Western Europe may also refer to the part of Europe that did not come under Communist rule at the end of the Second World War, and is therefore massively more advanced, wealthy and stable that its counterpart, Eastern Europe. So wealthy had it become, indeed, that upon the fall of Communism it was able to absorb most of Eastern Europe into its economy - as part of an expanded European Union - rescuing it from economic and social collapse. Western Europe is also the home of two of the world's most important currencies, the euro and the British pound. Some of the world's greatest cities - Rome, Paris, London etc. are situated in Western Europe, and it is the home of the English language, the French language, and the Spanish language. Western European culture can be traced back to that of Ancient Rome, and it is also the birthplace of both the Catholic Church and Protestantism - in addition to the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. Colonists from Western Europe have settled the entire length and breadth of North America, South America, and Australia, taking their languages and culture with them.
The economies of many former communist European nations are expanding rapidly. The difference between Western Europe and Eastern Europe is becoming less clear cut.