Germany is a federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe, formally known as the Federal Republic of Germany. It comprises 16 component states, a land size of 357,021 square kilometers (137,847 square miles), and a mostly moderate seasonal climate. Germany is the most populous member state of the European Union, with about 82 million people. It is the world’s second most popular immigration destination after the United States. Berlin is Germany’s capital and biggest city. Ruhr, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, and Düsseldorf are among the major cities.
Since ancient antiquity, several Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern portions of contemporary Germany. Before the year 100 AD, there existed a territory known as Germania. The Germanic tribes pushed southward during the Migration Period. German lands were an important component of the Holy Roman Empire beginning in the 10th century. Northern German areas were the Protestant Reformation’s epicenter throughout the 16th century.
Germany became a nation state in 1871, when the majority of German states merged to form the Prussian-dominated German Empire. The Empire was succeeded by the legislative Weimar Republic after World War I and the German Revolution of 1918–1919. The creation of a national socialist government in 1933 precipitated World War II and genocide. Following an Allied occupation period, two German states were established: the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic. The nation was reunified in 1990.
Germany is a major power in the twenty-first century, with the world’s fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP and fifth-largest by PPP. It is the world’s third-largest exporter and importer of commodities, as well as a worldwide leader in many industrial and technical areas. Germany is a developed nation with a high quality of life that is supported by a trained and productive workforce. It maintains a social security and universal health care system, as well as environmental preservation and tuition-free university education.
In 1993, Germany became a founding member of the European Union. It is a member of the Schengen Area and a founding member of the Eurozone in 1999. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the Group of Eight (G8), the Group of Twenty (G20), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The country’s military spending ranks ninth in the world. Germany, known for its rich cultural past, has long been the home of important artists, philosophers, singers, athletes, and businesspeople. It is a scientific and technological powerhouse on a worldwide scale.