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officially the Federal Republic of Germany is a country in Central Europe. It
is bordered to the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea; to the
east by Poland and the Czech Republic; to the south by Austria and Switzerland;
and to the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The territory
of Germany covers 357,021 square kilometers and is influenced by a temperate seasonal
climate. With 82 million inhabitants, it accounts for the largest population among
the member states of the European Union and is home to the third-largest number
of international migrants worldwide.
A region named Germania inhabited by several Germanic peoples has been known and
documented before AD 100. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed
a central part of the Holy Roman Empire that lasted until 1806. During the 16th
century, northern Germany became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. As
a modern nation-state, the country was first unified amidst the Franco-Prussian
War in 1871. In 1949, after World War II, Germany was divided into two separate
states—East Germany and West Germany—along the lines of Allied occupation.
The two states were unified in 1990. West Germany was a founding member of the
European Community (EC) in 1957, which became the European Union in 1993. It is
part of the Schengen zone and adopted the European currency, the euro, in 1999.
Germany is a federal parliamentary republic of sixteen states (Länder). The
capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany is a member of the United Nations,
NATO, G8 and OECD. It is a major economic power with the world's third largest
economy by nominal GDP and the fifth largest in purchasing power parity. It is
the largest exporter and second largest importer of goods. In absolute terms,
Germany allocates the second biggest annual budget of development aid in the world,
while its military expenditure ranked sixth. The country has developed a high
standard of living and established a comprehensive system of social security.
It holds a key position in European affairs and maintains a multitude of close
partnerships on a global level. Germany is recognised as a scientific and technological
leader in several fields. (Credit: