The Hague is a city on the western coast of the Netherlands and the capital of the province of South Holland. It is the seat of government of the Netherlands. With a metropolitan population of more than 1 million, it is the third-largest city in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam; the Rotterdam–The Hague metropolitan area, with a population of 2.7 million, is the 13th-largest in the European Union and the most populous in the country. Located in the west of the Netherlands, The Hague is in the centre of the Haaglanden conurbation and lies at the southwest corner of the larger Randstad conurbation; the Hague is the seat of the Cabinet, the States General, the Supreme Court, the Council of State of the Netherlands, but the city is not the constitutional capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam. King Willem-Alexander lives in Huis ten Bosch and works at the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague, together with Queen Máxima; the Hague is home to the world headquarters of Royal Dutch Shell and other Dutch companies.
Most foreign embassies in the Netherlands and 200 international governmental organisations are located in the city, including the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, which makes The Hague one of the major cities hosting a United Nations institution along with New York City, Vienna and Nairobi. Because of this, The Hague is known as the home of international law and arbitration; the Hague was first mentioned as Die Haghe in 1242. In the 15th century, the name des Graven hage came into use "The Count's Wood", with connotations like "The Count's Hedge, Private Enclosure or Hunting Grounds". "'s Gravenhage" was used for the city from the 17th century onward. Today, this name is only used in some official documents like marriage certificates; the city itself uses "Den Haag" in all its communications. Little is known about the origin of The Hague. There are no contemporary documents describing it, sources are of dubious reliability. What is certain is that The Hague was founded by the last counts of the House of Holland.
Floris IV owned two residences in the area, but purchased a third court situated by the present-day Hofvijver in 1229 owned by a woman called Meilendis. Floris IV intended to rebuild the court into a large castle, but he died in a tournament in 1234, before anything was built, his son and successor William II lived in the court, after he was elected King of the Romans in 1248, he promptly returned to The Hague, had builders turn the court into a "royal palace", which would be called the Binnenhof. He died in 1256 before this palace was completed but parts of it were finished during the reign of his son Floris V, of which the Ridderzaal, still intact, is the most prominent, it is still used for political events, such as the annual speech from the throne by the Dutch monarch. From the 13th century onward, the counts of Holland used The Hague as their administrative center and residence when in Holland; the village that originated around the Binnenhof was first mentioned as Die Haghe in a charter dating from 1242.
It became the primary residence of the Counts of Holland in 1358, thus became the seat of many government institutions. This status allowed the village to grow. In its early years, the village was located in the ambacht, or rural district, of Monster, governed by the Lord of Monster. Seeking to exercise more direct control over the village, the Count split the village off and created a separate ambacht called Haagambacht, governed directly by the Counts of Holland; the territory of Haagambacht was expanded during the reign of Floris V. When the House of Burgundy inherited the counties of Holland and Zeeland in 1432, they appointed a stadtholder to rule in their stead with the States of Holland and West Friesland as an advisory council. Although their seat was located in The Hague, the city became subordinate to more important centres of government such as Brussels and Mechelen, from where the sovereigns ruled over the centralised Burgundian Netherlands. At the beginning of the Eighty Years' War, the absence of city walls proved disastrous, as it allowed Spanish troops to occupy the town.
In 1575, the States of Holland, temporarily based in Delft considered demolishing the city but this proposal was abandoned, after mediation by William the Silent. In 1588, The Hague became the permanent seat of the States of Holland as well as the States General of the Dutch Republic. In order for the administration to maintain control over city matters, The Hague never received official city status, although it did have many of the privileges granted only to cities. In modern administrative law, "city rights" have no place anymore. Only in 1806, when the Kingdom of Holland was a puppet state of the First French Empire, was the settlement granted city rights by Louis Bonaparte. After the Napoleonic Wars, modern-day Belgium and the Netherlands were combined in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands to form a buffer against France; as a compromise and Amsterdam alternated as capital every two years, with the government remaining in The Hague. After the separation of Belgium in 1830, Amsterdam remained the capital of the Netherlands, while the government was situated in The Hague.
When the government started to play a more prominent role in Dutch society after 1850, The Hague expanded. Many streets were built for the large number of civil se
South Asia or Southern Asia, is a term used to represent the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan SAARC countries and, for some authorities, adjoining countries to the west and east. Topographically, it is dominated by the Indian Plate, which rises above sea level as Nepal and northern parts of India situated south of the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush. South Asia is bounded on the south by the Indian Ocean and on land by West Asia, Central Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia; the current territories of Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka form South Asia. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation is an economic cooperation organisation in the region, established in 1985 and includes all eight nations comprising South Asia. South Asia covers about 5.2 million km2, 11.71% of the Asian continent or 3.5% of the world's land surface area. The population of South Asia is about 1.891 billion or about one fourth of the world's population, making it both the most populous and the most densely populated geographical region in the world.
Overall, it accounts for about 39.49% of Asia's population, over 24% of the world's population, is home to a vast array of people. In 2010, South Asia had the world's largest population of Hindus and Sikhs, it has the largest population of Muslims in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as over 35 million Christians and 25 million Buddhists. The total area of South Asia and its geographical extent is not clear cut as systemic and foreign policy orientations of its constituents are quite asymmetrical. Aside from the central region of South Asia part of the British Empire, there is a high degree of variation as to which other countries are included in South Asia. Modern definitions of South Asia are consistent in including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Maldives as the constituent countries. Myanmar is included in Southeast Asia by others; some do not include Afghanistan, others question whether Afghanistan should be considered a part of South Asia or the Middle East. The current territories of Bangladesh and Pakistan, which were the core of the British Empire from 1857 to 1947, form the central region of South Asia, in addition to Afghanistan, a British protectorate until 1919, after the Afghans lost to the British in the Second Anglo-Afghan war.
The mountain countries of Nepal and Bhutan, the island countries of Sri Lanka and Maldives are included as well. Myanmar is added, by various deviating definitions based on substantially different reasons, the British Indian Ocean Territory and the Tibet Autonomous Region are included as well; the common concept of South Asia is inherited from the administrative boundaries of the British Raj, with several exceptions. The Aden Colony, British Somaliland and Singapore, though administered at various times under the Raj, have not been proposed as any part of South Asia. Additionally Burma was administered as part of the Raj until 1937, but is now considered a part of Southeast Asia and is a member state of ASEAN; the 562 princely states that were protected by but not directly ruled by the Raj became administrative parts of South Asia upon joining Union of India or Dominion of Pakistan. Geopolitically, it had formed the whole territory of Greater India,The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, a contiguous block of countries, started in 1985 with seven countries – Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka – and added Afghanistan as an eighth member in 2007.
China and Myanmar have applied for the status of full members of SAARC. This bloc of countries include two independent countries that were not part of the British Raj – Nepal, Bhutan. Afghanistan was a British protectorate from 1878 until 1919, after the Afghans lost to the British in the Second Anglo-Afghan war; the World Factbook, based on geo-politics and economy defines South Asia as comprising Afghanistan, Bhutan, British Indian Ocean Territory, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The South Asia Free Trade Agreement incorporated Afghanistan in 2011, the World Bank grouping of countries in the region includes all eight members comprising South Asia and SAARC as well, the same goes for the United Nations Children's Fund; the United Nations Statistics Division's scheme of sub-regions include all eight members of the SAARC as part of Southern Asia, along with Iran only for statistical purposes. Population Information Network includes Afghanistan, Burma, Nepal and Sri Lanka as part of South Asia.
Maldives, in view of its characteristics, was admitted as a member Pacific POPIN subregional network only in principle. The Hirschman–Herfindahl index of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific for the region includes only the original seven signatories of SAARC; the British Indian Ocean Territory is connected to the region by a publication of Jane's for security considerations. The region may include the disputed territory of Aksai Chin, part of the British Indian princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, but is now administered as part of the Chinese autonomous region of Xinjiang; the inclusion of Myanmar in South Asia is without consensus, with many considering it a part of Southeast Asia and others including it within South Asia. Afghanistan was of importance to the British colonial empire after the Second Anglo-Afghan War over 1878–1880. Afghanistan remained a British protectorate until 1919, when a treaty with Vladimir Lenin included the granting of independe
2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on 26 December, with an epicentre off the west coast of northern Sumatra. It was an undersea megathrust earthquake that registered a magnitude of 9.1–9.3 Mw, reaching a Mercalli intensity up to IX in certain areas. The earthquake was caused by a rupture along the fault between the Indian Plate. A series of large tsunamis up to 30 metres high were created by the underwater seismic activity that became known collectively as the Boxing Day tsunamis. Communities along the surrounding coasts of the Indian Ocean were affected, the tsunamis killed an estimated 227,898 people in 14 countries; the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh reported the largest number of victims. The earthquake was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history; the direct results caused major disruptions to living conditions and commerce in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The earthquake was the third largest recorded and had the longest duration of faulting observed.
It caused the planet to vibrate as much as 1 centimetre, it remotely triggered earthquakes as far away as Alaska. Its epicentre was between mainland Sumatra; the plight of the affected people and countries prompted a worldwide humanitarian response, with donations totaling more than US$14 billion. The event is known by the scientific community as the Sumatra–Andaman earthquake; the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was documented as having a moment magnitude of 8.8. In February 2005, scientists revised the estimate of the magnitude to 9.0. Although the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has accepted these new numbers, the United States Geological Survey has so far not changed its estimate of 9.1. A 2006 study estimated a magnitude of Mw 9.1–9.3. The hypocentre of the main earthquake was 160 km off the western coast of northern Sumatra, in the Indian Ocean just north of Simeulue island at a depth of 30 km below mean sea level; the northern section of the Sunda megathrust ruptured over a length of 1,300 km.
The earthquake was felt in Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Splay faults, or secondary "pop up faults", caused long, narrow parts of the sea floor to pop up in seconds; this elevated the height and increased the speed of waves, destroying the nearby Indonesian town of Lhoknga. Indonesia lies between the Pacific Ring of Fire along the north-eastern islands adjacent to New Guinea, the Alpide belt that runs along the south and west from Sumatra, Bali, Flores to Timor; the 2002 Sumatra earthquake is believed to have been a foreshock, preceding the main event by over two years. Great earthquakes, such as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, are associated with megathrust events in subduction zones, their seismic moments can account for a significant fraction of the global seismic moment across century-scale time periods. Of all the moment released by earthquakes in the 100 years from 1906 through 2005 one-eighth was due to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake; this quake, together with the Good Friday earthquake and the Great Chilean earthquake, account for half of the total moment.
Since 1900, the only earthquakes recorded with a greater magnitude were the 1960 Great Chilean earthquake and the 1964 Good Friday earthquake in Prince William Sound. The only other recorded earthquakes of magnitude 9.0 or greater were off Kamchatka, Russia, on 4 November 1952 and Tōhoku, Japan in March 2011. Each of these megathrust earthquakes spawned tsunamis in the Pacific Ocean. However, in comparison to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, the death toll from these earthquakes was lower because of the lower population density along the coasts near affected areas, the much greater distances to more populated coasts, the superior infrastructure and warning systems in MEDCs such as Japan. Other large megathrust earthquakes occurred in 1868. All of them are believed to be greater than magnitude 9, but no accurate measurements were available at the time; the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was unusually large in geological extent. An estimated 1,600 kilometres of fault surface slipped about 15 metres along the subduction zone where the Indian Plate slides under the overriding Burma Plate.
The slip did not happen instantaneously but took place in two phases over several minutes: Seismographic and acoustic data indicate that the first phase involved a rupture about 400 kilometres long and 100 kilometres wide, 30 kilometres beneath the sea bed—the largest rupture known to have been caused by an earthquake. The rupture proceeded at about 2.8 kilometres per second, beginning off the coast of Aceh and proceeding north-westerly over about 100 seconds. After a pause of about another 100 seconds, the rupture continued northwards towards the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. However, the northern rupture occurred more than in the south, at about 2.1 km/s, continuing north for another five minutes to a plate boundary where the fault t
Feminism is a range of political movements and social movements that share a common goal: to define and achieve the political, economic and social equality of the genders. This includes fighting gender stereotypes and seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men. Feminist movements have campaigned and continue to campaign for women's rights, including the right to vote, to hold public office, to work, to earn fair wages or equal pay, to own property, to receive education, to enter contracts, to have equal rights within marriage, to have maternity leave. Feminists have worked to ensure access to legal abortions and social integration, to protect women and girls from rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence. Changes in dress and acceptable physical activity have been part of feminist movements; some scholars consider feminist campaigns to be a main force behind major historical societal changes for women's rights in the West, where they are near-universally credited with achieving women's suffrage, gender neutrality in English, reproductive rights for women, the right to enter into contracts and own property.
Although feminist advocacy is, has been focused on women's rights, some feminists, including bell hooks, argue for the inclusion of men's liberation within its aims because they believe that men are harmed by traditional gender roles. Feminist theory, which emerged from feminist movements, aims to understand the nature of gender inequality by examining women's social roles and lived experience. Numerous feminist movements and ideologies have developed over the years and represent different viewpoints and aims; some forms of feminism have been criticized for taking into account only white, middle class, college-educated perspectives. This criticism led to the creation of ethnically specific or multicultural forms of feminism, including black feminism and intersectional feminism. Charles Fourier, a Utopian Socialist and French philosopher, is credited with having coined the word "féminisme" in 1837; the words "féminisme" and "féministe" first appeared in France and the Netherlands in 1872, Great Britain in the 1890s, the United States in 1910, the Oxford English Dictionary lists 1852 as the year of the first appearance of "feminist" and 1895 for "feminism".
Depending on the historical moment and country, feminists around the world have had different causes and goals. Most western feminist historians contend that all movements working to obtain women's rights should be considered feminist movements when they did not apply the term to themselves. Other historians assert that the term should be limited to the modern feminist movement and its descendants; those historians use the label "protofeminist" to describe earlier movements. The history of the modern western feminist movements is divided into three "waves"; each wave dealt with different aspects of the same feminist issues. The first wave comprised women's suffrage movements of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, promoting women's right to vote; the second wave was associated with the ideas and actions of the women's liberation movement beginning in the 1960s. The second wave campaigned for social equality for women; the third wave is a continuation of, a reaction to, the perceived failures of second-wave feminism, which began in the 1990s.
First-wave feminism was a period of activity during early twentieth century. In the UK and the US, it focused on the promotion of equal contract, marriage and property rights for women. By the end of the 19th century, a number of important steps had been made with the passing of legislation such as the UK Custody of Infants Act 1839 which introduced the Tender years doctrine for child custody arrangement and gave women the right of custody of their children for the first time. Other legislation such as the Married Women's Property Act 1870 in the UK and extended in the 1882 Act, these became models for similar legislation in other British territories. For example, Victoria passed legislation in 1884, New South Wales in 1889, the remaining Australian colonies passed similar legislation between 1890 and 1897. Therefore, with the turn of the 19th century activism had focused on gaining political power the right of women's suffrage, though some feminists were active in campaigning for women's sexual and economic rights as well.
Women's suffrage began in Britain's Australasian colonies at the close of the 19th century, with the self-governing colonies of New Zealand granting women the right to vote in 1893 and South Australia granting female suffrage in 1895. This was followed by Australia granting female suffrage in 1902. In Britain the Suffragettes and the Suffragists campaigned for the women's vote, in 1918 the Representation of the People Act was passed granting the vote to women over the age of 30 who owned property. In 1928 this was extended to all women over 21. Emmeline Pankhurst was the most notable activist in England, with Time naming her one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century stating: "she shaped an idea of women for our time. In the U. S. notable leaders of this movement included Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, who each campaigned for the abolition of slavery prior to championing women's right to vote; these women were influenced by the
United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights
The United Nations Prizes in the Field of Human Rights were instituted by United Nations General Assembly in 1966. They are intended to "honour and commend people and organizations which have made an outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of the human rights embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in other United Nations human rights instruments", they were first awarded in 1968, they have been given out at five-year intervals since then. The award ceremony traditionally takes place on 10 December, which the UN has designated Human Rights Day; the recipients are selected by a special committee comprising the presidents of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council and the chairs of the Human Rights Council, the Commission on the Status of Women, the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee. The physical token of the award is a metal plaque bearing the UN seal and an artistic design, engraved with an appropriate citation. In contrast to the Nobel prizes – and the list of prizewinners shares much common ground with the Nobel Peace Prize in particular – the UN's awards are non-monetary in nature.
Manuel Bianchi, chairman of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights René Cassin, member of the UN Commission on Human Rights Albert Luthuli, president of the African National Congress Mehrangiz Manouchehrian and senator Petr Emelyanovich Nedbailo, member of the UN Commission on Human Rights Eleanor Roosevelt, president of the UN Commission on Human Rights Taha Hussein, professor of literature C. Wilfred Jenks, director-general of the International Labour Office María Lavalle Urbina and lecturer Abel Muzorewa, president of the United African National Council Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, prime minister U Thant, UN secretary-general Begum Ra'Ana Liaquat Ali Khan Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Martin Luther King Helen Suzman International Committee of the Red Cross Amnesty International Vicaría de la Solidaridad Union nationale des femmes de Tunisie Baba Amte, human rights lawyer John Peters Humphrey, director of the United Nations Division of Human Rights Adam Lopatka, president of the Supreme Court Leonidas Proaño, Roman Catholic bishop Nelson Mandela and statesman Winnie Mandela, medical social worker Hassib Ben Ammar, president of the Tunisian Human Rights League and of Arab Organization for Human Rights Erica-Irene Daes, chair of the UN's Working Group on Indigenous Populations James P. Grant, executive director of UNICEF International Commission of Jurists Medical personnel of the Central Hospital of Sarajevo Sonia Picado Sotela, vice-president of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights Ganesh Man Singh, supreme leader of Nepal and commander of 1990 Democracy Movement Sudanese Women's Union Julio Tumiri Javier, founder of the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights Sunila Abeysekera, executive director of INFORM Angelina Acheng Atyam, founder of Concerned Parents Association Jimmy Carter and former president José Gregori, secretary of state for human rights Anna Šabatová, founder of Charter 77 All human rights defenders, "thousands of courageous individuals worldwide" Enriqueta Estela Barnes de Carlotto, president of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo Mano River Women's Peace Network Family Protection Project Management Team Deng Pufang, chairman of the China Disabled Persons' Federation Shulamith Koenig, executive director of the People's Movement for Human Rights Education Sérgio Vieira de Mello, UN Special Representative murdered in Iraq Louise Arbour, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Benazir Bhutto, assassinated former prime minister and leader of the opposition Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General Dr. Carolyn Gomes of Jamaicans for Justice Dr. Denis Mukwege, co-founder of the General Referral Hospital of Panzi Sr. Dorothy Stang, murdered Roman Catholic nun Human Rights Watch Biram Dah Abeid, son of a freed slave who works to eradicate slavery Hiljmnijeta Apuk, a campaigner for the rights of people of short stature Liisa Kauppinen, President Emeritus of the World Federation of the Deaf Khadija Ryadi, former President of the Morocco Association for Human Rights Supreme Court of Justice Malala Yousafzai, schoolgirl shot by the Taliban for attending school Asma Jahangir, from Pakistan Rebeca Gyumi, from Tanzania Joênia Wapixana, from Brazil Front Line Defenders, from Ireland United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights
Sri Lanka the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea. The island is geographically separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait; the legislative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the commercial capital and largest city, Colombo. Sri Lanka's documented history spans 3,000 years, with evidence of pre-historic human settlements dating back to at least 125,000 years, it has a rich cultural heritage and the first known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka, the Pāli Canon, date back to the Fourth Buddhist council in 29 BC. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to the modern Maritime Silk Road. Sri Lanka was known from the beginning of British colonial rule as Ceylon. A nationalist political movement arose in the country in the early 20th century to obtain political independence, granted in 1948.
Sri Lanka's recent history has been marred by a 26-year civil war, which decisively ended when the Sri Lanka Armed Forces defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009. The current constitution stipulates the political system as a republic and a unitary state governed by a semi-presidential system, it has had a long history of international engagement, as a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the G77, the Non-Aligned Movement. Along with the Maldives, Sri Lanka is one of only two South Asian countries rated "high" on the Human Development Index, with its HDI rating and per capita income the highest among South Asian nations; the Sri Lankan constitution accords Buddhism the "foremost place", although it does not identify it as a state religion. Buddhism is given special privileges in the Sri Lankan constitution; the island is home to many cultures and ethnicities. The majority of the population is from the Sinhalese ethnicity, while a large minority of Tamils have played an influential role in the island's history.
Moors, Malays and the indigenous Vedda are established groups on the island. In antiquity, Sri Lanka was known to travellers by a variety of names. According to the Mahavamsa, the legendary Prince Vijaya named the land Tambapanni, because his followers' hands were reddened by the red soil of the area. In Hindu mythology, such as the Ramayana, the island was referred to as Lankā; the Tamil term Eelam, was used to designate the whole island in Sangam literature. The island was known under Chola rule as Mummudi Cholamandalam. Ancient Greek geographers called it Taprobanē from the word Tambapanni; the Persians and Arabs referred to it as Sarandīb from Cerentivu or Siṃhaladvīpaḥ. Ceilão, the name given to Sri Lanka by the Portuguese Empire when it arrived in 1505, was transliterated into English as Ceylon; as a British crown colony, the island was known as Ceylon. The country is now known in Sinhala in Tamil as Ilaṅkai. In 1972, its formal name was changed to "Free and Independent Republic of Sri Lanka".
In 1978 it was changed to the "Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka". As the name Ceylon still appears in the names of a number of organisations, the Sri Lankan government announced in 2011 a plan to rename all those over which it has authority; the pre-history of Sri Lanka goes back 125,000 years and even as far back as 500,000 years. The era spans the Palaeolithic and early Iron Ages. Among the Paleolithic human settlements discovered in Sri Lanka, which dates back to 37,000 BP, Batadombalena and Belilena are the most important. In these caves, archaeologists have found the remains of anatomically modern humans which they have named Balangoda Man, other evidence suggesting that they may have engaged in agriculture and kept domestic dogs for driving game. One of the first written references to the island is found in the Indian epic Ramayana, which provides details of a kingdom named Lanka, created by the divine sculptor Vishwakarma for Kubera, the Lord of Wealth, it is said that Kubera was overthrown by his demon stepbrother Ravana, the powerful emperor who built a mythical flying machine named Dandu Monara.
The modern city of Wariyapola is described as Ravana's airport. Early inhabitants of Sri Lanka were ancestors of the Vedda people, an indigenous people numbering 2,500 living in modern-day Sri Lanka; the 19th-century Irish historian James Emerson Tennent theorized that Galle, a city in southern Sri Lanka, was the ancient seaport of Tarshish from which King Solomon is said to have drawn ivory and other valuables. According to the Mahāvamsa, a chronicle written in Pāḷi, the original inhabitants of Sri Lanka are the Yakshas and Nagas. Ancient cemeteries that were used before 600 BC and other signs of advanced civilisation have been discovered in Sri Lanka. Sinhalese history traditionally starts in 543 BC with the arrival of Prince Vijaya, a semi-legendary prince who sailed with 700 followers to Sri Lanka, after being expelled from Vanga Kingdom (present-day Ben
The Netherlands is a country located in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. The six largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Tilburg. Amsterdam is the country's capital, while The Hague holds the seat of the States General and Supreme Court; the Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, the largest in any country outside Asia. The country is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G10, NATO, OECD and WTO, as well as a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union.
It hosts several intergovernmental organisations and international courts, many of which are centered in The Hague, dubbed'the world's legal capital'. Netherlands means'lower countries' in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 1 metre above sea level, nearly 17% falling below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level, known as polders, are the result of land reclamation that began in the 16th century. With a population of 17.30 million people, all living within a total area of 41,500 square kilometres —of which the land area is 33,700 square kilometres —the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It is the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products, owing to its fertile soil, mild climate, intensive agriculture; the Netherlands was the third country in the world to have representative government, it has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a unitary structure since 1848.
The country has a tradition of pillarisation and a long record of social tolerance, having legalised abortion and human euthanasia, along with maintaining a progressive drug policy. The Netherlands abolished the death penalty in 1870, allowed women's suffrage in 1917, became the world's first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001, its mixed-market advanced economy had the thirteenth-highest per capita income globally. The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indexes of press freedom, economic freedom, human development, quality of life, as well as happiness; the Netherlands' turbulent history and shifts of power resulted in exceptionally many and varying names in different languages. There is diversity within languages; this holds for English, where Dutch is the adjective form and the misnomer Holland a synonym for the country "Netherlands". Dutch comes from Theodiscus and in the past centuries, the hub of Dutch culture is found in its most populous region, home to the capital city of Amsterdam.
Referring to the Netherlands as Holland in the English language is similar to calling the United Kingdom "Britain" by people outside the UK. The term is so pervasive among potential investors and tourists, that the Dutch government's international websites for tourism and trade are "holland.com" and "hollandtradeandinvest.com". The region of Holland consists of North and South Holland, two of the nation's twelve provinces a single province, earlier still, the County of Holland, a remnant of the dissolved Frisian Kingdom. Following the decline of the Duchy of Brabant and the County of Flanders, Holland became the most economically and politically important county in the Low Countries region; the emphasis on Holland during the formation of the Dutch Republic, the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Dutch Wars in the 16th, 17th and 18th century, made Holland serve as a pars pro toto for the entire country, now considered either incorrect, informal, or, depending on context, opprobrious. Nonetheless, Holland is used in reference to the Netherlands national football team.
The region called the Low Countries and the Country of the Netherlands. Place names with Neder, Nieder and Nedre and Bas or Inferior are in use in places all over Europe, they are sometimes used in a deictic relation to a higher ground that consecutively is indicated as Upper, Oben, Superior or Haut. In the case of the Low Countries / Netherlands the geographical location of the lower region has been more or less downstream and near the sea; the geographical location of the upper region, changed tremendously over time, depending on the location of the economic and military power governing the Low Countries area. The Romans made a distinction between the Roman provinces of downstream Germania Inferior and upstream Germania Superior; the designation'Low' to refer to the region returns again in the 10th century Duchy of Lower Lorraine, that covered much of the Low Countries. But this time the corresponding Upper region is Upper Lorraine, in nowadays Northern France; the Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled the Low Countries in the 15th century, used the term les pays de par deçà for the Low Countries as opposed to les pays de par delà for their original