Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity with collectively between 800 million and more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, they emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone rather than by good works, the highest authority of the Bible alone in faith and morals. The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church. Protestantism is popularly considered to have begun in Germany in 1517 when Martin Luther published his Ninety-five Theses as a reaction against abuses in the sale of indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church, which purported to offer remission of sin to their purchasers.
However, the term derives from the letter of protestation from German Lutheran princes in 1529 against an edict of the Diet of Speyer condemning the teachings of Martin Luther as heretical. Although there were earlier breaks and attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church—notably by Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe, Jan Hus—only Luther succeeded in sparking a wider and modern movement. In the 16th century, Lutheranism spread from Germany into Denmark, Sweden, Latvia and Iceland. Reformed denominations spread in Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland and France by reformers such as John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, John Knox; the political separation of the Church of England from the pope under King Henry VIII began Anglicanism, bringing England and Wales into this broad Reformation movement. Protestants have developed their own culture, with major contributions in education, the humanities and sciences, the political and social order, the economy and the arts, many other fields. Protestantism is diverse, being more divided theologically and ecclesiastically than either the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, or Oriental Orthodoxy.
Without structural unity or central human authority, Protestants developed the concept of an invisible church, in contrast to the Roman Catholic view of the Catholic Church as the visible one true Church founded by Jesus Christ. Some denominations do have a worldwide scope and distribution of membership, while others are confined to a single country. A majority of Protestants are members of a handful of Protestant denominational families: Adventists, Anglicans, Reformed, Lutherans and Pentecostals. Nondenominational, charismatic and other churches are on the rise, constitute a significant part of Protestant Christianity. Proponents of the branch theory consider Protestantism one of the three major divisions of Christendom, together with the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodoxy. Six princes of the Holy Roman Empire and rulers of fourteen Imperial Free Cities, who issued a protest against the edict of the Diet of Speyer, were the first individuals to be called Protestants; the edict reversed concessions made to the Lutherans with the approval of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V three years earlier.
The term protestant, though purely political in nature acquired a broader sense, referring to a member of any Western church which subscribed to the main Protestant principles. However, it is misused to mean any church outside the Roman and Eastern Orthodox communions. Protestantism as a general term is now used in contradistinction to the other major Christian traditions, i.e. Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. During the Reformation, the term protestant was hardly used outside of German politics. People who were involved in the religious movement used the word evangelical. For further details, see the section below. Protestant became a general term, meaning any adherent of the Reformation in the German-speaking area, it was somewhat taken up by Lutherans though Martin Luther himself insisted on Christian or evangelical as the only acceptable names for individuals who professed Christ. French and Swiss Protestants instead preferred the word reformed, which became a popular and alternative name for Calvinists.
The word evangelical, which refers to the gospel, was used for those involved in the religious movement in the German-speaking area beginning in 1517. Nowadays, evangelical is still preferred among some of the historical Protestant denominations in the Lutheran and United Protestant traditions in Europe, those with strong ties to them. Above all the term is used by Protestant bodies in the German-speaking area, such as the Evangelical Church in Germany. In continental Europe, an Evangelical is either a Calvinist, or a United Protestant; the German word evangelisch means Protestant, is different from the German evangelikal, which refers to churches shaped by Evangelicalism. The English word evangelical refers to evangelical Protestant churches, therefore to a certain part of Protestantism rather than to Protestantism as a whole; the English word traces its roots back to the Puritans in England, where Evangelicalism originated, was brought to the United States. Martin Luther always disliked the term Lutheran, preferring the term evangelical, derived from euangelion, a Greek word meaning "good news", i.e. "gospel".
The followers of
Babylonia was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in central-southern Mesopotamia. A small Amorite-ruled state emerged in 1894 BC, which contained the minor administrative town of Babylon, it was a small provincial town during the Akkadian Empire but expanded during the reign of Hammurabi in the first half of the 18th century BC and became a major capital city. During the reign of Hammurabi and afterwards, Babylonia was called "the country of Akkad", a deliberate archaism in reference to the previous glory of the Akkadian Empire, it was involved in rivalry with the older state of Assyria to the north and Elam to the east in Ancient Iran. Babylonia became the major power in the region after Hammurabi created a short-lived empire, succeeding the earlier Akkadian Empire, Third Dynasty of Ur, Old Assyrian Empire; the Babylonian Empire, however fell apart after the death of Hammurabi and reverted to a small kingdom. Like Assyria, the Babylonian state retained the written Akkadian language for official use, despite its Northwest Semitic-speaking Amorite founders and Kassite successors, who spoke a language isolate, not being native Mesopotamians.
It retained the Sumerian language for religious use, but by the time Babylon was founded, this was no longer a spoken language, having been wholly subsumed by Akkadian. The earlier Akkadian and Sumerian traditions played a major role in Babylonian and Assyrian culture, the region would remain an important cultural center under its protracted periods of outside rule; the earliest mention of the city of Babylon can be found in a clay tablet from the reign of Sargon of Akkad, dating back to the 23rd century BC. Babylon was a religious and cultural centre at this point and neither an independent state nor a large city. After the collapse of the Akkadian Empire, the south Mesopotamian region was dominated by the Gutian people for a few decades before the rise of the Third Dynasty of Ur, which restored order to the region and which, apart from northern Assyria, encompassed the whole of Mesopotamia, including the town of Babylon. Mesopotamia had enjoyed a long history prior to the emergence of Babylon, with Sumerian civilisation emerging in the region c. 3500 BC, the Akkadian-speaking people appearing by the 30th century BC.
During the 3rd millennium BC, an intimate cultural symbiosis occurred between Sumerian and Akkadian-speakers, which included widespread bilingualism. The influence of Sumerian on Akkadian and vice versa is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic and phonological convergence; this has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the third millennium as a sprachbund. Akkadian replaced Sumerian as the spoken language of Mesopotamia somewhere around the turn of the third and the second millennium BC. From c. 3500 BC until the rise of the Akkadian Empire in the 24th century BC, Mesopotamia had been dominated by Sumerian cities and city states, such as Ur, Uruk, Isin, Adab, Gasur, Hamazi, Akshak and Umma, although Semitic Akkadian names began to appear on the king lists of some of these states between the 29th and 25th centuries BC. Traditionally, the major religious center of all Mesopotamia was the city of Nippur where the god Enlil was supreme, it would remain so until replaced by Babylon during the reign of Hammurabi in the mid-18th century BC.
The Akkadian Empire saw the Akkadian Semites and Sumerians of Mesopotamia unite under one rule, the Akkadians attain ascendancy over the Sumerians and indeed come to dominate much of the ancient Near East. The empire disintegrated due to economic decline, climate change and civil war, followed by attacks by the Gutians from the Zagros Mountains. Sumer rose up again with the Third Dynasty of Ur in the late 22nd century BC, ejected the Gutians from southern Mesopotamia, they seem to have gained ascendancy over much of the territory of the Akkadian kings of Assyria in northern Mesopotamia for a time. Followed by the collapse of the Sumerian "Ur-III" dynasty at the hands of the Elamites in 2002 BC, the Amorites, a foreign Northwest Semitic-speaking people, began to migrate into southern Mesopotamia from the northern Levant gaining control over most of southern Mesopotamia, where they formed a series of small kingdoms, while the Assyrians reasserted their independence in the north; the states of the south were unable to stem the Amorite advance, for a time may have relied on their fellow Akkadians in Assyria for protection.
King Ilu-shuma of the Old Assyrian Empire in a known inscription describes his exploits to the south as follows: The freedom of the Akkadians and their children I established. I purified their copper. I established their freedom from the border of the marshes and Ur and Nippur and Kish, Der of the goddess Ishtar, as far as the City of. Past scholars extrapolated from this text that it means he defeated the invading Amorites to the south and Elamites to the east, but there is no explicit record of that, some scholars believe the Assyrian kings were giving preferential trade agreements to the south; these policies were continued by Ikunum. However, when Sargon I s
Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place, now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes; the history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age. Egypt reached the pinnacle of its power in the New Kingdom, ruling much of Nubia and a sizable portion of the Near East, after which it entered a period of slow decline. During the course of its history Egypt was invaded or conquered by a number of foreign powers, including the Hyksos, the Libyans, the Nubians, the Assyrians, the Achaemenid Persians, the Macedonians under the command of Alexander the Great; the Greek Ptolemaic Kingdom, formed in the aftermath of Alexander's death, ruled Egypt until 30 BC, under Cleopatra, it fell to the Roman Empire and became a Roman province.
The success of ancient Egyptian civilization came from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River valley for agriculture. The predictable flooding and controlled irrigation of the fertile valley produced surplus crops, which supported a more dense population, social development and culture. With resources to spare, the administration sponsored mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions, the early development of an independent writing system, the organization of collective construction and agricultural projects, trade with surrounding regions, a military intended to assert Egyptian dominance. Motivating and organizing these activities was a bureaucracy of elite scribes, religious leaders, administrators under the control of a pharaoh, who ensured the cooperation and unity of the Egyptian people in the context of an elaborate system of religious beliefs; the many achievements of the ancient Egyptians include the quarrying and construction techniques that supported the building of monumental pyramids and obelisks.
Ancient Egypt has left a lasting legacy. Its art and architecture were copied, its antiquities carried off to far corners of the world, its monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of writers for centuries. A new-found respect for antiquities and excavations in the early modern period by Europeans and Egyptians led to the scientific investigation of Egyptian civilization and a greater appreciation of its cultural legacy; the Nile has been the lifeline of its region for much of human history. The fertile floodplain of the Nile gave humans the opportunity to develop a settled agricultural economy and a more sophisticated, centralized society that became a cornerstone in the history of human civilization. Nomadic modern human hunter-gatherers began living in the Nile valley through the end of the Middle Pleistocene some 120,000 years ago. By the late Paleolithic period, the arid climate of Northern Africa became hot and dry, forcing the populations of the area to concentrate along the river region.
In Predynastic and Early Dynastic times, the Egyptian climate was much less arid. Large regions of Egypt were traversed by herds of grazing ungulates. Foliage and fauna were far more prolific in all environs and the Nile region supported large populations of waterfowl. Hunting would have been common for Egyptians, this is the period when many animals were first domesticated. By about 5500 BC, small tribes living in the Nile valley had developed into a series of cultures demonstrating firm control of agriculture and animal husbandry, identifiable by their pottery and personal items, such as combs and beads; the largest of these early cultures in upper Egypt was the Badari, which originated in the Western Desert. The Badari was followed by the Amratian and Gerzeh cultures, which brought a number of technological improvements; as early as the Naqada I Period, predynastic Egyptians imported obsidian from Ethiopia, used to shape blades and other objects from flakes. In Naqada II times, early evidence exists of contact with the Near East Canaan and the Byblos coast.
Over a period of about 1,000 years, the Naqada culture developed from a few small farming communities into a powerful civilization whose leaders were in complete control of the people and resources of the Nile valley. Establishing a power center at Nekhen, at Abydos, Naqada III leaders expanded their control of Egypt northwards along the Nile, they traded with Nubia to the south, the oases of the western desert to the west, the cultures of the eastern Mediterranean and Near East to the east, initiating a period of Egypt-Mesopotamia relations. The Naqada culture manufactured a diverse selection of material goods, reflective of the increasing power and wealth of the elite, as well as societal personal-use items, which included combs, small statuary, painted pottery, high quality decorative stone vases, cosmetic palettes, jewelry made of gold and ivory, they developed a ceramic glaze known as faience, used well into the Roman Per
The Persian Empire refers to any of a series of imperial dynasties that were centred in Persia/Iran from the 6th century BC Achaemenid Empire era to the 20th century AD in the Qajar dynasty era. The first dynasty of the Persian Empire was created by Achaemenids, established by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC with the conquest of Median and Babylonian empires, it covered much of the Ancient world. Persepolis is the most famous historical site related to Persian Empire in the Achaemenid era and it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. From 247 BC to 224 AD, Persia was ruled by the Parthian Empire, which supplanted the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire, by the Sassanian Empire, which ruled up until the mid-7th century; the Persian Empire in the Sasanian era was interrupted by the Arab conquest of Persia in 651 AD, establishing the larger Islamic caliphate, by the Mongol invasion. The main religion of ancient Persia was the native Zoroastrianism, but after the seventh century, it was replaced by Islam which achieved a majority in the 10th century.
The Safavid Empire was the first Persian Empire established after the Arab conquest of Persia by Shah Ismail I. From their base in Ardabil, the Safavid Persians established control over parts of Greater Persia/Iran and reasserted the Persian identity of the region, becoming the first native Persian dynasty since the Sasanian Empire to establish a unified Persian state. Literature and architecture flourished in the Safavid era once again, it is cited as the "rebirth of the Persian Empire". Safavids announced Shia Islam as the official religion in the empire versus the Sunni Islam in the neighbouring Ottoman Empire. Achaemenid Empire Sasanian Empire Safavid dynasty Afsharid dynasty Qajar dynasty List of monarchs of Persia Iranian monarchy List of Iranian dynasties and countries Persia Iranian peoples Persian people List of tombs of Iranian people Briant, Pierre. From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire. University Park, Pennsylvania: Eisenbrauns. P. 15. ISBN 978-1575060316. DK. History of the World in 1,000 Objects.
London: DK. p. 71. ISBN 978-1465422897. Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Persia". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press; the dictionary definition of Persian Empire at Wiktionary Persian Empire travel guide from Wikivoyage Media related to Persian Empire at Wikimedia Commons
In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed; the Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117. In its many centuries of existence, the Roman state evolved from a monarchy to a classical republic and to an autocratic semi-elective empire. Through conquest and assimilation, it dominated the North African coast and most of Western Europe, the Balkans and much of the Middle East.
It is grouped into classical antiquity together with ancient Greece, their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world. Ancient Roman civilisation has contributed to modern language, society, law, government, art, literature and engineering. Rome professionalised and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France, it achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and roads, as well as the construction of large monuments and public facilities. The Punic Wars with Carthage were decisive in establishing Rome as a world power. In this series of wars Rome gained control of the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily. By the end of the Republic, Rome had conquered the lands around the Mediterranean and beyond: its domain extended from the Atlantic to Arabia and from the mouth of the Rhine to North Africa.
The Roman Empire emerged with the dictatorship of Augustus Caesar. 721 years of Roman–Persian Wars started in 92 BC with their first war against Parthia. It would become the longest conflict in human history, have major lasting effects and consequences for both empires. Under Trajan, the Empire reached its territorial peak, it stretched from the entire Mediterranean Basin to the beaches of the North Sea in the north, to the shores of the Red and Caspian Seas in the East. Republican mores and traditions started to decline during the imperial period, with civil wars becoming a prelude common to the rise of a new emperor. Splinter states, such as the Palmyrene Empire, would temporarily divide the Empire during the crisis of the 3rd century. Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the western part of the empire broke up into independent "barbarian" kingdoms in the 5th century; this splintering is a landmark historians use to divide the ancient period of universal history from the pre-medieval "Dark Ages" of Europe.
The eastern part of the empire endured through the 5th century and remained a power throughout the "Dark Ages" and medieval times until its fall in 1453 AD. Although the citizens of the empire made no distinction, the empire is most referred to as the "Byzantine Empire" by modern historians during the Middle Ages to differentiate between the state of antiquity and the nation it grew into. According to the founding myth of Rome, the city was founded on 21 April 753 BC on the banks of the river Tiber in central Italy, by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who descended from the Trojan prince Aeneas, who were grandsons of the Latin King Numitor of Alba Longa. King Numitor was deposed by his brother, while Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, gave birth to the twins. Since Rhea Silvia had been raped and impregnated by Mars, the Roman god of war, the twins were considered half-divine; the new king, feared Romulus and Remus would take back the throne, so he ordered them to be drowned. A she-wolf saved and raised them, when they were old enough, they returned the throne of Alba Longa to Numitor.
The twins founded their own city, but Romulus killed Remus in a quarrel over the location of the Roman Kingdom, though some sources state the quarrel was about, going to rule or give his name to the city. Romulus became the source of the city's name. In order to attract people to the city, Rome became a sanctuary for the indigent and unwanted; this caused a problem, in that Rome was bereft of women. Romulus visited neighboring towns and tribes and attempted to secure marriage rights, but as Rome was so full of undesirables he was refused. Legend says that the Latins invited the Sabines to a festival and stole their unmarried maidens, leading to the integration of the Latins with the Sabines. Another legend, recorded by Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus, says that Prince Aeneas led a group of Trojans on a sea voyage to found a new Troy, since the original was destroyed at the end of the Trojan War. After a long time in rough seas, they landed on the banks of the Tiber River. Not long after they landed, the men wanted to take to the sea again, but the women who were traveling with them did not want to leave.
One woman, named Roma, suggested that the women burn the ships out at sea to prevent their leaving
Guillaume Postel was a French linguist, Cabbalist, diplomat and religious universalist. Born in the village of Barenton in Normandy, Postel made his way to Paris to further his education. While studying at the Collège Sainte-Barbe, he became acquainted with Ignatius of Loyola and many of the men who would become the founders of the Company of Jesus, retaining a lifelong affiliation with them. Postel was adept at Arabic and Syriac and other Semitic languages, as well as the Classical languages of Ancient Greek and Latin, soon came to the attention of the French court. In 1536, when Francis I sought a Franco-Ottoman alliance with the Ottoman Turks, he sent Postel as the official interpreter of the French embassy of Jean de La Forêt to the Turkish sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in Constantinople. Postel was apparently assigned to gather interesting Eastern manuscripts for the royal library, today housed in the collection of oriental manuscripts at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. In Linguarum Duodecim Characteribus Differentium Alphabetum Introductio, published in 1538, Postel became the first scholar to recognize the inscriptions on Judean coins from the period of the Great Jewish Revolt as Hebrew written in the ancient "Samaritan" characters.
In 1543, Postel published a criticism of Protestantism, highlighted parallels between Islam and Protestantism in Alcorani seu legis Mahometi et Evangelistarum concordiae liber. In 1544, in De orbis terrae concordia, Postel advocated a universalist world religion; the thesis of the book was that all Jews and heathens could be converted to the Christian religion once all of the religions of the world were shown to have common foundations and that Christianity best represented these foundations. He believed these foundations to be the love of God, the praising of God, the love of Mankind, the helping of Mankind. In his De la République des Turcs Postel makes a rather positive description of the Ottoman society, his 1553 Des merveilles du monde et principalemẽt des admirables choses des Indes & du noveau monde is one of the earliest European descriptions of religion in Japan. He interprets Japanese religion in terms of his universalist views on religion, claiming that the indigenous Japanese religion was a form of Christianity and that one could still find evidence of their worship of crucifixes.
Such claims about Japanese religion were common in Europe at the time. Postel was a relentless advocate for the unification of all Christian churches, a common concern during the period of the Reformation, remarkably tolerant of other faiths during a time when such tolerance was unusual; this tendency led him to work with the Jesuits in Rome and Venice, but the incompatibility of their beliefs with his prevented his full membership in their order. Postel is believed to have spent the years 1548 to 1551 on another trip to the East, traveling to the Holy Land and Syria to collect manuscripts. After this trip, he earned the appointment of Professor of Mathematics and Oriental Languages at the Collège Royal, he took an interest in geography in his course of lectures at the Collège Royal from 1537. In 1557, he published a short compendium under the name, De Universitate Liber inspired by that of Henricus Glareanus; this geographer had drawn two polar projections. Postel enlarged his treatise in the Cosmographicae Disciplinae Compendium, published in Basel by Oporinus in 1561, in which he set out his ideas on the five continents: Asia-Sem, Africa-Cham or Chamesia, Iapetia or Europe and Atlantides-America divided into boreal and austral, separated from Chasdia or the Austral continent by the Fretum Martini Bohemi.
The Cosmographicae Disciplinae had an index of 600 names, which Postel put into his 1578 world map, Polo aptata Nova Charta Universi. He inscribed on it to the south of South America a legend reading: Ce quart de globe, ou demy Hémisphere contient dedans sa longitude clxxx degrès, partie Australle de l'Atlantide dicte Peru ou America par Americ Vespuce Florentin son inventeur, et davantage une partie de la Chasdia or terre Australle vers les Isles Mologa ou Moluques. On his map, the Terre Australe is called Chasdia in three places: under Africa. Between South America and Chasdia is found the mention of the Fretum Martin Bohemi. Chasdia was a term forged by Postel: Chasdia qui est vers le Gond ou Pole Austral ainsi appellée à cause que de la Meridionale partie ou Australe procede la Misericorde dicte Chassed. Another legend on the same map over the southern continent reads: CHASDIA seu Australis terra, quam Vulgus nautarum di fuego vocant alii Papagallorum dicunt. Postel’s world map influenced Gerard de Jode and other
Poland the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With a population of 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, Szczecin. Poland is bordered by the Baltic Sea, Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast and Lithuania to the north and Ukraine to the east and Czech Republic, to the south, Germany to the west; the establishment of the Polish state can be traced back to AD 966, when Mieszko I, ruler of the realm coextensive with the territory of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, in 1569 it cemented its longstanding political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin; this union formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th and 17th century Europe, with a uniquely liberal political system which adopted Europe's first written national constitution, the Constitution of 3 May 1791.
More than a century after the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, Poland regained its independence in 1918 with the Treaty of Versailles. In September 1939, World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Germany, followed by the Soviet Union invading Poland in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. More than six million Polish citizens, including 90% of the country's Jews, perished in the war. In 1947, the Polish People's Republic was established as a satellite state under Soviet influence. In the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1989, most notably through the emergence of the Solidarity movement, Poland reestablished itself as a presidential democratic republic. Poland is regional power, it has the fifth largest economy by GDP in the European Union and one of the most dynamic economies in the world achieving a high rank on the Human Development Index. Additionally, the Polish Stock Exchange in Warsaw is the largest and most important in Central Europe. Poland is a developed country, which maintains a high-income economy along with high standards of living, life quality, safety and economic freedom.
Having a developed school educational system, the country provides free university education, state-funded social security, a universal health care system for all citizens. Poland has 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Poland is a member state of the European Union, the Schengen Area, the United Nations, NATO, the OECD, the Three Seas Initiative, the Visegrád Group; the origin of the name "Poland" derives from the West Slavic tribe of Polans that inhabited the Warta river basin of the historic Greater Poland region starting in the 6th century. The origin of the name "Polanie" itself derives from the early Slavic word "pole". In some languages, such as Hungarian, Lithuanian and Turkish, the exonym for Poland is Lechites, which derives from the name of a semi-legendary ruler of Polans, Lech I. Early Bronze Age in Poland begun around 2400 BC, while the Iron Age commenced in 750 BC. During this time, the Lusatian culture, spanning both the Bronze and Iron Ages, became prominent; the most famous archaeological find from the prehistory and protohistory of Poland is the Biskupin fortified settlement, dating from the Lusatian culture of the early Iron Age, around 700 BC.
Throughout the Antiquity period, many distinct ancient ethnic groups populated the regions of what is now Poland in an era that dates from about 400 BC to 500 AD. These groups are identified as Celtic, Slavic and Germanic tribes. Recent archeological findings in the Kujawy region, confirmed the presence of the Roman Legions on the territory of Poland; these were most expeditionary missions sent out to protect the amber trade. The exact time and routes of the original migration and settlement of Slavic peoples lacks written records and can only be defined as fragmented; the Slavic tribes who would form Poland migrated to these areas in the second half of the 5th century AD. Up until the creation of Mieszko's state and his subsequent conversion to Christianity in 966 AD, the main religion of Slavic tribes that inhabited the geographical area of present-day Poland was Slavic paganism. With the Baptism of Poland the Polish rulers accepted Christianity and the religious authority of the Roman Church.
However, the transition from paganism was not a smooth and instantaneous process for the rest of the population as evident from the pagan reaction of the 1030s. Poland began to form into a recognizable unitary and territorial entity around the middle of the 10th century under the Piast dynasty. Poland's first documented ruler, Mieszko I, accepted Christianity with the Baptism of Poland in 966, as the new official religion of his subjects; the bulk of the population converted in the course of the next few centuries. In 1000, Boleslaw the Brave, continuing the policy of his father Mieszko, held a Congress of Gniezno and created the metropolis of Gniezno and the dioceses of Kraków, Kołobrzeg, Wrocław. However, the pagan unrest led to the transfer of the capital to Kraków in 1038 by Casimir I the Restorer. In 1109, Prince Bolesław III Wrymouth defeated the King of Germany Henry V at the Battle of Hundsfeld, stopping the Ge