Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic in West-Central Europe. It includes 16 constituent states and covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres (137,847 sq mi) with a largely temperate seasonal climate. Its capital and largest city is Berlin. With about 81.5 million inhabitants, Germany is the most populous member state in the European Union. After the United States, it is the second most popular migration destination in the world.
Various Germanic tribes have occupied the northern parts of current Germany since classical antiquity. A region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period the Germanic tribes expanded southward. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation.
The rise of Pan-Germanism inside the German Confederation resulted in the unification of most of the German states in 1871 into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the German Revolution of 1918–1919, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic. The establishment of the national socialist dictatorship in 1933 led to World War II and systematic genocide. After 1945, Germany split into two states, East Germany and West Germany. In 1990, the country was reunified.
In the 21st century, Germany is a great power and has the world's fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP, as well as the fifth-largest by PPP. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods. Germany is a developed country with a very high standard of living sustained by a skilled and productive society. It upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection and a tuition-free university education.
Germany was a founding member of the European Union in 1993. It is part of the Schengen Area, and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G8, the G20, and the OECD. The national military expenditure is the 9th highest in the world. Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential artists, philosophers, musicians, sportsmen, entrepreneurs, scientists and inventors.
History[edit | edit source]
The discovery of the Mauer 1 mandible shows that ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete hunting weapons found anywhere in the world were discovered in a coal mine in Schöningen where three 380,000-year-old wooden javelins 6–7.5 feet long were unearthed. The Neander Valley was the location where the first ever non-modern human fossil was discovered, the new species of human was named Neanderthal man. The Neanderthal 1 fossils are known to be 40,000 years old. Evidence of modern humans, similarly dated, has been found in caves in the Swabian Jura near Ulm. The finds include 42,000-year-old bird bone and mammoth ivory flutes which are the oldest musical instruments ever found, the 40,000-year-old Ice Age Lion Man which is the oldest uncontested figurative art ever discovered, and the 35,000-year-old Venus of Hohle Fels which is the oldest uncontested human figurative art ever discovered. The Nebra sky disk is a bronze artifact created during the European Bronze Age attributed to a site near Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt. It is part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Register.