Capital City: Berlin
Total Area: 357,021km2
Germany is a federal parliamentary republic in western-central Europe. The country consists of 16 states and its capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres (137,847 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With 80.3 million inhabitants, it is the most populous member state in the European Union. Germany is the major economic and political power of the European continent and a historic leader in many theoretical and technical fields.Germany is a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is the second-largest exporter and third-largest importer of goods. The country ranks highly in many international metrics of performance, has developed a very high standard of living, and features a comprehensive social security system, which includes the world’s oldest universal health care system. Known for its rich cultural and political history, Germany has been the home of many influential philosophers, music composers, scientists, and inventors.In the Classical Era, what is now the Federal Republic of Germany and Austria was occupied by Balts, Celts, and others. The Germanic population was largely restricted to Scandinavia and various Baltic Sea islands. By the time they first entered the historical record in the 4th Century BC (in the writings of Pytheas), they had begun to migrate across the Baltic. Tribes such as the Goths and Winnili (later known as Lombards) displaced the Balts, and soon came to the attention of the expanding Roman Empire. A region named Germania, inhabited by several Germanic peoples, was documented before AD 100. During the Migration Period, the Germanic tribes expanded southward and established successor kingdoms throughout much of Europe.
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 while southern and western areas (most notably Bavaria) remained dominated by Roman Catholicism, with the two factions clashing in the Thirty Years’ War, marking the beginning of the Catholic–Protestant divide that has characterised German society ever since. Occupied during the Napoleonic Wars, the rise of Pan-Germanism inside the German Confederation resulted in the unification of most of the German states in 1871 into the German Empire, which was dominated by Prussia.
After the German Revolution of 1918–1919 and the subsequent military surrender in World War I, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic in 1918, with some of its territory partitioned in the Treaty of Versailles. Despite its lead in many scientific and cultural fields at this time, Germany endured significant economic and political instability, which intensified during the Great Depression and contributed to the establishment of the Third Reich in 1933. The subsequent rise of fascism leads to World War II, which devastated the country and much of Europe. Following the war’s end in 1945, Germany was divided by allied occupation and evolved into two states, East Germany and West Germany, which were at the centre of the Cold War. In 1990, amidst the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the country was reunified.
Germany was a founding member of the European Community in 1957, which became the EU in 1993. It is part of the Schengen Area, and has been a member of the euro area since 1999. Germany is considered a great power in regional and global affairs, and is a member of several international institutions, including the United Nations, NATO, the G8, the G20, the OECD and the Council of Europe.