Vodafone Group plc is a British multinational telecommunications conglomerate, with headquarters in London and Newbury, Berkshire. It predominantly operates services in the regions of Asia, Africa and Oceania. Among mobile operator groups globally, Vodafone ranked 4th in the number of mobile customers as of 2018. Vodafone owns and operates networks in 25 countries, has partner networks in 47 further countries, its Vodafone Global Enterprise division provides telecommunications and IT services to corporate clients in 150 countries. Vodafone has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index, it had a market capitalisation of £52.5 billion as of 10 February 2016, the eighth-largest of any company listed on the London Stock Exchange. The company has a secondary listing on NASDAQ; the name Vodafone comes from voice data fone, chosen by the company to "reflect the provision of voice and data services over mobile phones". The evolution of Vodafone started in 1982 with the establishment of the Racal Strategic Radio Ltd subsidiary of Racal Electronics, the UK's largest maker of military radio technology, which formed a joint venture with Millicom called'Racal', which evolved into the present day Vodafone.
In 1980, Ernest Harrison, the chairman of Racal Electronics, agreed to a deal with Lord Weinstock of the General Electric Company to allow Racal to access some of GEC's tactical battlefield radio technology. The head of Racal's military radio division, Gerry Whent, was briefed by Ernest Harrison to drive the company into commercial mobile radio. Whent visited a mobile radio factory run by General Electric in Virginia, USA the same year to understand the commercial use of military radio technology. Jan Stenbeck, head of a growing Swedish conglomerate, set up an American company, Inc. and approached Racal's Whent in July 1982 about bidding jointly for the UK's second cellular radio licence. The two struck a deal giving Racal 60% of the new company, Racal-Millicom and Millicom 40%. Due to UK concerns about foreign ownership, the terms were revised, in December 1982, the Racal-Millicom partnership was awarded the second UK mobile phone network license. Final ownership of Racal-Millicom, Ltd was 80% Racal, with Millicom holding 15% plus royalties and venture firm Hambros Technology Trust holding 5%.
According to the UK Secretary of State for Industry, "the bid submitted by Racal-Millicom Ltd… provided the best prospect for early national coverage by cellular radio."Vodafone was launched on 1 January 1985 under the new name, Racal-Vodafone Ltd, with its first office based in the Courtyard in Newbury and shortly thereafter Racal Strategic Radio was renamed Racal Telecommunications Group Limited. On 29 December 1986, Racal Electronics issued shares to the minority shareholders of Vodafone worth GB£110 million, Vodafone became a owned brand of Racal. On 26 October 1988, Racal Telecom, majority held by Racal Electronics, went public on the London Stock Exchange with 20% of its stock floated; the successful flotation led to a situation where Racal's stake in Racal Telecom was valued more than the whole of Racal Electronics. Under stock market pressure to realise full value for shareholders, Racal demerged Racal Telecom in 1991. On 16 September 1991, Racal Telecom was demerged from Racal Electronics as Vodafone Group, with Gerry Whent as its CEO.
In July 1996, Vodafone acquired the two-thirds of Talkland it did not own for £30.6 million. On 19 November 1996, in a defensive move, Vodafone purchased Peoples Phone for £77 million, a 181 store chain whose customers were overwhelmingly using Vodafone's network. In a similar move the company acquired the 80% of Astec Communications that it did not own, a service provider with 21 stores. In January 1997, Gerald Whent retired and Christopher Gent took over as the CEO; the same year, Vodafone introduced its Speechmark logo, composed of a quotation mark in a circle, with the O's in the Vodafone logotype representing opening and closing quotation marks and suggesting conversation. On 29 June 1999, Vodafone completed its purchase of AirTouch Communications, Inc. and changed its name to Vodafone Airtouch plc. The merged company commenced trading on 30 June 1999; the acquisition gave Vodafone owner of the largest German mobile network. To gain anti-trust approval for the merger, Vodafone sold its 17.2% stake in Mannesmann's German competitor, E-Plus Mobilfunk.
On 21 September 1999, Vodafone agreed to merge its US wireless assets with those of Bell Atlantic Corp to form Verizon Wireless. The merger was completed on 4 April 2000, just a few months prior to Bell Atlantic's merger with GTE to form Verizon Communications, Inc. In November 1999, Vodafone made an unsolicited bid for Mannesmann, rejected. Vodafone's interest in Mannesmann had been increased by the latter purchase of Orange, the UK mobile operator. Chris Gent would say Mannesmann's move into the UK broke a "gentleman's agreement" not to compete in each other's home territory; the hostile takeover provoked strong protest in Germany, a "titanic struggle" which saw Mannesmann resist Vodafone's efforts. However, on 3 February 2000, the Mannesmann board agreed to an increased offer of £112 billion the largest corporate merger ever; the EU approved the merger in April 2000 when Vodafone agreed to divest the'Orange' brand, acquired in May 2000 by France Télécom. On 28 July 2000, the Company reverted to Vodafone Group plc..
On 17 December 2001, Vodafone introduced the concept of "Partner Networks", by signing TDC Mobil of Denmark. The new concept involved the introduction of Vodafone
Europe is a continent located in the Northern Hemisphere and in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south, it comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. Since around 1850, Europe is most considered to be separated from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas and the waterways of the Turkish Straits. Although the term "continent" implies physical geography, the land border is somewhat arbitrary and has been redefined several times since its first conception in classical antiquity; the division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural and ethnic differences which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The geographic border does not follow political boundaries, with Turkey and Kazakhstan being transcontinental countries. A strict application of the Caucasus Mountains boundary places two comparatively small countries and Georgia, in both continents.
Europe covers 2 % of the Earth's surface. Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states of which the Russian Federation is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. Europe had a total population of about 741 million as of 2016; the European climate is affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent at latitudes along which the climate in Asia and North America is severe. Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast. Europe, in particular ancient Greece, was the birthplace of Western civilization; the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD and the subsequent Migration Period marked the end of ancient history and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Renaissance humanism, exploration and science led to the modern era. Since the Age of Discovery started by Portugal and Spain, Europe played a predominant role in global affairs. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers controlled at various times the Americas all of Africa and Oceania and the majority of Asia.
The Age of Enlightenment, the subsequent French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars shaped the continent culturally and economically from the end of the 17th century until the first half of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, gave rise to radical economic and social change in Western Europe and the wider world. Both world wars took place for the most part in Europe, contributing to a decline in Western European dominance in world affairs by the mid-20th century as the Soviet Union and the United States took prominence. During the Cold War, Europe was divided along the Iron Curtain between NATO in the West and the Warsaw Pact in the East, until the revolutions of 1989 and fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1949 the Council of Europe was founded, following a speech by Sir Winston Churchill, with the idea of unifying Europe to achieve common goals, it includes all European states except for Belarus and Vatican City. Further European integration by some states led to the formation of the European Union, a separate political entity that lies between a confederation and a federation.
The EU originated in Western Europe but has been expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The currency of most countries of the European Union, the euro, is the most used among Europeans. In classical Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician princess; the word Europe is derived from her name. The name contains the elements εὐρύς, "wide, broad" and ὤψ "eye, countenance", hence their composite Eurṓpē would mean "wide-gazing" or "broad of aspect". Broad has been an epithet of Earth herself in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion and the poetry devoted to it. There have been attempts to connect Eurṓpē to a Semitic term for "west", this being either Akkadian erebu meaning "to go down, set" or Phoenician'ereb "evening, west", at the origin of Arabic Maghreb and Hebrew ma'arav. Michael A. Barry, professor in Princeton University's Near Eastern Studies Department, finds the mention of the word Ereb on an Assyrian stele with the meaning of "night, sunset", in opposition to Asu " sunrise", i.e. Asia.
The same naming motive according to "cartographic convention" appears in Greek Ἀνατολή. Martin Litchfield West stated that "phonologically, the match between Europa's name and any form of the Semitic word is poor." Next to these hypotheses there is a Proto-Indo-European root *h1regʷos, meaning "darkness", which produced Greek Erebus. Most major world languages use words derived from Europa to refer to the continent. Chinese, for example, uses the word Ōuzhōu. In some Turkic languages the Persian name Frangistan is used casually in referring to much of Europe, besides official names such as Avrupa or Evropa; the prevalent definition of Europe as a geographical term has been in use since the mid-19th century. Europe is taken to be bounded by large bodies of water
Russia the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres, Russia is by far or by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, the ninth most populous, with about 146.77 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77 % of the population live in the European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, China and North Korea, it shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U. S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.
The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus' disintegrated into a number of smaller states; the Grand Duchy of Moscow reunified the surrounding Russian principalities and achieved independence from the Golden Horde. By the 18th century, the nation had expanded through conquest and exploration to become the Russian Empire, the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland on the west to Alaska on the east. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world's first constitutionally socialist state; the Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War.
The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the world's second largest economy, largest standing military in the world and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, twelve independent republics emerged from the USSR: Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the Baltic states regained independence: Estonia, Lithuania, it is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic. Russia's economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2018. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally; the country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
Russia is a great power as well as a regional power and has been characterised as a potential superpower. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and an active global partner of ASEAN, as well as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the G20, the Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Trade Organization, as well as being the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and one of the five members of the Eurasian Economic Union, along with Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan; the name Russia is derived from Rus', a medieval state populated by the East Slavs. However, this proper name became more prominent in the history, the country was called by its inhabitants "Русская Земля", which can be translated as "Russian Land" or "Land of Rus'". In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus' by modern historiography.
The name Rus itself comes from the early medieval Rus' people, Swedish merchants and warriors who relocated from across the Baltic Sea and founded a state centered on Novgorod that became Kievan Rus. An old Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia applied to the western and southern regions of Rus' that were adjacent to Catholic Europe; the current name of the country, Россия, comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Rus', Ρωσσία Rossía—spelled Ρωσία in Modern Greek. The standard way to refer to citizens of Russia is rossiyane in Russian. There are two Russian words which are commonly
Jiangsu is an eastern-central coastal province of the People's Republic of China. It is one of the leading provinces in finance, education and tourism, with its capital in Nanjing. Jiangsu is the third smallest, but the fifth most populous and the most densely populated of the 23 provinces of the People's Republic of China. Jiangsu has the highest GDP per capita of Chinese provinces and second-highest GDP of Chinese provinces, after Guangdong. Jiangsu borders Shandong in the north, Anhui to the west, Zhejiang and Shanghai to the south. Jiangsu has a coastline of over 1,000 kilometres along the Yellow Sea, the Yangtze River passes through the southern part of the province. Since the Sui and Tang dynasties, Jiangsu has been a national economic and commercial center due to the construction of Grand Canal. Cities such as Nanjing, Wuxi and Shanghai are all major Chinese economic hubs. Since the initiation of economic reforms in 1990, Jiangsu has become a focal point for economic development, it is regarded as China's most developed province measured by its Human Development Index.
Jiangsu is home to many of the world's leading exporters of electronic equipment and textiles. It has been China's largest recipient of foreign direct investment since 2006, its 2014 nominal GDP was more than 1 trillion US dollars, the sixth-highest of all country subdivisions. Jiangsu's name is a compound of the first elements of the names of the two cities of Jiangning and Suzhou; the abbreviation for this province is "苏", the second character of its name. During the earliest Chinese dynasties, the area, now Jiangsu was far away from the center of Chinese civilization, in the northwest Henan. During the Zhou dynasty more contact was made, the state of Wu appeared as a vassal to the Zhou dynasty in south Jiangsu, one of the many hundreds of states that existed across northern and central China at that time. Near the end of the Spring and Autumn period, Wu became a great power under King Helu of Wu, defeated in 484 BC the state of Qi, a major power in the north in modern-day Shandong province, contest for the position of overlord over all states of China.
The state of Wu was subjugated in 473 BC by the state of Yue, another state that had emerged to the south in modern-day Zhejiang province. Yue was in turn subjugated by the powerful state of Chu from the west in 333 BC; the state of Qin swept away all the other states, unified China in 221 BC. Under the reign of the Han dynasty, Jiangsu was removed from the centers of civilization in the North China Plain, was administered under two zhou: Xuzhou Province in the north, Yangzhou Province in the south. During the Three Kingdoms period, southern Jiangsu became the base of the Eastern Wu, whose capital, Jianye, is modern Nanking; when nomadic invasions overran northern China in the 4th century, the imperial court of the Jin dynasty moved to Jiankang. Cities in southern and central Jiangsu swelled with the influx of migrants from the north. Jiankang remained as the capital for four successive Southern dynasties and became the largest commercial and cultural center in China. After the Sui dynasty united the country in 581, the political center of the country shifted back to the north, but the Grand Canal was built through Jiangsu to link the Central Plain with the prosperous Yangtze Delta.
The Tang dynasty relied on southern Jiangsu for annual deliveries of grain. It was during the Song dynasty, which saw the development of a wealthy mercantile class and emergent market economy in China, that south Jiangsu emerged as a center of trade. From onwards, south Jiangsu major cities like Suzhou or Yangzhou, would be synonymous with opulence and luxury in China. Today south Jiangsu remains one of the richest parts of China, Shanghai, arguably the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan of mainland China cities, is a direct extension of south Jiangsu culture; the Jurchen Jin dynasty gained control of North China in 1127 during the Jin-Song wars, Huai River, which used to cut through north Jiangsu to reach the Yellow Sea, was the border between the north, under the Jin, the south, under the Southern Song dynasty. The Mongols took control of China in the thirteenth century; the Ming dynasty, established in 1368 after driving out the Mongols who had occupied China put its capital in Nanjing. Following a coup by Zhu Di, the capital was moved to Beijing, far to the north.
The entirety of modern-day Jiangsu as well as neighbouring Anhui province kept their special status, however, as territory-governed directly by the central government, were called Nanzhili. Meanwhile, South Jiangsu continued to be an important center of trade in China; the Qing dynasty changed this situation by establishing Nanzhili as Jiangnan province. "In 1727 the to-min or "idle people" of Cheh Kiang province, the yoh-hu or "music people" of Shan Si provi
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
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was a war fought in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648. One of the most destructive conflicts in human history, it resulted in eight million fatalities not only from military engagements but from violence and plague. Casualties were overwhelmingly and disproportionately inhabitants of the Holy Roman Empire, most of the rest being battle deaths from various foreign armies. In terms of proportional German casualties and destruction, it was surpassed only by the period January to May 1945. A war between various Protestant and Catholic states in the fragmented Holy Roman Empire, it developed into a more general conflict involving most of the European great powers; these states employed large mercenary armies, the war became less about religion and more of a continuation of the France–Habsburg rivalry for European political pre-eminence. The war was preceded by the election of the new Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand II, who tried to impose religious uniformity on his domains, forcing Roman Catholicism on its peoples.
The northern Protestant states, angered by the violation of their rights to choose, granted in the Peace of Augsburg, banded together to form the Protestant Union. Ferdinand II was a devout Roman Catholic and much more intolerant than his predecessor, Rudolf II, who ruled from the Protestant city of Prague. Ferdinand's policies were considered pro-Catholic and anti-Protestant; these events caused widespread fears throughout northern and central Europe, triggered the Protestant Bohemians living in the relatively loose dominion of Habsburg Austria to revolt against their nominal ruler, Ferdinand II. After the so-called Defenestration of Prague deposed the Emperor's representatives in Prague, the Protestant estates and Catholic Habsburgs started gathering allies for war; the Protestant Bohemians ousted the Habsburgs and elected the Calvinist Frederick V, Elector of the Rhenish Palatinate as the new king of the Kingdom of Bohemia. Frederick took the offer without the support of the Protestant Union.
The southern states Roman Catholic, were angered by this. Led by Bavaria, these states formed the Catholic League to expel Frederick in support of the Emperor; the Empire soon crushed the perceived Protestant rebellion in the Battle of White Mountain, executing leading Bohemian aristocrats shortly after. Protestant rulers across Europe unanimously condemned the Emperor's action. After the atrocities committed in Bohemia, Saxony gave its support to the Protestant Union and decided to fight back. Sweden, at the time a rising military power, soon intervened in 1630 under its king Gustavus Adolphus, transforming what had been the Emperor's attempt to curb the Protestant states into a full-scale war in Europe. Habsburg Spain, wishing to crush the Dutch rebels in the Netherlands and the Dutch Republic, intervened under the pretext of helping its dynastic Habsburg ally, Austria. No longer able to tolerate the encirclement of two major Habsburg powers on its borders, Catholic France entered the coalition on the side of the Protestants in order to counter the Habsburgs.
The Thirty Years' War devastated entire regions, resulting in high mortality among the populations of the German and Italian states, the Crown of Bohemia, the Southern Netherlands. Both mercenaries and soldiers in fighting armies traditionally looted or extorted tribute to get operating funds, which imposed severe hardships on the inhabitants of occupied territories; the war bankrupted most of the combatant powers. The Dutch Republic enjoyed contrasting fortune; the Thirty Years' War ended with the Treaty of Osnabrück and the Treaties of Münster, part of the wider Peace of Westphalia. The war altered the previous political order of European powers; the rise of Bourbon France, the curtailing of Habsburg ambition, the ascendancy of Sweden as a great power created a new balance of power on the continent, with France emerging from the war strengthened and dominant in the latter part of the 17th century. The Peace of Augsburg, signed by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, confirmed the result of the Diet of Speyer, ending the war between German Lutherans and Catholics, establishing that: Rulers of the 224 German states could choose the religion of their realms.
Subjects had to follow that emigrate. Prince-bishoprics and other states ruled by Catholic clergy were excluded and should remain Catholic. Prince-bishops who converted to Lutheranism were required to give up their territories. Lutherans could keep the territory they had taken from the Catholic Church since the Peace of Passau in 1552. Although the Peace of Augsburg created a temporary end to hostilities, it did not resolve the underlying religious conflict, made yet more complex by the spread of Calvinism throughout Germany in the years that followed; this added a third major faith to the region, but its position was not recognized in any way by the Augsburg terms, to which only Catholicism and Lutheranism were parties. The rulers of the nations neighboring the Holy Roman Empir
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona