Indonesia the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is the world's largest island country, with more than seventeen thousand islands, at 1,904,569 square kilometres, the 14th largest by land area and the 7th largest in combined sea and land area. With over 261 million people, it is the world's 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world's most populous island, is home to more than half of the country's population; the sovereign state is a constitutional republic with an elected parliament. It has 34 provinces. Jakarta, the country's capital, is the second most populous urban area in the world; the country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, the eastern part of Malaysia. Other neighbouring countries include Singapore, the Philippines, Australia and India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support a high level of biodiversity.
The country has abundant natural resources like oil and natural gas, tin and gold. Agriculture produces rice, palm oil, coffee, medicinal plants and rubber. Indonesia's major trading partners are China, United States, Japan and India. History of the Indonesian archipelago has been influenced by foreign powers drawn to its natural resources, it has been an important region for trade since at least the 7th century, when Srivijaya and later Majapahit traded with entities from mainland China and the Indian subcontinent. Local rulers absorbed foreign cultural and political models from the early centuries and Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms flourished. Muslim traders and Sufi scholars brought Islam, while European powers brought Christianity and fought one another to monopolise trade in the Spice Islands of Maluku during the Age of Discovery. Although sometimes interrupted by the Portuguese and British, the Dutch were the foremost European power for much of its 350-year presence in the archipelago. In early 20th century, the concept of "Indonesia" as a nation state emerged, independence movements began to take shape.
During the decolonisation of Asia after World War II, Indonesia achieved independence in 1949 following an armed and diplomatic conflict with the Netherlands. Indonesia consists of hundreds of distinct native ethnic and linguistic groups, with the largest—and politically dominant—ethnic group being the Javanese. A shared identity has developed, defined by a national language, ethnic diversity, religious pluralism within a Muslim-majority population, a history of colonialism and rebellion against it. Indonesia's national motto, "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika", articulates the diversity that shapes the country. Indonesia's economy is the world's 16th largest by nominal GDP and the 7th largest by GDP at PPP. Indonesia is a member of several multilateral organisations, including the UN, WTO, IMF and G20, it is a founding member of Non-Aligned Movement, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, East Asia Summit, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
The name Indonesia derives from the Greek name of the Indos and the word nesos, meaning "Indian islands". The name dates to the 18th century, far predating the formation of independent Indonesia. In 1850, George Windsor Earl, an English ethnologist, proposed the terms Indunesians—and, his preference, Malayunesians—for the inhabitants of the "Indian Archipelago or Malayan Archipelago". In the same publication, one of his students, James Richardson Logan, used Indonesia as a synonym for Indian Archipelago. However, Dutch academics writing in East Indies publications were reluctant to use Indonesia. After 1900, Indonesia became more common in academic circles outside the Netherlands, native nationalist groups adopted it for political expression. Adolf Bastian, of the University of Berlin, popularised the name through his book Indonesien oder die Inseln des Malayischen Archipels, 1884–1894; the first native scholar to use the name was Ki Hajar Dewantara, when in 1913 he established a press bureau in the Netherlands, Indonesisch Pers-bureau.
Fossils and the remains of tools show that the Indonesian archipelago was inhabited by Homo erectus, known as "Java Man", between 1.5 million years ago and 35,000 years ago. Homo sapiens reached the region around 45,000 years ago. Austronesian peoples, who form the majority of the modern population, migrated to Southeast Asia from what is now Taiwan, they arrived around 4,000 years ago, as they spread through the archipelago, confined the indigenous Melanesians to the far eastern regions. Ideal agricultural conditions and the mastering of wet-field rice cultivation as early as the 8th century BCE allowed villages and small kingdoms to flourish by the first century CE; the archipelago's strategic sea-lane position fostered inter-island and international trade, including links with Indian kingdoms and Chinese dynasties, which were established several centuries BCE. Trade has since fundamentally shaped Indonesian history. From the 7th century CE, the powerful Srivijaya naval kingdom flourished as a result of trade and the influences of Hinduism and Buddhism that were imported with it.
Between the 8th and 10th century CE, the agricultural Buddhist Saile
Saudi Arabia the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is a country in Western Asia constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula. With a land area of 2,150,000 km2, Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest sovereign state in the Middle East, the second-largest in the Arab world, the fifth-largest in Asia, the 12th-largest in the world. Saudi Arabia is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the northeast, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast and Yemen to the south, it is the only nation with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast, most of its terrain consists of arid desert and mountains. As of October 2018, the Saudi economy was the largest in the Middle East and the 18th largest in the world. Saudi Arabia enjoys one of the world's youngest populations; the territory that now constitutes Saudi Arabia was the site of several ancient cultures and civilizations. The prehistory of Saudi Arabia shows some of the earliest traces of human activity in the world.
The world's second-largest religion, emerged in modern-day Saudi Arabia. In the early 7th century, the Islamic prophet Muhammad united the population of Arabia and created a single Islamic religious polity. Following his death in 632, his followers expanded the territory under Muslim rule beyond Arabia, conquering huge and unprecedented swathes of territory in a matter of decades. Arab dynasties originating from modern-day Saudi Arabia founded the Rashidun, Umayyad and Fatimid caliphates as well as numerous other dynasties in Asia and Europe; the area of modern-day Saudi Arabia consisted of four distinct regions: Hejaz and parts of Eastern Arabia and Southern Arabia. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 by Ibn Saud, he united the four regions into a single state through a series of conquests beginning in 1902 with the capture of Riyadh, the ancestral home of his family, the House of Saud. Saudi Arabia has since been a totalitarian absolute monarchy a hereditary dictatorship governed along Islamist lines.
The ultraconservative Wahhabi religious movement within Sunni Islam has been called "the predominant feature of Saudi culture", with its global spread financed by the oil and gas trade. Saudi Arabia is sometimes called "the Land of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Al-Masjid al-Haram and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, the two holiest places in Islam; the state's official language is Arabic. Petroleum was discovered on 3 March 1938 and followed up by several other finds in the Eastern Province. Saudi Arabia has since become the world's second largest oil producer and the world's largest largest oil exporter, controlling the world's second largest oil reserves and the sixth largest gas reserves; the kingdom is categorized as a World Bank high-income economy with a high Human Development Index and is the only Arab country to be part of the G-20 major economies. The state has attracted criticism for a multitude of reasons including but not limited to: its archaic treatment of women, its excessive and extrajudicial use of capital punishment, state-sponsored discrimination against religious minorities and atheists, its role in the Yemeni Civil War, sponsorship of Islamic terrorists, its strict interpretation of Sharia Law.
An autocratic monarchy, the kingdom has the world's third-highest military expenditure and, according to SIPRI, was the world's second largest arms importer from 2010 to 2014. Saudi Arabia is considered a middle power. In addition to the GCC, it is an active member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and OPEC. Following the unification of the Hejaz and Nejd kingdoms, the new state was named al-Mamlakah al-ʻArabīyah as-Suʻūdīyah by royal decree on 23 September 1932 by its founder, Abdulaziz Al Saud. Although this is translated as "the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" in English, it means "the Saudi Arab kingdom", or "the Arab Saudi Kingdom"; the word "Saudi" is derived from the element as-Suʻūdīyah in the Arabic name of the country, a type of adjective known as a nisba, formed from the dynastic name of the Saudi royal family, the Al Saud. Its inclusion expresses the view. Al Saud is an Arabic name formed by adding the word Al, meaning "family of" or "House of", to the personal name of an ancestor.
In the case of the Al Saud, this is the father of the dynasty's 18th-century founder, Muhammad bin Saud. There is evidence that human habitation in the Arabian Peninsula dates back to about 125,000 years ago, it is now believed that the first modern humans to spread east across Asia left Africa about 75,000 years ago across the Bab-el-Mandeb connecting the Horn of Africa and Arabia. The Arabian peninsula is regarded as a central figure in our understanding of hominin evolution and dispersals. Arabia underwent an extreme environmental fluctuation in the Quaternary that led to profound evolutionary and demographic changes. Arabia has a rich Lower Paleolithic record, the quantity of Oldwan-like sites in the region indicate a significant role that Arabia had played in the early hominin colonization of Eurasia. In the Neolithic period, prominent cultures such as al-Magar whose epicenter lay in mod
United Arab Emirates Armed Forces
The United Arab Emirates Armed Forces is the armed forces of the United Arab Emirates and has primary responsibility for the defence of all seven emirates. It consists of 100,000 personnel, is headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE; the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces is nicknamed as "Little Sparta" by United States Armed Forces General and former US defense secretary James Mattis due to its active and effective military role in the War on Terrorism, despite its small active personnel. The Trucial Oman Scouts, long the symbol of public order on the coast and commanded by British officers, were turned over to the United Arab Emirates as the nucleus of its defence forces in 1971. Although small in number, the UAE armed forces have grown over the years and are presently equipped with some of the most modern weapon systems, purchased from a variety of outside countries France, the US and the UK. Most officers are graduates of the United Kingdom's Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, with others having attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, the Royal Military College, Duntroon and St Cyr, the military academy of France.
France opened the Abu Dhabi Base in May 2009. In March 2011, the UAE agreed to join the enforcement of the no-fly-zone over Libya by sending six F-16 and six Mirage 2000 multi-role fighter aircraft. During the Gulf war, the US had troops and equipment stationed in the UAE as well as other parts of the Persian Gulf. Norway has suspended arms exports to the UAE due its involvement in the Yemeni Civil War. During their respective operational periods in Afghanistan and Australia operated long range patrol aircraft and theatre airhead support from undeclared bases at Minhad Air Force Base; the Canadian name was Camp Mirage. In recent years, the government has implemented national service and it is compulsory. There are two distinct military organizations in the UAE: the federal military force is called the Union Defence Force, several of the Emirates maintain their own forces; as part of the military of the United Arab Emirates, the Ground Force is responsible for land operations. The United Arab Emirates Air Force has about 4,000 personnel.
The air force agreed in 1999 to purchase 80 US F-16 multirole fighter aircraft. Other equipment includes 60 Mirage 2000s, British Hawk aircraft, French helicopters; the air defense has a Hawk missile program. The UAE has taken delivery of two of five Triad I-Hawk batteries. United Arab Emirates Air Defence ForceThe Air Defense Force is responsible for civil defense aircraft and protecting the country therewith; the United Arab Emirates Navy is growing, with 72 vessels. United Arab Emirates Marines – The UAE maintains a small battalion-sized marine force called the UAE Marines, it is equipped with BMP-3s. United Arab Emirates Coast Guard – The United Arab Emirates Coast Guard is the official coast guard agency of the United Arab Emirates and is responsible for the protection of the UAE's coastline through regulation of maritime laws, maintenance of seamarks, border control, anti-smuggling operations and other services. Federal Police Force Four Emirates maintained their own forces prior to the unification of the defence forces.
Three were theoretically merged into the Union Defence Force in 1976, but in practice remained under emirate control and procured weapons separately for some time after. Abu Dhabi Defence Force – Formed in 1965 by order of Sheikh Shakhbut Al Nahyan and commanded by Major Edward'Tug' Wilson; the officer corps were British and Jordanian. Although not an operational force of consequence, by 1975 it had grown to 15,000 men with two squadrons of Dassault Mirage III fighters and Dassault Mirage 5 attack aircraft, a squadron of Hawker Hunter fighter-bombers, 135 armoured vehicles and Crotale missiles, Aérospatiale Alouette III and Aérospatiale Gazelle helicopters, a sea defence wing of four fast patrol boats; the ADDF became the Western Command of the UDF in 1976. Dubai Defence Force – Formed in 1971, by 1975 the DDF had 3,000 men with Ferret and Saladin armoured cars, it expanded to 20,000 men in one infantry brigade group, Aermacchi MB-326 ground attack aircraft and MBB Bo 105 helicopters. The DDF became the Central Command of the UDF in 1996.
Ras al-Khaimah Mobile Force – Formed in 1969, it had 300 men with Ferret and Saladin armoured cars, organised into one armored squadron and two infantry squadrons. It expanded to 9,000 men, it became the Northern Command of the UDF in 1996. In addition, the Sharjah National Guard was formed in 1972, it was a paramilitary force of 500–600 men with Shorland armoured cars. It merged with the Federal Police in 1976, it dispatched an infantry battalion to the United Nations UNOSOM II force in Somalia in 1993, it sent the 35th Mechanised Infantry Battalion to Kosovo, sent a regiment to Kuwait during the Iraq War. In addition, it helps protect the Strait of Hormuz, it is a leading partner in the campaign against terrorism, providing assistance in the military and financial arenas. The UAE military provides humanitarian assistance to Iraq; the UAE sent forces to assist Kuwait during the 1990–1991 Gulf War where several hundred UAE troops participated in the conflict as part of the GCC Peninsula Shield force that advanced into Kuwait City.
The US 363rd Tactical Fighter Wing operated from Al Dhafra Air Base in Abu Dhabi, US ships operated out of UAE ports. The UAE air force carried out strikes against Iraqi forces; the UAE Armed Fo
Somalia the Federal Republic of Somalia (Somali: Jamhuuriyadda Federaalka Soomaaliya. Jumhūrīyah aṣ-Ṣūmāl al-Fīdirālīyah, is a country located in the Horn of Africa, it is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djabuti to the northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Guardafui Channel and Somali Sea to the east, Kenya to the southwest. Somalia has the longest coastline on Africa's mainland, its terrain consists of plateaus and highlands. Climatically, hot conditions prevail year-round, with periodic monsoon winds and irregular rainfall. Somalia has an estimated population of around 14.3 million. And has been described as the most culturally homogeneous country in Africa. Around 85% of its residents are ethnic Somalis, who have inhabited the northern part of the country. Ethnic minorities are concentrated in the southern regions; the official languages of are Arabic. Most people in the country are Muslim, with the majority being Sunni. In antiquity, Somalia was an important commercial centre, it is among the most probable locations of the fabled ancient Land of Punt.
During the Middle Ages, several powerful Somali empires dominated the regional trade, including the Ajuran Empire, the Adal Sultanate, the Warsangali Sultanate, the Sultanate of the Geledi. The toponym Somalia was coined by the Italian explorer Luigi Robecchi Bricchetti. In the late 19th century, the British and Italian empires established the colonies of British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland. In the interior, Mohammed Abdullah Hassan's Darwiish repelled the British four times, forcing a retreat to the coast, before succumbing in the Somaliland campaign. Italy acquired full control of the northeastern and southern parts of the area after waging the Campaign of the Sultanates against the ruling Majeerteen Sultanate and Sultanate of Hobyo. In 1960, the two regions united to form the independent Somali Republic under a civilian government; the Supreme Revolutionary Council seized power in 1969 and established the Somali Democratic Republic, which collapsed in 1991 as the Somali Civil War broke out.
During this period most regions returned to religious law. The early 2000s saw the creation of interim federal administrations; the Transitional National Government was established in 2000, followed by the formation of the Transitional Federal Government in 2004, which reestablished the military. In 2006, the TFG assumed control of most of the nation's southern conflict zones from the newly formed Islamic Courts Union; the ICU subsequently splintered into more radical groups such as Al-Shabaab, which battled the TFG and its AMISOM allies for control of the region. By mid-2012, the insurgents had lost most of the territory that they had seized, a search for more permanent democratic institutions began. A new provisional constitution was passed in August 2012; the same month, the Federal Government of Somalia was formed and a period of reconstruction began in Mogadishu. Somalia has maintained an informal economy based on livestock, remittances from Somalis working abroad, telecommunications, it is a member of the United Nations, the Arab League, African Union, Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Somalia has been inhabited since at least the Paleolithic. During the Stone Age, the Doian and Hargeisan cultures flourished here; the oldest evidence of burial customs in the Horn of Africa comes from cemeteries in Somalia dating back to the 4th millennium BCE. The stone implements from the Jalelo site in the north were characterized in 1909 as important artefacts demonstrating the archaeological universality during the Paleolithic between the East and the West. According to linguists, the first Afroasiatic-speaking populations arrived in the region during the ensuing Neolithic period from the family's proposed urheimat in the Nile Valley, or the Near East; the Laas Geel complex on the outskirts of Hargeisa in northwestern Somalia dates back 5,000 years, has rock art depicting both wild animals and decorated cows. Other cave paintings are found in the northern Dhambalin region, which feature one of the earliest known depictions of a hunter on horseback; the rock art is in the distinctive Ethiopian-Arabian style, dated to 1,000 to 3,000 BCE.
Additionally, between the towns of Las Khorey and El Ayo in northern Somalia lies Karinhegane, the site of numerous cave paintings of real and mythical animals. Each painting has an inscription below it, which collectively have been estimated to be around 2,500 years old. Ancient pyramidical structures, ruined cities and stone walls, such as the Wargaade Wall, are evidence of an old civilization that once thrived in the Somali peninsula; this civilization enjoyed a trading relationship with ancient Egypt and Mycenaean Greece since the second millennium BCE, supporting the hypothesis that Somalia or adjacent regions were the location of the ancient Land of Punt. The Puntites traded myrrh, gold, short-horned cattle and frankincense with the Egyptians, Babylonians, Indians and Romans through their commercial ports. An Egyptian expedition sent to Punt by the 18th dynasty Queen Hatshepsut is recorded on the temple reliefs at Deir el-Bahari, during the reign of the Puntite King Parahu and Queen Ati.
In 2015, isotopic analysis of ancient baboon mummies from Punt, brought to Egypt as gifts indicated that the specimens originated from an area encompassing eastern Somalia and the Eritrea-Ethiopia corridor. In the classical era, the Macrobians, who may have b
Germany the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north and the Czech Republic to the east and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to the west. Germany includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,386 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With 83 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous state of Europe after Russia, the most populous state lying in Europe, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is a decentralized country, its capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while Frankfurt serves as its financial capital and has the country's busiest airport. Germany's largest urban area is the Ruhr, with its main centres of Essen; the country's other major cities are Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Dresden, Bremen and Nuremberg. Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity.
A region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period, the Germanic tribes expanded southward. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. After the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, the German Confederation was formed in 1815; the German revolutions of 1848–49 resulted in the Frankfurt Parliament establishing major democratic rights. In 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the revolution of 1918–19, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic; the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 led to the establishment of a dictatorship, the annexation of Austria, World War II, the Holocaust. After the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, Austria was re-established as an independent country and two new German states were founded: West Germany, formed from the American and French occupation zones, East Germany, formed from the Soviet occupation zone.
Following the Revolutions of 1989 that ended communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe, the country was reunified on 3 October 1990. Today, the sovereign state of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor, it is a great power with a strong economy. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods; as a developed country with a high standard of living, it upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection, a tuition-free university education. The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993, it is part of the Schengen Area and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G7, the G20, the OECD. Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential and successful artists, musicians, film people, entrepreneurs, scientists and inventors.
Germany has a large number of World Heritage sites and is among the top tourism destinations in the world. The English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine; the German term Deutschland diutisciu land is derived from deutsch, descended from Old High German diutisc "popular" used to distinguish the language of the common people from Latin and its Romance descendants. This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz "popular", derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂- "people", from which the word Teutons originates; the discovery of the Mauer 1 mandible shows that ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete hunting weapons found anywhere in the world were discovered in a coal mine in Schöningen between 1994 and 1998 where eight 380,000-year-old wooden javelins of 1.82 to 2.25 m length were unearthed. The Neander Valley was the location where the first non-modern human fossil was discovered.
The Neanderthal 1 fossils are known to be 40,000 years old. Evidence of modern humans dated, has been found in caves in the Swabian Jura near Ulm; the finds included 42,000-year-old bird bone and mammoth ivory flutes which are the oldest musical instruments found, the 40,000-year-old Ice Age Lion Man, the oldest uncontested figurative art discovered, the 35,000-year-old Venus of Hohle Fels, the oldest uncontested human figurative art discovered. The Nebra sky disk is a bronze artefact created during the European Bronze Age attributed to a site near Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt, it is part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme. The Germanic tribes are thought to date from the Pre-Roman Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and north Germany, they expanded south and west from the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well
South Africa the Republic of South Africa, is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation, it is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status; the remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European and multiracial ancestry. South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures and religions, its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution's recognition of 11 official languages, the fourth highest number in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most coloured and white South Africans.
The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d'état, regular elections have been held for a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country's recent history and politics; the National Party imposed apartheid in 1948. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, the repeal of discriminatory laws began in 1990. Since 1994, all ethnic and linguistic groups have held political representation in the country's liberal democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces. South Africa is referred to as the "rainbow nation" to describe the country's multicultural diversity in the wake of apartheid; the World Bank classifies South Africa as an upper-middle-income economy, a newly industrialised country.
Its economy is the second-largest in Africa, the 34th-largest in the world. In terms of purchasing power parity, South Africa has the seventh-highest per capita income in Africa; however and inequality remain widespread, with about a quarter of the population unemployed and living on less than US$1.25 a day. South Africa has been identified as a middle power in international affairs, maintains significant regional influence; the name "South Africa" is derived from the country's geographic location at the southern tip of Africa. Upon formation, the country was named the Union of South Africa in English, reflecting its origin from the unification of four separate British colonies. Since 1961, the long form name in English has been the "Republic of South Africa". In Dutch, the country was named Republiek van Zuid-Afrika, replaced in 1983 by the Afrikaans Republiek van Suid-Afrika. Since 1994, the Republic has had an official name in each of its 11 official languages. Mzansi, derived from the Xhosa noun umzantsi meaning "south", is a colloquial name for South Africa, while some Pan-Africanist political parties prefer the term "Azania".
South Africa contains human-fossil sites in the world. Archaeologists have recovered extensive fossil remains from a series of caves in Gauteng Province; the area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been branded "the Cradle of Humankind". The sites include one of the richest sites for hominin fossils in the world. Other sites include Gondolin Cave Kromdraai, Coopers Cave and Malapa. Raymond Dart identified the first hominin fossil discovered in Africa, the Taung Child in 1924. Further hominin remains have come from the sites of Makapansgat in Limpopo Province and Florisbad in the Free State Province, Border Cave in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Klasies River Mouth in Eastern Cape Province and Pinnacle Point and Die Kelders Cave in Western Cape Province; these finds suggest that various hominid species existed in South Africa from about three million years ago, starting with Australopithecus africanus. There followed species including Australopithecus sediba, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Homo rhodesiensis, Homo helmei, Homo naledi and modern humans.
Modern humans have inhabited Southern Africa for at least 170,000 years. Various researchers have located pebble tools within the Vaal River valley. Settlements of Bantu-speaking peoples, who were iron-using agriculturists and herdsmen, were present south of the Limpopo River by the 4th or 5th century CE, they displaced and absorbed the original Khoisan speakers, the Khoikhoi and San peoples. The Bantu moved south; the earliest ironworks in modern-day KwaZulu-Natal Province are believed to date from around 1050. The southernmost group was the Xhosa people, whose language incorporates certain linguistic traits from the earlier Khoisan people; the Xhosa reached the Great Fish River, in today's Eastern Cape Province. As they migrated, these larger Iron Age populations
Lebanon known as the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south, while Cyprus is west across the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon's location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland facilitated its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity. At just 10,452 km2, it is the smallest recognized sovereign state on the mainland Asian continent; the earliest evidence of civilization in Lebanon dates back more than seven thousand years, predating recorded history. Lebanon was the home of the Canaanites/Phoenicians and their kingdoms, a maritime culture that flourished for over a thousand years. In 64 BC, the region came under the rule of the Roman Empire, became one of the Empire's leading centers of Christianity. In the Mount Lebanon range a monastic tradition known as the Maronite Church was established; as the Arab Muslims conquered the region, the Maronites held onto their identity.
However, a new religious group, the Druze, established themselves in Mount Lebanon as well, generating a religious divide that has lasted for centuries. During the Crusades, the Maronites re-established contact with the Roman Catholic Church and asserted their communion with Rome; the ties they established with the Latins have influenced the region into the modern era. The region was ruled by the Ottoman Empire from 1516 to 1918. Following the collapse of the empire after World War I, the five provinces that constitute modern Lebanon came under the French Mandate of Lebanon; the French expanded the borders of the Mount Lebanon Governorate, populated by Maronites and Druze, to include more Muslims. Lebanon gained independence in 1943, establishing confessionalism, a unique, Consociationalism-type of political system with a power-sharing mechanism based on religious communities. Bechara El Khoury, President of Lebanon during the independence, Riad El-Solh, first Lebanese prime minister and Emir Majid Arslan II, first Lebanese minister of defence, are considered the founders of the modern Republic of Lebanon and are national heroes for having led the country's independence.
Foreign troops withdrew from Lebanon on 31 December 1946, although the country was subjected to military occupations by Syria that lasted nearly thirty years before being withdrawn in April 2005 as well as the Israeli military in Southern Lebanon for fifteen years. Despite its small size, the country has developed a well-known culture and has been influential in the Arab world, powered by its large diaspora. Before the Lebanese Civil War, the country experienced a period of relative calm and renowned prosperity, driven by tourism, agriculture and banking; because of its financial power and diversity in its heyday, Lebanon was referred to as the "Switzerland of the East" during the 1960s, its capital, attracted so many tourists that it was known as "the Paris of the Middle East". At the end of the war, there were extensive efforts to revive the economy and rebuild national infrastructure. In spite of these troubles, Lebanon has the 7th highest Human Development Index and GDP per capita in the Arab world after the oil-rich economies of the Persian Gulf.
Lebanon has been a member of the United Nations since its founding in 1945 as well as of the Arab League, the Non-Aligned Movement, Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation and the Organisation internationale de la francophonie. The name of Mount Lebanon originates from the Phoenician root lbn meaning "white" from its snow-capped peaks. Occurrences of the name have been found in different Middle Bronze Age texts from the library of Ebla, three of the twelve tablets of the Epic of Gilgamesh; the name is recorded in Ancient Egyptian as Rmnn, where R stood for Canaanite L. The name occurs nearly 70 times in the Hebrew Bible, as לְבָנוֹן. Lebanon as the name of an administrative unit was introduced with the Ottoman reforms of 1861, as the Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate, continued in the name of the State of Greater Lebanon in 1920, in the name of the sovereign Republic of Lebanon upon its independence in 1943; the borders of contemporary Lebanon are a product of the Treaty of Sèvres of 1920. Its territory was the core of the Bronze Age Phoenician city-states.
As part of the Levant, it was part of numerous succeeding empires throughout ancient history, including the Egyptian, Babylonian, Achaemenid Persian, Hellenistic and Sasanid Persian empires. After the 7th-century Muslim conquest of the Levant, it was part of the Rashidun, Abbasid Seljuk and Fatimid empires; the crusader state of the County of Tripoli, founded by Raymond IV of Toulouse in 1102, encompassed most of present-day Lebanon, falling to the Mamluk Sultanate in 1289 and to the Ottoman Empire in 1517. With the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Greater Lebanon fell under French mandate in 1920, gained independence under president Bechara El Khoury in 1943. Lebanon's history since independence has been marked by alternating periods of political stability and prosperity based on Beirut's position as a regional center for finance and trade, interspersed with political turmoil and