Until the 1850's, Europeans ate in the same style as Americans, switching their forks to their right hand after cutting with their left hand. In 1853, a French chef was cited in an etiquette book that changed thie practice. This French chef suggested that those who wished to eat like fashonable people should not switch their fork to their right hand after cutting their meat, but raise their fork to their mouth still in their left hand, thus, the Continental style.
The European upper classes immediately adopted this practice. Soon, Europeans of all classes began eating in the Continental style. This easy, convenient style is also great for left handed people, and as always, remember to cut your meat in any style with your elbows next to your sides.