Defender (association football)
In the sport of association football, a defender is an outfield player whose primary role is to prevent the opposing team from scoring goals. There are four types of defenders: centre-back, full-back, wing-back; the centre-back and full-back positions are essential in most modern formations. The sweeper and wing-back roles are more specialised for certain formations. A centre-back defends in the area directly in front of the goal, tries to prevent opposing players centre-forwards, from scoring. Centre-backs accomplish this by blocking shots, intercepting passes, contesting headers and marking forwards to discourage the opposing team from passing to them. With the ball, centre-backs are expected to make long and pinpoint passes to their teammates, or to kick unaimed long balls down the field. For example, a clearance is a long unaimed kick intended to move the ball as far as possible from the defender's goal. Due to the many skills centre-backs are required to possess in the modern game, many successful contemporary central-defensive partnerships have involved pairing a more physical defender with a defender, quicker, more comfortable in possession and capable of playing the ball out from the back.
During normal play, centre-backs are unlikely to score goals. However, when their team takes a corner kick or other set pieces, centre-backs may move forward to the opponents' penalty area. In this case, other defenders or midfielders will temporarily move into the centre-back positions; some centre-backs have been known for their direct free kicks and powerful shots from distance. Brazilian defenders David Luiz and Naldo have been known for using the cannonball free kick method, which relies more on power than placement. In the modern game, most teams employ three centre-backs in front of the goalkeeper; the 4–2–3–1, 4–3–3, 4–4–2 formations all use two centre-backs. There are two main defensive strategies used by centre-backs: the zonal defence, where each centre-back covers a specific area of the pitch; the sweeper is a more versatile centre-back who "sweeps up" the ball if an opponent manages to breach the defensive line. This position is rather more fluid than that of other defenders who man-mark their designated opponents.
Because of this, it is sometimes referred to as libero. Though sweepers may be expected to build counter-attacking moves, as such require better ball control and passing ability than typical centre-backs, their talents are confined to the defensive realm. For example, the catenaccio system of play, used in Italian football in the 1960s, employed a purely defensive sweeper who only "roamed" around the back line; the more modern libero possesses the defensive qualities of the typical libero while being able to expose the opposition during counterattacks. The Fundell-libero has become more popular in recent time with the sweeper transitioning to the most advanced forward in an attack; this variation on the position requires great fitness. While seen in professional football, the position has been extensively used in lower leagues. Modern libero sit behind centre-backs as a sweeper before charging through the team to join in the attack; some sweepers move forward and distribute the ball up-field, while others intercept passes and get the ball off the opposition without needing to hurl themselves into tackles.
If the sweeper does move up the field to distribute the ball, they will need to make a speedy recovery and run back into their position. In modern football, its usage has been restricted, with few clubs in the biggest leagues using the position; the position is most believed to have been pioneered by Franz Beckenbauer, Gaetano Scirea, Elías Figueroa, although they were not the first players to play this position. Earlier proponents included Alexandru Apolzan, Ivano Blason, Velibor Vasović, Ján Popluhár. Other defenders who have been described as sweepers include Bobby Moore, Franco Baresi, Ronald Koeman, Fernando Hierro, Matthias Sammer, Aldair, due to their ball skills and long passing ability. Though it is used in modern football, it remains a respected and demanding position. A recent and successful use of the sweeper was made by Otto Rehhagel, Greece's manager, during UEFA Euro 2004. Rehhagel utilized Traianos Dellas as Greece's sweeper to great success, as Greece became European champions.
Although this position has become obsolete in modern football formations, due to the use of zonal marking and the offside trap, certain players such as Daniele De Rossi:, Leonardo Bonucci, Javi Martínez and David Luiz have played a similar role as a ball-playing central defender in a 3–5–2 or 3–4–3 formation. Some goalkeepers, who are comfortable leaving their goalmouth to intercept and clear through balls, who participate more in play, such as René Higuita, Manuel Neuer, Edwin van der Sar, Fabien Barthez, Hugo Lloris, among others, have been referred to as sweep
Captain (association football)
The team captain of an association football team, sometimes known as the skipper, is a team member chosen to be the on-pitch leader of the team: it is one of the older/or more experienced members of the squad, or a player that can influence a game or have good leadership qualities. The team captain is identified by the wearing of an armband; the only official responsibility of a captain specified by the Laws of the Game is to participate in the coin toss prior to kick-off and prior to a penalty shootout. Contrary to what is sometimes said, captains have no special authority under the Laws to challenge a decision by the referee. However, referees may talk to the captain of a side about the side's general behaviour when necessary. At an award-giving ceremony after a fixture like a cup competition final, the captain leads the team up to collect their medals. Any trophy won by a team will be received by the captain who will be the first one to hoist it; the captain generally leads the teams out of the dressing room at the start of the match.
A captain is tasked with running the dressing room. The captain provides a rallying point for the team: if morale is low, it is the captain who will be looked upon to boost their team's spirits. Captains may join the manager in deciding the starting eleven for a certain game. In youth or recreational football, the captain takes on duties, that would, at a higher level, be delegated to the manager. A club captain is appointed for a season. If he is unavailable or not selected for a particular game, or must leave the pitch the club vice-captain will assume similar duties; the match captain is the first player to lift a trophy should the team win one if he was not the club captain. A good example of this was in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final when match captain Peter Schmeichel lifted the trophy for Manchester United as club captain Roy Keane was suspended. In the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final, match captain Frank Lampard jointly lifted the trophy for Chelsea with club captain John Terry.
A club may appoint two distinct roles: a club captain to represent the players in a public relations role, correspondent on the pitch. Manchester United has had both of these types of captains. After Neville retired in 2011, regular starter Nemanja Vidić was named as club captain. São Paulo's Rogério Ceni is the player. A vice-captain is a player, expected to captain the side when the club's captain is not included in the starting eleven, or if, during a game, the captain is substituted or sent off. Examples include Thomas Müller at Bayern Munich, Marcelo at Real Madrid, César Azpilicueta at Chelsea, Sergio Busquets at Barcelona, Harry Kane at Tottenham Hotspur, James Milner at Liverpool and Ashley Young at Manchester United; some clubs name a 3rd captain or a 4th captain to take the role of captain when both the captain and vice-captain are unavailable. In the 1986 FIFA World Cup, when Bryan Robson was injured and vice-captain Ray Wilkins received a two-game suspension for a red card, Peter Shilton became England's captain for the rest of the tournament.
During the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Germany had three captains. Michael Ballack had captained the national team since 2004, including the successful qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup, but he did not play in the latter tournament due to a last minute injury. Philipp Lahm was appointed captain in South Africa, but due to an illness that ruled him out of Germany's final fixture, Bastian Schweinsteiger captained the team for that game, the third-place match. Lahm stated in an interview that he would not relinquish the captaincy when Ballack returned, causing some controversy, so team manager Oliver Bierhoff clarified the situation saying "Philipp Lahm is the World Cup captain and Michael Ballack is still the captain". Lahm ended up becoming the permanent captain of Germany until his retirement, as Ballack was never called up to the national team again. Captain
Kevin-Prince Boateng pronunciation, is a German-Ghanaian professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Barcelona on loan from Italian club Sassuolo. A midfielder who can play as a forward, Boateng is known for his strength and ball-juggling tricks. A 2014 profile on FIFA's official website described Boateng as "blessed with strength, killer instinct in front of goal, an uncommon flamboyance in the attacking third."Throughout his career, Boateng has represented various clubs in Germany and Italy, had spells in England and Spain. Born in Germany, he represented Germany internationally at youth level, although at senior level he represented Ghana 15 times between 2010 and 2014, scoring two goals, took part at the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups with the team. Boateng started his club career with the club Reinickendorfer Füchse in early 1994 at age six prior to signing for Hertha BSC on 1 July 1994 at the age of seven, first playing for them to 31 July 2007 when he was 20 years old. After emerging from the Hertha feeder teams, Boateng played for Hertha BSC II for two seasons.
He was promoted to the Hertha first team squad in the 2005–06 season. Boateng made his first team debut in a 2–0 win against Eintracht Frankfurt in the second round of the 2005–06 Bundesliga season on 13 August 2005 at the Olympic Stadium, being brought on at the beginning of the second half. Boateng was awarded the Fritz Walter Bronze Medal Award in the Under-18 category in 2005. Boateng started his first Bundesliga match in a 2–2 draw against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the 14th round of the Bundesliga season. On 27 July 2006, Boateng was awarded the Fritz Walter Gold Medal in the Under-19 category. Boateng signed a four-year contract with Tottenham Hotspur in July 2007 for a reported £5.4 million, securing him ahead of UEFA Cup holders Sevilla. His success at the club was limited, he was loaned to Borussia Dortmund in January 2009 for the remainder of the season, he made ten Bundesliga appearances during his loan, but was forced to miss the final two matches of the season for a suspension of four matches imposed by the German Football Association following a tough challenge and "no-nonsense flying kick" to the head of VfL Wolfsburg's Makoto Hasebe.
Dortmund were eager to sign Boateng permanently at the end of the season, but financial constraints prevented them from doing so. English Premier League club Portsmouth signed Boateng on a three-year contract in August 2009 for a reported fee of around £4 million. On 12 September 2009, he scored his first goal for the club against Bolton Wanderers, was named Portsmouth's joint Player of the Month, he finished his only season at the club with three goals in 22 Premier League games as they were relegated amidst financial disarray. In May 2010, Portsmouth played Chelsea in the FA Cup Final, which Chelsea won 1–0. During the match, Boateng fouled Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack, injuring Ballack's ankle and ruling him out of the impending 2010 World Cup. Boateng claimed that Ballack slapped him in the face prior to this, that he apologised to Ballack for the tackle which left him injured. Boateng called the German media and the German national team players hypocrites for backing Ballack whilst ignoring his slap on the pitch.
Boateng criticised Joachim Löw for protecting Ballack after he slapped striker Lukas Podolski in a German national football team training match the previous year. On 17 August 2010, Boateng transferred to Italian Serie A club Genoa on a three-year contract for €5.75 million, immediately joined Milan on loan. The deal became a co-ownership deal in the same transfer window for €5.25 million. Milan signed Boateng permanently from Genoa in June 2011 for €7 million on a four-year contract due to expire in June 2015. On 23 October 2011, Boateng came on as a half-time substitute against Lecce and scored three goals in 14 minutes. Milan had been 3–0 down at half-time, but went on to win the game 4–3. Boateng is only the second player in the history of Serie A to score a hat-trick after coming on as a substitute; the hat-trick was the fastest in Serie A since David Trezeguet scored a ten-minute hat-trick for Juventus in 2001. On 3 January 2013, Milan was playing Italian Lega Pro 2 side Pro Patria in a mid-season friendly when Boateng and several other Milan players were the targets of racist chanting from a section of the Pro Patria crowd.
Boateng reacted by kicking the ball into the stands before leaving the pitch, was followed off by his teammates. The match was subsequently abandoned, his decision to walk off the pitch was backed by various players and commentators. On 20 February, Boateng scored the opening goal for Milan against Barcelona in the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg, which Milan went on to win 2–0. In August 2013, he was quoted as saying he had changed his style since signing for Milan, from playing as a defensive midfielder to adopting the role of trequartista. On 30 August 2013, Milan announced that Boateng had been transferred to German Bundesliga club Schalke 04 for a €10 million transfer fee on a four-year contract due to expire in June 2017. Boateng made his debut for Schalke 04 in a 2–0 victory against Bayer Leverkusen. On 14 September 2013, he scored the winning goal for Schalke 04 in a 1–0 win over Mainz 05. On 30 October 2013, Boateng was voted the Schalke 04 player of the month for October 2013 by fans.
On 9 November 2013, Boateng scored two goals against Werder Bremen. Boateng scored seven Bundesliga goals over the season. On 11 May 2015, alongside Sidney Sam and Marco Hög
Forward (association football)
Forwards are the players on an association football team who play nearest to the opposing team's goal, are therefore most responsible for scoring goals. Their advanced position and limited defensive responsibilities mean forwards score more goals on behalf of their team than other players. Modern team formations include one to three forwards. Unconventional formations may include none; the traditional role of a centre-forward is to score the majority of goals on behalf of the team. The player may be used to win long balls or receive passes and retain possession of the ball with their back to goal as teammates advance, in order to provide depth for their team or help teammates score by providing a pass. Most modern centre-forwards operate in front of the second strikers or central attacking midfielders, do the majority of the ball handling outside the box; the present role of centre-forward is sometimes interchangeable with that of an attacking midfielder in the 4–3–1–2 or 4–1–2–1–2 formations.
The term "target man" is used to describe a particular type of striker whose main role is to win high balls in the air and create chances for other members of the team. These players are tall and physically strong, being adept at heading the ball; the term centre-forward is taken from the early football playing formation in which there were five forward players: two outside forwards, two inside forwards, one centre-forward. When numbers were introduced in the 1933 English FA Cup final, one of the two centre-forwards that day wore the number nine – Everton's Dixie Dean a strong, powerful forward who had set the record for the most goals scored in a season in English football during the 1927–28 season; the number would become synonymous with the centre-forward position. The role of a striker is rather different from that of a traditional centre-forward, although the terms centre-forward and striker are used interchangeably at times, as both play further up the field than other players, while tall and technical players, like Zlatan Ibrahimović, have qualities which are suited to both positions.
Like the centre-forward, the traditional role of a striker is to score goals. They are fast players with good ball control and dribbling abilities. More agile strikers like Michael Owen have an advantage over taller defenders due to their short bursts of speed. A good striker should be able to shoot confidently with either foot, possess great power and accuracy, have the ability to link-up with teammates and pass the ball under pressure in breakaway situations. While many strikers wear the number 9 shirt, the position, to a lesser degree, is associated with the number 10, worn by more creative deep-lying forwards such as Pelé, with numbers 7 and 11, which are associated with wingers. Deep-lying forwards have a long history in the game, but the terminology to describe their playing activity has varied over the years; such players were termed inside forwards, creative or deep-lying centre-forwards. More two more variations of this old type of player have developed: the second, or shadow, or support, or auxiliary striker and, in what is in fact a distinct position unto its own, the number 10, exemplified by Dennis Bergkamp.
Other number 10s who play further back, such as Diego Maradona and Zinedine Zidane, are described as an attacking midfielder or the playmaker. The second striker position is a loosely defined and most misapplied description of a player positioned somewhere between the out-and-out striker, whether he is a "target-man" or more of a "poacher", the Number 10 or attacking midfielder, while showing some of the characteristics of both. In fact, a term coined by French advanced playmaker Michel Platini, the "nine-and-a-half", which he used to describe Roberto Baggio's playing role, has been an attempt to become a standard in defining the position. Conceivably, a Number 10 can alternate as a second-striker provided that he is a prolific goalscorer. Second or support strikers do not tend to get as involved in the orchestration of attacks as the Number 10, nor do they bring as many other players into play, since they do not share the burden of responsibility, functioning predominantly as assist providers.
In Italy, this role is known as a "rifinitore" or "seconda punta", whereas in Brazil, it is known as "segundo atacante" or "ponta-de-lança". The position of inside forward was popularly used in the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries; the inside forwards would support the centre-forward and making space in the opposition defence, and, as the passing game developed, supporting him or her with passes. The role is broadly analogous to the "hole" or second striker position in the modern game, although here there were two such players, known as inside right and inside left. In early 2–3–5 formations the inside-forwards would flank the centre-forward on both sides. With the advent of
Gallarate is a city and comune of Alto Milanese of Lombardy and of Milan metropolitan area, northern Italy, in the Province of Varese. It has a population of some 54 thousand people, its name comes from Latin, in fact a lot of cities around it have the same root "rate", such as Casorate Sempione, etc. It is the junction of railways to Varese and Arona; some 10 kilometres to the west are the electric works of Vizzola, where 23,000 hp are derived from the river Ticino. Its territory is crossed by the river Arnetta, belongs to the Ticino River Natural Park; the city in the first part of the 19th century had a strong textile industry. Founded by the Gauls and conquered by the Romans, Gallarate was mentioned as an important vicus or village in documents dating back to the Roman conquest of what was called Gallia Cisalpina. After the Carolingian conquest of northern-central Italy, a castle was erected upon the remains of the original Roman fortifications located beside the still existing Basilica of Santa Maria.
The castle has disappeared, but its ancient location is identified through the city’s topography and by the street name Via Postcastello. After the obliteration of Castelseprio by Ottone Visconti in 1287, Gallarate became the capital of the vast Seprio county. During these years, Gallarate saw a period of prosperity and economic growth that would last for the rest of Visconti’s control, until the beginning of French rule two centuries later. Documents in the National Archives refer to Gallarate as an important centre of commercial exchange between both Italian and foreign markets for cotton, drapes and textiles. Distinguished families such as the Rosnati, Masera, Macchi, Curioni and the Guenzati represented the nobility and the merchant classes; this period was noted as a time of great civic improvement and the beginning of Gallarate as a centre of industrial activity. In the late 15th century, the city fell under foreign dominations under the Spanish and under the French, a condition which lasted until the 19th century.
In between this political instability, Gallarate became a private fief of some of the competing nobles Italian families such as the Bentivoglio, Caracciolo, Visconti, Castelbarco. Gallarate became a part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1859, received the honorary title of city with a royal decree on 19 December 1860. By the latter half of the 19th century modern industry had begun to take over many areas of Italy. In a few decades, Gallarate became an important industrial city; this period was marked by heavy social tensions brought about by the rapid political and economic changes wrought by Gallarate’s own industrial revolution. Nowadays, Gallarate’s industrial structure no longer includes these giant industrial powerhouses of the past, their existence, however, is still marked out by the presence of the high chimneys, which are still visible along Gallarate’s skyline. Many of the old Liberty-style buildings, where thousands of Gallaratesi worked during the past century-and-a-half, have been turned into new modern multi-level shopping centres and plazas.
Romanesque church of St. Peter, it was built in the 11th including some Gothic elements. The interior has a nave without aisles; the façade, the apse and the sides are characterised by arcades supported by small columns forming a fake loggia. It was declared national monument in 1844. Church of Santa Maria Assunta is located in the city centre and in autumn 2016 the local government started works of restoration Baroque church of Sant'Antonio Abate Sanctuary of Madonna di Campagna, dating to the early 17th century. Church of San Zenone Church of San Rocco Historical pharmacy Dahò, where the carbonari used to hide in the 19th century, owned by Dott. Renata Minoli; the pharmacy is located in piazza Garibaldi. MAGA museum which holds over 5,000 pieces of contemporary art. In the 19th and 20th centuries Gallarate was an important centre for textile industry. Now it is a local hub for transport and high-tech industries; the Sistema Bibliotecario Consortile Antonio Panizzi has its main offices in Gallarate.
The system operates the Biblioteca Civica " Luigi Majno " in Gallarate. Gallarate is the seat of the Aloysianum, a former Jesuit college, now a Jesuit cultural centre with an important library. Carlo Maria Martini spent there the last years of his life. In 2010 the local government built a modern art museum called Museo MAGA, hosting a Missoni exhibition in honour of the deceased Ottavio Missoni. MAGA is a focal point for local student adult education. Gallarate railway station, opened in 1860, is the junction of the railway lines Domodossola–Milan, Luino–Milan and Porto Ceresio–Milan; the station is a stop for several long-running trains, of regional trains from Milan to Domodossola, of line S5 of Milan suburban railway service, line S30 of Ticino railway network. Gallarate is close to the Milan–Malpensa international airport. Marco Parolo, footballer Ivan Basso, cyclist Official website This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Gallarate".
Encyclopædia Britannica. 11. Cambridge University Press. P. 413
Senegal the Republic of Senegal, is a country in West Africa. Senegal is bordered by Mauritania in the north, Mali to the east, Guinea to the southeast, Guinea-Bissau to the southwest. Senegal borders The Gambia, a country occupying a narrow sliver of land along the banks of the Gambia River, which separates Senegal's southern region of Casamance from the rest of the country. Senegal shares a maritime border with Cape Verde. Senegal's economic and political capital is Dakar; the unitary semi-presidential republic is the westernmost country in the mainland of the Old World, or Afro-Eurasia, owes its name to the Senegal River, which borders it to the east and north. Senegal covers a land area of 197,000 square kilometres and has an estimated population of about 15 million; the climate is Sahelian, though there is a rainy season. From a Portuguese transliteration of the name of the Zenaga known as the Sanhaja, or a combination of the supreme deity in Serer religion and o gal meaning body of water in the Serer language.
Alternatively, the name could derive from the Wolof phrase "Sunuu Gaal," which means "our boat." The territory of modern Senegal has been inhabited by various ethnic groups since prehistory. Organized kingdoms emerged around the seventh century, parts of the country were ruled by prominent regional empires such as the Jolof Empire; the present state of Senegal has its roots in European colonialism, which began during the mid-15th century, when various European powers began competing for trade in the area. The establishment of coastal trading posts led to control of the mainland, culminating in French rule of the area by the 19th century, albeit amid much local resistance. Senegal peacefully attained independence from France in 1960, has since been among the more politically stable countries in Africa. Senegal's economy is centered on commodities and natural resources. Major industries are fish processing, phosphate mining, fertilizer production, petroleum refining, construction materials, ship construction and repair.
As in most African nations, agriculture is a major sector, with Senegal producing several important cash crops, including peanuts, cotton, green beans, tomatoes and mangoes. Owing to its relative stability and hospitality are burgeoning sectors. With it being a multiethnic and secular nation, Senegal is predominantly Sunni Muslim with Sufi and animist influences. French is the official language, although many native languages are recognized. Since April 2012, Senegal's president has been Macky Sall. Senegal has been a member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie since 1970. Archaeological findings throughout the area indicate that Senegal was inhabited in prehistoric times and has been continuously occupied by various ethnic groups; some kingdoms were created around the 7th century: Takrur in the 9th century and the Jolof Empire during the 13th and 14th centuries. Eastern Senegal was once part of the Ghana Empire. Islam was introduced through Toucouleur and Soninke contact with the Almoravid dynasty of the Maghreb, who in turn propagated it with the help of the Almoravids, Toucouleur allies.
This movement faced resistance from ethnicities of the Serers in particular. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the area came under the influence of the empires to the east. In the Senegambia region, between 1300 and 1900, close to one-third of the population was enslaved as a result of captives taken in warfare. In the 14th century the Jolof Empire grew more powerful, having united Cayor and the kingdoms of Baol, Saloum, Futa Tooro and Bambouk, or much of present-day West Africa; the empire was a voluntary confederacy of various states rather than an empire built on military conquest. The empire was founded by Ndiadiane Ndiaye, a part Serer and part Toucouleur, able to form a coalition with many ethnicities, but collapsed around 1549 with the defeat and killing of Lele Fouli Fak by Amari Ngone Sobel Fall. In the mid-15th century, the Portuguese landed on the Senegal coastline, followed by traders representing other countries, including the French. Various European powers—Portugal, the Netherlands, Great Britain—competed for trade in the area from the 15th century onward.
In 1677, France gained control of what had become a minor departure point in the Atlantic slave trade—the island of Gorée next to modern Dakar, used as a base to purchase slaves from the warring chiefdoms on the mainland. European missionaries introduced Christianity to the Casamance in the 19th century, it was only in the 1850s that the French began to expand onto the Senegalese mainland after they abolished slavery and began promoting an abolitionist doctrine, adding native kingdoms like the Waalo, Cayor and Jolof Empire. French colonists progressively invaded and took over all the kingdoms except Sine and Saloum under Governor Louis Faidherbe. Yoro Dyao was in command of the canton of Foss-Galodjina and was set over Wâlo by Louis Faidherbe, where he served as a chief from 1861 to 1914. Senegalese resistance to the French expansion and curtailing of their lucrative slave trade was led in part by Lat-Dior, Damel of Cayor, Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof, the Maad a Sinig of Sine, resulting in the Battle of Logandème.
On 4 April 1959 Senegal and the French Sudan merged to form the Mali Federation, which became independent on 20 June 1960, as a result of a transfer of power agreement signed with France on 4 April 1960. Due to internal political difficulties, the Federation broke up on 20 August, when
Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection