The Federal Republic of Germany is Europe’s largest economy and one of the world’s largest exporters. It has over 80 Million inhabitants making it the largest country in Western Europe.

Germanic tribes pre-date the Romans but by 100AD when Tacitus wrote Germania, they occupied most of the area we now know as Germany. At the same time the Romans occupied Austria and the Rhineland. Larger Germanic tribes emerged by the 4th century after the fall of Rome, including the Saxons who occupied the northern half of Germany and invaded Britain.

After the division of Charlemagne’s empire, the Holy Roman Empire installed an Emperor who controlled a stretch of land which reached the Mediterranean.

From the 14th century northern Germany became prosperous as members of the Hanseatic League, but the Black Death severely cut the population of the country as it did in the rest of Europe. Protestantism under Martin Luther caused decades of conflict reducing the population yet further, but since then the Lutheran Church has been dominant in the region.

The Kings of Prussia ruled over Germany until the assassination of Crown Prince Ferdinand in 1914 triggering WWI. Germany suffered defeat by the allies leading the German Revolution and the abolition of the monarchy. The subsequent Weimar Republic was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, which was seen as a humiliation and is considered by many as causing the rise of Nazism in Germany.

The struggle for power continued well after the German Revolution, mostly between Communists and Nazis. The Great Depression followed, causing discontent among many Germans, and as we all know, Hitler came through as the absolute ruler of Germany in 1933. Military expansion was followed by invasion of neighbouring lands and the eventual war.

After WWII East Germany and East Berlin fell into communist control, resulting in the partitioning of Germany into East and West Germany. The Federal Republic with a market economy, the DDR as it was then called as a communist bloc state. Re-unification occurred after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and in 1994 Berlin once again became the capital of Germany.

View Larger Map