Granada is the capital city of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of four rivers, the Darro, the Genil, the Monachil and the Beiro, it sits at an average elevation of 738 m above sea level, yet is only one hour by car from the Mediterranean coast, the Costa Tropical. Nearby is the Sierra Nevada Ski Station, where the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 1996 were held. In the 2005 national census, the population of the city of Granada proper was 236,982, the population of the entire urban area was estimated to be 472,638, ranking as the 13th-largest urban area of Spain. About 3.3% of the population did not hold Spanish citizenship, the largest number of these people coming from South America. Its nearest airport is Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén Airport; the Alhambra, an Arab citadel and palace, is located in Granada. It is the most renowned building of the Islamic historical legacy with its many cultural attractions that make Granada a popular destination among the tourist cities of Spain.
The Almohad influence on architecture is preserved in the Granada neighborhood called the Albaicín with its fine examples of Moorish and Morisco construction. Granada is well-known within Spain for the University of Granada which has an estimated 82,000 students spread over five different campuses in the city; the pomegranate is the heraldic device of Granada. The region surrounding what today is Granada has been populated since at least 5500 BC and experienced Roman and Visigothic influences; the most ancient ruins found in the city belong to an Iberian oppidum called Ilturir, in the region known as Bastetania. This oppidum changed its name to Iliberri, after the Roman conquest of Iberia, to Municipium Florentinum Iliberitanum; the Umayyad conquest of Hispania, starting in AD 711, brought large parts of the Iberian Peninsula under Moorish control and established al-Andalus. Granada's historical name in the Arabic language was غرناطة; the word Gárnata means "hill of strangers". Because the city was situated on a low plain and, as a result, difficult to protect from attacks, the ruler decided to transfer his residence to the higher situated area of Gárnata.
In a short time this town was transformed into one of the most important cities of al-Andalus. In the early 11th century, after the collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate, the Berber Zawi ben Ziri established an independent kingdom for himself, the Taifa of Granada, his surviving memoirs — the only ones for the Spanish "Middle Ages" — provide considerable detail for this brief period. The Zirid Taifa of Granada was a Jewish state in all but name, it is the only time between Biblical times and the twentieth century that a Jewish ruler commanded an army. It was the center of Jewish culture and scholarship. Early Arabic writers called it "Garnata al-Yahud".... Granada was in the eleventh century the center of Sephardic civilization at its peak, from 1027 until 1066 Granada was a powerful Jewish state. Jews did not hold the foreigner status typical of Islamic rule. Samuel ibn Nagrilla, recognized by Sephardic Jews everywhere as the quasi-political ha-Nagid, was king in all but name; as vizier he made policy and—much more unusual—led the army....
It is said that Samuel’s strengthening and fortification of Granada was what permitted it to survive as the last Islamic state in the Iberian peninsula. All of the greatest figures of eleventh-century Hispano-Jewish culture are associated with Granada. Moses Ibn Ezra was from Granada. Ibn Gabirol’s patrons and hosts were the Jewish viziers of Granada, Samuel ha-Nagid and his son Joseph; when Joseph took over after his father's death, he proved to lack his father's diplomacy, bringing on the 1066 Granada massacre, which ended the Golden Age of Jewish Culture in Spain. By the end of the 11th century, the city had spread across the Darro to reach the hill of the future Alhambra, included the Albaicín neighborhood; the Almoravids ruled Granada from 1090 and the Almohad dynasty from 1166. In 1228, with the departure of the Almohad prince Idris al-Ma'mun, who left Iberia to take the Almohad leadership, the ambitious Ibn al-Ahmar established the last and longest reigning Muslim dynasty in the Iberian peninsula, the Nasrids.
With the Reconquista in full swing after the conquest of Córdoba in 1236, the Nasrids aligned themselves with Fernando III of Castile becoming the Emirate of Granada in 1238. According to some historians, Granada was a tributary state to the Kingdom of Castile since that year, it provided connections with Muslim and Arab trade centers for gold from sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb, exported silk and dried fruits produced in the area. The Nasrids supplied troops from the Emirate and mercenaries from North Africa for service to Castile. Ibn Battuta, a famous traveller and an authentic historian, visited the Kingdom of Granada in 1350, he described it as a powerful and self-sufficient kingdom in its own right, although embroiled in skirmishes with the Kingdom of Castile. In his journal, Ibn Battuta called Granada the “metropolis of Andalusia and the bride of its cities.”During the Moor rule, Granada was a city with adherents to many religions and ethnicities who lived in separate quarters. During this Nasrid period there were 137 Muslim mosques in the Medina of Granada.
On January 2, 1492, the last Muslim ruler in Iberia
Prague is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, the 14th largest city in the European Union and the historical capital of Bohemia. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of 2.6 million. The city has a temperate climate, with chilly winters. Prague has been a political and economic centre of central Europe complete with a rich history. Founded during the Romanesque and flourishing by the Gothic and Baroque eras, Prague was the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia and the main residence of several Holy Roman Emperors, most notably of Charles IV, it was an important city to its Austro-Hungarian Empire. The city played major roles in the Bohemian and Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years' War and in 20th-century history as the capital of Czechoslovakia, during both World Wars and the post-war Communist era. Prague is home to a number of well-known cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of 20th-century Europe.
Main attractions include Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, Old Town Square with the Prague astronomical clock, the Jewish Quarter, Petřín hill and Vyšehrad. Since 1992, the extensive historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites; the city has more than ten major museums, along with numerous theatres, galleries and other historical exhibits. An extensive modern public transportation system connects the city, it is home to a wide range of public and private schools, including Charles University in Prague, the oldest university in Central Europe. Prague is classified as an "Alpha −" global city according to GaWC studies and ranked sixth in the Tripadvisor world list of best destinations in 2016, its rich history makes it a popular tourist destination and as of 2017, the city receives more than 8.5 million international visitors annually. Prague is the fourth most visited European city after London and Rome. During the thousand years of its existence, the city grew from a settlement stretching from Prague Castle in the north to the fort of Vyšehrad in the south, becoming the capital of a modern European country, the Czech Republic, a member state of the European Union.
The region was settled as early as the Paleolithic age. A Jewish chronicler David Solomon Ganz, citing Cyriacus Spangenberg, claimed that the city was founded as Boihaem in c. 1306 BC by an ancient king, Boyya. Around the fifth and fourth century BC, a Celts tribe appeared in the area establishing settlements including an oppidum in Závist, a present-day suburb of Prague, naming the region of Bohemia, which means "home of the Boii people". In the last century BC, the Celts were driven away by Germanic tribes, leading some to place the seat of the Marcomanni king, Maroboduus, in southern Prague in the suburb now called Závist. Around the area where present-day Prague stands, the 2nd century map drawn by Ptolemaios mentioned a Germanic city called Casurgis. In the late 5th century AD, during the great Migration Period following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the Germanic tribes living in Bohemia moved westwards and in the 6th century, the Slavic tribes settled the Central Bohemian Region.
In the following three centuries, the Czech tribes built several fortified settlements in the area, most notably in the Šárka valley and Levý Hradec. The construction of what came to be known as Prague Castle began near the end of the 9th century, growing a fortified settlement that existed on the site since the year 800; the first masonry under Prague Castle dates from the year 885 at the latest. The other prominent Prague fort, the Přemyslid fort Vyšehrad, was founded in the 10th century, some 70 years than Prague Castle. Prague Castle is dominated by the cathedral, which began construction in 1344, but wasn't completed until the 20th century; the legendary origins of Prague attribute its foundation to the 8th century Czech duchess and prophetess Libuše and her husband, Přemysl, founder of the Přemyslid dynasty. Legend says that Libuše came out on a rocky cliff high above the Vltava and prophesied: "I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars." She ordered a town called Praha to be built on the site.
The region became the seat of the dukes, kings of Bohemia. Under Holy Roman Emperor Otto II the area became a bishopric in 973; until Prague was elevated to archbishopric in 1344, it was under the jurisdiction of the Archbishopric of Mainz. Prague was an important seat for trading where merchants from all of Europe settled, including many Jews, as recalled in 965 by the Hispano-Jewish merchant and traveller Ibrahim ibn Ya'qub; the Old New Synagogue of 1270 still stands in the city. Prague was once home to an important slave market. At the site of the ford in the Vltava river, King Vladislaus I had the first bridge built in 1170, the Judith Bridge, named in honour of his wife Judith of Thuringia; this bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1342, but some of the original foundation stones of that bridge remain in the river. It was named the Charles Bridge. In 1257, under King Ottokar II, Malá Strana was founded in Prague on the site of an older village in what would become the Hradčany area; this was the district of the German people, who had the right to administer the law autonomously, pursuant to Magdeburg rights.
The new district was on the bank opposite of the Staré Město, which had borough status and was bordered by a line of walls and fortifications. Prague flourished dur
The Amsterdam School is a style of architecture that arose from 1910 through about 1930 in the Netherlands. The Amsterdam School movement is part of international Expressionist architecture, sometimes linked to German Brick Expressionism. Buildings of the Amsterdam School are characterized by brick construction with complicated masonry with a rounded or organic appearance traditional massing, the integration of an elaborate scheme of building elements inside and out: decorative masonry, art glass, wrought ironwork, spires or "ladder" windows, integrated architectural sculpture; the aim was to create a total architectural experience and exterior. Imbued with socialist ideals, the Amsterdam School style was applied to working-class housing estates, local institutions and schools. For many Dutch towns Hendrik Berlage designed the new urban schemes, while the architects of the Amsterdam School were responsible for the buildings. With regard to the architectural style, Michel de Klerk had a different vision than Berlage.
In the magazine "Bouwkundig Weekblad 45/1916" Michel de Klerk criticized Berlage's recent buildings in the style of Dutch Traditionalism. In this context, the Stock Exchange by Berlage of 1905 can be seen as the starting point of Traditionalist architecture. From 1920 to 1930 different parallel movements developed in the Netherlands: Traditionalism Expressionism De Stijl Rationalism Constructivism The specific Brick-Cubism by Dudok and Berlage; the Expressionist architecture of the Amsterdam School was the most successful style of the 1920s. For many foreign architects, Amsterdam was the "Mecca" for new town extensions, but the Traditionalist movement lasted longer, until the 1950s, thanks to the so-called Delft School, represented by Martinus Grampré Molière at the Delft University of Technology. In the 1960s the Rationalist movement was dominant. In a well-known speech, the Dutch Rationalist, Willem van Tijen declared the Amsterdam School a warning example for architects. After the death of Piet Kramer in 1961, no architectural institution or museum was interested in his Expressionist work.
For that reason, all his drawings and models were burnt. The Amsterdam School had its origins in the office of architect Eduard Cuypers in Amsterdam. Although Cuypers was not a progressive architect himself, he gave his employees plenty of opportunity to develop; the three leaders of the Amsterdam School Michel de Klerk, Johan van der Mey and Piet Kramer all worked for Cuypers until about 1910. In 1905 Amsterdam was the first city to establish a building code, the city hired Johan van der Mey afterwards, in the special position as "Aesthetic Advisor", to bring artistic unity and vision to its built environment. Van der Mey's major commission, the 1912 cooperative-commercial Scheepvaarthuis, is considered the starting point of the movement, the three of them collaborated on that building; the most Amsterdam School buildings are found in this city. The movement and its followers played an important role in Berlage's overall plans for the expansion of Amsterdam; the most important architects and virtuoso artists of the Amsterdam School were Michel de Klerk and Piet Kramer.
Other members included Berend Tobia Boeyinga, P. H. Endt, H. Th. Wijdeveld, J. F. Staal, C. J. Blaauw, P. L. Marnette; the journal Wendingen, published between 1918 and 1931, was the magazine of the Amsterdam School movement. After De Klerk died in 1923, the style lost its importance; the De Bijenkorf Store in the Hague by Piet Kramer from 1926 is considered to be the last example of "classic" Amsterdam School Expressionism. The influence of the Amsterdam School continued in the Dutch East Indies, where one of its leading proponents was the pioneering Indonesian architect Liem Bwan Tjie; the Amsterdam School style spread beyond architecture to encompass interior design, with the result that items ranging from furniture and carpets to lamps and clocks were produced. Interest revived in the 1970s as well as at the beginning of the 21st century. Wim de Wit, The Amsterdam School - Dutch Expressionist Architecture 1915-1930, The MIT Press, Cambridge Mass. 1983 Maristella Casciato, The Amsterdam School, 010 Publishers, Rotterdam 1991 Joseph Buch, A Century of Architecture in The Netherlands, NAI Publishers, Rotterdam 1995 Martijn F.
Le Coultre, Wendingen 1918-1932, V+K Publishing, Blaricum 2001 Wendingen, Dutch architecture and art magazine. Expressionist architecture is the main theme: Amsterdam School, Finsterlin, Feininger et al. Edited in Amsterdam and Santpoort, 1918-1932. Countermovement to the De Stijl movement in 1917. Archimon The Amsterdam School museum, located in Het Schip Amsterdamse School Amsterdam School of architecture outline and pictures Guided tour + photographs
Amsterdam is the capital city and most populous municipality of the Netherlands. Its status as the capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, although it is not the seat of the government, The Hague. Amsterdam has a population of 854,047 within the city proper, 1,357,675 in the urban area and 2,410,960 in the metropolitan area; the city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country but is not its capital, Haarlem. The Amsterdam metropolitan area comprises much of the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, which has a population of 8.1 million. Amsterdam's name derives from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city's origin around a dam in the river Amstel. Originating as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age, as a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading centre for trade. In the 19th and 20th centuries the city expanded, many new neighbourhoods and suburbs were planned and built.
The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam and the 19–20th century Defence Line of Amsterdam are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Since the annexation of the municipality of Sloten in 1921 by the municipality of Amsterdam, the oldest historic part of the city lies in Sloten, dating to the 9th century; as the commercial capital of the Netherlands and one of the top financial centres in Europe, Amsterdam is considered an alpha- world city by the Globalization and World Cities study group. The city is the cultural capital of the Netherlands. Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters there, including Philips, AkzoNobel, TomTom and ING. Many of the world's largest companies are based in Amsterdam or established their European headquarters in the city, such as leading technology companies Uber and Tesla. In 2012, Amsterdam was ranked the second best city to live in by the Economist Intelligence Unit and 12th globally on quality of living for environment and infrastructure by Mercer; the city was ranked 4th place globally as top tech hub in the Savills Tech Cities 2019 report, 3rd in innovation by Australian innovation agency 2thinknow in their Innovation Cities Index 2009.
The Port of Amsterdam to this day remains the second in the country, the fifth largest seaport in Europe. Famous Amsterdam residents include the diarist Anne Frank, artists Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent van Gogh, philosopher Baruch Spinoza; the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the oldest stock exchange in the world, is located in the city centre. Amsterdam's main attractions include its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House, the Scheepvaartmuseum, the Amsterdam Museum, the Heineken Experience, the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Natura Artis Magistra, Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, NEMO, the red-light district and many cannabis coffee shops, they draw more than 5 million international visitors annually. The city is well known for its nightlife and festival activity, it is one of the world's most multicultural cities, with at least 177 nationalities represented. After the floods of 1170 and 1173, locals near the river Amstel built a bridge over the river and a dam across it, giving its name to the village: "Aemstelredamme".
The earliest recorded use of that name is in a document dated 27 October 1275, which exempted inhabitants of the village from paying bridge tolls to Count Floris V. This allowed the inhabitants of the village of Aemstelredamme to travel through the County of Holland, paying no tolls at bridges and dams; the certificate describes the inhabitants. By 1327, the name had developed into Aemsterdam. Amsterdam is much younger than Dutch cities such as Nijmegen and Utrecht. In October 2008, historical geographer Chris de Bont suggested that the land around Amsterdam was being reclaimed as early as the late 10th century; this does not mean that there was a settlement since reclamation of land may not have been for farming—it may have been for peat, for use as fuel. Amsterdam was granted city rights in either 1300 or 1306. From the 14th century on, Amsterdam flourished from trade with the Hanseatic League. In 1345, an alleged Eucharistic miracle in the Kalverstraat rendered the city an important place of pilgrimage until the adoption of the Protestant faith.
The Miracle devotion was kept alive. In the 19th century after the jubilee of 1845, the devotion was revitalized and became an important national point of reference for Dutch Catholics; the Stille Omgang—a silent walk or procession in civil attire—is the expression of the pilgrimage within the Protestant Netherlands since the late 19th century. In the heyday of the Silent Walk, up to 90,000 pilgrims came to Amsterdam. In the 21st century this has reduced to about 5000. In the 16th century, the Dutch rebelled against Philip II of his successors; the main reasons for the uprising were the imposition of new taxes, the tenth penny, the religious persecution of Protestants by the newly introduced Inquisition. The revolt escalated into the Eighty Years' War, which led to Dutch independence. Pushed by Dutch Revolt leader William the Silent, the Dutch Republic became known for its relative religious tolerance. Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, Huguenots from France, prosperous merchants and printers from Flanders, economic and religious refugees
Venice is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. It is situated on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges; the islands are located in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between the mouths of the Po and the Piave rivers. In 2018, 260,897 people resided in the Comune di Venezia, of whom around 55,000 live in the historical city of Venice. Together with Padua and Treviso, the city is included in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area, considered a statistical metropolitan area, with a total population of 2.6 million. The name is derived from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region by the 10th century BC; the city was the capital of the Republic of Venice. The 697–1797 Republic of Venice was a major financial and maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto, as well as an important center of commerce and art in the 13th century up to the end of the 17th century.
The city-state of Venice is considered to have been the first real international financial center, emerging in the 9th century and reaching its greatest prominence in the 14th century. This made Venice a wealthy city throughout most of its history. After the Napoleonic Wars and the Congress of Vienna, the Republic was annexed by the Austrian Empire, until it became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1866, following a referendum held as a result of the Third Italian War of Independence. Venice has been known as "La Dominante", "La Serenissima", "Queen of the Adriatic", "City of Water", "City of Masks", "City of Bridges", "The Floating City", "City of Canals"; the lagoon and a part of the city are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Parts of Venice are renowned for the beauty of their settings, their architecture, artwork. Venice is known for several important artistic movements—especially during the Renaissance period—has played an important role in the history of symphonic and operatic music, is the birthplace of Antonio Vivaldi.
Although the city is facing some major challenges, Venice remains a popular tourist destination, an iconic Italian city, has been ranked the most beautiful city in the world. The name of the city, deriving from Latin forms Venetia and Venetiae, is most taken from "Venetia et Histria", the Roman name of Regio X of Roman Italy, but applied to the coastal part of the region that remained under Roman Empire outside of Gothic and Frankish control; the name Venetia, derives from the Roman name for the people known as the Veneti, called by the Greeks Enetoi. The meaning of the word is uncertain, although there are other Indo-European tribes with similar-sounding names, such as the Celtic Veneti and the Slavic Vistula Veneti. Linguists suggest that the name is based on an Indo-European root *wen, so that *wenetoi would mean "beloved", "lovable", or "friendly". A connection with the Latin word venetus, meaning the color'sea-blue', is possible. Supposed connections of Venetia with the Latin verb venire, such as Marin Sanudo's veni etiam, the supposed cry of the first refugees to the Venetian lagoon from the mainland, or with venia are fanciful.
The alternative obsolete form is Vinegia. Although no surviving historical records deal directly with the founding of Venice and the available evidence have led several historians to agree that the original population of Venice consisted of refugees—from nearby Roman cities such as Padua, Treviso and Concordia, as well as from the undefended countryside—who were fleeing successive waves of Germanic and Hun invasions; this is further supported by the documentation on the so-called "apostolic families", the twelve founding families of Venice who elected the first doge, who in most cases trace their lineage back to Roman families. Some late Roman sources reveal the existence of fishermen, on the islands in the original marshy lagoons, who were referred to as incolae lacunae; the traditional founding is identified with the dedication of the first church, that of San Giacomo on the islet of Rialto —said to have taken place at the stroke of noon on 25 March 421. Beginning as early as AD 166–168, the Quadi and Marcomanni destroyed the main Roman town in the area, present-day Oderzo.
This part of Roman Italy was again overrun in the early 5th century by the Visigoths and, some 50 years by the Huns led by Attila. The last and most enduring immigration into the north of the Italian peninsula, that of the Lombards in 568, left the Eastern Roman Empire only a small strip of coastline in the current Veneto, including Venice; the Roman/Byzantine territory was organized as the Exarchate of Ravenna, administered from that ancient port and overseen by a viceroy appointed by the Emperor in Constantinople. Ravenna and Venice were connected only by sea routes, with the Venetians' isolated position came increasing autonomy. New ports were built, including those at Torcello in the Venetian lagoon; the tribuni maiores formed the earliest central standing governing committee of the islands in the lagoon, dating from c. 568. The traditional first doge of Venice, Paolo Lucio A
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 383,084 inhabitants in 2013, over 1,520,000 in its metropolitan area. Florence was a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of that era, it is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, has been called "the Athens of the Middle Ages". A turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family and numerous religious and republican revolutions. From 1865 to 1871 the city was the capital of the established Kingdom of Italy; the Florentine dialect forms the base of Standard Italian and it became the language of culture throughout Italy due to the prestige of the masterpieces by Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio, Niccolò Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini. The city attracts millions of tourists each year, the Historic Centre of Florence was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982; the city is noted for Renaissance art and architecture and monuments.
The city contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pitti, still exerts an influence in the fields of art and politics. Due to Florence's artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Florence is an important city in Italian fashion, being ranked in the top 15 fashion capitals of the world. In 2008, the city had the 17th highest average income in Italy. Florence originated as a Roman city, after a long period as a flourishing trading and banking medieval commune, it was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, it was politically and culturally one of the most important cities in Europe and the world from the 14th to 16th centuries; the language spoken in the city during the 14th century was, still is, accepted as the Italian language. All the writers and poets in Italian literature of the golden age are in some way connected with Florence, leading to the adoption of the Florentine dialect, above all the local dialects, as a literary language of choice.
Starting from the late Middle Ages, Florentine money—in the form of the gold florin—financed the development of industry all over Europe, from Britain to Bruges, to Lyon and Hungary. Florentine bankers financed the English kings during the Hundred Years War, they financed the papacy, including the construction of their provisional capital of Avignon and, after their return to Rome, the reconstruction and Renaissance embellishment of Rome. Florence was home to the Medici, one of European history's most important noble families. Lorenzo de' Medici was considered a political and cultural mastermind of Italy in the late 15th century. Two members of the family were popes in the early 16th century: Leo X and Clement VII. Catherine de Medici married King Henry II of France and, after his death in, reigned as regent in France. Marie de' Medici married Henry IV of France and gave birth to the future King Louis XIII; the Medici reigned as Grand Dukes of Tuscany, starting with Cosimo I de' Medici in 1569 and ending with the death of Gian Gastone de' Medici in 1737.
The Etruscans formed in 200 BC the small settlement of Fiesole, destroyed by Lucius Cornelius Sulla in 80 BC in reprisal for supporting the populares faction in Rome. The present city of Florence was established by Julius Caesar in 59 BC as a settlement for his veteran soldiers and was named Fluentia, owing to the fact that it was built between two rivers, changed to Florentia, it was built in the style of an army camp with the main streets, the cardo and the decumanus, intersecting at the present Piazza della Repubblica. Situated along the Via Cassia, the main route between Rome and the north, within the fertile valley of the Arno, the settlement became an important commercial centre. In centuries to come, the city experienced turbulent periods of Ostrogothic rule, during which the city was troubled by warfare between the Ostrogoths and the Byzantines, which may have caused the population to fall to as few as 1,000 people. Peace returned under Lombard rule in the 6th century. Florence was conquered by Charlemagne in 774 and became part of the Duchy of Tuscany, with Lucca as capital.
The population began to grow again and commerce prospered. In 854, Florence and Fiesole were united in one county. Margrave Hugo chose Florence as his residency instead of Lucca at about 1000 AD; the Golden Age of Florentine art began around this time. In 1013, construction began on the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte; the exterior of the church was reworked in Romanesque style between 1059 and 1128. In 1100, Florence was a "Commune"; the city's primary resource was the Arno river, providing power and access for the industry, access to the Mediterranean sea for international trade. Another great source of strength was its industrious merchant community; the Florentine merchant banking skills became recognised in Europe after they brought decisive financial innovation to medieval fairs. This period saw the eclipse of Florence's powerful rival Pisa, the exercise of power by the mercantile elite following an anti-aristocratic movement, led by Giano della Bella, that resulted in a set of laws called the Ordinances of Justice.
Of a population estimated at 94,00
South Africa the Republic of South Africa, is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation, it is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status; the remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European and multiracial ancestry. South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures and religions, its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution's recognition of 11 official languages, the fourth highest number in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most coloured and white South Africans.
The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d'état, regular elections have been held for a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country's recent history and politics; the National Party imposed apartheid in 1948. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, the repeal of discriminatory laws began in 1990. Since 1994, all ethnic and linguistic groups have held political representation in the country's liberal democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces. South Africa is referred to as the "rainbow nation" to describe the country's multicultural diversity in the wake of apartheid; the World Bank classifies South Africa as an upper-middle-income economy, a newly industrialised country.
Its economy is the second-largest in Africa, the 34th-largest in the world. In terms of purchasing power parity, South Africa has the seventh-highest per capita income in Africa; however and inequality remain widespread, with about a quarter of the population unemployed and living on less than US$1.25 a day. South Africa has been identified as a middle power in international affairs, maintains significant regional influence; the name "South Africa" is derived from the country's geographic location at the southern tip of Africa. Upon formation, the country was named the Union of South Africa in English, reflecting its origin from the unification of four separate British colonies. Since 1961, the long form name in English has been the "Republic of South Africa". In Dutch, the country was named Republiek van Zuid-Afrika, replaced in 1983 by the Afrikaans Republiek van Suid-Afrika. Since 1994, the Republic has had an official name in each of its 11 official languages. Mzansi, derived from the Xhosa noun umzantsi meaning "south", is a colloquial name for South Africa, while some Pan-Africanist political parties prefer the term "Azania".
South Africa contains human-fossil sites in the world. Archaeologists have recovered extensive fossil remains from a series of caves in Gauteng Province; the area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been branded "the Cradle of Humankind". The sites include one of the richest sites for hominin fossils in the world. Other sites include Gondolin Cave Kromdraai, Coopers Cave and Malapa. Raymond Dart identified the first hominin fossil discovered in Africa, the Taung Child in 1924. Further hominin remains have come from the sites of Makapansgat in Limpopo Province and Florisbad in the Free State Province, Border Cave in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Klasies River Mouth in Eastern Cape Province and Pinnacle Point and Die Kelders Cave in Western Cape Province; these finds suggest that various hominid species existed in South Africa from about three million years ago, starting with Australopithecus africanus. There followed species including Australopithecus sediba, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Homo rhodesiensis, Homo helmei, Homo naledi and modern humans.
Modern humans have inhabited Southern Africa for at least 170,000 years. Various researchers have located pebble tools within the Vaal River valley. Settlements of Bantu-speaking peoples, who were iron-using agriculturists and herdsmen, were present south of the Limpopo River by the 4th or 5th century CE, they displaced and absorbed the original Khoisan speakers, the Khoikhoi and San peoples. The Bantu moved south; the earliest ironworks in modern-day KwaZulu-Natal Province are believed to date from around 1050. The southernmost group was the Xhosa people, whose language incorporates certain linguistic traits from the earlier Khoisan people; the Xhosa reached the Great Fish River, in today's Eastern Cape Province. As they migrated, these larger Iron Age populations