The Eemian was the interglacial period which began about 130,000 years ago and ended about 115,000 years ago. It corresponds to Marine Isotope Stage 5e, although sometimes referred to as the last interglacial, it was the second-to-latest interglacial period of the current Ice Age, the most recent being the Holocene which extends to the present day. The prevailing Eemian climate is believed to have been warmer than that of the Holocene, the Eemian is known as the Ipswichian in the UK, the Mikulin interglacial in Russia, the Valdivia interglacial in Chile and the Riss-Würm interglacial in the Alps. Depending on how a specific publication defines the Sangamonian Stage of North America, the Eemian climate is believed to have been about as stable as that of the Holocene. The warmest peak of the Eemian was around 125,000 years ago, hardwood trees such as hazel and oak grew as far north as Oulu, Finland. At the peak of the Eemian, the Northern Hemisphere winters were generally warmer and wetter than now, the hippopotamus was distributed as far north as the rivers Rhine and Thames.
Trees grew as far north as southern Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, the prairie-forest boundary in the Great Plains of the United States lay further west near Lubbock, whereas the current boundary is near Dallas, Texas. Kaspar et al. performed a comparison of a general circulation model with reconstructed Eemian temperatures for Europe. Central Europe was found to be 1–2 °C warmer than present, south of the Alps, the model generally reproduces these observations, leading them to conclude that these factors are enough to explain the Eemian temperatures. Because of the sea level drop since the Eemian, exposed fossil coral reefs are common in the tropics, especially in the Caribbean and these reefs often contain internal erosion surfaces showing significant sea level instability during the Eemian. A2007 study found evidence that the Greenland ice core site Dye 3 was glaciated during the Eemian, scandinavia was an island due to the inundation of vast areas of northern Europe and the West Siberian Plain.
The Eemian Stage was first recognized from boreholes in the area of the city of Amersfoort, Netherlands and he named the beds Système Eémien, after the river Eem on which Amersfoort is located. Harting noticed the marine molluscan assemblages to be different from the modern fauna of the North Sea. Many species from the Eemian layers nowadays show a more southern distribution, ranging from South of the Strait of Dover to Portugal. More information on the molluscan assemblages is given by Lorié, since their discovery, Eemian beds in the Netherlands have mainly been recognized by their marine molluscan content combined with their stratigraphical position and other palaeontology. The marine beds there are often underlain by tills that are considered to date from the Saalian, in contrast to e. g. the deposits in Denmark, the Eemian deposits in the type area have never been found overlain by tills, nor in ice-pushed positions. Van Voorthuysen described the foraminifera from the site, whereas Zagwijn published the palynology.
At the end of the 20th century, the site was re-investigated using old
Radiocarbon dating is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon, a radioactive isotope of carbon. The method was developed by Willard Libby in the late 1940s, Libby received the Nobel Prize for his work in 1960. The radiocarbon dating method is based on the fact that radiocarbon is constantly being created in the atmosphere by the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric nitrogen. The resulting radiocarbon combines with oxygen to form radioactive carbon dioxide. When the animal or plant dies, it stops exchanging carbon with its environment, and from that point onwards the amount of 14C it contains begins to decrease as the 14C undergoes radioactive decay. Measuring the amount of 14C in a sample from a plant or animal such as a piece of wood or a fragment of bone provides information that can be used to calculate when the animal or plant died. The idea behind radiocarbon dating is straightforward, but years of work were required to develop the technique to the point where accurate dates could be obtained.
Research has been ongoing since the 1960s to determine what the proportion of 14C in the atmosphere has been over the past fifty thousand years. The resulting data, in the form of a curve, is now used to convert a given measurement of radiocarbon in a sample into an estimate of the samples calendar age. Other corrections must be made to account for the proportion of 14C in different types of organisms, additional complications come from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, and from the above-ground nuclear tests done in the 1950s and 1960s. Conversely, nuclear testing increased the amount of 14C in the atmosphere, measurement of radiocarbon was originally done by beta-counting devices, which counted the amount of beta radiation emitted by decaying 14C atoms in a sample. The development of dating has had a profound impact on archaeology. In addition to permitting more accurate dating within archaeological sites than previous methods, histories of archaeology often refer to its impact as the radiocarbon revolution.
Radiocarbon dating has allowed key transitions in prehistory to be dated, such as the end of the last ice age, and they synthesized 14C using the laboratorys cyclotron accelerator and soon discovered that the atoms half-life was far longer than had been previously thought. This was followed by a prediction by Serge A. Korff, employed at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and it had previously been thought that 14C would be more likely to be created by deuterons interacting with 13C. At some time during World War II, Willard Libby, who was at Berkeley, learned of Korffs research, in 1945, Libby moved to the University of Chicago where he began his work on radiocarbon dating. He published a paper in 1946 in which he proposed that the carbon in living matter might include 14C as well as non-radioactive carbon, by contrast, methane created from petroleum showed no radiocarbon activity because of its age. The results were summarized in a paper in Science in 1947, Libby and James Arnold proceeded to test the radiocarbon dating theory by analyzing samples with known ages
The three traditional parts of the country are Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. With an area of almost 1.8 million square kilometres, Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa, Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world. The largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya, the other large city is Benghazi, which is located in eastern Libya. Libya has been inhabited by Berbers since the late Bronze Age, the Phoenicians established trading posts in western Libya, and ancient Greek colonists established city-states in eastern Libya. Libya was variously ruled by Carthaginians, Persians and Greeks before becoming a part of the Roman Empire, Libya was an early center of Christianity. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the area of Libya was mostly occupied by the Vandals until the 7th century, in the 16th century, the Spanish Empire and the Knights of St John occupied Tripoli, until Ottoman rule began in 1551. Libya was involved in the Barbary Wars of the 18th and 19th centuries, Ottoman rule continued until the Italian occupation of Libya resulted in the temporary Italian Libya colony from 1911 to 1943.
During the Second World War Libya was an important area of warfare in the North African Campaign, the Italian population went into decline. Libya became an independent kingdom in 1951, a military coup in 1969 overthrew King Idris I, beginning a period of sweeping social reform. Since then, Libya has experienced a period of instability, the European Union is involved in an operation to disrupt human trafficking networks exploiting refugees fleeing from wars in Africa for Europe. At least two political bodies claim to be the government of Libya, the Council of Deputies is internationally recognized as the legitimate government, but it does not hold territory in the capital, instead meeting in the Cyrenaica city of Tobruk. Parts of Libya are outside of either governments control, with various Islamist, the United Nations is sponsoring peace talks between the Tobruk and Tripoli-based factions. An agreement to form an interim government was signed on 17 December 2015. Under the terms of the agreement, a nine-member Presidency Council, the leaders of the new government, called the Government of National Accord, arrived in Tripoli on 5 April 2016.
Since the GNC, one of the two governments, has disbanded to support the new GNA. The name Libya was introduced in 1934 for Italian Libya, reviving the name for Northwest Africa. The name was based on use in 1903 by Italian geographer Federico Minutilli. It was intended to supplant terms applied to Ottoman Tripolitania, the region of what is today Libya having been ruled by the Ottoman Empire from 1551 to 1911
Neolithic flint mines of Spiennes
The mines were active during the mid and late Neolithic between 4,300 and 2,200 BC. Declared to be remarkable for the diversity of technological solutions used for extraction the site, discovered in 1843, the first excavations were undertaken during railway construction in 1867 and intermittent excavations have been carried out up to the present day. The Mines of Spiennes cover some 100 ha of downland four miles south-east of the city of Mons, the site is dotted with millions of scraps of worked flint and numerous mining pits, that Neolithic settlers have gradually turned into vertical mine shafts to depths of over 10 m. Research has illustrated Neolithic techniques for the cutting of the flint and the extraction of large slabs of flint, the nodules were extracted using flint picks. The stones were knapped into rough-out shapes of axes, the SILEXS Interpretive Centre has opened in spring 2015. The rough-outs were exchanged over an area, about 150 km. Polishing strengthens the product, making the axe- or adze-head last longer.
The smooth surface aids the cutting action by lowering friction with the wood, the axes were used initially for forest clearance during the Neolithic period, and for shaping wood for structural applications, such as timber for huts and canoes. The site has been compared with Grimes Graves and Cissbury in the United Kingdom, and Krzemionki in Poland, different hard rocks were used for the polished stone axes. Examples include the Langdale axe industry and Tievebulliagh, guillaume, Ph. Lipinski & A. Masson, Les mines de silex néolithiques de la Meuse dans le contexte européen. Musées de la Meuse, Sampigny 1987, F. Gosselin, Un site dexploitation du silex à Spiennes, au lieu-dit Petit-Spiennes. F. Hubert, Une minière néolithique à silex au Camp-à-Cayaux de Spiennes, F. Hubert, Lexploitation préhistorique du silex à Spiennes. Ministère de la Région wallonne, Direction générale de lAménagement du Territoire, du Logement et du Patrimoine, R. Shepherd, Prehistoric Mining and Allied Industries. Société de recherches préhistoriques en Hainaut, Minières néolithiques à Spiennes,1997 ICOMOS evaluation Collet, H.
Les mines néolithiques de Spiennes, état des connaissances et perspectives de recherche. Section 10, The Neolithic in the Near East and Europe, actes du XIVème congrès UISPP, Université de Liège, Belgique,2 –8 septembre 2001 H. Collet, A. Hauzeur & J. Lech,2008. The prehistoric flint mining complex at Spiennes on the occasion of its discovery 140 years ago In P. Allard, F. Bostyn, flint mining in Prehistoric Europe, Interpreting the archaeological records. European Association of Archaeologists, 12th Annual Meeting, Poland, 19–24 September 2006, H. Collet,2014. Les minières néolithiques de silex de Spiennes
Jebel Akhdar, Libya
The Jebel Akhdar is a heavily forested, fertile upland area in northeastern Libya. It is located in the modern shabiyahs or districts of Derna, Jabal al Akhdar, the Jebel Akhdar consists of a mountainous plateau rising to an altitude of 900 metres, cut by several valleys and wadis. It forms the part of the peninsula that sticks north into the Mediterranean Sea, with the Gulf of Sidra on the west. It runs from Bengazi eastward to just east of Derna, fronting the coast for about 330 kilometres, due to erosion and deposition the plateau is sometimes as much as 16 kilometres from the shore, but it forms cliffs on the headlands. The final uplift and arching of the plateau was completed in the Miocene, the region is one of the very few forested areas of Libya, which taken as a whole is one of the least forested countries on Earth. It is the wettest part of Libya, receiving some 600 millimetres of precipitation annually, the high rainfall contributes to the areas large forests containing Chammari, and enables rich fruit and cereal agriculture, something of a rarity in an arid country like Libya.
Camels and sheep are herded in and around the Jebel Akhdar, documents created during the New Kingdom of Egypt record that to the west there were large populations of metal workers who lived in towns and had plentiful livestock. The only plausible location for these Libyans is the Jebel Akhdar, the ancient Greek colony of Cyrene was located in a lush valley in the Jebel Akhdar, with the ruins remaining. It was the Greeks who introduced farming to the Jebal Akhdar when they colonised its verdant valleys in around 600 BC, during the Italian occupation these mountains were identified as a promising area for agriculture and many Italians moved here in the 1930s. This settlement was interrupted during World War II and the villages, the mountain chain was the site of major battles between the British Commonwealth and the Axis forces during World War II. Mediterranean dry woodlands and steppe – lower elevations Mediterranean woodlands and forests – higher elevations
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, often regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Founded in 1209 and given royal status by King Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world. The university grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with the townspeople, the two ancient universities share many common features and are often referred to jointly as Oxbridge. Cambridge is formed from a variety of institutions which include 31 constituent colleges, Cambridge University Press, a department of the university, is the worlds oldest publishing house and the second-largest university press in the world. The university operates eight cultural and scientific museums, including the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridges libraries hold a total of around 15 million books, eight million of which are in Cambridge University Library, a legal deposit library.
In the year ended 31 July 2015, the university had an income of £1.64 billion. The central university and colleges have an endowment of around £5.89 billion. The university is linked with the development of the high-tech business cluster known as Silicon Fen. It is a member of associations and forms part of the golden triangle of leading English universities and Cambridge University Health Partners. As of 2017, Cambridge is ranked the fourth best university by three ranking tables and no other institution in the world ranks in the top 10 for as many subjects. Cambridge is consistently ranked as the top university in the United Kingdom, the university has educated many notable alumni, including eminent mathematicians, politicians, philosophers, writers and foreign Heads of State. Ninety-five Nobel laureates, fifteen British prime ministers and ten Fields medalists have been affiliated with Cambridge as students, faculty, by the late 12th century, the Cambridge region already had a scholarly and ecclesiastical reputation, due to monks from the nearby bishopric church of Ely.
The University of Oxford went into suspension in protest, and most scholars moved to such as Paris, Reading. After the University of Oxford reformed several years later, enough remained in Cambridge to form the nucleus of the new university. A bull in 1233 from Pope Gregory IX gave graduates from Cambridge the right to teach everywhere in Christendom, the colleges at the University of Cambridge were originally an incidental feature of the system. No college is as old as the university itself, the colleges were endowed fellowships of scholars. There were institutions without endowments, called hostels, the hostels were gradually absorbed by the colleges over the centuries, but they have left some indicators of their time, such as the name of Garret Hostel Lane. Hugh Balsham, Bishop of Ely, founded Peterhouse, Cambridges first college, the most recently established college is Robinson, built in the late 1970s
The Areni-1 cave complex is located near the Areni village in southern Armenia along the Arpa River. In 2010, it was announced that the earliest known shoe was found at the site, in January 2011, the earliest known winery in the world was announced to have been found. Also in 2011, the discovery of a straw skirt dating to 3900 BC was reported, in 2009, the oldest brain was discovered
The Magura Cave is located in north-western Bulgaria close to the village of Rabisha,25 km from the town of Belogradchik in Vidin Province. Guided visits are conducted by the staff of Belogradchik municipality, to which the management of the cave was transferred in 2012 by the Bulgarian Council of Ministers, in 1984 the site was induced into UNESCOs tentative list of World Heritage. The total length of the 15 million year old cave is 2.5 km, the average annual temperature of the cave is 12 °C, except for one room where the temperature is always 15 °C. The air humidity reaches 80% and the displacement -56 m, the Magura cave was formed in the limestone Rabisha Hill. The morphology of the consists of one main gallery with six various-sized halls. The very spacious site allows for music concerts to be held during Christmas, the inner temperature is constantly 11-12 °C. During the summers of 1974 and 1975 the cave was used for speleotherapy. Thirty patients slept in the cave for twelve nights, taking advantage of allergens absence, constant humidity.
A part of the cave is now used for ageing sparkling and red wines, labelled Magura, bones from different prehistoric species like cave bear, cave hyena, wolf, wild cat and otter have been discovered in the Magura Cave. Today, constant inhabitants of the cave is the collembola, as well as four types of bats, Cave paintings dating from the Epipaleolithic, late Neolithic and early Bronze Age decorate some of the caves walls. The paintings have been estimated to be made between 10.000 and 8.000 years ago, the drawings represent important events of the society that had occupied the Magura cave, religious ceremonies, hunting scenes and depictions of deities which are unique on the Balkan peninsula. The Fertility Dance and the Hunting Ceremony rank among the most noteworthy paintings, one grouping from the Bronze Age has been interpreted as a solar calendar. The cave paintings allowed storing information about regional solar calendar, religious festivals, contemporary imitations of possible fertility rites are reported — inscriptions in Latin and paintings made by treasure-hunters.
The medium used to create the art was bat guano, more than 750 images have been identified. Painted signs can be organised into four groups, zoomorphic, geometric. For the first group, there are bitriangular silhouettes with raised rounded arms, ithyphallic figures, regarding zoomorpic items, there are caprids, dogs, ostrich-like animals and schematic linear quadrupeds. Few rayed circle figures, mainly the two unica of the so-called calendar scene, likely represent a sun depiction, taking count of some associated figures, it is possible to recognize dancing and mating scenes. In the so-called Cult Hall a large dance and hunting scene is depicted, arranged in two main rows, these are the best known and most reproduced Magura Cave images
Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia, is a sovereign state between Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean. Its capital city is Zagreb, which one of the countrys primary subdivisions. Croatia covers 56,594 square kilometres and has diverse, mostly continental, Croatias Adriatic Sea coast contains more than a thousand islands. The countrys population is 4.28 million, most of whom are Croats, the Croats arrived in the area of present-day Croatia during the early part of the 7th century AD. They organised the state into two duchies by the 9th century, tomislav became the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom. The Kingdom of Croatia retained its sovereignty for nearly two centuries, reaching its peak during the rule of Kings Petar Krešimir IV and Dmitar Zvonimir, Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg to the Croatian throne. In 1918, after World War I, Croatia was included in the unrecognized State of Slovenes and Serbs which seceded from Austria-Hungary, a fascist Croatian puppet state backed by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany existed during World War II.
After the war, Croatia became a member and a federal constituent of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 25 June 1991 Croatia declared independence, which came wholly into effect on 8 October of the same year, the Croatian War of Independence was fought successfully during the four years following the declaration. A unitary state, Croatia is a republic governed under a parliamentary system, the International Monetary Fund classified Croatia as an emerging and developing economy, and the World Bank identified it as a high-income economy. Croatia is a member of the European Union, United Nations, the Council of Europe, NATO, the World Trade Organization, the service sector dominates Croatias economy, followed by the industrial sector and agriculture. Tourism is a significant source of revenue during the summer, with Croatia ranked the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world, the state controls a part of the economy, with substantial government expenditure. The European Union is Croatias most important trading partner, since 2000, the Croatian government constantly invests in infrastructure, especially transport routes and facilities along the Pan-European corridors.
Internal sources produce a significant portion of energy in Croatia, the rest is imported, the origin of the name is uncertain, but is thought to be a Gothic or Indo-Aryan term assigned to a Slavic tribe. The oldest preserved record of the Croatian ethnonym *xъrvatъ is of variable stem, the first attestation of the Latin term is attributed to a charter of Duke Trpimir from the year 852. The original is lost, and just a 1568 copy is preserved—leading to doubts over the authenticity of the claim, the oldest preserved stone inscription is the 9th-century Branimir Inscription, where Duke Branimir is styled as Dux Cruatorvm. The inscription is not believed to be dated accurately, but is likely to be from during the period of 879–892, the area known as Croatia today was inhabited throughout the prehistoric period
Spy Cave is located near Spy in the municipality of Jemeppe-sur-Sambre, province of Namur, Belgium above the left bank of the Orneau River. Classified as a premier Wallonian Heritage site of the Walloon Region, the cave consists of numerous small chambers and corridors. Since the first amateur investigations during the late 19th century numerous amateur and professional archaeologists have carried out excavations, the excavation was conducted by Liège, archaeologist Marcel de Puydt and geologist Max Lohest. Paleontologist and zoologist Julien Fraipont published the description in the American Anthropologist journal. The assemblages of the oldest excavations have been mixed, that makes the interpretation of the palaeoenvironment difficult, in addition publications of de Puydt and Fraipoint disagree on the number of layers of knapped flints. The hominid skeletons discovered during the first excavations have been named Spy I, a female, and Spy 2 and these were dated to around 36,000 years BP, although a Bayesian analysis in 2014 concluded that they were probably more than 40,000 years old.
The identification of the remains of a Neanderthal child, Spy VI, was published in 2010, almost 12,000 faunal remains of the Pleistocene were discovered, including mammoth, cave hyena, woolly rhinoceros and cave bear bones. All levels contained mammoth remains, including a number of molars. It has been suggested that the Neanderthal occupants brought mammoth heads to the site and ate the brains, because many of the molars were unworn, these would have been very young or newborn calves, killed in early spring, when plant food would not yet have been available. Evidence of occupation by Upper Paleolithic anatomically modern humans has found at Spy. Pendants and perforated beads made from ivory, presumably by modern humans, were found in the cave. Goyet Caves Media related to Spy Cave at Wikimedia Commons
In archaeology, the Mesolithic is the culture between Paleolithic and Neolithic. The term Epipaleolithic is often used for areas outside northern Europe, Mesolithic has different time spans in different parts of Eurasia. It was originally post-Pleistocene, pre-agricultural material in northwest Europe about 10,000 to 5000 BC, in the archaeology of Northern Europe, for example for archaeological sites in Great Britain, Scandinavia and Russia, the term Mesolithic is almost always used. In the archaeology of other areas, the term Epipaleolithic may be preferred by most authors, in the New World, neither term is used. Other authors use the term Mesolithic for a variety of Late Paleolithic cultures subsequent to the end of the last glacial period whether they are transitional towards agriculture or not, those that are in course of transition toward artificial food production are assigned to the Mesolithic. Therefore, care must be taken in translating Mesolithic as Middle Stone Age, subdivisions of earlier and were added to the Stone Age by Thomsen and especially his junior colleague and employee Jens Jacob Asmussen Worsaae.
John Lubbock kept these divisions in his work Pre-historic Times in 1865 and he saw no need for an intermediate category. When Hodder Westropp introduced the Mesolithic in 1866, as an intermediate between Paleolithic and Neolithic, a storm of controversy immediately arose around it. A British school led by John Evans denied any need for an intermediate, the ages blended together like the colors of a rainbow, he said. A European school led by Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet asserted that there was a gap between the earlier and later, edouard Piette claimed to have filled the gap with his discovery of the Azilian Culture. Knut Stjerna offered an alternative in the Epipaleolithic, a continuation of the use of Paleolithic technology, the start and end dates of the Mesolithic vary by geographical region. Childes view prevails that the term covers the period between the end of the Pleistocene and the start of the Neolithic. If the Mesolithic is more similar to the Paleolithic it is called the Epipaleolithic, the Paleolithic was an age of purely hunting and gathering while in the Neolithic domestication of plants and animals had occurred.
Some Mesolithic peoples continued with intensive hunting, others were practising the initial stages of domestication. The type of remains the diagnostic factor, The Mesolithic featured composite devices manufactured with Mode V chipped stone tools. The Paleolithic had utilized Modes I–IV and the Neolithic mainly abandoned the chipped microliths in favor of polished, not chipped, the first period, known as Mesolithic 1, followed the Aurignacian or Levantine Upper Paleolithic periods throughout the Levant. By the end of the Aurignacian, gradual changes took place in stone industries, small stone tools called microliths and retouched bladelets can be found for the first time. The microliths of this period differ greatly from the Aurignacian artifacts
Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a sovereign state in Western Europe bordered by France, the Netherlands, Germany and the North Sea. It is a small, densely populated country which covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres and has a population of about 11 million people. Additionally, there is a group of German-speakers who live in the East Cantons located around the High Fens area. Historically, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were known as the Low Countries, the region was called Belgica in Latin, after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, Belgium is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. It is divided into three regions and three communities, that exist next to each other and its two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia. The Brussels-Capital Region is a bilingual enclave within the Flemish Region. A German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia, Belgiums linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments.
Upon its independence, declared in 1830, Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Belgium is a member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD and WTO. Its capital, hosts several of the EUs official seats as well as the headquarters of major international organizations such as NATO. Belgium is a part of the Schengen Area, Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy and is categorized as very high in the Human Development Index. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings, a gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 14th and 15th centuries, the Eighty Years War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands.
The latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and this was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. The reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, although the franchise was initially restricted, universal suffrage for men was introduced after the general strike of 1893 and for women in 1949. The main political parties of the 19th century were the Catholic Party, French was originally the single official language adopted by the nobility and the bourgeoisie