according to an exhaustive geographical knowledge of the considered European lands which have dramatically been changing throughout History. Even though it would be unacceptable for a Greek or a Roman to consider a “Hyperborean” as European, the fact is, once these lands were explored and as time went by, that we developed a common culture despite our differences and nowadays we not only consider these peoples as Europeans but also we are involved along with them in the European Union common project. To become convinced of that, it is necessary that present time students have a geographical and evolutionary overview of our continent, from ancient ages up to present time. As this project would need a lot of time, effort and means we have decided to provide teachers and students with a generic view from which they can work, expanding it and designing it according to their own needs. Thus, the present project is somehow like pattern to work on in a future to get a much clearer picture.

After a tragic time over the last century, marked by death and destruction because of the change of the internal borders of the European states, among other factors, it seems that time has come to ignore these borders somehow and to create a common space for understanding. This doesn’t mean that our students should not learn these borders, their meaning and their history. The aim of the present project is to make the students think about the consequences and history of these territorial divisions through a slight study of three European states: Spain, Germany and The Netherlands. The final intention is that our students are able to know by themselves the geographical and historic evolution of the different European states and to link this knowledge to the different historic stages shared by the European countries. As this project would need a lot of time, effort and means we have decided to provide teachers and students with a series of templates which can serve as a pattern so that both teachers and students can devise their own teaching or learning materials on the area they want. The ultimate aim is to try to make our students understand the present divisions in Europe and their meaning through time.

Conceptual Objectives

  • To minimally know the evolution of the external and internal borders of Europe.
  • To think about the concept of Europe from its external borders.
  • To think about the consequences of the internal division of Europe and the union of certain peoples inside the same borders.
  • To understand the common geographical characteristics which allow us to say that Europe is one single continent.
  • To understand the internal borders of Europe on the basis of its history.
  • To minimally know the evolution of the internal borders of Europe on the basis of the three suggested models.
  • To know the peoples which integrate into Europe throughout History.

Methodological Objectives and Skills

  • To compare different maps and describe them explaining their differences.
  • To use the different concepts of Europe, from a geographical view throughout history to find a common link.
  • To use Geography and History to understand the present borders.
  • To analyze the external and internal borders of Europe and relate them with the different stages of the European History.
  • To analyze why some peoples decide to join inside the same border creating new states.

Suggestion of Activities

  1. To link the different maps of Europe and classify them into the corresponding historic stage giving some explanation for it.
  2. To do a little group research project on the different parts which, from a geographical point of view, Europe shows deepening our knowledge of them.
  3. To think about the existing relationship between the geographical knowledge of our continent and the concept of Europe, doing a personal project.
  4. To think, by means of individual research projects, about the existing relationship between the geographical knowledge of the territory and the creation of states.
  5. To analyze whether the present European external borders include all the European peoples or there are some outside them.
  6. To analyze whether the present European internal borders are a response to a simple geographical concept or to other reasons concept.

Suggestion of Evaluation

Individual and group projects rewarding the best students with high marks and publishing their projects as a way to acknowledge their efforts.

Further Information and Interdisciplinarity

To link the study of the external/internal borders of Europe with the subject of History in 2nd year CSE, Geography in 3rd year CSE, History in 4th year CSE, History of the Contemporary World in 1st year B, Philosophy in 1st year Post Compulsory Secondary Education and Language and Literature in 1st year Post Compulsory Secondary Education.