1. 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
2. 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.
3. 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
4. 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.
5. 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"
6. Belarus – Its capital and most populous city is Minsk. Over 40% of its 207,600 square kilometres is forested and its strongest economic sectors are service industries and manufacturing. In the aftermath of the 1917 Russian Revolution, Belarus declared independence as the Belarusian Peoples Republic, the Socialist Soviet Republic of Byelorussia became a founding constituent republic of the Soviet Union in 1922 and was renamed as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. Belarus lost almost half of its territory to Poland after the Polish–Soviet War of 1919–1921, during WWII, military operations devastated Belarus, which lost about a third of its population and more than half of its economic resources. The republic was redeveloped in the post-war years, in 1945 the Byelorussian SSR became a founding member of the United Nations, along with the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian SSR. The parliament of the declared the sovereignty of Belarus on 27 July 1990. Alexander Lukashenko has served as the president since 1994. Belarus has been labeled Europes last dictatorship by some Western journalists, Lukashenko continued a number of Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of large sections of the economy. Though not directly espousing communism like the five remaining communist countries of China, Cuba, Laos, Vietnam and North Korea, in 2000 Belarus and Russia signed a treaty for greater cooperation, with some hints of forming a Union State. Over 70% of Belaruss population of 9.49 million resides in urban areas, more than 80% of the population is ethnic Belarusian, with sizable minorities of Russians, Poles and Ukrainians. Since a referendum in 1995, the country has had two official languages, Belarusian and Russian, the Constitution of Belarus does not declare any official religion, although the primary religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Belarus is the only European country to retain capital punishment in both law and practice, the name Belarus is closely related with the term Belaya Rus, i. e. White Rus. There are several claims to the origin of the name White Rus, an alternate explanation for the name comments on the white clothing worn by the local Slavic population. A third theory suggests that the old Rus lands that were not conquered by the Tatars had been referred to as white, other sources claim that, before 1267, the land not conquered by the Mongols was considered White Rus. The name Rus is often conflated with its Latin forms Russia and Ruthenia, in some languages, including German and Dutch, the country is generally called White Russia to this day. The Latin term Alba Russia was used again by Pope Pius VI in 1783 to recognize the Society of Jesus there, exclaiming Approbo Societatem Jesu in Alba Russia degentem, approbo, approbo. The first known use of White Russia to refer to Belarus was in the century by Englishman Sir Jerome Horsey. During the 17th century, the Russian tsars used White Rus to describe the lands added from the Grand Duchy of LithuaniaBelarus – Stamp with the Cross of St. Euphrosyne from 1992
7. 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
8. 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
9. 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.
10. 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
11. 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.
12. 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)
13. 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.
14. 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
15. 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
16. 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
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.
21. 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
22. 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.
23. 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).
24. 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.
25. Kazakhstan – Kazakhstan, officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in northern Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Kazakhstan is the worlds largest landlocked country, and the ninth largest in the world, Kazakhstan is the dominant nation of Central Asia economically, generating 60% of the regions GDP, primarily through its oil/gas industry. It also has vast mineral resources, Kazakhstan is officially a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage. Kazakhstan shares borders with Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, the terrain of Kazakhstan includes flatlands, steppe, taiga, rock canyons, hills, deltas, snow-capped mountains, and deserts. Kazakhstan has an estimated 18 million people as of 2014, Given its large area, its population density is among the lowest. The capital is Astana, where it was moved in 1997 from Almaty, the territory of Kazakhstan has historically been inhabited by nomadic tribes. This changed in the 13th century, when Genghis Khan occupied the country as part of the Mongolian Empire, following internal struggles among the conquerors, power eventually reverted to the nomads. By the 16th century, the Kazakh emerged as a distinct group, the Russians began advancing into the Kazakh steppe in the 18th century, and by the mid-19th century, they nominally ruled all of Kazakhstan as part of the Russian Empire. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, and subsequent civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganised several times, in 1936, it was made the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, part of the Soviet Union. Kazakhstan was the last of the Soviet republics to declare independence during the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Kazakhstan has worked to develop its economy, especially its dominant hydrocarbon industry. Kazakhstans 131 ethnicities include Kazakhs, Russians, Uzbeks, Ukrainians, Germans, Tatars, the Kazakh language is the state language, and Russian has equal official status for all levels of administrative and institutional purposes. The name Kazakh comes from the ancient Turkic word qaz, to wander, the name Cossack is of the same origin. The Persian suffix -stan means land or place of, so Kazakhstan can be translated as land of the wanderers. Kazakhstan has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age, the regions climate, archaeologists believe that humans first domesticated the horse in the regions vast steppes. Central Asia was originally inhabited by the Scythians, the Cuman entered the steppes of modern-day Kazakhstan around the early 11th century, where they later joined with the Kipchak and established the vast Cuman-Kipchak confederation. Under the Mongol Empire, the largest in history, administrative districts were established. These eventually came under the rule of the emergent Kazakh Khanate, throughout this period, traditional nomadic life and a livestock-based economy continued to dominate the steppe. Nevertheless, the region was the focus of ever-increasing disputes between the native Kazakh emirs and the neighbouring Persian-speaking peoples to the south, at its height the Khanate would rule parts of Central Asia and control CumaniaKazakhstan – Artistic depiction of medieval Taraz situated along the Silk Road
26. Kyrgyzstan – Kyrgyzstan, officially the Kyrgyz Republic, is a country in Central Asia. Landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west and southwest, Tajikistan to the southwest and its capital and largest city is Bishkek. Kyrgyzstans recorded history spans over 2,000 years, encompassing a variety of cultures and empires, ethnic Kyrgyz make up the majority of the countrys 5.7 million people, followed by significant minorities of Uzbeks and Russians. Kyrgyz is closely related to other Turkic languages, although Russian remains widely spoken and is the official language, the majority of the population are non-denominational Muslims. In addition to its Turkic origins, Kyrgyz culture bears elements of Persian, Mongolian and Russian influence. Kyrgyz is believed to have derived from the Turkic word for forty, in reference to the forty clans of Manas. Literally, Kyrgyz means We are forty, at the time, in the early 9th century AD, the Uyghurs dominated much of Central Asia, Mongolia, and parts of Russia and China. King, Scythians were early settlers in present-day Kyrgyzstan, the Kyrgyz state reached its greatest expansion after defeating the Uyghur Khaganate in 840 A. D. From the 10th century the Kyrgyz migrated as far as the Tian Shan range, in the twelfth century the Kyrgyz dominion had shrunk to the Altay Range and Sayan Mountains as a result of the Mongol expansion. With the rise of the Mongol Empire in the thirteenth century, the Kyrgyz peacefully became a part of the Mongol Empire in 1207. The descent of the Kyrgyz from the autochthonous Siberian population is confirmed on the hand by the recent genetic studies. Issyk Kul Lake was a stopover on the Silk Road, a route for traders, merchants. Kyrgyz tribes were overrun in the 17th century by the Mongols, in the century by the Manchurian Qing Dynasty. In the late century, the majority part of what is today Kyrgyzstan was ceded to Russia through two treaties between China and Russia. The territory, then known in Russian as Kirghizia, was incorporated into the Russian Empire in 1876. The Russian takeover was met with numerous revolts against Tsarist authority, in addition, the suppression of the 1916 rebellion against Russian rule in Central Asia caused many Kyrgyz later to migrate to China. Soviet power was established in the region in 1919. On 5 December 1936, the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic was established as a republic of the Soviet UnionKyrgyzstan – Silk road caravansary utilized during the Islamic Golden Age
27. 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.
28. 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.
29. 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
30. 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
31. 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"
32. 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
33. 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.
34. 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.
35. Mongolia – Mongolia /mɒŋˈɡoʊliə/ is a landlocked unitary sovereign state in East Asia. Its area is equivalent with the historical territory of Outer Mongolia. It is sandwiched between China to the south and Russia to the north, while it does not share a border with Kazakhstan, Mongolia is separated from it by only 36.76 kilometers. At 1,564,116 square kilometers, Mongolia is the 18th largest and it is also the worlds second-largest landlocked country behind Kazakhstan and the largest landlocked country that does not border a closed sea. The country contains very little land, as much of its area is covered by grassy steppe, with mountains to the north and west. Ulaanbaatar, the capital and largest city, is home to about 45% of the countrys population, approximately 30% of the population is nomadic or semi-nomadic, horse culture is still integral. The majority of its population are Buddhists, the non-religious population is the second largest group. Islam is the dominant religion among ethnic Kazakhs, the majority of the states citizens are of Mongol ethnicity, although Kazakhs, Tuvans, and other minorities also live in the country, especially in the west. Mongolia joined the World Trade Organization in 1997 and seeks to expand its participation in regional economic, the area of what is now Mongolia has been ruled by various nomadic empires, including the Xiongnu, the Xianbei, the Rouran, the Turkic Khaganate, and others. In 1206, Genghis Khan founded the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history. His grandson Kublai Khan conquered China to establish the Yuan dynasty, after the collapse of the Yuan, the Mongols retreated to Mongolia and resumed their earlier pattern of factional conflict, except during the era of Dayan Khan and Tumen Zasagt Khan. In the 16th century, Tibetan Buddhism began to spread in Mongolia, being led by the Manchu-founded Qing dynasty. By the early 1900s, almost one-third of the male population were Buddhist monks. After the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1911, Mongolia declared independence from the Qing dynasty, shortly thereafter, the country came under the control of the Soviet Union, which had aided its independence from China. In 1924, the Mongolian Peoples Republic was declared as a Soviet satellite state, after the anti-Communist revolutions of 1989, Mongolia conducted its own peaceful democratic revolution in early 1990. This led to a multi-party system, a new constitution of 1992, homo erectus inhabited Mongolia from 850,000 years ago. Modern humans reached Mongolia approximately 40,000 years ago during the Upper Paleolithic, the Khoit Tsenkher Cave in Khovd Province shows lively pink, brown, and red ochre paintings of mammoths, lynx, bactrian camels, and ostriches, earning it the nickname the Lascaux of Mongolia. The venus figurines of Malta testify to the level of Upper Paleolithic art in northern Mongolia, the wheeled vehicles found in the burials of the Afanasevans have been dated to before 2200 BCMongolia – Deer stones in Mongolia
36. 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
37. Netherlands – The Netherlands is the main constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is a densely populated country located in Western Europe with three territories in the Caribbean. The European part of the Netherlands borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, sharing borders with Belgium, the United Kingdom. The three largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, Amsterdam is the countrys capital, while The Hague holds the Dutch seat of parliament and government. The port of Rotterdam is the worlds largest port outside East-Asia, the name Holland is used informally to refer to the whole of the country of the Netherlands. Netherlands literally means lower countries, influenced by its low land and flat geography, most of the areas below sea level are artificial. Since the late 16th century, large areas have been reclaimed from the sea and lakes, with a population density of 412 people per km2 –507 if water is excluded – the Netherlands is classified as a very densely populated country. Only Bangladesh, South Korea, and Taiwan have both a population and higher population density. Nevertheless, the Netherlands is the worlds second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products and this is partly due to the fertility of the soil and the mild climate. In 2001, it became the worlds first country to legalise same-sex marriage, the Netherlands is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G-10, NATO, OECD and WTO, as well as being a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union. The first four are situated in The Hague, as is the EUs criminal intelligence agency Europol and this has led to the city being dubbed the worlds legal capital. The country also ranks second highest in the worlds 2016 Press Freedom Index, the Netherlands has a market-based mixed economy, ranking 17th of 177 countries according to the Index of Economic Freedom. It had the thirteenth-highest per capita income in the world in 2013 according to the International Monetary Fund, in 2013, the United Nations World Happiness Report ranked the Netherlands as the seventh-happiest country in the world, reflecting its high quality of life. The Netherlands also ranks joint second highest in the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, the region called Low Countries and the country of the Netherlands have the same toponymy. Place names with Neder, Nieder, Nether and Nedre and Bas or Inferior are in use in all over Europe. They are sometimes used in a relation to a higher ground that consecutively is indicated as Upper, Boven, Oben. In the case of the Low Countries / the Netherlands the geographical location of the region has been more or less downstream. The geographical location of the region, however, changed over time tremendouslyNetherlands – The Netherlands in 5500 BC
38. 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.
39. 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
40. 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.
41. 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.
42. 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
43. 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
44. 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
45. 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.
46. 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
47. 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
48. 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.
49. 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.
50. Tajikistan – Tajikistan, officially the Republic of Tajikistan, is a mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia with an estimated 8 million people in 2013, and an area of 143,100 km2. It is bordered by Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the south, the Republic of Uzbekistan to the west, the Kyrgyz Republic to the north, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan lies to the south, separated by the narrow Wakhan Corridor. Traditional homelands of Tajik people included present-day Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, a civil war was fought almost immediately after independence, lasting from 1992 to 1997. Since the end of the war, newly established political stability, Tajikistan is a presidential republic consisting of four provinces. Most of Tajikistans 8 million people belong to the Tajik ethnic group, many Tajiks also speak Russian as their second language. Mountains cover more than 90% of the country and it has a transition economy that is highly dependent on remittances, aluminium and cotton production. Tajikistan means the Land of the Tajiks, the suffix -stan is Persian for place of or country and Tajik is, most likely, the name of a pre-Islamic tribe. Tajikistan appeared as Tadjikistan or Tadzhikistan in English prior to 1991 and this is due to a transliteration from the Russian, Таджикистан. In Russian, there is no single letter j to represent the phoneme /ʤ/ and дж, Tadzhikistan is the most common alternate spelling and is widely used in English literature derived from Russian sources. Tadjikistan is the spelling in French and can occasionally be found in English language texts, the way of writing Tajikistan in the Perso-Arabic script is. The earliest recorded history of the dates back to about 500 BCE when much, if not all. After the regions conquest by Alexander the Great it became part of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, northern Tajikistan was part of Sogdia, a collection of city-states which was overrun by Scythians and Yuezhi nomadic tribes around 150 BCE. The Silk Road passed through the region and following the expedition of Chinese explorer Zhang Qian during the reign of Wudi commercial relations between Han China and Sogdiana flourished. Sogdians played a role in facilitating trade and also worked in other capacities, as farmers, carpetweavers, glassmakers. Later the Hephthalite Empire, a collection of tribes, moved into the region. Central Asia continued in its role as a crossroads, linking China, the steppes to the north. It was temporarily under the control of the Tibetan empire and Chinese from 650–680, the Samanid Empire,819 to 999, restored Persian control of the region and enlarged the cities of Samarkand and Bukhara which became the cultural centres of Iran and the region was known as Khorasan. The Kara-Khanid Khanate conquered Transoxania and ruled between 999–1211, during Genghis Khans invasion of Khwarezmia in the early 13th century the Mongol Empire took control over nearly all of Central AsiaTajikistan – The Samanid ruler Mansur I (961 – 976).
51. 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.
52. Turkmenistan – Turkmenistan has been at the crossroads of civilizations for centuries. In medieval times, Merv was one of the cities of the Islamic world and an important stop on the Silk Road. Annexed by the Russian Empire in 1881, Turkmenistan later figured prominently in the movement in Central Asia. In 1924, Turkmenistan became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic, Turkmenistan possesses the worlds fourth largest reserves of natural gas resources. Most of the country is covered by the Karakum Desert, since 1993, citizens have received government-provided electricity, water and natural gas free of charge. Turkmenistan was ruled by President for Life Saparmurat Niyazov until his death in 2006, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow was elected president in 2007. According to Human Rights Watch, Turkmenistan remains one of the world’s most repressive countries, after suspending the death penalty, the use of capital punishment was formally abolished in the 2008 constitution. Historically inhabited by the Indo-Iranians, the history of Turkmenistan begins with its annexation by the Achaemenid Empire of Ancient Iran. In the 8th century AD, Turkic-speaking Oghuz tribes moved from Mongolia into present-day Central Asia, part of a powerful confederation of tribes, these Oghuz formed the ethnic basis of the modern Turkmen population. In the 10th century, the name Turkmen was first applied to Oghuz groups that accepted Islam, There they were under the dominion of the Seljuk Empire, which was composed of Oghuz groups living in present-day Iran and Turkmenistan. Turkmen soldiers in the service of the played a important role in the spreading of Turkic culture when they migrated westward into present-day Azerbaijan. In the 12th century, Turkmen and other tribes overthrew the Seljuk Empire, in the next century, the Mongols took over the more northern lands where the Turkmens had settled, scattering the Turkmens southward and contributing to the formation of new tribal groups. The sixteenth and eighteenth centuries saw a series of splits and confederations among the nomadic Turkmen tribes, by the 16th century, most of those tribes were under the nominal control of two sedentary Uzbek khanates, Khiva and Bukhoro. Turkmen soldiers were an important element of the Uzbek militaries of this period, in the 19th century, raids and rebellions by the Yomud Turkmen group resulted in that groups dispersal by the Uzbek rulers. According to Paul R. Spickard, Prior to the Russian conquest, Russian forces began occupying Turkmen territory late in the 19th century. From their Caspian Sea base at Krasnovodsk, the Russians eventually overcame the Uzbek khanates, in 1916 the Russian Empires participation in World War I resonated in Turkmenistan, as an anticonscription revolt swept most of Russian Central Asia. In 1924 the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic was formed from the tsarist province of Transcaspia, by the late 1930s, Soviet reorganization of agriculture had destroyed what remained of the nomadic lifestyle in Turkmenistan, and Moscow controlled political life. The Ashgabat earthquake of 1948 killed over 110,000 people, during the next half-century, Turkmenistan played its designated economic role within the Soviet Union and remained outside the course of major world eventsTurkmenistan – Turkmen helmet (15th century).
53. 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
54. 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.
55. 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
56. Uzbekistan – Uzbekistan, officially the Republic of Uzbekistan, is one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world. Located in Central Asia, it is a unitary, constitutional, presidential republic, comprising twelve provinces, one autonomous republic and a capital city. Uzbekistan is bordered by five landlocked countries, Kazakhstan to the north, Tajikistan to the southeast, Kyrgyzstan to the northeast, Afghanistan to the south, and Turkmenistan to the southwest. Once part of the Turkic Khaganate and later Timurid Empires, the region that includes the Republic of Uzbekistan was conquered in the early 16th century by Eastern Turkic-speaking nomads. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, it declared independence as the Republic of Uzbekistan on 31 August 1991, Uzbekistan is officially a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage. The countrys official language is Uzbek, a Turkic language written in the Latin alphabet and spoken natively by approximately 85% of the population, however, Uzbeks constitute 81% of the population, followed by Russians, Tajiks, Kazakhs, and others. A majority of Uzbeks are non-denominational Muslims, Uzbekistan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, UN, and the SCO. While officially a republic, non-governmental human rights organizations define Uzbekistan as an authoritarian state with limited civil rights. Uzbekistans economy relies mainly on commodity production, including cotton, gold, uranium, despite the declared objective of transition to a market economy, its government continues to maintain economic controls which imports in favour of domestic import substitution. Uzbekistan has an area of 447,400 square kilometres and it is the 56th largest country in the world by area and the 42nd by population. Among the CIS countries, it is the 4th largest by area, Uzbekistan lies between latitudes 37° and 46° N, and longitudes 56° and 74° E. It stretches 1,425 kilometres from west to east and 930 kilometres from north to south, Uzbekistan also shares a short border with Afghanistan to the south. Uzbekistan is a dry, landlocked country and it is one of two doubly landlocked countries in the world, the other being Liechtenstein. In addition, due to its location within a series of endorheic basins, less than 10% of its territory is intensively cultivated irrigated land in river valleys and oases. The rest is vast desert and mountains, the climate in the Republic of Uzbekistan is continental, with little precipitation expected annually. The average summer high temperature tends to be 40 °C, while the winter low temperature is around −23 °C. Uzbekistan has a rich and diverse natural environment, the Aral Sea used to be the fourth-largest inland sea on Earth, acting as an influencing factor in the air moisture and arid land use. Since the 1960s, the decade when the misuse of the Aral Sea water began, it has shrunk to less than 50% of its former area, reliable, or even approximate data, have not been collected, stored or provided by any organization or official agencyUzbekistan – Comparison of the Aral Sea between 1989 and 2014.
57. Afghanistan – Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located within South Asia and Central Asia. It has a population of approximately 32 million, making it the 42nd most populous country in the world. It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north and its territory covers 652,000 km2, making it the 41st largest country in the world. The land also served as the source from which the Kushans, Hephthalites, Samanids, Saffarids, Ghaznavids, Ghorids, Khiljis, Mughals, Hotaks, Durranis, the political history of the modern state of Afghanistan began with the Hotak and Durrani dynasties in the 18th century. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a state in the Great Game between British India and the Russian Empire. Following the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919, King Amanullah unsuccessfully attempted to modernize the country and it remained peaceful during Zahir Shahs forty years of monarchy. A series of coups in the 1970s was followed by a series of wars that devastated much of Afghanistan. The name Afghānistān is believed to be as old as the ethnonym Afghan, the root name Afghan was used historically in reference to a member of the ethnic Pashtuns, and the suffix -stan means place of in Persian. Therefore, Afghanistan translates to land of the Afghans or, more specifically in a historical sense, however, the modern Constitution of Afghanistan states that he word Afghan shall apply to every citizen of Afghanistan. An important site of historical activities, many believe that Afghanistan compares to Egypt in terms of the historical value of its archaeological sites. The country sits at a unique nexus point where numerous civilizations have interacted and it has been home to various peoples through the ages, among them the ancient Iranian peoples who established the dominant role of Indo-Iranian languages in the region. At multiple points, the land has been incorporated within large regional empires, among them the Achaemenid Empire, the Macedonian Empire, the Indian Maurya Empire, and the Islamic Empire. Archaeological exploration done in the 20th century suggests that the area of Afghanistan has been closely connected by culture and trade with its neighbors to the east, west. Artifacts typical of the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, urban civilization is believed to have begun as early as 3000 BCE, and the early city of Mundigak may have been a colony of the nearby Indus Valley Civilization. More recent findings established that the Indus Valley Civilisation stretched up towards modern-day Afghanistan, making the ancient civilisation today part of Pakistan, Afghanistan, in more detail, it extended from what today is northwest Pakistan to northwest India and northeast Afghanistan. An Indus Valley site has found on the Oxus River at Shortugai in northern Afghanistan. There are several smaller IVC colonies to be found in Afghanistan as well, after 2000 BCE, successive waves of semi-nomadic people from Central Asia began moving south into Afghanistan, among them were many Indo-European-speaking Indo-Iranians. These tribes later migrated further into South Asia, Western Asia, the region at the time was referred to as ArianaAfghanistan – History of Afghanistan
58. Algeria – Algeria, officially the Peoples Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a sovereign state in North Africa on the Mediterranean coast. Its capital and most populous city is Algiers, located in the far north. With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres, Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, the country is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 48 provinces and 1,541 communes. Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been President since 1999, Berbers are the indigenous inhabitants of Algeria. Algeria is a regional and middle power, the North African country supplies large amounts of natural gas to Europe, and energy exports are the backbone of the economy. According to OPEC Algeria has the 16th largest oil reserves in the world, Sonatrach, the national oil company, is the largest company in Africa. Algeria has one of the largest militaries in Africa and the largest defence budget on the continent, most of Algerias weapons are imported from Russia, with whom they are a close ally. Algeria is a member of the African Union, the Arab League, OPEC, the countrys name derives from the city of Algiers. The citys name in turn derives from the Arabic al-Jazāir, a form of the older Jazāir Banī Mazghanna. In the region of Ain Hanech, early remnants of hominid occupation in North Africa were found, neanderthal tool makers produced hand axes in the Levalloisian and Mousterian styles similar to those in the Levant. Algeria was the site of the highest state of development of Middle Paleolithic Flake tool techniques, tools of this era, starting about 30,000 BC, are called Aterian. The earliest blade industries in North Africa are called Iberomaurusian and this industry appears to have spread throughout the coastal regions of the Maghreb between 15,000 and 10,000 BC. Neolithic civilization developed in the Saharan and Mediterranean Maghreb perhaps as early as 11,000 BC or as late as between 6000 and 2000 BC and this life, richly depicted in the Tassili nAjjer paintings, predominated in Algeria until the classical period. The amalgam of peoples of North Africa coalesced eventually into a native population that came to be called Berbers. These settlements served as market towns as well as anchorages, as Carthaginian power grew, its impact on the indigenous population increased dramatically. Berber civilization was already at a stage in which agriculture, manufacturing, trade, by the early 4th century BC, Berbers formed the single largest element of the Carthaginian army. In the Revolt of the Mercenaries, Berber soldiers rebelled from 241 to 238 BC after being unpaid following the defeat of Carthage in the First Punic War. They succeeded in obtaining control of much of Carthages North African territory, the Carthaginian state declined because of successive defeats by the Romans in the Punic WarsAlgeria – Ancient Roman Empire ruins of Timgad. Street leading to the Arch of Trajan.
59. Australia – Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the worlds sixth-largest country by total area, the neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east, and New Zealand to the south-east. Australias capital is Canberra, and its largest urban area is Sydney, for about 50,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians, who spoke languages classifiable into roughly 250 groups. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored, on 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia has since maintained a liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy comprising six states. The population of 24 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard, Australia has the worlds 13th-largest economy and ninth-highest per capita income. With the second-highest human development index globally, the country highly in quality of life, health, education, economic freedom. The name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis a name used for putative lands in the southern hemisphere since ancient times, the Dutch adjectival form Australische was used in a Dutch book in Batavia in 1638, to refer to the newly discovered lands to the south. On 12 December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office that it be formally adopted, in 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known officially as Australia. The first official published use of the term Australia came with the 1830 publication of The Australia Directory and these first inhabitants may have been ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. The Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, were originally horticulturists, the northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited sporadically by fishermen from Maritime Southeast Asia. The first recorded European sighting of the Australian mainland, and the first recorded European landfall on the Australian continent, are attributed to the Dutch. The first ship and crew to chart the Australian coast and meet with Aboriginal people was the Duyfken captained by Dutch navigator, Willem Janszoon. He sighted the coast of Cape York Peninsula in early 1606, the Dutch charted the whole of the western and northern coastlines and named the island continent New Holland during the 17th century, but made no attempt at settlement. William Dampier, an English explorer and privateer, landed on the north-west coast of New Holland in 1688, in 1770, James Cook sailed along and mapped the east coast, which he named New South Wales and claimed for Great Britain. The first settlement led to the foundation of Sydney, and the exploration, a British settlement was established in Van Diemens Land, now known as Tasmania, in 1803, and it became a separate colony in 1825. The United Kingdom formally claimed the part of Western Australia in 1828. Separate colonies were carved from parts of New South Wales, South Australia in 1836, Victoria in 1851, the Northern Territory was founded in 1911 when it was excised from South AustraliaAustralia – Aboriginal rock art in the Kimberley region of Western Australia
60. Egypt – Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba to the east, the Red Sea to the east and south, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, and across from the Sinai Peninsula lies Saudi Arabia, although Jordan and it is the worlds only contiguous Afrasian nation. Egypt has among the longest histories of any country, emerging as one of the worlds first nation states in the tenth millennium BC. Considered a cradle of civilisation, Ancient Egypt experienced some of the earliest developments of writing, agriculture, urbanisation, organised religion and central government. One of the earliest centres of Christianity, Egypt was Islamised in the century and remains a predominantly Muslim country. With over 92 million inhabitants, Egypt is the most populous country in North Africa and the Arab world, the third-most populous in Africa, and the fifteenth-most populous in the world. The great majority of its people live near the banks of the Nile River, an area of about 40,000 square kilometres, the large regions of the Sahara desert, which constitute most of Egypts territory, are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypts residents live in areas, with most spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria. Modern Egypt is considered to be a regional and middle power, with significant cultural, political, and military influence in North Africa, the Middle East and the Muslim world. Egypts economy is one of the largest and most diversified in the Middle East, Egypt is a member of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, Arab League, African Union, and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Miṣr is the Classical Quranic Arabic and modern name of Egypt. The name is of Semitic origin, directly cognate with other Semitic words for Egypt such as the Hebrew מִצְרַיִם, the oldest attestation of this name for Egypt is the AkkadianEgypt – The Giza Necropolis is the oldest of the ancient Wonders and the only one still in existence.
61. 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
62. Morocco – Morocco, officially known as the Kingdom of Morocco, is a sovereign country located in the Maghreb region of North Africa. Geographically, Morocco is characterized by a mountainous interior, large tracts of desert. Morocco has a population of over 33.8 million and an area of 446,550 km2 and its capital is Rabat, and the largest city is Casablanca. Other major cities include Marrakesh, Tangier, Tetouan, Salé, Fes, Agadir, Meknes, Oujda, Kenitra, a historically prominent regional power, Morocco has a history of independence not shared by its neighbours. Marinid and Saadi dynasties continued the struggle against foreign domination, the Alaouite dynasty, the current ruling dynasty, seized power in 1666. In 1912 Morocco was divided into French and Spanish protectorates, with a zone in Tangier. Moroccan culture is a blend of Arab, indigenous Berber, Sub-Saharan African, Morocco claims the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara as its Southern Provinces. Morocco annexed the territory in 1975, leading to a war with indigenous forces until a cease-fire in 1991. Peace processes have thus far failed to break the political deadlock, Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco holds vast executive and legislative powers, especially over the military, foreign policy, the king can issue decrees called dahirs which have the force of law. He can also dissolve the parliament after consulting the Prime Minister, Moroccos predominant religion is Islam, and the official languages are Arabic and Tamazight. The Moroccan dialect, referred to as Darija, and French are also widely spoken, Morocco is a member of the Arab League, the Union for the Mediterranean, and the African Union. It has the fifth largest economy of Africa, the full Arabic name al-Mamlakah al-Maghribiyyah translates to Kingdom of the West, although the West in Arabic is الغرب Al-Gharb. The basis of Moroccos English name is Marrakesh, its capital under the Almoravid dynasty, the origin of the name Marrakesh is disputed, but is most likely from the Berber words amur akush or Land of God. The modern Berber name for Marrakesh is Mṛṛakc, in Turkish, Morocco is known as Fas, a name derived from its ancient capital of Fes. The English name Morocco is an anglicisation of the Spanish Marruecos, the area of present-day Morocco has been inhabited since Paleolithic times, sometime between 190,000 and 90,000 BC. During the Upper Paleolithic, the Maghreb was more fertile than it is today, twenty-two thousand years ago, the Aterian was succeeded by the Iberomaurusian culture, which shared similarities with Iberian cultures. Skeletal similarities have been suggested between the Iberomaurusian Mechta-Afalou burials and European Cro-Magnon remains, the Iberomaurusian was succeeded by the Beaker culture in MoroccoMorocco – Berber Roman King Ptolemy of Mauretania.
63. South Korea – South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea, is a sovereign state in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. The earliest Korean pottery dates to 8000 BC, with three kingdoms flourishing in the 1st century BC and its rich and vibrant culture left 19 UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity, the third largest in the world, along with 12 World Heritage Sites. Annexed into Imperial Japan in 1910, Korea was divided after its surrender in 1945, peace has since mostly continued with the two agreeing to work peacefully for reunification and the South solidifying peace as a regional power with the worlds 10th largest defence budget. South Koreas tiger economy soared at an average of 10% for over 30 years in a period of rapid transformation called the Miracle on the Han River. A long legacy of openness and focus on innovation made it successful, today, it is the worlds fifth largest exporter with the G20s largest budget surplus and highest credit rating of any country in East Asia. It has free trade agreements with 75% of the economy and is the only G20 nation trading freely with China, the US. Since 1988, its constitution guarantees a liberal democracy with high government transparency, high personal freedoms led to the rise of a globally influential pop culture such as K-pop and K-drama, a phenomenon called the Korean Wave, known for its distinctive fashionable and trendy style. Home of the UN Green Climate Fund and GGGI, South Korea is a leader in low carbon growth, committed to helping developing countries as a major DAC. It is the third least ignorant country in the Index of Ignorance, ranking eighth highest for peaceful tolerance. It is the worlds largest spender on R&D per GDP, leading the OECD in graduates in science, the name Korea derives from the name Goryeo. The name Goryeo itself was first used by the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo in the 5th century as a form of its name. The 10th-century kingdom of Goryeo succeeded Goguryeo, and thus inherited its name, the modern spelling of Korea first appeared in the late 17th century in the travel writings of the Dutch East India Companys Hendrick Hamel. After Goryeo was replaced by Joseon in 1392, Joseon became the name for the entire territory. The new official name has its origin in the ancient country of Gojoseon, in 1897, the Joseon dynasty changed the official name of the country from Joseon to Daehan Jeguk. The name Daehan, which means great Han literally, derives from Samhan, however, the name Joseon was still widely used by Koreans to refer to their country, though it was no longer the official name. Under Japanese rule, the two names Han and Joseon coexisted, there were several groups who fought for independence, the most notable being the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea. Following the surrender of Japan, in 1945, the Republic of Korea was adopted as the name for the new country. Since the government only controlled the part of the Korean PeninsulaSouth Korea – Flag
64. Thailand – Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand, formerly known as Siam, is a country at the centre of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia. With a total area of approximately 513,000 km2, Thailand is the worlds 51st-largest country and it is the 20th-most-populous country in the world, with around 66 million people. The capital and largest city is Bangkok, Thailand is a constitutional monarchy and has switched between parliamentary democracy and military junta for decades, the latest coup being in May 2014 by the National Council for Peace and Order. Its capital and most populous city is Bangkok and its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest. The Thai economy is the worlds 20th largest by GDP at PPP and it became a newly industrialised country and a major exporter in the 1990s. Manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism are leading sectors of the economy and it is considered a middle power in the region and around the world. The country has always been called Mueang Thai by its citizens, by outsiders prior to 1949, it was usually known by the exonym Siam. The word Siam has been identified with the Sanskrit Śyāma, the names Shan and A-hom seem to be variants of the same word. The word Śyâma is possibly not its origin, but a learned, another theory is the name derives from Chinese, Ayutthaya emerged as a dominant centre in the late fourteenth century. The Chinese called this region Xian, which the Portuguese converted into Siam, the signature of King Mongkut reads SPPM Mongkut King of the Siamese, giving the name Siam official status until 24 June 1939 when it was changed to Thailand. Thailand was renamed Siam from 1945 to 11 May 1949, after which it reverted to Thailand. According to George Cœdès, the word Thai means free man in the Thai language, ratcha Anachak Thai means kingdom of Thailand or kingdom of Thai. Etymologically, its components are, ratcha, -ana- -chak, the Thai National Anthem, written by Luang Saranupraphan during the extremely patriotic 1930s, refers to the Thai nation as, prathet Thai. The first line of the anthem is, prathet thai ruam lueat nuea chat chuea thai, Thailand is the unity of Thai flesh. There is evidence of habitation in Thailand that has been dated at 40,000 years before the present. Similar to other regions in Southeast Asia, Thailand was heavily influenced by the culture and religions of India, Thailand in its earliest days was under the rule of the Khmer Empire, which had strong Hindu roots, and the influence among Thais remains even today. Voretzsch believes that Buddhism must have been flowing into Siam from India in the time of the Indian Emperor Ashoka of the Maurya Empire, later Thailand was influenced by the south Indian Pallava dynasty and north Indian Gupta Empire. The Menam Basin was originally populated by the Mons, and the location of Dvaravati in the 7th century, the History of the Yuan mentions an embassy from the kingdom of Sukhothai in 1282Thailand – The ruins of Wat Chaiwatthanaram at Ayutthaya.
65. Tunisia – Tunisia, officially the Republic of Tunisia is the northernmost country in Africa, covering 165,000 square kilometres. Its northernmost point, Cape Angela, is the northernmost point on the African continent and it is bordered by Algeria to the west and southwest, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Tunisias population was estimated to be just under 11 million in 2014, Tunisias name is derived from its capital city, Tunis, which is located on Tunisias northeast coast. Geographically, Tunisia contains the end of the Atlas Mountains. Much of the rest of the land is fertile soil. Tunisia is a unitary semi-presidential representative democratic republic and it is considered to be the only full democracy in the Arab World. It has a human development index. In addition, Tunisia is also a state of the United Nations. Close relations with Europe – in particular with France and with Italy – have been forged through economic cooperation, privatisation, in ancient times, Tunisia was primarily inhabited by Berbers. Phoenician immigration began in the 12th century BC, these immigrants founded Carthage, a major mercantile power and a military rival of the Roman Republic, Carthage was defeated by the Romans in 146 BC. The Romans, who would occupy Tunisia for most of the eight hundred years, introduced Christianity. After several attempts starting in 647, the Arabs conquered the whole of Tunisia by 697, the Ottomans held sway for over three hundred years. The French colonization of Tunisia occurred in 1881, Tunisia gained independence with Habib Bourguiba and declared the Tunisian Republic in 1957. In 2011, the Tunisian Revolution resulted in the overthrow of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the country voted for parliament again on 26 October 2014, and for President on 23 November 2014. The word Tunisia is derived from Tunis, an urban hub. The present form of the name, with its Latinate suffix -ia, the French derivative Tunisie was adopted in some European languages with slight modifications, introducing a distinctive name to designate the country. Other languages remained untouched, such as the Russian Туни́с and Spanish Túnez, in this case, the same name is used for both country and city, as with the Arabic تونس, and only by context can one tell the difference. The name Tunis can be attributed to different origins and it is generally associated with the Berber root ⵜⵏⵙ, transcribed tns, which means to lay down or encampmentTunisia – Ancient ruins of a Roman villa at Carthage
66. ODIHR – The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights is the principal institution of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe dealing with the human dimension of security. The Office, originally named Office for Free Elections, was created in 1990 by the Charter of Paris, the name of the office was changed in 1992 to reflect the broadened mandate it received at the 1992 Helsinki Summit. Based in Warsaw, ODIHR is active throughout the 57 participating States of the OSCE and it assists governments in meeting their commitments as participating States of the OSCE in the areas of elections, human rights, democracy, rule of law, and tolerance and non-discrimination. The Office also hosts the organizations Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues, ODIHR is best known for its role in observing elections. It has observed almost 300 elections across the OSCE region and has deployed some 70,000 observers, the Office organizes the annual OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw, Europes largest human rights conference. ODIHRs Director is Michael Georg Link, the office has a staff of close to 150. Michael Georg Link, 2014- Janez Lenarčič, 2008-2014 Christian Strohal, 2003-2008 Gérard Stoudmann, 1997-2003 Audrey Glover, 1994-1997 Luchino Cortese, 1991-1997 Official websiteODIHR – Młodziejowski Palace in Warsaw, the seat of ODIHR