Republic of Ireland
Ireland known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, located on the eastern part of the island, whose metropolitan area is home to around a third of the country's over 4.8 million inhabitants. The sovereign state shares its only land border with a part of the United Kingdom, it is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, St George's Channel to the south-east, the Irish Sea to the east. It is a parliamentary republic; the legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann, an upper house, Seanad Éireann, an elected President who serves as the ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach, elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the state was created as the Irish Free State in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It had the status of Dominion until 1937 when a new constitution was adopted, in which the state was named "Ireland" and became a republic, with an elected non-executive president as head of state.
It was declared a republic in 1949, following the Republic of Ireland Act 1948. Ireland became a member of the United Nations in December 1955, it joined the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union, in 1973. The state had no formal relations with Northern Ireland for most of the twentieth century, but during the 1980s and 1990s the British and Irish governments worked with the Northern Ireland parties towards a resolution to "the Troubles". Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, the Irish government and Northern Ireland Executive have co-operated on a number of policy areas under the North-South Ministerial Council created by the Agreement. Ireland ranks among the top twenty-five wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita, as the tenth most prosperous country in the world according to The Legatum Prosperity Index 2015. After joining the EEC, Ireland enacted a series of liberal economic policies that resulted in rapid economic growth.
The country achieved considerable prosperity between the years of 1995 and 2007, which became known as the Celtic Tiger period. This was halted by an unprecedented financial crisis that began in 2008, in conjunction with the concurrent global economic crash. However, as the Irish economy was the fastest growing in the EU in 2015, Ireland is again ascending league tables comparing wealth and prosperity internationally. For example, in 2015, Ireland was ranked as the joint sixth most developed country in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index, it performs well in several national performance metrics, including freedom of the press, economic freedom and civil liberties. Ireland is a member of the European Union and is a founding member of the Council of Europe and the OECD; the Irish government has followed a policy of military neutrality through non-alignment since prior to World War II and the country is not a member of NATO, although it is a member of Partnership for Peace. The 1922 state, comprising 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland, was "styled and known as the Irish Free State".
The Constitution of Ireland, adopted in 1937, provides that "the name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland". Section 2 of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 states, "It is hereby declared that the description of the State shall be the Republic of Ireland." The 1948 Act does not name the state as "Republic of Ireland", because to have done so would have put it in conflict with the Constitution. The government of the United Kingdom used the name "Eire" and, from 1949, "Republic of Ireland", for the state; as well as "Ireland", "Éire" or "the Republic of Ireland", the state is referred to as "the Republic", "Southern Ireland" or "the South". In an Irish republican context it is referred to as "the Free State" or "the 26 Counties". From the Act of Union on 1 January 1801, until 6 December 1922, the island of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. During the Great Famine, from 1845 to 1849, the island's population of over 8 million fell by 30%. One million Irish died of starvation and/or disease and another 1.5 million emigrated to the United States.
This set the pattern of emigration for the century to come, resulting in constant population decline up to the 1960s. From 1874, under Charles Stewart Parnell from 1880, the Irish Parliamentary Party gained prominence; this was firstly through widespread agrarian agitation via the Irish Land League, that won land reforms for tenants in the form of the Irish Land Acts, secondly through its attempts to achieve Home Rule, via two unsuccessful bills which would have granted Ireland limited national autonomy. These led to "grass-roots" control of national affairs, under the Local Government Act 1898, in the hands of landlord-dominated grand juries of the Protestant Ascendancy. Home Rule seemed certain when the Parliament Act 1911 abolished the veto of the House of Lords, John Redmond secured the Third Home Rule Act in 1914. However, the Unionist movement had been growing since 1886 among Irish Protestants after the introduction of the first home rule bill, fearing discrimination and loss of economic and social privileges if Irish Catholics achieved real political power
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
Special member state territories and the European Union
The special territories of the European Union are 31 territories of EU member states which, for historical, geographical, or political reasons, enjoy special status within or outside the European Union. The special territories divide themselves in two categories: 9 Outermost Regions that form part of the European Union, though they benefit from derogations from some EU laws due to their geographical remoteness from mainland Europe; the Outermost Regions were recognised at the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and confirmed by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that both primary and secondary European Union law applies automatically to the outermost regions, with possible derogations due to the particularities of these territories; the Overseas Countries and Territories are recognised by the Article 198 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union which allows them to opt into EU provisions on the freedom of movement for workers and freedom of establishment, invites them to join the Overseas Countries and Territories Association in order to improve cooperation with the European Union.
Collectively, the special territories encompass a population of about 6 million people and a land area of about 2,743,510 square kilometres. The vast majority of this land area, 2,166,000 square kilometres, is represented by Greenland, while the largest region by population, the Canary Islands, accounts for more than a third of the total special territories population. Pitcairn Islands, settled by the survivors of the Mutiny on the Bounty, is the smallest settled territory with 50 inhabitants, while the smallest by land area is the island of Saba in the Caribbean; the Outermost regions are territories forming part of a member state of the European Union but situated a significant distance from mainland Europe. Due to this situation, they have derogation from some EU policies despite being part of the European Union; the nine Outermost regions of the European Union are: According to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, both primary and secondary European Union law applies automatically to these territories, with possible derogations to take account of their "structural social and economic situation, compounded by their remoteness, small size, difficult topography and climate, economic dependence on a few products, the permanence and combination of which restrain their development".
All form part of the European Union customs area, however some fall outside of the Schengen Area and the European Union Value Added Tax Area. Seven outermost regions were recognised at the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992; the Treaty of Lisbon included two additional territories in 2007. Saint Barthélemy changed its status from OMR to OCT with effect from 1 January 2012. Mayotte, an OCT that joined the EU as a OMR with effect from 1 January 2014. Azores and Madeira are two groups of Portuguese islands in the Atlantic. Azores and Madeira are integral parts of the Portuguese Republic, but both have the special status as Autonomous Regions, with a degree of self-governance. While derogations from the application of EU law could apply, none do, their VAT is lower than the rest of Portugal. The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago off the African coast which form one of the 17 Autonomous Communities of Spain–the country's principal first-level administrative division, they are outside the EU VAT Area.
The Canary Islands are the most populous and economically strongest territory of all the outermost regions in the European Union. The outermost regions office for support and information is located in these islands, in the city of Las Palmas on the island of Gran Canaria. French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion are five French overseas departments which under French law are, for the most part, treated as integral parts of the Republic; the euro is legal tender. Mayotte is the newest of the five overseas departments, having changed from an overseas collectivity with OCT status on 31 March 2011, it became an outermost region, thus part of the EU, on 1 January 2014. Saint Martin is the only overseas collectivity of France with the status of being an outermost region of the EU; as with the French overseas departments, the euro is legal tender in Saint Martin, it is outside the Schengen Area and the EU VAT Area. On 22 February 2007, Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy were broken away from the French overseas department of Guadeloupe to form new overseas collectivities.
As a consequence their EU status was unclear for a time. While a report issued by the French parliament suggested that the islands remained within the EU as outermost regions, European Commission documents listed them as being outside the European Community; the legal status of the islands was clarified on the coming into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, which listed them as an outermost region. However, Saint Barthélemy ceased being an outermost region and left the EU, to become an OCT, on 1 January 2012; the overseas countries and territories are dependent territories that have a special relationship with one of the member states of the EU. Their status is described in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, they are not part of the EU or the European Single Market; the Overseas Countries and Territories Association was created to improve economic development and
Sweden the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border. At 450,295 square kilometres, Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. Sweden has a total population of 10.2 million. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre; the highest concentration is in the southern half of the country. Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats and Swedes and constituting the sea peoples known as the Norsemen. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, while the north is forested. Sweden is part of the geographical area of Fennoscandia; the climate is in general mild for its northerly latitude due to significant maritime influence, that in spite of this still retains warm continental summers.
Today, the sovereign state of Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a monarch as head of state, like its neighbour Norway. The capital city is Stockholm, the most populous city in the country. Legislative power is vested in the 349-member unicameral Riksdag. Executive power is exercised by the government chaired by the prime minister. Sweden is a unitary state divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities. An independent Swedish state emerged during the early 12th century. After the Black Death in the middle of the 14th century killed about a third of the Scandinavian population, the Hanseatic League threatened Scandinavia's culture and languages; this led to the forming of the Scandinavian Kalmar Union in 1397, which Sweden left in 1523. When Sweden became involved in the Thirty Years War on the Reformist side, an expansion of its territories began and the Swedish Empire was formed; this became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, ending with the annexation of present-day Finland by Russia in 1809.
The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Norway was militarily forced into personal union. Since Sweden has been at peace, maintaining an official policy of neutrality in foreign affairs; the union with Norway was peacefully dissolved in 1905. Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars and the Cold War, albeit Sweden has since 2009 moved towards cooperation with NATO. After the end of the Cold War, Sweden joined the European Union on 1 January 1995, but declined NATO membership, as well as Eurozone membership following a referendum, it is a member of the United Nations, the Nordic Council, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens, it has the world's eleventh-highest per capita income and ranks in numerous metrics of national performance, including quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, economic competitiveness, equality and human development.
The name Sweden was loaned from Dutch in the 17th century to refer to Sweden as an emerging great power. Before Sweden's imperial expansion, Early Modern English used Swedeland. Sweden is derived through back-formation from Old English Swēoþēod, which meant "people of the Swedes"; this word is derived from Sweon/Sweonas. The Swedish name Sverige means "realm of the Swedes", excluding the Geats in Götaland. Variations of the name Sweden are used in most languages, with the exception of Danish and Norwegian using Sverige, Faroese Svøríki, Icelandic Svíþjóð, the more notable exception of some Finnic languages where Ruotsi and Rootsi are used, names considered as referring to the people from the coastal areas of Roslagen, who were known as the Rus', through them etymologically related to the English name for Russia; the etymology of Swedes, thus Sweden, is not agreed upon but may derive from Proto-Germanic Swihoniz meaning "one's own", referring to one's own Germanic tribe. Sweden's prehistory begins in the Allerød oscillation, a warm period around 12,000 BC, with Late Palaeolithic reindeer-hunting camps of the Bromme culture at the edge of the ice in what is now the country's southernmost province, Scania.
This period was characterised by small bands of hunter-gatherer-fishers using flint technology. Sweden is first described in a written source in Germania by Tacitus in 98 AD. In Germania 44 and 45 he mentions the Swedes as a powerful tribe with ships that had a prow at each end. Which kings ruled these Suiones is unknown, but Norse mythology presents a long line of legendary and semi-legendary kings going back to the last centuries BC; as for literacy in Sweden itself, the runic script was in use among the south Scandinavian elite by at least the 2nd century AD, but all that has come down to the present from the Roman Period is curt inscriptions on artefacts of male names, demonstrating th
The EU three known as EU big three, EU triumvirate or EU trio, refers to France and Italy, a group that consists of the three large founding members of the European Union. In 2003, France and the UK launched negotiations attempting to limit the Iranian nuclear program, which led to the Tehran Declaration of 21 October 2003 and the voluntary Paris Agreement of 15 November 2004. Following the 2004 enlargement of the European Union, the EU-3 group had a declining influence in the European Union other than in negotiations with Iran, has acted more within the G6. EU 3 + 3, more referred to as the E3+3, refers to a grouping which includes the EU-3 and China and the United States, it was coined when these states joined the EU diplomatic efforts with Iran in 2006. In the United States and Russia, it is more known as P5+1, which refers to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany. Italy was expected to be part of the group, but Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi declined the offer due to the country's economic links with Iran.
The following Government led by Romano Prodi changed the position of the previous administration and the Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema took part in the meetings between 2006 and 2007, when the group was known as P5+2. Berlusconi came back to power in 2008 and Italy left the group for a second time. In 2014, under the request of the Italian PM Matteo Renzi, Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini was named High Representative of the EU in order to have an informal return of Italy in the group as the negotiations approached a conclusion and the elaboration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Determined to keep the European project intact in the wake of the UK's vote to leave the European Union in 2016, France and Italy re-emerged as the "Big Three" and called for greater integration in various trilateral summits in Berlin and Ventotene. More the union of this new group formed by France and Italy have agreed a common position about the Paris climate agreement they have led a draft EU law to restrain Chinese acquisitions of European firms and technologies and they lead the EU sanctions on North Korea.
Big Four EU-15 European balance of power Inner Six Iran–European Union relations Visegrád Group EU calls for UN action over Iran, BBC News, 12 January 2006 Kaveh L Afrasiabi. "Iran: Options for a face-saving solution". Asia Times. Retrieved 2009-06-17
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
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