The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich of Russia
Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich of Russia was the second son of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia and younger brother of Tsar Alexander II. During the reign of Alexander II, Konstantin was an admiral of the Russian fleet and reformed the Russian Navy, he was an instrumental figure in the emancipation of the serfs. He was less fortunate as viceroy of Poland and had to be recalled to Russia where he was attacked for his liberalism. After the assassination of his brother Alexander II in 1881, Konstantin fell from favour; the new tsar, Alexander III, his nephew, opposed Konstantin's liberal ideas and stripped him of all his governmental positions. His retirement was marked with personal family setbacks. After suffering a stroke, he spent his last years as an invalid. Konstantin was born in St. Petersburg, the second son and fifth child of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia and Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, his parents were happy to have a second son after nine years of having only daughters. Nicholas I and his wife were devoted to each other and to their children, providing an excellent education for them.
The Imperial children were kept under female supervision until they were seven. However, by the time he was five Konstantin had become too willful and difficult for a governess to handle and his father appointed a male tutor for him. Nicholas I intended that Konstantin would become Admiral General of the Russian Fleet and with this in mind chose Fyodor Litke as tutor for his son. Litke, who had circumnavigated the globe at the age of twenty, was a brash and bold man, unafraid of controversy or offense, he passed these qualities along to his student, he trained the boy in naval sciences and filled his head with tales of the sea, gaining the friendship of his pupil for life. Languages were an important part of Konstantin's education; as he grew older, his lessons increased in length and complexity to encompass mathematics, science and government administration. There were early military lessons and drills. Konstantin enjoyed music, learning to play the piano and cello, he had great appreciation for the arts.
He became an enthusiastic reader and his fascination with Homer led him to translate the Odyssey from German. In 1835, Konstantin accompanied his parents to Germany and from age eight onwards was taught to keep a diary; when he was just eight years old, he was given a small yacht, which he would sail between Petergof and Kronstadt, spending his days at sea and returning home at night. In 1836, accompanied by Litke, he embarked on a lengthy sailing expedition and he was given command of the Russian frigate Hercules under Litke's direction. During his training Konstantin was treated like all other naval cadets to the point of his title of Grand Duke being dispensed with, he was placed on watch duty at midnight as well as in rain and storms. At the age of sixteen, Konstantin was promoted to the rank of captain and served as commander of the frigate Ulyses, visiting various ports along the Gulf of Finland and embarking on a southern tour that included the Mediterranean; the encouragement and guidance of his aunt, Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna, was another important influence in Konstantin's education.
Elena took him under her wing, broadening his taste in literature and music and introducing him to the latest scientific ideas. She had a big influence in her nephew's political views. Under Litke's influence, Konstantin began his forays into official life, taking on patronage of the new Imperial Russian Geographical Society; the Geographical Society was subordinate to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, home to a conspicuous number of liberal bureaucrats including Nikolay Milyutin. The male members of the Romanov family were famous for their good looks and their height, but Konstantin was rather short and ugly, he was described by one observer: " His complexion was sallow, the color of his hair was rather neutral, resembled the sand of the seashore. His eyes were gray and half closed and an enormous wooden looking nose took the place of his father's Grecian outline", he had a loud voice, imposing brusque manners. With a quick temper, Konstantin was a difficult man and unpleasant. In 1846 Konstantin's sister, Grand Duchess Olga, married Crown Prince Charles of Württemberg.
He went with her to Stuttgart he continued to Altenburg to be introduced to Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg. His parents had arranged the meeting thinking. Alexandra was strikingly beautiful and slim and Konstantin was eager to marry her. "I don't know. It is as if I am a new person. Just one thought moves me, just one image fills my eyes: forever and only she, my angel, my universe. I do think I’m in love. However, what can it mean? I've only known her a few hours and I'm up to my ears in Passion". Konstantin was Alexandra three years younger. On 12 October 1847, she arrived in Russia. In February she converted to Russian Orthodoxy, taking the name of Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna, they were married six months on 11 September 1848 in the Winter Palace. Both were musical: he played the cello and she the piano, they seem to have been a good match. For the first years of their marriage, they were a devoted couple, starting their married life happily. In the following years, they had six children.
The couple lived in some of the most luxurious palaces of the Empire: Pavlovsk and the Marbl
Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time. General definitions of music include common elements such as pitch, rhythm and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. Different styles or types of music may de-emphasize or omit some of these elements. Music is performed with a vast range of instruments and vocal techniques ranging from singing to rapping; the word derives from Greek μουσική. See glossary of musical terminology. In its most general form, the activities describing music as an art form or cultural activity include the creation of works of music, the criticism of music, the study of the history of music, the aesthetic examination of music. Ancient Greek and Indian philosophers defined music as tones ordered horizontally as melodies and vertically as harmonies. Common sayings such as "the harmony of the spheres" and "it is music to my ears" point to the notion that music is ordered and pleasant to listen to. However, 20th-century composer John Cage thought that any sound can be music, for example, "There is no noise, only sound."The creation, performance and the definition of music vary according to culture and social context.
Indeed, throughout history, some new forms or styles of music have been criticized as "not being music", including Beethoven's Grosse Fuge string quartet in 1825, early jazz in the beginning of the 1900s and hardcore punk in the 1980s. There are many types of music, including popular music, traditional music, art music, music written for religious ceremonies and work songs such as chanteys. Music ranges from organized compositions–such as Classical music symphonies from the 1700s and 1800s, through to spontaneously played improvisational music such as jazz, avant-garde styles of chance-based contemporary music from the 20th and 21st centuries. Music can be divided into genres and genres can be further divided into subgenres, although the dividing lines and relationships between music genres are subtle, sometimes open to personal interpretation, controversial. For example, it can be hard to draw the line between heavy metal. Within the arts, music may be classified as a fine art or as an auditory art.
Music may be played or sung and heard live at a rock concert or orchestra performance, heard live as part of a dramatic work, or it may be recorded and listened to on a radio, MP3 player, CD player, smartphone or as film score or TV show. In many cultures, music is an important part of people's way of life, as it plays a key role in religious rituals, rite of passage ceremonies, social activities and cultural activities ranging from amateur karaoke singing to playing in an amateur funk band or singing in a community choir. People may make music as a hobby, like a teen playing cello in a youth orchestra, or work as a professional musician or singer; the music industry includes the individuals who create new songs and musical pieces, individuals who perform music, individuals who record music, individuals who organize concert tours, individuals who sell recordings, sheet music, scores to customers. The word derives from Greek μουσική. In Greek mythology, the nine Muses were the goddesses who inspired literature and the arts and who were the source of the knowledge embodied in the poetry, song-lyrics, myths in the Greek culture.
According to the Online Etymological Dictionary, the term "music" is derived from "mid-13c. Musike, from Old French musique and directly from Latin musica "the art of music," including poetry." This is derived from the "... Greek mousike " of the Muses," from fem. of mousikos "pertaining to the Muses," from Mousa "Muse". Modern spelling from 1630s. In classical Greece, any art in which the Muses presided, but music and lyric poetry." Music is composed and performed for many purposes, ranging from aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, or as an entertainment product for the marketplace. When music was only available through sheet music scores, such as during the Classical and Romantic eras, music lovers would buy the sheet music of their favourite pieces and songs so that they could perform them at home on the piano. With the advent of sound recording, records of popular songs, rather than sheet music became the dominant way that music lovers would enjoy their favourite songs. With the advent of home tape recorders in the 1980s and digital music in the 1990s, music lovers could make tapes or playlists of their favourite songs and take them with them on a portable cassette player or MP3 player.
Some music lovers create mix tapes of their favorite songs, which serve as a "self-portrait, a gesture of friendship, prescription for an ideal party... an environment consisting of what is most ardently loved."Amateur musicians can compose or perf
Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna of Russia
Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna of Russia was the youngest daughter and fourth child of Tsar Nicholas I, Emperor of Russia, his wife, Princess Charlotte of Prussia. She was a younger sister of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, she was the namesake of her paternal aunt, Grand Duchess Alexandra Pavlovna, who died in childbirth along with her stillborn daughter in 1801, but in the family she was known by her affectionate nickname, "Adini". According to her sister Olga's memoirs, Alexandra had inherited her mother's "Prussian look", it was said that she resembled her late maternal grandmother, Queen Louise of Prussia. Nicholas affectionately spoke of Adini as "... a little moppet, but sweet". Alexandra was famous in Saint Petersburg society for both her lively personality, she was the musician in the family. A serious student of vocal music, she was talented enough to qualify for lessons from the famous soprano Henriette Sontag. On 28 January 1844, Alexandra married Prince Frederick William of Hesse in St. Petersburg.
Her husband was the only son of Princess Louise Charlotte of Denmark. "Fritz", as he was called, had come to St. Petersburg as a prospective bridegroom for Olga, but fell in love with Adini instead on the first evening he spent with the family. Although Olga was the elder daughter and found Fritz to be an engaging young man, she graciously stepped aside in favour of her sister, chaperoned the couple when they wanted to spend time together away from the prying eyes of the court; the emperor and empress gave their permission for Alexandra and Fritz to be married. Alexandra became acutely ill with tuberculosis shortly before her wedding, this complicated the pregnancy which soon followed, she was never well enough to take up her new position with her husband. They stayed in St. Petersburg, where her health declined, she went into labor prematurely, three months before the child was due, gave birth to a son, Wilhelm. The infant died shortly after he was born, Alexandra died the same day, she was the first of her parents' children to die.
Her parents were devastated and their grief would last until the end of their lives. She was buried at the Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, her son was buried in Rumpenheim. Nine years Fritz married Adini's first cousin, Princess Anna of Prussia, as his second wife, he became head of the House of Hesse-Kassel. Although they had six children together and Anna were never close, it is speculated that one reason was because Fritz was unable to overcome his grief for his first wife. In the gardens of the Petergof palace near Saint Petersburg there is a memorial bench with a small sculpture bust of the Grand Duchess, her rooms there have been preserved. Six sheaves of wheat made of diamonds, which came to Hesse on one of the gowns in Alexandra's trousseau, were transformed into a tiara by Anna around 1900; this tiara is now the traditional wedding tiara of the Hessian princely family, was last worn by Floria of Faber-Castell when in 2003, she married Donatus, Hereditary Prince of Hesse, Adini's husband's great-great grandson by his second marriage.
Hesse: A Princely German Collection. Catalog of exhibition at the Portland Art Museum, 2005. John E. Buchanan, Jr. Director, The Marilyn H. and Dr. Robert B. Pamplin, Jr. Collection. Olga, Queen of Wuerttemberg. Traum der Jugend goldener Stern. Günther Neske Verlag, 1955
Franz Xaver Winterhalter
Franz Xaver Winterhalter was a German painter and lithographer, known for his portraits of royalty in the mid-19th century. His name has become associated with fashionable court portraiture. Among his best known works are Empress Eugénie Surrounded by her Ladies in Waiting and the portraits he made of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Franz Xaver Winterhalter was born in the small village of Menzenschwand, in Germany's Black Forest in the Electorate of Baden, on 20 April 1805, he was the sixth child of Fidel Winterhalter, a farmer and resin producer in the village, his wife Eva Meyer, a member of a long established Menzenschwand family. His father was a powerful influence in his life. Of the eight brothers and sisters, only four survived infancy. Throughout his life Franz Xaver remained close to his family, in particular to his brother Hermann, a painter. After attending school at a Benedictine monastery in St. Blasien, Winterhalter left Menzenschwand in 1818 at the age of 13 to study drawing and engraving.
He trained as a draughtsman and lithographer in the workshop of Karl Ludwig Schüler in Freiburg im Breisgau. In 1823, at the age of 18, he went to Munich, sponsored by the industrialist Baron von Eichtal. In 1825, he was granted a stipend by Ludwig I, Grand Duke of Baden and began a course of study at the Academy of Arts in Munich with Peter von Cornelius, whose academic methods made him uncomfortable. Winterhalter found a more congenial mentor in the fashionable portraitist Joseph Karl Stieler. During this time, he supported himself working as lithographer. Winterhalter entered court circles when in 1828 he became drawing master to Sophie Margravine of Baden, at Karlsruhe, his opportunity to establish himself beyond southern Germany came in 1832 when he was able to travel to Italy, 1833–1834, with the support of Grand Duke Leopold of Baden. In Rome he composed romantic genre scenes in the manner of Louis Léopold Robert and attached himself to the circle of the director of the French Academy, Horace Vernet.
On his return to Karlsruhe he painted portraits of the Grand Duke Leopold of Baden and his wife, was appointed painter to the grand-ducal court. He left Baden to move to France, where his Italian genre scene Il dolce Farniente attracted notice at the Salon of 1836. Il Decameron a year was praised. In the Salon of 1838 he exhibited a portrait of the Prince of Wagram with his young daughter, his career as a portrait painter was soon secured when in the same year he painted Louise Marie of Orleans, Queen of the Belgians, her son. It was through this painting that Winterhalter came to the notice of Maria Amalia of the Two Sicilies, Queen of the French, mother of the Queen of the Belgians. In Paris, Winterhalter became fashionable, he was appointed court painter of Louis-Philippe, the king of the French, who commissioned him to paint individual portraits of his large family. Winterhalter would execute more than thirty commissions for him; this success earned the painter the reputation of a specialist in dynastic and aristocratic portraiture, skilled in combining likeness with flattery and enlivening official pomp with modern fashion.
However, Winterhalter's reputation in artistic circles suffered. The critics, who had praised his debut in the salon of 1836, dismissed him as a painter who could not be taken seriously; this attitude persisted throughout Winterhalter's career, condemning his work to a category of his own in the hierarchy of painting. Winterhalter himself regarded his first royal commissions as a temporary intermission before returning to subject painting and the field of academic respectability, but he was a victim of his own success, for the rest of his life he worked exclusively as a portrait painter, his success in this field made him rich. Winterhalter became an international celebrity enjoying Royal patronage. Among his many regal sitters was Queen Victoria. Winterhalter first visited England in 1842, returned several times to paint Victoria, Prince Albert and their growing family, painting at least 120 works for them, a large number of which remain in the Royal Collection, on display to the public at Buckingham Palace and other royal residences.
Winterhalter painted a few portraits of the aristocracy in England members of court circles. The fall of Louis-Philippe in 1848 did not affect the painter's reputation. Winterhalter worked in Belgium and England. Persistence saw. Paris remained his home until a couple of years before his death. A halt in portrait commissions in France allowed him to return to subject painting with Florinda, a joyous celebration of female beauty inspired by a Spanish legend. In the same year his marriage proposal was rejected, Winterhalter remained a bachelor committed to his work. After the accession of Napoleon III, his popularity grew. From on, under the Second Empire, Winterhalter became the chief portraitist of the imperial family and court of France; the beautiful French Empress Eugénie became a favorite sitter, she treated him generously. In 1855 Winterhalter painted his masterpiece: The Empress Eugénie Surrounded by her Ladies in Waiting, he set the French Empress in a pastoral setting gathering flowers in a harmonious circle with her ladies in waiting.
The painting was acclaimed, exhibited in the universal exposition in 1855. It remains Winterhalter's most famous work. In 1852, he went to Spain to paint Queen Isabella II with
Maria Feodorovna (Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg)
Maria Feodorovna was Empress consort of Russia as the second wife of Tsar Paul I. Born Duchess Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg, she was a daughter of Friedrich II Eugen, Duke of Württemberg and his wife, Friederike Dorothea of Brandenburg-Schwedt, she belonged to a junior branch of the House of Württemberg and grew up in Montbéliard receiving an excellent education for her time and station. In 1776, when Grand Duke Paul, became a widower, Sophie Dorothea was chosen by Frederick II of Prussia, her maternal great uncle, by Empress Catherine II of Russia, as the ideal candidate to be Paul’s second wife, they met in a state dinner in Berlin and their engagement was arranged. Sophie Dorothea arrived in St Petersburg that September, converted to the Russian Orthodox Church, took the name Maria Feodorovna, she married Paul on 26 September 1776. In spite of her husband's difficult character, Maria Feodorovna made a success of her marriage. During the long reign of her mother-in-law, the Russian Empress, Catherine II, Maria and Paul were excluded from any political influence, as mother and son mistrusted each other.
Maria Feodorovna lost the initial affection Catherine II had for her. Paul and Maria were forced to live in isolation at Gatchina, but they were devoted to each other and had ten children including: Tsar Alexander I, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, Grand Duchess Maria of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Queen Catherine of Wurttemberg and Queen Anna Pavlovna of the Netherlands. In 1796, her husband ascended to the Russian throne and during his four-year reign, Maria Feodorovna had a great and beneficial influence over her husband. On the night of Paul I's assassination, Maria Feodorovna thought to imitate the example of Catherine II and tried to proclaim herself Empress, but did not press her claims. During the reigns of her sons Alexander I and Nicholas I, Maria Feodorovna retired to live at Gatchina and Pavlovsk, but kept the highest female position at court; this custom of precedence of the Dowager Empress over the wife of the reigning monarch was introduced with her and it was unique to the Russian court.
She outshone the wives of Alexander I and Nicholas I as she had considerable influence over her sons. Maria Feodorovna managed all the charitable establishments and enjoyed a considerable income, she was held in great respect by all her children who turned to her for advice. Her death in 1828 was mourned by the imperial family and her successors as Empress consorts regarded her as a role model. Sophie Marie Dorothea Auguste Luise was born in Stettin, Kingdom of Prussia, as a Duchess of Württemberg, she was a daughter of Friedrich II Eugen, Duke of Württemberg and his wife, Friederike Dorothea of Brandenburg-Schwedt. Named after her mother, Sophie Dorothea, as she was known in her family, was the eldest daughter of eight children: five boys and three girls. In 1769, when she was ten years old, her family took up residence in the ancestral castle at Montbéliard an exclave of the Duchy of Württemberg, today part of Franche-Comté, her younger brother, Alexander of Württemberg, was born there. Montbéliard was the seat of the junior branch of the House of Württemberg.
The family's summer residence was situated at Étupes. Duchess Sophie’s education was better than average in the culture-oriented paternal home, she would love the arts all her life. By the age of sixteen, she spoke German, French and Latin; when she turned seventeen, Sophia Dorothea was tall and rosy cheeked with a sunny disposition. She was strong and tender and naive, she was brought up according to French fashion and refinements, as was the custom of that era, but with German bourgeois simplicity. Family virtues were to be valued above all. In 1773, Sophie Dorothea was among the group of German Princesses considered as possible wives of the heir to the Russian throne, the future Tsar Paul I. However, Sophie of Württemberg was not yet fourteen years old at the time, Wilhelmina Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt, a princess of a more appropriate age, was chosen instead. Sophie was engaged to Prince Louis of Hesse, the brother of Tsar Paul’s first wife, but when the Russian heir to the throne became a widower in 1776, Frederick II of Prussia proposed Sophie as the ideal candidate to be Paul's second wife.
Sophie's former fiancé, the Prince of Hesse-Darmstadt, received a monetary compensation when the engagement was broken. Sophie was sixteen years pleased with the prospect of being Empress of Russia; when her mother lamented the unfortunate destiny of some Russian sovereigns, she replied that her only concern was to make her way in her new country and successfully. The Russian Empress, Catherine II, was delighted with the idea; the Princess of Württemberg shared with her not only a similar education, but the same original name and place of birth. Frederick II arranged Sophie was summoned to Berlin, where Paul joined her, they met for the first time at a state dinner given in honor of his arrival in Berlin. Sophie was eager to please; the next day, she wrote a glowing letter to a friend in which she declared that she was "madly in love." Paul was as happy with the young princess as she was with him: "I found my intended to be such as I could have dreamed of," Paul wrote to his mother, "She is tall, intelligent, quick-witted, not at all shy."
Sophie’s first impressions were n
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