Portugal the Portuguese Republic, is a country located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain, its territory includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments. Portugal is the oldest state on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe, its territory having been continuously settled and fought over since prehistoric times; the pre-Celtic people, Celts and Romans were followed by the invasions of the Visigoths and Suebi Germanic peoples. Portugal as a country was established during the Christian Reconquista against the Moors who had invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 711 AD. Founded in 868, the County of Portugal gained prominence after the Battle of São Mamede in 1128; the Kingdom of Portugal was proclaimed following the Battle of Ourique in 1139, independence from León was recognised by the Treaty of Zamora in 1143.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal established the first global empire, becoming one of the world's major economic and military powers. During this period, today referred to as the Age of Discovery, Portuguese explorers pioneered maritime exploration, notably under royal patronage of Prince Henry the Navigator and King John II, with such notable voyages as Bartolomeu Dias' sailing beyond the Cape of Good Hope, Vasco da Gama's discovery of the sea route to India and the European discovery of Brazil. During this time Portugal monopolized the spice trade, divided the world into hemispheres of dominion with Castille, the empire expanded with military campaigns in Asia. However, events such as the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, the country's occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, the independence of Brazil, a late industrialization compared to other European powers, erased to a great extent Portugal's prior opulence. After the 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy, the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic was established being superseded by the Estado Novo right-wing authoritarian regime.
Democracy was restored after the Carnation Revolution in 1974. Shortly after, independence was granted to all its overseas territories; the handover of Macau to China in 1999 marked the end of what can be considered the longest-lived colonial empire. Portugal has left a profound cultural and architectural influence across the globe, a legacy of around 250 million Portuguese speakers, many Portuguese-based creoles, it is a developed country with a high-income advanced economy and high living standards. Additionally, it is placed in rankings of moral freedom, democracy, press freedom, social progress, LGBT rights. A member of the United Nations and the European Union, Portugal was one of the founding members of NATO, the eurozone, the OECD, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries; the word Portugal derives from the Roman-Celtic place name Portus Cale. Portus, the Latin word for port or harbour, Cala or Cailleach was the name of a Celtic goddess – in Scotland she is known as Beira – and the name of an early settlement located at the mouth of the Douro River which flows into the Atlantic Ocean in the north of what is now Portugal.
At the time the land of a specific people was named after its deity. Those names are the origins of the - gal in Galicia. Incidentally, the meaning of Cale or Calle is a derivation of the Celtic word for port which would confirm old links to pre-Roman, Celtic languages which compare to today's Irish caladh or Scottish cala, both meaning port; some French scholars believe it may have come from ` Portus Gallus', the port of the Celts. Around 200 BC, the Romans took the Iberian Peninsula from the Carthaginians during the Second Punic War, in the process conquered Cale and renamed it Portus Cale incorporating it to the province of Gaellicia with capital in Bracara Augusta. During the Middle Ages, the region around Portus Cale became known by the Suebi and Visigoths as Portucale; the name Portucale evolved into Portugale during the 7th and 8th centuries, by the 9th century, that term was used extensively to refer to the region between the rivers Douro and Minho. By the 11th and 12th centuries, Portugallia or Portvgalliae was referred to as Portugal.
The early history of Portugal is shared with the rest of the Iberian Peninsula located in South Western Europe. The name of Portugal derives from the joined Romano-Celtic name Portus Cale; the region was settled by Pre-Celts and Celts, giving origin to peoples like the Gallaeci, Lusitanians and Cynetes, visited by Phoenicians, Ancient Greeks and Carthaginians, incorporated in the Roman Republic dominions as Lusitania and part of Gallaecia, after 45 BC until 298 AD. The region of present-day Portugal was inhabited by Neanderthals and by Homo sapiens, who roamed the border-less region of the northern Iberian peninsula; these were subsistence societies that, although they did not establish prosperous settlements, did form organized societies. Neolithic Portugal experimented with domestication of herding animals, the raising of some cereal crops and fluvial or marine fishing, it is believed by some scholars that early in the first millennium BC, several waves of Celts invaded Portugal from Central Europe and inter-married with the local populations, forming differe
Slovakia the Slovak Republic, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to the west, the Czech Republic to the northwest. Slovakia's territory spans about 49,000 square kilometres and is mountainous; the population is over 5.4 million and consists of Slovaks. The capital and largest city is Bratislava, the second largest city is Košice; the official language is Slovak. The Slavs arrived in the territory of present-day Slovakia in the 6th centuries. In the 7th century, they played a significant role in the creation of Samo's Empire and in the 9th century established the Principality of Nitra, conquered by the Principality of Moravia to establish Great Moravia. In the 10th century, after the dissolution of Great Moravia, the territory was integrated into the Principality of Hungary, which would become the Kingdom of Hungary in 1000. In 1241 and 1242, much of the territory was destroyed by the Mongols during their invasion of Central and Eastern Europe.
The area was recovered thanks to Béla IV of Hungary who settled Germans which became an important ethnic group in the area in what are today parts of central and eastern Slovakia. After World War I and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Czechoslovak National Council established Czechoslovakia. A separate Slovak Republic existed during World War II as a totalitarian, clero-fascist one-party client state of Nazi Germany. At the end of World War II, Czechoslovakia was re-established as an independent country. A coup in 1948 ushered in a totalitarian one-party state under the Communist regime during whose rule the country existed as a satellite of the Soviet Union. Attempts for liberalization of communism in Czechoslovakia culminated in the Prague Spring, crushed by the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. In 1989, the Velvet Revolution ended the Communist rule in Czechoslovakia peacefully. Slovakia became an independent state on 1 January 1993 after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia, sometimes known as the Velvet Divorce.
Slovakia is a developed country, with a high-income advanced economy and a high Human Development Index, a high standard of living and performs favourably in measurements of civil liberties, press freedom, internet freedom, democratic governance and peacefulness. The country maintains a combination of market economy with a comprehensive social security system. Citizens of Slovakia are provided with universal health care, free education and one of the longest paid parental leave in the OECD; the country joined the European Union on 1 May 2004 and joined 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. Although regional income inequality is high, 90% of citizens own their homes. In 2018, Slovak citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 179 countries and territories, ranking the Slovak passport 10th in the world; as part of Eurozone, Slovak legal tender is the world's 2nd-most-traded currency.
Slovakia is the world's largest per-capita car producer with a total of 1,040,000 cars manufactured in the country in 2016 alone and the 7th largest car producer in the European Union. The car industry represents 43% of Slovakia's industrial output, a quarter of its exports; the first written mention of name Slovakia is in 1586. It derives from the Czech word Slováky; the native name Slovensko derives from an older name of Slovaks Sloven what may indicate its origin before the 15th century. The original meaning was geographic, since Slovakia was a part of the multiethnic Kingdom of Hungary and did not form a separate administrative unit in this period. Radiocarbon dating puts the oldest surviving archaeological artefacts from Slovakia – found near Nové Mesto nad Váhom – at 270,000 BCE, in the Early Paleolithic era; 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 in Bojnice and from other nearby sites.
The most important discovery from that era is a Neanderthal cranium, discovered near Gánovce, a village in northern Slovakia. Archaeologists have found prehistoric human skeletons in the region, as well as numerous objects and vestiges of the Gravettian culture, principally in the river valleys of Nitra, Ipeľ, Váh and as far as the city of Žilina, near the foot of the Vihorlat and Tribeč mountains, as well as in the Myjava Mountains; the most well-known finds include the oldest female statue made of mammoth-bone, the famous Venus of Moravany. 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 Radošina; these findings provide the most ancient evidence of commercial exchanges carried out between the Mediterranean and central Europe. The Bronze Age in the geographical territory of modern-day Slovakia went through three stages of development, stretching from 2000 to 800 BCE.
Major cultural and political development can be attributed to the significant growth in production of copper in central Slovakia and northwe
Cyprus the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel, north of Egypt, southeast of Greece. The earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC. Archaeological remains from this period include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia, Cyprus is home to some of the oldest water wells in the world. Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC; as a strategic location in the Middle East, it was subsequently occupied by several major powers, including the empires of the Assyrians and Persians, from whom the island was seized in 333 BC by Alexander the Great. Subsequent rule by Ptolemaic Egypt, the Classical and Eastern Roman Empire, Arab caliphates for a short period, the French Lusignan dynasty and the Venetians, was followed by over three centuries of Ottoman rule between 1571 and 1878.
Cyprus was placed under the UK's administration based on the Cyprus Convention in 1878 and was formally annexed by Britain in 1914. While Turkish Cypriots made up 18% of the population, the partition of Cyprus and creation of a Turkish state in the north became a policy of Turkish Cypriot leaders and Turkey in the 1950s. Turkish leaders for a period advocated the annexation of Cyprus to Turkey as Cyprus was considered an "extension of Anatolia" by them. Following nationalist violence in the 1950s, Cyprus was granted independence in 1960; the crisis of 1963–64 brought further intercommunal violence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, which displaced more than 25,000 Turkish Cypriots into enclaves and brought the end of Turkish Cypriot representation in the republic. On 15 July 1974, a coup d'état was staged by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta in an attempt at enosis, the incorporation of Cyprus into Greece; this action precipitated the Turkish invasion of Cyprus on 20 July, which led to the capture of the present-day territory of Northern Cyprus in the following month, after a ceasefire collapsed, the displacement of over 150,000 Greek Cypriots and 50,000 Turkish Cypriots.
A separate Turkish Cypriot state in the north was established by unilateral declaration in 1983. These events and the resulting political situation are matters of a continuing dispute; the Republic of Cyprus has de jure sovereignty over the entire island, including its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, with the exception of the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, which remain under the UK's control according to the London and Zürich Agreements. However, the Republic of Cyprus is de facto partitioned into two main parts: the area under the effective control of the Republic, located in the south and west, comprising about 59% of the island's area. Another nearly 4% of the island's area is covered by the UN buffer zone; the international community considers the northern part of the island as territory of the Republic of Cyprus occupied by Turkish forces. The occupation is viewed as illegal under international law, amounting to illegal occupation of EU territory since Cyprus became a member of the European Union.
Cyprus is a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean. With an advanced, high-income economy and a high Human Development Index, the Republic of Cyprus has been a member of the Commonwealth since 1961 and was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement until it joined the European Union on 1 May 2004. On 1 January 2008, the Republic of Cyprus joined the eurozone; the earliest attested reference to Cyprus is the 15th century BC Mycenaean Greek, ku-pi-ri-jo, meaning "Cypriot", written in Linear B syllabic script. The classical Greek form of the name is Κύπρος; the etymology of the name is unknown. Suggestions include: the Greek word for the Mediterranean cypress tree, κυπάρισσος the Greek name of the henna tree, κύπρος an Eteocypriot word for copper, it has been suggested, for example, that it has roots in the Sumerian word for copper or for bronze, from the large deposits of copper ore found on the island. Through overseas trade, the island has given its name to the Classical Latin word for copper through the phrase aes Cyprium, "metal of Cyprus" shortened to Cuprum.
The standard demonym relating to Cyprus or its people or culture is Cypriot. The terms Cypriote and Cyprian are used, though less frequently; the earliest confirmed site of human activity on Cyprus is Aetokremnos, situated on the south coast, indicating that hunter-gatherers were active on the island from around 10,000 BC, with settled village communities dating from 8200 BC. The arrival of the first humans correlates with the extinction of the dwarf hippos and dwarf elephants. Water wells discovered by archaeologists in western Cyprus are believed to be among the oldest in the world, dated at 9,000 to 10,500 years old. Remains of an 8-month-old cat were discovered buried with a human body at a separate Neolithic site in Cyprus; the grave is estimated to be 9,500 years old, predating ancient Egyptian civilisation and pushing back the ear
Lithuania the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in the Baltic region of Europe. Lithuania is considered to be one of the Baltic states, it is situated to the east of Sweden and Denmark. It is bordered by Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, Kaliningrad Oblast to the southwest. Lithuania has an estimated population of 2.8 million people as of 2019, its capital and largest city is Vilnius. Other major cities are Klaipėda. Lithuanians are Baltic people; the official language, along with Latvian, is one of only two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family. For centuries, the southeastern shores of the Baltic Sea were inhabited by various Baltic tribes. In the 1230s, the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, the King of Lithuania, the first unified Lithuanian state, the Kingdom of Lithuania, was created on 6 July 1253. During the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest country in Europe. With the Lublin Union of 1569, Lithuania and Poland formed a voluntary two-state personal union, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighbouring countries systematically dismantled it from 1772 to 1795, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuania's territory. As World War I neared its end, Lithuania's Act of Independence was signed on 16 February 1918, declaring the founding of the modern Republic of Lithuania. In the midst of the Second World War, Lithuania was first occupied by the Soviet Union and by Nazi Germany; as World War II neared its end and the Germans retreated, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. On 11 March 1990, a year before the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union, Lithuania became the first Baltic state to declare itself independent, resulting in the restoration of an independent State of Lithuania. Lithuania is a developed country, it is a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, Schengen Agreement, NATO and OECD. It is a member of the Nordic Investment Bank, part of Nordic-Baltic cooperation of Northern European countries; the United Nations Human Development Index lists Lithuania as a "very high human development" country.
The first known record of the name of Lithuania is in a 9 March 1009 story of Saint Bruno in the Quedlinburg Chronicle. The Chronicle recorded a Latinized form of the name Lietuva: Litua. Due to the lack of reliable evidence, the true meaning of the name is unknown. Nowadays, scholars still debate the meaning of the word and there are a few plausible versions. Since Lietuva has a suffix, the original word should have no suffix. A candidate is Lietā; because many Baltic ethnonyms originated from hydronyms, linguists have searched for its origin among local hydronyms. Such names evolved through the following process: hydronym → toponym → ethnonym. Lietava, a small river not far from Kernavė, the core area of the early Lithuanian state and a possible first capital of the eventual Grand Duchy of Lithuania, is credited as the source of the name. However, the river is small and some find it improbable that such a small and local object could have lent its name to an entire nation. On the other hand, such a naming is not unprecedented in world history.
Artūras Dubonis proposed another hypothesis. From the middle of the 13th century, leičiai were a distinct warrior social group of the Lithuanian society subordinate to the Lithuanian ruler or the state itself; the word leičiai is used in the 14–16th-century historical sources as an ethnonym for Lithuanians and is still used poetically or in historical contexts, in the Latvian language, related to Lithuanian. The first people settled in the territory of Lithuania after the last glacial period in the 10th millennium BC: Kunda and Narva cultures, they did not form stable settlements. In the 8th millennium BC, the climate became much warmer, forests developed; the inhabitants of what is now Lithuania traveled less and engaged in local hunting and fresh-water fishing. Agriculture did not emerge until the 3rd millennium BC due to a harsh climate and terrain and a lack of suitable tools to cultivate the land. Crafts and trade started to form at this time. Over a millennium, the Indo-Europeans, who arrived in the 3rd – 2nd millennium BC, mixed with the local population and formed various Baltic tribes.
The Baltic tribes did not maintain close cultural or political contacts with the Roman Empire, but they did maintain trade contacts. Tacitus, in his study Germania, described the Aesti people, inhabitants of the south-eastern Baltic Sea shores who were Balts, around the year 97 AD; the Western Balts became known to outside chroniclers first. Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD knew of the Galindians and Yotvingians, early medieval chroniclers mentioned Old Prussians and Semigallians; the Lithuanian language is considered to be conservative for its close connection to Indo-European roots. It is believed to have differentiated from the Latvian language, the most related existing language, around the 7th century. Traditional Lithuanian pagan customs and mythology, with many archaic elements, were long preserved. Rulers' bodies were cremated up until the conversion to Christianity: the descriptions of the cremation ceremonies of the grand d
Bulgaria the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north and North Macedonia to the west and Turkey to the south, the Black Sea to the east; the capital and largest city is Sofia. With a territory of 110,994 square kilometres, Bulgaria is Europe's 16th-largest country. One of the earliest societies in the lands of modern-day Bulgaria was the Neolithic Karanovo culture, which dates back to 6,500 BC. In the 6th to 3rd century BC the region was a battleground for Thracians, Persians and ancient Macedonians; the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire lost some of these territories to an invading Bulgar horde in the late 7th century. The Bulgars founded the First Bulgarian Empire in AD 681, which dominated most of the Balkans and influenced Slavic cultures by developing the Cyrillic script; this state lasted until the early 11th century, when Byzantine emperor Basil II conquered and dismantled it. A successful Bulgarian revolt in 1185 established a Second Bulgarian Empire, which reached its apex under Ivan Asen II.
After numerous exhausting wars and feudal strife, the Second Bulgarian Empire disintegrated in 1396 and its territories fell under Ottoman rule for nearly five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 resulted in the formation of the current Third Bulgarian State. Many ethnic Bulgarian populations were left outside its borders, which led to several conflicts with its neighbours and an alliance with Germany in both world wars. In 1946 Bulgaria became part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc; the ruling Communist Party gave up its monopoly on power after the revolutions of 1989 and allowed multi-party elections. Bulgaria transitioned into a democracy and a market-based economy. Since adopting a democratic constitution in 1991, the sovereign state has been a unitary parliamentary republic with a high degree of political and economic centralisation; the population of seven million lives in Sofia and the capital cities of the 27 provinces, the country has suffered significant demographic decline since the late 1980s.
Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, NATO, the Council of Europe. Its market economy is part of the European Single Market and relies on services, followed by industry—especially machine building and mining—and agriculture. Widespread corruption is a major socioeconomic issue; the name Bulgaria is derived from a tribe of Turkic origin that founded the country. Their name is not understood and difficult to trace back earlier than the 4th century AD, but it is derived from the Proto-Turkic word bulģha and its derivative bulgak; the meaning may be further extended to "rebel", "incite" or "produce a state of disorder", i.e. the "disturbers". Ethnic groups in Inner Asia with phonologically similar names were described in similar terms: during the 4th century, the Buluoji, a component of the "Five Barbarian" groups in Ancient China, were portrayed as both a "mixed race" and "troublemakers". Neanderthal remains dating to around 150,000 years ago, or the Middle Paleolithic, are some of the earliest traces of human activity in the lands of modern Bulgaria.
The Karanovo culture arose circa 6,500 BC and was one of several Neolithic societies in the region that thrived on agriculture. The Copper Age Varna culture is credited with inventing gold metallurgy; the associated Varna Necropolis treasure contains the oldest golden jewellery in the world with an approximate age of over 6,000 years. The treasure has been valuable for understanding social hierarchy and stratification in the earliest European societies; the Thracians, one of the three primary ancestral groups of modern Bulgarians, appeared on the Balkan Peninsula some time before the 12th century BC. The Thracians excelled in metallurgy and gave the Greeks the Orphean and Dionysian cults, but remained tribal and stateless; the Persian Achaemenid Empire conquered most of present-day Bulgaria in the 6th century BC and retained control over the region until 479 BC. The invasion became a catalyst for Thracian unity, the bulk of their tribes united under king Teres to form the Odrysian kingdom in the 470s BC.
It was weakened and vassalized by Philip II of Macedon in 341 BC, attacked by Celts in the 3rd century, became a province of the Roman Empire in AD 45. By the end of the 1st century AD, Roman governance was established over the entire Balkan Peninsula and Christianity began spreading in the region around the 4th century; the Gothic Bible—the first Germanic language book—was created by Gothic bishop Ulfilas in what is today northern Bulgaria around 381. The region came under Byzantine control after the fall of Rome in 476; the Byzantines were engaged in prolonged warfare against Persia and could not defend their Balkan territories from barbarian incursions. This enabled the Slavs to enter the Balkan Peninsula as marauders through an area between the Danube River and the Balkan Mountains known as Moesia; the interior of the peninsula became a country of the South Slavs, who lived under a democracy. The Slavs assimilated the Hellenized and Gothicized Thracians in the rural areas. Not l
Estonia the Republic of Estonia, is a country in North East Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland with Finland on the other side, to the west by the Baltic Sea with Sweden on the other side, to the south by Latvia, to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia; the territory of Estonia consists of a mainland and 2,222 islands in the Baltic Sea, covering a total area of 45,227 km2, water 2,839 km2, land area 42,388 km2, is influenced by a humid continental climate. The official language of the country, Estonian, is the third most spoken Finno-Ugric language; the territory of Estonia has been inhabited since at least 9,000 B. C. Ancient Estonians were some of the last European pagans to be Christianized, following the Livonian Crusade in the 13th century. After centuries of successive rule by Germans, Swedes and Russians, a distinct Estonian national identity began to emerge in the 19th and early 20th centuries; this culminated in independence from Russia in 1920 after a brief War of Independence at the end of World War I.
Democratic, after the Great Depression Estonia was governed by authoritarian rule since 1934 during the Era of Silence. During World War II, Estonia was contested and occupied by the Soviet Union and Germany being incorporated into the former as the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. After the loss of its de facto independence, Estonia's de jure state continuity was preserved by diplomatic representatives and the government-in-exile. In 1987 the peaceful Singing Revolution began against Soviet rule, resulting in the restoration of de facto independence on 20 August 1991; the sovereign state of Estonia is a democratic unitary parliamentary republic divided into fifteen counties. Its capital and largest city is Tallinn. With a population of 1.3 million, it is one of the least-populous member states of the European Union since joining in 2004, the economic monetary Eurozone, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Schengen Area, of the Western military alliance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
It is a developed country with an advanced, high-income economy, among the fastest-growing in the EU. Estonia ranks high in the Human Development Index, performs favourably in measurements of economic freedom, civil liberties and press freedom. Estonian citizens are provided with universal health care, free education, the longest-paid maternity leave in the OECD. One of the world's most digitally advanced societies, in 2005 Estonia became the first state to hold elections over the Internet, in 2014 the first state to provide e-residency. In the Estonian language the oldest known endonym of the Estonians was maarahvas, meaning "country people" or "people of the soil"; the land inhabited by Estonians was called Maavald meaning "Country Realm" or "Land Realm". One hypothesis regarding the modern name of Estonia derives it from the Aesti, a people described by the Roman historian Tacitus in his Germania; the historic Aesti were Baltic people, whereas the modern Estonians are Finno-Ugric. The geographical areas of the Aesti and of Estonia do not match, with the Aesti living farther south.
Ancient Scandinavian sagas refer to an area called Eistland, as the country is still called in Icelandic, with close parallels to the Danish, Dutch and Norwegian terms Estland for the country. Early Latin and other ancient versions of the name include Hestia. Esthonia was a common alternative English spelling before 1921. Human settlement in Estonia became possible 13,000 to 11,000 years ago, when the ice from the last glacial era melted; the oldest known settlement in Estonia is the Pulli settlement, on the banks of the river Pärnu, near the town of Sindi, in south-western Estonia. According to radiocarbon dating it was settled around 11,000 years ago; the earliest human inhabitation during the Mesolithic period is connected to the Kunda culture, named after the town of Kunda in northern Estonia. At that time the country was covered with forests, people lived in semi-nomadic communities near bodies of water. Subsistence activities consisted of hunting and fishing. Around 4900 BC appear ceramics of the neolithic period, known as Narva culture.
Starting from around 3200 BC the Corded Ware culture appeared. The Bronze Age started around 1800 BC, saw the establishment of the first hill fort settlements. A transition from hunting-fishing-gathering subsistence to single-farm-based settlement started around 1000 BC, was complete by the beginning of the Iron Age around 500 BC; the large amount of bronze objects indicate the existence of active communication with Scandinavian and Germanic tribes. A more troubled and war-ridden middle Iron Age followed, with external threats appearing from different directions. Several Scandinavian sagas referred to major confrontations with Estonians, notably when Estonians defeated and killed the Swedish king Ingvar. Similar threats appeared in the east. In 1030 Yaroslav the Wise established a fort in modern-day Tartu. Around the 11th century, the Scandinavian Viking era around the Baltic Sea was succeeded by the Baltic Viking era, with seaborne
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona