Slalom is an alpine skiing and alpine snowboarding discipline, involving skiing between poles or gates. These are spaced more than those in giant slalom, super giant slalom and downhill, necessitating quicker and shorter turns. Internationally, the sport is contested at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, at the Olympic Winter Games; the term may refer to waterskiing on one ski. The term slalom comes from the Morgedal/Seljord word "slalåm": "sla", meaning inclining hillside, "låm", meaning track after skis; the inventors of modern skiing classified their trails according to their difficulty. Slalåm was a trail used in Telemark by boys and girls not yet able to try themselves on the more challenging runs. Ufsilåm was a trail with one obstacle like a jump, a fence, a difficult turn, a gorge, a cliff and more. Uvyrdslåm was a trail with several obstacles. A Norwegian military downhill competition in 1767 included racing downhill among trees "without falling or breaking skis". Sondre Norheim and other skiers from Telemark practiced uvyrdslåm or "disrespectful/reckless downhill" where they raced downhill in difficult and untested terrain.
The 1866 "ski race" in Oslo was a combined cross-country and slalom competition. In the slalom participants were allowed use poles for braking and steering, they were given points for style. During the late 1800s Norwegian skiers participated in all branches with the same pair of skis. Slalom and variants of slalom were referred to as hill races. Around 1900 hill races are abandoned in the Oslo championships at Holmenkollen. Mathias Zdarsky's development of the Lilienfeld binding helped change hill races into a specialty of the Alps region; the rules for the modern slalom were developed by Arnold Lunn in 1922 for the British National Ski Championships, adopted for alpine skiing at the 1936 Winter Olympics. Under these rules gates were marked by pairs of flags rather than single ones, were arranged so that the racers had to use a variety of turn lengths to negotiate them, scoring was on the basis of time alone, rather than on both time and style. A course is constructed by laying out a series of gates, formed by alternating pairs of red and blue poles.
The skier must pass between the two poles forming the gate, with the tips of both skis and the skier's feet passing between the poles. A course has 40 to 60 for women; the vertical drop for a men's course is 180 to 220 m and less for women. The gates are arranged in a variety of configurations to challenge the competitor; because the offsets are small in slalom, ski racers take a direct line and knock the poles out of the way as they pass, known as blocking. Racers employ a variety of protective equipment, including shin pads, hand guards and face guards. Traditionally, bamboo poles were used for gates, the rigidity of which forced skiers to maneuver their entire body around each gate. In the early 1980s, rigid poles were replaced by hard plastic poles, hinged at the base; the hinged gates require, according to FIS rules, only that the skis and boots of the skier go around each gate. The new gates allow a more direct path down a slalom course through the process of cross-blocking or shinning the gates.
Cross-blocking is a technique in which the legs go around the gate with the upper body inclined toward, or across, the gate. Cross-blocking is done by pushing the gate down with hands, or shins. By 1989, most of the top technical skiers in the world had adopted the cross-block technique. With the innovation of shaped skis around the turn of the 21st century, equipment used for slalom in international competition changed drastically. World Cup skiers skied on slalom skis at a length of 203–207 centimetres in the 1980s and 1990s but by the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, the majority of competitors were using skis measuring 160 cm or less; the downside of the shorter skis was that athletes found that recoveries were more difficult with a smaller platform underfoot. Out of concern for the safety of athletes, the FIS began to set minimum ski lengths for international slalom competition; the minimum was set at 155 cm for men and 150 cm for women, but was increased to 165 cm for men and 155 cm for women for the 2003–2004 season.
The equipment minimums and maximums imposed by the International Ski Federation have created a backlash from skiers and fans. The main objection is that the federation is regressing the equipment, hence the sport, by two decades. American Bode Miller hastened the shift to the shorter, more radical sidecut skis when he achieved unexpected success after becoming the first Junior Olympic athlete to adopt the equipment in giant slalom and super-G in 1996. A few years the technology was adapted to slalom skis as well. In the following table men's slalom World Cup podiums in the World Cup since first season in 1967. Media related to Slalom skiing at Wikimedia Commons
Norway the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe whose territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land. Norway has a total area of 385,207 square kilometres and a population of 5,312,300; the country shares a long eastern border with Sweden. Norway is bordered by Finland and Russia to the north-east, the Skagerrak strait to the south, with Denmark on the other side. Norway has an extensive coastline, facing the Barents Sea. Harald V of the House of Glücksburg is the current King of Norway. Erna Solberg has been prime minister since 2013. A unitary sovereign state with a constitutional monarchy, Norway divides state power between the parliament, the cabinet and the supreme court, as determined by the 1814 constitution; the kingdom was established in 872 as a merger of a large number of petty kingdoms and has existed continuously for 1,147 years.
From 1537 to 1814, Norway was a part of the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway, from 1814 to 1905, it was in a personal union with the Kingdom of Sweden. Norway was neutral during the First World War. Norway remained neutral until April 1940 when the country was invaded and occupied by Germany until the end of Second World War. Norway has both administrative and political subdivisions on two levels: counties and municipalities; the Sámi people have a certain amount of self-determination and influence over traditional territories through the Sámi Parliament and the Finnmark Act. Norway maintains close ties with both the United States. Norway is a founding member of the United Nations, NATO, the European Free Trade Association, the Council of Europe, the Antarctic Treaty, the Nordic Council. Norway maintains the Nordic welfare model with universal health care and a comprehensive social security system, its values are rooted in egalitarian ideals; the Norwegian state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, having extensive reserves of petroleum, natural gas, lumber and fresh water.
The petroleum industry accounts for around a quarter of the country's gross domestic product. On a per-capita basis, Norway is the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas outside of the Middle East; the country has the fourth-highest per capita income in the world on the World IMF lists. On the CIA's GDP per capita list which includes autonomous territories and regions, Norway ranks as number eleven, it has the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, with a value of US$1 trillion. Norway has had the highest Human Development Index ranking in the world since 2009, a position held between 2001 and 2006, it had the highest inequality-adjusted ranking until 2018 when Iceland moved to the top of the list. Norway ranked first on the World Happiness Report for 2017 and ranks first on the OECD Better Life Index, the Index of Public Integrity, the Democracy Index. Norway has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Norway has two official names: Norge in Noreg in Nynorsk; the English name Norway comes from the Old English word Norþweg mentioned in 880, meaning "northern way" or "way leading to the north", how the Anglo-Saxons referred to the coastline of Atlantic Norway similar to scientific consensus about the origin of the Norwegian language name.
The Anglo-Saxons of Britain referred to the kingdom of Norway in 880 as Norðmanna land. There is some disagreement about whether the native name of Norway had the same etymology as the English form. According to the traditional dominant view, the first component was norðr, a cognate of English north, so the full name was Norðr vegr, "the way northwards", referring to the sailing route along the Norwegian coast, contrasting with suðrvegar "southern way" for, austrvegr "eastern way" for the Baltic. In the translation of Orosius for Alfred, the name is Norðweg, while in younger Old English sources the ð is gone. In the 10th century many Norsemen settled in Northern France, according to the sagas, in the area, called Normandy from norðmann, although not a Norwegian possession. In France normanni or northmanni referred to people of Sweden or Denmark; until around 1800 inhabitants of Western Norway where referred to as nordmenn while inhabitants of Eastern Norway where referred to as austmenn. According to another theory, the first component was a word nór, meaning "narrow" or "northern", referring to the inner-archipelago sailing route through the land.
The interpretation as "northern", as reflected in the English and Latin forms of the name, would have been due to folk etymology. This latter view originated with philologist Niels Halvorsen Trønnes in 1847; the form Nore is still used in placenames such as the village of Nore and lake Norefjorden in Buskerud county, still has the same meaning. Among other arguments in favour of the theor
Alpine skiing, or downhill skiing, is the pastime of sliding down snow-covered slopes on skis with fixed-heel bindings, unlike other types of skiing, which use skis with free-heel bindings. Whether for recreation or sport, it is practised at ski resorts, which provide such services as ski lifts, artificial snow making, snow grooming and ski patrol. "Off-piste" skiers—those skiing outside ski area boundaries—may employ snowmobiles, helicopters or snowcats to deliver them to the top of a slope. Back-country skiers may use specialized equipment with a free-heel mode for hiking up slopes and a locked-heel mode for descents. Alpine skiing has been an event at the Winter Olympic Games since 1936; as of 1994, there were estimated to be 55 million people worldwide. The estimated number of skiers, who practised alpine, cross-country skiing, related snow sports, amounted to 30 million in Europe, 20 million in North America, 14 million in Japan; as of 1996, there were 4,500 ski areas, operating 26,000 ski lifts and enjoying skier visits.
The predominant region for downhill skiing was Europe, followed by Japan and the US. The ancient origins of skiing can be traced back to prehistoric times in Russia, Finland and Norway where varying sizes and shapes of wooden planks were preserved in peat bogs. Skis were first invented to cross marshes in the winter when they froze over. In the 1760s, skiing was recorded as being used in military training; the Norwegian army held skill competitions involving skiing down slopes, around trees and obstacles while shooting. The birth of modern alpine skiing is dated to the 1850s. Skiing was an integral part of transportation in colder countries for thousands of years. In the late 19th century skiing converted from a method of transportation to a competitive and recreational sport. Norwegian legend Sondre Norheim first began the trend of skis with curved sides, bindings with stiff heel bands made of willow, the slalom turn style. Sondre Norheim was the champion of the first downhill skiing competition held in Oslo, Norway in 1868.
Two to three decades the sport spread to the rest of Europe and the U. S; the first slalom ski competition occurred in Mürren, Switzerland in 1922. A skier following the fall line will reach the maximum possible speed for that slope. A skier with skis pointed perpendicular to the fall line, across the hill instead of down it, will accelerate more slowly; the speed of descent down any given hill can be controlled by changing the angle of motion in relation to the fall line, skiing across the hill rather than down it. Downhill skiing technique focuses on the use of turns to smoothly turn the skis from one direction to another. Additionally, the skier can use the same techniques to turn the ski away from the direction of movement, generating skidding forces between the skis and snow which further control the speed of the descent. Good technique results in a flowing motion from one descent angle to another one, adjusting the angle as needed to match changes in the steepness of the run; this looks more like a single series of S's than turns followed by straight sections.
The oldest and still common form of alpine ski turn is the stem, turning the front of the skis sideways from the body so they form an angle against the direction of travel. In doing so, the ski pushes snow forward and to the side, the snow pushes the skier back and to the opposite side; the force backwards directly counteracts gravity, slows the skier. The force to the sides, if unbalanced, will cause the skier to turn. Carving is based on the shape of the ski itself; the contact between the arc of the ski edges and the snow causes the ski to tend to move along that arc, slowing the skier and changing their direction of motion. The snowplow turn is the simplest form of turning and is learned by beginners. To perform the snowplow turn one must be in the snowplow position while going down the ski slope. While doing this they apply more pressure to the inside of the opposite foot of which the direction they would like to turn; this type of turn allows the skier to keep a controlled speed and introduces the idea of turning across the fall line.
Modern alpine skis are shaped to enable carve turning, have evolved since the 1980's, with variants such as powder skis, freestyle skis, all-mountain skis, kid's skis and more. Powder skis are used when there is a large amount of fresh snow, as the shape of a powder ski is wide allowing the ski to float on top of the snow compared to a normal downhill ski which would most sink into the snow. Freestyle skis are used by skiers; these skis are meant to help a skier who skis jumps and other features placed throughout the terrain park. Freestyle skis are fully symmetric, meaning they are the same dimensions from the tip of the ski to the backside of the ski. All-mountain skis are the most common type of ski, tend to be used as a typical alpine ski. All-mountain skis are built to do a little bit of everything. Slalom race skis referred to as race skis are short, narrow skis, which tend to be stiffer because they are meant for those who want to go fast as well as make quick sharp turns; the binding is a device used to connect the skier's boot to the ski.
The purpose of the binding is to allow the skier to stay connected to the ski, but if the skier falls the binding can safely release them from the ski to prevent injury. There are two types of bindings: the heel and toe system and the plate system binding
Snow refers to forms of ice crystals that precipitate from the atmosphere and undergo changes on the Earth's surface. It pertains to frozen crystalline water throughout its life cycle, starting when, under suitable conditions, the ice crystals form in the atmosphere, increase to millimeter size and accumulate on surfaces metamorphose in place, melt, slide or sublimate away. Snowstorms develop by feeding on sources of atmospheric moisture and cold air. Snowflakes nucleate around particles in the atmosphere by attracting supercooled water droplets, which freeze in hexagonal-shaped crystals. Snowflakes take on a variety of shapes, basic among these are platelets, needles and rime; as snow accumulates into a snowpack, it may blow into drifts. Over time, accumulated snow metamorphoses, by sintering and freeze-thaw. Where the climate is cold enough for year-to-year accumulation, a glacier may form. Otherwise, snow melts seasonally, causing runoff into streams and rivers and recharging groundwater. Major snow-prone areas include the polar regions, the upper half of the Northern Hemisphere and mountainous regions worldwide with sufficient moisture and cold temperatures.
In the Southern Hemisphere, snow is confined to mountainous areas, apart from Antarctica. Snow affects such human activities as transportation: creating the need for keeping roadways and windows clear. Snow affects ecosystems, as well, by providing an insulating layer during winter under which plants and animals are able to survive the cold. Snow develops in clouds; the physics of snow crystal development in clouds results from a complex set of variables that include moisture content and temperatures. The resulting shapes of the falling and fallen crystals can be classified into a number of basic shapes and combinations, thereof; some plate-like and stellar-shaped snowflakes can form under clear sky with a cold temperature inversion present. Snow clouds occur in the context of larger weather systems, the most important of, the low pressure area, which incorporate warm and cold fronts as part of their circulation. Two additional and locally productive sources of snow are lake-effect storms and elevation effects in mountains.
Mid-latitude cyclones are low pressure areas which are capable of producing anything from cloudiness and mild snow storms to heavy blizzards. During a hemisphere's fall and spring, the atmosphere over continents can be cold enough through the depth of the troposphere to cause snowfall. In the Northern Hemisphere, the northern side of the low pressure area produces the most snow. For the southern mid-latitudes, the side of a cyclone that produces the most snow is the southern side. A cold front, the leading edge of a cooler mass of air, can produce frontal snowsqualls—an intense frontal convective line, when temperature is near freezing at the surface; the strong convection that develops has enough moisture to produce whiteout conditions at places which line passes over as the wind causes intense blowing snow. This type of snowsquall lasts less than 30 minutes at any point along its path but the motion of the line can cover large distances. Frontal squalls may form a short distance ahead of the surface cold front or behind the cold front where there may be a deepening low pressure system or a series of trough lines which act similar to a traditional cold frontal passage.
In situations where squalls develop post-frontally it is not unusual to have two or three linear squall bands pass in rapid succession only separated by 25 miles with each passing the same point in 30 minutes apart. In cases where there is a large amount of vertical growth and mixing the squall may develop embedded cumulonimbus clouds resulting in lightning and thunder, dubbed thundersnow. A warm front can produce snow for a period, as warm, moist air overrides below-freezing air and creates precipitation at the boundary. Snow transitions to rain in the warm sector behind the front. Lake-effect snow is produced during cooler atmospheric conditions when a cold air mass moves across long expanses of warmer lake water, warming the lower layer of air which picks up water vapor from the lake, rises up through the colder air above, freezes and is deposited on the leeward shores; the same effect occurs over bodies of salt water, when it is termed ocean-effect or bay-effect snow. The effect is enhanced when the moving air mass is uplifted by the orographic influence of higher elevations on the downwind shores.
This uplifting can produce narrow but intense bands of precipitation, which deposit at a rate of many inches of snow each hour resulting in a large amount of total snowfall. The areas affected by lake-effect snow are called snowbelts; these include areas east of the Great Lakes, the west coasts of northern Japan, the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia, areas near the Great Salt Lake, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Baltic Sea, parts of the northern Atlantic Ocean. Orographic or relief snowfall is caused when masses of air pushed by wind are forced up the side of elevated land formations, such as large mountains; the lifting of air up the side of a mountain or range results in adiabatic cooling, condensation and precipitation. Moisture is removed by orographic lift, leaving drier, warmer air on the leeward side; the resulting enhanced productivity of snow fall and the decrease in temperature with elevation means that snow depth
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Mürren is a traditional Walser mountain village in the Bernese Highlands of Switzerland, at an elevation of 1,638 metres above sea level and it cannot be reached by public road. It is one of the popular tourist spots in Switzerland, summer and winter are the seasons when Mürren becomes busy with the tourists. Mürren has 2,000 hotel beds. Mürren has two churches, one Reformed and one Roman Catholic. Mürren station is the terminus of the Bergbahn Lauterbrunnen-Mürren, which consists of a cable car and a connecting narrow gauge railway, it connects Mürren to Lauterbrunnen. A series of four cable cars, known as the Luftseilbahn Stechelberg-Mürren-Schilthorn, provides transportation from Mürren downhill to Gimmelwald and Stechelberg, uphill to the summit of the Schilthorn and the revolving restaurant Piz Gloria; the Mürren station for these cable cars is 800 metres south-west of the railway station at the other end of Mürren. This was a principal filming location for the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service, released in 1969, in which fictional spy James Bond made his escape from the headquarters of Ernst Stavro Blofeld and fled four of Blofeld's henchmen in a car driven by his girlfriend Tracy.
There is an additional cable car that runs directly from Mürren to Stechelberg, but this is provided for the movement of freight and used for public transportation only in times of repair of the regular cable car. Mürren is the lower terminus of the Allmendhubelbahn, a funicular. There are a total of 52 km of ski runs with 14 ski lifts. There is off-piste skiing, but guiding is needed and should be used. Within the village there is a large sports center with a 25 m swimming pool, sports hall, fitness room, café, information centre and other facilities. There is a large skating rink, sometimes used for curling competitions as well as a specific curling rink that in the summer is a tennis court; the ice rink is turned into a mini-golf course during the summer months. In the summer there are tennis courts near the sports chalet. Mürren is situated within the canton of Bern, in the district of Interlaken and belongs to the political commune of Lauterbrunnen, together with the districts of Wengen, Gimmelwald and Lauterbrunnen.
The parish covers the entire valley. There are quite a few hotels in Mürren, including: Hotel Alpenblick, Hotel Alpenruh, Hotel Bellevue, Hotel Blumental, Hotel Edelweiss, Hotel Eiger, Eiger Guesthouse, Hotel Jungfrau, Hotel Regina and Sportschalet. Mürren has its roots as a farming village. With the beginning of tourism -- both winter and summer -- it has grown in wealth. Winter sports have been an important part of Mürren's history since the first British winter tourists arrived in 1911. During the First World War wounded prisoners of war stayed here pending repatriation and played a role in developing winter sports. In 1924, the Kandahar Ski Club was set up by eight other British skiers; the club takes its name from the Roberts of Kandahar Challenge Cup, first run in. This, the world's senior challenge cup for downhill ski-racing, was presented by Lord Roberts, who won the Battle of Kandahar in the Second Anglo-Afghan War. In 1928, the Inferno Race was set up, continues to this day; the International Inferno Race, comprising cross-country, giant slalom and downhill races, is the longest and largest amateur ski race in the world with a limit of 1800 participants.
It is held in January. The fastest entrants will complete the 15.8 km from the Schilthorn to Lauterbrunnen in only 15 minutes. Official website Tourism information Schilthorn.ch Live Webcam at Schilthorn Myswitzerland - Muerren
Austria the Republic of Austria, is a country in Central Europe comprising 9 federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of nine states is Vienna. Austria has an area of 83,879 km2, a population of nearly 9 million people and a nominal GDP of $477 billion, it is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north and Slovakia to the east and Italy to the south, Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The terrain is mountainous, lying within the Alps; the majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects as their native language, German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other regional languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, Slovene. Austria played a central role in European History from the late 18th to the early 20th century, it emerged as a margraviate around 976 and developed into a duchy and archduchy. In the 16th century, Austria started serving as the heart of the Habsburg Monarchy and the junior branch of the House of Habsburg – one of the most influential royal houses in history.
As archduchy, it was a major component and administrative centre of the Holy Roman Empire. Following the Holy Roman Empire's dissolution, Austria founded its own empire in the 19th century, which became a great power and the leading force of the German Confederation. Subsequent to the Austro-Prussian War and the establishment of a union with Hungary, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was created. Austria was involved in both world wars. Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy with a President as head of state and a Chancellor as head of government. Major urban areas of Austria include Graz, Linz and Innsbruck. Austria is ranked as one of the richest countries in the world by per capita GDP terms; the country has developed a high standard of living and in 2018 was ranked 20th in the world for its Human Development Index. The republic declared its perpetual neutrality in foreign political affairs in 1955. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955 and joined the European Union in 1995.
It is a founding member of the OECD and Interpol. Austria signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, adopted the euro currency in 1999; the German name for Austria, Österreich, derives from the Old High German Ostarrîchi, which meant "eastern realm" and which first appeared in the "Ostarrîchi document" of 996. This word is a translation of Medieval Latin Marchia orientalis into a local dialect. Another theory says that this name comes from the local name of the mountain whose original Slovenian name is "Ostravica" - because it is steep on both sides. Austria was a prefecture of Bavaria created in 976; the word "Austria" was first recorded in the 12th century. At the time, the Danube basin of Austria was the easternmost extent of Bavaria; the Central European land, now Austria was settled in pre-Roman times by various Celtic tribes. The Celtic kingdom of Noricum was claimed by the Roman Empire and made a province. Present-day Petronell-Carnuntum in eastern Austria was an important army camp turned capital city in what became known as the Upper Pannonia province.
Carnuntum was home for 50,000 people for nearly 400 years. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the area was invaded by Bavarians and Avars. Charlemagne, King of the Franks, conquered the area in AD 788, encouraged colonization, introduced Christianity; as part of Eastern Francia, the core areas that now encompass Austria were bequeathed to the house of Babenberg. The area was known as the marchia Orientalis and was given to Leopold of Babenberg in 976; the first record showing the name Austria is from 996, where it is written as Ostarrîchi, referring to the territory of the Babenberg March. In 1156, the Privilegium Minus elevated Austria to the status of a duchy. In 1192, the Babenbergs acquired the Duchy of Styria. With the death of Frederick II in 1246, the line of the Babenbergs was extinguished; as a result, Ottokar II of Bohemia assumed control of the duchies of Austria and Carinthia. His reign came to an end with his defeat at Dürnkrut at the hands of Rudolph I of Germany in 1278. Thereafter, until World War I, Austria's history was that of its ruling dynasty, the Habsburgs.
In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Habsburgs began to accumulate other provinces in the vicinity of the Duchy of Austria. In 1438, Duke Albert V of Austria was chosen as the successor to his father-in-law, Emperor Sigismund. Although Albert himself only reigned for a year, henceforth every emperor of the Holy Roman Empire was a Habsburg, with only one exception; the Habsburgs began to accumulate territory far from the hereditary lands. In 1477, Archduke Maximilian, only son of Emperor Frederick III, married the heiress Maria of Burgundy, thus acquiring most of the Netherlands for the family. In 1496, his son Philip the Fair married Joanna the Mad, the heiress of Castile and Aragon, thus acquiring Spain and its Italian and New World appendages for the Habsburgs. In 1526, following the Battle of Mohács, Bohemia and the part of Hungary not occupied by the Ottomans came under Austrian rule. Ottoman expansion into Hungary led to frequent conflicts between the two empires evident in the Long War of 1593 to 1606.
The Turks made incursions into Styria nearly 20 times, of which some are c