Switzerland the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western and southern Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities; the sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2. While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of 8.5 million people is concentrated on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva. The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648; the country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation.
It pursues an active foreign policy and is involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to numerous international organisations, including the second largest UN office. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties. Spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German-speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, Alpine symbolism. Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz. On coins and stamps, the Latin name – shortened to "Helvetia" – is used instead of the four national languages.
Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product according to the IMF. Switzerland ranks at or near the top globally in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic competitiveness and human development. Zürich and Basel have all three been ranked among the top ten cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with the first ranked second globally, according to Mercer in 2018; the English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, an obsolete term for the Swiss, in use during the 16th to 19th centuries. The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse in use since the 16th century; the name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, one of the Waldstätten cantons which formed the nucleus of the Old Swiss Confederacy. The Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for "Confederates", used since the 14th century.
The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from Latin Confoederatio Helvetica. The toponym Schwyz itself was first attested in 972, as Old High German Suittes perhaps related to swedan ‘to burn’, referring to the area of forest, burned and cleared to build; the name was extended to the area dominated by the canton, after the Swabian War of 1499 came to be used for the entire Confederation. The Swiss German name of the country, Schwiiz, is homophonous to that of the canton and the settlement, but distinguished by the use of the definite article; the Latin name Confoederatio Helvetica was neologized and introduced after the formation of the federal state in 1848, harking back to the Napoleonic Helvetic Republic, appearing on coins from 1879, inscribed on the Federal Palace in 1902 and after 1948 used in the official seal.. Helvetica is derived from the Helvetii, a Gaulish tribe living on the Swiss plateau before the Roman era. Helvetia appears as a national personification of the Swiss confederacy in the 17th century with a 1672 play by Johann Caspar Weissenbach.
Switzerland has existed as a state in its present form since the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1848. The precursors of Switzerland established a protective alliance at the end of the 13th century, forming a loose confederation of states which persisted for centuries; the oldest traces of hominid existence in Switzerland date back about 150,000 years. The oldest known farming settlements in Switzerland, which were found at Gächlingen, have been dated to around 5300 BC; the earliest known cultural tribes of the area were members of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel. La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age from around 450 BC under some influence from the Gree
West Germany the Federal Republic of Germany, referred to by historians as the Bonn Republic, was a country in Central Europe that existed from 1949 to 1990, when the western portion of Germany was part of the Western bloc during the Cold War. It was created during the Allied occupation of Germany in 1949 after World War II, established from eleven states formed in the three Allied zones of occupation held by the United States, the United Kingdom and France, its capital was the city of Bonn. At the onset of the Cold War, Europe was divided among the Eastern blocs. Germany was de facto divided into two countries and two special territories, the Saarland and divided Berlin; the Federal Republic of Germany claimed an exclusive mandate for all of Germany, considering itself to be the democratically reorganised continuation of the 1871–1945 German Empire. It took the line. Though the GDR did hold regular elections, these were not fair. From the West German perspective, the GDR was therefore illegitimate.
Three southwestern states of West Germany merged to form Baden-Württemberg in 1952, the Saarland joined the Federal Republic of Germany in 1957. In addition to the resulting ten states, West Berlin was considered an unofficial de facto 11th state. While not part of the Federal Republic of Germany, as Berlin was under the control of the Allied Control Council, West Berlin politically-aligned itself with West Germany and was represented in its federal institutions; the foundation for the influential position held by Germany today was laid during the Wirtschaftswunder of the 1950s when West Germany rose from the enormous destruction wrought by World War II to become the world's third-largest economy. The first chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who remained in office until 1963, had worked for a full alignment with NATO rather than neutrality, he not only secured a membership in NATO but was a proponent of agreements that developed into the present-day European Union. When the G6 was established in 1975, there was no question whether the Federal Republic of Germany would be a member as well.
Following the collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989, symbolised by the opening of the Berlin Wall, there was a rapid move towards German reunification. East Germany voted to dissolve itself and accede to the Federal Republic in 1990, its five post-war states were reconstituted along with the reunited Berlin, which ended its special status and formed an additional Land. They formally joined the Federal Republic on 3 October 1990, raising the number of states from 10 to 16, ending the division of Germany; the reunion did not result in a brand-new country. The expanded Federal Republic retained West Germany's political culture and continued its existing memberships in international organisations, as well as its Western foreign policy alignment and affiliation to Western alliances like UN, NATO, OECD and the European Union; the official name of West Germany, adopted in 1949 and unchanged since is Bundesrepublik Deutschland. In East Germany, the terms Westdeutschland or westdeutsche Bundesrepublik were preferred during the 1950s and 1960s.
This changed once under its 1968 constitution, when the idea of a single German nation was abandoned by East Germany, as a result West Germans and West Berliners were considered foreigners. In the early 1970s, starting in the East German Neues Deutschland, the initialism "BRD" for the "Federal Republic of Germany" began to prevail in East German usage. In 1973, official East German sources adopted it as a standard expression and other Eastern Bloc nations soon followed suit. In reaction to this move, in 1965 the West German Federal Minister of All-German Affairs Erich Mende issued the Directives for the appellation of Germany, recommending avoiding the initialism. On 31 May 1974, the heads of West German federal and state governments recommended always using the full name in official publications. From on West German sources avoided the abbreviated form, with the exception of left-leaning organizations which embraced it. In November 1979 the federal government informed the Bundestag that the West German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF had agreed to refuse to use the initialism.
The ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code of West Germany was "DE", which has remained the country code of Germany after reunification. ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 are the most used country codes, the "DE" code is notably used as country identifier extending the postal code and as the Internet's country code top-level domain.de. Accordingly the less used ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 country code of West Germany was "DEU", which has remained the country code of reunified Germany; the now deleted codes for East Germany, on the other hand, was "DD" in ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 and "DDR" in ISO 3166-1 alpha-3. The colloquial term "West Germany" or its equivalent was used in many languages. "Westdeutschland" was a widespread colloquial form used in German-speaking countries without political overtones. On 4–11 February 1945 leaders from the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union held the Yalta Conference where future arrangements as regards post-war Europe and strategy against Japan in the Pacific were negotiated.
The conference agreed that post-war Germany would be divided into four occupation zones: a French Zone in the far west.
Russia the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres, Russia is by far or by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, the ninth most populous, with about 146.77 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77 % of the population live in the European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, China and North Korea, it shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U. S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.
The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus' disintegrated into a number of smaller states; the Grand Duchy of Moscow reunified the surrounding Russian principalities and achieved independence from the Golden Horde. By the 18th century, the nation had expanded through conquest and exploration to become the Russian Empire, the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland on the west to Alaska on the east. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world's first constitutionally socialist state; the Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War.
The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the world's second largest economy, largest standing military in the world and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, twelve independent republics emerged from the USSR: Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the Baltic states regained independence: Estonia, Lithuania, it is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic. Russia's economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2018. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally; the country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
Russia is a great power as well as a regional power and has been characterised as a potential superpower. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and an active global partner of ASEAN, as well as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the G20, the Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Trade Organization, as well as being the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and one of the five members of the Eurasian Economic Union, along with Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan; the name Russia is derived from Rus', a medieval state populated by the East Slavs. However, this proper name became more prominent in the history, the country was called by its inhabitants "Русская Земля", which can be translated as "Russian Land" or "Land of Rus'". In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus' by modern historiography.
The name Rus itself comes from the early medieval Rus' people, Swedish merchants and warriors who relocated from across the Baltic Sea and founded a state centered on Novgorod that became Kievan Rus. An old Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia applied to the western and southern regions of Rus' that were adjacent to Catholic Europe; the current name of the country, Россия, comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Rus', Ρωσσία Rossía—spelled Ρωσία in Modern Greek. The standard way to refer to citizens of Russia is rossiyane in Russian. There are two Russian words which are commonly
Europe is a continent located in the Northern Hemisphere and in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south, it comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. Since around 1850, Europe is most considered to be separated from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas and the waterways of the Turkish Straits. Although the term "continent" implies physical geography, the land border is somewhat arbitrary and has been redefined several times since its first conception in classical antiquity; the division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural and ethnic differences which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The geographic border does not follow political boundaries, with Turkey and Kazakhstan being transcontinental countries. A strict application of the Caucasus Mountains boundary places two comparatively small countries and Georgia, in both continents.
Europe covers 2 % of the Earth's surface. Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states of which the Russian Federation is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. Europe had a total population of about 741 million as of 2016; the European climate is affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent at latitudes along which the climate in Asia and North America is severe. Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast. Europe, in particular ancient Greece, was the birthplace of Western civilization; the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD and the subsequent Migration Period marked the end of ancient history and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Renaissance humanism, exploration and science led to the modern era. Since the Age of Discovery started by Portugal and Spain, Europe played a predominant role in global affairs. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers controlled at various times the Americas all of Africa and Oceania and the majority of Asia.
The Age of Enlightenment, the subsequent French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars shaped the continent culturally and economically from the end of the 17th century until the first half of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, gave rise to radical economic and social change in Western Europe and the wider world. Both world wars took place for the most part in Europe, contributing to a decline in Western European dominance in world affairs by the mid-20th century as the Soviet Union and the United States took prominence. During the Cold War, Europe was divided along the Iron Curtain between NATO in the West and the Warsaw Pact in the East, until the revolutions of 1989 and fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1949 the Council of Europe was founded, following a speech by Sir Winston Churchill, with the idea of unifying Europe to achieve common goals, it includes all European states except for Belarus and Vatican City. Further European integration by some states led to the formation of the European Union, a separate political entity that lies between a confederation and a federation.
The EU originated in Western Europe but has been expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The currency of most countries of the European Union, the euro, is the most used among Europeans. In classical Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician princess; the word Europe is derived from her name. The name contains the elements εὐρύς, "wide, broad" and ὤψ "eye, countenance", hence their composite Eurṓpē would mean "wide-gazing" or "broad of aspect". Broad has been an epithet of Earth herself in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion and the poetry devoted to it. There have been attempts to connect Eurṓpē to a Semitic term for "west", this being either Akkadian erebu meaning "to go down, set" or Phoenician'ereb "evening, west", at the origin of Arabic Maghreb and Hebrew ma'arav. Michael A. Barry, professor in Princeton University's Near Eastern Studies Department, finds the mention of the word Ereb on an Assyrian stele with the meaning of "night, sunset", in opposition to Asu " sunrise", i.e. Asia.
The same naming motive according to "cartographic convention" appears in Greek Ἀνατολή. Martin Litchfield West stated that "phonologically, the match between Europa's name and any form of the Semitic word is poor." Next to these hypotheses there is a Proto-Indo-European root *h1regʷos, meaning "darkness", which produced Greek Erebus. Most major world languages use words derived from Europa to refer to the continent. Chinese, for example, uses the word Ōuzhōu. In some Turkic languages the Persian name Frangistan is used casually in referring to much of Europe, besides official names such as Avrupa or Evropa; the prevalent definition of Europe as a geographical term has been in use since the mid-19th century. Europe is taken to be bounded by large bodies of water
Spain the Kingdom of Spain, is a country located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula, its territory includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country. Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are part of Spanish territory; the country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar. With an area of 505,990 km2, Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, the fourth largest country in the European continent. By population, Spain is the fifth in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid. Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania, based on the earlier Phoenician name Spn or Spania.
At the end of the Western Roman Empire the Germanic tribal confederations migrated from Central Europe, invaded the Iberian peninsula and established independent realms in its western provinces, including the Suebi and Vandals. The Visigoths would forcibly integrate all remaining independent territories in the peninsula, including Byzantine provinces, into the Kingdom of Toledo, which more or less unified politically and all the former Roman provinces or successor kingdoms of what was documented as Hispania. In the early eighth century the Visigothic Kingdom fell to the Moors of the Umayyad Islamic Caliphate, who arrived to rule most of the peninsula in the year 726, leaving only a handful of small Christian realms in the north and lasting up to seven centuries in the Kingdom of Granada; this led to many wars during a long reconquering period across the Iberian Peninsula, which led to the creation of the Kingdom of Leon, Kingdom of Castile, Kingdom of Aragon and Kingdom of Navarre as the main Christian kingdoms to face the invasion.
Following the Moorish conquest, Europeans began a gradual process of retaking the region known as the Reconquista, which by the late 15th century culminated in the emergence of Spain as a unified country under the Catholic Monarchs. Until Aragon had been an independent kingdom, which had expanded toward the eastern Mediterranean, incorporating Sicily and Naples, had competed with Genoa and Venice. In the early modern period, Spain became the world's first global empire and the most powerful country in the world, leaving a large cultural and linguistic legacy that includes more than 570 million Hispanophones, making Spanish the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese. During the Golden Age there were many advancements in the arts, with world-famous painters such as Diego Velázquez; the most famous Spanish literary work, Don Quixote, was published during the Golden Age. Spain hosts the world's third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spain is a secular parliamentary democracy and a parliamentary monarchy, with King Felipe VI as head of state.
It is a major developed country and a high income country, with the world's fourteenth largest economy by nominal GDP and sixteenth largest by purchasing power parity. It is a member of the United Nations, the European Union, the Eurozone, the Council of Europe, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Union for the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Schengen Area, the World Trade Organization and many other international organisations. While not an official member, Spain has a "Permanent Invitation" to the G20 summits, participating in every summit, which makes Spain a de facto member of the group; the origins of the Roman name Hispania, from which the modern name España was derived, are uncertain due to inadequate evidence, although it is documented that the Phoenicians and Carthaginians referred to the region as Spania, therefore the most accepted etymology is a Semitic-Phoenician one.
Down the centuries there have been a number of accounts and hypotheses: The Renaissance scholar Antonio de Nebrija proposed that the word Hispania evolved from the Iberian word Hispalis, meaning "city of the western world". Jesús Luis Cunchillos argues that the root of the term span is the Phoenician word spy, meaning "to forge metals". Therefore, i-spn-ya would mean "the land where metals are forged", it may be a derivation of the Phoenician I-Shpania, meaning "island of rabbits", "land of rabbits" or "edge", a reference to Spain's location at the end of the Mediterranean. The word in question means "Hyrax" due to Phoenicians confusing the two animals. Hispania may derive from the poetic use of the term Hesperia, reflecting the Greek perception of Italy as a "western land" or "land of the setting sun" (Hesperia
Field hockey is a team game of the hockey family. The earliest origins of the game date back to the Middle Ages in Pakistan; the game can be played on grass, water turf, artificial turf or synthetic field as well as an indoor board surface. Each team plays with eleven players, including the goalie. Players use sticks made out of wood, carbon fibre, fibre glass or a combination of carbon fibre and fibre glass in different quantities to hit a round, plastic ball; the length of the stick depends on the player's individual height. Only one face of the stick is allowed to be used. Goalies have a different kind of stick, however they can use an ordinary field hockey stick; the specific goal-keeping sticks have another curve at the end of the stick, this is to give them more surface area to save the ball. The uniform consists of shin guards, shorts, a mouth guard and a jersey. Today, the game is played globally in parts of Western Europe, South Asia, Southern Africa, New Zealand and parts of the United States.
Known as "hockey" in many territories, the term "field hockey" is used in Canada and the United States where ice hockey is more popular. In Sweden, the term "landhockey" is used and to some degree in Norway where it is governed by Norway's Bandy Association. During play, goal keepers are the only players who are allowed to touch the ball with any part of their body, while field players play the ball with the flat side of their stick. If the ball is touched with the rounded part of the stick, it will result in a penalty. Goal keepers cannot play the ball with the back of their stick. Whoever scores the most goals by the end of the match wins. If the score is tied at the end of the game, either a draw is declared or the game goes into extra time or a penalty shootout, depending on the competition's format. There are many variations to overtime play that depend on the tournament play. In college play, a seven-aside overtime period consists of a 10-minute golden goal period with seven players for each team.
If a tie still remains, the game enters a one-on-one competition where each team chooses 5 players to dribble from the 25-yard line down to the circle against the opposing goalie. The player has 8 seconds to score on the goalie keeping it in bounds; the play ends after a goal is scored, the ball goes out of bounds, a foul is committed or time expires. If the tie still persists extra rounds thereafter until one team has scored; the governing body of field hockey is the International Hockey Federation, with men and women being represented internationally in competitions including the Olympic Games, World Cup, World League, Champions Trophy and Junior World Cup, with many countries running extensive junior and masters club competitions. The FIH is responsible for organizing the Hockey Rules Board and developing the rules for the game. A popular variant of field hockey is indoor field hockey, which differs in a number of respects while embodying the primary principles of hockey. Indoor hockey is a 5-a-side variant, with a field, reduced to 40 m × 20 m.
With many of the rules remaining the same, including obstruction and feet, there are several key variations: Players may not raise the ball unless shooting on goal, players may not hit the ball, the sidelines are replaced with solid barriers which the ball will rebound off. In addition, the regulation guidelines for the indoor field hockey stick require a thinner, lighter stick than an outdoor stick. There is a depiction of a field hockey-like game in Ancient Greece, dating to c. 510 BC, when the game may have been called Κερητίζειν because it was played with a horn and a ball. Researchers disagree over, it could have been one-on-one activity. Billiards historians Stein and Rubino believe it was among the games ancestral to lawn-and-field games like hockey and ground billiards, near-identical depictions appear both in the Beni Hasan tomb of Ancient Egyptian administrator Khety of the 11th Dynasty, in European illuminated manuscripts and other works of the 14th through 17th centuries, showing contemporary courtly and clerical life.
In East Asia, a similar game was entertained, using a carved wooden stick and ball prior, to 300 BC. In Inner Mongolia, the Daur people have for about 1,000 years been playing beikou, a game with some similarities to field hockey. A similar field hockey or ground billiards variant, called suigan, was played in China during the Ming dynasty. A game similar to field hockey was played in the 17th century in Punjab state in India under name khido khundi. In South America, most in Chile, the local natives of the 16th century used to play a game called chueca, which shares common elements with hockey. In Northern Europe, the games of hurling and Knattleikr, both team balls games involving sticks to drive a ball to the opponents' goal, date at least as far back as the Early Middle Ages. By the 12th century, a team ball game called la soule or choule, akin to a chaotic and sometimes long-distance version
Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic; the dominant religions in the country are Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2, making it the largest country within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world; the territory of modern Ukraine has been inhabited since 32,000 BC. During the Middle Ages, the area was a key centre of East Slavic culture, with the powerful state of Kievan Rus' forming the basis of Ukrainian identity. Following its fragmentation in the 13th century, the territory was contested and divided by a variety of powers, including Lithuania, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Russia. A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, but its territory was split between Poland and the Russian Empire, merged into the Russian-dominated Soviet Union in the late 1940s as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
In 1991 Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in the aftermath of its dissolution at the end of the Cold War. Before its independence, Ukraine was referred to in English as "The Ukraine", but most sources have since moved to drop "the" from the name of Ukraine in all uses. Following its independence, Ukraine declared itself a neutral state. In 2013, after the government of President Viktor Yanukovych had decided to suspend the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement and seek closer economic ties with Russia, a several-months-long wave of demonstrations and protests known as the Euromaidan began, which escalated into the 2014 Ukrainian revolution that led to the overthrow of Yanukovych and the establishment of a new government; these events formed the background for the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014, the War in Donbass in April 2014. On 1 January 2016, Ukraine applied the economic component of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the European Union.
Ukraine is ranks 88th on the Human Development Index. As of 2018, Ukraine has the second lowest GDP per capita in Europe. At US$40, it has the lowest median wealth per adult in the world, it suffers from a high poverty rate and severe corruption. However, because of its extensive fertile farmlands, Ukraine is one of the world's largest grain exporters. Ukraine maintains the second-largest military in Europe after that of Russia; the country is home to a multi-ethnic population, 77.8 percent of whom are Ukrainians, followed by a large Russian minority, as well as Georgians, Belarusians, Crimean Tatars, Jews and Hungarians. Ukraine is a unitary republic under a semi-presidential system with separate powers: legislative and judicial branches; the country is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the GUAM organization, one of the founding states of the Commonwealth of Independent States. There are different hypotheses as to the etymology of the name Ukraine. According to the older widespread hypothesis, it means "borderland", while some more recent linguistic studies claim a different meaning: "homeland" or "region, country"."The Ukraine" used to be the usual form in English, but since the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, "the Ukraine" has become less common in the English-speaking world, style-guides recommend not using the definite article.
"The Ukraine" now implies disregard for the country's sovereignty, according to U. S. ambassador William Taylor. The Ukrainian position is that the usage of "'The Ukraine' is incorrect both grammatically and politically." Neanderthal settlement in Ukraine is seen in the Molodova archaeological sites which include a mammoth bone dwelling. The territory is considered to be the location for the human domestication of the horse. Modern human settlement in Ukraine and its vicinity dates back to 32,000 BC, with evidence of the Gravettian culture in the Crimean Mountains. By 4,500 BC, the Neolithic Cucuteni–Trypillia culture flourished in wide areas of modern Ukraine including Trypillia and the entire Dnieper-Dniester region. During the Iron Age, the land was inhabited by Cimmerians and Sarmatians. Between 700 BC and 200 BC it was Scythia. Beginning in the sixth century BC, colonies of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and the Byzantine Empire, such as Tyras and Chersonesus, were founded on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea.
These colonies thrived well into the 6th century AD. The Goths stayed in the area but came under the sway of the Huns from the 370s AD. In the 7th century AD, the territory of eastern Ukraine was the centre of Old Great Bulgaria. At the end of the century, the majority of Bulgar tribes migrated in different directions, the Khazars took over much of the land. In the 5th and 6th centuries, the Antes were located in the territory of; the Antes were the ancestors of Ukrainians: White Croats, Polans, Dulebes and Tiverians. Migrations from Ukraine throughout the Balkans established many Southern Slavic nations. Northern migrations, reaching to the Ilmen l