Europe: North
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Northern Europe includes Great Britain, Ireland, Northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland. This group of countries is significant in a number of ways, being mostly characterized by long histories of maritime trade, upon which were founded the early development of modern urban industrial economies associated with the secularization of society, the rise of scientific †positivism and *colonial claims upon overseas territories. Anthropology, as the empirical study of other peoples, had its origins in the conjuncture of philosophical liberalism, economic self-interest and developing forms of political control in Northern Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Yet this region, the principal source of post-Enlightenment Western influence elsewhere in the world, also contains its own semi-colonized peripheries: Brittany, Ireland, Wales and Scotland (the ‘Celtic fringe’), and Finland, Northern Sweden, Norway and Iceland (the ‘northern fringe’).