Gaul was a historical region of Western Europe during the Iron Age, inhabited by Celtic tribes, encompassing present day France, Belgium, most of Switzerland, parts of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the west bank of the Rhine. It covered an area of 494,000 km2. According to the testimony of Julius Caesar, Gaul was divided into three parts: Gallia Celtica and Aquitania. Archaeologically, the Gauls were bearers of the La Tène culture, which extended across all of Gaul, as well as east to Raetia, Noricum and southwestern Germania during the 5th to 1st centuries BC. During the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, Gaul fell under Roman rule: Gallia Cisalpina was conquered in 203 BC and Gallia Narbonensis in 123 BC. Gaul was invaded after 120 BC by the Cimbri and the Teutons, who were in turn defeated by the Romans by 103 BC. Julius Caesar subdued the remaining parts of Gaul in his campaigns of 58 to 51 BC. Roman control of Gaul lasted for five centuries, until the last Roman rump state, the Domain of Soissons, fell to the Franks in AD 486.
While the Celtic Gauls had lost their original identities and language during Late Antiquity, becoming amalgamated into a Gallo-Roman culture, Gallia remained the conventional name of the territory throughout the Early Middle Ages, until it acquired a new identity as the Capetian Kingdom of France in the high medieval period. Gallia remains a name of France in modern modern Latin; the Greek and Latin names Galatia and Gallia are derived from a Celtic ethnic term or clan Gal-to-. The Galli of Gallia Celtica were reported to refer to themselves as Celtae by Caesar. Hellenistic folk etymology connected the name of the Galatians to the "milk-white" skin of the Gauls. Modern researchers say it is related to Welsh gallu, Cornish galloes, "capacity, power", thus meaning "powerful people"; the English Gaul is from French Gaule and is unrelated to Latin Gallia, despite superficial similarity. The name Gaul is derived from the Old Frankish *Walholant "Land of the Foreigners/Romans", in which *Walho- is reflex of Proto-Germanic *walhaz, "foreigner, Romanized person", an exonym applied by Germanic speakers to Celts and Latin-speaking people indiscriminately, making it cognate with the names Wales and Wallachia.
The Germanic w- is rendered as gu- / g- in French, the historic diphthong au is the regular outcome of al before a following consonant. French Gaule or Gaulle cannot be derived from Latin Gallia, since g would become j before a, the diphthong au would be unexplained. Proto-Germanic *walha is derived from the name of the Volcae. Unrelated, in spite of superficial similarity, is the name Gael; the Irish word gall did mean "a Gaul", i.e. an inhabitant of Gaul, but its meaning was widened to "foreigner", to describe the Vikings, still the Normans. The dichotomic words gael and gall are sometimes used together for contrast, for instance in the 12th-century book Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib; as adjectives, English has the two variants: Gallic. The two adjectives are used synonymously, as "pertaining to Gaul or the Gauls", although the Celtic language or languages spoken in Gaul is predominantly known as Gaulish. There is little written information concerning the peoples that inhabited the regions of Gaul, save what can be gleaned from coins.
Therefore, the early history of the Gauls is predominantly a work in archaeology and the relationships between their material culture, genetic relationships and linguistic divisions coincide. Before the rapid spread of the La Tène culture in the 5th to 4th centuries BC, the territory of eastern and southern France participated in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture out of which the early iron-working Hallstatt culture would develop. By 500 BC, there is strong Hallstatt influence throughout most of France. Out of this Hallstatt background, during the 7th and 6th century representing an early form of Continental Celtic culture, the La Tène culture arises under Mediterranean influence from the Greek and Etruscan civilizations, spread out in a number of early centers along the Seine, the Middle Rhine and the upper Elbe. By the late 5th century BC, La Tène influence spreads across the entire territory of Gaul; the La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age in France, Italy, southwest Germany, Moravia and Hungary.
Farther north extended the contemporary pre-Roman Iron Age culture of northern Germany and Scandinavia. The major source of materials on the Celts of Gaul was Poseidonios of Apamea, whose writings were quoted by Timagenes, Julius Caesar, the Sicilian Greek Diodorus Siculus, the Greek geographer Strabo. In the 4th and early 3rd century BC, Gallic clan confederations expanded far beyond the territory of what would become Roman Gaul, into Pannonia, northern Italy and Asia Minor. By the 2nd century BC, the Romans descr
The Dutch Republic, or the United Provinces, was a confederal republic that existed from the formal creation of a confederacy in 1581 by several Dutch provinces—seceded from Spanish rule—until the Batavian Revolution of 1795. It was a predecessor state of the first Dutch nation state; the republic was known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, Republic of the Seven United Provinces, the United Provinces, Seven Provinces, Federated Dutch Provinces, or the Dutch Federation. Common names for the Republic in official correspondence were: Republic of the United Netherlands Republic of the United Provinces Republic of the Seven Provinces Republic of the Seven United Netherlands Republic of the Seven United Provinces United Provinces United Provinces of the Netherlands United States of the Netherlands United Regions Seven United Regions Until the 16th century, the Low Countries—corresponding to the present-day Netherlands and Luxembourg—consisted of a number of duchies and prince-bishoprics all of which were under the supremacy of the Holy Roman Empire, with the exception of the county of Flanders, under the Kingdom of France.
Most of the Low Countries had come under the rule of the House of Burgundy and subsequently the House of Habsburg. In 1549 Holy Roman Emperor Charles V issued the Pragmatic Sanction, which further unified the Seventeen Provinces under his rule. Charles was succeeded by King Philip II of Spain. In 1568 the Netherlands, led by William I of Orange, revolted against Philip II because of high taxes, persecution of Protestants by the government, Philip's efforts to modernize and centralize the devolved-medieval government structures of the provinces; this was the start of the Eighty Years' War. In 1579, a number of the northern provinces of the Low Countries signed the Union of Utrecht, in which they promised to support each other in their defence against the Spanish army; this was followed in 1581 by the Act of Abjuration, the declaration of independence of the provinces from Philip II. In 1582, the United Provinces invited Duke of Anjou to lead them. After the assassination of William of Orange on 10 July 1584, both Henry III of France and Elizabeth I of England declined offers of sovereignty.
However, the latter agreed to turn the United Provinces into a protectorate of England, sent the Earl of Leicester as governor-general. This was unsuccessful and in 1588 the provinces became a confederacy; the Union of Utrecht is regarded as the foundation of the Republic of the Seven United Provinces, not recognized by the Spanish Empire until the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. During the Anglo-French war, the internal territory was divided into two groups: the Patriots, who were pro-French and pro-American, the Orangists, who were pro-British; the Republic of the United Provinces faced a series of republican revolutions in 1783–1787. During this period, republican forces occupied several major Dutch cities. On the defence, the Orangist forces received aid from Prussian troops and retook the Netherlands in 1787; the republican forces fled to France, but successfully re-invaded alongside the army of the French Republic, ousting stadtholder William V, abolishing the Dutch Republic, replacing it with the Batavian Republic.
After the French Republic became the French Empire under Napoleon, the Batavian Republic was replaced by the Napoleonic Kingdom of Holland. The Netherlands regained independence from France in 1813. In the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814 the names "United Provinces of the Netherlands" and "United Netherlands" were used. In 1815, it was rejoined with the Austrian Netherlands and Liège to become the Kingdom of the Netherlands, informally known as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, to create a strong buffer state north of France. On 16 March 1815, the son of stadtholder William V crowned himself King William I of the Netherlands. Between 1815 and 1890, the King of the Netherlands was in a personal union the Grand Duke of the sovereign Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. After Belgium gained its independence in 1830, the state became unequivocally known as the "Kingdom of the Netherlands", as it remains today. During the Dutch Golden Age in the late-16th and 17th centuries, the Dutch Republic dominated world trade, conquering a vast colonial empire and operating the largest fleet of merchantmen of any nation.
The County of Holland was the most urbanized region in the world. In 1650 the urban population of the Dutch Republic as a percentage of total population was 31.7 percent, while that of the Spanish Netherlands was 20.8 percent, of Portugal 16.6 percent, of Italy 14 percent. In 1675 the urban population density of Holland alone was 61 percent, that of the rest of the Dutch Republic 27 percent; the free trade spirit of the time was augmented by the development of a modern, effective stock market in the Low Countries. The Netherlands has the oldest stock exchange in the world, founded in 1602 by the Dutch East India Company, while Rotterdam has the oldest bourse in the Netherlands; the Dutch East-India Company exchange went public in six different cities. A court ruled that the company had to reside in a single city, so Amsterdam is recognized as the oldest such institution based on modern trading principles. While the banking system evolved in the Low Countries, it was incorporated by the well-connected English, stimulating English economic output.
Between 1590 and 1712 the Dutch possessed one of the strongest and fastest navies in the world, allowing for their varied conquests, including breaking the Portuguese s
The French are an ethnic group and nation who are identified with the country of France. This connection may be ethnic, historical, or cultural; the heritage of the French people is of Celtic and Germanic origin, descending from the ancient and medieval populations of Gauls, Ligures, Iberians, Franks and Norsemen. France has long been a patchwork of local customs and regional differences, while most French people still speak the French language as their mother tongue, languages like Norman, Catalan, Corsican, French Flemish, Lorraine Franconian and Breton remain spoken in their respective regions. Arabic is widely spoken, arguably the largest minority language in France as of the 21st century. Modern French society is a melting pot. From the middle of the 19th century, it experienced a high rate of inward migration consisting of Arab-Berbers, Sub-Saharan Africans and other peoples from Africa, the Middle East and East Asia, the government, defining France as an inclusive nation with universal values, advocated assimilation through which immigrants were expected to adhere to French values and cultural norms.
Nowadays, while the government has let newcomers retain their distinctive cultures since the mid-1980s and requires from them a mere integration, French citizens still equate their nationality with citizenship as does French law. In addition to mainland France, French people and people of French descent can be found internationally, in overseas departments and territories of France such as the French West Indies, in foreign countries with significant French-speaking population groups or not, such as Switzerland, the United States, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. To be French, according to the first article of the French Constitution, is to be a citizen of France, regardless of one's origin, race, or religion. According to its principles, France has devoted itself to the destiny of a proposition nation, a generic territory where people are bounded only by the French language and the assumed willingness to live together, as defined by Ernest Renan's "plébiscite de tous les jours" on the willingness to live together, in Renan's 1882 essay "Qu'est-ce qu'une nation?").
The debate concerning the integration of this view with the principles underlying the European Community remains open. A large number of foreigners have traditionally been permitted to live in France and succeeded in doing so. Indeed, the country has long valued its openness and the quality of services available. Application for French citizenship is interpreted as a renunciation of previous state allegiance unless a dual citizenship agreement exists between the two countries; the European treaties have formally permitted movement and European citizens enjoy formal rights to employment in the state sector. Seeing itself as an inclusive nation with universal values, France has always valued and advocated assimilation. However, the success of such assimilation has been called into question. There is increasing dissatisfaction with, within, growing ethno-cultural enclaves; the 2005 French riots in some troubled and impoverished suburbs were an example of such tensions. However they should not be interpreted as ethnic conflicts but as social conflicts born out of socioeconomic problems endangering proper integration.
French people are the descendants of Gauls and Romans, western European Celtic and Italic peoples, as well as Bretons, Aquitanians and Germanic people arriving at the beginning of the Frankish Empire such as the Franks, the Visigoths, the Suebi, the Saxons, the Allemanni and the Burgundians, Germanic groups such as the Vikings, who settled in Normandy and to a lesser extent in Brittany in the 9th century. The name "France" etymologically derives from the territory of the Franks; the Franks were a Germanic tribe. In the pre-Roman era, all of Gaul was inhabited by a variety of peoples who were known collectively as the Gaulish tribes, their ancestors were Celts who came from Central Europe in the 7th century BCE, non-Celtic peoples including the Ligures, Aquitanians in Aquitaine. Some in the northern and eastern areas, may have had Germanic admixture. Gaul was militarily conquered in 58–51 BCE by the Roman legions under the command of General Julius Caesar. Over the next six centuries, the two cultures intermingled, creating a hybridized Gallo-Roman culture.
In the late Roman era, in addition to colonists from elsewhere in the Empire and Gaulish natives, Gallia became home to some in-migrating populations of Germanic and Scythian origin, such as Alans. The Gaulish language is thought to have survived into the 6th century in France, despite considerable Romanizat
The Brabant Revolution or Brabantine Revolution, sometimes referred to as the Belgian Revolution of 1789–90 in older writing, was an armed insurrection that occurred in the Austrian Netherlands between October 1789 and December 1790. The revolution, which occurred at the same time as revolutions in France and Liège, led to the brief overthrow of Habsburg rule and the proclamation of a short-lived polity, the United Belgian States, through the unification of the region's federated states; the revolution was the product of opposition which emerged to the liberal reforms of Emperor Joseph II in the 1780s. These were perceived as an attack on the Catholic Church and the traditional institutions in the Austrian Netherlands. Resistance, focused in the autonomous and wealthy Estates of Brabant and Flanders, grew. In the aftermath of rioting and disruption, known as the Small Revolution, in 1787, many dissidents took refuge in the neighboring Dutch Republic where they formed a rebel army. Soon after the outbreak of the French and Liège revolutions, the émigré army crossed into the Austrian Netherlands and decisively defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Turnhout in October 1789.
The rebels, supported by uprisings across the territory, soon took control over all the Southern Netherlands and proclaimed independence. Despite the tacit support of Prussia, the independent United Belgian States, established in January 1790, received no foreign recognition and the rebels soon became divided along ideological lines; the Vonckists, led by Jan Frans Vonck, advocated progressive and liberal government, whereas the Statists, led by Hendrik Van der Noot, were staunchly conservative and supported by the Church. The Statists, who had a wider base of support, soon drove the Vonckists into exile through a terror. By mid-1790, Habsburg Austria ended its war with the Ottoman Empire and prepared to suppress the Brabant revolutionaries; the new Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold II, a liberal like his predecessor, proposed an amnesty for the rebels. After a Statist army was overcome at the Battle of Falmagne, the territory was overrun by Imperial forces, the revolution was defeated by December.
The Austrian reestablishment was short-lived and the territory was soon overrun by the French during the French Revolutionary Wars. Because of its distinctive course, the Brabant Revolution had been extensively used in historical comparisons with the French Revolution; some historians, following Henri Pirenne, have seen it as a key moment in the formation of a Belgian nation-state, an influence on the Belgian Revolution of 1830. The Austrian Netherlands was a territory with its capital at Brussels which covered much of what is today Belgium and Luxembourg during the Early Modern period. In 1714, the territory, ruled by Spain, was ceded to Austria as part of the Treaty of Rastatt which ended the War of the Spanish Succession. In the 1580s, the Dutch Revolt had separated the independent Dutch Republic from the rest of the territory, leaving the Austrian Netherlands with a staunchly Catholic population; the clergy maintained substantial power. The Austrian Netherlands were both a province of Habsburg Austria and a part of the Holy Roman Empire.
In 1764, Joseph II, was elected as Holy Roman Emperor, ruling over a loosely unified federation of autonomous territories within Central Europe equivalent to modern-day Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria. Joseph's mother, Maria Theresa, had appointed her favourite daughter, Maria Christina, her husband, Albert Casimir, as joint Governors of the Austrian Netherlands in 1780. Both Joseph and Maria Theresa were considered reformists and were interested in the idea of enlightened absolutism. Joseph II, known as the philosopher-emperor, had a particular interest in Enlightenment thought and had his own ideology which has sometimes been termed "Josephinism" after him. Joseph disliked institutions which he considered "outdated", such as the established ultramontane Church whose allegiance to the papacy prevented the Emperor from having total control, which restricted efficient and centralist rule. Soon after taking power, in 1781, Joseph launched a low-key tour of inspection of the Austrian Netherlands during which he concluded reform in the territory was badly needed.
Politically, the Austrian Netherlands comprised a number of federated and autonomous territories, inherited from the Spanish, which could trace their lineage to the Middle Ages. These territories, known collectively as the Provincial States, retained much of their traditional power over their own internal affairs; the states were dominated by the prominent Estates of Brabant and Flanders. The Austrian Governors-General were forced to respect the autonomy of the provincial states and could only act only with some degree of consent. Within the states themselves, the "traditional" independence was considered important and figures such as Jan-Baptist Verlooy had begun to claim the linguistic unity of Flemish dialects as a sign of national identity in Flanders. Propelled by his belief in the Enlightenment, soon after taking power, Joseph launched a number of reforms which he hoped would make the territories he controlled more efficient and easier to govern. From 1784, Joseph launched a number of "radical and wide-ranging" reforms in the fields of economics and religion aimed at institutions which he judged outdated.
Some have drawn parallels between Joseph's rule in the Holy Roman Empire and that of Philip II in the Netherlands as both attempted to suborn local traditions in order to achieve more effective central rule. Like Philip, Joseph's perceived attacks on important institutions succeeded in unit
Belgian Americans are Americans who can trace their ancestry to immigrants of Belgium who emigrated to the United States. While the first natives of the then-Southern Netherlands arrived in America in the 17th century, the majority of Belgian immigrants arrived during the 19th and 20th centuries. According to the 2010 US census, there are 361,667 Americans who identify themselves as or of Belgian ancestry. During the 17th century, colonists from the Southern Netherlands lived in several of the Thirteen Colonies of North America. Settlements existed in New York — in Wallabout, on Long Island and Staten Island—and New Jersey. Other settlers moved into the Middle States. Many names are derived from the Walloon reformed immigrants who settled there and the Dutch versions of Walloon words used to describe a locale. There were Southern Netherlands colonies in Connecticut and Pennsylvania established by Walloons, many of whom arrived with the Dutch West India Company. In the 17th and 18th centuries many Belgians left their mark on American history, including Lord Baltimore.
Belgian officers fought during the American Revolutionary War. The first major wave of people from Belgium came to United States during the 19th century, looking for financial opportunity and a better life for their families. Belgian immigrants were first registered in 1820. S. and from 1910 to 1950, the number dropped to 62,000. Between 1847 and 1849, 6,000–7,000 Belgians a year arrived in the United States. Antwerp in Belgium was one of the largest ports for emigration to America and regular Red Star Line ships connected the port with the United States and Canada. During this era, most Belgians coming to the U. S. were farm workers or miners. In years, many Belgians arrived in the United States seeking work in universities and industry. Several Dutch-language newspapers were published by Belgian immigrants, including the Gazette van Moline and the Gazette van Detroit. From 1820 to 1970, about 200,000 Belgians settled in the United States. For every year since 1950, the immigration quota has remained fixed at 1,350.
During the 19th century most Belgian Americans were established in places offering economic opportunity, establishing significant communities in West Virginia. There are substantial communities of Belgian Americans in Illinois, North Dakota, Kentucky, Florida and Oregon. Many towns and cities across the United States bear the names of their counterparts in Belgium: Liège, Ghent, Namur and Brussels. Wisconsin has the United States's largest Belgian American settlement, located in portions of Brown and Door counties adjacent to Green Bay. In 1994 a historical marker was dedicated at Namur, Wisconsin denoting the surrounding area on the National Register of Historic Places. Walloon-speaking Belgians settled in the region during the 1850s, still constitute a large part of the population. A number of elements demonstrate the Belgian American presence: place names, a local French patois, common surnames, unique foods, the Kermesse harvest festival and architecture. Many original wooden structures belonging to Belgian Americans were destroyed in a firestorm which swept across southern Door County in October 1871.
More common are 1880s red-brick houses, distinguished by their modest size and gable-end, bull's-eye windows. Some houses have detached summer kitchens, with baking ovens appended to the rear; the Belgians, many of them devout Catholics erected small roadside votive chapels like those in their homeland. According to the 2000 U. S. census, there were 360,642 Americans. The states with the largest Belgian communities are: Wisconsin: 57,808 Michigan: 53,135 Illinois: 34,208 California: 26,820 Minnesota: 15,627 Florida: 14,751 New York: 12,034 Indiana: 11,918 Texas: 10,595 Ohio: 9,651Also some medium communities are in Washington, Kentucky and Iowa; the majority of Belgian Americans are Roman Catholic, although some are Presbyterians and Episcopalians. By 1900, Belgian religious orders were present in 16 states; the Sisters of Notre Dame, from Namur, established bilingual schools in 14 of those states and the Benedictines built missions in the western part of the country. The Jesuits founded St. Louis University in 1818, expanding the university's influence with Belgian teachers and benefactors.
Belgian immigrants do not have churches of their own, attending Catholic churches founded by other ethnic Catholics. However, two more-homogeneous groups established churches of their own. Since Belgians have established several churches in the Uni
The Roman provinces were the lands and people outside of Rome itself that were controlled by the Republic and the Empire. Each province was ruled by a Roman, appointed as governor. Although different in many ways, they were similar to the states in Australia or the United States, the regions in the United kingdom or New Zealand, or the prefectures in Japan. Canada refers to some of its territory as provinces. A province was the basic and, until the tetrarchy, the largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside Italy; the word province in Modern English has its origins in the Latin term used by the Romans. Provinces were governed by politicians of senatorial rank former consuls or former praetors. A exception was the province of Egypt, incorporated by Augustus after the death of Cleopatra; this exception was unique, but not contrary to Roman law, as Egypt was considered Augustus' personal property, following the tradition of the kings of the earlier Hellenistic period.
The Latin term provincia had a more general meaning of "jurisdiction". The Latin word provincia meant any task or set of responsibilities assigned by the Roman Senate to an individual who held imperium, a military command within a specified theater of operations. Under the Roman Republic, the magistrates were elected to office for a period of one year, those serving outside the city of Rome, such as consuls acting as generals on a military campaign, were assigned a particular provincia, the scope of authority within which they exercised their command; the territory of a people who were defeated in war might be brought under various forms of treaty, in some cases entailing complete subjection. The formal annexation of a territory created a province, in the modern sense of an administrative unit, geographically defined. Republican-period provinces were administered in one-year terms by the consuls and praetors who had held office the previous year and who were invested with imperium. Rome started expanding beyond Italy during the First Punic War.
The first permanent provinces to be annexed were Sicilia in 241 BC and Corsica et Sardinia in 237 BC. Militarized expansionism kept increasing the number of these administrative provinces, until there were no longer enough qualified individuals to fill the posts, good people; the terms of provincial governors had to be extended for multiple years, on occasion the senate awarded imperium to private citizens, most notably Pompey the Great. Prorogation undermined the republican constitutional principle of annual elected magistracies, the amassing of disproportionate wealth and military power by a few men through their provincial commands was a major factor in the transition from a republic to imperial autocracy. 241 BC – Sicilia taken over from the Carthaginians and annexed at the end of the First Punic War 237 BC – Corsica et Sardinia. It was annexed after a rebellion by the Achaean League. 146 BC – Africa home territory of Carthage. It was annexed following attacks on the allied Greek city of Massalia.
67 BC – Creta et Cyrenae. However, it was not organised as a province, it was incorporated into the province of Creta et Cyrenae when Crete was annexed in 67 BC. 63 BC – Pontus et Bithynia. It was organised as a Roman province at the end of the Third Mithridatic War by Pompey, who incorporated the eastern part of the defeated Kingdom of Pontus into it in 63 BC. 63 BC – Syria. The Romans controlled only a small area. In 74 BC Lycia and Pamphylia were added to the small Roman possessions in Cilicia. Cilicia came under Roman control towards the end of the Third Mithridatic War – 73–63 BC; the province was reorganised by Pompey in 63 BC. Cyprus was annexed and added to this province in 58 BC. 46 BC – Africa Nova, Julius Caesar annexed eastern Numidia and the new province called Africa Nova to distinguish it from the older province of Africa, which become known as Africa Vetus. Gallia Cisalpina was a province in the sense of an area of military command, but was never a province in the sense of an administrative unit.
During Rome's expansion in the Italian peninsula, the Romans assigned some areas as provinces in the sense of areas of militar
Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity with collectively between 800 million and more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, they emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone rather than by good works, the highest authority of the Bible alone in faith and morals. The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church. Protestantism is popularly considered to have begun in Germany in 1517 when Martin Luther published his Ninety-five Theses as a reaction against abuses in the sale of indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church, which purported to offer remission of sin to their purchasers.
However, the term derives from the letter of protestation from German Lutheran princes in 1529 against an edict of the Diet of Speyer condemning the teachings of Martin Luther as heretical. Although there were earlier breaks and attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church—notably by Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe, Jan Hus—only Luther succeeded in sparking a wider and modern movement. In the 16th century, Lutheranism spread from Germany into Denmark, Sweden, Latvia and Iceland. Reformed denominations spread in Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland and France by reformers such as John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, John Knox; the political separation of the Church of England from the pope under King Henry VIII began Anglicanism, bringing England and Wales into this broad Reformation movement. Protestants have developed their own culture, with major contributions in education, the humanities and sciences, the political and social order, the economy and the arts, many other fields. Protestantism is diverse, being more divided theologically and ecclesiastically than either the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, or Oriental Orthodoxy.
Without structural unity or central human authority, Protestants developed the concept of an invisible church, in contrast to the Roman Catholic view of the Catholic Church as the visible one true Church founded by Jesus Christ. Some denominations do have a worldwide scope and distribution of membership, while others are confined to a single country. A majority of Protestants are members of a handful of Protestant denominational families: Adventists, Anglicans, Reformed, Lutherans and Pentecostals. Nondenominational, charismatic and other churches are on the rise, constitute a significant part of Protestant Christianity. Proponents of the branch theory consider Protestantism one of the three major divisions of Christendom, together with the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodoxy. Six princes of the Holy Roman Empire and rulers of fourteen Imperial Free Cities, who issued a protest against the edict of the Diet of Speyer, were the first individuals to be called Protestants; the edict reversed concessions made to the Lutherans with the approval of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V three years earlier.
The term protestant, though purely political in nature acquired a broader sense, referring to a member of any Western church which subscribed to the main Protestant principles. However, it is misused to mean any church outside the Roman and Eastern Orthodox communions. Protestantism as a general term is now used in contradistinction to the other major Christian traditions, i.e. Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. During the Reformation, the term protestant was hardly used outside of German politics. People who were involved in the religious movement used the word evangelical. For further details, see the section below. Protestant became a general term, meaning any adherent of the Reformation in the German-speaking area, it was somewhat taken up by Lutherans though Martin Luther himself insisted on Christian or evangelical as the only acceptable names for individuals who professed Christ. French and Swiss Protestants instead preferred the word reformed, which became a popular and alternative name for Calvinists.
The word evangelical, which refers to the gospel, was used for those involved in the religious movement in the German-speaking area beginning in 1517. Nowadays, evangelical is still preferred among some of the historical Protestant denominations in the Lutheran and United Protestant traditions in Europe, those with strong ties to them. Above all the term is used by Protestant bodies in the German-speaking area, such as the Evangelical Church in Germany. In continental Europe, an Evangelical is either a Calvinist, or a United Protestant; the German word evangelisch means Protestant, is different from the German evangelikal, which refers to churches shaped by Evangelicalism. The English word evangelical refers to evangelical Protestant churches, therefore to a certain part of Protestantism rather than to Protestantism as a whole; the English word traces its roots back to the Puritans in England, where Evangelicalism originated, was brought to the United States. Martin Luther always disliked the term Lutheran, preferring the term evangelical, derived from euangelion, a Greek word meaning "good news", i.e. "gospel".
The followers of