West is a concept that derives from Latin occĭdens and that it refers, in different ways and with different scopes, to West. When it is written with an initial capital letter, it specifically mentions the Cardinal point. For instance: “The captain ordered that we look west to avoid the sandbars”, “I don’t know which way to go: in the West, we have mountains, while in the East there are several rivers”.
The idea of the West can also refer to that which is located west of something or in the West zone of a place: “The Muslim population is grouped in the west of the city: there are several mosques there”, “The western part of this province is full of soybean fields”.
The most frequent use of the notion, however, is used to name the group of countries who maintain a similar cultural tradition and whose economic, political and social organization systems are similar. In this sense, the world is usually divided into the West and the East, as can be done geographically.
Although there are multiple interpretations of what is understood by the West, in general the nations where the West is predominant are included within the group. religion catholic or Protestant, the capitalism and the democracy. These characteristics, however, are not exclusive, since there are countries that do not meet any of these requirements but, in any case, they are included within the Western world.
What is produced in the West or is linked to it is classified as western. Therefore, one can speak of Western literature, Western music, etc.
The Western European region, which is also called Western Europe, is located in the western part of the continent, on the Atlantic Ocean. In any case, this concept has other meanings and is generally used to refer to those states that manifested capitalist positions during the Cold War.
Later this term has been used to refer to countries that have a democratic government system and maintain a mixed economy (free market but where the State also has a strong participation and intervention). To this day, however, this definition is becoming outdated since there are many countries that have these characteristics and do not belong to Western Europe.
The division of Europe into Eastern and Western has a historical rather than a geographical reason. At the end of the Second World War, a map was raised that was politically divided into two clearly. Countries were grouped together regardless of their geographic location, taking into account their political affinities. Greece for example, although it is located in the eastern part of Europe, it is one of the countries that make up Western Europe; while Lithuania, which is further east, counts as Eastern. Broadly speaking, we can say that the Western part is made up of those most industrialized countries; and its members, the vast majority, are part of the European Union.
If we wanted to make a specific geographical division, Europe is divided into four: Western, Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe. It is important to note, however, that this classification is not always used in this way, for this reason, it is important to know the way in which the speaker is referring to the continent; according to their political division or taking into account the geographical division.
It is worth mentioning that many times the concept of the West is used in contrast to that of the East to refer to a more advanced culture where democracy and social equality reign; However, this is nothing more than a prejudice that is disseminated to disparage the culture of the peoples of the East.