Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV, known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who reigned as King of France from 1643 until his death in 1715. Starting on 14 May 1643 when Louis was 4 years old, his reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country in European history. In the age of absolutism in Europe, Louis XIV's France was a leader in the growing centralisation of power. Louis began his personal rule of France in 1661, after the death of his chief minister, the Italian Cardinal Mazarin. An adherent of the concept of the divine right of kings, Louis continued his predecessors' work of creating a centralised state governed from the capital, he sought to eliminate the remnants of feudalism persisting in parts of France and, by compelling many members of the nobility to inhabit his lavish Palace of Versailles, succeeded in pacifying the aristocracy, many members of which had participated in the Fronde rebellion during Louis' minority. By these means he became one of the most powerful French monarchs and consolidated a system of absolute monarchical rule in France that endured until the French Revolution.
Louis encouraged and benefited from the work of prominent political and cultural figures such as Mazarin, Louvois, the Grand Condé, Turenne, Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, André Charles Boulle, Molière, Boileau, La Fontaine, Marais, Le Brun, Bossuet, Le Vau, Charles, Claude Perrault, Le Nôtre. Under his rule, the Edict of Nantes, which granted rights to Huguenots, was abolished; the revocation forced Huguenots to emigrate or convert in a wave of dragonnades, which managed to destroy the French Protestant minority. During Louis' long reign, France was the leading European power, it fought three major wars: the Franco-Dutch War, the War of the League of Augsburg, the War of the Spanish Succession. There were two lesser conflicts: the War of Devolution and the War of the Reunions. Warfare defined the foreign policy of Louis XIV, his personality shaped his approach. Impelled "by a mix of commerce and pique", Louis sensed that warfare was the ideal way to enhance his glory. In peacetime he concentrated on preparing for the next war.
He taught his diplomats that their job was to create tactical and strategic advantages for the French military. Louis XIV was born on 5 September 1638 in the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, to Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, he was named Louis Dieudonné and bore the traditional title of French heirs apparent: Dauphin. At the time of his birth, his parents had been married for 23 years, his mother had experienced four stillbirths between 1619 and 1631. Leading contemporaries thus regarded him as his birth a miracle of God. Sensing imminent death, Louis XIII decided to put his affairs in order in the spring of 1643, when Louis XIV was four years old. In defiance of custom, which would have made Queen Anne the sole Regent of France, the king decreed that a regency council would rule on his son's behalf, his lack of faith in Queen Anne's political abilities was his primary rationale. He did, make the concession of appointing her head of the council. Louis' relationship with his mother was uncommonly affectionate for the time.
Contemporaries and eyewitnesses claimed. Both were interested in food and theatre, it is likely that Louis developed these interests through his close relationship with his mother; this long-lasting and loving relationship can be evidenced by excerpts in Louis' journal entries, such as: "Nature was responsible for the first knots which tied me to my mother. But attachments formed by shared qualities of the spirit are far more difficult to break than those formed by blood." It was his mother who gave Louis his belief in the absolute and divine power of his monarchical rule. During his childhood, he was taken care of by the governesses Françoise de Lansac and Marie-Catherine de Senecey. In 1646, Nicolas V de Villeroy became the young king's tutor. Louis XIV became friends with Villeroy's young children François de Villeroy, divided his time between the Palais-Royal and the nearby Hotel de Villeroy. On 14 May 1643, with Louis XIII dead, Queen Anne had her husband's will annulled by the Parlement de Paris.
This action made Anne sole Regent of France. Anne exiled some of her husband's ministers, she nominated Brienne as her minister of foreign affairs. Anne nominated Saint Vincent de Paul as her spiritual adviser, which helped her deal with religious policy and the Jansenism question. Anne kept the direction of religious policy in her hand until 1661. Anne wanted to give her son a victorious kingdom, her rationales for choosing Mazarin were his ability and his total dependence on her, at least until 1653 when she was no longer regent. Anne protected Mazarin by arresting and exiling her followers who conspired against him in 1643: the Duke of Beaufort and Marie de Rohan, she left the direction of the daily administration of policy to Cardinal Mazarin. The best example of Anne's statesmanship and the partial change in her heart towards her native Spain is seen in her keeping of one of Richelieu's men, the Chancellor of France Pierre Séguier, in his post. Séguier was the pers
Bears are carnivoran mammals of the family Ursidae. They are classified as doglike carnivorans. Although only eight species of bears are extant, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern Hemisphere and in the Southern Hemisphere. Bears are found on the continents of North America, South America and Asia. Common characteristics of modern bears include large bodies with stocky legs, long snouts, small rounded ears, shaggy hair, plantigrade paws with five nonretractile claws, short tails. While the polar bear is carnivorous, the giant panda feeds entirely on bamboo, the remaining six species are omnivorous with varied diets. With the exception of courting individuals and mothers with their young, bears are solitary animals, they may have an excellent sense of smell. Despite their heavy build and awkward gait, they are adept runners and swimmers. Bears use shelters, such as logs, as their dens. Bears have been hunted since prehistoric times for their fur. With their powerful physical presence, they play a prominent role in the arts and other cultural aspects of various human societies.
In modern times, bears have come under pressure through encroachment on their habitats and illegal trade in bear parts, including the Asian bile bear market. The IUCN lists six bear species as vulnerable or endangered, least concern species, such as the brown bear, are at risk of extirpation in certain countries; the poaching and international trade of these most threatened populations are prohibited, but still ongoing. The English word "bear" comes from Old English bera and belongs to a family of names for the bear in Germanic languages, such as Swedish björn used as a first name; this form is conventionally said to be related to a Proto-Indo-European word for "brown", so that "bear" would mean "the brown one". However, Ringe notes that while this etymology is semantically plausible, a word meaning "brown" of this form cannot be found in Proto-Indo-European, he suggests instead that "bear" is from the Proto-Indo-European word *ǵʰwḗr- ~ *ǵʰwér "wild animal". This terminology for the animal originated as a taboo avoidance term: proto-Germanic tribes replaced their original word for bear—arkto—with this euphemistic expression out of fear that speaking the animal's true name might cause it to appear.
According to author Ralph Keyes, this is the oldest known euphemism. Bear taxon names such as Arctoidea and Helarctos come from the ancient Greek word ἄρκτος, meaning bear, as do the names "arctic" and "antarctic", from the constellation Ursa Major, the "Great Bear", prominent in the northern sky. Bear taxon names such as Ursidae and Ursus come from he-bear/she-bear; the female first name "Ursula" derived from a Christian saint's name, means "little she-bear". In Switzerland, the male first name "Urs" is popular, while the name of the canton and city of Bern is derived from Bär, German for bear; the Germanic name Bernard means "bear-brave", "bear-hardy", or "bold bear". The Old English name Beowulf is a kenning; the family Ursidae is one of nine families in the suborder Caniformia, or "doglike" carnivorans, within the order Carnivora. Bears' closest living relatives are the pinnipeds and musteloids. Modern bears comprise eight species in three subfamilies: Ailuropodinae and Ursinae. Nuclear chromosome analysis show that the karyotype of the six ursine bears is nearly identical, with each having 74 chromosomes, whereas the giant panda has 42 chromosomes and the spectacled bear 52.
These smaller numbers can be explained by the fusing of some chromosomes, the banding patterns on these match those of the ursine species, but differ from those of procyonids, which supports the inclusion of these two species in Ursidae rather than in Procyonidae, where they had been placed by some earlier authorities. The earliest members of Ursidae belong to the extinct subfamily Amphicynodontinae, including Parictis and the younger Allocyon, both from North America; these animals looked different from today's bears, being small and raccoon-like in overall appearance, with diets more similar to that of a badger. Parictis does not appear in Africa until the Miocene, it is unclear whether late-Eocene ursids were present in Eurasia, although faunal exchange across the Bering land bridge may have been possible during a major sea level low stand as early as the late Eocene and continuing into the early Oligocene. European genera morphologically similar to Allocyon, to the much younger American Kolponomos, are known from the Oligocene, including Amphicticeps and Amphicynodon.
There has been various morphological evidence linking amphicynodontines with pinnipeds, as both groups were semi-aquatic, otter-like mammals. In addition to the support of the pinniped–amphicynodontine clade, other morphological and some molecular evidence supports bears being the closet living relatives to pinnipeds; the raccoon-sized, dog-like Cephalogale is the oldest-known member of the subfamily Hemicyoninae, which first appeared during the middle Oligocene in Eurasia about 30 Mya
William the Conqueror
William I known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first Norman King of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087. A descendant of Rollo, he was Duke of Normandy from 1035 onward. After a long struggle to establish his power, by 1060 his hold on Normandy was secure, he launched the Norman conquest of England six years later; the rest of his life was marked by struggles to consolidate his hold over England and his continental lands and by difficulties with his eldest son. William was the son of Duke of Normandy, by Robert's mistress Herleva, his illegitimate status and his youth caused some difficulties for him after he succeeded his father, as did the anarchy that plagued the first years of his rule. During his childhood and adolescence, members of the Norman aristocracy battled each other, both for control of the child duke and for their own ends. In 1047 William was able to quash a rebellion and begin to establish his authority over the duchy, a process, not complete until about 1060.
His marriage in the 1050s to Matilda of Flanders provided him with a powerful ally in the neighbouring county of Flanders. By the time of his marriage, William was able to arrange the appointment of his supporters as bishops and abbots in the Norman church, his consolidation of power allowed him to expand his horizons, by 1062 William secured control of the neighbouring county of Maine. In the 1050s and early 1060s William became a contender for the throne of England held by the childless Edward the Confessor, his first cousin once removed. There were other potential claimants, including the powerful English earl Harold Godwinson, named the next king by Edward on the latter's deathbed in January 1066. William argued that Edward had promised the throne to him and that Harold had sworn to support William's claim. William built a large fleet and invaded England in September 1066, decisively defeating and killing Harold at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066. After further military efforts William was crowned king on Christmas Day 1066, in London.
He made arrangements for the governance of England in early 1067 before returning to Normandy. Several unsuccessful rebellions followed, by 1075 William's hold on England was secure, allowing him to spend the majority of the rest of his reign on the continent. William's final years were marked by difficulties in his continental domains, troubles with his eldest son, threatened invasions of England by the Danes. In 1086 William ordered the compilation of the Domesday Book, a survey listing all the landholdings in England along with their pre-Conquest and current holders. William died in September 1087 while leading a campaign in northern France, was buried in Caen, his reign in England was marked by the construction of castles, the settling of a new Norman nobility on the land, change in the composition of the English clergy. He did not try to integrate his various domains into one empire but instead continued to administer each part separately. William's lands were divided after his death: Normandy went to his eldest son, Robert Curthose, his second surviving son, William Rufus, received England.
Norsemen first began raiding in. Permanent Scandinavian settlement occurred before 911, when Rollo, one of the Viking leaders, King Charles the Simple of France reached an agreement surrendering the county of Rouen to Rollo; the lands around Rouen became the core of the duchy of Normandy. Normandy may have been used as a base when Scandinavian attacks on England were renewed at the end of the 10th century, which would have worsened relations between England and Normandy. In an effort to improve matters, King Æthelred the Unready took Emma of Normandy, sister of Duke Richard II, as his second wife in 1002. Danish raids on England continued, Æthelred sought help from Richard, taking refuge in Normandy in 1013 when King Swein I of Denmark drove Æthelred and his family from England. Swein's death in 1014 allowed Æthelred to return home, but Swein's son Cnut contested Æthelred's return. Æthelred died unexpectedly in 1016, Cnut became king of England. Æthelred and Emma's two sons and Alfred, went into exile in Normandy while their mother, became Cnut's second wife.
After Cnut's death in 1035, the English throne fell to Harold Harefoot, his son by his first wife, while Harthacnut, his son by Emma, became king in Denmark. England remained unstable. Alfred returned to England in 1036 to visit his mother and to challenge Harold as king. One story implicates Earl Godwin of Wessex in Alfred's subsequent death. Emma went into exile in Flanders until Harthacnut became king following Harold's death in 1040, his half-brother Edward followed Harthacnut to England. William was born in 1027 or 1028 at Falaise, Duchy of Normandy, most towards the end of 1028, he was the only son of Duke Robert I, son of Duke Richard II. His mother, was the daughter of Fulbert of Falaise, she was a member of the ducal household, but did not marry Robert. Instead, she married Herluin de Conteville, with whom she had two sons – Odo of Bayeux and Robert, Count of Mortain – and a daughter whose name is unknown. One of Herleva's brothers, became a supporter and protector of William during his minority.
Robert had a daughter, Adelaide, by another mistress. Robert became Duke of Normandy on 6 August 1027, succeeding his elder brother Richard III, who had only succeeded to the title the previous year. Robert and his brother had been at odds over the succession, Richard's death
A lynx is any of the four species within the medium-sized wild cat genus Lynx. The name lynx originated in Middle English via Latin from the Greek word λύγξ, derived from the Indo-European root leuk- in reference to the luminescence of its reflective eyes. Two other cats that are sometimes called lynxes, the caracal and the jungle cat, are not members of the genus Lynx. Lynx have a short tail, characteristic tufts of black hair on the tips of their ears, padded paws for walking on snow and long whiskers on the face. Under their neck they have a ruff which has black bars resembling a bow tie, although this is not visible. Body colour varies from medium brown to goldish to beige-white, is marked with dark brown spots on the limbs. All species of lynx have white fur on their chests, bellies and on the insides of their legs, fur, an extension of the chest and belly fur; the lynx's colouring, fur length and paw size vary according to the climate in their range. In the Southwestern United States, they are short-haired, dark in colour and their paws are smaller and less padded.
As climates get colder and more northerly, lynx have progressively thicker fur, lighter colour, their paws are larger and more padded to adapt to the snow. Their paws may be larger than foot; the smallest species are the bobcat and the Canada lynx, while the largest is the Eurasian lynx, with considerable variations within species. The four living species of the genus Lynx are believed to have evolved from the "Issoire lynx", which lived in Europe and Africa during the late Pliocene to early Pleistocene; the Pliocene felid Felis rexroadensis from North America has been proposed as an earlier ancestor. Of the four lynx species, the Eurasian lynx is the largest in size, it is native to European, Central Asian, Siberian forests. While its conservation status has been classified as "least concern", populations of Eurasian lynx have been reduced or extirpated from Europe, where it is now being reintroduced; the Eurasian lynx is the third largest predator in Europe after the grey wolf. It is consuming about one or two kilograms of meat every day.
The Eurasian lynx is one of the widest-ranging. During the summer, the Eurasian lynx has a short, reddish or brown coat, replaced by a much thicker silver-grey to greyish-brown coat during winter; the lynx hunts by stalking and jumping on its prey, helped by the rugged, forested country in which it resides. A favorite prey for the lynx in its woodland habitat is roe deer, it will feed however on whatever animal appears easiest, as it is an opportunistic predator much like its cousins. The Canada lynx, or Canadian lynx, is a North American felid that ranges in forest and tundra regions across Canada and into Alaska, as well as some parts of the northern United States; the Canadian lynx ranged from Alaska across Canada and into many of the northern U. S. states. In the eastern states, it resided in the transition zone in which boreal coniferous forests yielded to deciduous forests. By 2010, after an 11-year effort, it had been reintroduced into Colorado, where it had become extirpated in the 1970s.
In 2000, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated the Canada lynx a threatened species in the lower 48 states; the Canada lynx is swimmer. It has a thick coat and broad paws, is twice as effective as the bobcat at supporting its weight on the snow; the Canada lynx feeds exclusively on snowshoe hares. It will hunt medium-sized mammals and birds if hare numbers fall; the Iberian lynx is an endangered species native to the Iberian Peninsula in Southern Europe. It was the most endangered cat species in the world, but conservation efforts have changed its status from critical to endangered. According to the Portuguese conservation group SOS Lynx, if this species dies out, it will be the first feline extinction since the Smilodon 10,000 years ago; the species used to be classified as a subspecies of the Eurasian lynx, but is now considered a separate species. Both species occurred together in central Europe in the Pleistocene epoch, being separated by habitat choice; the Iberian lynx is believed to have evolved from Lynx issiodorensis.
In 2004, a Spanish government survey showed just two isolated breeding populations of Iberian lynx in southern Spain, totaling about 100 lynx. An agreement signed in 2003 by the Spanish Environment Ministry and the Andalusian Environment Council seeks to breed the Iberian lynx in captivity. Three Iberian lynx cubs were born as part of the Spanish program in 2005, at the Centro El Acebuche facility in Doñana National Park; as a result of the Spanish government program and efforts by others, the Iberian lynx "has recovered from the brink of extinction". The IUCN reassessed the species from "critically endangered" to "endangered" in 2015. A 2014 census of the species showed 327 animals in Andalucia in the "reintroduction areas" of Sierra Morena and Montes de Toledo, the Matachel Valley, the Guadiana Valley; the bobcat is a North American wild cat. With 12 recognized subspecies, the bobcat is common throughout southern Canada, the continental United
Birds known as Aves, are a group of endothermic vertebrates, characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, a strong yet lightweight skeleton. Birds range in size from the 5 cm bee hummingbird to the 2.75 m ostrich. They rank as the world's most numerically-successful class of tetrapods, with ten thousand living species, more than half of these being passerines, sometimes known as perching birds. Birds have wings which are less developed depending on the species. Wings, which evolved from forelimbs, gave birds the ability to fly, although further evolution has led to the loss of flight in flightless birds, including ratites and diverse endemic island species of birds; the digestive and respiratory systems of birds are uniquely adapted for flight. Some bird species of aquatic environments seabirds and some waterbirds, have further evolved for swimming; the fossil record demonstrates that birds are modern feathered dinosaurs, having evolved from earlier feathered dinosaurs within the theropod group, which are traditionally placed within the saurischian dinosaurs.
The closest living relatives of birds are the crocodilians. Primitive bird-like dinosaurs that lie outside class Aves proper, in the broader group Avialae, have been found dating back to the mid-Jurassic period, around 170 million years ago. Many of these early "stem-birds", such as Archaeopteryx, were not yet capable of powered flight, many retained primitive characteristics like toothy jaws in place of beaks, long bony tails. DNA-based evidence finds that birds diversified around the time of the Cretaceous–Palaeogene extinction event 66 million years ago, which killed off the pterosaurs and all the non-avian dinosaur lineages, but birds those in the southern continents, survived this event and migrated to other parts of the world while diversifying during periods of global cooling. This makes them the sole surviving dinosaurs according to cladistics; some birds corvids and parrots, are among the most intelligent animals. Many species annually migrate great distances. Birds are social, communicating with visual signals and bird songs, participating in such social behaviours as cooperative breeding and hunting and mobbing of predators.
The vast majority of bird species are monogamous for one breeding season at a time, sometimes for years, but for life. Other species have breeding systems that are polygynous or polyandrous. Birds produce offspring by laying eggs, they are laid in a nest and incubated by the parents. Most birds have an extended period of parental care after hatching; some birds, such as hens, lay eggs when not fertilised, though unfertilised eggs do not produce offspring. Many species of birds are economically important as food for human consumption and raw material in manufacturing, with domesticated and undomesticated birds being important sources of eggs and feathers. Songbirds and other species are popular as pets. Guano is harvested for use as a fertiliser. Birds prominently figure throughout human culture. About 120–130 species have become extinct due to human activity since the 17th century, hundreds more before then. Human activity threatens about 1,200 bird species with extinction, though efforts are underway to protect them.
Recreational birdwatching is an important part of the ecotourism industry. The first classification of birds was developed by Francis Willughby and John Ray in their 1676 volume Ornithologiae. Carl Linnaeus modified that work in 1758 to devise the taxonomic classification system in use. Birds are categorised as the biological class Aves in Linnaean taxonomy. Phylogenetic taxonomy places Aves in the dinosaur clade Theropoda. Aves and a sister group, the clade Crocodilia, contain the only living representatives of the reptile clade Archosauria. During the late 1990s, Aves was most defined phylogenetically as all descendants of the most recent common ancestor of modern birds and Archaeopteryx lithographica. However, an earlier definition proposed by Jacques Gauthier gained wide currency in the 21st century, is used by many scientists including adherents of the Phylocode system. Gauthier defined Aves to include only the crown group of the set of modern birds; this was done by excluding most groups known only from fossils, assigning them, instead, to the Avialae, in part to avoid the uncertainties about the placement of Archaeopteryx in relation to animals traditionally thought of as theropod dinosaurs.
Gauthier identified four different definitions for the same biological name "Aves", a problem. Gauthier proposed to reserve the term Aves only for the crown group consisting of the last common ancestor of all living birds and all of its descendants, which corresponds to meaning number 4 below, he assigned other names to the other groups. Aves can mean all archosaurs closer to birds than to crocodiles Aves can mean those advanced archosaurs with feathers Aves can mean those feathered dinosaurs that fly Aves can mean the last common ancestor of all the living birds and all of its descendants (a "c
Palermo is a city of Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Metropolitan City of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence. Palermo is located in the northwest of the island of Sicily, right by the Gulf of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea; the city was founded in 734 BC by the Phoenicians as Ziz. Palermo became a possession of Carthage. Two Greek colonies were established, known collectively as Panormos or "All-Port"; as Panormus, the town became part of Empire for over a thousand years. From 831 to 1072 the city was under Arab rule during the Emirate of Sicily when the city first became a capital; the Arabs shifted the Greek name into Bal ` the root for Palermo's present-day name. Following the Norman reconquest, Palermo became the capital of a new kingdom, the Kingdom of Sicily and the capital of the Holy Roman Empire under Emperor Frederick II and King Conrad IV; the population of Palermo urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 855,285, while its metropolitan area is the fifth most populated in Italy with around 1.2 million people.
In the central area, the city has a population of around 676,000 people. The inhabitants are known as Palermitani or, panormiti; the languages spoken by its inhabitants are the Italian language and the Palermitano dialect of the Sicilian language. Palermo is Sicily's cultural and tourism capital, it is a city rich in history, art and food. Numerous tourists are attracted to the city for its good Mediterranean weather, its renowned gastronomy and restaurants, its Romanesque and Baroque churches and buildings, its nightlife and music. Palermo is the main Sicilian industrial and commercial center: the main industrial sectors include tourism, services and agriculture. Palermo has an international airport, a significant underground economy. In fact, for cultural and economic reasons, Palermo was one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean and is now among the top tourist destinations in both Italy and Europe, it is the main seat of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale.
The city is going through careful redevelopment, preparing to become one of the major cities of the Euro-Mediterranean area. Roman Catholicism is important in Palermitano culture; the Patron Saint of Palermo is Santa Rosalia. The area attracts significant numbers of tourists each year and is known for its colourful fruit and fish markets at the heart of Palermo, known as Vucciria, Ballarò and Capo. Palermo lies in a basin, formed by the Papireto and Oreto rivers; the basin was named the Conca d'Oro by the Arabs in the 9th century. The city is surrounded by a mountain range, named after the city itself; these mountains face the Tyrrhenian Sea. Palermo is home to a natural port and offers excellent views to the sea from Monte Pellegrino. Palermo experiences a hot-summer subtropical Mediterranean climate, mild with moderate seasonality. Summers are long and dry due to the domination of subtropical high pressure system, while winters experience moderate temperatures and changeable, rainy weather due to the polar front.
Temperatures in autumn and spring are mild. Palermo is one of the warmest cities in Europe, with an average annual air temperature of 18.3 °C, it's one of the warmest cities in Italy. It receives 2,530 hours of sunshine per year. Snow is a rare occurrence having snowed about a dozen times since 1945. Since the 1940s to nowadays there have been at least five times when considerable snowfall has occurred. In 1949 and in 1956, when the minimum temperature went down to 0 °C, the city was blanketed by some centimetres of snow. Snowfalls occurred in 1981, 1986, 1999 and 2014; the average annual temperature of the sea is above 19 °C. In the period from November to May, the average sea temperature exceeds 18 °C and in the period from June to October, the average sea temperature exceeds 21 °C. Palermo is surrounded by mountains; some districts of the city are divided by the mountains themselves. It was difficult to reach the inner part of Sicily from the city because of the mounts; the tallest peak of the range is La Pizzuta, about 1,333 metres high.
However the most important mount is Monte Pellegrino, geographically separated from the rest of the range by a plain. The mount lies right in front of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Monte Pellegrino's cliff was described in the 19th century by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, as "the most beautiful promontory in the world", in his essay "Italian Journey". Today both the Kemonia are covered up by buildings. However, the shape of the former watercourses can still be recognised today, because the streets that were built on them follow their shapes. Today the only waterway not drained yet is the Oreto river that divides the downtown of the city from the western uptown and the industrial districts. In the basins there were, many seasonal torrents that helped formed swampy plains, reclaimed during history.
Germany the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north and the Czech Republic to the east and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to the west. Germany includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,386 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With 83 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous state of Europe after Russia, the most populous state lying in Europe, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is a decentralized country, its capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while Frankfurt serves as its financial capital and has the country's busiest airport. Germany's largest urban area is the Ruhr, with its main centres of Essen; the country's other major cities are Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Dresden, Bremen and Nuremberg. Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity.
A region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period, the Germanic tribes expanded southward. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. After the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, the German Confederation was formed in 1815; the German revolutions of 1848–49 resulted in the Frankfurt Parliament establishing major democratic rights. In 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the revolution of 1918–19, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic; the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 led to the establishment of a dictatorship, the annexation of Austria, World War II, the Holocaust. After the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, Austria was re-established as an independent country and two new German states were founded: West Germany, formed from the American and French occupation zones, East Germany, formed from the Soviet occupation zone.
Following the Revolutions of 1989 that ended communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe, the country was reunified on 3 October 1990. Today, the sovereign state of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor, it is a great power with a strong economy. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods; as a developed country with a high standard of living, it upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection, a tuition-free university education. The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993, it is part of the Schengen Area and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G7, the G20, the OECD. Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential and successful artists, musicians, film people, entrepreneurs, scientists and inventors.
Germany has a large number of World Heritage sites and is among the top tourism destinations in the world. The English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine; the German term Deutschland diutisciu land is derived from deutsch, descended from Old High German diutisc "popular" used to distinguish the language of the common people from Latin and its Romance descendants. This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz "popular", derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂- "people", from which the word Teutons originates; the discovery of the Mauer 1 mandible shows that ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete hunting weapons found anywhere in the world were discovered in a coal mine in Schöningen between 1994 and 1998 where eight 380,000-year-old wooden javelins of 1.82 to 2.25 m length were unearthed. The Neander Valley was the location where the first non-modern human fossil was discovered.
The Neanderthal 1 fossils are known to be 40,000 years old. Evidence of modern humans dated, has been found in caves in the Swabian Jura near Ulm; the finds included 42,000-year-old bird bone and mammoth ivory flutes which are the oldest musical instruments found, the 40,000-year-old Ice Age Lion Man, the oldest uncontested figurative art discovered, the 35,000-year-old Venus of Hohle Fels, the oldest uncontested human figurative art discovered. The Nebra sky disk is a bronze artefact created during the European Bronze Age attributed to a site near Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt, it is part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme. The Germanic tribes are thought to date from the Pre-Roman Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and north Germany, they expanded south and west from the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well