1. Council of Europe – The Council of Europe is an international organisation focused on protecting human rights, democracy, rule of law in Europe and promoting European culture. Founded in 1949, it has 47 member states, covers approximately 820 million people, No country has ever joined the EU without first belonging to the Council of Europe. Unlike the EU, the Council of Europe cannot make binding laws, the best known body of the Council of Europe is the European Court of Human Rights, which enforces the European Convention on Human Rights. The Commissioner for Human Rights is an independent institution within the Council of Europe, mandated to promote awareness of, the Secretary General heads the secretariat of the organisation. Other major CoE bodies include the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines, the headquarters of the Council of Europe are in Strasbourg, France. English and French are its two official languages, the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress also use German, Italian, Russian, and Turkish for some of their work. In a speech at the University of Zurich on 19 September 1946, Sir Winston Churchill called for a kind of United States of Europe and he had spoken of a Council of Europe as early as 1943 in a radio broadcast. There were two schools of thought competing, some favoured a classical international organisation with representatives of governments, both approaches were finally combined through the creation of the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly under the Statute of the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe was founded on 5 May 1949 by the Treaty of London and those conventions and decisions are developed by the member states working together at the Council of Europe. Both organizations function as concentric circles around the foundations for European co-operation and harmony. The European Union could be seen as the circle with a much higher level of integration through the transfer of powers from the national to the EU level. The Council of Europe and the European Union, different roles, Council of Europe conventions/treaties are also open for signature to non-member states, thus facilitating equal co-operation with countries outside Europe. The Convention created the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, the Court supervises compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights and thus functions as the highest European court. It is to court that Europeans can bring cases if they believe that a member country has violated their fundamental rights. The various activities and achievements of the Council of Europe can be found in detail on its official website, Promotion of the right to education under Article 2 of the first Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights and several conventions on the recognition of university studies and diplomas. Promotion of fair sport through the Anti-Doping Convention Promotion of European youth exchanges and co-operation through European Youth Centres in Strasbourg and Budapest, Promotion of the quality of medicines throughout Europe by the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and its European Pharmacopoeia. The institutions of the Council of Europe are, The Secretary General, mr Thorbjørn Jagland, the former Prime Minister of Norway was elected Secretary General of the Council of Europe in September 2009. In June 2014, he was re-elected, and his term in office commenced on 1 October 2014Council of Europe – Plaque commemorating the first session of the Council of Europe Assembly at Strasbourg University
2. Secretary General of the Council of Europe – The Secretary General of the Council of Europe is appointed by the Parliamentary Assembly on the recommendation of the Committee of Ministers for a period of five years. Coincidentally, both candidates were Prime Ministers at the time and both are social democrats. On June 23, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly decided to postpone the election at least until its September session, on 11 September 2009, reporting on the election controversy, Le Monde reported that the future Secretary General would inherit an institution that was in crisis. On September 30,2009, Thorbjørn Jagland was elected as Secretary-General, on June 24,2014 he was re-elected to a second, five-year term to start on October 1,2014. The Council of Europe Secretary GeneralSecretary General of the Council of Europe – Incumbent Thorbjørn Jagland since 1 October 2009; 6 years ago (2009-10-01)
3. Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe – The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe or commonly the Committee of Ministers is the Council of Europes decision-making body. It comprises the Foreign Affairs Ministers of all the member states, in collaboration with the Parliamentary Assembly, it is the guardian of the Councils fundamental values, and monitors member states compliance with their undertakings. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of each Council of Europe member state sits on the Committee of Ministers, in May 1951 the Committee of Ministers invited each member state to appoint a Permanent Representative who would be in constant touch with the organisation. All Permanent Representatives reside in Strasbourg and they are usually senior diplomats with ambassadorial rank, occasionally chargés daffaires. In 1952 the Committee of Ministers decided that each Minister could appoint a Deputy, the Ministers Deputies have the same decision-making powers as the Ministers. A Deputy is usually also the Permanent Representative of the member State, the second in rank in a delegation usually has the title Deputy Permanent Representative, not to be confused with Ministers Deputy. The Committee meets at ministerial level once a year, in May or in November, the meetings, known as sessions, are normally held in Strasbourg and usually last one full day or two half days. While the greater part of each session is devoted to political dialogue. Although the records of the sessions are confidential, a final communiqué is issued at the end of each meeting, the Ministers may also issue one or more declarations. Meetings of the Ministers Deputies are usually held in the Committee of Ministers meeting room once a week, the Deputies also meet several times a week in subsidiary groups. The Committee of Ministers has the authority to invite European States to become members of the Council of Europe and it may also suspend or terminate membership. The process of admission begins when the Committee of Ministers, having received an application for membership. The Assembly adopts an opinion which is published in the Assemblys texts adopted, if the Committee decides that a state can be admitted, it adopts a resolution inviting that state to become a member. The invitation specifies the number of seats that the state will have in the Assembly as well as its contribution to the budget, recently the invitations have included a number of conditions concerning the implementation of democratic reforms in the applicant state. Once invited, a state becomes a member by depositing, normally by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, once the European Union has attained full legal personality, it could also accede to the Council of Europe. So far, the European Community has only signed Council of Europe treaties, over 190 treaties have now been opened for signature. The text of any treaty is finalised when it is adopted by the Committee, under Article 20 of the Statute adoption of a treaty requires, a two-thirds majority of the representatives casting a vote, a majority of those entitled to vote. The same majorities are required to authorise the publication of any explanatory report, the Committee also fixes the date that the treaty will be opened for signatureCommittee of Ministers of the Council of Europe – Presidency of Moldova. 15th May - 6th November 2003
4. Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe – The Assembly held its first session in Strasbourg on 10 August 1949, making it one of the oldest international assemblies in Europe. In general the Assembly meets four times per year in Strasbourg at the Palace of Europe for week-long plenary sessions, the nine permanent committees of the Assembly meet all year long to prepare reports and draft resolutions in their respective fields of expertise. The Assembly sets its own agenda, but its debates and reports are primarily focused on defending human rights, promoting democracy, protecting minorities and upholding the rule of law. Judges of the European Court of Human Rights are elected by PACE from a list of three candidates nominated by member state which has ratified the European Convention on Human Rights. As a result, around one third of the current bench of 47 judges are women, the Assembly has a total of 636 members –318 principal members and 318 substitutes – who are appointed or elected by the parliaments of each member state. Delegations must reflect the balance in the parliament, so contain members of both ruling parties and oppositions. The population of each country determines its number of representatives and number of votes and this is in contrast to the Committee of Ministers, the Council of Europes executive body, where each country has one vote. The special guest status of the National Assembly of Belarus was suspended on 13 January 1997, parliaments with Partner for Democracy status pledge to work towards certain basic values of the Council of Europe, and agree to occasional assessments of their progress. In return, they are able to send delegations to take part in the work of the Assembly and its committees, the Assembly has five political groups. The official languages of the Council of Europe are English and French, in 2015 he was re-elected for a second five-year term, which began in February 2016. However, the Russian delegation remained members of the Assembly, the sanction applied throughout the remainder of the 2014 session and was renewed for a full year in January 2015, lapsing in January 2016. It did so again in January 2017, leaving empty seats in the Assembly for a further year, the sanctions applied only to Russian parliamentarians in PACE, the Council of Europes parliamentary body. Russia continues to be a member of the Council of Europe, and retains full rights in the organisations other bodies, including its statutory executive body. According to the report, said member states also hire lobbyists to fend off criticism of their human rights records, German news magazine Der Spiegel had earlier revealed details about the strategies of Azerbaijan’s government to influence the voting behaviour of selected members of the Parliamentary Assembly. Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Le Conseil de lEurope, Jean-Louis Burban, publisher PUF, collection « Que sais-je. », n°885Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe – The hemicycle of the PACE at the Palace of Europe
5. Congress of the Council of Europe – The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is the pan-European political assembly representing local and regional authorities from the forty-seven member states of the Council of Europe. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities assembly is constituted by 648 members which hold elective office representing over 200,000 authorities in different states. The present Congress of Local and Regional Authorities was established on 14 January 1994 with the Statutory Resolution 94 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. However, the history of the Congress reflects the already fifty-year history of the development of local and regional democracy in Europe, the Congress’ predecessor, the Conference of Local Authorities of Europe was first established at the Council of Europe in 1957. It held its first session on 12 January 1957 in Strasbourg presided by the prominent French statesman Jacques Chaban-Delmas, in 1979 it became the Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe. The Charter was opened for signature in October 1985 and has since been signed by all Council of Europe member states, the role of the Bureau as the executive body of the Congress was strengthened, and the adopted texts subject to a clearer and more concrete follow-up procedure. In the light of this reform, the Committee of Minister adopted a version of the Statutory Resolution. The Congress adopted its new Rules of Procedure in March 2012, in October 2012 it adopted its priorities 2013-2016. As political Assembly of local and regional elected representatives, the Congress is the voice of Europe’s 200,000 regions and it promotes the strengthening of local and regional democracy in all Council of Europe member States. The Congress carries out monitoring missions of the local and regional authorities in member states and prepares reports on the situation in the State concerned, the recommendations are then forwarded to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe which gives them the appropriate follow up whenever needed. It also observes local and regional elections, after an observation mission it drafts a report and a recommendation which are also submitted to the sessions for adoption. Furthermore, it prepares thematic reports which, together with a recommendation and/or a resolution, are debated during its sessions, as part of its monitoring of regional democracy in Europe, the Congress maintains a regular dialogue with member states of the Council of Europe. More information on dialogue with governments can be found here, the Chamber also handles social issues and supports the cooperation of European cities, such as intercultural dialogues, e-democracy, or multiculturalism. It promotes the principles of democracy outside Europe, inter alia through Euro-Arab dialogue between cities and Euro-Mediterranean co-operation. If necessary, the Chamber of Local Authorities can also require a member to write a report to a relevant question of his or her expertise, a list of the members of this Chamber can be found here. The Chamber of Regions consists of representatives of authorities that act between the local and central levels of government, the authority must have either self-governing or state-like powers. The Chamber of Regions meets twice a year during the sessions of the Congress, holds debates on issues such as the regionalisation in Europe. It deals with the role of regions within the states of the Congress, regional democracy, inter-regional cooperation and regional economyCongress of the Council of Europe – The logo of the Congress
6. European Court of Human Rights – The European Court of Human Rights is a supra-national or international court established by the European Convention on Human Rights. It hears applications alleging that a state has breached one or more of the human rights provisions concerning civil and political rights set out in the Convention. An application can be lodged by an individual, a group of individuals or one or more of the contracting states, and, besides judgments. The Convention was adopted within the context of the Council of Europe, the Court is based in Strasbourg, France. The jurisdiction of the Court has been recognised to date by all 47 member states of the Council of Europe. In 1998, the Court became an institution and the European Commission of Human Rights. The accession of new states to the European Convention on Human Rights following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 led to a increase in applications filed in the Court. The efficiency of the Court was threatened seriously by the number of pending applications. In 19998,400 applications were allocated to be heard, in 200327,200 cases were filed and the number of pending applications rose to approximately 65,000. In 2005, the Court opened 45,500 case files, in 200957,200 applications were allocated, with the number of pending applications rose to 119,300. Protocol 14 entered into force on 1 June 2010, three months after it was ratified by all 47 contracting states to the Convention, between 2006 and 2010, Russia was the only contracting state to refuse to ratify Protocol 14. In 2010, Russia ended its opposition to the protocol, in exchange for a guarantee that Russian judges would be involved in reviewing complaints against Russia. Protocol 14 amended the Convention so that judges would be elected for a term of nine years. Amendments were also made so that a judge could reject plainly inadmissible applications. In cases of doubt, the single judge refers the applications to the Committee of the Court, a single judge may not examine applications against the state which nominated him. The three judge committee has jurisdiction to declare applications admissible and decide on the merits of the if it was clearly well founded and based on well established case law. Protocol 14 also provides that when a three judge committee decides on the merits of a case, the elected to represent that state is no longer a compulsory member of this committee. The judge can be invited by the committee, to one of its membersEuropean Court of Human Rights – Building of the European Court of Human Rights
7. Commissioner for Human Rights – The current Commissioner is Nils Muižnieks, a Latvian-American, who began his six-year mandate on April 1,2012. The Commissioner conducts visits to member state for an evaluation of the human rights situation. The mandate of the Commissioner is based on the resolution 50 of the Council of Europe, while the Commissioner shall function independently and impartially. The Commissioner may act on any information relevant to the Commissioners functions, the Commissioner may directly contact governments of member States of the Council of Europe. The Commissioner may also issue recommendations, opinions and reports, the Commissioner enjoys immunity from arrest and all legal proceedings in the territories of all members, in respect of words spoken and votes cast. In the course of visits, he meets with the highest representatives of government, parliament. The Commissioner also has the right to intervene as a party in the proceedings of the European Court of Human Rights. Thematic reporting and advising on human rights systematic implementation The Commissioner also conducts work on subjects central to the protection of human rights in Europe. He provides advice and information on the prevention of human rights violations and releases opinions, Issue Papers, awareness-raising activities The Commissioner promotes awareness of human rights in member states, by organising and taking part in seminars and events on various human rights themes. The Commissioner engages in permanent dialogue with governments, civil society organisations and he further contributes to the debate and the reflection on current and important human rights matters through contacts with the media, the publication of periodic articles and thematic documents. The office also cooperates closely with human rights structures, leading human rights NGOs, universitiesCommissioner for Human Rights – Institutions
8. European Commission against Racism and Intolerance – It publishes periodic reports on CoE member states and general policy recommendations. The decision to found ECRI was adopted in 1993, ECRI consists of 47 experts, one from every CoE member state. The chair of the commission is Christian Åhlund from Sweden since 2014, former ECRI chairs include Nikos Frangakis, Michael Head, Eva Smith Asmussen and Nils Muižnieks. Commissioner for Human Rights Fundamental Rights Agency ECRI websiteEuropean Commission against Racism and Intolerance – Institutions
9. Member states of the Council of Europe – The Council of Europe has 47 member states. It was founded on 5 May 1949 by ten Western and Northern European states, with Greece and it now has 47 member states, with Montenegro being the latest to join. Article 4 of the Council of Europe Statute specifies that membership is open to any European country, provided they meet specific democratic, Belarus applied for full membership on 12 March 1993, and its parliament held special guest status with the Parliamentary Assembly from September 1992 to January 1997. A second change of the Belarus constitution in October 2004, moreover does not respect minimum democratic standards and violates the principles of separation of powers, as of May 2013, this condition had not been met. Kazakhstan applied for the Special Guest status with the Parliamentary Assembly in 1999, Kazakhstan signed a co-operation agreement with the Assembly in April 2004. The country acceded to the Council of Europe European Cultural Convention on 24 February 2010 and this milestone emboldens Kazakhstans Path to Europe programme, as outlined by Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev in Astana in 2008. Hashim Thaçi, Kosovos Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated in December 2014 that an application for membership of the Council of Europe was planned to be filed within the first quarter of 2015, observer status was designed for non-European democracies willing to contribute to democratic transitions in Europe. Canada, Japan, Mexico, the U. S. and they may contribute financially to the activities of the Council of Europe on a voluntary basis. The parliaments of Canada, Israel and Mexico have observer status with the Parliamentary Assembly and their delegations can participate in Assembly sessions, there has been criticism concerning the observer status of Japan and the United States because both countries apply the death penalty. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has been lobbying for the United States, the Council also voted to restore Special Guest status to Belarus, on condition that Belarus declares a moratorium on the death penalty. CoE has adopted the policy of dialogue with the regions of the southern Mediterranean. Several of these parliaments have expressed interest in upgrading the status of the existing co-operation, so far only the Kazakhstan Parliament had taken advantage of it since 2004. In November 2006, the Kazakhstan Parliament officially asked to be granted observer status with the AssemblyMember states of the Council of Europe – Founder states
10. Albania – Albania, officially the Republic of Albania, is a country in Southeastern Europe. It has a population of 3.03 million as of 2016, Tirana is the nations capital and largest city, followed by Durrës and Vlorë. The country has a coastline on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, the Adriatic Sea to the west. Albania is less than 72 km from Italy, across the Strait of Otranto which connects the Adriatic Sea to the Ionian Sea. In antiquity, the area of Albania was home to several Illyrian, Thracian. After the Illyrian Wars, it part of the Roman provinces of Dalmatia, Macedonia and Moesia Superior. In 1190, the first Albanian state, the Principality of Arbanon was established by archon Progon in the region of Krujë, the territory of Albania was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, of which it remained part of for the next five centuries. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in Europe, following the Balkan Wars, the Kingdom of Albania was invaded by Italy in 1939, which formed Greater Albania, before becoming a Nazi German protectorate in 1943. The following year, a socialist Peoples Republic was established under the leadership of Enver Hoxha, Albania experienced widespread social and political transformations in the communist era, as well as isolation from much of the international community. In 1991, the Socialist Republic was dissolved and the Republic of Albania was established, Albania is a democratic and developing country with an upper-middle income economy. The service sector dominates the economy, followed by the industrial. After the fall of communism in Albania, Free-market reforms have opened the country to foreign investment, especially in the development of energy, Albania has a high HDI and provides universal health care system and free primary and secondary education to its citizens. Albania is a member of the United Nations, NATO, WTO, World Bank, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and it is also an official candidate for membership in the European Union. Albania is one of the members of the Energy Community, Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. It is home to the largest lake in Southern Europe and one of the oldest lakes in Europe, Albania is the Medieval Latin name of the country. The name may have a continuation in the name of a settlement called Albanon and Arbanon. During the Middle Ages, the Albanians called their country Arbëri or Arbëni, Albanians today call their country Shqipëri. As early as the 17th century the placename Shqipëria and the ethnic demonym Shqiptarë gradually replaced Arbëria, the two terms are popularly interpreted as Land of the Eagles and Children of the EaglesAlbania – Albanian Peasants costumes - illustration by Percy Anderson for Costume Fanciful, Historical and Theatrical, 1906
11. Andorra – Created under a charter in 988, the present principality was formed in 1278. It is known as a principality as it is a monarchy headed by two Co-Princes – the Roman Catholic Bishop of Urgell in Spain, and the President of France. Andorra is the sixth-smallest nation in Europe, having an area of 468 km2 and its capital Andorra la Vella is the highest capital city in Europe, at an elevation of 1,023 metres above sea level. The official language is Catalan, although Spanish, Portuguese, Andorras tourism services an estimated 10.2 million visitors annually. It is not a member of the European Union, but the euro is the official currency and it has been a member of the United Nations since 1993. In 2013, the people of Andorra had the highest life expectancy in the world at 81 years, the origin of the word Andorra is unknown, although several hypotheses have been formulated. The word Andosini or Andosins may derive from the Basque handia whose meaning is big or giant, the Andorran toponymy shows evidence of Basque language in the area. Another theory suggests that the word Andorra may derive from the old word Anorra that contains the Basque word ur, another theory suggests that Andorra may derive from Arabic al-durra, meaning The forest. Other theories suggest that the term derives from the Navarro-Aragonese andurrial, la Balma de la Margineda found by archaeologists at Sant Julia de Loria were the first temporal settled in 10000 BC as a passing place between the two sides of the Pyrenees. The seasonal camp was located for hunting and fishing by the groups of hunter-gatherers from Ariege. During the Neolithic Age the group of humans moved to the Valley of Madriu as a permanent camp in 6640 BC, the population of the valley grew cereals, raised domestic livestock and developed a commercial trade with people from the Segre and Occitania. Other archaeological deposits include the Tombs of Segudet and Feixa del Moro both dated in 4900-4300 BC as an example of the Urn culture in Andorra, the model of small settlements begin to evolved as an complex urbanism during the Bronze Age. We can found metallurgical items of iron, ancient coins and relicaries in the ancient sanctuaries scattered around the country, the inhabitants of the valleys were traditionally associated with the Iberians and historically located in Andorra as the Iberian tribe Andosins or Andosini during the VII and II centuries BC. Influenced by Aquitanias, Basque and Iberian languages the locals developed some current toponyms, early writings and documents relating this group of people goes back to the second century BC by the Greek writer Polybius in his Histories during the Punic Wars. Some of the most significant remains of this era are the Castle of the Roc dEnclar, lAnxiu in Les Escaldes and it is known the presence of Roman influence from the II century BC to the V century AD. The places found with more Roman presence are in Camp Vermell in Sant Julia de Loria, people continued trading, mainly with wine and cereals, with the Roman cities of Urgellet and all across Segre through the Via Romana Strata Ceretana. After the fall of the Roman Empire Andorra was under the influence of the Visigoths, not directly from the Kingdom of Toledo by distance, the Visigoths remained during 200 years in the valleys, a period in which Christianization takes place within the country. The fall of the Visigoths came from the Muslim Empire and its conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, Andorra remained away from these invasions by the FranksAndorra – Sant Joan de Caselles church, dating from the 11th century.
12. Armenia – Armenia, officially the Republic of Armenia, is a sovereign state in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. The Republic of Armenia constitutes only one-tenth of historical Armenia, Armenia is a unitary, multi-party, democratic nation-state with an ancient cultural heritage. Urartu was established in 860 BC and by the 6th century BC it was replaced by the Satrapy of Armenia, in the 1st century BC the Kingdom of Armenia reached its height under Tigranes the Great. Armenia became the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion, in between the late 3rd century to early years of the 4th century, the state became the first Christian nation. The official date of adoption of Christianity is 301 AD. The ancient Armenian kingdom was split between the Byzantine and Sasanian Empires around the early 5th century, under the Bagratuni dynasty, the Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia was restored in the 9th century. Declining due to the wars against the Byzantines, the fell in 1045. An Armenian principality and later a kingdom Cilician Armenia was located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea between the 11th and 14th centuries. By the 19th century, Eastern Armenia had been conquered by the Russian Empire, during World War I, Armenians living in their ancestral lands in the Ottoman Empire were systematically exterminated in the Armenian Genocide. By 1920, the state was incorporated into the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, in 1936, the Transcaucasian state was dissolved, transforming its constituent states, including the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic, into full Union republics. The modern Republic of Armenia became independent in 1991 during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Republic of Armenia recognises the Armenian Apostolic Church, the worlds oldest national church, as the countrys primary religious establishment. The unique Armenian alphabet was invented by Mesrop Mashtots in 405 AD, Armenia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, the Council of Europe and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Armenia supports the de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which was proclaimed in 1991, the native Armenian name for the country is Հայք. The name in the Middle Ages was extended to Հայաստան, by addition of the Persian suffix -stan, the further origin of the name is uncertain. It is also postulated that the name Hay comes from one of the two confederated, Hittite vassal states—the Ḫayaša-Azzi. The exonym Armenia is attested in the Old Persian Behistun Inscription as Armina, the ancient Greek terms Ἀρμενία and Ἀρμένιοι are first mentioned by Hecataeus of Miletus. Xenophon, a Greek general serving in some of the Persian expeditions, describes many aspects of Armenian village life and he relates that the people spoke a language that to his ear sounded like the language of the Persians. According to the histories of both Moses of Chorene and Michael Chamchian, Armenia derives from the name of Aram, a descendant of HaykArmenia – Reconstruction of Herodotus ' world map c. 450 BC, with Armenia shown in the center
13. Austria – Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a federal republic and a landlocked country of over 8.7 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, the territory of Austria covers 83,879 km2. The terrain is mountainous, lying within the Alps, only 32% of the country is below 500 m. The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects of German as their native language, other local official languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene. The origins of modern-day Austria date back to the time of the Habsburg dynasty, from the time of the Reformation, many northern German princes, resenting the authority of the Emperor, used Protestantism as a flag of rebellion. Following Napoleons defeat, Prussia emerged as Austrias chief competitor for rule of a greater Germany, Austrias defeat by Prussia at the Battle of Königgrätz, during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, cleared the way for Prussia to assert control over the rest of Germany. In 1867, the empire was reformed into Austria-Hungary, Austria was thus the first to go to war in the July Crisis, which would ultimately escalate into World War I. The First Austrian Republic was established in 1919, in 1938 Nazi Germany annexed Austria in the Anschluss. This lasted until the end of World War II in 1945, after which Germany was occupied by the Allies, in 1955, the Austrian State Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state, ending the occupation. In the same year, the Austrian Parliament created the Declaration of Neutrality which declared that the Second Austrian Republic would become permanently neutral, today, Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states. The capital and largest city, with a population exceeding 1.7 million, is Vienna, other major urban areas of Austria include Graz, Linz, Salzburg and Innsbruck. Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of $43,724, the country has developed a high standard of living and in 2014 was ranked 21st in the world for its Human Development Index. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, joined the European Union in 1995, Austria also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the euro currency in 1999. The German name for Austria, Österreich, meant eastern realm in Old High German, and is cognate with the word Ostarrîchi and this word is probably a translation of Medieval Latin Marchia orientalis into a local dialect. Austria was a prefecture of Bavaria created in 976, the word Austria is a Latinisation of the German name and was first recorded in the 12th century. Accordingly, Norig would essentially mean the same as Ostarrîchi and Österreich, the Celtic name was eventually Latinised to Noricum after the Romans conquered the area that encloses most of modern-day Austria, around 15 BC. Noricum later became a Roman province in the mid-first century AD, heers hypothesis is not accepted by linguists. Settled in ancient times, the Central European land that is now Austria was occupied in pre-Roman times by various Celtic tribes, the Celtic kingdom of Noricum was later claimed by the Roman Empire and made a provinceAustria – First appearance of the word "ostarrichi", circled in red. Modern Austria honours this document, dated 996, as the founding of the nation.
14. Azerbaijan – Azerbaijan, officially the Republic of Azerbaijan, is a country in the South Caucasus region, situated at the crossroads of Southwest Asia and Southeastern Europe. It is bound by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south. The exclave of Nakhchivan is bound by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic proclaimed its independence in 1918 and became the first democratic state in the Muslim orient world. The country was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920 as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, the modern Republic of Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence on 30 August 1991, prior to the official dissolution of the USSR in December 1991. In September 1991, the Armenian majority of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region seceded to form the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, the region and seven adjacent districts outside it became de facto independent with the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994. These regions are recognized as part of Azerbaijan pending a solution to the status of the Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan is a unitary semi-presidential republic, the country is a member state of the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the NATO Partnership for Peace program. It is one of six independent Turkic states, a member of the Turkic Council. Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 158 countries and holds membership in 38 international organizations and it is one of the founding members of GUAM, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Its term of office began on 19 June 2006, Azerbaijan is also a member state of the Non-Aligned Movement, holds observer status in World Trade Organization and is a correspondent at the International Telecommunication Union. The Constitution of Azerbaijan does not declare an official religion and all political forces in the country are secularist. However, the majority of the population are of a Shiite Muslim background, Azerbaijan has a high level of human development which ranks on par with most Eastern European countries. It has a rate of economic development and literacy, as well as a low rate of unemployment. According to the Davos World Economic Forum, Azerbaijans economy has scored 37th place within 138 countries in 2016, Global Competitiveness Index 2015 indicates that Azerbaijan scores highest in its region. ASAN services, established with Presidential Decree, are known for eliminating bribery. ASAN Service has been awarded with United Nations Public Service Award 2015, the ruling party, the New Azerbaijan Party, has been accused of authoritarianism and human rights abuses. The original etymology of name is thought to have its roots in the once-dominant Zoroastrianism. In the Avesta, Frawardin Yasht, there is a mention of âterepâtahe ashaonô fravashîm ýazamaide, the name Atropates itself is the Greek transliteration of an Old Iranian, probably Median, compounded name with the meaning Protected by the Fire or The Land of the FireAzerbaijan – Petroglyphs in Gobustan dating back to 10,000 BC indicating a thriving culture. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site considered to be of "outstanding universal value"
15. Belgium – Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a sovereign state in Western Europe bordered by France, the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, and the North Sea. It is a small, densely populated country which covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres and has a population of about 11 million people. Additionally, there is a group of German-speakers who live in the East Cantons located around the High Fens area. Historically, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were known as the Low Countries, the region was called Belgica in Latin, after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, today, Belgium is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. It is divided into three regions and three communities, that exist next to each other and its two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia. The Brussels-Capital Region is a bilingual enclave within the Flemish Region. A German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia, Belgiums linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments. Upon its independence, declared in 1830, Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Belgium is also a member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD and WTO. Its capital, Brussels, hosts several of the EUs official seats as well as the headquarters of major international organizations such as NATO. Belgium is also a part of the Schengen Area, Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy and is categorized as very high in the Human Development Index. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings, a gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 14th and 15th centuries, the Eighty Years War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands. The latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and this was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. The reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, although the franchise was initially restricted, universal suffrage for men was introduced after the general strike of 1893 and for women in 1949. The main political parties of the 19th century were the Catholic Party, French was originally the single official language adopted by the nobility and the bourgeoisieBelgium – Charlemagne and Charles V
16. Bosnia and Herzegovina – Bosnia and Herzegovina, sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina, and, in short, often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe located on the Balkan Peninsula. Sarajevo is the capital and largest city, in the central and eastern interior of the country the geography is mountainous, in the northwest it is moderately hilly, and the northeast is predominantly flatland. The inland is a larger region and has a moderate continental climate, with hot summers and cold. The southern tip of the country has a Mediterranean climate and plain topography, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a region that traces permanent human settlement back to the Neolithic age, during and after which it was populated by several Illyrian and Celtic civilizations. Culturally, politically, and socially, the country has a rich history, the Ottomans brought Islam to the region, and altered much of the cultural and social outlook of the country. This was followed by annexation into the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which lasted up until World War I. In the interwar period, Bosnia was part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and after World War II, following the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the country proclaimed independence in 1992, which was followed by the Bosnian War, lasting until late 1995. The country is home to three ethnic groups or, officially, constituent peoples, as specified in the constitution. Bosniaks are the largest group of the three, with Serbs second and Croats third, a native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of ethnicity, is identified in English as a Bosnian. The terms Herzegovinian and Bosnian are maintained as a rather than ethnic distinction. Moreover, the country was simply called Bosnia until the Austro-Hungarian occupation at the end of the 19th century, Bosnia and Herzegovina has a bicameral legislature and a three-member Presidency composed of a member of each major ethnic group. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is itself complex and consists of 10 cantons, additionally, the country has been a member of the Council of Europe since April 2002 and a founding member of the Mediterranean Union upon its establishment in July 2008. The name is believed to have derived from the hydronym of the river Bosna coursing through the Bosnian heartland. According to philologist Anton Mayer the name Bosna could be derived from Illyrian Bass-an-as which would be a diversion of the Proto-Indo-European root bos or bogh, meaning the running water. According to English medievalist William Miller the Slavic settlers in Bosnia adapted the Latin designation Basante, to their own idiom by calling the stream Bosna, the name Herzegovina originates from Bosnian magnate Stephen Vukčić Kosačas title, Herceg of Hum and the Coast. Hum, formerly Zahumlje, was a medieval principality that was conquered by the Bosnian Banate in the first half of the 14th century. Bosnia is located in the western Balkans, bordering Croatia to the north and west, Serbia to the east and it has a coastline about 20 kilometres long surrounding the city of Neum. It lies between latitudes 42° and 46° N, and longitudes 15° and 20° E, the countrys name comes from the two regions Bosnia and Herzegovina, which have a very vaguely defined border between themBosnia and Herzegovina – Mogorjelo, ancient Roman suburban Villa Rustica from the 4th century, near Čapljina
17. Bulgaria – Bulgaria, officially the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country in southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, with a territory of 110,994 square kilometres, Bulgaria is Europes 16th-largest country. Organised prehistoric cultures began developing on current Bulgarian lands during the Neolithic period and its ancient history saw the presence of the Thracians, Greeks, Persians, Celts, Romans, Goths, Alans and Huns. With the downfall of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1396, its territories came under Ottoman rule for five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 led to the formation of the Third Bulgarian State, the following years saw several conflicts with its neighbours, which prompted Bulgaria to align with Germany in both world wars. In 1946 it became a one-party socialist state as part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc, in December 1989 the ruling Communist Party allowed multi-party elections, which subsequently led to Bulgarias transition into a democracy and a market-based economy. Bulgarias population of 7.2 million people is predominantly urbanised, most commercial and cultural activities are centred on the capital and largest city, Sofia. The strongest sectors of the economy are industry, power engineering. The countrys current political structure dates to the adoption of a constitution in 1991. Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic with a high degree of political, administrative. Human activity in the lands of modern Bulgaria can be traced back to the Paleolithic, animal bones incised with man-made markings from Kozarnika cave are assumed to be the earliest examples of symbolic behaviour in humans. Organised prehistoric societies in Bulgarian lands include the Neolithic Hamangia culture, Vinča culture, the latter is credited with inventing gold working and exploitation. Some of these first gold smelters produced the coins, weapons and jewellery of the Varna Necropolis treasure and this site also offers insights for understanding the social hierarchy of the earliest European societies. Thracians, one of the three primary groups of modern Bulgarians, began appearing in the region during the Iron Age. In the late 6th century BC, the Persians conquered most of present-day Bulgaria, and kept it until 479 BC. After the division of the Roman Empire in the 5th century the area fell under Byzantine control, by this time, Christianity had already spread in the region. A small Gothic community in Nicopolis ad Istrum produced the first Germanic language book in the 4th century, the first Christian monastery in Europe was established around the same time by Saint Athanasius in central Bulgaria. From the 6th century the easternmost South Slavs gradually settled in the region, in 680 Bulgar tribes under the leadership of Asparukh moved south across the Danube and settled in the area between the lower Danube and the Balkan, establishing their capital at PliskaBulgaria – Objects from Varna necropolis, parts of the oldest golden treasure in the world.
18. Croatia – Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia, is a sovereign state between Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean. Its capital city is Zagreb, which one of the countrys primary subdivisions. Croatia covers 56,594 square kilometres and has diverse, mostly continental, Croatias Adriatic Sea coast contains more than a thousand islands. The countrys population is 4.28 million, most of whom are Croats, the Croats arrived in the area of present-day Croatia during the early part of the 7th century AD. They organised the state into two duchies by the 9th century, tomislav became the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom. The Kingdom of Croatia retained its sovereignty for nearly two centuries, reaching its peak during the rule of Kings Petar Krešimir IV and Dmitar Zvonimir, Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg to the Croatian throne. In 1918, after World War I, Croatia was included in the unrecognized State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs which seceded from Austria-Hungary, a fascist Croatian puppet state backed by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany existed during World War II. After the war, Croatia became a member and a federal constituent of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 25 June 1991 Croatia declared independence, which came wholly into effect on 8 October of the same year, the Croatian War of Independence was fought successfully during the four years following the declaration. A unitary state, Croatia is a republic governed under a parliamentary system, the International Monetary Fund classified Croatia as an emerging and developing economy, and the World Bank identified it as a high-income economy. Croatia is a member of the European Union, United Nations, the Council of Europe, NATO, the World Trade Organization, the service sector dominates Croatias economy, followed by the industrial sector and agriculture. Tourism is a significant source of revenue during the summer, with Croatia ranked the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world, the state controls a part of the economy, with substantial government expenditure. The European Union is Croatias most important trading partner, since 2000, the Croatian government constantly invests in infrastructure, especially transport routes and facilities along the Pan-European corridors. Internal sources produce a significant portion of energy in Croatia, the rest is imported, the origin of the name is uncertain, but is thought to be a Gothic or Indo-Aryan term assigned to a Slavic tribe. The oldest preserved record of the Croatian ethnonym *xъrvatъ is of variable stem, the first attestation of the Latin term is attributed to a charter of Duke Trpimir from the year 852. The original is lost, and just a 1568 copy is preserved—leading to doubts over the authenticity of the claim, the oldest preserved stone inscription is the 9th-century Branimir Inscription, where Duke Branimir is styled as Dux Cruatorvm. The inscription is not believed to be dated accurately, but is likely to be from during the period of 879–892, the area known as Croatia today was inhabited throughout the prehistoric periodCroatia – Branimir Inscription
19. Cyprus – Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean. It is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel and Palestine, north of Egypt, the earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC. Archaeological remains from this include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia. Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC, Cyprus was placed under British administration based on Cyprus Convention in 1878 and formally annexed by Britain in 1914. While Turkish Cypriots made up 18% of the population, the partition of Cyprus and creation of a Turkish state in the north became a policy of Turkish Cypriot leaders, following nationalist violence in the 1950s, Cyprus was granted independence in 1960. On 15 July 1974, a coup détat was staged by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta in an attempt at enosis and these events and the resulting political situation are matters of a continuing dispute. The Cyprus Republic has de jure sovereignty over the island of Cyprus, as well as its territorial sea and exclusive economic area, another nearly 4% of the islands area is covered by the UN buffer zone. The international community considers the part of the island as territory of the Republic of Cyprus occupied by Turkish forces. The occupation is viewed as illegal under law, amounting to illegal occupation of EU territory since Cyprus became a member of the European Union. Cyprus is a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean, on 1 January 2008, the Republic of Cyprus joined the eurozone. The earliest attested reference to Cyprus is the 15th century BC Mycenaean GreekCyprus – A copper mine on Cyprus. In antiquity, Cyprus was a major source of copper.
20. Czech Republic – The Czech Republic, also known as Czechia, is a nation state in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the northeast. The Czech Republic covers an area of 78,866 square kilometres with mostly temperate continental climate and it is a unitary parliamentary republic, has 10.5 million inhabitants and the capital and largest city is Prague, with over 1.2 million residents. The Czech Republic includes the territories of Bohemia, Moravia. The Czech state was formed in the late 9th century as the Duchy of Bohemia under the Great Moravian Empire, after the fall of the Empire in 907, the centre of power transferred from Moravia to Bohemia under the Přemyslid dynasty. In 1002, the duchy was formally recognized as part of the Holy Roman Empire, becoming the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1198 and reaching its greatest territorial extent in the 14th century. Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the whole Crown of Bohemia was gradually integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy alongside the Archduchy of Austria, the Protestant Bohemian Revolt against the Catholic Habsburgs led to the Thirty Years War. After the Battle of the White Mountain, the Habsburgs consolidated their rule, reimposed Roman Catholicism, the Czech part of Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany in World War II, and was liberated in 1945 by the armies of the Soviet Union and the United States. The Czech country lost the majority of its German-speaking inhabitants after they were expelled following the war, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia won the 1946 elections. Following the 1948 coup détat, Czechoslovakia became a one-party communist state under Soviet influence, in 1968, increasing dissatisfaction with the regime culminated in a reform movement known as the Prague Spring, which ended in a Soviet-led invasion. Czechoslovakia remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed, on 6 March 1990, the Czech Socialistic Republic was renamed to the Czech Republic. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004, it is a member of the United Nations, the OECD, the OSCE, and it is a developed country with an advanced, high income economy and high living standards. The UNDP ranks the country 14th in inequality-adjusted human development, the Czech Republic also ranks as the 6th most peaceful country, while achieving strong performance in democratic governance. It has the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union, the traditional English name Bohemia derives from Latin Boiohaemum, which means home of the Boii. The current name comes from the endonym Čech, spelled Cžech until the reform in 1842. The name comes from the Slavic tribe and, according to legend, their leader Čech, the etymology of the word Čech can be traced back to the Proto-Slavic root *čel-, meaning member of the people, kinsman, thus making it cognate to the Czech word člověk. The country has traditionally divided into three lands, namely Bohemia in the west, Moravia in the southeast, and Czech Silesia in the northeast. Following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia at the end of 1992, the Czech part of the former nation found itself without a common single-word geographical name in English, the name Czechia /ˈtʃɛkiə/ was recommended by the Czech Ministry of Foreign AffairsCzech Republic – Přemysl Ottokar II, King of Bohemia (1253–1278) and Duke of Austria (1251–1278)
21. Denmark – Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Scandinavian country in Europe and a sovereign state. The southernmost and smallest of the Nordic countries, it is south-west of Sweden and south of Norway, Denmark also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark has an area of 42,924 square kilometres. The country consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand, the islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. The unified kingdom of Denmark emerged in the 10th century as a proficient seafaring nation in the struggle for control of the Baltic Sea, Denmark, Sweden and Norway were ruled together under the Kalmar Union, established in 1397 and ending with Swedish secession in 1523. Denmark and Norway remained under the monarch until outside forces dissolved the union in 1814. The union with Norway made it possible for Denmark to inherit the Faroe Islands, Iceland, beginning in the 17th century, there were several cessions of territory to Sweden. In the 19th century there was a surge of nationalist movements, Denmark remained neutral during World War I. In April 1940, a German invasion saw brief military skirmishes while the Danish resistance movement was active from 1943 until the German surrender in May 1945, the Constitution of Denmark was signed on 5 June 1849, ending the absolute monarchy which had begun in 1660. It establishes a constitutional monarchy organised as a parliamentary democracy, the government and national parliament are seated in Copenhagen, the nations capital, largest city and main commercial centre. Denmark exercises hegemonic influence in the Danish Realm, devolving powers to handle internal affairs, Home rule was established in the Faroe Islands in 1948, in Greenland home rule was established in 1979 and further autonomy in 2009. Denmark became a member of the European Economic Community in 1973, maintaining certain opt-outs, it retains its own currency, the krone. It is among the members of NATO, the Nordic Council, the OECD, OSCE. The etymology of the word Denmark, and especially the relationship between Danes and Denmark and the unifying of Denmark as a kingdom, is a subject which attracts debate. This is centred primarily on the prefix Dan and whether it refers to the Dani or a historical person Dan and the exact meaning of the -mark ending. Most handbooks derive the first part of the word, and the name of the people, from a word meaning land, related to German Tenne threshing floor. The -mark is believed to mean woodland or borderland, with references to the border forests in south Schleswig. The first recorded use of the word Danmark within Denmark itself is found on the two Jelling stones, which are believed to have been erected by Gorm the Old and Harald BluetoothDenmark – The gilded side of the Trundholm sun chariot dating from the Nordic Bronze Age.
22. Estonia – Estonia, officially the Republic of Estonia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia, across the Baltic Sea lies Sweden in the west and Finland in the north. The territory of Estonia consists of a mainland and 2,222 islands and islets in the Baltic Sea, covering 45,339 km2 of land and water, and is influenced by a humid continental climate. The territory of Estonia has been inhabited since at least 6500 BC, in 1988, during the Singing Revolution, the Estonian Supreme Soviet issued the Estonian Sovereignty Declaration in defiance of Soviet rule, and independence was restored on 20 August 1991. Estonia is a parliamentary republic divided into fifteen counties. Its capital and largest city is Tallinn, with a population of 1.3 million, it is one of the least-populous member states of the European Union, Eurozone, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, OECD and Schengen Area. Estonia is a country with an advanced, high-income economy that is among the fastest growing in the EU. Its Human Development Index ranks very highly, and it performs favourably in measurements of economic freedom, civil liberties, the 2015 PISA test places Estonian high school students 3rd in the world, behind Singapore and Japan. Citizens of Estonia are provided with health care, free education. Since independence the country has developed its IT sector, becoming one of the worlds most digitally advanced societies. In 2005 Estonia became the first nation to hold elections over the Internet, in the Estonian language, the oldest known endonym of the Estonians was maarahvas, meaning country people or people of the land. The land inhabited by Estonians was called Maavald meaning Country Parish or Land Parish, one hypothesis regarding the modern name of Estonia is that it originated from the Aesti, a people described by the Roman historian Tacitus in his Germania. The historic Aesti were allegedly Baltic people, whereas the modern Estonians are Finno-Ugric, the geographical areas between Aesti and Estonia do not match, with Aesti being further down south. Ancient Scandinavian sagas refer to a land called Eistland, as the country is called in Icelandic. Early Latin and other ancient versions of the name are Estia and Hestia, esthonia was a common alternative English spelling prior to 1921. Human settlement in Estonia became possible 13,000 to 11,000 years ago, the oldest known settlement in Estonia is the Pulli settlement, which was on the banks of the river Pärnu, near the town of Sindi, in south-western Estonia. According to radiocarbon dating it was settled around 11,000 years ago, the earliest human inhabitation during the Mesolithic period is connected to Kunda culture, which is named after the town of Kunda in northern Estonia. At that time the country was covered with forests, and people lived in communities near bodies of waterEstonia – Tools made by Kunda culture, Estonian History Museum
23. Finland – Finland, officially the Republic of Finland, is a sovereign state in Northern Europe. A peninsula with the Gulf of Finland to the south and the Gulf of Bothnia to the west, the country has borders with Sweden to the northwest, Norway to the north. Estonia is south of the country across the Gulf of Finland, Finland is a Nordic country situated in the geographical region of Fennoscandia, which also includes Scandinavia. Finlands population is 5.5 million, and the majority of the population is concentrated in the southern region,88. 7% of the population is Finnish people who speak Finnish, a Uralic language unrelated to the Scandinavian languages, the second major group are the Finland-Swedes. In terms of area, it is the eighth largest country in Europe, Finland is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital Helsinki, local governments in 311 municipalities, and an autonomous region, the Åland Islands. Over 1.4 million people live in the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, from the late 12th century, Finland was an integral part of Sweden, a legacy reflected in the prevalence of the Swedish language and its official status. In the spirit of the notion of Adolf Ivar Arwidsson, we are not Swedes, we do not want to become Russians, let us therefore be Finns, nevertheless, in 1809, Finland was incorporated into the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. In 1906, Finland became the nation in the world to give the right to vote to all adult citizens. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared itself independent, in 1918, the fledgling state was divided by civil war, with the Bolshevik-leaning Reds supported by the equally new Soviet Russia, fighting the Whites, supported by the German Empire. After a brief attempt to establish a kingdom, the became a republic. During World War II, the Soviet Union sought repeatedly to occupy Finland, with Finland losing parts of Karelia, Salla and Kuusamo, Petsamo and some islands, Finland joined the United Nations in 1955 and established an official policy of neutrality. The Finno-Soviet Treaty of 1948 gave the Soviet Union some leverage in Finnish domestic politics during the Cold War era, Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialization, remaining a largely agrarian country until the 1950s. It rapidly developed an advanced economy while building an extensive Nordic-style welfare state, resulting in widespread prosperity, however, Finnish GDP growth has been negative in 2012–2014, with a preceding nadir of −8% in 2009. Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, a large majority of Finns are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, though freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Finnish Constitution. The first known appearance of the name Finland is thought to be on three rune-stones. Two were found in the Swedish province of Uppland and have the inscription finlonti, the third was found in Gotland, in the Baltic Sea. It has the inscription finlandi and dates from the 13th century, the name can be assumed to be related to the tribe name Finns, which is mentioned first known time AD98. The name Suomi has uncertain origins, but a candidate for a source is the Proto-Baltic word *źemē, in addition to the close relatives of Finnish, this name is also used in the Baltic languages Latvian and LithuanianFinland – Hakkapeliitta featured on a 1940 Finnish stamp
24. France – France, officially the French Republic, is a country with territory in western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The European, or metropolitan, area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, Overseas France include French Guiana on the South American continent and several island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. France spans 643,801 square kilometres and had a population of almost 67 million people as of January 2017. It is a unitary republic with the capital in Paris. Other major urban centres include Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Nice, Toulouse, during the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. The area was annexed in 51 BC by Rome, which held Gaul until 486, France emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages, with its victory in the Hundred Years War strengthening state-building and political centralisation. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a colonial empire was established. The 16th century was dominated by civil wars between Catholics and Protestants. France became Europes dominant cultural, political, and military power under Louis XIV, in the 19th century Napoleon took power and established the First French Empire, whose subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and later dissolved in the course of the Algerian War, the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, was formed in 1958 and remains to this day. Algeria and nearly all the colonies became independent in the 1960s with minimal controversy and typically retained close economic. France has long been a centre of art, science. It hosts Europes fourth-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and receives around 83 million foreign tourists annually, France is a developed country with the worlds sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, France remains a great power in the world, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a member state of the European Union and the Eurozone. It is also a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, originally applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name France comes from the Latin Francia, or country of the FranksFrance – One of the Lascaux paintings: a horse – Dordogne, approximately 18,000 BC
25. Georgia (country) – Georgia is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. The capital and largest city is Tbilisi, Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometres, and its 2016 population is about 3.72 million. Georgia is a unitary, semi-presidential republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy, during the classical era, several independent kingdoms became established in what is now Georgia. The kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia adopted Christianity in the early 4th century, a unified Kingdom of Georgia reached the peak of its political and economic strength during the reign of King David IV and Queen Tamar in the 12th and early 13th centuries. Thereafter the kingdom declined and eventually disintegrated under hegemony of various powers, including the Mongols, the Ottoman Empire. Russian rule over Georgia was eventually acknowledged in various treaties with Iran. Since the establishment of the modern Georgian republic in April 1991, post-communist Georgia suffered from civil, the countrys Western orientation soon led to the worsening of relations with Russia, culminating in the brief Russo-Georgian War in August 2008. Georgia is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and it contains two de facto independent regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which gained limited international recognition after the 2008 Russo-Georgian War. Georgia and a part of the international community consider the regions to be part of Georgias sovereign territory under Russian military occupation. Georgia probably stems from the Persian designation of the Georgians – gurğān, in the 11th and 12th centuries adapted via Syriac gurz-ān/gurz-iyān, starting with the Persian word gurğ/gurğān, the word was later adopted in numerous other languages, including Slavic and West European languages. This term itself might have established through the ancient Iranian appellation of the near-Caspian region. The self-designation used by ethnic Georgians is Kartvelebi, the medieval Georgian Chronicles present an eponymous ancestor of the Kartvelians, Kartlos, a great-grandson of Japheth. However, scholars agree that the word is derived from the Karts, the name Sakartvelo consists of two parts. Its root, kartvel-i, specifies an inhabitant of the core central-eastern Georgian region of Kartli, ancient Greeks and Romans referred to early western Georgians as Colchians and eastern Georgians as Iberians. Today the full, official name of the country is Georgia, before the 1995 constitution came into force the countrys name was the Republic of Georgia. The territory of modern-day Georgia was inhabited by Homo erectus since the Paleolithic Era, the proto-Georgian tribes first appear in written history in the 12th century BC. The earliest evidence of wine to date has found in Georgia. In fact, early metallurgy started in Georgia during the 6th millennium BC, the classical period saw the rise of a number of early Georgian states, the principal of which was Colchis in the west and Iberia in the eastGeorgia (country) – It is said that Georgians were so named because they revered Saint George.
26. Germany – Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe. It includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres, with about 82 million inhabitants, Germany is the most populous member state of the European Union. After the United States, it is the second most popular destination in the world. Germanys capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while its largest conurbation is the Ruhr, other major cities include Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf and Leipzig. Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern 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, in 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified 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 the Holocaust. After a period of Allied occupation, two German states were founded, the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, in 1990, the country was reunified. In the 21st century, Germany is a power and has the worlds fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP. As a global leader in industrial and technological sectors, it is both the worlds third-largest exporter and importer of goods. Germany is a country with a very high standard of living sustained by a skilled. It upholds a social security and universal health system, environmental protection. Germany was a member of the European Economic Community in 1957. 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, the English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine. This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz popular, derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂- people, 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 mine in Schöningen where three 380, 000-year-old wooden javelins were unearthedGermany – The Nebra sky disk is dated to c. 1600 BC.
27. Greece – Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, historically also known as Hellas, is a country in southeastern Europe, with a population of approximately 11 million as of 2015. Athens is the capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki. Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, situated on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula, it shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the northeast. Greece consists of nine regions, Macedonia, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Thessaly, Epirus, the Aegean Islands, Thrace, Crete. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, the Cretan Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km in length, featuring a vast number of islands, eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus being the highest peak at 2,918 metres. From the eighth century BC, the Greeks were organised into various independent city-states, known as polis, which spanned the entire Mediterranean region and the Black Sea. Greece was annexed by Rome in the second century BC, becoming a part of the Roman Empire and its successor. The Greek Orthodox Church also shaped modern Greek identity and transmitted Greek traditions to the wider Orthodox World, falling under Ottoman dominion in the mid-15th century, the modern nation state of Greece emerged in 1830 following a war of independence. Greeces rich historical legacy is reflected by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, among the most in Europe, Greece is a democratic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life, and a very high standard of living. A founding member of the United Nations, Greece was the member to join the European Communities and has been part of the Eurozone since 2001. Greeces unique cultural heritage, large industry, prominent shipping sector. It is the largest economy in the Balkans, where it is an important regional investor, the names for the nation of Greece and the Greek people differ from the names used in other languages, locations and cultures. The earliest evidence of the presence of human ancestors in the southern Balkans, dated to 270,000 BC, is to be found in the Petralona cave, all three stages of the stone age are represented in Greece, for example in the Franchthi Cave. Neolithic settlements in Greece, dating from the 7th millennium BC, are the oldest in Europe by several centuries and these civilizations possessed writing, the Minoans writing in an undeciphered script known as Linear A, and the Mycenaeans in Linear B, an early form of Greek. The Mycenaeans gradually absorbed the Minoans, but collapsed violently around 1200 BC and this ushered in a period known as the Greek Dark Ages, from which written records are absent. The end of the Dark Ages is traditionally dated to 776 BC, the Iliad and the Odyssey, the foundational texts of Western literature, are believed to have been composed by Homer in the 7th or 8th centuries BC. With the end of the Dark Ages, there emerged various kingdoms and city-states across the Greek peninsula, in 508 BC, Cleisthenes instituted the worlds first democratic system of government in AthensGreece – Fresco displaying the Minoan ritual of "bull leaping", found in Knossos, Crete.
28. Hungary – Hungary is a unitary parliamentary republic in Central Europe. With about 10 million inhabitants, Hungary is a member state of the European Union. The official language is Hungarian, which is the most widely spoken language in Europe. Hungarys capital and largest metropolis is Budapest, a significant economic hub, major urban areas include Debrecen, Szeged, Miskolc, Pécs and Győr. His great-grandson Stephen I ascended to the throne in 1000, converting the country to a Christian kingdom, by the 12th century, Hungary became a middle power within the Western world, reaching a golden age by the 15th century. Hungarys current borders were established in 1920 by the Treaty of Trianon after World War I, when the country lost 71% of its territory, 58% of its population, following the interwar period, Hungary joined the Axis Powers in World War II, suffering significant damage and casualties. Hungary became a state of the Soviet Union, which contributed to the establishment of a four-decade-long communist dictatorship. On 23 October 1989, Hungary became again a democratic parliamentary republic, in the 21st century, Hungary is a middle power and has the worlds 57th largest economy by nominal GDP, as well as the 58th largest by PPP, out of 188 countries measured by the IMF. As a substantial actor in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the worlds 36th largest exporter and importer of goods, Hungary is a high-income economy with a very high standard of living. It keeps up a security and universal health care system. Hungary joined the European Union in 2004 and part of the Schengen Area since 2007, Hungary is a member of the United Nations, NATO, WTO, World Bank, the AIIB, the Council of Europe and Visegrád Group. Well known for its cultural history, Hungary has been contributed significantly to arts, music, literature, sports and science. Hungary is the 11th most popular country as a tourist destination in Europe and it is home to the largest thermal water cave system, the second largest thermal lake in the world, the largest lake in Central Europe, and the largest natural grasslands in Europe. The H in the name of Hungary is most likely due to historical associations with the Huns. The rest of the word comes from the Latinized form of Medieval Greek Oungroi, according to an explanation the Greek name was borrowed from Proto-Slavic Ǫgǔri, in turn borrowed from Oghur-Turkic Onogur. Onogur was the name for the tribes who later joined the Bulgar tribal confederacy that ruled the eastern parts of Hungary after the Avars. The Hungarians likely belonged to the Onogur tribal alliance and it is possible they became its ethnic majority. The Hungarian endonym is Magyarország, composed of magyar and ország, the word magyar is taken from the name of one of the seven major semi-nomadic Hungarian tribes, magyeriHungary – Italian fresco depicting a Hungarian warrior shooting backwards
29. Iceland – Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic Ocean. It has a population of 332,529 and an area of 103,000 km2, the capital and largest city is Reykjavík. Reykjavík and the areas in the southwest of the country are home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active, the interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains and glaciers, while many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence still keeps summers chilly, with most of the archipelago having a tundra climate. According to the ancient manuscript Landnámabók, the settlement of Iceland began in the year 874 AD when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson became the first permanent settler on the island. In the following centuries, Norwegians, and to a lesser extent other Scandinavians, emigrated to Iceland, the island was governed as an independent commonwealth under the Althing, one of the worlds oldest functioning legislative assemblies. Following a period of strife, Iceland acceded to Norwegian rule in the 13th century. The establishment of the Kalmar Union in 1397 united the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, Iceland thus followed Norways integration to that Union and came under Danish rule after Swedens secession from that union in 1523. In the wake of the French revolution and the Napoleonic wars, Icelands struggle for independence took form and culminated in independence in 1918, until the 20th century, Iceland relied largely on subsistence fishing and agriculture, and was among the poorest in Europe. Industrialisation of the fisheries and Marshall Plan aid following World War II brought prosperity, in 1994, it became a part of the European Economic Area, which further diversified the economy into sectors such as finance, biotechnology, and manufacturing. Iceland has an economy with relatively low taxes compared to other OECD countries. It maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides health care. Iceland ranks high in economic, political and social stability and equality, in 2013, it was ranked as the 13th most-developed country in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index. Iceland runs almost completely on renewable energy, some bankers were jailed, and the economy has made a significant recovery, in large part due to a surge in tourism. Icelandic culture is founded upon the nations Scandinavian heritage, most Icelanders are descendants of Germanic and Gaelic settlers. Icelandic, a North Germanic language, is descended from Old Norse and is related to FaroeseIceland – Norsemen Landing in Iceland – a 19th Century depiction by Oscar Wergeland.
30. Republic of Ireland – Ireland, also known as the Republic of Ireland, is a sovereign state in north-western Europe occupying about five-sixths of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the part of the island. The state shares its land border with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. It is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, Saint Georges Channel to the south-east, and it is a unitary, parliamentary republic. The head of government is the Taoiseach, who is elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President, the state was created as the Irish Free State in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It was officially declared a republic in 1949, following the Republic of Ireland Act 1948, Ireland became a member of the United Nations in December 1955. It joined the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union, after joining the EEC, Ireland enacted a series of liberal economic policies that resulted in rapid economic growth. The country achieved considerable prosperity between the years of 1995 and 2007, which known as the Celtic Tiger period. This was halted by a financial crisis that began in 2008. However, as the Irish economy was the fastest growing in the EU in 2015, Ireland is again quickly ascending league tables comparing wealth and prosperity internationally. For example, in 2015, Ireland was ranked as the joint sixth most developed country in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index and it also performs well in several national performance metrics, including freedom of the press, economic freedom and civil liberties. Ireland is a member of the European Union and is a member of the Council of Europe. The 1922 state, comprising 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland, was styled, the Constitution of Ireland, adopted in 1937, provides that the name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland. Section 2 of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 states, It is hereby declared that the description of the State shall be the Republic of Ireland. The 1948 Act does not name the state as Republic of Ireland, because to have done so would have put it in conflict with the Constitution. The government of the United Kingdom used the name Eire, and, from 1949, Republic of Ireland, for the state, as well as Ireland, Éire or the Republic of Ireland, the state is also referred to as the Republic, Southern Ireland or the South. In an Irish republican context it is referred to as the Free State or the 26 Counties. From the Act of Union on 1 January 1801, until 6 December 1922, during the Great Famine, from 1845 to 1849, the islands population of over 8 million fell by 30%Republic of Ireland – The Irish Parliamentary Party was formed in 1882 by Charles Stewart Parnell (1846–1891).
31. Italy – Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a unitary parliamentary republic in Europe. Located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino, Italy covers an area of 301,338 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. Due to its shape, it is referred to in Italy as lo Stivale. With 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth most populous EU member state, the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom, which eventually became a republic that conquered and assimilated other nearby civilisations. The legacy of the Roman Empire is widespread and can be observed in the distribution of civilian law, republican governments, Christianity. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science, exploration, Italian culture flourished at this time, producing famous scholars, artists and polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli. The weakened sovereigns soon fell victim to conquest by European powers such as France, Spain and Austria. Despite being one of the victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil. The subsequent participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in defeat, economic destruction. Today, Italy has the third largest economy in the Eurozone and it has a very high level of human development and is ranked sixth in the world for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military, cultural and diplomatic affairs, as a reflection of its cultural wealth, Italy is home to 51 World Heritage Sites, the most in the world, and is the fifth most visited country. The assumptions on the etymology of the name Italia are very numerous, according to one of the more common explanations, the term Italia, from Latin, Italia, was borrowed through Greek from the Oscan Víteliú, meaning land of young cattle. The bull was a symbol of the southern Italic tribes and was often depicted goring the Roman wolf as a defiant symbol of free Italy during the Social War. Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus states this account together with the legend that Italy was named after Italus, mentioned also by Aristotle and Thucydides. The name Italia originally applied only to a part of what is now Southern Italy – according to Antiochus of Syracuse, but by his time Oenotria and Italy had become synonymous, and the name also applied to most of Lucania as well. The Greeks gradually came to apply the name Italia to a larger region, excavations throughout Italy revealed a Neanderthal presence dating back to the Palaeolithic period, some 200,000 years ago, modern Humans arrived about 40,000 years ago. Other ancient Italian peoples of undetermined language families but of possible origins include the Rhaetian people and Cammuni. Also the Phoenicians established colonies on the coasts of Sardinia and Sicily, the Roman legacy has deeply influenced the Western civilisation, shaping most of the modern worldItaly – The Colosseum in Rome, built c. 70 – 80 AD, is considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering of ancient history.
32. Latvia – Latvia, officially the Republic of Latvia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, one of the three Baltic states. It is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, Latvia has 1,957,200 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2. The country has a seasonal climate. Latvia is a parliamentary republic established in 1918. The capital city is Riga, the European Capital of Culture 2014, Latvia is a unitary state, divided into 119 administrative divisions, of which 110 are municipalities and 9 are cities. Latvians and Livs are the people of Latvia. Latvian and Lithuanian are the two surviving Baltic languages. Despite foreign rule from the 13th to 20th centuries, the Latvian nation maintained its identity throughout the generations via the language, Latvia and Estonia share a long common history. Until World War II, Latvia also had significant minorities of ethnic Germans, Latvia is historically predominantly Protestant Lutheran, except for the Latgale region in the southeast, which has historically been predominantly Roman Catholic. The Russian population has brought a significant portion of Eastern Orthodox Christians. The Republic of Latvia was founded on 18 November 1918, however, its de facto independence was interrupted at the outset of World War II. The peaceful Singing Revolution, starting in 1987, called for Baltic emancipation of Soviet rule and it ended with the Declaration on the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia on 4 May 1990, and restoring de facto independence on 21 August 1991. Latvia is a democratic and developed country and member of the European Union, NATO, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, CBSS, the IMF, NB8, NIB, OECD, OSCE, and WTO. For 2014, Latvia was listed 46th on the Human Development Index and it used the Latvian lats as its currency until it was replaced by the euro on 1 January 2014. The name Latvija is derived from the name of the ancient Latgalians, one of four Indo-European Baltic tribes, henry of Latvia coined the Latinisations of the countrys name, Lettigallia and Lethia, both derived from the Latgalians. The terms inspired the variations on the name in Romance languages from Letonia. Around 3000 BC, the ancestors of the Latvian people settled on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. The Balts established trade routes to Rome and Byzantium, trading local amber for precious metals, by 900 AD, four distinct Baltic tribes inhabited Latvia, Curonians, Latgalians, Selonians, Semigallians, as well as the Livonians speaking a Finnic languageLatvia – Turaida Castle near Sigulda, built in 1214 under Albert of Riga.
33. Liechtenstein – Liechtenstein, officially the Principality of Liechtenstein, is a doubly landlocked German-speaking microstate in Central Europe. It is a monarchy with the rank of principality, headed by the Prince of Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein is bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and Austria to the east and it has an area of just over 160 square kilometres and an estimated population of 37,000. Divided into 11 municipalities, its capital is Vaduz and its largest municipality is Schaan, the unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the world at 1. 5%. Liechtenstein has been known in the past as a tax haven, however. An alpine country, Liechtenstein is mainly mountainous, making it a winter sport destination, many cultivated fields and small farms are found both in the south and north. The country has a financial sector centered in Vaduz. Liechtenstein is a member of the European Free Trade Association, and while not being a member of the European Union and it also has a customs union and a monetary union with Switzerland. The oldest traces of human existence in Liechtenstein date back to the Middle Paleolithic era, neolithic farming settlements were founded in the valleys around 5300 BC. Hallstatt and La Tène cultures flourished during the late Iron Age from around 450 BC possibly under influence from the Greek. One of the most important tribal groups in the Alpine region were the Helvetii, in 58 BC, at the Battle of Bibracte, Julius Caesar defeated the Alpine tribes, bringing the region under closer control of the Roman Empire. By 15 BC, Tiberius, who was destined to be the second Roman emperor, Liechtenstein was integrated into the Roman province of Raetia. The area was maintained by the Roman military, which maintained a large legionary camp called Brigantium near Lake Constance, a Roman road ran through the territory. In 259/60 Brigantium was destroyed by the Alemanni, a Germanic people who settled in the area in around 450. In the Early Middle Ages, the Alemanni had settled the eastern Swiss plateau by the 5th century, Liechtenstein was at the eastern edge of Alemannia. In the 6th century, the region became part of the Frankish Empire following Clovis Is victory over the Alemanni at Tolbiac in 504. The area that later became Liechtenstein remained under Frankish hegemony until the empire was divided by the Treaty of Verdun in 843 AD following the death of Charlemagne. The territory of present-day Liechtenstein belonged to East Francia until it was reunified with Middle Francia under the Holy Roman Empire around 1000 ADLiechtenstein – Gutenberg Castle, Balzers, Liechtenstein.
34. Lithuania – Lithuania, officially the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in Northern Europe. One of the three Baltic states, it is situated along the shore of the Baltic Sea, to the east of Sweden. It is bordered by Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, Lithuania has an estimated population of 2.9 million people as of 2015, and its capital and largest city is Vilnius. The official language, Lithuanian, along with Latvian, is one of two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family. For centuries, the shores of the Baltic Sea were inhabited by various Baltic tribes. In the 1230s, the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, the King of Lithuania, and the first unified Lithuanian state, with the Lublin Union of 1569, Lithuania and Poland formed a voluntary two-state union, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighboring countries systematically dismantled it from 1772–95, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuanias territory. As World War I neared its end, Lithuanias Act of Independence was signed on 16 February 1918, in the midst of the Second World War, Lithuania was first occupied by the Soviet Union and then by Nazi Germany. As World War II neared its end and the Germans retreated, Lithuania is a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, a full member of the Eurozone, Schengen Agreement and NATO. It is also a member of the Nordic Investment Bank, the United Nations Human Development Index lists Lithuania as a very high human development country. Lithuania has been among the fastest growing economies in the European Union and is ranked 21st in the world in the Ease of Doing Business Index, the first people settled in the territory of Lithuania after the last glacial period in the 10th millennium BC. Over a millennium, the Indo-Europeans, who arrived in the 3rd – 2nd millennium BC, mixed with the local population, the first written mention of Lithuania is found in a medieval German manuscript, the Annals of Quedlinburg, in an entry dated 9 March 1009. Initially inhabited by fragmented Baltic tribes, in the 1230s the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, after his assassination in 1263, pagan Lithuania was a target of the Christian crusades of the Teutonic Knights and the Livonian Order. Despite the devastating century-long struggle with the Orders, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania expanded rapidly, by the end of the 14th century, Lithuania was one of the largest countries in Europe and included present-day Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia. The geopolitical situation between the west and the east determined the multicultural and multi-confessional character of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the ruling elite practised religious tolerance and Chancery Slavonic language was used as an auxiliary language to the Latin for official documents. In 1385, the Grand Duke Jogaila accepted Polands offer to become its king, Jogaila embarked on gradual Christianization of Lithuania and established a personal union between Poland and Lithuania. It implied that Lithuania, the fiercely independent land, was one of the last pagan areas of Europe to adopt Christianity, after two civil wars, Vytautas the Great became the Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1392. During his reign, Lithuania reached the peak of its expansion, centralization of the state beganLithuania – Trakai Island Castle
35. Luxembourg – Luxembourg /ˈlʌksəmbɜːrɡ/, officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is a landlocked country in western Europe. It is bordered by Belgium to the west and north, Germany to the east and its culture, people and languages are highly intertwined with its neighbours, making it essentially a mixture of French and Germanic cultures. It comprises two regions, the Oesling in the north as part of the Ardennes massif. With an area of 2,586 square kilometres, it is one of the smallest sovereign states in Europe, Luxembourg had a population of 524,853 in October 2012, ranking it the 8th least-populous country in Europe. As a representative democracy with a monarch, it is headed by a Grand Duke, Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg. Luxembourg is a country, with an advanced economy and the worlds highest GDP per capita. Luxembourg is a member of the European Union, OECD, United Nations, NATO, and Benelux, reflecting its political consensus in favour of economic, political. The city of Luxembourg, which is the capital and largest city, is the seat of several institutions. Luxembourg served on the United Nations Security Council for the years 2013 and 2014, around this fort, a town gradually developed, which became the centre of a state of great strategic value. In the 14th and early 15th centuries, three members of the House of Luxembourg reigned as Holy Roman Emperors, in the following centuries, Luxembourgs fortress was steadily enlarged and strengthened by its successive occupants, the Bourbons, Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns and the French. After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, Luxembourg was disputed between Prussia and the Netherlands and this arrangement was revised by the 1839 First Treaty of London, from which date Luxembourgs full independence is reckoned. In 1842 Luxembourg joined the German Customs Union, the King of the Netherlands remained Head of State as Grand Duke of Luxembourg, maintaining a personal union between the two countries until 1890. At the death of William III, the throne of the Netherlands passed to his daughter Wilhelmina and this allowed Germany the military advantage of controlling and expanding the railways there. In August 1914, Imperial Germany violated Luxembourgs neutrality in the war by invading it in the war against France and this allowed Germany to use the railway lines, while at the same time denying them to France. Nevertheless, despite the German occupation, Luxembourg was allowed to maintain much of its independence, in 1940, after the outbreak of World War II, Luxembourgs neutrality was again violated when the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany entered the country, entirely without justification. A government in exile based in London supported the Allies, sending a group of volunteers who participated in the Normandy invasion. Luxembourg was liberated in September 1944, and became a member of the United Nations in 1945. Luxembourgs neutral status under the constitution formally ended in 1948, in 2005, a referendum on the EU treaty establishing a constitution for Europe was heldLuxembourg – Historic map (undated) of Luxembourg city's fortifications
36. Republic of Macedonia – Macedonia, officially the Republic of Macedonia, is a country in the Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the states of the former Yugoslavia. A landlocked country, the Republic of Macedonia has borders with Kosovo to the northwest, Serbia to the north, Bulgaria to the east, Greece to the south, the countrys geography is defined primarily by mountains, valleys, and rivers. The capital and largest city, Skopje, is home to roughly a quarter of the nations 2.06 million inhabitants, the majority of the residents are ethnic Macedonians, a South Slavic people. Albanians form a significant minority at around 25 percent, followed by Turks, Romani, Serbs, Macedonias history dates back to antiquity, beginning with the kingdom of Paeonia, a Thracian polity. In the late sixth century BCE the area was incorporated into the Persian Achaemenid Empire, the Romans conquered the region in the second century BCE and made it part of the much larger province of Macedonia. Macedonia remained part of the Byzantine Empire, and was raided and settled by Slavic peoples beginning in the sixth century CE. Following centuries of contention between the Bulgarian and Byzantine empires, it came under Ottoman dominion from the 14th century. Between the late 19th and early 20th century, a distinct Macedonian identity emerged, although following the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913, Macedonia remained a constituent socialist republic within Yugoslavia until its peaceful secession in 1991. Macedonia is a member of the UN and of the Council of Europe, since 2005 it has also been a candidate for joining the European Union and has applied for NATO membership. Although one of the poorest countries in Europe, Macedonia has made significant progress in developing an open, the countrys name derives from the Greek Μακεδονία, a kingdom named after the ancient Macedonians. The name is believed to have meant either highlanders or the tall ones. However, Robert S. P. Beekes supports that both terms are of Pre-Greek substrate origin and cannot be explained in terms of Indo-European morphology, the Republic of Macedonia roughly corresponds to the ancient kingdom of Paeonia, which was located immediately north of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia. In the late 6th century BC, the Achaemenid Persians under Darius the Great conquered the Paeonians, following the loss in the Second Persian invasion of Greece in 479 BC, the Persians eventually withdrew from their European territories, including from what is today the Republic of Macedonia. In 356 BC Philip II of Macedon absorbed the regions of Upper Macedonia, the Romans established the Province of Macedonia in 146 BC. Roman expansion brought the Scupi area under Roman rule in the time of Domitian, and it fell within the Province of Moesia. Whilst Greek remained the dominant language in the part of the Roman empire. Slavic peoples settled in the Balkan region including Macedonia by the late 6th century AD, during the 580s, Byzantine literature attests to the Slavs raiding Byzantine territories in the region of Macedonia, later aided by Bulgars. Historical records document that in c.680 a group of Bulgars, Slavs and Byzantines led by a Bulgar called Kuber settled in the region of the Keramisian plain, presians reign apparently coincides with the extension of Bulgarian control over the Slavic tribes in and around MacedoniaRepublic of Macedonia – Heraclea Lyncestis, a city founded by Philip II of Macedon in the 4th century BC: ruins of the Byzantine "Small Basilica"
37. Malta – Malta, officially known as the Republic of Malta, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km south of Italy,284 km east of Tunisia, the country covers just over 316 km2, with a population of just under 450,000, making it one of the worlds smallest and most densely populated countries. The capital of Malta is Valletta, which at 0.8 km2, is the smallest national capital in the European Union, Malta has one national language, which is Maltese, and English as an official language. John, French and British, have ruled the islands, King George VI of the United Kingdom awarded the George Cross to Malta in 1942 for the countrys bravery in the Second World War. The George Cross continues to appear on Maltas national flag, the country became a republic in 1974, and although no longer a Commonwealth realm, remains a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations. Malta was admitted to the United Nations in 1964 and to the European Union in 2004, in 2008, Catholicism is the official religion in Malta. The origin of the term Malta is uncertain, and the modern-day variation derives from the Maltese language, the most common etymology is that the word Malta derives from the Greek word μέλι, meli, honey. The ancient Greeks called the island Μελίτη meaning honey-sweet, possibly due to Maltas unique production of honey, an endemic species of bee lives on the island. The Romans went on to call the island Melita, which can be considered either as a latinisation of the Greek Μελίτη or the adaptation of the Doric Greek pronunciation of the same word Μελίτα. Another conjecture suggests that the word Malta comes from the Phoenician word Maleth a haven or port in reference to Maltas many bays, few other etymological mentions appear in classical literature, with the term Malta appearing in its present form in the Antonine Itinerary. The extinction of the hippos and dwarf elephants has been linked to the earliest arrival of humans on Malta. Prehistoric farming settlements dating to the Early Neolithic period were discovered in areas and also in caves. The Sicani were the tribe known to have inhabited the island at this time and are generally regarded as being closely related to the Iberians. Pottery from the Għar Dalam phase is similar to found in Agrigento. A culture of megalithis temple builders then either supplanted or arose from this early period, the temples have distinctive architecture, typically a complex trefoil design, and were used from 4000 to 2500 BCE. Animal bones and a knife found behind an altar stone suggest that temple rituals included animal sacrifice. Tentative information suggests that the sacrifices were made to the goddess of fertility, the culture apparently disappeared from the Maltese Islands around 2500 BC. Archaeologists speculate that the builders fell victim to famine or diseaseMalta – Ġgantija megalithic temple complex
38. Moldova – Moldova, officially the Republic of Moldova (Romanian, Republica Moldova, listen, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered by Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east, and south. In 1856, southern Bessarabia was returned to Moldavia, but Russian rule was restored over the whole of the region in 1878, Bessarabia remained a province of the Russian Empire until 1917, when during the Russian Revolution it became an autonomous and then nominally independent Moldavian Democratic Republic. In 1918, following a vote of its assembly, Bessarabia united with the Kingdom of Romania, the decision was disputed by Soviet Russia, which in 1924, created within the Ukrainian SSR, on a territory east of Bessarabia, a so-called Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1940, as a consequence of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Romania was compelled to cede Bessarabia to the Soviet Union, the Soviets decided to split the region between a newly established Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Ukrainian SSR. The Moldavian SSR included two-thirds of the territory of Bessarabia, on 27 August 1991, as part of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Moldavian SSR declared independence and took the name Moldova. The current Constitution of Moldova was adopted in 1994, the strip of the Moldovan territory on the east bank of the Dniester river has been under the de facto control of the breakaway government of Transnistria since 1990. Its economy is the poorest in Europe in per capita terms, Moldova is a parliamentary republic with a president as head of state and a prime minister as head of government. The name Moldova derives from the Moldova River, the valley of this served as a political centre at the time of the foundation of the Principality of Moldavia in 1359. The origin of the name of the river remains unclear, the dogs name, given to the river, extended to the Principality. For a short time in the 1990s, at the founding of the Commonwealth of Independent States, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the country began to use the Romanian name, Moldova. Officially, the name Republic of Moldova is designated by the United Nations, in 2010, Oldowan flint tools were discovered at Bayraki that are 800, 000–1.2 million years old. This demonstrates that humans were present in Moldova during the early Paleolithic era. The inhabitants of this civilization, which lasted roughly from 5500 to 2750 BC, practiced agriculture, raised livestock, hunted, in antiquity, Moldovas territory was inhabited by Dacian tribes. Between the 1st and 7th centuries AD, the south was intermittently under the Roman, and then Byzantine Empires. The Principality of Moldavia, established in 1359, was bounded by the Carpathian Mountains in the west, the Dniester River in the east, and the Danube River and Black Sea to the south. Its territory comprised the territory of the Republic of Moldova, the eastern eight counties of Romania. Like the present-day republic and Romanias north-eastern region, it was known to the locals as Moldova, Moldavia was invaded repeatedly by Crimean Tatars and, beginning in the 15th century, by the Turks. In 1538, the principality became a tributary to the Ottoman Empire, the title used in the document of 6 July 1600 was The King of the country of Romania, Ardeal and of all of MoldaviaMoldova – Stephen the Great, Prince of Moldavia between 1457 and 1504.
39. Monaco – Monaco, officially the Principality of Monaco, is a sovereign city-state and microstate, located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. France borders the country on three sides while the other side borders the Mediterranean Sea, Monaco has an area of 2.02 km2 and a population of about 38,400 according to the last census of 2015. With 19,009 inhabitants per km², it is the second smallest, Monaco has a land border of 5.47 km, a coastline of 3.83 km, and a width that varies between 1,700 and 349 m. The highest point in the country is a pathway named Chemin des Révoires on the slopes of Mont Agel, in the Les Révoires Ward. Monacos most populous Quartier is Monte Carlo and the most populous Ward is Larvotto/Bas Moulins, through land reclamation, Monacos land mass has expanded by twenty percent, in 2005, it had an area of only 1.974 km2. Monaco is known as a playground for the rich and famous, in 2014, it was noted about 30% of the population was made up of millionaires, more than in Zürich or Geneva. Monaco is a principality governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, although Prince Albert II is a constitutional monarch, he wields immense political power. The House of Grimaldi have ruled Monaco, with brief interruptions, the official language is French, but Monégasque, Italian, and English are widely spoken and understood. The states sovereignty was recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861. Despite Monacos independence and separate foreign policy, its defense is the responsibility of France, however, Monaco does maintain two small military units. Economic development was spurred in the late 19th century with the opening of the countrys first casino, Monte Carlo, since then, Monacos mild climate, scenery, and gambling facilities have contributed to the principalitys status as a tourist destination and recreation center for the rich. In more recent years, Monaco has become a major banking center and has sought to diversify its economy into services and small, high-value-added, the state has no income tax, low business taxes, and is well known for being a tax haven. It is also the host of the street circuit motor race Monaco Grand Prix. Monaco is not formally a part of the European Union, but it participates in certain EU policies, including customs, through its relationship with France, Monaco uses the euro as its sole currency. Monaco joined the Council of Europe in 2004 and it is a member of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. Monacos name comes from the nearby 6th-century BC Phocaean Greek colony, according to an ancient myth, Hercules passed through the Monaco area and turned away the previous gods. As a result, a temple was constructed there, the temple of Hercules Monoikos, because the only temple of this area was the House of Hercules, the city was called Monoikos. It ended up in the hands of the Holy Roman Empire, an ousted branch of a Genoese family, the Grimaldi, contested it for a hundred years before actually gaining controlMonaco – Statue of Francesco Grimaldi, " Il Malizia " ("the Cunning"), disguised as a monk with a dagger hidden under the cloak of his habit. However, he was ousted by the Genoese just four years later. The Grimaldi family purchased Monaco from the Crown of Aragon in 1419.
40. Montenegro – Montenegro is a sovereign state in Southeastern Europe. Its capital and largest city is Podgorica, while Cetinje is designated as the Old Royal Capital. In the 9th century, three Slavic principalities were in the territory of Montenegro, Duklja, roughly corresponding to the half, Travunia, the west, and Rascia. In 1042, archon Stefan Vojislav led a revolt that resulted in the independence of Duklja, Duklja reached its zenith under Vojislavs son, Mihailo, and his grandson Bodin. By the 13th century, Zeta had replaced Duklja when referring to the realm. In the late 14th century, southern Montenegro came under the rule of the Balšić noble family, then the Crnojević noble family, large portions fell under the control of the Ottoman Empire from 1496 to 1878. Parts were controlled by Venice and the First French Empire and Austria-Hungary, from 1515 until 1851, the prince-bishops of Cetinje were the rulers. The House of Petrović-Njegoš ruled the country from 1697 to 1918, from 1918, it was a part of Kingdom of Yugoslavia, which was succeeded by SFR Yugoslavia in 1945, FR Yugoslavia in 1992, and subsequently by the state union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2003. On the basis of a referendum held on 21 May 2006. Montenegro is also a candidate negotiating to join the European Union, on 2 December 2015, Montenegro received an official invitation to join NATO, whereby it would be the 29th member country. This invitation was meant to start accession talks. The countrys name in most Western European languages reflects an adaptation of the Venetian Montenegro, many other languages, particularly nearby ones, use their own direct translation of the term black mountain. Examples are the Albanian name for the country, Mali i Zi, the Greek name Μαυροβούνιο, the Chinese name 黑山, all Slavic languages use slight variations on the Montenegrin name Crna Gora, examples include the Czech Černá Hora and the Polish Czarnogóra. Chechen and Ingush people call the country Ӏаьржаламанчоь, the name Crna Gora came to denote the majority of contemporary Montenegro only in the 15th century. The aforementioned region became known as Old Montenegro by the 19th century to distinguish it from the acquired territory of Brda. Its borders have changed little since then, losing Metohija and gaining the Bay of Kotor, the ISO Alpha-2 code for Montenegro is ME and the Alpha-3 Code is MNE. By 1000 BC, a common Illyrian language and culture had spread across much of the Balkans, interaction amongst groups was not always friendly – hill forts were the most common form of settlement – but distinctive Illyrian art forms such as amber and bronze jewellery evolved. In time, the Illyrians established a federation of tribes centred in what is now MacedoniaMontenegro – Royal family at the proclamation of the Kingdom of Montenegro, King Nicholas I of Montenegro in the middle
41. Kingdom of the Netherlands – The Kingdom of the Netherlands, commonly known as the Netherlands, is a country and constitutional monarchy with territory in western Europe and in the Caribbean. The four parts of the kingdom—the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao, in practice, however, most of the Kingdom affairs are administered by the Netherlands—which comprises roughly 98% of the Kingdoms land area and population—on behalf of the entire Kingdom. The constituent countries of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten are located in the Caribbean as well, the Kingdom of the Netherlands originated in the aftermath of Napoleon’s defeat in 1815. In that year, the Netherlands regained its independence from France, in March 1815, amidst the turmoil of the Hundred Days, the Sovereign Prince adopted the style of King of the Netherlands. Following Napoleons second defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, the Vienna Congress supplied international recognition of Williams unilateral move. The new King of the Netherlands was also made Grand Duke of Luxembourg, a part of the Kingdom that was, at the same time, in 1830, Belgium seceded from the Kingdom, a step that was recognised by the Netherlands only in 1839. At that point, Luxembourg became an independent country in a personal union with the Netherlands. Luxembourg also lost more than half of its territory to Belgium and that status was reversed when the German Confederation ceased to exist in 1867, and, at that point, Limburg reverted to its status as an ordinary Dutch province. The origin of the reform of 1954 was the 1931 Westminster Statute and the 1941 Atlantic Charter. Changes were proposed in the 7 December 1942 radio speech by Queen Wilhelmina, in this speech, the Queen, on behalf of the Dutch government in exile in London, expressed a desire to review the relations between the Netherlands and its colonies after the end of the war. After liberation, the government would call a conference to agree on a settlement in which the territories could participate in the administration of the Kingdom on the basis of equality. After Indonesia became independent, a construction was considered too heavy, as the economies of Suriname. Delegates of Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles could participate in sessions of the First, an overseas member could be added to the Council of State when appropriate. According to the Charter, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles were also allowed to alter their Basic Laws, the right of the two autonomous countries to leave the Kingdom, unilaterally, was not recognised, yet it also stipulated that the Charter could be dissolved by mutual consultation. Suriname was a constituent country within the Kingdom from 1954 to 1975, Netherlands New Guinea was a dependent territory of the Kingdom until 1962, but was not an autonomous country, and was not mentioned in the Charter. In 1955, Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard visited Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles, the visit was a great success. The royal couple were welcomed enthusiastically by the population. Several other royal visits were to follow, in 1969, an unorganised strike on the Antillean island of Curaçao resulted in serious disturbances and looting, during which a part of the historic city centre of Willemstad was destroyed by fireKingdom of the Netherlands – King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, the reigning monarch of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. At the time this picture was taken he was still the Prince of Orange.
42. Norway – The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the Kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land, until 1814, the kingdom included the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Iceland. It also included Isle of Man until 1266, Shetland and Orkney until 1468, Norway has a total area of 385,252 square kilometres and a population of 5,258,317. The country shares a long border with Sweden. Norway is bordered by Finland and Russia to the north-east, Norway has an extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea. King Harald V of the Dano-German House of Glücksburg is the current King of Norway, erna Solberg became Prime Minister in 2013, replacing Jens Stoltenberg. A constitutional monarchy, Norway divides state power between the Parliament, the Cabinet and the Supreme Court, as determined by the 1814 Constitution, the kingdom is established as a merger of several petty kingdoms. By the traditional count from the year 872, the kingdom has existed continuously for 1,144 years, Norway has both administrative and political subdivisions on two levels, counties and municipalities. The Sámi people have an amount of self-determination and influence over traditional territories through the Sámi Parliament. Norway maintains close ties with the European Union and the United States, the country maintains a combination of market economy and a Nordic welfare model with universal health care and a comprehensive social security system. Norway has extensive reserves of petroleum, natural gas, minerals, lumber, seafood, the petroleum industry accounts for around a quarter of the countrys gross domestic product. On a per-capita basis, Norway is the worlds largest producer of oil, the country has the fourth-highest per capita income in the world on the World Bank and IMF lists. On the CIAs GDP per capita list which includes territories and some regions, from 2001 to 2006, and then again from 2009 to 2017, Norway had the highest Human Development Index ranking in the world. It also has the highest inequality-adjusted ranking, Norway ranks first on the World Happiness Report, the OECD Better Life Index, the Index of Public Integrity and the Democracy Index. Norway has two names, Noreg in Nynorsk and Norge in Bokmål. The name Norway comes from the Old English word Norðrveg mentioned in 880, meaning way or way leading to the north. In contrasting with suðrvegar southern way for Germany, and austrvegr eastern way for the Baltic, the Anglo-Saxon of Britain also referred to the kingdom of Norway in 880 as Norðmanna land. This was the area of Harald Fairhair, the first king of Norway, and because of himNorway – The helmet found at Gjermundbu near Haugsbygd, Buskerud, is the only Viking Age helmet that has been found.
43. Poland – Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe, situated between the Baltic Sea in the north and two mountain ranges in the south. Bordered by Germany to the west, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south, Ukraine and Belarus to the east, the total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometres, making it the 69th largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. With a population of over 38.5 million people, Poland is the 34th most populous country in the world, the 8th most populous country in Europe, Poland is a unitary state divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, and its capital and largest city is Warsaw. Other metropolises include Kraków, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk and Szczecin, the establishment of a Polish state can be traced back to 966, when Mieszko I, ruler of a territory roughly coextensive with that of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented a political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin. This union formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th and 17th century Europe, Poland regained its independence in 1918 at the end of World War I, reconstituting much of its historical territory as the Second Polish Republic. In September 1939, World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, followed thereafter by invasion by the Soviet Union. More than six million Polish citizens died in the war, after the war, Polands borders were shifted westwards under the terms of the Potsdam Conference. With the backing of the Soviet Union, a communist puppet government was formed, and after a referendum in 1946. During the Revolutions of 1989 Polands Communist government was overthrown and Poland adopted a new constitution establishing itself as a democracy, informally called the Third Polish Republic. Since the early 1990s, when the transition to a primarily market-based economy began, Poland has achieved a high ranking on the Human Development Index. Poland is a country, which was categorised by the World Bank as having a high-income economy. Furthermore, it is visited by approximately 16 million tourists every year, Poland is the eighth largest economy in the European Union and was the 6th fastest growing economy on the continent between 2010 and 2015. According to the Global Peace Index for 2014, Poland is ranked 19th in the list of the safest countries in the world to live in. The origin of the name Poland derives from a West Slavic tribe of Polans that inhabited the Warta River basin of the historic Greater Poland region in the 8th century, the origin of the name Polanie itself derives from the western Slavic word pole. In some foreign languages such as Hungarian, Lithuanian, Persian and Turkish the exonym for Poland is Lechites, historians have postulated that throughout Late Antiquity, many distinct ethnic groups populated the regions of what is now Poland. The most famous archaeological find from the prehistory and protohistory of Poland is the Biskupin fortified settlement, dating from the Lusatian culture of the early Iron Age, the Slavic groups who would form Poland migrated to these areas in the second half of the 5th century AD. With the Baptism of Poland the Polish rulers accepted Christianity and the authority of the Roman ChurchPoland – Reconstruction of a Bronze Age, Lusatian culture settlement in Biskupin, c. 700 BC
44. Portugal – Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country on the Iberian Peninsula in Southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost country of mainland Europe, to the west and south it is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and to the east and north by Spain. The Portugal–Spain border is 1,214 kilometres long and considered the longest uninterrupted border within the European Union, the republic also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments. The territory of modern Portugal has been settled, invaded. The Pre-Celts, Celts, Carthaginians and the Romans were followed by the invasions of the Visigothic, in 711 the Iberian Peninsula was invaded by the Moors, making Portugal part of Muslim Al Andalus. Portugal was born as result of the Christian Reconquista, and in 1139, Afonso Henriques was proclaimed King of Portugal, in the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal established the first global empire, becoming one of the worlds major economic, political and military powers. Portugal monopolized the trade during this time, and the Portuguese Empire expanded with military campaigns led in Asia. After the 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy, the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic was established, democracy was restored after the Portuguese Colonial War and the Carnation Revolution in 1974. Shortly after, independence was granted to almost all its overseas territories, Portugal has left a profound cultural and architectural influence across the globe and a legacy of over 250 million Portuguese speakers today. Portugal is a country with a high-income advanced economy and a high living standard. It is the 5th most peaceful country in the world, maintaining a unitary semi-presidential republican form of government and it has the 18th highest Social Progress in the world, putting it ahead of other Western European countries like France, Spain and Italy. Portugal is a pioneer when it comes to drug decriminalization, as the nation decriminalized the possession of all drugs for use in 2001. The early history of Portugal is shared with the rest of the Iberian Peninsula located in South Western Europe, the name of Portugal derives from the joined Romano-Celtic name Portus Cale. Other influences include some 5th-century vestiges of Alan settlements, which were found in Alenquer, Coimbra, the region of present-day Portugal was inhabited by Neanderthals and then by Homo sapiens, who roamed the border-less region of the northern Iberian peninsula. These were subsistence societies that, although they did not establish prosperous settlements, neolithic Portugal experimented with domestication of herding animals, the raising of some cereal crops and fluvial or marine fishing. Chief among these tribes were the Calaicians or Gallaeci of Northern Portugal, the Lusitanians of central Portugal, the Celtici of Alentejo, a few small, semi-permanent, commercial coastal settlements were also founded in the Algarve region by Phoenicians-Carthaginians. Romans first invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 219 BC, during the last days of Julius Caesar, almost the entire peninsula had been annexed to the Roman Republic. The Carthaginians, Romes adversary in the Punic Wars, were expelled from their coastal colonies and it suffered a severe setback in 150 BC, when a rebellion began in the northPortugal – Citânia de Briteiros, in the Minho Province, is the best preserved Iron Age and Castro culture site in Portugal.
45. Romania – Romania is a sovereign state located in Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia and it has an area of 238,391 square kilometres and a temperate-continental climate. With over 19 million inhabitants, the country is the member state of the European Union. Its capital and largest city, Bucharest, is the sixth-largest city in the EU, the River Danube, Europes second-longest river, rises in Germany and flows in a general southeast direction for 2,857 km, coursing through ten countries before emptying into Romanias Danube Delta. The Carpathian Mountains, which cross Romania from the north to the southwest are marked by one of their tallest peaks, Moldoveanu, modern Romania was formed in 1859 through a personal union of the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. The new state, officially named Romania since 1866, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877, at the end of World War I, Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia united with the sovereign Kingdom of Romania. Romania lost several territories, of which Northern Transylvania was regained after the war, following the war, Romania became a socialist republic and member of the Warsaw Pact. After the 1989 Revolution, Romania began a transition towards democracy and it has been a member of NATO since 2004, and part of the European Union since 2007. A strong majority of the population identify themselves as Eastern Orthodox Christians and are speakers of Romanian. The cultural history of Romania is often referred to when dealing with artists, musicians, inventors. For similar reasons, Romania has been the subject of notable tourist attractions, Romania derives from the Latin romanus, meaning citizen of Rome. The first known use of the appellation was attested in the 16th century by Italian humanists travelling in Transylvania, Moldavia, after the abolition of serfdom in 1746, the word rumân gradually fell out of use and the spelling stabilised to the form român. Tudor Vladimirescu, a leader of the early 19th century. The use of the name Romania to refer to the homeland of all Romanians—its modern-day meaning—was first documented in the early 19th century. The name has been officially in use since 11 December 1861, in English, the name of the country was formerly spelt Rumania or Roumania. Romania became the predominant spelling around 1975, Romania is also the official English-language spelling used by the Romanian government. The Neolithic-Age Cucuteni area in northeastern Romania was the region of the earliest European civilization. Evidence from this and other sites indicates that the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture extracted salt from salt-laden spring water through the process of briquetageRomania – Neacșu's letter from 1521, the oldest surviving document written in Romanian.
46. Russia – Russia, also officially the Russian Federation, is a country in Eurasia. The European western part of the country is more populated and urbanised than the eastern. Russias capital Moscow is one of the largest cities in the world, other urban centers include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a range of environments. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk, the East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, in 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus ultimately disintegrated into a number of states, most of the Rus lands were overrun by the Mongol invasion. The Soviet Union played a role in the Allied victory in World War II. The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the worlds first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the second largest economy, largest standing military in the world. It is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic, the Russian economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2015. Russias extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the producers of oil. The country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, Russia is a great power as well as a regional power and has been characterised as a potential superpower. The name Russia is derived from Rus, a state populated mostly by the East Slavs. However, this name became more prominent in the later history, and the country typically was called by its inhabitants Русская Земля. In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus by modern historiography, an old Latin version of the name Rus was Ruthenia, mostly applied to the western and southern regions of Rus that were adjacent to Catholic Europe. The current name of the country, Россия, comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Kievan Rus, the standard way to refer to citizens of Russia is Russians in English and rossiyane in Russian. There are two Russian words which are translated into English as RussiansRussia – Kievan Rus' in the 11th century
47. San Marino – Its size is just over 61 km2, with a population of 33,562. Its capital is the City of San Marino and its largest city is Dogana, San Marino has the smallest population of all the members of the Council of Europe. The country takes its name from Marinus, a stonemason originating from the Roman colony on the island of Rab, in 257 CE Marinus participated in the reconstruction of Riminis city walls after their destruction by Liburnian pirates. San Marino is governed by the Constitution of San Marino, a series of six books written in Latin in the late 16th century, the country is considered to have the earliest written governing documents still in effect. The countrys economy mainly relies on finance, industry, services and it is one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP, with a figure comparable to the most developed European regions. San Marino is considered to have a stable economy, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, no national debt. It is the country with more vehicles than people. Saint Marinus left the island of Arba in present-day Croatia with his lifelong friend Leo, and went to the city of Rimini as a stonemason. After the Diocletianic Persecution following his Christian sermons, he escaped to the nearby Monte Titano, the official date of the founding of what is now known as the Republic is 3 September 301. In 1631, its independence was recognized by the Papacy, the offer was declined by the Regents, fearing future retaliation from other states revanchism. During the later phase of the Italian unification process in the 19th century, in recognition of this support, Giuseppe Garibaldi accepted the wish of San Marino not to be incorporated into the new Italian state. The government of San Marino made United States President Abraham Lincoln an honorary citizen and he wrote in reply, saying that the republic proved that government founded on republican principles is capable of being so administered as to be secure and enduring. Italy tried to establish a detachment of Carabinieri in the republic. Two groups of ten volunteers joined Italian forces in the fighting on the Italian front, the first as combatants, the existence of this hospital later caused Austria-Hungary to suspend diplomatic relations with San Marino. From 1923 to 1943, San Marino was under the rule of the Sammarinese Fascist Party. During World War II, San Marino remained neutral, although it was reported in an article from The New York Times that it had declared war on the United Kingdom on 17 September 1940. The Sammarinese government later transmitted a message to the British government stating that they had not declared war on the United Kingdom, Three days after the fall of Benito Mussolini in Italy, PFS rule collapsed and the new government declared neutrality in the conflict. The Fascists regained power on 1 April 1944 but kept neutrality intact, despite that, on 26 June 1944 San Marino was bombed by the Royal Air Force, in the belief that San Marino had been overrun by German forces and was being used to amass stores and ammunitionSan Marino – The San Marino constitution of 1600
48. Serbia – Serbia, officially the Republic of Serbia, is a sovereign state situated at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Pannonian Plain and the central Balkans. Relative to its territory, it is a diverse country distinguished by a transitional character, situated along cultural, geographic, climatic. Serbia numbers around 7 million residents, and its capital, Belgrade, following the Slavic migrations to the Balkans from the 6th century onwards, Serbs established several states in the early Middle Ages. The Serbian Kingdom obtained recognition by Rome and the Byzantine Empire in 1217, in the early 19th century, the Serbian Revolution established the nation-state as the regions first constitutional monarchy, which subsequently expanded its territory. During the breakup of Yugoslavia, Serbia formed a union with Montenegro which dissolved peacefully in 2006, in 2008 the parliament of the province of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence, with mixed responses from the international community. Serbia is a member of organizations such as the UN, CoE, OSCE, PfP, BSEC. An EU membership candidate since 2012, Serbia has been negotiating its EU accession since January 2014, the country is acceding to the WTO and is a militarily neutral state. Serbia is an income economy with dominant service sector, followed by the industrial sector. The country ranks high on the Social Progress Index as well as the Global Peace Index, relatively high on the Human Development Index, located at the crossroads between Central and Southern Europe, Serbia is found in the Balkan peninsula and the Pannonian Plain. Serbia lies between latitudes 41° and 47° N, and longitudes 18° and 23° E. The country covers a total of 88,361 km2, which places it at 113th place in the world, with Kosovo excluded, the area is 77,474 km2. Its total border length amounts to 2,027 km, all of Kosovos border with Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro are under control of the Kosovo border police. The Pannonian Plain covers the third of the country while the easternmost tip of Serbia extends into the Wallachian Plain. The terrain of the part of the country, with the region of Šumadija at its heart. Mountains dominate the third of Serbia. Dinaric Alps stretch in the west and the southwest, following the flow of the rivers Drina, the Carpathian Mountains and Balkan Mountains stretch in a north–south direction in eastern Serbia. Ancient mountains in the southeast corner of the country belong to the Rilo-Rhodope Mountain system, elevation ranges from the Midžor peak of the Balkan Mountains at 2,169 metres to the lowest point of just 17 metres near the Danube river at Prahovo. The largest lake is Đerdap Lake and the longest river passing through Serbia is the Danube, the climate of Serbia is under the influences of the landmass of Eurasia and the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean SeaSerbia – Clay figure from Vinča culture, 4000–4500 BC, British Museum
49. Slovakia – Slovakia, officially the Slovak Republic, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Slovakias territory spans about 49,000 square kilometres and is mostly mountainous. The population is over 5 million and comprises mostly ethnic Slovaks, the capital and largest city is Bratislava. The Slavs arrived in the territory of present-day Slovakia in the 5th and 6th centuries, in the 7th century, they played a significant role in the creation of Samos Empire and in the 9th century established the Principality of Nitra. In the 10th century, the territory was integrated into the Kingdom of Hungary, which became part of the Habsburg Empire. After World War I and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a separate Slovak Republic existed in World War II as a client state of Nazi Germany. In 1945, Czechoslovakia was reëstablished under Communist rule as a Soviet satellite, in 1989 the Velvet Revolution ended authoritarian Communist rule in Czechoslovakia. Slovakia became an independent state on 1 January 1993 after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. The country maintains a combination of economy with universal health care. The country joined the European Union in 2004 and the Eurozone on 1 January 2009, Slovakia is also a member of the Schengen Area, NATO, the United Nations, the OECD, the WTO, CERN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Visegrád Group. The Slovak economy is one of the fastest growing economies in Europe and its legal tender, the Euro, is the worlds 2nd most traded currency. Although regional income inequality is high, 90% of citizens own their homes, in 2016, Slovak citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 165 countries and territories, ranking the Slovak passport 11th in the world. Slovakia is the world’s biggest per-capita car producer with a total of 1,040,000 cars manufactured in the country in 2016 alone, the car industry represents 43 percent of Slovakia’s industrial output, and a quarter of its exports. Radiocarbon datingputs the oldest surviving archaeological artefacts from Slovakia – found near Nové Mesto nad Váhom – at 270,000 BC and these ancient tools, made by the Clactonian technique, bear witness to the ancient habitation of Slovakia. Other stone tools from the Middle Paleolithic era come from the Prévôt cave near Bojnice, the most important discovery from that era is a Neanderthal cranium, discovered near Gánovce, a village in northern Slovakia. The most well-known finds include the oldest female statue made of mammoth-bone, the statue was found in the 1940s in Moravany nad Váhom near Piešťany. Numerous necklaces made of shells from Cypraca thermophile gastropods of the Tertiary period have come from the sites of Zákovská, Podkovice, Hubina and these findings provide the most ancient evidence of commercial exchanges carried out between the Mediterranean and Central Europe. The Bronze Age in the territory of modern-day Slovakia went through three stages of development, stretching from 2000 to 800 BCSlovakia – A Venus from Moravany nad Váhom, which dates back to 22,800 BC.
50. Slovenia – Slovenia, officially the Republic of Slovenia, is a nation state in southern Central Europe, located at the crossroads of main European cultural and trade routes. It is bordered by Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the south and southeast, and it covers 20,273 square kilometers and has a population of 2.06 million. It is a republic and a member of the United Nations, European Union. The capital and largest city is Ljubljana, additionally, the Dinaric Alps and the Pannonian Plain meet on the territory of Slovenia. The country, marked by a significant biological diversity, is one of the most water-rich in Europe, with a river network, a rich aquifer system. Over half of the territory is covered by forest, the human settlement of Slovenia is dispersed and uneven. Slovenia has historically been the crossroads of South Slavic, Germanic, Romance, although the population is not homogeneous, the majority is Slovene. Slovene is the language throughout the country. Slovenia is a largely secularized country, but its culture and identity have been influenced by Catholicism as well as Lutheranism. The economy of Slovenia is small, open, and export-oriented and has strongly influenced by international conditions. It has been hurt by the Eurozone crisis, started in the late 2000s. The main economic field is services, followed by industry and construction, Historically, the current territory of Slovenia was part of many different state formations, including the Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire, followed by the Habsburg Monarchy. In October 1918, the Slovenes exercised self-determination for the first time by co-founding the State of Slovenes, Croats, in December 1918, they merged with the Kingdom of Serbia into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. During World War II, Slovenia was occupied and annexed by Germany, Italy, and Hungary, with a tiny area transferred to the Independent State of Croatia, in June 1991, after the introduction of multi-party representative democracy, Slovenia split from Yugoslavia and became an independent country. Present-day Slovenia has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and there is evidence of habitation from around 250,000 years ago. A pierced cave bear bone, dating from 43100 ±700 BP, in the 1920s and 1930s, artifacts belonging to the Cro-Magnon such as pierced bones, bone points, and needle were found by archaeologist Srečko Brodar in Potok Cave. It shows that wooden wheels appeared almost simultaneously in Mesopotamia and Europe, in the transition period between the Bronze age to the Iron age, the Urnfield culture flourished. Archaeological remains dating from the Hallstatt period have been found, particularly in southeastern Slovenia, among them a number of situlas in Novo Mesto, in the Iron Age, present-day Slovenia was inhabited by Illyrian and Celtic tribes until the 1st century BCSlovenia – A pierced cave bear bone, possibly flute, from Divje Babe
51. Spain – By population, Spain is the sixth largest in Europe and the fifth in the European Union. Spains capital and largest city is Madrid, other urban areas include Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Bilbao. Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago, in the Middle Ages, the area was conquered by Germanic tribes and later by the Moors. Spain is a democracy organised in the form of a government under a constitutional monarchy. It is a power and a major developed country with the worlds fourteenth largest economy by nominal GDP. Jesús Luis Cunchillos argues that the root of the span is the Phoenician word spy. Therefore, i-spn-ya would mean the land where metals are forged, two 15th-century Spanish Jewish scholars, Don Isaac Abravanel and Solomon ibn Verga, gave an explanation now considered folkloric. Both men wrote in two different published works that the first Jews to reach Spain were brought by ship by Phiros who was confederate with the king of Babylon when he laid siege to Jerusalem. This man was a Grecian by birth, but who had given a kingdom in Spain. He became related by marriage to Espan, the nephew of king Heracles, Heracles later renounced his throne in preference for his native Greece, leaving his kingdom to his nephew, Espan, from whom the country of España took its name. Based upon their testimonies, this eponym would have already been in use in Spain by c.350 BCE, Iberia enters written records as a land populated largely by the Iberians, Basques and Celts. Early on its coastal areas were settled by Phoenicians who founded Western Europe´s most ancient cities Cadiz, Phoenician influence expanded as much of the Peninsula was eventually incorporated into the Carthaginian Empire, becoming a major theater of the Punic Wars against the expanding Roman Empire. After an arduous conquest, the peninsula came fully under Roman Rule, during the early Middle Ages it came under Germanic rule but later, much of it was conquered by Moorish invaders from North Africa. In a process took centuries, the small Christian kingdoms in the north gradually regained control of the peninsula. The last Moorish kingdom fell in the same year Columbus reached the Americas, a global empire began which saw Spain become the strongest kingdom in Europe, the leading world power for a century and a half, and the largest overseas empire for three centuries. Continued wars and other problems led to a diminished status. The Napoleonic invasions of Spain led to chaos, triggering independence movements that tore apart most of the empire, eventually democracy was peacefully restored in the form of a parliamentary constitutional monarchy. Spain joined the European Union, experiencing a renaissance and steady economic growthSpain – Lady of Elche
52. Sweden – Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and Finland to the east, at 450,295 square kilometres, Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of 10.0 million. Sweden consequently has a low density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre. Approximately 85% of the lives in urban areas. Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats/Götar and Swedes/Svear, Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, while the north is heavily forested. Sweden is part of the area of Fennoscandia. The climate is in very mild for its northerly latitude due to significant maritime influence. Today, Sweden is a monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a monarch as head of state. The capital city is Stockholm, which is also the most populous city in the country, legislative power is vested in the 349-member unicameral Riksdag. Executive power is exercised by the government chaired by the prime minister, Sweden is a unitary state, currently divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities. Sweden emerged as an independent and unified country during the Middle Ages, in the 17th century, it expanded its territories to form the Swedish Empire, which became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were gradually lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, the last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Norway was militarily forced into personal union. Since then, Sweden has been at peace, maintaining a policy of neutrality in foreign affairs. The union with Norway was peacefully dissolved in 1905, leading to Swedens current borders, though Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars, Sweden engaged in humanitarian efforts, such as taking in refugees from German-occupied Europe. After the end of the Cold War, Sweden joined the European Union on 1 January 1995 and it is also a member of the United Nations, the Nordic Council, Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides health care. The modern name Sweden is derived through back-formation from Old English Swēoþēod and this word is derived from Sweon/Sweonas. The Swedish name Sverige literally means Realm of the Swedes, excluding the Geats in Götaland, the etymology of Swedes, and thus Sweden, is generally not agreed upon but may derive from Proto-Germanic Swihoniz meaning ones own, referring to ones own Germanic tribeSweden – A Vendel-era helmet, at the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities.
53. Switzerland – Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a federal republic in Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in western-Central Europe, and is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning an area of 41,285 km2. The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation, it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815, nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to international organisations. On the European level, it is a member of the European Free Trade Association. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties, spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions, German, French, Italian and Romansh. Due to its diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names, Schweiz, Suisse, Svizzera. On coins and stamps, Latin is used instead of the four living languages, Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product according to the IMF. Zürich and Geneva have each been ranked among the top cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with the former ranked second globally, according to Mercer. The English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, a term for the Swiss. The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse, also in use since the 16th century. The name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, the Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for Confederates, Eidgenossen, used since the 14th century. The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from Latin Confoederatio Helvetica. The toponym Schwyz itself was first attested in 972, as Old High German Suittes, ultimately related to swedan ‘to burn’Switzerland – Founded in 44 BC by Lucius Munatius Plancus, Augusta Raurica was the first Roman settlement on the Rhine and is now among the most important archaeological sites in Switzerland.
54. Turkey – Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a transcontinental country in Eurasia, mainly in Anatolia in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, parliamentary republic with a cultural heritage. The country is encircled by seas on three sides, the Aegean Sea is to the west, the Black Sea to the north, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles, Ankara is the capital while Istanbul is the countrys largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Approximately 70-80% of the countrys citizens identify themselves as ethnic Turks, other ethnic groups include legally recognised and unrecognised minorities. Kurds are the largest ethnic minority group, making up approximately 20% of the population, the area of Turkey has been inhabited since the Paleolithic by various ancient Anatolian civilisations, as well as Assyrians, Greeks, Thracians, Phrygians, Urartians and Armenians. After Alexander the Greats conquest, the area was Hellenized, a process continued under the Roman Empire. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, the empire reached the peak of its power in the 16th century, especially during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. During the war, the Ottoman government committed genocides against its Armenian, Assyrian, following the war, the conglomeration of territories and peoples that formerly comprised the Ottoman Empire was partitioned into several new states. Turkey is a member of the UN, an early member of NATO. Turkeys growing economy and diplomatic initiatives have led to its recognition as a regional power while her location has given it geopolitical, the name of Turkey is based on the ethnonym Türk. The first recorded use of the term Türk or Türük as an autonym is contained in the Old Turkic inscriptions of the Göktürks of Central Asia, the English name Turkey first appeared in the late 14th century and is derived from Medieval Latin Turchia. Similarly, the medieval Khazar Empire, a Turkic state on the shores of the Black. The medieval Arabs referred to the Mamluk Sultanate as al-Dawla al-Turkiyya, the Ottoman Empire was sometimes referred to as Turkey or the Turkish Empire among its European contemporaries. The Anatolian peninsula, comprising most of modern Turkey, is one of the oldest permanently settled regions in the world, various ancient Anatolian populations have lived in Anatolia, from at least the Neolithic period until the Hellenistic period. Many of these peoples spoke the Anatolian languages, a branch of the larger Indo-European language family, in fact, given the antiquity of the Indo-European Hittite and Luwian languages, some scholars have proposed Anatolia as the hypothetical centre from which the Indo-European languages radiated. The European part of Turkey, called Eastern Thrace, has also been inhabited since at least forty years ago. It is the largest and best-preserved Neolithic site found to date, the settlement of Troy started in the Neolithic Age and continued into the Iron AgeTurkey – Some henges at Göbekli Tepe were erected as far back as 12,000 BC, predating those of Stonehenge, England by almost ten millennia.
55. Ukraine – Ukraine is currently in territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula which Russia annexed in 2014 but which Ukraine and most of the international community recognise as Ukrainian. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2, making it the largest country entirely within Europe and it has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. The territory of modern Ukraine has been inhabited since 32,000 BC, during the Middle Ages, the area was a key centre of East Slavic culture, with the powerful state of Kievan Rus forming the basis of Ukrainian identity. Following its fragmentation in the 13th century, the territory was contested, ruled and divided by a variety of powers, including Lithuania, Poland, the Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, two brief periods of independence occurred during the 20th century, once near the end of World War I and another during World War II. Before its independence, Ukraine was typically referred to in English as The Ukraine, following independence, Ukraine declared itself a neutral state. Nonetheless it formed a limited partnership with the Russian Federation and other CIS countries. In the 2000s, the government began leaning towards NATO, and it was later agreed that the question of joining NATO should be answered by a national referendum at some point in the future. Former President Viktor Yanukovych considered the current level of co-operation between Ukraine and NATO sufficient, and was against Ukraine joining NATO and these events formed the background for the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014, and the War in Donbass in April 2014. On 1 January 2016, Ukraine applied the economic part of the Deep, Ukraine has long been a global breadbasket because of its extensive, fertile farmlands and is one of the worlds largest grain exporters. The diversified economy of Ukraine includes a heavy industry sector, particularly in aerospace. Ukraine is a republic under a semi-presidential system with separate powers, legislative, executive. Its capital and largest city is Kiev, taking into account reserves and paramilitary personnel, Ukraine maintains the second-largest military in Europe after that of Russia. Ukrainian is the language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodoxy, which has strongly influenced Ukrainian architecture, literature, there are different hypotheses as to the etymology of the name Ukraine. According to the older and most widespread hypothesis, it means borderland, while more recently some studies claim a different meaning, homeland or region. The Ukraine now implies disregard for the sovereignty, according to U. S. ambassador William Taylor. Neanderthal settlement in Ukraine is seen in the Molodova archaeological sites include a mammoth bone dwellingUkraine – Gold Scythian pectoral, or neckpiece, from a royal kurgan in Ordzhonikidze, dated to the 4th century BC
56. United Kingdom – The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom or Britain, is a sovereign country in western Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland, with an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world and the 11th-largest in Europe. It is also the 21st-most populous country, with an estimated 65.1 million inhabitants, together, this makes it the fourth-most densely populated country in the European Union. The United Kingdom is a monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 6 February 1952, other major urban areas in the United Kingdom include the regions of Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester. The United Kingdom consists of four countries—England, Scotland, Wales, the last three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers, based in their capitals, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. The relationships among the countries of the UK have changed over time, Wales was annexed by the Kingdom of England under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. A treaty between England and Scotland resulted in 1707 in a unified Kingdom of Great Britain, which merged in 1801 with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, there are fourteen British Overseas Territories. These are the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, British influence can be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former colonies. The United Kingdom is a country and has the worlds fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP. The UK is considered to have an economy and is categorised as very high in the Human Development Index. It was the worlds first industrialised country and the worlds foremost power during the 19th, the UK remains a great power with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence internationally. It is a nuclear weapons state and its military expenditure ranks fourth or fifth in the world. The UK has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946 and it has been a leading member state of the EU and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. However, on 23 June 2016, a referendum on the UKs membership of the EU resulted in a decision to leave. The Acts of Union 1800 united the Kingdom of Great Britain, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have devolved self-governmentUnited Kingdom – Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, was erected around 2500 BC.
57. Holy See – The Holy See, also referred to as the See of Rome, is the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, the episcopal see of the Pope, and an independent sovereign entity. It serves as the point of reference for the Catholic Church everywhere. Today, it is responsible for the governance of all Catholics, organised in their Particular Churches, Patriarchates, as an independent sovereign entity, holding the Vatican City enclave in Rome as sovereign territory, it maintains diplomatic relations with other states. Diplomatically, the Holy See acts and speaks for the whole church and it is also recognised by other subjects of international law as a sovereign entity, headed by the Pope, with which diplomatic relations can be maintained. The creation of the Vatican City state was meant to ensure the diplomatic, in Greek, the adjective holy or sacred is constantly applied to all such sees as a matter of course. The word see comes from the Latin word sedes, meaning seat, while Saint Peters basilica in Vatican City is perhaps the church most associated with the Papacy, the actual cathedral of the Holy See is the church of Saint John Lateran within the city of Rome. The Pope governs the Catholic Church through the Roman Curia, the Secretariat of State, under the Cardinal Secretary of State, directs and coordinates the Curia. The incumbent, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, is the Sees equivalent of a prime minister, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State, acts as the Holy Sees minister of foreign affairs. Parolin was named in his role by Pope Francis On 31 August 2013, mamberti was named in his role by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2006. The Secretariat of State is the body of the Curia that is situated within Vatican City. The others are in buildings in different parts of Rome that have rights similar to those of embassies. The Roman Rota handles normal judicial appeals, the most numerous being those that concern alleged nullity of marriage and it also oversees the work of other ecclesiastical tribunals at all levels. The most important of these is the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, the Prefecture of the Papal Household is responsible for the organization of the papal household, audiences, and ceremonies. The Holy See does not dissolve upon a Popes death or resignation and it instead operates under a different set of laws sede vacante. The government of the See, and therefore of the Catholic Church, canon law prohibits the College and the Camerlengo from introducing any innovations or novelties in the government of the Church during this period. In 2001, the Holy See had a revenue of 422.098 billion Italian lire, the Guardian newspaper described Mennini and his role in the following manner. Paolo Mennini, who is in effect the popes merchant banker, Mennini heads a special unit inside the Vatican called the extraordinary division of APSA – Amministrazione del Patrimonio della Sede Apostolica – which handles the patrimony of the Holy See. The Holy See has been recognized, both in practice and in the writing of modern legal scholars, as a subject of public international law, with rightsHoly See – The papal throne (cathedra), in the apse of Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, symbolises the Holy See.
58. Japan – Japan is a sovereign island nation in Eastern Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asia Mainland and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea, the kanji that make up Japans name mean sun origin. 日 can be read as ni and means sun while 本 can be read as hon, or pon, Japan is often referred to by the famous epithet Land of the Rising Sun in reference to its Japanese name. Japan is an archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands. The four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, the country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions. Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one, the population of 127 million is the worlds tenth largest. Japanese people make up 98. 5% of Japans total population, approximately 9.1 million people live in the city of Tokyo, the capital of Japan. Archaeological research indicates that Japan was inhabited as early as the Upper Paleolithic period, the first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD. Influence from other regions, mainly China, followed by periods of isolation, from the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shoguns who ruled in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a period of isolation in the early 17th century. The Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan is a member of the UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8, the country has the worlds third-largest economy by nominal GDP and the worlds fourth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It is also the worlds fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer, although Japan has officially renounced its right to declare war, it maintains a modern military with the worlds eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Japan is a country with a very high standard of living. Its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and the third lowest infant mortality rate in the world, in ancient China, Japan was called Wo 倭. It was mentioned in the third century Chinese historical text Records of the Three Kingdoms in the section for the Wei kingdom, Wa became disliked because it has the connotation of the character 矮, meaning dwarf. The 倭 kanji has been replaced with the homophone Wa, meaning harmony, the Japanese word for Japan is 日本, which is pronounced Nippon or Nihon and literally means the origin of the sun. The earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the Tang dynasty, at the start of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan introduced their country as NihonJapan – The Golden Hall and five-storey pagoda of Hōryū-ji, among the oldest wooden buildings in the world, National Treasures, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
59. United States – Forty-eight of the fifty states and the federal district are contiguous and located in North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east, the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean, the geography, climate and wildlife of the country are extremely diverse. At 3.8 million square miles and with over 324 million people, the United States is the worlds third- or fourth-largest country by area, third-largest by land area. It is one of the worlds most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, paleo-Indians migrated from Asia to the North American mainland at least 15,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century, the United States emerged from 13 British colonies along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the following the Seven Years War led to the American Revolution. On July 4,1776, during the course of the American Revolutionary War, the war ended in 1783 with recognition of the independence of the United States by Great Britain, representing the first successful war of independence against a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, after the Articles of Confederation, the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and designed to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties. During the second half of the 19th century, the American Civil War led to the end of slavery in the country. By the end of century, the United States extended into the Pacific Ocean. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the status as a global military power. The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the sole superpower. The U. S. is a member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States. The United States is a developed country, with the worlds largest economy by nominal GDP. It ranks highly in several measures of performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP. While the U. S. economy is considered post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge economy, the United States is a prominent political and cultural force internationally, and a leader in scientific research and technological innovations. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America after the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo VespucciUnited States – Native Americans meeting with Europeans, 1764
60. Sovereign Military Order of Malta – It was founded as the Knights Hospitaller circa 1099 in Jerusalem, Kingdom of Jerusalem, by the Blessed Gerard, making it the worlds oldest surviving chivalric order. It operated from Cyprus, Rhodes, Malta, over which it was sovereign until the French occupation, the order venerates as its patroness Mary, mother of Jesus, under the title Our Lady of Mount Philermos. The Order retains sovereignty under international law, including United Nations permanent observer status, issuing its own passports, currency, the orders military corps, three brigades, are stationed throughout Italy, liaisoned with the Italian Armed Forces. Through its worldwide relief corps, Malteser International, the order aids victims of disasters, epidemics. In several countries, including France, Germany and Ireland, local associations of the order are important providers of emergency services. In the ecclesiastical heraldry of the Roman Catholic Church, the Order of Malta is one of two orders whose insignia may be displayed in a clerical coat of arms. The shield is surrounded with a rosary for professed knights. Members may also display the Maltese cross behind their shield instead of the ribbon, in order to protect its heritage against frauds, the order has legally registered 16 versions of its names and emblems in some 100 countries. The birth of the dates back to around 1048. The Order of St. John of Jerusalem–the monastic community that ran the hospital for the pilgrims in the Holy Land–became independent under the guidance of its founder, by virtue of the Papal Bull, the hospital became an order exempt from the control of the local church. All the Knights were religious, bound by the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. The order thus added the task of defending the faith to that of its hospitaller mission, as time went on, the order adopted the white eight-pointed Cross that is still its symbol today. The eight points represent the eight beatitudes that Jesus pronounced in his Sermon on the Mount, when the last Christian stronghold in the Holy Land fell after the Siege of Acre in 1291, the order settled first in Cyprus. In 1310, led by Grand Master Fra Foulques de Villaret, in the early 14th century, the institutions of the Order and the knights who came to Rhodes from every corner of Europe were grouped according to the languages they spoke. Each Langue included Priories or Grand Priories, Bailiwicks, and Commanderies, the Order was governed by its Grand Master, the Prince of Rhodes, and its Council. The senior positions of the Order were given to representatives of different Langues, after six months of siege and fierce combat against the fleet and army of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, the Knights were forced to surrender in 1523 and left Rhodes with military honours. The Reformation which split Western Europe into Protestant and Roman Catholic states affected the knights as well, in several countries, including England, Scotland and Sweden, the order was disestablished. In others, including the Netherlands and Germany, entire bailiwicks or commanderies experienced religious conversions and it was established that the order should remain neutral in any war between Christian nationsSovereign Military Order of Malta – Bust portrait of a Knight of Malta
61. Czechoslovakia – From 1939 to 1945, following its forced division and partial incorporation into Nazi Germany, the state did not de facto exist but its government-in-exile continued to operate. From 1948 to 1990, Czechoslovakia was part of the Soviet bloc with a command economy and its economic status was formalized in membership of Comecon from 1949, and its defense status in the Warsaw Pact of May 1955. A period of liberalization in 1968, known as the Prague Spring, was forcibly ended when the Soviet Union, assisted by several other Warsaw Pact countries. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into the two states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Form of state 1918–1938, A democratic republic, 1938–1939, After annexation of Sudetenland by Nazi Germany in 1938, the region gradually turned into a state with loosened connections among the Czech, Slovak, and Ruthenian parts. A large strip of southern Slovakia and Carpatho-Ukraine was annexed by Hungary, 1939–1945, The region was split into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and the Slovak Republic. A government-in-exile continued to exist in London, supported by the United Kingdom, United States and its Allies, after the German invasion of Russia, Czechoslovakia adhered to the Declaration by United Nations and was a founding member of the United Nations. 1946–1948, The country was governed by a government with communist ministers, including the prime minister. Carpathian Ruthenia was ceded to the Soviet Union, 1948–1989, The country became a socialist state under Soviet domination with a centrally planned economy. In 1960, the country became a socialist republic, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. It was a state of the Soviet Union. 1989–1990, The federal republic consisted of the Czech Socialist Republic, 1990–1992, Following the Velvet Revolution, the state was renamed the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, consisting of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. Neighbours Austria 1918–1938, 1945–1992 Germany Hungary Poland Romania 1918–1938 Soviet Union 1945–1991 Ukraine 1991–1992 Topography The country was of irregular terrain. The western area was part of the north-central European uplands, the eastern region was composed of the northern reaches of the Carpathian Mountains and lands of the Danube River basin. Climate The weather is mild winters and mild summers, influenced by the Atlantic Ocean from the west, Baltic Sea from the north, and Mediterranean Sea from the south. The area was long a part of the Austro Hungarian Empire until the Empire collapsed at the end of World War I, the new state was founded by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, who served as its first president from 14 November 1918 to 14 December 1935. He was succeeded by his ally, Edvard Beneš. The roots of Czech nationalism go back to the 19th century, nationalism became a mass movement in the last half of the 19th centuryCzechoslovakia – Czechoslovak troops in Vladivostok (1918)
62. Saar Protectorate – The Saar Protectorate was a short-lived protectorate partitioned from Germany after its defeat in World War II, it was administered by the French Fourth Republic. On rejoining West Germany in 1957, it became the smallest area state and it is named after the Saar River. The region around the Saar River and its tributary valleys is a folded, mineral-rich, ethnically German, economically important. From 1920 to 1935, as a result of World War I, near the end of World War II it was heavily bombed by the Allies as part of their strategic bombing campaigns. Geographically, the post–World War II protectorate corresponded to the current German state of Saarland, cold War pressures for a stronger Germany allowed renewed industrialization, and the French returned control of the region to the government of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1957. The region had previously occupied by France during the Napoleonic Wars. Under the Treaty of Versailles, the Saar was occupied initially by combat units from the United Kingdom and this was sanctioned by a 15-year League of Nations mandate which stationed League of Nations troops from Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom in the Saar until 1935. The Saars coal industry, the dominant industry in the region at the time, was nationalized, others favoured the third option of a continued British–French occupation government. After political agitation and maneuvering by Chancellor Adolf Hitler for the re-union of the Saarland with the German Reich it was reincorporated in 1935 and its area was not redivided among the Prussian Rhine Province and the Bavarian Palatinate, but united with the latter as the Gau of Saar-Palatinate. In 1942 it was renamed Westmark of the Reich and this renaming intended its territorial enlargement by parts of German-occupied French Lorraine which, however, did not materialise. In July 1945, two months after World War II had ended in Europe, the Allied forces were redeploying from the areas they had conquered into their zones of occupation. On 10 July 1945, US forces left the Saar and French troops established their occupational administration, although French officials deported a total of 1,820 people from the Saar in 1946 and 1947, most of these individuals ultimately were allowed to return. Unlike the Soviets, the French expulsions did not amount to ethnic cleansing, however, native Sarrois returning from Nazi-imposed removals and war-related relocations were allowed to return to the areas under French control. France aimed at winning over the Saar population for a future annexation, the principal reason for the French desire for economic control of the Saar was the large coal deposits. France was offered compensation for the return of the Saar to Germany, with effect of 20 July 1946,109 municipalities of the Prussian Rhine Province within the French zone were added to the Saar Protectorate. By 18 December 1946 customs controls were established between the Saar and allied occupied Germany. On 16 July 1947 the Saar mark replaced the Reichsmark as legal tender in the Saar Protectorate, while only French franc banknotes circulated from 1954 on, Saar franc coins, designed similar to French coins, were issued too. On 15 December 1947 the Saar was constituted by its constitution as the Saarland, on 23 March 1948 the customs union with France was confirmed, taking effect on 1 AprilSaar Protectorate – Constitution of Saarland 1947/48
63. Macedonia naming dispute – Pertinent to its background is an early 20th century multifaceted dispute and armed conflict that formed part of the background to the Balkan Wars. Since then, it has been an issue in bilateral and international relations. The dispute has escalated to the highest level of international mediation, in 1995, the two countries formalised bilateral relations and committed to start negotiations on the naming issue, under the auspices of the United Nations. UN members, and the UN as a whole, have agreed to any final agreement on a new name resulting from negotiations between the two countries. The parties are represented by Ambassadors Vasko Naumovski and Adamantios Vassilakis, in antiquity, the territory of present-day Republic of Macedonia equated approximately to the kingdom of Paeonia, which lay immediately north of ancient Macedonia. Thus Macedonia Salutaris encompassed most of the present-day Republic of Macedonia and this situation lasted, with some modifications, until the Ottoman Empire absorbed the remnants of the eastern Roman Empire in the 15th century. Ottoman Macedonia then became part of Rumelia, controlled by the Ottoman Empire up to 1913, in 1893 a revolutionary movement against Ottoman rule began, resulting in the Ilinden Uprising on 2 August 1903. The failure of the Ilinden Uprising caused a change in the strategy of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization from revolutionary to institutional, in 1912 rivalries resulted in the First Balkan War of 1912-1913, and the Ottomans lost most of their European lands. Albania, in conflict with Serbia, Montenegro and Greece, declared its independence in 1912, the Treaty of London assigned the region of the future Republic of Macedonia to the Serbia. Thus the present-day Republic of Macedonia formed part of Bulgaria between 1915 and 1918, after Bulgaria capitulated in September 1918, the borders reverted to the situation of 1913, and the present-day Republic of Macedonia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. This period saw the rise of ideals of a separate Macedonian state in Greece, during World War II, Axis forces occupied much of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia from 1941. Bulgaria as an associate of the Axis powers advanced into the territory of the Republic of Macedonia, the territory of the Republic of Macedonia was divided between Bulgaria and Italian Albania in June 1941. The Yugoslav Peoples Liberation War began officially in 1941 in the territory of the Republic of Macedonia, in 1946 the Peoples Republic of Macedonia was established as a federal component of the newly proclaimed Federal Peoples Republic of Yugoslavia under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito. The issue of the name immediately sparked controversy with Greece over Greek concerns that it presaged a territorial claim on the Greek coastal region of Macedonia. The US Roosevelt administration expressed the same concern through Edward Stettinius in 1944, the Greek press and the Greek government of Andreas Papandreou continued to express the above concerns confronting the views of Yugoslavia during the 1980s and until the Revolutions of 1989. In 1963 the Peoples Republic of Macedonia was renamed the Socialist Republic of Macedonia when the Federal Peoples Republic of Yugoslavia was renamed the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and it dropped the Socialist from its name a few months before declaring independence from Yugoslavia in September 1991. Strong Greek opposition delayed the newly independent republics accession to the United Nations, in Greece, about one million Greek Macedonians participated in the Rally for Macedonia, a very large demonstration that took place in the streets of Thessaloniki in 1992. The rally aimed to object to Macedonia being a part of the name of newly established Republic of MacedoniaMacedonia naming dispute – Macedonian visa cancelled by Greek immigration authorities in 1993 to highlight the dispute over the name.