Portal:Germany

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Location of Germany within Europe
Carl Friedrich Gauss

Germany is one of the world's leading industrialised countries, located in the heart of Europe. It is bordered to the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea, to the south by Austria and Switzerland, to the west by France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and to the east by Poland and the Czech Republic.

Germany is a democratic federal parliamentary republic, containing 16 federal-states (Bundesländer), which in certain spheres act independently of the Federation or "Bund".

The Federal Republic of Germany is a member state of the United Nations, NATO, the G8 nations, and a founding member of what is now the European Union. It is the largest country in surface area in Central Europe. More...

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Political map of central Europe showing the 26 areas that became part of the united German Empire in 1871. Prussia, based in the northeast, dominates in size, occupying about 40% of the new empire.

The formal unification of Germany into a politically and administratively integrated nation state officially occurred on 18 January 1871 at the Versailles Palace's Hall of Mirrors in France. Princes of the German states gathered there to proclaim Wilhelm of Prussia as Emperor Wilhelm of the German Empire after the French capitulation in the Franco-Prussian War. Unofficially, the transition of the German-speaking states into a federated organization of states occurred over nearly a century of experimentation. Unification exposed several glaring religious, linguistic, and cultural differences between and among the inhabitants of the new nation, suggesting that 1871 represents one moment in a continuum of unification processes.

The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation had been informally dissolved in 1806 with the abdication of Emperor Francis II during the Napoleonic Wars. Despite the legal, administrative, and political disruption caused by the dissolution of the Empire, the people of the German-speaking areas of the old Empire had a common linguistic, cultural and legal tradition further enhanced by their shared experience in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. More...

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