Armenia, officially the Republic of Armenia, is a sovereign state in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. The Republic of Armenia constitutes only one-tenth of historical Armenia, Armenia is a unitary, multi-party, democratic nation-state with an ancient cultural heritage. Urartu was established in 860 BC and by the 6th century BC it was replaced by the Satrapy of Armenia, in the 1st century BC the Kingdom of Armenia reached its height under Tigranes the Great. Armenia became the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion, in between the late 3rd century to early years of the 4th century, the state became the first Christian nation. The official date of adoption of Christianity is 301 AD. The ancient Armenian kingdom was split between the Byzantine and Sasanian Empires around the early 5th century, under the Bagratuni dynasty, the Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia was restored in the 9th century. Declining due to the wars against the Byzantines, the fell in 1045. An Armenian principality and a kingdom Cilician Armenia was located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea between the 11th and 14th centuries.
By the 19th century, Eastern Armenia had been conquered by the Russian Empire, during World War I, Armenians living in their ancestral lands in the Ottoman Empire were systematically exterminated in the Armenian Genocide. By 1920, the state was incorporated into the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, in 1936, the Transcaucasian state was dissolved, transforming its constituent states, including the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic, into full Union republics. The modern Republic of Armenia became independent in 1991 during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Republic of Armenia recognises the Armenian Apostolic Church, the worlds oldest national church, as the countrys primary religious establishment. The unique Armenian alphabet was invented by Mesrop Mashtots in 405 AD, Armenia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, the Council of Europe and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Armenia supports the de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which was proclaimed in 1991, the native Armenian name for the country is Հայք.
The name in the Middle Ages was extended to Հայաստան, by addition of the Persian suffix -stan, the further origin of the name is uncertain. It is postulated that the name Hay comes from one of the two confederated, Hittite vassal states—the Ḫayaša-Azzi. The exonym Armenia is attested in the Old Persian Behistun Inscription as Armina, the ancient Greek terms Ἀρμενία and Ἀρμένιοι are first mentioned by Hecataeus of Miletus. Xenophon, a Greek general serving in some of the Persian expeditions, describes many aspects of Armenian village life and he relates that the people spoke a language that to his ear sounded like the language of the Persians. According to the histories of both Moses of Chorene and Michael Chamchian, Armenia derives from the name of Aram, a descendant of Hayk
Slovakia, officially the Slovak Republic, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Slovakias territory spans about 49,000 square kilometres and is mostly mountainous. The population is over 5 million and comprises mostly ethnic Slovaks, the capital and largest city is Bratislava. The Slavs arrived in the territory of present-day Slovakia in the 5th and 6th centuries, in the 7th century, they played a significant role in the creation of Samos Empire and in the 9th century established the Principality of Nitra. In the 10th century, the territory was integrated into the Kingdom of Hungary, which became part of the Habsburg Empire. After World War I and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a separate Slovak Republic existed in World War II as a client state of Nazi Germany. In 1945, Czechoslovakia was reëstablished under Communist rule as a Soviet satellite, in 1989 the Velvet Revolution ended authoritarian Communist rule in Czechoslovakia.
Slovakia became an independent state on 1 January 1993 after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. The country maintains a combination of economy with universal health care. The country joined the European Union in 2004 and the Eurozone on 1 January 2009, Slovakia is a member of the Schengen Area, NATO, the United Nations, the OECD, the WTO, CERN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Visegrád Group. The Slovak economy is one of the fastest growing economies in Europe and its legal tender, the Euro, is the worlds 2nd most traded currency. Although regional income inequality is high, 90% of citizens own their homes, in 2016, Slovak citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 165 countries and territories, ranking the Slovak passport 11th in the world. Slovakia is the world’s biggest per-capita car producer with a total of 1,040,000 cars manufactured in the country in 2016 alone, the car industry represents 43 percent of Slovakia’s industrial output, and a quarter of its exports. Radiocarbon datingputs the oldest surviving archaeological artefacts from Slovakia – found near Nové Mesto nad Váhom – at 270,000 BC and these ancient tools, made by the Clactonian technique, bear witness to the ancient habitation of Slovakia.
Other stone tools from the Middle Paleolithic era come from the Prévôt cave near Bojnice, the most important discovery from that era is a Neanderthal cranium, discovered near Gánovce, a village in northern Slovakia. The most well-known finds include the oldest female statue made of mammoth-bone, the statue was found in the 1940s in Moravany nad Váhom near Piešťany. Numerous necklaces made of shells from Cypraca thermophile gastropods of the Tertiary period have come from the sites of Zákovská, Podkovice and these findings provide the most ancient evidence of commercial exchanges carried out between the Mediterranean and Central Europe. The Bronze Age in the territory of modern-day Slovakia went through three stages of development, stretching from 2000 to 800 BC
Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a federal republic and a landlocked country of over 8.7 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north and Slovakia to the east and Italy to the south, the territory of Austria covers 83,879 km2. The terrain is mountainous, lying within the Alps, only 32% of the country is below 500 m. The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects of German as their native language, other local official languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene. The origins of modern-day Austria date back to the time of the Habsburg dynasty, from the time of the Reformation, many northern German princes, resenting the authority of the Emperor, used Protestantism as a flag of rebellion. Following Napoleons defeat, Prussia emerged as Austrias chief competitor for rule of a greater Germany, Austrias defeat by Prussia at the Battle of Königgrätz, during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, cleared the way for Prussia to assert control over the rest of Germany.
In 1867, the empire was reformed into Austria-Hungary, Austria was thus the first to go to war in the July Crisis, which would ultimately escalate into World War I. The First Austrian Republic was established in 1919, in 1938 Nazi Germany annexed Austria in the Anschluss. This lasted until the end of World War II in 1945, after which Germany was occupied by the Allies, in 1955, the Austrian State Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state, ending the occupation. In the same year, the Austrian Parliament created the Declaration of Neutrality which declared that the Second Austrian Republic would become permanently neutral, Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states. The capital and largest city, with a population exceeding 1.7 million, is Vienna, other major urban areas of Austria include Graz, Linz and Innsbruck. Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of $43,724, the country has developed a high standard of living and in 2014 was ranked 21st in the world for its Human Development Index.
Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, joined the European Union in 1995, Austria signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the euro currency in 1999. The German name for Austria, Österreich, meant eastern realm in Old High German, and is cognate with the word Ostarrîchi and this word is probably a translation of Medieval Latin Marchia orientalis into a local dialect. Austria was a prefecture of Bavaria created in 976, the word Austria is a Latinisation of the German name and was first recorded in the 12th century. Accordingly, Norig would essentially mean the same as Ostarrîchi and Österreich, the Celtic name was eventually Latinised to Noricum after the Romans conquered the area that encloses most of modern-day Austria, around 15 BC. Noricum became a Roman province in the mid-first century AD, heers hypothesis is not accepted by linguists. Settled in ancient times, the Central European land that is now Austria was occupied in pre-Roman times by various Celtic tribes, the Celtic kingdom of Noricum was claimed by the Roman Empire and made a province
The Slovak Karst is one of the mountain ranges of the Slovenské Rudohorie Mountains in the Carpathians in southern Slovakia. It consists of a complex of huge karst plains and plateaus, since 1973 it was a protected landscape area. On 1 March 2002 Slovak Karst National Park was declared and it is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and part of it forms UNESCO World Heritage site Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst. The highest peak is Jelení vrch at 947 m AMSL, important rivers are the Slaná, the Štítnik and the Turňa. The Slovak Karst lies in the temperate zone and has a continental climate with four distinct seasons. The area is composed of layers of Mesozoic limestone and dolomite, beneath which there is non-permeable sandstone, limestone. The plains are covered by forests, the hills by oak forests. Beech forests are in the northern parts, the plains have many karst formations, such as karst pits with diameters of up to 250 m and depths of about 45 m, conical hills and half-blind valley and dales.
Other noteworthy caves are Krásnohorská Cave and Hrušovská Cave, the region includes karst lakes. The largest lake is Jašteričie jazero, Gyükerréti-tó in Hungarian
Neolithic flint mines of Spiennes
The mines were active during the mid and late Neolithic between 4,300 and 2,200 BC. Declared to be remarkable for the diversity of technological solutions used for extraction the site, discovered in 1843, the first excavations were undertaken during railway construction in 1867 and intermittent excavations have been carried out up to the present day. The Mines of Spiennes cover some 100 ha of downland four miles south-east of the city of Mons, the site is dotted with millions of scraps of worked flint and numerous mining pits, that Neolithic settlers have gradually turned into vertical mine shafts to depths of over 10 m. Research has illustrated Neolithic techniques for the cutting of the flint and the extraction of large slabs of flint, the nodules were extracted using flint picks. The stones were knapped into rough-out shapes of axes, the SILEXS Interpretive Centre has opened in spring 2015. The rough-outs were exchanged over an area, about 150 km. Polishing strengthens the product, making the axe- or adze-head last longer.
The smooth surface aids the cutting action by lowering friction with the wood, the axes were used initially for forest clearance during the Neolithic period, and for shaping wood for structural applications, such as timber for huts and canoes. The site has been compared with Grimes Graves and Cissbury in the United Kingdom, and Krzemionki in Poland, different hard rocks were used for the polished stone axes. Examples include the Langdale axe industry and Tievebulliagh, guillaume, Ph. Lipinski & A. Masson, Les mines de silex néolithiques de la Meuse dans le contexte européen. Musées de la Meuse, Sampigny 1987, F. Gosselin, Un site dexploitation du silex à Spiennes, au lieu-dit Petit-Spiennes. F. Hubert, Une minière néolithique à silex au Camp-à-Cayaux de Spiennes, F. Hubert, Lexploitation préhistorique du silex à Spiennes. Ministère de la Région wallonne, Direction générale de lAménagement du Territoire, du Logement et du Patrimoine, R. Shepherd, Prehistoric Mining and Allied Industries. Société de recherches préhistoriques en Hainaut, Minières néolithiques à Spiennes,1997 ICOMOS evaluation Collet, H.
Les mines néolithiques de Spiennes, état des connaissances et perspectives de recherche. Section 10, The Neolithic in the Near East and Europe, actes du XIVème congrès UISPP, Université de Liège, Belgique,2 –8 septembre 2001 H. Collet, A. Hauzeur & J. Lech,2008. The prehistoric flint mining complex at Spiennes on the occasion of its discovery 140 years ago In P. Allard, F. Bostyn, flint mining in Prehistoric Europe, Interpreting the archaeological records. European Association of Archaeologists, 12th Annual Meeting, Poland, 19–24 September 2006, H. Collet,2014. Les minières néolithiques de silex de Spiennes
The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. It is known as the Convention on Wetlands and it is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the Convention was signed in 1971. The most recent COP12 was held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, cOP13 will take place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2018. The List of Wetlands of International Importance included 2,231 Ramsar Sites in March 2016 covering over 2.1 million square kilometres. The country with the highest number of Sites is the United Kingdom with 170, the Ramsar Sites Information Service is a searchable database which provides information on each Ramsar Site. As of 2016 there are 18 Transboundary Ramsar Sites, as of 2016 there are 15 Ramsar Regional Initiatives covering regions of the Mediterranean, Asia and South America. The Ramsar Convention works closely with six other known as International Organization Partners. The IOPs participate regularly as observers in all meetings of the Conference of the Parties and as members of the Scientific.
Conference of the Parties Conference of the Parties is the Conventions governing body consisting of all governments that have ratified the treaty and this ultimate authority reviews progress under the Convention, identifies new priorities, and sets work plans for members. The COP can make amendments to the Convention, create expert advisory bodies, review progress reports by member nations, and collaborate with other international organizations and agreements. The Standing Committee The Standing Committee is the executive body which represents the COP between its triennial meetings, within the framework of the decisions made by the COP. The Contracting Parties that are members of the Standing Committee are elected by each meeting of the COP to serve for the three years until the next one, the Secretariat The Secretariat carries out the day-to-day coordination of the Convention’s activities. It is based at the headquarters of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature in Gland, the 2nd of February each year is World Wetlands Day, marking the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971.
Established to raise awareness about the value of wetlands for humanity, in 2015 World Wetlands Day was celebrated in 59 countries
It extends from the earliest known use of stone tools, probably by Homo habilis initially,2.6 million years ago, to the end of the Pleistocene around 10,000 BP. The Paleolithic era is followed by the Mesolithic, the date of the Paleolithic–Mesolithic boundary may vary by locality as much as several thousand years. During the Paleolithic period, humans grouped together in small societies such as bands, the Paleolithic is characterized by the use of knapped stone tools, although at the time humans used wood and bone tools. Other organic commodities were adapted for use as tools, including leather and vegetable fibers, due to their nature, surviving artifacts of the Paleolithic era are known as paleoliths. About 50,000 years ago, there was a increase in the diversity of artifacts. For the first time in Africa, bone artifacts and the first art appear in the archaeological record, the first evidence of human fishing is noted, from artifacts in places such as Blombos cave in South Africa. The new technology generated an explosion of modern humans which is believed to have led to the extinction of the Neanderthals.
Humankind gradually evolved from members of the genus Homo—such as Homo habilis. The climate during the Paleolithic consisted of a set of glacial and interglacial periods in which the climate periodically fluctuated between warm and cool temperatures, by c. 50,000 – c. 40,000 BP, the first humans set foot in Australia. By c. 45,000 BP, humans lived at 61°N latitude in Europe, by c. 30,000 BP, Japan was reached, and by c. 27,000 BP humans were present in Siberia, above the Arctic Circle. At the end of the Upper Paleolithic, a group of humans crossed Beringia, the term Paleolithic was coined by archaeologist John Lubbock in 1865. It derives from Greek, παλαιός, old, and λίθος, stone, human evolution is the part of biological evolution concerning the emergence of anatomically modern humans as a distinct species. The Paleolithic Period coincides almost exactly with the Pleistocene epoch of geologic time and this epoch experienced important geographic and climatic changes that affected human societies.
During the preceding Pliocene, continents had continued to drift from possibly as far as 250 km from their present locations to positions only 70 km from their current location. South America became linked to North America through the Isthmus of Panama, most of Central America formed during the Pliocene to connect the continents of North and South America, allowing fauna from these continents to leave their native habitats and colonize new areas. Africas collision with Asia created the Mediterranean Sea, cutting off the remnants of the Tethys Ocean, climates during the Pliocene became cooler and drier, and seasonal, similar to modern climates. The formation of an Arctic ice cap around 3 million years ago is signaled by a shift in oxygen isotope ratios and ice-rafted cobbles in the North Atlantic. Mid-latitude glaciation probably began before the end of the epoch, the global cooling that occurred during the Pliocene may have spurred on the disappearance of forests and the spread of grasslands and savannas
Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a sovereign state in Western Europe bordered by France, the Netherlands, Germany and the North Sea. It is a small, densely populated country which covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres and has a population of about 11 million people. Additionally, there is a group of German-speakers who live in the East Cantons located around the High Fens area. Historically, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were known as the Low Countries, the region was called Belgica in Latin, after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, Belgium is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. It is divided into three regions and three communities, that exist next to each other and its two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia. The Brussels-Capital Region is a bilingual enclave within the Flemish Region. A German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia, Belgiums linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments.
Upon its independence, declared in 1830, Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Belgium is a member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD and WTO. Its capital, hosts several of the EUs official seats as well as the headquarters of major international organizations such as NATO. Belgium is a part of the Schengen Area, Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy and is categorized as very high in the Human Development Index. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings, a gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 14th and 15th centuries, the Eighty Years War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands.
The latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and this was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. The reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, although the franchise was initially restricted, universal suffrage for men was introduced after the general strike of 1893 and for women in 1949. The main political parties of the 19th century were the Catholic Party, French was originally the single official language adopted by the nobility and the bourgeoisie
It ended when metal tools became widespread. The Neolithic is a progression of behavioral and cultural characteristics and changes, including the use of wild and domestic crops, the beginning of the Neolithic culture is considered to be in the Levant about 10, 200–8800 BC. It developed directly from the Epipaleolithic Natufian culture in the region, whose people pioneered the use of wild cereals, which evolved into true farming. The Natufian period was between 12,000 and 10,200 BC, and the so-called proto-Neolithic is now included in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic between 10,200 and 8800 BC. By 10, 200–8800 BC, farming communities arose in the Levant and spread to Asia Minor, North Africa, Mesopotamia is the site of the earliest developments of the Neolithic Revolution from around 10,000 BC. Early Neolithic farming was limited to a range of plants, both wild and domesticated, which included einkorn wheat and spelt, and the keeping of dogs, sheep. By about 6900–6400 BC, it included domesticated cattle and pigs, the establishment of permanently or seasonally inhabited settlements, not all of these cultural elements characteristic of the Neolithic appeared everywhere in the same order, the earliest farming societies in the Near East did not use pottery.
Early Japanese societies and other East Asian cultures used pottery before developing agriculture, unlike the Paleolithic, when more than one human species existed, only one human species reached the Neolithic. The term Neolithic derives from the Greek νέος néos, new and λίθος líthos, the term was invented by Sir John Lubbock in 1865 as a refinement of the three-age system. In the Middle East, cultures identified as Neolithic began appearing in the 10th millennium BC, early development occurred in the Levant and from there spread eastwards and westwards. Neolithic cultures are attested in southeastern Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia by around 8000 BC. The total excavated area is more than 1,200 square yards, the Neolithic 1 period began roughly 10,000 years ago in the Levant. A temple area in southeastern Turkey at Göbekli Tepe dated around 9500 BC may be regarded as the beginning of the period. This site was developed by nomadic tribes, evidenced by the lack of permanent housing in the vicinity.
At least seven stone circles, covering 25 acres, contain limestone pillars carved with animals, Stone tools were used by perhaps as many as hundreds of people to create the pillars, which might have supported roofs. Other early PPNA sites dating to around 9500–9000 BC have been found in Jericho, Gilgal in the Jordan Valley, the start of Neolithic 1 overlaps the Tahunian and Heavy Neolithic periods to some degree. The major advance of Neolithic 1 was true farming, in the proto-Neolithic Natufian cultures, wild cereals were harvested, and perhaps early seed selection and re-seeding occurred. The grain was ground into flour, emmer wheat was domesticated, and animals were herded and domesticated
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums, Bats do not flap their entire forelimbs, as birds do, but instead flap their spread-out digits, which are very long and covered with a thin membrane or patagium. About 70% of bat species are insectivores, most of the rest are frugivores, or fruit eaters. A few species, such as the bat, feed from animals other than insects, with the vampire bats being hematophagous. Bats are present throughout most of the world, with the exception of cold regions. They perform the vital roles of pollinating flowers and dispersing fruit seeds. Bats are economically important, as they consume insect pests, reducing the need for pesticides, the smallest bat is the Kittis hog-nosed bat, measuring 29–34 mm in length,15 cm across the wings and 2–2.6 g in mass. It is arguably the smallest extant species of mammal, with the Etruscan shrew being the other contender.
The largest species of bat are a few species of Pteropus, the Mexican free-tailed bat is the fastest flying animal in horizontal flight. An older English name for bats is flittermouse, which matches their name in other Germanic languages, middle English had bakke, most likely cognate with Old Swedish natbakka, which may have undergone a shift from -k- to -t- influenced by Latin blatta, nocturnal insect. They were formerly grouped in the superorder Archonta, along with the treeshrews, genetic studies have now placed bats in the superorder Laurasiatheria, along with carnivorans, odd-toed ungulates, even-toed ungulates, and cetaceans. A recent study by Zhang et al. places Chiroptera as a taxon to the clade Perissodactyla. The phylogenetic relationships of the different groups of bats have been the subject of much debate and this hypothesis recognized differences between microbats and megabats and acknowledged that flight has only evolved once in mammals. Most molecular biological evidence supports the view that bats form a single or monophyletic group, in the 1980s, a hypothesis based on morphological evidence was offered that stated the Megachiroptera evolved flight separately from the Microchiroptera.
The so-called flying primate hypothesis proposes that, when adaptations to flight are removed, one example is that the brains of megabats show a number of advanced characteristics that link them to primates. Although recent genetic studies support the monophyly of bats, debate continues as to the meaning of available genetic. Genetic evidence indicates that megabats originated during the early Eocene and should be placed within the four lines of microbats. Consequently, two new suborders based on molecular data have been proposed and these two new suborders are strongly supported by statistical tests