The Royal Prussian Army served as the army of the Kingdom of Prussia. It became vital to the development of Brandenburg-Prussia as a European power; the Prussian Army had its roots in the core mercenary forces of Brandenburg during the Thirty Years' War of 1618–1648. Elector Frederick William developed it into a viable standing army, while King Frederick William I of Prussia increased its size and improved its doctrines. King Frederick the Great, a formidable battle commander, led the disciplined Prussian troops to victory during the 18th-century Silesian Wars and increased the prestige of the Kingdom of Prussia; the army had become outdated by the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars, France defeated Prussia in the War of the Fourth Coalition. However, under the leadership of Gerhard von Scharnhorst, Prussian reformers began modernizing the Prussian Army, which contributed to the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte during the War of the Sixth Coalition. Conservatives halted some of the reforms and the Prussian Army subsequently became a bulwark of the conservative Prussian government.
In the 19th century the Prussian Army fought successful wars against Denmark and France, allowing Prussia to unify Germany and to establish the German Empire in 1871. The Prussian Army formed the core of the Imperial German Army, replaced by the Reichswehr after World War I; the army of Prussia grew out of the united armed forces created during the reign of Elector Frederick William of Brandenburg. Hohenzollern Brandenburg-Prussia had relied upon Landsknecht mercenaries during the Thirty Years' War, in which Brandenburg was devastated. Swedish and Imperial forces occupied the country. In the spring of 1644, Frederick William started building a standing army through conscription to better defend his state. By 1643–44, the developing army numbered only 5,500 troops, including 500 musketeers in Frederick William's bodyguard; the elector's confidant Johann von Norprath recruited forces in the Duchy of Cleves and organized an army of 3,000 Dutch and German soldiers in the Rhineland by 1646. Garrisons were slowly augmented in Brandenburg and the Duchy of Prussia.
Frederick William sought assistance from France, the traditional rival of Habsburg Austria, began receiving French subsidies. He based his reforms on those of the War Minister of King Louis XIV of France; the growth of his army allowed Frederick William to achieve considerable territorial acquisitions in the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, despite Brandenburg's relative lack of success during the war. The provincial estates desired a reduction in the army's size during peacetime, but the elector avoided their demands through political concessions and economy. In the 1653 Brandenburg Recess between Frederick William and the estates of Brandenburg, the nobility provided the sovereign with 530,000 thalers in return for affirmation of their privileges; the Junkers thus cemented their political power at the expense of the peasantry. Once the elector and his army were strong enough, Frederick William was able to suppress the estates of Cleves and Prussia. Frederick William attempted to professionalize his soldiers during a time when mercenaries were the norm.
In addition to individually creating regiments and appointing colonels, the elector imposed harsh punishments for transgressions, such as punishing by hanging for looting, running the gauntlet for desertion. Acts of violence by officers against civilians resulted in decommission for a year, he developed a cadet institution for the nobility. Field Marshals of Brandenburg-Prussia included John George II, Spaen and Sparr; the elector's troops traditionally were organized into disconnected provincial forces. In 1655, Frederick William began the unification of the various detachments by placing them under the overall command of Sparr. Unification increased through the appointment of Generalkriegskommissar Platen as head of supplies; these measures decreased the authority of the mercenary colonels, so prominent during the Thirty Years' War. Brandenburg-Prussia's new army survived its trial by fire through victory in the 1656 Battle of Warsaw, during the Northern Wars. Observers were impressed with the discipline of the Brandenburger troops, as well as their treatment of civilians, considered more humane than that of their allies, the Swedish Army.
Hohenzollern success enabled Frederick William to assume sovereignty over the Duchy of Prussia in the 1657 Treaty of Wehlau, by which Brandenburg-Prussia allied itself with the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Despite having expelled Swedish forces from the territory, the elector did not acquire Vorpommern in the 1660 Treaty of Oliva, as the balance of power had been restored. In the early 1670s, Frederick William supported Imperial attempts to reclaim Alsace and counter the expansion of Louis XIV of France. Swedish troops invaded Brandenburg in 1674 while the bulk of the elector's troops were in winter quarters in Franconia. In 1675 Frederick William surrounded Wrangel's troops; the elector achieved his greatest victory in the Battle of Fehrbellin. After Sweden invaded Prussia in late 1678, Frederick William's forces expelled the Swedish invaders during "the Great Sleigh Drive" of 1678–79. Frederick William built the Hohenzollern army up to a peacet
Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles VII was the Prince-elector of Bavaria from 1726 and Holy Roman Emperor from 24 January 1742 until his death in 1745. A member of the House of Wittelsbach, Charles was the first person not born of the House of Habsburg to become emperor in three centuries, though he was connected to that house both by blood and by marriage. Charles Albert was born in Brussels, the son of Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria, Theresa Kunegunda Sobieska, daughter of King John III Sobieski of Poland, his family was split during the War of the Spanish Succession and was for many years under house arrest in Austria. Only in 1715 was the family reunited. After attaining his majority in August 1715, he undertook an educational tour of Italy from 3 December 1715 until 24 August 1716. In 1717, he served with Bavarian auxiliaries in the Austro-Turkish War. On 5 October 1722, Charles Albert married Archduchess Maria Amalia of Austria, whom he had met at the imperial court in Vienna, she was the younger daughter of the late Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor, his wife Wilhelmine Amalia of Brunswick-Lüneburg.
In 1725 Charles Albert visited Versailles for the wedding of Louis XV of France, established firm contacts with the French court. In 1726, when his father died, Charles Albert became Duke of Bavaria and a Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire, he maintained good relations both with his Habsburg relatives and with France, continuing his father's policies. In 1729 he instituted the knightly Order of St George; that year, he started building the Rothenberg Fortress. In continuance of the policy of his father, Charles Albert aspired to an higher rank; as son-in-law of Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles Albert rejected the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 and claimed the German territories of the Habsburg dynasty after the death of emperor Charles VI in 1740. With the treaty of Nymphenburg concluded in July 1741, Charles Albert allied with France and Spain against Austria. During the War of the Austrian Succession Charles Albert invaded Upper Austria in 1741 and planned to conquer Vienna, but his allied French troops under the Duc de Belle-Isle were redirected to Bohemia instead and Prague was conquered in November 1741.
So Charles Albert was crowned King of Bohemia in Prague. He was unanimously elected "King of the Romans" on 24 January 1742 with the vote of George II, became Holy Roman Emperor upon his coronation on 12 February 1742, his brother Klemens August of Bavaria and elector of Cologne, who sided with the Austria Habsburg-Lorraine faction in the disputes over the Habsburg succession, cast his vote for him and crowned him emperor at Frankfurt. Charles VII was the second Wittelsbach Emperor after Louis IV and the first Wittelsbach King of the Romans since the reign of Rupert of Germany. Shortly after the coronation most of Charles Albert's territories were overrun by the Austrians, Bavaria was occupied by the troops of Maria Theresa; the emperor fled Munich and resided for three years in the Palais Barckhaus in Frankfurt. Most of Bohemia was lost in December 1742 when the Austrians allowed the French under the Duc de Belle-Isle and the Duc de Broglie an honourable capitulation. Charles Albert was mocked as an emperor who neither controlled his own realm, nor was in effective control of the empire itself, though the institution of the Holy Roman Emperor had become symbolic in nature and powerless by that time.
A popular Latin saying about him was et Caesar et nihil, meaning "both Emperor and nothing", a word-play on aut Caesar aut nihil, "either Emperor or nothing". Charles Albert's general Ignaz Felix, Count of Törring-Jettenbach was compared to a drum, as people heard about him only when he was beaten. Charles VII tried to emphasise his government in Frankfurt with numerous acts of law, such as the grant of imperial privilege to the University of Erlangen in 1743 and the creation of several new imperial nobles. Charles Eugene, Duke of Württemberg was declared to be of full age ahead of time in 1744. Alexander Ferdinand, 3rd Prince of Thurn and Taxis served as Principal Commissioner for Charles VII at the Perpetual Imperial Diet in Frankfurt am Main and in 1744 the Thurn und Taxis dynasty were appointed hereditary Postmasters General of the Imperial Reichspost; the new commander of the Bavarian army, Friedrich Heinrich von Seckendorff, fought Austria in a series of battles in 1743 and 1744. In 1743 his troops and their allies took Bavaria and Charles VII was able to return to Munich in April for some time.
After the allied French had to retreat after defeats to the Rhine, he lost Bavaria again. The new campaign of Frederick II of Prussia during the Second Silesian War forced the Austrian army to leave Bavaria and to retreat back into Bohemia. In October 1744 Charles VII returned. Under the mediation of the former Vice-Chancellor Friedrich Karl von Schönborn, the emperor sought a balance with Vienna, but at the same time negotiated unsuccessfully with France for new military support. Suffering from gout, Charles died at Nymphenburg Palace in January 1745, his brother Klemens August again leaned towards Austria, his son and successor Maximilian III Joseph made peace with Austria. With the Treaty of Füssen Austria recognized the legitimacy of Charles VII's election as Holy Roman Emperor. Charles Albert is buried in the crypt of the Theatinerkirche in Munich. Charles Albert's reign was the height of the Bavarian Rococo era; the Nymphenburg Palace was completed during his reign: the grand circle of baroque mansions erected there was intended as a starting point for a new city, but this was not achieved.
Dresden is the capital city and, after Leipzig, the second-largest city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated near the border with the Czech Republic. Dresden has a long history as the capital and royal residence for the Electors and Kings of Saxony, who for centuries furnished the city with cultural and artistic splendor, was once by personal union the family seat of Polish monarchs; the city was known as the Jewel Box, because of its baroque and rococo city centre. The controversial American and British bombing of Dresden in World War II towards the end of the war killed 25,000 people, many of whom were civilians, destroyed the entire city centre. After the war restoration work has helped to reconstruct parts of the historic inner city, including the Katholische Hofkirche, the Zwinger and the famous Semper Oper. Since German reunification in 1990 Dresden is again a cultural and political centre of Germany and Europe; the Dresden University of Technology is one of the 10 largest universities in Germany and part of the German Universities Excellence Initiative.
The economy of Dresden and its agglomeration is one of the most dynamic in Germany and ranks first in Saxony. It is dominated by high-tech branches called “Silicon Saxony”; the city is one of the most visited in Germany with 4.3 million overnight stays per year. The royal buildings are among the most impressive buildings in Europe. Main sights are the nearby National Park of Saxon Switzerland, the Ore Mountains and the countryside around Elbe Valley and Moritzburg Castle; the most prominent building in the city of Dresden is the Frauenkirche. Built in the 18th century, the church was destroyed during World War II; the remaining ruins were left for 50 years as a war memorial, before being rebuilt between 1994 and 2005. Dresden has nearly 560,000 inhabitants, the agglomeration is the largest in Saxony with 780,000 inhabitants. According to the Hamburgische Weltwirtschaftsinstitut and Berenberg Bank in 2017, Dresden has the fourth best prospects for the future of all cities in Germany. Although Dresden is a recent city of Germanic origin followed by settlement of Slavic people, the area had been settled in the Neolithic era by Linear Pottery culture tribes ca. 7500 BC.
Dresden's founding and early growth is associated with the eastward expansion of Germanic peoples, mining in the nearby Ore Mountains, the establishment of the Margraviate of Meissen. Its name etymologically derives from meaning people of the forest. Dresden evolved into the capital of Saxony. Around the late 12th century, a Slavic settlement called Drežďany had developed on the southern bank. Another settlement existed on the northern bank, it was known as Antiqua Dresdin by 1350, as Altendresden, both "old Dresden". Dietrich, Margrave of Meissen, chose Dresden as his interim residence in 1206, as documented in a record calling the place "Civitas Dresdene". After 1270, Dresden became the capital of the margraviate, it was given to Friedrich Clem after death of Henry the Illustrious in 1288. It was taken by the Margraviate of Brandenburg in 1316 and was restored to the Wettin dynasty after the death of Valdemar the Great in 1319. From 1485, it was the seat of the dukes of Saxony, from 1547 the electors as well.
The Elector and ruler of Saxony Frederick Augustus I became King Augustus II the Strong of Poland in 1697. He gathered many of the best musicians and painters from all over Europe to the newly named Royal-Polish Residential City of Dresden, his reign marked the beginning of Dresden's emergence as a leading European city for technology and art. During the reign of Kings Augustus II the Strong and Augustus III of Poland most of the city's baroque landmarks were built; these include the Zwinger Royal Palace, the Japanese Palace, the Taschenbergpalais, the Pillnitz Castle and the two landmark churches: the Catholic Hofkirche and the Lutheran Frauenkirche. In addition significant art collections and museums were founded. Notable examples include the Dresden Porcelain Collection, the Collection of Prints and Photographs, the Grünes Gewölbe and the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon. In 1726 there was a riot for two days after a Protestant clergyman was killed by a soldier who had converted from Catholicism.
In 1729, by decree of King Augustus II the first Polish Military Academy was founded in Dresden. In 1730, it was relocated to Warsaw. Dresden suffered heavy destruction in the Seven Years' War, following its capture by Prussian forces, its subsequent re-capture, a failed Prussian siege in 1760. Friedrich Schiller wrote his Ode to Joy for the Dresden Masonic lodge in 1785. During the decline of Poland Dresden was site of preparations for the Polish Kościuszko Uprising; the city of Dresden had a distinctive silhouette, captured in famous paintings by Bernardo Bellotto and by Norwegian painter Johan Christian Dahl. Between 1806 and 1918 the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Saxony. During the Napoleonic Wars the French emperor made it a base of operations, winning there the famous Battle of Dresden on 27 August 1813. Following the November Uprising many Poles, including writers Juliusz Słowacki, Stefan Florian Garczyński, Klementyna Hoffmanowa and composer Frédéric Chopin, fled from the Russian Partition of Poland to Dresden.
National poet Adam Mickiewicz stayed several months in Dresden, starting in March 1832. He wrote the poetic drama Dziady, P
The Austrian Empire was a Central European multinational great power from 1804 to 1867, created by proclamation out of the realms of the Habsburgs. During its existence, it was the third most populous empire after the Russian Empire and the United Kingdom in Europe. Along with Prussia, it was one of the two major powers of the German Confederation. Geographically, it was the third largest empire in Europe after the Russian Empire and the First French Empire. Proclaimed in response to the First French Empire, it overlapped with the Holy Roman Empire until the latter's dissolution in 1806; the Kingdom of Hungary – as Regnum Independens – was administered by its own institutions separately from the rest of the empire. After Austria was defeated in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 was adopted, joining together the Kingdom of Hungary and the Empire of Austria to form Austria-Hungary; the power of nationalism to create new states was irresistible in the 19th century, the process could lead to collapse in the absence of a strong nationalism.
The Austrian Empire had the advantage of size, but multiple disadvantages. There were rivals on four sides, its finances were unstable, the population was fragmented into multiple ethnicities and languages that served as the bases for separatist nationalism, it had a large army with good forts. Its naval resources were so minimal, it typified by Metternich. They employed a grand strategy for survival that balanced out different forces, set up buffer zones, kept the Habsburg empire going despite wars with the Ottomans, Frederick the Great and Bismarck, until the final disaster of the First World War; the Empire overnight disintegrated into multiple states based on nationalism. Changes shaping the nature of the Holy Roman Empire took place during conferences in Rastatt and Regensburg. On 24 March 1803, the Imperial Recess was declared, which reduced the number of ecclesiastical states from 81 to only 3 and the free imperial cities from 51 to 6; this measure was aimed at replacing the old constitution of the Holy Roman Empire, but the actual consequence of the Imperial Recess was the end of the empire.
Taking this significant change into consideration, the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II created the title Emperor of Austria, for himself and his successors. In 1804, the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, ruler of the lands of the Habsburg Monarchy, founded the Empire of Austria, in which all his lands were included. In doing so he created a formal overarching structure for the Habsburg Monarchy, which had functioned as a composite monarchy for about three hundred years, he did so because he foresaw either the end of the Holy Roman Empire, or the eventual accession as Holy Roman Emperor of Napoleon, who had earlier that year adopted the title of an Emperor of the French. To safeguard his dynasty's imperial status he adopted the additional hereditary title of Emperor of Austria. Apart from now being included in a new "Kaiserthum", the workings of the overarching structure and the status of its component lands at first stayed much the same as they had been under the composite monarchy that existed before 1804.
This was demonstrated by the status of the Kingdom of Hungary, a country that had never been a part of the Holy Roman Empire and which had always been considered a separate realm—a status, affirmed by Article X, added to Hungary's constitution in 1790 during the phase of the composite monarchy and described the state as a Regnum Independens. Hungary's affairs remained administered by its own institutions, thus no Imperial institutions were involved in its government. The fall and dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire was accelerated by French intervention in the Empire in September 1805. On 20 October 1805, an Austrian army led by General Karl Mack von Leiberich was defeated by French armies near the town of Ulm; the French victory resulted in the capture of many cannons. Napoleon's army won another victory at Austerlitz on 2 December 1805. Francis was forced into negotiations with the French from 4 to 6 December 1805, which concluded with an armistice on 6 December 1805; the French victories encouraged rulers of certain imperial territories to ally themselves with the French and assert their formal independence from the Empire.
On 10 December 1805, Maximilian IV Joseph, the prince-elector and Duke of Bavaria, proclaimed himself King, followed by the Duke of Württemberg Frederick III on 11 December. Charles Frederick, Margrave of Baden, was given the title of Grand Duke on 12 December; each of these new states became French allies. The Treaty of Pressburg between France and Austria, signed in Pressburg on 26 December, enlarged the territory of Napoleon's German allies at the expense of defeated Austria. Francis II agreed to the humiliating Treaty of Pressburg, which in practice meant the dissolution of the long-lived Holy Roman Empire and a reorganization under a Napoleonic imprint of the German territories lost in the process into a precursor state of what became modern Germany, those possessions nominally having been part of the Holy Roman Empire within the present boundaries of Germany, as well as other measures weakening Austria and the Habsburgs in other ways. Certain Austrian holdings in
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family in the context of a feudal or monarchical system, but sometimes appearing in elective republics. Alternative terms for "dynasty" may include "family" and "clan", among others; the longest-surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, otherwise known as the Yamato dynasty, whose reign is traditionally dated to 660 BC. The dynastic family or lineage may be known as a "noble house", which may be styled as "royal", "princely", "ducal", "comital" etc. depending upon the chief or present title borne by its members. Historians periodize the histories of numerous nations and civilizations, such as Ancient Egypt and Imperial China, using a framework of successive dynasties; as such, the term "dynasty" may be used to delimit the era during which a family reigned, to describe events and artifacts of that period. The word "dynasty" itself is dropped from such adjectival references; until the 19th century, it was taken for granted that a legitimate function of a monarch was to aggrandize his dynasty: that is, to expand the wealth and power of his family members.
Prior to the 20th century, dynasties throughout the world have traditionally been reckoned patrilineally, such as under the Frankish Salic law. In nations where it was permitted, succession through a daughter established a new dynasty in her husband's ruling house; this has changed in some places in Europe, where succession law and convention have maintained dynasties de jure through a female. For instance, the House of Windsor will be maintained through the children of Queen Elizabeth II, as it did with the monarchy of the Netherlands, whose dynasty remained the House of Orange-Nassau through three successive queens regnant; the earliest such example among major European monarchies was in the Russian Empire in the 18th century, where the name of the House of Romanov was maintained through Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna. In Limpopo Province of South Africa, Balobedu determined descent matrilineally, while rulers have at other times adopted the name of their mother's dynasty when coming into her inheritance.
Less a monarchy has alternated or been rotated, in a multi-dynastic system – that is, the most senior living members of parallel dynasties, at any point in time, constitute the line of succession. Not all feudal states or monarchies were/are ruled by dynasties. Throughout history, there were monarchs. Dynasties ruling subnational monarchies do not possess sovereign rights; the word "dynasty" is sometimes used informally for people who are not rulers but are, for example, members of a family with influence and power in other areas, such as a series of successive owners of a major company. It is extended to unrelated people, such as major poets of the same school or various rosters of a single sports team; the word "dynasty" derives from Latin dynastia, which comes from Greek dynastéia, where it referred to "power", "dominion", "rule" itself. It was the abstract noun of dynástēs, the agent noun of dynamis, "power" or "ability", from dýnamai, "to be able". A ruler from a dynasty is sometimes referred to as a "dynast", but this term is used to describe any member of a reigning family who retains a right to succeed to a throne.
For example, King Edward VIII ceased to be a dynast of the House of Windsor following his abdication. In historical and monarchist references to reigning families, a "dynast" is a family member who would have had succession rights, were the monarchy's rules still in force. For example, after the 1914 assassinations of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his morganatic wife Duchess Sophie von Hohenberg, their son Duke Maximilian was bypassed for the Austro-Hungarian throne because he was not a Habsburg dynast. Since the abolition of the Austrian monarchy, Duke Maximilian and his descendants have not been considered the rightful pretenders by Austrian monarchists, nor have they claimed that position; the term "dynast" is sometimes used only to refer to agnatic descendants of a realm's monarchs, sometimes to include those who hold succession rights through cognatic royal descent. The term can therefore describe distinct sets of people. For example, David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon, a nephew of Queen Elizabeth II through her sister Princess Margaret, is in the line of succession to the British crown.
On the other hand, the German aristocrat Prince Ernst August of Hanover, a male-line descendant of King George III of the United Kingdom, possesses no legal British name, titles or styles. He was born in the line of succession to the British throne and was bound by Britain's Royal Marriages Act 1772 until it was repealed when the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 took effect on 26 March 2015. Thus, he requested and obtained formal permission from Queen Elizabeth II to marry the Roman Catholic Princess Caroline of Monaco in 1999. Yet, a clause of the English Act of Settlement 1701 remained in effect at that time, stipulating that dynasts who
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