West Texas is a loosely defined part of the U. S. state of Texas encompassing the arid and semiarid lands west of a line drawn between the cities of Wichita Falls and Del Rio. There is no consensus on the boundary between West Texas. While most Texans understand these terms, no boundaries are recognized and any two individuals are to describe the boundaries of these regions differently. Walter Prescott Webb, the American historian and geographer, suggested that the 98th meridian separates East and West Texas. C. Greene proposed. West Texas is subdivided according to distinct physiographic features; the portion of West Texas that lies west of the Pecos River is referred to as "Far West Texas" or the "Trans-Pecos", a term first introduced in 1887 by Texas geologist Robert T. Hill; the Trans-Pecos lies within the most arid portion of the state. Another part of West Texas is the Llano Estacado, a vast region of high, level plains extending into Eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle. To the east of the Llano Estacado lies the “redbed country” of the Rolling Plains and to the south of the Llano Estacado lies the Edwards Plateau.
The Rolling Plains and the Edwards Plateau subregions act as transitional zones between eastern and western Texas. The counties included in the West Texas region vary depending on the organization; the Texas Counties.net website acknowledges the variations, includes 70 counties in its definition, based on the five principal metropolitan areas it contains: El Paso, Abilene, Midland/Odessa, San Angelo. The counties included are Andrews, Borden, Brown, Castro, Coke, Comanche, Crane, Crosby, Dawson, Deaf Smith, Eastland, Ector, El Paso, Floyd, Garza, Hale, Hockley, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kent, King, Lamb, Lubbock, Martin, Mason, McCulloch, Midland, Motley, Parmer, Pecos, Randall, Reeves, Schleicher, Shackelford, Sterling, Sutton, Terrell, Throckmorton, Tom Green, Val Verde, Ward and Yoakum; some of the smaller West Texas cities and towns include: Alpine, Anthony, Canutillo, Crane, Fort Davis, Fort Bliss, San Elizario, Fort Stockton, Hale Center, Kermit, Levelland, Marathon, Marfa, McCamey, Monahans, Pampa, Horizon City, Rankin, Slaton, Snyder and Van Horn.
West Texas receives much less rainfall than the rest of Texas and has an arid or semiarid climate, requiring most of its scant agriculture to be dependent on irrigation. This irrigation, water taken out farther north for the needs of El Paso and Juarez, has reduced the once mighty Rio Grande to a stream in some places dry at times. Much of West Texas has rugged terrain, including many small mountain ranges while there are none in other parts of the state. Except for the Trans-Pecos region, West Texas has become well known as a stronghold for conservative politics; some of the most Republican counties in the United States are located in the region. Former U. S. President George W. Bush spent most of his childhood in West Texas; the Panhandle and several counties in or west of Midland were one of the first areas of Texas to abandon the state’s “Solid South” Democratic roots. The Rolling Plains to the east remained Democratic for longer: Walter Mondale in 1984 when losing Texas by 27.50 percentage points carried five counties in this region.
However, since 2000 this region has swung rapidly towards the Republican Party due to its population’s intransigent opposition to the liberal social policies of the Democratic Party and by 2016 has become nearly so Republican as the Panhandle. Major industries include livestock and natural gas production, textiles such as cotton, and, because of large military installations such as Fort Bliss, the defense industry. West Texas has become notable for its numerous wind turbines producing clean, alternative electricity; as of 2018, the West Texan economy is in an economic period, described as the "West Texas oil boom". West Texas does not have major league sports teams. Instead the region has college teams such as Texas Tech Red Raiders and UTEP Miners, which play in NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II teams of the West Texas A&M Buffaloes, the Texas–Permian Basin Falcons, the Lubbock Christian Chaparrals and Lady Chaps. El Paso hosts the El Paso Chihuahuas, a AAA baseball team and Midland hosts the Midland RockHounds, a Double-A baseball team.
Oddly in the heat ravaged climate of West Texas, the winter sport of ice hockey can be found in the city of Odessa through a Tier II junior ice hockey team playing out of the North American Hockey League called the Odessa Jackalopes. In 2019, The San Antonio Missions will move to continue play at the Double-A level. "West of the Pecos" has become a metaphor for the universe of westerns. "Fastest draw west of the Pecos" and similar superlatives are a cliche, the title character of Chisum observed ”There’s no law west of Dodge, no God west of the Pecos”. See West of the Pecos. Photos of West Texas West Texas Vacation Guide - Texas Outside
The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco–style skyscraper located on the East Side of Midtown Manhattan in New York City, at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan. At 1,046 feet, the structure was the world's tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931, it is the tallest brick building in the world with a steel framework. As of 2018, the Chrysler is the eighth-tallest building in the city, tied with The New York Times Building. A project of real estate developer and former New York State Senator William H. Reynolds, the building was constructed by Walter Chrysler, the head of the Chrysler Corporation, served as the corporation's headquarters from 1930 until the mid-1950s; the Chrysler Building's construction was characterized by a competition with 40 Wall Street and the Empire State Building to become the world's tallest building. Although the Chrysler Building was built and designed for the car manufacturer, the corporation did not pay for its construction and never owned it, as Walter Chrysler decided to pay for it himself, so that his children could inherit it.
When the Chrysler Building opened, there were mixed reviews of the building's design, ranging from its being inane and unoriginal to that it was modernist and iconic. Perceptions of the building have evolved into its now being seen as a paragon of the Art Deco architectural style. In the mid-1920s, New York's metropolitan area surpassed London's as the world's most populous metropolitan area and its population exceeded ten million by the early 1930s; the era was characterized by profound technological changes. Consumer goods such as radio and the automobile—whose use grew exponentially in the 1920s—became widespread. In 1927, Walter Chrysler's automotive company, the Chrysler Corporation, became the third-largest car manufacturer in the United States, behind Ford and General Motors; the following year, Chrysler was named Time magazine's "Person of the Year". The economic boom of the 1920s and speculation in the real estate market fostered a wave of new skyscraper projects in New York City; the Chrysler Building was built as part of an ongoing building boom that resulted in the city having the world's tallest building from 1908 to 1974.
Following the end of World War I, European and American architects came to see simplified design as the epitome of the modern era and Art Deco skyscrapers as symbolizing progress and modernity. The 1916 Zoning Resolution restricted the height that street-side exterior walls of New York City buildings could rise before needing to be setback from the street; this led to the construction of Art Deco structures in New York City with significant setbacks, large volumes, striking silhouettes that were elaborately decorated. Art Deco buildings were constructed for only a short period of time; the Chrysler Building project was shaped by these circumstances. The land on which the Chrysler Building stands was donated to The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1902; the site is a trapezoid with a 201-foot-long frontage on Lexington Avenue. The site bordered the old Boston Post Road, which predated, ran aslant of, the Manhattan street grid established by the Commissioners' Plan of 1811.
As a result, the east side of the building's base is aslant. The Chrysler Building was to be the Reynolds Building, a project of real estate developer and former New York State Senator William H. Reynolds. Prior to his involvement in planning the building, Reynolds was best known for developing Coney Island's Dreamland amusement park; when the amusement park was destroyed by fire in 1911, Reynolds turned his attention to Manhattan real estate, where he set out to build the tallest building in the world. In 1921, Reynolds rented a large plot of land at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street with the intention of building a tall building on the site. In 1927, after several years of delays, Reynolds hired the architect William Van Alen to build a forty-story building there. Van Alen was respected in his field for his work on the Albemarle Building at Broadway and 24th Street, designing it in collaboration with his partner H. Craig Severance. Van Alen and Severance complemented each other, with Van Alen being an original, imaginative architect and Severance being a shrewd businessperson who handled the firm's finances.
However, the relationship between them became tense over disagreements on. The breaking point came after a 1924 article, in the Architectural Review, that praised the Albemarle Building's design, which the article attributed to Van Alen, while ignoring Severance's role altogether; the architects' partnership dissolved acrimoniously several months with lawsuits over the firm's clients and assets lasting over a year. This ended up being decisive for the design of the future Chrysler Building, since Severance's more traditional architectural style would otherwise have restrained Van Alen's more modern outlook. By February 2, 1928, the proposed building's height had been increased to 54 stories, which would have made it the tallest building in Midtown; the proposal was changed again two weeks with official plans for a 63-story building. A little more than a week after that, the plan was changed for th
Freemasonry or Masonry consists of fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons, which from the end of the fourteenth century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients. The degrees of Freemasonry retain the three grades of medieval craft guilds, those of Apprentice, Journeyman or fellow, Master Mason; the candidate of these three degrees is progressively taught the meanings of the symbols of Freemasonry, entrusted with grips and words to signify to other members that he has been so initiated. The initiations are part allegorical morality part lecture; the three degrees are offered by Craft Freemasonry. Members of these organisations are known as Masons. There are additional degrees, which vary with locality and jurisdiction, are administered by their own bodies; the basic, local organisational unit of Freemasonry is the Lodge. The Lodges are supervised and governed at the regional level by a Grand Lodge or Grand Orient.
There is no worldwide Grand Lodge that supervises all of Freemasonry. Modern Freemasonry broadly consists of two main recognition groups. Regular Freemasonry insists that a volume of scripture is open in a working lodge, that every member profess belief in a Supreme Being, that no women are admitted, that the discussion of religion and politics is banned. Continental Freemasonry is now the general term for the jurisdictions which have removed some, or all, of these restrictions; the Masonic lodge is the basic organisational unit of Freemasonry. The Lodge meets to conduct the usual formal business of any small organisation. In addition to business, the meeting may perform a ceremony to confer a Masonic degree or receive a lecture, on some aspect of Masonic history or ritual. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Lodge might adjourn for a formal dinner, or festive board, sometimes involving toasting and song; the bulk of Masonic ritual consists of degree ceremonies. Candidates for Freemasonry are progressively initiated into Freemasonry, first in the degree of Entered Apprentice.
Some time in a separate ceremony, they will be passed to the degree of Fellowcraft, they will be raised to the degree of Master Mason. In all of these ceremonies, the candidate is entrusted with passwords and grips peculiar to his new rank. Another ceremony is officers of the Lodge. In some jurisdictions Installed Master is valued as a separate rank, with its own secrets to distinguish its members. In other jurisdictions, the grade is not recognised, no inner ceremony conveys new secrets during the installation of a new Master of the Lodge. Most Lodges have some sort of social calendar, allowing Masons and their partners to meet in a less ritualised environment. Coupled with these events is the obligation placed on every Mason to contribute to charity; this occurs at both Grand Lodge level. Masonic charities contribute to many fields, such as disaster relief; these private local Lodges form the backbone of Freemasonry, a Freemason will have been initiated into one of these. There exist specialist Lodges where Masons meet to celebrate events, such as sport or Masonic research.
The rank of Master Mason entitles a Freemason to explore Masonry further through other degrees, administered separately from the Craft, or "Blue Lodge" degrees described here, but having a similar format to their meetings. There is little consistency in Freemasonry; because each Masonic jurisdiction is independent, each sets its own procedures. The wording of the ritual, the number of officers present, the layout of the meeting room, etc. varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The officers of the Lodge are appointed annually; every Masonic Lodge has two Wardens, a secretary and a treasurer. There is a Tyler, or outer guard, always present outside the door of a working Lodge. Other offices vary between jurisdictions; each Masonic Lodge exists and operates according to a set of ancient principles known as the Landmarks of Freemasonry. These principles have thus far eluded any universally accepted definition. Candidates for Freemasonry will have met most active members of the Lodge they are joining before they are initiated.
The process varies between jurisdictions, but the candidate will have been introduced by a friend at a Lodge social function, or at some form of open evening in the Lodge. In modern times, interested people track down a local Lodge through the Internet; the onus is on candidates to ask to join. Once the initial inquiry is made, an interview follows to determine the candidate's suitability. If the candidate decides to proceed from here, the Lodge ballots on the application before he can be accepted; the absolute minimum requirement of any body of Freemasons is that the candidate must be free, considered to be of good character. There is an age requirement, varying between Grand Lodges, capable of being overridden by a dispensation from the Grand Lodge; the underlying assumption is that the candidate should
A railway roundhouse is a building with a circular or semicircular shape used by railways for servicing and storing locomotives, traditionally surrounds, or is adjacent to, a turntable. Early steam locomotives travelled forwards only. Although reverse operations capabilities were soon built into locomotive mechanisms, the controls were optimized for forward travel, the locomotives could not operate as well in reverse; some passenger cars, such as observation cars, were designed as late as the 1960s for operations in a particular direction. Turntables allowed locomotives or other rolling stock to be turned around for the return journey, roundhouses, designed to radiate around the turntables, were built to service and store these locomotives. Most modern diesel and electric locomotives can run well in either direction, many are push-pull trains with control cabs at each end. In addition, railroads use multiple locomotives to pull trains, with locomotives that have distinct front and rear ends, the engines at opposing ends of a locomotive "consist" can be aligned so they face opposite directions.
With such a setup, trains needing to reverse direction can use a technique known as a "run around," in which the engines are uncoupled from the train, pull around it on an adjacent track or siding, reattach at the other end. The engineer changes operating ends from the original locomotive to the one on the opposite end of the locomotive consist. Railroad terminals use features such as balloon loops and wyes to reverse the orientation of railroad equipment; because of the advent of these practices, modern roundhouses are not round and are large buildings used for servicing locomotives. Like much other railroad terminology, the structure has retained its traditional name; the alternative term engine-house encompasses both semi-circular and rectangular structures and broadly describes all buildings intended for storage and servicing of locomotives. Shops or workshops are buildings containing hoists and heavy machinery capable of major repairs beyond routine servicing; some roundhouses include shop facilities internally or in adjoining buildings.
Since the great dieselisation era of the 1940s and 1950s, many roundhouses have been demolished or put to other uses, but a few still stand and remain in use on the railroads. Early roundhouses were too small for locomotives; the unusual shape of the buildings can make them difficult to adapt to new uses, but can be aesthetically appealing. Valley Heights roundhouse, 75 kilometres west of Sydney, New South Wales, is the oldest surviving roundhouse in Australia, has been preserved as a railway museum; the London Roundhouse Project London, Canada, is an extensive renovation of the Michigan Central Railroad steam locomotive repair shop, built in 1887. It is to become the new home of Ellipsis Digital and Engine SevenFour, a pair of emerging technology companies; the Canadian National Railways roundhouse at the Turcot Yard in Montreal, built in 1906, was the largest built in Canada. Its demolition in 1962 to make way for the Turcot Interchange illustrated a profound change in transportation habits across North America.
The Steam Whistle Brewing brewery in Toronto, Ontario is located in the building known as the John Street Roundhouse, a former Canadian Pacific Railway steam locomotive repair facility. The museum roundhouse in Wolsztyn, in western Poland, continues to supply steam locomotives for regular national rail services; the first railway roundhouse was built in 1839 at Derby, England by the North Midland Railway. The Derby roundhouse was restored in 2010, being converted into a brand new site for Derby College, with a new addition called the'Stephenson Building' including the other survival of demolition - the original Midland Counties Railway workshop; the new site was opened in September 2009. Tours can be arranged through Derby Tourist Information Centre; the Fenton and Jackson building in Leeds, a private workshop, may have been laid out in a radial pattern like a roundhouse. In a guidebook of the time we are told "The engine-house is a polygon of sixteen sides, 190 feet in diameter, lighted from a dome-shaped roof, of the height of 50 feet.
It contains 16 lines of rails, radiating from a single turn-table in the centre: the engines, on their arrival, are taken in there, placed upon the turn-table, wheeled into any stall that may be vacant. Each of the 16 stalls will hold two, or more, engines." This roundhouse narrowly escaped demolition when the works closed down, was classified as a listed building. The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, London was built in 1847, but was too small for its function within 20 years. Barrow Hill Engine Shed, home to a number of preserved locomotives is still in use; the B&O Railroad Museum complex in Baltimore, Maryland contains the restored railcar maintenance roundhouse of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. It is said to be the world's largest 22-sided building; the roundhouse located on the BNSF line, with the last stop in Aurora, was purchased and restored by NFL football player Walter Payton. After Payton's death the roundhouse was renamed Two Brothers Roundhouse, with a plaque mounted in Payton's honor; the vast majority of roundhouses built in the US and Canada no longer exist, lie in ruins, or have been repurposed.
Below is a list of locations with operational roundhouses that are open t
An engineer, engine driver, loco pilot, train driver, is a person who operates a train. The driver is in charge of, responsible for driving the engine, as well as the mechanical operation of the train, train speed, all train handling. For many American railroads, the following career progression is typical: assistant conductor and driver. In the US, drivers are required to be re-certified every two to three years. In American English a hostler moves engines around train yards, but does not take them out on the normal tracks. In India, a driver starts as electrical assistant, they get promoted on a scale: goods, Mail/Express and Rajdhani/Shatabdi/Duronto. In the United States and Canada, train drivers are known as "locomotive engineers", or "handlers". In the United Kingdom, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia they are known as "train drivers", "engine drivers", "locomotive drivers", or "locomotive operators". Ben Chifley, former Prime Minister of Australia Christine Gonzalez, first woman engineer at a Class 1 railroad.
Casey Jones, American engineer whose wreck on the Illinois Central Railroad on April 30, 1900 was immortalized in verse and music. The United Kingdom based transport historian Christian Wolmar stated in October 2013 that train operators employed by the Rio Tinto Group to transport iron ore across the Australian outback were to be the highest-paid members of the occupation in the world at that time. Fireman Motorman Stormy Kromer cap Huibregtse, Jon R.. American Railroad Labor and the Genesis of the New Deal, 1919-1935. University Press of Florida. Licht, Walter. Working for the Railroad: The Organization of Work in the Nineteenth Century. Orr, John W.. Set Up Running: The Life of a Pennsylvania Railroad Engineman, 1904-1949. Tuck, Joseph Hugh. Canadian Railways and the International Brotherhoods: Labour Organizations in the Railway Running Trades in Canada, 1865-1914. 37. Dissertation Abstracts International. P. 6681. The following examine the role of the railroad engineer from 1890 to 1919, discussing qualifications for becoming an engineer and typical experiences on the job: White, John H. Jr..
"Oh, To Be a Locomotive Engineer, Part 1: Once It Was Every Boy's Ambition". Railroad History. 189: 12–33. JSTOR 43504848. White, John H. Jr.. "Oh, To Be a Locomotive Engineer, Part 2: More About the Lives of Eagle-Eyes Famous and Forgotten". Railroad History. 190: 56–77. JSTOR 43524273. Media related to Locomotive drivers at Wikimedia Commons A detailed explanation of what train driving involves, becoming a train driver in the UK Run-A-Locomotive. Link to a site that offers an engineer experience program at a museum in California. Train Conductor Job Information How to become a train driver guide The Center Of A Future Train Conductor
Automotive industry in the United States
The automotive industry in the United States began in the 1890s and, as a result of the size of the domestic market and the use of mass production evolved into the largest in the world. However, the United States was overtaken as the largest automobile producer by Japan in the 1980s, subsequently by China in 2008; the U. S. is second among the largest manufacturer in the world by volume, with 8-10 million manufactured annually. Notable exceptions were 5.7 million automobiles manufactured in 2009, peak production levels of 13-15 million units during the 1970s and early 2000s. The motor vehicle industry began with hundreds of manufacturers, but by the end of the 1920s it was dominated by three large companies: General Motors and Chrysler, all based in Metro Detroit. After the Great Depression and World War II, these companies continued to prosper, the U. S. produced nearly three quarters of all automobiles in the world by 1950. Beginning in the 1970s, a combination of high oil prices and increased competition from foreign auto manufacturers affected the companies.
In the ensuing years, the companies periodically bounced back, but by 2008 the industry was in turmoil due to the aforementioned crisis. As a result, General Motors and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy reorganization and were bailed out with loans and investments from the federal government, but according to Autodata Corp, June 2014 seasonally adjusted annualized sales is the biggest in history with 16.98 million vehicles and toppled previous record in July 2006. Prior to the 1980s, most manufacturing facilities were owned by the Big Three and AMC, their U. S. market share has dropped as numerous foreign-owned car companies have built factories in the U. S. Toyota had 31,000 direct employees in the U. S. in 2012, meaning a total payroll of about $2.1 billion, compared to Ford's 80,000 U. S. employees supplying their 3,300 dealerships and Chrysler's 71,100 U. S. employees supplying their 2,328 dealerships. The development of self-powered vehicles was accompanied by numerous technologies and components giving rise to numerous supplier firms and associated industries.
Various types of energy sources were employed by early automobiles including steam and gasoline. Thousands of entrepreneurs were involved in developing and marketing of early automobiles on a small and local scale. Increasing sales facilitated production on a larger scale in factories with broader market distribution. Ransom E. Olds and Thomas B. Jeffery began mass production of their automobiles. Henry Ford focused on producing an automobile. Purchased by wealthy individuals, by 1916 cars began selling at $875. Soon, the market widened with the mechanical betterment of the cars, the reduction in prices, as well as the introduction of installment sales and payment plans. During the period from 1917 to 1926, the annual rate of increase in sales was less than from 1903 to 1916. In the years 1918, 1919, 1921, 1924 there were absolute declines in automotive production; the automotive industry caused a massive shift in the industrial revolution because it accelerated growth by a rate never before seen in the U.
S. economy. The combined efforts of innovation and industrialization allowed the automotive industry to take off during this period and it proved to be the backbone of United States manufacturing during the 20th century; the practicality of the automobile was limited because of the lack of suitable roads. Travel between cities was done by railroad, waterways, or carriages. Roads were dirt and hard to travel in bad weather; the League of American Wheelmen maintained and improved roads as it was viewed as a local responsibility with limited government assistance. During this time, there was an increase in production of automobiles coupled with a swell of auto dealerships, marking their growth in popularity. State governments began to use the corvee system to maintain roads, an implementation of required physical labor on a public project on the local citizens. Part of their motivation was the needs of farmers in rural areas attempting to transport their goods across rough functioning roads; the other reason was the weight of the wartime vehicles.
The materials involved altered during World War I to accommodate the heavier trucks on the road and were responsible for widespread shift to macadam highways and roadways. However, rural roads were still a problem for military vehicles, so four wheel drive was developed by automobile manufacturers to assist in powering through; as the prevalence of automobiles grew, it became clear funding would need to improve as well and the addition of government financing reflected that change. The Federal Aid Road Act of 1916 allocated $75 million for building roads, it was responsible for approving a refocusing of military vehicles to road maintenance equipment. It was followed by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1921 provided additional funding for road construction. By 1924, there were 31,000 miles of paved road in the U. S. About 3,000 automobile companies have existed in the United States. In the early 1900s, the U. S. saw the rise of the Big Three automakers. In the late 19th century Thorstein Veblen introduced his Theory of the Leisure Class which introduced conspicuous consumption and demonstrated that wealth was the basis for social status.
Ford and General Motors each played a role in their target market and what social status each consumer belonged to. Henry Ford began building cars in 1896 and started his own company in 1903; the Ford Motor Company improved mass-production with the first conveyor belt-based assembly line in 1913
Dutch people or the Dutch are a Germanic ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Aruba, Guyana, Curaçao, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, the United States; the Low Countries were situated around the border of France and the Holy Roman Empire, forming a part of their respective peripheries, the various territories of which they consisted had become autonomous by the 13th century. Under the Habsburgs, the Netherlands were organised into a single administrative unit, in the 16th and 17th centuries the Northern Netherlands gained independence from Spain as the Dutch Republic; the high degree of urbanization characteristic of Dutch society was attained at a early date. During the Republic the first series of large-scale Dutch migrations outside of Europe took place; the Dutch have left behind a substantial legacy despite the limited size of their country. The Dutch people are seen as the pioneers of capitalism, their emphasis on a modern economy, a free market had a huge influence on the great powers of the West the British Empire, its Thirteen Colonies, the United States.
The traditional arts and culture of the Dutch encompasses various forms of traditional music, architectural styles and clothing, some of which are globally recognizable. Internationally, Dutch painters such as Rembrandt and Van Gogh are held in high regard; the dominant religion of the Dutch was Christianity, although in modern times the majority are no longer religious. Significant percentages of the Dutch are adherents of humanism, atheism or individual spirituality; as with all ethnic groups, the ethnogenesis of the Dutch has been a complex process. Though the majority of the defining characteristics of the Dutch ethnic group have accumulated over the ages, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact emergence of the Dutch people; the text below hence focuses on the history of the Dutch ethnic group. For Dutch colonial history, see the article on the Dutch Empire. In the first centuries CE, the Germanic tribes formed tribal societies with no apparent form of autocracy, beliefs based Germanic paganism and speaking a dialect still resembling Common Germanic.
Following the end of the migration period in the West around 500, with large federations settling the decaying Roman Empire, a series of monumental changes took place within these Germanic societies. Among the most important of these are their conversion from Germanic paganism to Christianity, the emergence of a new political system, centered on kings, a continuing process of emerging mutual unintelligibility of their various dialects; the general situation described above is applicable to most if not all modern European ethnic groups with origins among the Germanic tribes, such as the Frisians, Germans and the North-Germanic peoples. In the Low Countries, this phase began when the Franks, themselves a union of multiple smaller tribes, began to incur the northwestern provinces of the Roman Empire. In 358, the Salian Franks, one of the three main subdivisions among the Frankish alliance settled the area's Southern lands as foederati. Linguistically Old Frankish or Low Franconian evolved into Old Dutch, first attested in the 6th century, whereas religiously the Franks converted to Christianity from around 500 to 700.
On a political level, the Frankish warlords abandoned tribalism and founded a number of kingdoms culminating in the Frankish Empire of Charlemagne. However, the population make-up of the Frankish Empire, or early Frankish kingdoms such as Neustria and Austrasia, was not dominated by Franks. Though the Frankish leaders controlled most of Western Europe, the Franks themselves were confined to the Northwestern part of the Empire; the Franks in Northern France were assimilated by the general Gallo-Roman population, took over their dialects, whereas the Franks in the Low Countries retained their language, which would evolve into Dutch. The current Dutch-French language border has remained identical since, could be seen as marking the furthest pale of gallicization among the Franks; the medieval cities of the Low Countries, which experienced major growth during the 11th and 12th century, were instrumental in breaking down the relatively loose local form of feudalism. As they became powerful, they used their economical strength to influence the politics of their nobility.
During the early 14th century, beginning in and inspired by the County of Flanders, the cities in the Low Countries gained huge autonomy and dominated or influenced the various political affairs of the fief, including marriage succession. While the cities were of great political importance, they formed catalys