Belfast is a city in the United Kingdom, the capital city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast of Ireland. It is second-largest on the island of Ireland, it had a population of 333,871 as of 2015. By the early 19th century, Belfast became a major port, it played a key role in the Industrial Revolution, becoming the biggest linen-producer in the world, earning it the nickname "Linenopolis". By the time it was granted city status in 1888, it was a major centre of Irish linen production, tobacco-processing and rope-making. Shipbuilding was a key industry. Belfast as of 2019 has a major aerospace and missiles industry. Industrialisation and the inward migration it brought made Belfast Ireland's biggest city and it became the capital of Northern Ireland following the Partition of Ireland in 1922, its status as a global industrial centre ended in the decades after the Second World War of 1939–1945. Belfast suffered in the Troubles: in the 1970s and 1980s it was one of the world's most dangerous cities.
However, a survey conducted by a finance company and published in 2016 rated the city as one of the safest within the United Kingdom. Throughout the 21st century, the city has seen a sustained period of calm, free from the intense political violence of former years, has benefitted from substantial economic and commercial growth. Belfast remains a centre for industry, as well as for the arts, higher education and law, is the economic engine of Northern Ireland. Belfast is still a major port, with commercial and industrial docks, including the Harland and Wolff shipyard, dominating the Belfast Lough shoreline, it is served by two airports: George Best Belfast City Airport and Belfast International Airport 15 miles west of the city. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network listed Belfast as a Gamma global city in 2018; the name Belfast is derived from the Irish Béal Feirsde, spelt Béal Feirste. The word béal means "mouth" or "rivermouth" while feirsde/feirste is the genitive singular of fearsaid and refers to a sandbar or tidal ford across a river's mouth.
The name would thus translate as " mouth of the sandbar" or " mouth of the ford". This sandbar was formed at the confluence of two rivers at what is now Donegall Quay: the Lagan, which flows into Belfast Lough, its tributary the Farset; this area was the hub. The Irish name Béal Feirste is shared by a townland in County Mayo, whose name has been anglicised as Belfarsad. An alternative interpretation of the name is "mouth of of the sandbar", an allusion to the River Farset, which flows into the Lagan where the sandbar was located; this interpretation was favoured by John O'Donovan. It seems clear, that the river itself was named after the tidal crossing. In Ulster-Scots, the name of the city has been variously translated as Bilfawst, Bilfaust or Baelfawst, although "Belfast" is used. Although the county borough of Belfast was created when it was granted city status by Queen Victoria in 1888, the city continues to be viewed as straddling County Antrim and County Down; the site of Belfast has been occupied since the Bronze Age.
The Giant's Ring, a 5,000-year-old henge, is located near the city, the remains of Iron Age hill forts can still be seen in the surrounding hills. Belfast remained a small settlement of little importance during the Middle Ages. John de Courcy built a castle on what is now Castle Street in the city centre in the 12th century, but this was on a lesser scale and not as strategically important as Carrickfergus Castle to the north, built by de Courcy in 1177; the O'Neill clan had a presence in the area. In the 14th century, Cloinne Aodha Buidhe, descendants of Aodh Buidhe O'Neill, built Grey Castle at Castlereagh, now in the east of the city. Conn O'Neill of the Clannaboy O'Neills owned vast lands in the area and was the last inhabitant of Grey Castle, one remaining link being the Conn's Water river flowing through east Belfast. Belfast became a substantial settlement in the 17th century after being established as a town by Sir Arthur Chichester, it was settled by Protestant English and Scottish migrants at the time of the Plantation of Ulster.
In 1791, the Society of United Irishmen was founded in Belfast, after Henry Joy McCracken and other prominent Presbyterians from the city invited Theobald Wolfe Tone and Thomas Russell to a meeting, after having read Tone's "Argument on Behalf of the Catholics of Ireland". Evidence of this period of Belfast's growth can still be seen in the oldest areas of the city, known as the Entries. Belfast blossomed as a commercial and industrial centre in the 18th and 19th centuries and became Ireland's pre-eminent industrial city. Industries thrived, including linen, rope-making, heavy engineering and shipbuilding, at the end of the 19th century, Belfast overtook Dublin as the largest city in Ireland; the Harland and Wolff shipyards became one of the largest shipbuilders in the world, employing up to 35,000 workers. In 1886 the city suffered intense riots over the issue of home rule. In 1920–22, Belfast became the capital of the new entity of Northern Ireland as the island of Ireland was partitioned.
The accompanying conflict cost up to 500 lives in Belfast, the bloodiest sectarian strife in the city until the Troubles of the late 1960s onwards. Belfas
Washington, D. C. formally the District of Columbia and referred to as Washington or D. C. is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father; as the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city is one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually; the signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country's East Coast. The U. S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the U. S. Congress, the District is therefore not a part of any state; the states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria.
The City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land ceded by Virginia. Washington had an estimated population of 702,455 as of July 2018, making it the 20th most populous city in the United States. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city's daytime population to more than one million during the workweek. Washington's metropolitan area, the country's sixth largest, had a 2017 estimated population of 6.2 million residents. All three branches of the U. S. federal government are centered in the District: Congress and the U. S. Supreme Court. Washington is home to many national monuments, museums situated on or around the National Mall; the city hosts 177 foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of many international organizations, trade unions, non-profit, lobbying groups, professional associations, including the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization of American States, AARP, the National Geographic Society, the Human Rights Campaign, the International Finance Corporation, the American Red Cross.
A locally elected mayor and a 13‑member council have governed the District since 1973. However, Congress may overturn local laws. D. C. residents elect a non-voting, at-large congressional delegate to the House of Representatives, but the District has no representation in the Senate. The District receives three electoral votes in presidential elections as permitted by the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1961. Various tribes of the Algonquian-speaking Piscataway people inhabited the lands around the Potomac River when Europeans first visited the area in the early 17th century. One group known as the Nacotchtank maintained settlements around the Anacostia River within the present-day District of Columbia. Conflicts with European colonists and neighboring tribes forced the relocation of the Piscataway people, some of whom established a new settlement in 1699 near Point of Rocks, Maryland. In his Federalist No. 43, published January 23, 1788, James Madison argued that the new federal government would need authority over a national capital to provide for its own maintenance and safety.
Five years earlier, a band of unpaid soldiers besieged Congress while its members were meeting in Philadelphia. Known as the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783, the event emphasized the need for the national government not to rely on any state for its own security. Article One, Section Eight, of the Constitution permits the establishment of a "District as may, by cession of particular states, the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States". However, the Constitution does not specify a location for the capital. In what is now known as the Compromise of 1790, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson came to an agreement that the federal government would pay each state's remaining Revolutionary War debts in exchange for establishing the new national capital in the southern United States. On July 9, 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act, which approved the creation of a national capital on the Potomac River; the exact location was to be selected by President George Washington, who signed the bill into law on July 16.
Formed from land donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia, the initial shape of the federal district was a square measuring 10 miles on each side, totaling 100 square miles. Two pre-existing settlements were included in the territory: the port of Georgetown, founded in 1751, the city of Alexandria, founded in 1749. During 1791–92, Andrew Ellicott and several assistants, including a free African American astronomer named Benjamin Banneker, surveyed the borders of the federal district and placed boundary stones at every mile point. Many of the stones are still standing. A new federal city was constructed on the north bank of the Potomac, to the east of Georgetown. On September 9, 1791, the three commissioners overseeing the capital's construction named the city in honor of President Washington; the federal district was named Columbia, a poetic name for the United States in use at that time. Congress held its first session in Washington on November 17, 1800. Congress passed the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801 that organized the District and placed the entire territory under the exclusive control of the federal
Frankfurt is a metropolis and the largest city of the German federal state of Hesse, its 746,878 inhabitants make it the fifth-largest city of Germany after Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne. On the River Main, it forms a continuous conurbation with the neighbouring city of Offenbach am Main, its urban area has a population of 2.3 million. The city is at the centre of the larger Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region, which has a population of 5.5 million and is Germany's second-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr Region. Since the enlargement of the European Union in 2013, the geographic centre of the EU is about 40 km to the east of Frankfurt's central business district. Like France and Franconia, the city is named after the Franks. Frankfurt is the largest city in the Rhine Franconian dialect area. Frankfurt was a city state, the Free City of Frankfurt, for nearly five centuries, was one of the most important cities of the Holy Roman Empire, as a site of imperial coronations, it has been part of the federal state of Hesse since 1945.
A quarter of the population are foreign nationals, including many expatriates. Frankfurt is an alpha world city and a global hub for commerce, education and transportation, it is the site of many European corporate headquarters. Frankfurt Airport is among the world's busiest. Frankfurt is the major financial centre of the European continent, with the headquarters of the European Central Bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange, Deutsche Bank, DZ Bank, KfW, several cloud and fintech startups and other institutes. Automotive and research, consulting and creative industries complement the economic base. Frankfurt's DE-CIX is the world's largest internet exchange point. Messe Frankfurt is one of the world's largest trade fairs. Major fairs include the Frankfurt Motor Show, the world's largest motor show, the Music Fair, the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest book fair. Frankfurt is home to influential educational institutions, including the Goethe University, the UAS, the FUMPA, graduate schools like the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management.
Its renowned cultural venues include the concert hall Alte Oper, Europe's largest English theatre and many museums. Frankfurt's skyline is shaped by some of Europe's tallest skyscrapers; the city is characterised by various green areas and parks, including the central Wallanlagen, the City Forest and two major botanical gardens, the Palmengarten and the University's Botanical Garden. Important is the Frankfurt Zoo. In electronic music, Frankfurt has been a pioneering city since the 1980s, with renowned DJs including Sven Väth, Marc Trauner, Scot Project, Kai Tracid, the clubs Dorian Gray, U60311, Omen and Cocoon. In sports, the city is known as the home of the top tier football club Eintracht Frankfurt, the Löwen Frankfurt ice hockey team, the basketball club Frankfurt Skyliners, the Frankfurt Marathon and the venue of Ironman Germany. Frankfurt is the largest financial centre in continental Europe, it is home to the European Central Bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange and several large commercial banks.
The Frankfurt Stock Exchange is one of the world's largest stock exchanges by market capitalization and accounts for more than 90 percent of the turnover in the German market. In 2010, 63 national and 152 international banks had their registered offices in Frankfurt, including Germany's major banks, notably Deutsche Bank, DZ Bank, KfW and Commerzbank, as well as 41 representative offices of international banks. Frankfurt is considered a global city. Among global cities it was ranked 10th by the Global Power City Index 2011 and 11th by the Global City Competitiveness Index 2012. Among financial centres it was ranked 8th by the International Financial Centers Development Index 2013 and 9th by the Global Financial Centres Index 2013, its central location within Germany and Europe makes Frankfurt a major air and road transport hub. Frankfurt Airport is one of the world's busiest international airports by passenger traffic and the main hub for Germany's flag carrier Lufthansa. Frankfurt Central Station is one of the largest rail stations in Europe and the busiest junction operated by Deutsche Bahn, the German national railway company, with 342 trains a day to domestic and European destinations.
Frankfurter Kreuz, the Autobahn interchange close to the airport, is the most used interchange in the EU, used by 320,000 cars daily. In 2011 human-resource-consulting firm Mercer ranked Frankfurt as seventh in its annual'Quality of Living' survey of cities around the world. According to The Economist cost-of-living survey, Frankfurt is Germany's most expensive city and the world's 10th most expensive. Frankfurt has many high-rise buildings in the city centre, forming the Frankfurt skyline, it is one of the few cities in the European Union to have such a skyline and because of it Germans sometimes refer to Frankfurt as Mainhattan, a portmanteau of the local Main River and Manhattan. The other well known and obvious nickname is Bankfurt. Before World War II the city was globally noted for its unique old town with timber-framed buildings, the largest timber-framed old town in Europe; the Römer area was rebuilt and is popular with visitors and for eve
The Carolingian Empire was a large empire in western and central Europe during the early Middle Ages. It was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty, which had ruled as kings of the Franks since 751 and as kings of the Lombards of Italy from 774. In 800, the Frankish king Charlemagne was crowned emperor in Rome by Pope Leo III in an effort to revive the Roman Empire in the west during a vacancy in the throne of the eastern Roman Empire. After a civil war following the death of Emperor Louis the Pious, the empire was divided into autonomous kingdoms, with one king still recognised as emperor, but with little authority outside his own kingdom; the unity of the empire and the hereditary right of the Carolingians continued to be acknowledged, preceding the Holy Roman Empire, which lasted until 1806. In 884, Charles the Fat reunited all the kingdoms of Francia for the last time, but he died in 888 and the empire split up. With the only remaining legitimate male of the dynasty a child, the nobility elected regional kings from outside the dynasty or, in the case of the eastern kingdom, an illegitimate Carolingian.
The illegitimate line continued to rule in the east until 911, while in the western kingdom the legitimate Carolingian dynasty was restored in 898 and ruled until 987 with an interruption from 922 to 936. The size of the empire at its inception was around 1,112,000 square kilometres, with a population of between 10 and 20 million people. To the south it bordered the Emirate of Córdoba and, after 824, the Kingdom of Pamplona. In southern Italy, the Carolingians' claims to authority were disputed by the Byzantines and the vestiges of the Lombard kingdom in the Principality of Benevento. Use of the term "Carolingian Empire" is a modern convention; the language of official acts in the empire was Latin. The empire was referred to variously as universum regnum, Romanorum sive Francorum imperium, Romanum imperium or imperium christianum. Though Charles Martel chose not to take the title king he was absolute ruler of all of today's continental Western Europe north of the Pyrenees. Only the remaining Saxon realms, which he conquered and the Marca Hispanica south of the Pyrenees were significant additions to the Frankish realms after his death.
Martel was the founder of all the feudal systems and merit system that marked the Carolingian Empire, Europe in general during the Middle Ages, though his son and grandson would gain credit for his innovations. Further, Martel cemented his place in history with his defense of Christian Europe against a Muslim army at the Battle of Tours in 732; the Iberian Saracens had incorporated Berber light horse cavalry with the heavy Arab cavalry to create a formidable army that had never been defeated. Christian European forces, lacked the powerful tool of the stirrup. In this victory, Charles earned the surname Martel. Edward Gibbon, the historian of Rome and its aftermath, called Charles Martel "the paramount prince of his age". Pepin III accepted the nomination as king by Pope Zachary in about 751. Charlemagne's rule began in 768 at Pepin's death, he proceeded to take control of the kingdom following his brother Carloman's death, as the two brothers co-inherited their father's kingdom. Charlemagne was crowned Roman Emperor in the year 800.
The Carolingian Empire during the reign of Charlemagne covered most of Western Europe, as the Roman Empire once had. Unlike the Romans, who ventured to Germania beyond the Rhine only for vengeance after the disaster at Teutoburg Forest, Charlemagne decisively crushed all Germanic resistance and extended his realm to the Elbe, influencing events to the Russian Steppes. Charlemagne's reign was one of near-constant warfare leading many of his campaigns, he seized the Lombard Kingdom in 774, led a failed campaign into Spain in 778, extended his domain into Bavaria in 788, ordered his son Pepin to campaign against the Avars in 795, conquered Saxon territories in wars and rebellions fought from 772 to 804. Prior to the death of Charlemagne, the Empire was divided among various members of the Carolingian dynasty; these included son of Charlemagne, who received Neustria. Pepin died with an illegitimate son, Bernard, in 810, Charles died without heirs in 811. Although Bernard succeeded Pepin as King of Italy, Louis was made co-Emperor in 813, the entire Empire passed to him with Charlemagne's death in the winter of 814.
Louis the Pious had to struggle to maintain control of the Empire. King Bernard of Italy died in 818 in imprisonment after rebelling a year earlier, Italy was brought back into Imperial control. Louis' show of penance for Bernard's death in 822 reduced his prestige as Emperor to the nobility. Meanwhile, in 817 Louis had established three new Carolingian Kingships for his sons from his first marriage: Lothar was made King of Italy and co-Emperor, Pepin was made King of Aquitaine, Louis the German was made King of Bavaria, his attempts in 823 to bring his fourth son, Charles the Bald into the will was marked by the resistance of his eldest sons, the last years of his reign were plagued by civil war. Lothar was stripped of his co
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery; the Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early and Late Middle Ages. Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority and mass migrations of tribes, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages; the large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete.
The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire, Rome's direct continuation, survived in the Eastern Mediterranean and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became admired in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded; the Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty established the Carolingian Empire during the 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, Saracens from the south. During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages.
The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation-states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, by the founding of universities; the theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages. The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine and war, which diminished the population of Europe. Controversy and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.
The Middle Ages is one of the three major periods in the most enduring scheme for analysing European history: classical civilisation, or Antiquity. The "Middle Ages" first appears in Latin in 1469 as media tempestas or "middle season". In early usage, there were many variants, including medium aevum, or "middle age", first recorded in 1604, media saecula, or "middle ages", first recorded in 1625; the alternative term "medieval" derives from medium aevum. Medieval writers divided history into periods such as the "Six Ages" or the "Four Empires", considered their time to be the last before the end of the world; when referring to their own times, they spoke of them as being "modern". In the 1330s, the humanist and poet Petrarch referred to pre-Christian times as antiqua and to the Christian period as nova. Leonardo Bruni was the first historian to use tripartite periodisation in his History of the Florentine People, with a middle period "between the fall of the Roman Empire and the revival of city life sometime in late eleventh and twelfth centuries".
Tripartite periodisation became standard after the 17th-century German historian Christoph Cellarius divided history into three periods: ancient and modern. The most given starting point for the Middle Ages is around 500, with the date of 476 first used by Bruni. Starting dates are sometimes used in the outer parts of Europe. For Europe as a whole, 1500 is considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no universally agreed upon end date. Depending on the context, events such as the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, or the Protestant Reformation in 1517 are sometimes used. English historians use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to mark the end of the period. For Spain, dates used are the death of King Ferdinand II in 1516, the death of Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1504, or the conquest of Granada in 1492. Historians from Romance-speaking countries tend to divide the Middle Ages into two parts: an earlier "High" and late
The Soviet Union the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were centralized; the country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Minsk, Alma-Ata, Novosibirsk, it spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, steppes and mountains; the Soviet Union had its roots in the 1917 October Revolution, when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which had replaced Tsar Nicholas II during World War I. In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by a treaty which legalized the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian and Byelorussian republics that had occurred from 1918. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s.
Stalin committed the state's ideology to Marxism–Leninism and constructed a command economy which led to a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization. During his rule, political paranoia fermented and the Great Purge removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in at least 600,000 deaths. In 1933, a major famine struck the country. Before the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviets signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, after which the USSR invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. In June 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history. Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk; the territories overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Soviet Union.
The post-war division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the United States-led Western Bloc, known as the Cold War. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 denounced Stalin and began the de-Stalinization; the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during Khrushchev's rule, among the many factors that led to his downfall in 1964. In the early 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. In 1985, the last Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost and perestroika, which caused political instability. In 1989, Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist governments; as part of an attempt to prevent the country's dissolution due to rising nationalist and separatist movements, a referendum was held in March 1991, boycotted by some republics, that resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation.
Gorbachev's power was diminished after Russian President Boris Yeltsin's high-profile role in facing down a coup d'état attempted by Communist Party hardliners. In late 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the Soviet Union; the remaining 12 constituent republics emerged as independent post-Soviet states, with the Russian Federation—formerly the Russian SFSR—assuming the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and being recognized as the successor state. The Soviet Union was a powerhouse of many significant technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite, the first humans in space and the first probe to land on another planet, Venus; the country had the largest standing military in the world. The Soviet Union was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states and possessed the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, it was a founding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact.
The word "Soviet" is derived from a Russian word сове́т meaning council, advice, harmony and all deriving from the proto-Slavic verbal stem of vět-iti, related to Slavic věst, English "wise", the root in "ad-vis-or", or the Dutch weten. The word sovietnik means "councillor". A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council". For example, in the Russian Empire the State Council, which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905. During the Georgian Affair, Vladimir Lenin envisioned an expression of Great Russian ethnic chauvinism by Joseph Stalin and his supporters, calling for these nation-states to join Russia as semi-independent parts of a greater union, which he named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia. Stalin resisted the proposal, but accepted it, although with Lenin's agreement changed the name of the newly proposed sta
Phocas was Byzantine Emperor from 602 to 610. The early life of Phocas is unknown, but he rose to prominence in 602, as a leader in the revolt against Emperor Maurice. Phocas captured Constantinople and overthrew Maurice on 23 November 602, declared himself Byzantine Emperor on the same day. Phocas distrusted the elite of Constantinople, therefore installed his relatives in high military positions, brutally purged his opponents. Phocas was an incompetent leader, both of the administration and army, under him the Byzantine Empire was threatened by multiple enemies, with frequent raids in the Balkans from the Avars and Slavs, a Sassanid invasion of the eastern provinces; because of Phocas' incompetence and brutality, the Exarch of Carthage, Heraclius the Elder, rebelled against him. Heraclius the Elder's son, succeeded in taking Constantinople on 5 October 610, executed Phocas on the same day, before declaring himself the Byzantine Emperor. Flavius Phocas' date of birth is unknown; the life of Phocas before his usurpation of the Byzantine Empire's throne is obscure, but it is known that he served as a low-ranking officer under Emperor Maurice.
In 602, the Byzantine army rebelled against Emperor Maurice due to exhaustion and outrage over orders to continue campaigning north of the Danube in winter as well as previous cuts in wages. The army declared Phocas, by a centurion, to be the new emperor, raising him on a shield on 23 November 602. Phocas was crowned the new Emperor by the Patriarch in the church of St John the Baptist at the Hebdomon. Several days afterwards. Maurice fled the city with his sons and Tiberius, but they were soon after captured and executed. Maurice's wife and daughters were put in the monastery of Nea Metanoia and killed. Despite the execution of the previous emperor and his dynastic successors, Phocas remained in a precarious position, which led him to devote his energy to purging enemies and destroying conspiracies; because of this focus, the local resistance he faced all throughout the Byzantine Empire, he was unable to confront foreign attacks on the empire's frontiers. The Avars and Slavs launched numerous raids into the Balkan provinces of the Byzantine Empire, the Sassanian Empire launched an invasion of the eastern provinces of the empire.
The Avars were able to take all land in the Balkans north of Thessalonika. The populations of Christian cities were captured; the Byzantines transferred most of their forces to the eastern front due to the threat from the Persians. The Sassanid Persians had been at peace with Maurice as a result of a treaty they made with him in 591. After Phocas usurped and killed Maurice, the Persians invaded the empire in 603; the Sassanids occupied the eastern provinces, leading the Magister militum per Orientem, Narses, to defect to their side. Phocas swiftly dealt with him, by inviting him to Constantinople under the promise of safe conduct having him burnt alive when he arrived. By 607, the Sassanids had occupied Mesopotamia and much of Asia Minor, as far as the Bosphorus. By the time his reign ended in 610, the Persians had crossed the Euphrates and taken Zenobia. Contemporary accounts describe the Persians as being brutal to the occupied population. The'miracle of St Demetrios' described the carnage: he devil raised the whirlwind of hatred in all the East, Asia and all the lands from there to Constantinople: the factions, no longer content to spill blood in public places, attacked homes, slaughtered women, the aged, the young who were sick.
Phocas was an incompetent administrator, unable to control either the state or the army effectively. Due to his distrust of the bulk of Constantinople's elite, who he had no connection with before becoming emperor, Phocas practised nepotism filling senior military positions with his relatives, he installed: his brother Domentziolus as Magister officiorum in 603. All three remained loyal to Phocas. Of the three known male blood-relatives of Phocas, all three were appointed to senior posts, two in military positions and one in an administrative position. Phocas appointed Priscus, his son-in-law by way of his marriage to Phocas' daughter Domentzia, as Comes excubitorum, the captain of the Excubitors, in 603; when Phocas was Emperor, Byzantine Italy was under continual attack from Lombards, but the Byzantine government spent few resources to aid Italy due to troubles elsewhere. In the entirety of Phocas' reign the only public building built with government money in the city of Rome was a statue of Phocas completed in 608.
When Phocas usurped Maurice, Gregory the Great was bishop of Rome and he praised Phocas as a restorer of liberty. Gregory referred to him as a pious and clement lord, compared his wife Leontia to Marcian's consort Pulcheria. In May 603, portraits of the imperial couple arrived in Rome and were ordered by the Pope to be placed in the oratory of St Caesarius in the imperial palace on the Palatine. Imperial approval was needed in that time to appoint a new Pope, but the approval was delayed