Königsberg is the name for a former German city, now Kaliningrad, Russia. A Sambian or Old Prussian city, it belonged to the State of the Teutonic Order, the Duchy of Prussia, the Kingdom of Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany until 1945. After being destroyed in World War II by Allied bombing and Soviet forces and annexed by the Soviet Union thereafter, the city was renamed Kaliningrad. Few traces of the former Königsberg remain today; the literal meaning of Königsberg is'King’s Mountain'. In the local Low German dialect, spoken by many of its German former inhabitants, the name was Kenigsbarg. Further names included Russian: Кёнигсберг, Королевец, tr. Kyonigsberg, Old Prussian: Kunnegsgarbs, Lithuanian: Karaliaučius, Polish: Królewiec and Yiddish: קעניגסבערג Kenigsberg. Königsberg was founded in 1255 on the site of the ancient Old Prussian settlement Twangste by the Teutonic Knights during the Northern Crusades, was named in honour of King Ottokar II of Bohemia. A Baltic port city, it successively became the capital of their monastic state, the Duchy of Prussia and East Prussia.
Königsberg remained the coronation city of the Prussian monarchy, though the capital was moved to Berlin in 1701. A university city, home of the Albertina University, Königsberg developed into an important German intellectual and cultural centre, being the residence of Simon Dach, Immanuel Kant, Käthe Kollwitz, E. T. A. Hoffmann, David Hilbert, Agnes Miegel, Hannah Arendt, Michael Wieck and others. Between the thirteenth and the twentieth centuries, the inhabitants spoke predominantly German, but the multicultural city had a profound influence on the Lithuanian and Polish cultures; the city was a publishing centre of Lutheran literature, including the first Polish translation of the New Testament, printed in the city in 1551, the first book in the Lithuanian language and the first Lutheran catechism, both printed in Königsberg in 1547. Königsberg was the easternmost large city in Germany until World War II; the city was damaged by Allied bombing in 1944 and during the Battle of Königsberg in 1945.
Its German population was expelled, the city was repopulated with Russians and others from the Soviet Union. Russified as Kyonigsberg, it was renamed "Kaliningrad" in 1946 in honour of Soviet leader Mikhail Kalinin, it is now the capital of Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast, an exclave bordered in the north by Lithuania and in the south by Poland. There has been some discussion of the territory's current legal status, although this is academic; the Potsdam Agreement placed it provisionally under Soviet administration, but did not mention an explicit right of annexation. In the Final Settlement treaty of 1990, Germany renounced all claim to it, but without transferring its former title to any other party. Königsberg was preceded by a Sambian, or Old Prussian, fort known as Twangste, meaning Oak Forest, as well as several Old Prussian settlements, including the fishing village and port Lipnick, the farming villages Sakkeim and Trakkeim. During the conquest of the Prussian Sambians by the Teutonic Knights in 1255, Twangste was destroyed and replaced with a new fortress known as Conigsberg.
This name meant "King’s Hill", honoring King Ottokar II of Bohemia, who paid for the erection of the first fortress there during the Prussian Crusade. Northwest of this new Königsberg Castle arose an initial settlement known as Steindamm 4.5 miles from the Vistula Lagoon. The Teutonic Order used Königsberg to fortify their conquests in Samland and as a base for campaigns against pagan Lithuania. Under siege during the Prussian uprisings in 1262–63, Königsberg Castle was relieved by the Master of the Livonian Order; because the initial northwestern settlement was destroyed by the Prussians during the rebellion, rebuilding occurred in the southern valley between the castle hill and the Pregel River. This new settlement, received Culm rights in 1286. Löbenicht, a new town directly east of Altstadt between the Pregel and the Schlossteich, received its own rights in 1300. Medieval Königsberg's third town was Kneiphof, which received town rights in 1327 and was located on an island of the same name in the Pregel south of Altstadt.
Within the state of the Teutonic Order, Königsberg was the residence of the marshal, one of the chief administrators of the military order. The city was the seat of the Bishopric of Samland, one of the four dioceses into which Prussia had been divided in 1243 by the papal legate, William of Modena. Adalbert of Prague became the main patron saint of Königsberg Cathedral, a landmark of the city located in Kneiphof. Königsberg joined the Hanseatic League in 1340 and developed into an important port for the south-eastern Baltic region, trading goods throughout Prussia, the Kingdom of Poland, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania; the chronicler Peter of Dusburg wrote his Chronicon terrae Prussiae in Königsberg from 1324–1330. After the Teutonic Order's victory over pagan Lithuanians in the 1348 Battle of Strawen, Grand Master Winrich von Kniprode established a Cistercian nunnery in the city. Aspiring students were educated in Königsberg before continuing on to higher education elsewhere, such as Prague or Leipzig.
Although the knights suffered a crippling defeat in the Battle of Grunwald, Königsberg remained under the control of the Teutonic Knights throughout the Polish-Lithuanian-Teutonic War. Livonian knights replaced the Prussian branch's garrison at Königsberg, allow
First Punic War
The First Punic War was the first of three wars fought between Ancient Carthage and the Roman Republic, the two great powers of the Western Mediterranean. For 23 years, in the longest continuous conflict and greatest naval war of antiquity, the two powers struggled for supremacy on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and its surrounding waters, in North Africa; the war began in 264 BC with the Roman conquest of the Carthaginian-controlled city of Messina in Sicily, granting Rome a military foothold on the island. The Romans built up a navy to challenge Carthage, the greatest naval power in the Mediterranean, for control over the waters around Sicily. In naval battles and storms, 700 Roman and 500 Carthaginian quinqueremes were lost, along with hundreds of thousands of lives. Command of the sea was lost by both sides repeatedly. A Roman invasion of Carthaginian Africa was destroyed in battle at the Bagradas and the Roman consul Marcus Atilius Regulus was captured by the Carthaginians in 255. In 23 years, the Romans conquered Sicily and drove the Carthaginians to the west end of the island.
After both sides had been brought to a state of near exhaustion, the Romans mobilized their citizenry's private wealth and created a new fleet under consul Gaius Lutatius Catulus. The Carthaginian fleet was destroyed at the Aegates Islands in 241, forcing the cut-off Carthaginian troops on Sicily to give up. A peace treaty was signed in which Carthage was made to pay a heavy indemnity and Rome ejected Carthage from Sicily, annexing the island as a Roman province; the war was followed by a failed revolt against the Carthaginian Empire. The Romans exploited Carthage's weakness to seize the Carthaginian possessions of Sardinia and Corsica in violation of the peace treaty; the unresolved strategic competition between Rome and Carthage would lead to the eruption of the Second Punic War in 218 BC. The series of wars between Rome and Carthage took the name "Punic" from the Latin adjective for Carthaginian, Punicus; this refers to the Carthaginian heritage as Phoenician colonists. A Carthaginian name for the conflicts does not survive in any records.
Rome had emerged as the leading city-state in the Italian Peninsula, a wealthy, expansionist republic with a successful citizen army. Over the past one hundred years, Rome had come into conflict, defeated rivals on the Italian peninsula incorporated them into the Roman political world. First, the Latin League was forcibly dissolved during the Latin War the power of the Samnites was broken during the three prolonged Samnite wars, the Greek cities of Magna Graecia submitted to Roman power at the conclusion of the Pyrrhic War. By the beginning of the First Punic War, the Romans had secured the whole of the Italian peninsula, except Gallia Cisalpina in the Po Valley. Carthage was a republic that dominated the political and economic affairs of the western Mediterranean Sea on the North African coasts and islands, above all, due to its navy, it originated as a Phoenician colony near modern Tunis. Carthage had become a wealthy centre for trade networks extending from Gadir along the coasts of southern Iberia and North Africa, across the Balearic Islands, Corsica and the western half of Sicily, to the ports of the eastern Mediterranean, including Tyre, its mother city, on the shores of the Levant.
At the height of power, just before the First Punic War, Carthage was hostile to foreign ships in the western Mediterranean. North African peoples, such as the Berbers, in the area around Carthage were loosely associated with Carthage. In the midst of the First Punic War, some tribes rebelled against Carthage, opening a second front while the Carthaginians battled the Romans in Sicily. Greek colonists were a major presence in the western Mediterranean, following centuries of colonial settlement and conflicts with Rome over Magna Graecia and with Carthage over places such as Sicily; the rich, strategically influential, well-fortified Greek colony of Syracuse was politically independent of Rome and Carthage. Hostilities of the First Punic War began with developments involving the Romans and Greek colonists in Sicily and southern Italy. In 288 BC, the Mamertines, a group of Italian mercenaries hired by Agathocles of Syracuse, occupied the city of Messana in the north-eastern tip of Sicily, killing all the men and taking the women as their wives.
At the same time, a group of Roman troops made up of Campanian "citizens without the vote" revolted and seized control of Rhegium, lying across the Straits of Messina on the mainland of Italy. In 270 BC, the Romans regained control of Rhegium and punished the survivors of the revolt. In Sicily, the Mamertines ravaged the countryside and collided with the expanding regional empire of the independent city of Syracuse. Hiero II, tyrant of Syracuse, defeated the Mamertines near Mylae on the Longanus River. Following their defeat, the Mamertines appealed to both Carthage for assistance; the Carthaginians acted first, approached Hiero to take no further action and convinced the Mamertines to accept a Carthaginian garrison in Messana. Either unhappy with the prospect of a Carthaginian garrison or convinced that the recent alliance between Rome and Carthage against Pyrrhus reflected cordial relations between the two, the Mamertines, hoping for more reliable protection, petitioned Rome for an alliance.
However, the rivalry between Rome and Carthage had grown since the war with Pyrrhus and that alliance was no longer feasible. According to the historian Polybius, considerable debate took place in Rome on the questio
In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed; the Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117. In its many centuries of existence, the Roman state evolved from a monarchy to a classical republic and to an autocratic semi-elective empire. Through conquest and assimilation, it dominated the North African coast and most of Western Europe, the Balkans and much of the Middle East.
It is grouped into classical antiquity together with ancient Greece, their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world. Ancient Roman civilisation has contributed to modern language, society, law, government, art, literature and engineering. Rome professionalised and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France, it achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and roads, as well as the construction of large monuments and public facilities. The Punic Wars with Carthage were decisive in establishing Rome as a world power. In this series of wars Rome gained control of the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily. By the end of the Republic, Rome had conquered the lands around the Mediterranean and beyond: its domain extended from the Atlantic to Arabia and from the mouth of the Rhine to North Africa.
The Roman Empire emerged with the dictatorship of Augustus Caesar. 721 years of Roman–Persian Wars started in 92 BC with their first war against Parthia. It would become the longest conflict in human history, have major lasting effects and consequences for both empires. Under Trajan, the Empire reached its territorial peak, it stretched from the entire Mediterranean Basin to the beaches of the North Sea in the north, to the shores of the Red and Caspian Seas in the East. Republican mores and traditions started to decline during the imperial period, with civil wars becoming a prelude common to the rise of a new emperor. Splinter states, such as the Palmyrene Empire, would temporarily divide the Empire during the crisis of the 3rd century. Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the western part of the empire broke up into independent "barbarian" kingdoms in the 5th century; this splintering is a landmark historians use to divide the ancient period of universal history from the pre-medieval "Dark Ages" of Europe.
The eastern part of the empire endured through the 5th century and remained a power throughout the "Dark Ages" and medieval times until its fall in 1453 AD. Although the citizens of the empire made no distinction, the empire is most referred to as the "Byzantine Empire" by modern historians during the Middle Ages to differentiate between the state of antiquity and the nation it grew into. According to the founding myth of Rome, the city was founded on 21 April 753 BC on the banks of the river Tiber in central Italy, by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who descended from the Trojan prince Aeneas, who were grandsons of the Latin King Numitor of Alba Longa. King Numitor was deposed by his brother, while Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, gave birth to the twins. Since Rhea Silvia had been raped and impregnated by Mars, the Roman god of war, the twins were considered half-divine; the new king, feared Romulus and Remus would take back the throne, so he ordered them to be drowned. A she-wolf saved and raised them, when they were old enough, they returned the throne of Alba Longa to Numitor.
The twins founded their own city, but Romulus killed Remus in a quarrel over the location of the Roman Kingdom, though some sources state the quarrel was about, going to rule or give his name to the city. Romulus became the source of the city's name. In order to attract people to the city, Rome became a sanctuary for the indigent and unwanted; this caused a problem, in that Rome was bereft of women. Romulus visited neighboring towns and tribes and attempted to secure marriage rights, but as Rome was so full of undesirables he was refused. Legend says that the Latins invited the Sabines to a festival and stole their unmarried maidens, leading to the integration of the Latins with the Sabines. Another legend, recorded by Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus, says that Prince Aeneas led a group of Trojans on a sea voyage to found a new Troy, since the original was destroyed at the end of the Trojan War. After a long time in rough seas, they landed on the banks of the Tiber River. Not long after they landed, the men wanted to take to the sea again, but the women who were traveling with them did not want to leave.
One woman, named Roma, suggested that the women burn the ships out at sea to prevent their leaving
University of Bonn
The University of Bonn is a public research university located in Bonn, Germany. It was founded in its present form as the Rhein University on 18 October 1818 by Frederick William III, as the linear successor of the Kurkölnische Akademie Bonn, founded in 1777; the University of Bonn offers a large number of undergraduate and graduate programs in a range of subjects and has 544 professors and 32,500 students. Its library holds more than five million volumes; as of August 2018, among its notable alumni and researchers are 10 Nobel Laureates, 4 Fields Medalists, twelve Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize winners as well as August Kekulé, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, Heinrich Heine, Prince Albert, Pope Benedict XVI, Frederick III, Max Ernst, Konrad Adenauer, Joseph Schumpeter. The university's forerunner was the Kurkölnische Akademie Bonn, founded in 1777 by Maximilian Frederick of Königsegg-Rothenfels, the prince-elector of Cologne. In the spirit of the Enlightenment the new academy was nonsectarian.
The academy had schools for theology, law and general studies. In 1784 Emperor Joseph II granted the academy the right to award academic degrees, turning the academy into a university; the academy was closed in 1798 after the left bank of the Rhine was occupied by France during the French Revolutionary Wars. The Rhineland became a part of Prussia in 1815 as a result of the Congress of Vienna. King Frederick William III of Prussia thereafter decreed the establishment of a new university in the new province on 18 October 1818. At this time there was no university in the Rhineland, as all three universities that existed until the end of the 18th century were closed as a result of the French occupation; the Kurkölnische Akademie Bonn was one of these three universities. The other two were the Roman Catholic University of Cologne and the Protestant University of Duisburg; the new Rhein University was founded on 18 October 1818 by Frederick William III. It was the sixth Prussian University, founded after the universities in Greifswald, Berlin, Königsberg and Breslau.
The new university was shared between the two Christian denominations. This was one of the reasons why Bonn, with its tradition of a nonsectarian university, was chosen over Cologne and Duisburg. Apart from a school of Roman Catholic theology and a school of Protestant theology, the university had schools for medicine and philosophy. 35 professors and eight adjunct professors were teaching in Bonn. The university constitution was adopted in 1827. In the spirit of Wilhelm von Humboldt the constitution emphasized the autonomy of the university and the unity of teaching and research. Similar to the University of Berlin, founded in 1810, the new constitution made the University of Bonn a modern research university. Only one year after the inception of the Rhein University the dramatist August von Kotzebue was murdered by Karl Ludwig Sand, a student at the University of Jena; the Carlsbad Decrees, introduced on 20 September 1819 led to a general crackdown on universities, the dissolution of the Burschenschaften and the introduction of censorship laws.
One victim was the author and poet Ernst Moritz Arndt, freshly appointed university professor in Bonn, was banned from teaching. Only after the death of Frederick William III in 1840 was he reinstated in his professorship. Another consequence of the Carlsbad Decrees was the refusal by Frederick William III to confer the chain of office, the official seal and an official name to the new university; the Rhein University was thus nameless until 1840, when the new King of Prussia, Frederick William IV gave it the official name Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität. Despite these problems, the university attracted famous scholars and students. At the end of the 19th century the university was known as the Prinzenuniversität, as many of the sons of the king of Prussia studied here. In 1900, the university had 68 chairs, 23 adjunct chairs, two honorary professors, 57 Privatdozenten and six lecturers. Since 1896, women were allowed to attend classes as guest auditors at universities in Prussia. In 1908 the University of Bonn became coeducational.
The growth of the university came to a halt with World War I. Financial and economic problems in Germany in the aftermath of the war resulted in reduced government funding for the university; the University of Bonn responded by trying to find industrial sponsors. In 1930 the university adopted a new constitution. For the first time students were allowed to participate in the self-governing university administration. To that effect the student council Astag was founded in the same year. Members of the student council were elected in a secret ballot. After the Nazi takeover of power in 1933, the Gleichschaltung transformed the university into a Nazi educational institution. According to the Führerprinzip the autonomous and self-governening administration of the university was replaced by a hierarchy of leaders resembling the military, with the university president being subordinate to the ministry of education. Jewish professors and students and political opponents were ostracized and expelled from the university
Verona Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Verona, northern Italy, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the designation Santa Maria Matricolare. It is the episcopal seat of the Diocese of Verona, it was erected after two Palaeo-Christian churches on the same site had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1117. Built in Romanesque style, the cathedral was consecrated on September 13, 1187; the structure was modified by several renovation interventions, although the plan has remained unchanged. The façade is divided into three parts, with a pediment and a two storied projecting porch or protiro embellished with sculpture, the work of the twelfth-century sculptor Nicholaus, who executed and signed the entranceway at the abbey church of San Zeno in Verona, Ferrara Cathedral; the portico is supported on the backs of two griffins, similar to those from the dismantled Porta dei Mesi at Ferrara. The lunette depicts the Virgin holding the Christ child in high relief, centered between two low relief scenes, the Annunciation to the Shepherds and the Adoration of the Magi.
On the lintel in medallions are the three theological virtues, Faith and Hope. Ten figures of prophets are set in the jambs. Set into the walls on either side of the portal are figures of Roland and Oliver, who as holy warriors, remind one of the constant need to provide protection to the church; the Gothic windows in the facade provide evidence of the renovation that took place in the 14th century. The Baroque addition at the upper part of the facade is part of 17th-century additions. On the south side of the church is a second portal executed in Como style; the main apse has retained its integrity and as such is an example of mid-12th-century architecture. The bell tower, begun in the 16th century by Michele Sanmicheli and left unfinished, has two orders of columns with decorated capitals, bas-reliefs and traces of 14th-century frescoes, it contains nine bells in the scale of A. The tenor weight is 4566 kg; the bells are rung with the tradition of Veronese bellringing art. The current appearance of the interior dates from the 15th-century renovations.
It has a nave and two aisles divided by tall pilasters in red Verona marble, which support Gothic arcades. The first three chapels on each side are in the same style, house Renaissance artworks by Veronese artists; the nave ends with the main Chapel by Sanmicheli. The Chapter Library of Verona Cathedral is one of the world’s oldest libraries in continuous function; such is its importance that it has been dubbed the “Queen of ecclesiastical collections”. Many ancient works of the Classical tradition have survived only because of the Chapter Library, including: the only surviving corpus of Catullus. Jacquet de Berchem Chapter Library of Verona Media related to Duomo at Wikimedia Commons Official website
The French Revolution of 1830 known as the July Revolution, Second French Revolution or Trois Glorieuses in French, led to the overthrow of King Charles X, the French Bourbon monarch, the ascent of his cousin Louis Philippe, Duke of Orléans, who himself, after 18 precarious years on the throne, would be overthrown in 1848. It marked the shift from one constitutional monarchy, under the restored House of Bourbon, to another, the July Monarchy. Supporters of the Bourbon would be called Legitimists, supporters of Louis Philippe Orléanists. Upon Napoleon's abdication in 1815, continental Europe, France in particular, was in a state of disarray; the Congress of Vienna met to redraw the continent's political map. Many European countries attended the Congress, but decision-making was controlled by four major powers: the United Kingdom, represented by its Foreign Secretary Viscount Castlereagh. France's foreign minister, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand attended the Congress. Although considered an enemy state, Talleyrand was allowed to attend the Congress because he claimed that he had only cooperated with Napoleon under duress.
He suggested that France be restored to her "legitimate" borders and governments—a plan that, with some changes, was accepted by the major powers. France was returned to its 1791 borders; the House of Bourbon, deposed by the Revolution, was restored to the throne in the person of Louis XVIII. The Congress, forced Louis to grant a constitution, La Charte constitutionnelle. On 16 September 1824, after a lingering illness of several months, the 68-year-old Louis XVIII died childless. Therefore, his younger brother, aged 66, inherited the throne of France. On 27 September Charles X made his state entry into Paris to popular acclaim. During the ceremony, while presenting the King the keys to the city, the comte de Chabrol, Prefect of the Seine, declared: "Proud to possess its new king, Paris can aspire to become the queen of cities by its magnificence, as its people aspire to be foremost in its fidelity, its devotion, its love."Eight months the mood of the capital had worsened in its opinion of the new king.
The causes of this dramatic shift in public opinion were many, but the main two were: The imposition of the death penalty for anyone profaning the Eucharist. The provisions for financial indemnities for properties confiscated by the 1789 Revolution and the First Empire of Napoleon—these indemnities to be paid to anyone, whether noble or non-noble, declared "enemies of the revolution."Critics of the first accused the king and his new ministry of pandering to the Catholic Church, by so doing violating guarantees of equality of religious belief as specified in La Charte. The second matter, that of financial indemnities, was far more opportunistic than the first; this was because, since the restoration of the monarchy, there had been demands from all groups to settle matters of property ownership: to reduce, if not eliminate, the uncertainties in the real estate market both in Paris and in the rest of France. But opponents, many of whom were frustrated Bonapartists, began a whispering campaign that Charles X was only proposing this in order to shame those who had not emigrated.
Both measures, they claimed, were nothing more than clever subterfuge meant to bring about the destruction of La Charte. Up to this time, thanks to the popularity of the constitution and the Chamber of Deputies with the people of Paris, the king's relationship with the élite—both of the Bourbon supporters and Bourbon opposition—had remained solid. This, was about to change. On 12 April, propelled by both genuine conviction and the spirit of independence, the Chamber of Deputies roundly rejected the government's proposal to change the inheritance laws; the popular newspaper Le Constitutionnel pronounced this refusal "a victory over the forces of counter-revolutionaries and reactionism."The popularity of both the Chamber of Peers and the Chamber of Deputies skyrocketed, the popularity of the king and his ministry dropped. This became unmistakable when on 16 April 1827, while reviewing the Garde Royale in the Champ de Mars, the king was greeted with icy silence, many of the spectators refusing to remove their hats.
Charles X "later told Orléans that,'although most people present were not too hostile, some looked at times with terrible expressions'."Because of what it perceived to be growing and vitriolic criticism of both the government and the Church, the government of Charles X introduced into the Chamber of Deputies a proposal for a law tightening censorship in regard to the newspapers. The Chamber, for its part, objected so violently that the humiliated government had no choice but to withdraw its proposals. On 17 March 1830, the majority in the Chamber of Deputies passed a motion of no confidence, the Address of the 221, against the king and Polignac's ministry; the following day, Charles dissolved parliament, alarmed the Bourbon opposition by delaying elections for two months. During this time, the liberals championed the "221" as popular heroes, whilst the government struggled to gain support across the country as prefects were shuffled around the departments of France; the elections that followed returned an overwhelming majority.
This came after another
The Netherlands is a country located in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. The six largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Tilburg. Amsterdam is the country's capital, while The Hague holds the seat of the States General and Supreme Court; the Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, the largest in any country outside Asia. The country is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G10, NATO, OECD and WTO, as well as a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union.
It hosts several intergovernmental organisations and international courts, many of which are centered in The Hague, dubbed'the world's legal capital'. Netherlands means'lower countries' in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 1 metre above sea level, nearly 17% falling below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level, known as polders, are the result of land reclamation that began in the 16th century. With a population of 17.30 million people, all living within a total area of 41,500 square kilometres —of which the land area is 33,700 square kilometres —the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It is the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products, owing to its fertile soil, mild climate, intensive agriculture; the Netherlands was the third country in the world to have representative government, it has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a unitary structure since 1848.
The country has a tradition of pillarisation and a long record of social tolerance, having legalised abortion and human euthanasia, along with maintaining a progressive drug policy. The Netherlands abolished the death penalty in 1870, allowed women's suffrage in 1917, became the world's first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001, its mixed-market advanced economy had the thirteenth-highest per capita income globally. The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indexes of press freedom, economic freedom, human development, quality of life, as well as happiness; the Netherlands' turbulent history and shifts of power resulted in exceptionally many and varying names in different languages. There is diversity within languages; this holds for English, where Dutch is the adjective form and the misnomer Holland a synonym for the country "Netherlands". Dutch comes from Theodiscus and in the past centuries, the hub of Dutch culture is found in its most populous region, home to the capital city of Amsterdam.
Referring to the Netherlands as Holland in the English language is similar to calling the United Kingdom "Britain" by people outside the UK. The term is so pervasive among potential investors and tourists, that the Dutch government's international websites for tourism and trade are "holland.com" and "hollandtradeandinvest.com". The region of Holland consists of North and South Holland, two of the nation's twelve provinces a single province, earlier still, the County of Holland, a remnant of the dissolved Frisian Kingdom. Following the decline of the Duchy of Brabant and the County of Flanders, Holland became the most economically and politically important county in the Low Countries region; the emphasis on Holland during the formation of the Dutch Republic, the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Dutch Wars in the 16th, 17th and 18th century, made Holland serve as a pars pro toto for the entire country, now considered either incorrect, informal, or, depending on context, opprobrious. Nonetheless, Holland is used in reference to the Netherlands national football team.
The region called the Low Countries and the Country of the Netherlands. Place names with Neder, Nieder and Nedre and Bas or Inferior are in use in places all over Europe, they are sometimes used in a deictic relation to a higher ground that consecutively is indicated as Upper, Oben, Superior or Haut. In the case of the Low Countries / Netherlands the geographical location of the lower region has been more or less downstream and near the sea; the geographical location of the upper region, changed tremendously over time, depending on the location of the economic and military power governing the Low Countries area. The Romans made a distinction between the Roman provinces of downstream Germania Inferior and upstream Germania Superior; the designation'Low' to refer to the region returns again in the 10th century Duchy of Lower Lorraine, that covered much of the Low Countries. But this time the corresponding Upper region is Upper Lorraine, in nowadays Northern France; the Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled the Low Countries in the 15th century, used the term les pays de par deçà for the Low Countries as opposed to les pays de par delà for their original