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
Germany the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north and the Czech Republic to the east and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to the west. Germany includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,386 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With 83 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous state of Europe after Russia, the most populous state lying in Europe, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is a decentralized country, its capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while Frankfurt serves as its financial capital and has the country's busiest airport. Germany's largest urban area is the Ruhr, with its main centres of Essen; the country's other major cities are Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Dresden, Bremen and Nuremberg. Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity.
A region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period, the Germanic tribes expanded southward. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. After the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, the German Confederation was formed in 1815; the German revolutions of 1848–49 resulted in the Frankfurt Parliament establishing major democratic rights. In 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the revolution of 1918–19, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic; the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 led to the establishment of a dictatorship, the annexation of Austria, World War II, the Holocaust. After the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, Austria was re-established as an independent country and two new German states were founded: West Germany, formed from the American and French occupation zones, East Germany, formed from the Soviet occupation zone.
Following the Revolutions of 1989 that ended communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe, the country was reunified on 3 October 1990. Today, the sovereign state of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor, it is a great power with a strong economy. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods; as a developed country with a high standard of living, it upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection, a tuition-free university education. The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993, it is part of the Schengen Area and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G7, the G20, the OECD. Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential and successful artists, musicians, film people, entrepreneurs, scientists and inventors.
Germany has a large number of World Heritage sites and is among the top tourism destinations in the world. The English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine; the German term Deutschland diutisciu land is derived from deutsch, descended from Old High German diutisc "popular" used to distinguish the language of the common people from Latin and its Romance descendants. This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz "popular", derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂- "people", from which the word Teutons originates; the discovery of the Mauer 1 mandible shows that ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete hunting weapons found anywhere in the world were discovered in a coal mine in Schöningen between 1994 and 1998 where eight 380,000-year-old wooden javelins of 1.82 to 2.25 m length were unearthed. The Neander Valley was the location where the first non-modern human fossil was discovered.
The Neanderthal 1 fossils are known to be 40,000 years old. Evidence of modern humans dated, has been found in caves in the Swabian Jura near Ulm; the finds included 42,000-year-old bird bone and mammoth ivory flutes which are the oldest musical instruments found, the 40,000-year-old Ice Age Lion Man, the oldest uncontested figurative art discovered, the 35,000-year-old Venus of Hohle Fels, the oldest uncontested human figurative art discovered. The Nebra sky disk is a bronze artefact created during the European Bronze Age attributed to a site near Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt, it is part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme. The Germanic tribes are thought to date from the Pre-Roman Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and north Germany, they expanded south and west from the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well
Social Democrats (Denmark)
The Social Democrats Social Democracy, is a social-democratic political party in Denmark. It was the major coalition partner in government from the 2011 parliamentary election, with then-party leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt as Prime Minister. After the 2015 parliamentary election, the party is no longer in government, though it regained the position as the largest party in the Danish parliament, the Folketing, with 47 of 179 seats. Helle Thorning-Schmidt withdrew as party leader on the night of the election as a direct consequence of the loss of government control, she was succeeded on 28 June 2015 by the former vice leader, Mette Frederiksen. Founded by Louis Pio in 1871, the party first entered the Folketing in 1884. By the early 20th century it had become the party with the largest representation in the Folketing, a distinction it would hold for 77 years, it first formed a government in 1924 under Thorvald Stauning, the longest-serving Danish Prime Minister of the 20th century. During Stauning's government, the Social Democrats exerted a profound influence on Danish society, laying the foundation of the Danish welfare state.
From 2002 to 2016 the party used the name Socialdemokraterne in some contexts. A member of the Party of European Socialists, the Social Democrats have three MEPs in the European Parliament. Since its foundation the lemma of the party has been "Liberty and Brotherhood", these values are still described as central in the party program. In the political program of the party these values are described as being consistent with a focus on solidarity with the poorest and social welfare to those who need it, with individual responsibility in relation to other members in society, with an increased involvement in the European political project; the party has begun to adopt immigration policies closer to those of the right-wing, as it believes the perception of it being "soft on immigration" contributed to its poor electoral performance in the early 21st century. The leader of the party is Mette Frederiksen, she succeeded Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who stepped down after the left bloc's defeat in the 2015 General Election.
Deputy leaders are Lord Mayor of Copenhagen. The secretary general is Henrik Dam Kristensen, the party secretary is Lars Midtiby and the political speaker is Magnus Heunicke. In the Cabinet of Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the party had ten ministers including the Prime Minister; the party was founded in 1871 by Harald Brix og Paul Geleff. The goal was to organize the emerging working class on a socialist basis; the industrialization of Denmark had begun in the mid 19th century and a period of rapid urbanization had led to an emerging class of urban workers. The social democratic movement emerged from the desire to give this group political rights and representation in parliament. In 1876 the Party held an annual conference; the stated policy was that: "The Danish Social Democratic Labour Party works in its national form, but is convinced of the international nature of the labour movement and ready to sacrifice everything and fulfill all obligations to provide: Freedom and brotherhood among all nations” In 1884 the Social Democracy party, as it was called had their first two members of parliament elected, P. Holm and Chr.
Hørdum. In the 1924 parliamentary elections the Social democratic party won the majority with 36.6 percent of the vote, its first government was put in place with Thorvald Stauning as prime minister. The same year he appointed the world's first female minister Nina Bang, nine years after women's suffrage had been given in Denmark. Stauning stayed in power until his death in 1942, his party laying the foundations for the Danish welfare state, based on a close collaboration between labor unions and the government. In January 1933 Stauning's government entered into what was the most extensive settlement yet in Danish politics — the Kanslergade settlement — with the liberal party Venstre; the settlement, named after Stauning's apartment in Kanslergade in Copenhagen, included extensive agricultural subsidies and reforms of the legislation and administration in the social sector. In 1935, Stauning was reelected with the famous slogan "Stauning or Chaos". Stauning's second cabinet lasted until the Nazi occupation of Denmark in 1940, when the cabinet was widened to include all political parties, called the National government, the Danish government pursued a collaborative policy with the German occupiers.
Through the 1940s and until 1972 Denmark was governed by the following Social Democratic prime ministers. The Social Democrats' social policy through the 1990s and continuing in the 21st century involved a significant redistribution of income and the maintenance of a large state apparatus with collectively financed core public services such as public healthcare and infrastructure. Social Democrat-led coalition governments implemented the system known as flexicurity, mixing strong Scandinavian unemployment benefits with deregulated employment laws, making it easier for employers to fire and rehire people in order to encourage economic growth and reduce unemployment; the Cabinets of Poul Nyrup Rasmussen maintained a parliamentary majority during the period from 1993 to 2001 by virtue of their support from the Socialist People's Party and the Red-Green Alliance. Towards the end of the 1990s, a trade surplus of 30 billion kroner turned into a deficit. To combat this, the government increased taxes.
The 1998 initiative, dubbed the Whitsun Pa
Danish Social Liberal Party
The Danish Social Liberal Party is a social-liberal political party in Denmark. The party is a member of Liberal International and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe; the party was founded in 1905 as a split from the liberal Venstre Reform Party. The initial impetus was the expulsion of Venstre's antimilitarist wing from the party in January 1905; the expelled members held a founding conference for the new party in Odense, on 21 May 1905. In addition to the differences over military spending, the social liberals took a more positive view than Venstre towards measures that aimed to reduce social inequality; the party became the political leg of the cultural radical movement. The party was cautiously open to aspects of the welfare state, advocated reforms to improve the position of smallholders, an important early group of supporters; the party's social-liberal ideals are said to have been inspired by the political economists Henry George and John Stuart Mill. The literal translation "radical left" refers to its origin as the radical wing of its parent party Venstre In a modern context, this literal translation is somewhat misleading, as the party is in fact at the centre of the Danish political spectrum.
The use of the word for "left" in the name of the party is meant to refer to liberalism and not left-wing politics. Venstre was to the left of the conservative and aristocratic right-wing party Højre, which means "right"; the party president is Svend Thorhauge and it has eight members in the Folketing. The party's political leader is Morten Østergaard; the party performed well at the 2005 elections. It came out with 9.2 % of the popular vote and 17 seats in a gain of eight seats. In the 2007 elections, the party share of the popular vote fell to 5.1% and it lost 8 seats, leaving it a total of 9. In the subsequent 2011 elections, the party support rose to 9.5%, it regained 8 seats to resume a total of 17. Around 2005 the party was inspired by Richard Florida's book The Rise of the Creative Class; the party released their own book/political program called "Det kreative Danmark". Current issues high on the agenda for the party are: Strong opposition to the tight immigration policies of the former Liberal-Conservative government the 24 year rule.
Opposition to the educational policies of the former Liberal-Conservative government, which according to the party stresses centralisation, nationalised testing and old-fashioned educational ideas over creativeness, freedom in teaching methods and personal development of pupils. A major tax reform, which should simplify the tax system in such a way that income taxes will be reduced in favour of more environmental taxes, less tax deductions and higher taxes on real estate; the point of this is to make working more attractive and the hiring of service workers more attractive. This implies that the party is opposed to the Liberal-Conservative government's "tax freeze" which prohibits any tax increases, but changes of the taxation pattern. In 2007 some prominent members of the party criticised the strategy as being too left-leaning and depending too much on the Social Democrats. On 7 May 2007, MP Naser Khader and MEP Anders Samuelsen announced that they had left the party to found the economic liberal New Alliance renamed the Liberal Alliance, party along with Conservative MEP Gitte Seeberg.
During the following debate the party first distanced itself from the Social Democrats, but after being criticised internally for that too, returned to an oppositional role. On 6 January 2009 MP Simon Emil Ammitzbøll left the party and founded a new party called Borgerligt Centrum, again as a centre-right alternative. In June 2009 he joined Liberal Alliance. At a press release on 15 June 2007, it was announced that MP Margrethe Vestager would take over the leadership of the party after Marianne Jelved, that the party would rethink its strategy and will now consider forming a coalition government with either the left or right side of parliament. Vestager clarified during the run-up to the 2007 election that her party would only be supporting a government led by the Social Democrats. In the 2007 parliamentary elections, it received 5.1% of the vote, 9 out of 179 seats. In the 2011 parliamentary election, in which it ran as part of the "Red Bloc" with the Social Democrats, Socialist People's Party, Red-Green Alliance, it received 9.5% of the votes and went from 9 to 17 seats doubling its share of votes and of seats in the Folketing.
The party joined the new centre-left government led by incoming Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt following the 2011 elections. The Danish Social Liberal Party has traditionally kept itself in the centre of the political scale. Since the early nineties, though, it has cooperated with the Social Democrats. Carl Theodor Zahle, Prime Minister 1909–1910 and 1913–1920, Erik Scavenius, Prime Minister 1942–1945, Hilmar Baunsgaard, Prime Minister 1968–1971, Trade Minister 1961–1964 Edvard Brandes, Finance Minister 1909–1910 and 1913–1920 Christopher Krabbe, Defence Minister 1909–1910 P. Munch, Minister of the Interior 1909–1910, Defence Minister 1913–1920, Foreign Minister 1929–1940 Poul Christensen, Agriculture Minister 1909–1910 Ove Rode, Minister of the Interior 1913
Royal Danish Army
The Royal Danish Army is the land-based branch of the Danish Defence, together with the Danish Home Guard. For the last decade, the Royal Danish Army has undergone a massive transformation of structures and training methods, abandoning its traditional role of anti-invasion defence, instead focusing on out of area operations by, among other initiatives, reducing the size of the conscripted and reserve components and increasing the active component, changing from 60% support structure and 40% operational capability, to 60% combat operational capability and 40% support structure; when implemented, the Danish Army will be capable of deploying 1,500 troops permanently on three different continents continuously, or 5,000 troops for a shorter period of time, in international operations without any need for extraordinary measures such as parliamentary approval of a war funding bill. Founded in 1614, in the wake of the Kalmar War, the Royal Danish Army was designed to prevent conflicts and war, maintain Denmark's sovereignty and protect her interest.
With time, these goals have developed into encompassing the need to protect freedom and peaceful development in the world with respect for human rights. The Danish King remained commander in chief throughout the Early Modern period, in the Thirty Years' War, the Dano-Swedish War and the Scanian War, the Great Northern War, the Theatre War of 1789/9 and the Napoleonic Wars. In 1815, however, as a result of continued evolution and division of command, four general commands were created with the King as the supreme authority: Zealand and adjacent islands, Funen Langeland and the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. At the same time, the need for maintenance of the army in peacetime became pertinent, the Army Operational Command was established; the Royal Danish Army has been an integral part of the defence of Denmark and thus involved in warfare and battles continuously to protect her interests. Most notably various territorial wars with Sweden and Prussia, the Napoleonic Wars on the side of France, the Second World War and famously against the wishes of the Danish government, which had ordered immediate surrender to Germany.
In modern times the Royal Danish Army has become the backbone of Danish international missions, such as those in Kosovo and Afghanistan. The Royal Danish Army has been committed to a number of United Nations and NATO peacekeeping and unconventional warfare operations since becoming involved in the Yugoslav Wars under UN mandate in 1994, most notably in the famous Operation Bøllebank; the Royal Danish Army was engaged in the Kosovo War and continues to this day to maintain peacekeeping operations in Kosovo as part of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, together with the Danish Home Guard. Furthermore, the Royal Danish Army was involved in the War in Iraq from 2003-2007 with a significant contingent of soldiers responsible for creating and maintaining peace in the province of Basra, together with the British. Denmark lost its first soldier in Iraq on 17 August 2003: Preben Pedersen a 34-year-old Lance Corporal with the Jutland Dragoon Regiment became the first coalition soldier not from the United States or Britain to die in the Iraq War.
Starting in 2001, the Royal Danish Army has been involved in the War in Afghanistan. For the past few years, the Royal Danish Army and the British Army have been involved in heavy clashes with the Taliban in the Helmand Province, where about 760 Danish soldiers control a large battlegroup; the Danish army withdrew its combat forces from Afghanistan in May 2014. After the Afghan National Army took responsibility for the security in Afghanistan in 2015, the Danish Army, has provided training and security support as part of Resolute Support Mission. Following an escalating gang war in Copenhagen, in an effort to relieve police officers in Copenhagen and at the border control, Danish soldiers replaced police officers at different locations. Marking the first time in 86 years soldiers were used to keep order in cities; the structure of the Danish army changed in 2015, leaving Danish Division without brigades or support troops directly under its command. The two brigades have only command over combat battalions, as combat support and logistic support units are now grouped under various support centres.
1st Brigade consists of four combat battalions and is tasked with providing troops for international deployments. 2nd Brigade is tasked with the defence of the Danish territory. Support centres contain the army's combat support, combat logistic and general support units, in some cases perform tasks for the entire Danish defence structure: i.e. the Logistic Regiment, Army Logistics Centre and Defence Military Police Centre provides operational units for the army and overall logistic services to army and military police units and functions for all of the Danish defence establishment. Army Command in Karup Danish Division - Army Tactical Staff in Karup 1st Brigade in Holstebro HQ Battalion, The Signal Regiment I Armored Infantry Battalion, Gardehusarregimentet I Armored Infantry Battalion, Den Kongelige Livgarde II Armored Infantry Battalion, Jydske Dragonregiment 1st Danish Artillery Battalion 1st ISR Battalion 1st Armored Engineer Battalion 1st Logistic Battalion Military Police company 2nd Brigade in Slagelse I Armored Battalion, Jydske Dragonregiment III Reconnaissance Battalion, Gardehusarregimentet XIII Light Infantry Battalion, Slesvigske Fodregiment V Training Battalion, Jydske Dragonregiment V Training Battalion, Gardehusarregimentet Service branch regiments: D
Stauning or Chaos
"Stauning or Chaos" is a famous Danish election slogan from the parliamentary election of 1935, in which Social Democrat Thorvald Stauning campaigned for re-election. The Social Democrats won the election winning 68 out of 149 seats, Stauning continued on to be the second-longest serving Prime Minister in Danish history; the campaign with its warning against "chaos", interpreted as the threat of fascism, is an example of the emotional and activist campaign style used by the major political parties in Denmark in the 1920s and 1930s capitalizing on the public fear of the perceived threats of radical ideologies such as fascism and communism
Sweden the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border. At 450,295 square kilometres, Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. Sweden has a total population of 10.2 million. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre; the highest concentration is in the southern half of the country. Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats and Swedes and constituting the sea peoples known as the Norsemen. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, while the north is forested. Sweden is part of the geographical area of Fennoscandia; the climate is in general mild for its northerly latitude due to significant maritime influence, that in spite of this still retains warm continental summers.
Today, the sovereign state of Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a monarch as head of state, like its neighbour Norway. The capital city is Stockholm, the most populous city in the country. Legislative power is vested in the 349-member unicameral Riksdag. Executive power is exercised by the government chaired by the prime minister. Sweden is a unitary state divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities. An independent Swedish state emerged during the early 12th century. After the Black Death in the middle of the 14th century killed about a third of the Scandinavian population, the Hanseatic League threatened Scandinavia's culture and languages; this led to the forming of the Scandinavian Kalmar Union in 1397, which Sweden left in 1523. When Sweden became involved in the Thirty Years War on the Reformist side, an expansion of its territories began and the Swedish Empire was formed; this became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, ending with the annexation of present-day Finland by Russia in 1809.
The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Norway was militarily forced into personal union. Since Sweden has been at peace, maintaining an official policy of neutrality in foreign affairs; the union with Norway was peacefully dissolved in 1905. Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars and the Cold War, albeit Sweden has since 2009 moved towards cooperation with NATO. After the end of the Cold War, Sweden joined the European Union on 1 January 1995, but declined NATO membership, as well as Eurozone membership following a referendum, it is a member of the United Nations, the Nordic Council, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens, it has the world's eleventh-highest per capita income and ranks in numerous metrics of national performance, including quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, economic competitiveness, equality and human development.
The name Sweden was loaned from Dutch in the 17th century to refer to Sweden as an emerging great power. Before Sweden's imperial expansion, Early Modern English used Swedeland. Sweden is derived through back-formation from Old English Swēoþēod, which meant "people of the Swedes"; this word is derived from Sweon/Sweonas. The Swedish name Sverige means "realm of the Swedes", excluding the Geats in Götaland. Variations of the name Sweden are used in most languages, with the exception of Danish and Norwegian using Sverige, Faroese Svøríki, Icelandic Svíþjóð, the more notable exception of some Finnic languages where Ruotsi and Rootsi are used, names considered as referring to the people from the coastal areas of Roslagen, who were known as the Rus', through them etymologically related to the English name for Russia; the etymology of Swedes, thus Sweden, is not agreed upon but may derive from Proto-Germanic Swihoniz meaning "one's own", referring to one's own Germanic tribe. Sweden's prehistory begins in the Allerød oscillation, a warm period around 12,000 BC, with Late Palaeolithic reindeer-hunting camps of the Bromme culture at the edge of the ice in what is now the country's southernmost province, Scania.
This period was characterised by small bands of hunter-gatherer-fishers using flint technology. Sweden is first described in a written source in Germania by Tacitus in 98 AD. In Germania 44 and 45 he mentions the Swedes as a powerful tribe with ships that had a prow at each end. Which kings ruled these Suiones is unknown, but Norse mythology presents a long line of legendary and semi-legendary kings going back to the last centuries BC; as for literacy in Sweden itself, the runic script was in use among the south Scandinavian elite by at least the 2nd century AD, but all that has come down to the present from the Roman Period is curt inscriptions on artefacts of male names, demonstrating th