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The United States of America, commonly referred to as the United States (U.S.) or America, is a constitutional federal republic composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. Forty-eight of the fifty states and the federal district are contiguous and located in North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Nine time zones are covered. The geography, climate and wildlife of the country are extremely diverse.
At 3.8 million square miles (9.8 million km2) and with over 324 million people, the United States is the world's third- or fourth-largest country by total area,third-largest by land area, and the third-most populous. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, and is home to the world's largest immigrant population.The capital is Washington, D.C. and the largest city is New York City; the other major metropolitan areas, all with around five million or more inhabitants, are Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, Philadelphia, Houston, Miami, and Atlanta.
POPULATION: 2017 estimate- 3,24,631,000
LARGEST CITY: NEW YORK CITY
GOVERNMENT: FEDERAL PRESIDENTIAL CONSITUTIONAL REPUBLIC
AREA: 3,796,742 sq mi
CURRENCY: UNITED STATES dollar($)
CALLING CODE: (+1)
The type of visa granted to you will depend on the purpose of your visit to the U.S. For academic purposes, students will need to obtain an F-class U.S.A. student visa. These visas cover students planning to pursue full-time degree programs at either the undergraduate or graduate level.
Make sure that you complete Form DS-160 before the interview for your U.S. student visa. After completing Form DS-160, print out the confirmation page with the barcode on a laser printer. Then, go to an approved HDFC bank in order to pay the visa application fee. Save the receipt from the payment.
You should also make sure that you have the I-120 form, which is a form issued by colleges in the U.S.A. for affirming enrollment, and you should make sure to pay the I-901 fee online through the U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement website. Save the receipt.
Finally, make an appointment for a U.S.A. student visa interview through the VFS.
Russia ,from the Greek: ΡωσÎ¯α — Rus'), also officially the Russian Federation (Russian: Ð Ð¾ÑÑÐ¸ÌÐ¹ÑÐºÐ°Ñ Ð¤ÐµÐ´ÐµÑ€Ð°ÌÑ†Ð¸Ñ, tr. Rossiyskaya Federatsiya; IPA: [rÉËˆsÊ²ijskÉ™jÉ™ fÊ²ÉªdÊ²ÉªËˆratsÉ¨jÉ™]), is a country in Eurasia. At 17,075,200 square kilometres (6,592,800 sq mi), Russia is the largest country in the world by surface area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area,and the ninth most populous, with over 144 million people at the end of March 2016.The European western part of the country is much more populated and urbanised than the eastern; about 77% of the population live in European Russia. Russia's capital Moscow is one of the largest cities in the world, other major urban centers include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan.
Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (both with Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait.
The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium.Rus' ultimately disintegrated into a number of smaller states; most of the Rus' lands were overrun by the Mongol invasion and became tributaries of the nomadic Golden Horde in the 13th century.The Grand Duchy of Moscow gradually reunified the surrounding Russian principalities, achieved independence from the Golden Horde, and came to dominate the cultural and political legacy of Kievan Rus'. By the 18th century, the nation had greatly expanded through conquest, annexation, and exploration to become the Russian Empire, which was the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland on the west to Alaska on the east.
POPULATION: 2017 estimates-144,544,933
LARGEST CITY: Moscow
GOVERNMENT: Federal semi-presidential constitutional republic
CURRENCY: Russian ruble
CALLING CODE: (+7)
Australia ,officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest urban area is Sydney.
For about 50,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century,Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians,who spoke languages classifiable into roughly 250 groups. After the European discovery of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established. On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy comprising six states and several territories. The population of 24 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard.
Australia has the world's 13th-largest economy and ninth-highest per capita income (IMF).With the second-highest human development index globally, the country ranks highly in quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and civil liberties and political rights.Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Pacific Islands Forum.
POPULATION: 2017 estimate- 24,382,900
LARGEST CITY: Sydney
GOVERNMENT: Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy
AREA: 7,692,024 km sq2
CURRENCY: Australian dollar
CALLING CODE: (+61)
Canada , is a country in the northern half of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres (3.85 million square miles), making it the world's second-largest country by total area and the fourth-largest country by land area. Canada's border with the United States is the world's longest land border. The majority of the country has a cold or severely cold winter climate, but southerly areas are warm in summer. Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land territory being dominated by forest and tundra and the Rocky Mountains. It is highly urbanized with 82 per cent of the 35.15 million people concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. One third of the population lives in the three largest cities: Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. Its capital is Ottawa, and other major urban areas include Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec City, Winnipeg and Hamilton.
Various aboriginal peoples had inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years prior to European colonization. Beginning in the 16th century, British and French claims were made on the area, with the colony of Canada first being established by the French in 1534. As a consequence of various conflicts, Great Britain gained and lost territories within British North America until it was left, in the late 18th century, with what mostly geographically comprises Canada today. Pursuant to the British North America Act, on July 1, 1867, the colonies of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia joined to form the semi-autonomous federal Dominion of Canada. This began an accretion of provinces and territories to the mostly self-governing Dominion to the present ten provinces and three territories forming modern Canada.
In 1931, Canada achieved near total independence from the United Kingdom with the Statute of Westminster 1931, but at the time, Canada decided to allow the British Parliament to temporarily retain the power to amend Canada's constitution, on request from the Parliament of Canada. With the Constitution Act 1982, Canada took over that authority (as the conclusion of Patriation), removing the last remaining ties of legal dependence on the Parliament of the United Kingdom, giving the country full sovereignty.
POPULATION: 2017 estimate- 35,151,728
LARGEST CITY: Toronto
GOVERNMENT: Federal parliamentary representative democracy
AREA: 9,984,670 sq m2
CURRENCY: Canadian dollar
CALLING CODE: (+1)
Be aware that an application for international study can be a slow process, and can take up to 7 weeks processing time. You need to be making your decision and getting your application off as soon possible.
Study abroad in Canada is of course a big thing, and requires plenty of thought, but it also requires a visa once you’ve decided for sure that this is the road you want to take. The visa you need to apply for is a student visa, or study permit, and you need your offer of acceptance from your chosen Canadian university to be able to kick start this process. You’ll also need your application fee, evidence that you are able to cover yourself financially during your time, such as to pay for tuition fees and day to day living costs, as well as a ticket home. Once this is sent off, you just need to sit and wait.
Character and health checks will be made during the processing time, which may include a police check, but it’s generally nothing to worry about.
It’s also worthwhile checking with your university about any extras that are needed, as Canada, being the huge country it is, has varying procedures throughout its 10 territories, so it’s always worth checking, to make sure any extras or variations are sorted out prior to your application. A form filled in wrong or document not sent off can delay your application, which if you’re applying for a popular course, could be the difference between you making it in or not.
And studying in Canada opens up many opportunities to work in North America when you graduate – after completing a course in Canada you can stay and work for up to one year. You can also work part-time during your studies – making it easier to get great work experience, and save money.
The advantages of earning your degree in Canada are huge and varied, and everyone will have their own reasons for picking this large and diverse country to obtain their degree. The low cost of study and living will be a huge pull for many, but the double language situation will add a huge boost to your CV. If you’re willing to learn French, if you’re a native English speaker, or English if you’re a French speaker, you will not only stand a better stead of getting in at your chosen university, especially if it is bilingual, but you will also show flexibility to employers . Having two languages on your CV is massive boost in the job market, especially if you decide to stay on and work after your degree for the year that you are permitted to. Having both languages at your disposal will make you a valuable commodity to large businesses.
Do your research, choose your university carefully and ensure you have all your paperwork in order. Once you apply, and the wait is over, you can really begin to look forward to not only studying in a beautiful and vibrant country, but also to a life experience quite like no other.
France (French: [fÊÉ‘Ìƒs]), officially the French Republic (République française [Êepyblik fÊÉ‘ÌƒsÉ›z]), is a country with territory in western Europe and several overseas regions and territories.[XV] The European, or metropolitan, area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. Overseas France include French Guiana on the South American continent and several island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. France spans 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and had a total population of almost 67 million people as of January 2017. It is a unitary semi-presidential republic with the capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban centres include Marseille[XVI], Lyon, Lille, Nice, Toulouse and Bordeaux.
During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. The area was annexed in 51 BC by Rome, which held Gaul until 486, when the Germanic Franks conquered the region and formed the Kingdom of France. France emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages, with its victory in the Hundred Years' War (1337 to 1453) strengthening state-building and political centralisation. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would be the second largest in the world.The 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Catholics and Protestants (Huguenots). France became Europe's dominant cultural, political, and military power under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, and saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day.
POPULATION: 2017 estimate-66,991,000
LARGEST CITY: Paris
GOVERNMENT: Unitary semi-presidential republic
AREA: 6,43,801 km2
CALLING CODE: (+33)
Long Stay Student Visa
VISA Fee: 50 Euros (in equivalent Indian Rupees, to be paid in cash at the time of depositing the application file).
Time process: Minimum 2 to 3 weeks. Maximum depends upon embassy.
Note: There is a separate visa fee to be paid at the VFS France at the time submission of the passport & all documents. For details, please visit - www.vfs-france.co.in
Georgia is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital and largest city is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometres (26,911 sq mi), and its 2016 population is about 3.72 million. Georgia is a unitary, semi-presidential republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy.
During the classical era, several independent kingdoms became established in what is now Georgia. The kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia adopted Christianity in the early 4th century. A unified Kingdom of Georgia reached the peak of its political and economic strength during the reign of King David IV and Queen Tamar in the 12th and early 13th centuries. Thereafter the kingdom declined and eventually disintegrated under hegemony of various regional powers, including the Mongols, the Ottoman Empire, and successive dynasties of Iran. In the late 18th century, the eastern Georgian Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti forged an alliance with the Russian Empire, which directly annexed the kingdom in 1801 and conquered the western Kingdom of Imereti in 1810. Russian rule over Georgia was eventually acknowledged in various peace treaties with Iran and the Ottomans. Following the Russian Revolution in 1917, Georgia obtained its short-lived independence and established first-ever republic led by the Social-Democrats in 1918, only to be invaded by Soviet Russia in 1921 and subsequently absorbed into the Soviet Union as the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic.
POPULATION: 2017 estimates- 3,720,400
CAPITAL: Tbillisi Kutaisi
LARGEST CITY: Tbillisi
GOVERNMENT: Unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic
AREA: 69,700 km2
CURRENCY: Georgian lary
CALLING CODE: (+995)
Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland, About this sound listen (help·info)),[d] is a federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe. It includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres (137,847 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With about 82 million inhabitants, Germany is the most populous member state of the European Union. After the United States, it is the second most popular immigration destination in the world.Germany's capital and largest metropolis is Berlin. Other major cities include Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Düsseldorf.
Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity. A region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period the Germanic tribes expanded southward. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation.
In 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the German Revolution of 1918–1919, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic. The establishment of the national socialist dictatorship in 1933 led to World War II and the Holocaust. After a period of Allied occupation, two German states were founded: the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic. In 1990, the country was reunified.
LARGEST CITY: Berlin
GOVERNMENT: Federal parliementary republic
AREA: 3,57,168 km2
CALLING CODE: (49)
The German Embassy reserves the right to ask for additional documents!
Important Facts to remember during file submitting:
Link to check VISA Fee - http://www.vfs-germany.co.in/visafees.aspx
Link to check VISA Fee - www.new-delhi.diplo.de
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan (Kazakh: ÒšÐ°Ð·Ð°Ò›ÑÑ‚Ð°Ð½ Ð ÐµÑÐ¿ÑƒÐ±Ð»Ð¸ÐºÐ°ÑÑ‹, tr. Qazaqstan RespwblïkasÄ±; Russian: Ð ÐµÑÐ¿ÑƒÐ±Ð»Ð¸ÐºÐ° ÐšÐ°Ð·Ð°Ñ…ÑÑ‚Ð°Ð½, tr. Respublika Kazakhstan), is a transcontinental country in northern Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Kazakhstan is the world's largest landlocked country, and the ninth largest in the world, with an area of 2,724,900 square kilometres (1,052,100 sq mi). Kazakhstan is the dominant nation of Central Asia economically, generating 60% of the region's GDP, primarily through its oil/gas industry. It also has vast mineral resources.
Kazakhstan is officially a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage.Kazakhstan shares borders with Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, and also adjoins a large part of the Caspian Sea. The terrain of Kazakhstan includes flatlands, steppe, taiga, rock canyons, hills, deltas, snow-capped mountains, and deserts. Kazakhstan has an estimated 18 million people as of 2014,Given its large land area, its population density is among the lowest, at less than 6 people per square kilometre (15 people per sq. mi.). The capital is Astana, where it was moved in 1997 from Almaty, the country's largest city.
The territory of Kazakhstan has historically been inhabited by nomadic tribes. This changed in the 13th century, when Genghis Khan occupied the country as part of the Mongolian Empire. Following internal struggles among the conquerors, power eventually reverted to the nomads. By the 16th century, the Kazakh emerged as a distinct group, divided into three jüz (ancestor branches occupying specific territories). The Russians began advancing into the Kazakh steppe in the 18th century, and by the mid-19th century, they nominally ruled all of Kazakhstan as part of the Russian Empire. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, and subsequent civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganised several times. In 1936, it was made the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, part of the Soviet Union.
POPULATION: 2017 estimates- 18,050,488
LARGEST CITY: Almaty
GOVERNMENT: Unitary dominant-party presedential republic
AREA: 2,724,900 km2
CALLING CODE: (+76xx)
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal (Nepali: à¤¸à¤™à¥à¤˜à¥€à¤¯ à¤²à¥‹à¤•à¤¤à¤¾à¤¨à¥à¤¤à¥à¤°à¤¿à¤• à¤—à¤£à¤¤à¤¨à¥à¤¤à¥à¤° à¤¨à¥‡à¤ªà¤¾à¤² Sanghiya LoktÄntrik Ganatantra NepÄl), is a landlocked central Himalayan country in South Asia. It has a population of 26.4 million and is the 93rd largest country by area. Bordering China in the north and India in the south, east, and west, it is the largest sovereign Himalayan state. Nepal does not border Bangladesh, which is located within only 27 km (17 mi) of its southeastern tip. It neither borders Bhutan due to the Indian state of Sikkim being located in between. Nepal has a diverse geography, including fertile plains,subalpine forested hills, and eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and largest city. It is a multiethnic nation with Nepali as the official language.
The territory of Nepal has a recorded history since the Neolithic age. The name Nepal is first recorded in texts from the Vedic Age, the era which founded Hinduism, the predominant religion of the country. In the middle of the first millennium BCE, Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born in southern Nepal. Parts of northern Nepal were intertwined with the culture of Tibet. The Kathmandu Valley in central Nepal became known as Nepal proper because of its complex urban civilization. It was the seat of the prosperous Newar confederacy known as Nepal Mandala. The Himalayan branch of the ancient Silk Road was dominated by the valley's traders. The cosmopolitan region developed distinct traditional art and architecture. By the 18th century, the Gorkha Kingdom achieved the unification of Nepal. The Shah dynasty established the Kingdom of Nepal and later formed an alliance with the British Empire, under its Rana dynasty of premiers. The country was never colonized but served as a buffer state between Imperial China and Colonial India. In the 20th century, Nepal ended its isolation and forged strong ties with regional powers. Parliamentary democracy was introduced in 1951, but was twice suspended by Nepalese monarchs in 1960 and 2005. The Nepalese Civil War resulted in the proclamation of a republic in 2008, ending the reign of the world's last Hindu monarchy.
POPULATION: 2017 estimates-26,494,504
LARGEST CITY: Kathmandu
GOVERNMENT: Federal parliementary republic
AREA: 141,187 km2
CURRENCY: Nepalese rupee
CALLING CODE: (+977)
New Zealand is an island nation in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-MÄui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu—and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.
Sometime between 1250 and 1300 CE, Polynesians settled in the islands that later were named New Zealand and developed a distinctive MÄori culture. In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman became the first European to sight New Zealand.In 1840, representatives of Britain and MÄori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, which declared British sovereignty over the islands. In 1841, New Zealand became a colony within the British Empire and in 1907 it became a Dominion. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.7 million is of European descent; the indigenous MÄori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from MÄori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration. The official languages are English, MÄori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant.
POPULATION: 2017 estimates-4,772,380
LARGEST CITY: Auckland
GOVERNMENT: Unitary parliement constitutional monarchy
AREA: 2,68,021 km2
CURRENCY: New Zealand dollar
CALLING CODE: (+64)
All people who wish to study abroad in New Zealand for more than 3 months will need a student visa. The only exception applies to Australian citizens. They can study in New Zealand without a visa. All other international students will have to acquire a student visa in order to be able to study in New Zealand.
Those who wish to study courses that last for 3 months or less won’t need to acquire student visa.
Your student visa will state how long you can stay in the country, whether you can work while studying, who counts as your dependent, and more. In order to get your student visa, you need to officially apply for it and pay a student visa application fee.
If you are already in New Zealand when applying for your student visa, you will need to go through the regular application process. In some cases you might be able to process your student visa directly on campus.
In special circumstances, you will be able to change the conditions of your visa. For example, if you are on another visa type and you want to study part time or if you are on a student visa but you want to change courses or course providers. You might need to change conditions of your visa if you wish to work while studying.
The Philippines , officially the Republic of the Philippines (Filipino: Republika ng Pilipinas), is a sovereign island country in Southeast Asia situated in the western Pacific Ocean. It consists of about 7,641 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The capital city of the Philippines is Manila and the most populous city is Quezon City, both part of Metro Manila.Bounded by the South China Sea on the west, the Philippine Sea on the east and the Celebes Sea on the southwest, the Philippines shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Vietnam to the west, Palau to the east and Malaysia and Indonesia to the south.
The Philippines' location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator makes the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons, but also endows it with abundant natural resources and some of the world's greatest biodiversity. The Philippines has an area of 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi),and a population of approximately 100 million. It is the eighth-most populated country in Asia and the 12th most populated country in the world. As of 2013, approximately 10 million additional Filipinos lived overseas,comprising one of the world's largest diasporas. Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. In prehistoric times, Negritos were some of the archipelago's earliest inhabitants. They were followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples.Exchanges with Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Islamic states occurred. Then, various nations were established under the rule of Datus, Rajahs, Sultans or Lakans.
POPULATION: 2017 estimates-100,981,437
LARGEST CITY: Quezon city
GOVERNMENT: Unitary presential constitutional republic
AREA: 3,00,000 km2
CALLING CODE: (+63)
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, and often referred to as the Lion City or the Little Red Dot, is a sovereign city-state in Southeast Asia, and the world's only island city-state. It lies one degree (137 km) north of the equator, at the southern tip of peninsular Malaysia, with Indonesia's Riau Islands to the south. Singapore's territory consists of one main island along with 62 other islets. Since independence, extensive land reclamation has increased its total size by 23% (130 km2), and its greening policy has covered the densely populated island with tropical flora, parks and gardens.
Stamford Raffles founded colonial Singapore in 1819 as a trading post of the East India Company; after the establishment of the British Raj, the islands were ceded to Britain and became part of its Straits Settlements in 1826. During the Second World War, Singapore was occupied by Japan. It gained independence from the UK in 1963 by federating with other former British territories to form Malaysia, but was expelled two years later over ideological differences, becoming a sovereign nation in 1965. After early years of turbulence, and despite lacking natural resources and a hinterland, the nation developed rapidly as an Asian Tiger economy, based on external trade and its workforce.
Singapore is a global commerce, finance and transport hub. Its standings include: the most "technology-ready" nation (WEF), top International-meetings city (UIA), city with "best investment potential" (BERI), second-most competitive country, third-largest foreign exchange market, third-largest financial centre, third-largest oil refining and trading centre, and the second-busiest container port. The country has also been identified as a tax haven.
Singapore is ranked 11th internationally and first in Asia on the UN Human Development Index. It is ranked highly in education, healthcare, life expectancy, quality of life, personal safety, and housing, but does not fare well on the Democracy index. Although income inequality is high, 90% of homes are owner-occupied. 38% of Singapore's 5.6 million residents are permanent residents and other foreign nationals. There are four official languages on the island: Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and English. English is its common language; most Singaporeans are bilingual.
LARGEST CITY: Bedok
GOVERNMENT: Unitary dominant-party parliamentary republic
AREA: 7,19.1 km2
CURRENCY: Singapore dollar
CALLING CODE: (+65)
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain (Spanish: Reino de España),is a sovereign state located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, with two large archipelagos, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea and the Canary Islands off the North African Atlantic coast, two cities Ceuta and Melilla in the North African mainland and several small islands in the Alboran Sea near the Moroccan coast. Its mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean. It is the only European country to have a border with an African country (Morocco) and its African territory accounts for nearly 5% of its population, mostly in the Canary Islands but also in Ceuta and Melilla.
With an area of 505,990 km2 (195,360 sq mi), Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, and the fourth largest country in the European continent. By population, Spain is the sixth largest in Europe and the fifth in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid; other major urban areas include Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Bilbao and Málaga.
Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania, based on the earlier Phoenician name Span or Spania.In the Middle Ages, the area was conquered by Germanic tribes and later by the Moors. Spain emerged as a unified country in the 15th century, following the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs and the completion of the eight centuries-long reconquest, or Reconquista from the Moors in 1492. In the early modern period, Spain became one of history's first global colonial empires, leaving a vast cultural and linguistic legacy that includes over 500 million Spanish speakers, making Spanish the world's second most spoken first language, after Mandarin Chinese.
LARGEST CITY: Madrid
GOVERNMENT: Unitary parliementary constitutional monarchy
CALLING CODE: (+34)
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of 10.0 million.Sweden consequently has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre (57/sq mi), with the highest concentration in the southern half of the country. Approximately 85% of the population lives in urban areas.
Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats/Götar and Swedes/Svear and constituting the sea peoples known as the Norsemen. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, while the north is heavily forested. Sweden is part of the geographical area of Fennoscandia. The climate is in general very mild for its northerly latitude due to significant maritime influence, that in spite of this still retains warm continental summers. Today, Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a monarch as head of state. The capital city is Stockholm, which is also the most populous city in the country. Legislative power is vested in the 349-member unicameral Riksdag. Executive power is exercised by the government chaired by the prime minister. Sweden is a unitary state, currently divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities.
Sweden emerged as an independent and unified country during the Middle Ages. In the 17th century, it expanded its territories to form the Swedish Empire, which became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were gradually lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, ending with the annexation of present-day Finland by Russia in 1809. The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Norway was militarily forced into personal union. Since then, Sweden has been at peace, maintaining an official policy of neutrality in foreign affairs.The union with Norway was peacefully dissolved in 1905, leading to Sweden's current borders. Though Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars, Sweden engaged in humanitarian efforts, such as taking in refugees from German-occupied Europe.
POPULATION: 2017 estimates-10,019,400
LARGEST CITY: Stolkholme
GOVERNMENT: Unitary parliementary constitutional monarchy
AREA: 450,295 km2
CURRENCY: Swedish krona
CALLING CODE: (46)
Tajikistan, officially the Republic of Tajikistan (Tajik: Ò¶ÑƒÐ¼Ò³ÑƒÑ€Ð¸Ð¸ Ð¢Ð¾Ò·Ð¸ÐºÐ¸ÑÑ‚Ð¾Ð½, Çumhurii Toçikiston), is a mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia with an estimated 8 million people in 2013, and an area of 143,100 km2 (55,300 sq mi). It is bordered by Afghanistan to the south, Republic of Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyz Republic to the north, and People's Republic of China to the east. Islamic Republic of Pakistan lies to the south, separated by the narrow Wakhan Corridor. Traditional homelands of Tajik people included present-day Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.
The territory that now constitutes Tajikistan was previously home to several ancient cultures, including the city of Sarazm of the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, and was later home to kingdoms ruled by people of different faiths and cultures, including the Oxus civilisation, Andronovo culture, Buddhism, Nestorian Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism and Islam. The area has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Achaemenid Empire, Sasanian Empire, Hephthalite Empire, Samanid Empire, Mongol Empire, Timurid dynasty, and the Russian Empire. As a result of the break-up of the Soviet Union, Tajikistan became an independent nation in 1991. A civil war was fought almost immediately after independence, lasting from 1992 to 1997. Since the end of the war, newly established political stability and foreign aid have allowed the country's economy to grow.
Tajikistan is a presidential republic consisting of four provinces. Most of Tajikistan's 8 million people belong to the Tajik ethnic group, who speak Tajik (a dialect of Persian). Many Tajiks also speak Russian as their second language. Mountains cover more than 90% of the country. It has a transition economy that is highly dependent on remittances, aluminium and cotton production.
POPULATION: 2017 etimates-Dushanbe
LARGEST CITY: Dushanbe
GOVERNMENT: Unitary dominant-party presidential republic
AREA: 1,43,000 km2
CALLING CODE: (+992)
The United Arab Emirates , sometimes simply called the Emirates (Arabic: Ø§Ù„Ø§Ù…Ø§Ø±Ø§Øª al-ImÄrÄt) or the UAE, is a federal absolute monarchy in Western Asia at the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south, as well as sharing maritime borders with Qatar to the west and Iran to the north. In 2013, the UAE's population was 9.2 million, of which 1.4 million are Emirati citizens and 7.8 million are expatriates.
The country is a federation of seven emirates, and was established on December 2, 1971. The constituent emirates are Abu Dhabi (which serves as the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. Each emirate is governed by an absolute monarch; together, they jointly form the Federal Supreme Council. One of the monarchs is selected as the President of the United Arab Emirates. Islam is the official religion of the UAE and Arabic is the official language (although English and Indian dialects are widely spoken, with English being the language of business and education particularly in Abu Dhabi and Dubai).
The UAE's oil reserves are the seventh-largest in the world while its natural gas reserves are the world's seventeenth-largest.Sheikh Zayed, ruler of Abu Dhabi and the first President of the UAE, oversaw the development of the Emirates and steered oil revenues into healthcare, education and infrastructure.The UAE's economy is the most diversified in the Gulf Cooperation Council, while its most populous city of Dubai is an important global city and an international aviation hub.Nevertheless, the country remains principally reliant on its export of petroleum and natural gas.
The UAE is criticised for its human rights record, including the specific interpretations of Sharia used in its legal system.The UAE's rising international profile has led some analysts to identify it as a regional and middle power.
POPULATION: 2015 estimate- 5,779,760
CAPITAL: Abu Dhabi
LARGEST CITY: Dubai
GOVERNMENT: Federal monarchy
CURRENCY: UAE dirham
CALLING CODE: (+971)
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,is a country in western Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, it includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a land border with another sovereign state—â€‹â€‹the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to its east, the English Channel to its south and the Celtic Sea to its south-south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the UK is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world and the 11th-largest in Europe. It is also the 21st-most populous country, with an estimated 65.1 million inhabitants.Together, this makes it the fourth-most densely populated country in the European Union.
The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance.The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 6 February 1952. The capital of the UK and its largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million, the fourth-largest in Europe and second-largest in the European Union. Other major urban areas in the UK include the regions of Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow and Liverpool. The UK consists of four countries—England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.The last three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers,based in their capitals, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. The nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the United Kingdom, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation.
POPULATION: 2017 estimates- 65,110,000
LARGEST CITY: London
GOVERNMENT: Unitary parliementary constitutional monarchy
AREA: 2,42,495 km
CURRENCY: Pound Sterling
CALLING CODE: (+44)
Italy, officially the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica Italiana [re?pubblika ita?lja?na]),is a sovereign state in Europe. Located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous in southern Europe.
Since classical times, ancient Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Greeks established settlements in the south of Italy, with Etruscansand Celts inhabiting the centre and the north of Italy respectively, and various ancient Italian tribes and Italic peoples dispersed throughout the Italian Peninsula and insular Italy. The Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which eventually became a republic that conqueredand assimilated its neighbours. Ultimately, the Roman Empire emerged in the 1st century BC as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural, political and religious centre of Western civilisation. The legacy of the Roman Empire is widespread and can be observed in the global distribution of civilian law, republican governments, Christianity and the Latin script.
During the Early Middle Ages, Italy suffered sociopolitical collapse amid calamitous barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century numerous rival city-states and maritime republics, mainly in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping, commerce and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.These mostly independent statelets, acting as Europe's main spice tradehubs with Asia and the Near East, often enjoyed a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe; however, part of central Italy was under the control of the theocratic Papal States, while Southern Italyremained largely feudal until the 19th century, partially as a result of a succession of Byzantine, Arab, Norman, Angevin and Spanishconquests of the region.
The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science, exploration and art. Italian culture flourished at this time, producing famous scholars, artists and polymaths, such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Galileo and Machiavelli. Since the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Nevertheless, Italy's commercial and political power significantly waned with the opening of trade routes which bypassed the Mediterranean. Furthermore, the Italian city-states constantly engaged one another in bloody warfare, culminating in the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries that left them exhausted, with none emerging as a dominant power. They soon fell victim to conquest by European powers such as France, Spain and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, a rising movement in support of Italian nationalism and independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was almost entirely unified in 1871, creating a great power.From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, the new Kingdom of Italy rapidly industrialised, although mainly in the north, and acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained largely impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora.Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoils, became a major advanced country.
Today, Italy has the third largest nominal GDP in the Eurozone and the eighth largest in the world. As an advanced economy, the country has the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth, and it is ranked third for its central bank gold reserve. Italy has a very high level of human development, and it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military, cultural and diplomatic affairs, and it is both a regional powerand a great power.Italy is a founding and leadingmember of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more. As a reflection of its cultural wealth, Italy is home to 54 World Heritage Sites, the most in the world, and is the fifth-most visited country.
Main article: Name of Italy
Expansion of the territory known as Italy and the nearby islands from the establishment of the Roman Republic until Diocletian.
Hypotheses for the etymology of the name "Italia" are numerous. One is that it was borrowed via Greek from the Oscan Víteliú 'land of calves' (cf. Lat vitulus "calf", Umb vitlo "calf").The bull was a symbol of the southern Italic tribes and was often depicted goring the Roman wolf as a defiant symbol of free Italy during the Social War. Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassusstates this account together with the legend that Italy was named after Italus,mentioned also by Aristotle and Thucydides.
The name Italia originally applied only to a part of what is now Southern Italy, according to Antiochus of Syracuse, the southern portion of the Bruttium peninsula corresponding to the modern province of Reggio, and part of the provinces of Catanzaro and Vibo Valentia. But by his time Oenotria and Italy had become synonymous, and the name also applied to most of Lucania as well. The Greeks gradually came to apply the name "Italia" to a larger region, but the Peninsula and its borders expanded over time.
According to Strabo's Geographica, before the expansion of the Roman Republic, the name was used by Greeks to indicate the land between the strait of Messina and the line connecting the gulf of Salerno and gulf of Taranto, corresponding roughly to the current region of Calabria. Later the term was extended by Romans to include the Italian Peninsula up to the Rubicon, a river located between Northern and Central Italy. In 49 BC, with the Lex Roscia, Julius Caesar gave Roman citizenship to the people of the Cisalpine Gaul, while in 42 BCE the hitherto existing province was abolished, thus extending Italy to the north up to the southern foot of the Alps.
It was during the reign of Emperor Augustus that the term was expanded to cover the entire peninsula until the Alps. The islands of Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily and Malta were added to Italy by Diocletian in 292 AD.
Main article: History of Italy
Prehistory and antiquity
Main articles: Prehistoric Italy, Etruscan civilisation, Magna Graecia, and Nuragic civilisation
Etruscan fresco in the Monterozzi necropolis, 5th century BC.
Ruins of the Samnite town Aeclanum, 3rd century BC.
Excavations throughout Italy revealed a Neanderthal presence dating back to the Palaeolithic period, some 200,000 years ago,modern Humans appeared about 40,000 years ago. Archaeological sites from this period include Addaura cave, Altamura, Ceprano, Monte Poggiolo and Gravina in Puglia.
The Ancient peoples of pre-Roman Italy – such as the Umbrians, the Latins (from which the Romans emerged), Volsci, Oscans, Samnites, Sabines, the Celts, the Ligures, and many others – were Indo-European peoples. The main historic peoples of possible non-Indo-European heritage include the Etruscans, the Elymians and the Sicani in Sicily, and the prehistoricSardinians, who gave birth to the Nuragic civilisation. Other ancient populations being of undetermined language families and of possible non-Indo-European origin include the Rhaetian people and Cammuni, known for their rock carvings.
Between the 17th and the 11th centuries BC Mycenaean Greeks established contacts with Italy and in the 8th and 7th centuries BC a number of Greek colonies were established all along the coast of Sicily and the southern part of the Italian Peninsula, that became known as Magna Graecia. Also, the Phoenicians established colonies on the coasts of Sicily and in Sardinia.
Main article: Ancient Rome
Further information: Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic, and Roman Empire
The Colosseum in Rome, built c. 70 – 80 AD, is considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering of ancient history.
The Roman Empire at its greatest extent, 117 AD.
Rome, a settlement around a ford on the river Tiber conventionally founded in 753 BC, was ruled for a period of 244 years by a monarchicalsystem, initially with sovereigns of Latin and Sabine origin, later by Etruscan kings. The tradition handed down seven kings: Romulus, Numa Pompilius, Tullus Hostilius, Ancus Marcius, Tarquinius Priscus, Servius Tullius and Tarquinius Superbus. In 509 BC, the Romans expelled the last king from their city and established an oligarchic republic.
In the wake of Julius Caesar's rise and death in the first century B.C., Rome grew over the course of centuries into a massive empirestretching from Britain to the borders of Persia, and engulfing the whole Mediterranean basin, in which Greek and Roman and many other cultures merged into a unique civilisation. The Italian Peninsula was named Italia and was not a province, but the territory of the city of Rome, thus having a special status. The long and triumphant reign of the first emperor, Augustus, began a golden age of peace and prosperity.
The Roman Empire was among the most powerful economic, cultural, political and military forces in the world of its time. It was one of the largest empires in world history. At its height under Trajan, it covered 5 million square kilometres. The Roman legacy has deeply influenced the Western civilisation, shaping most of the modern world; among the many legacies of Roman dominance are the widespread use of the Romance languages derived from Latin, the numerical system, the modern Western alphabet and calendar, and the emergence of Christianity as a major world religion.
In a slow decline since the third century AD, the Empire split in two in 395 AD. The Western Empire, under the pressure of the barbarian invasions, eventually dissolved in 476 AD, when its last Emperor was deposed by the Germanic chief Odoacer, while the Eastern half of the Empire survived for another thousand years.
Main article: Italy in the Middle Ages
The Iron Crown of Lombardy, for centuries symbol of the Kings of Italy
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Italy was seized by the Ostrogoths, followed in the 6th century by a brief reconquest under Byzantine Emperor Justinian. The invasion of another Germanic tribe, the Lombards, late in the same century, reduced the Byzantine presence to the rump realm of the Exarchate of Ravenna and started the end of political unity of the peninsula for the next 1,300 years. The Lombard kingdom was subsequently absorbed into the Frankish Empire by Charlemagne in the late 8th century. The Franks also helped the formation of the Papal States in central Italy. Until the 13th century, Italian politics was dominated by the relations between the Holy Roman Emperors and the Papacy, with most of the Italian city-states siding for the former (Ghibellines) or for the latter (Guelphs) from momentary convenience.
Marco Polo, explorer of the 13th century, recorded his 24 years-long travels in the Book of the Marvels of the World, introducing Europeans to Central Asia and China.
It was during this chaotic era that Italian towns saw the rise of a peculiar institution, the medieval commune. Given the power vacuum caused by extreme territorial fragmentation and the struggle between the Empire and the Holy See, local communities sought autonomous ways to maintain law and order. The Investiture controversy, a conflict over two radically different views of whether secular authorities such as kings, counts, or dukes, had any legitimate role in appointments to ecclesiastical offices such as bishoprics, was finally resolved by the Concordat of Worms. In 1176 a league of city-states, the Lombard League, defeated the German emperor Frederick Barbarossa at the Battle of Legnano, thus ensuring effective independence for most of northern and central Italian cities.
Flag of the Italian Navy, displaying the coat of arms of the most prominent maritime republics: Venice, Genoa, Pisa and Amalfi
In coastal and southern areas, the maritime republics grew to eventually dominate the Mediterranean and monopolise trade routes to the Orient. They were independent thalassocratic city-states, though most of them originated from territories once belonging to the Byzantine Empire. All these cities during the time of their independence had similar systems of government in which the merchant class had considerable power. Although in practice these were oligarchical, and bore little resemblance to a modern democracy, the relative political freedom they afforded was conducive to academic and artistic advancement.
The four most prominent maritime republics were Venice, Genoa, Pisa and Amalfi. Venice and Genoa were Europe's gateway to trade with the East, and a producer of fine glass, while Florence was a capital of silk, wool, banks and jewellery. The wealth such business brought to Italy meant that large public and private artistic projects could be commissioned. The republics were heavily involved in the Crusades, providing support but most especially taking advantage of the political and trading opportunities resulting from these wars.
In the south, Sicily had become an Islamic emirate in the 9th century, thriving until the Italo-Normans conquered it in the late 11th century together with most of the Lombard and Byzantine principalities of southern Italy. Through a complex series of events, southern Italy developed as a unified kingdom, first under the House of Hohenstaufen, then under the Capetian House of Anjou and, from the 15th century, the House of Aragon. In Sardinia, the former Byzantine provinces became independent states known in Italian as Giudicati, although some parts of the island became controlled by Genoa or Pisa until the Aragonese annexation in the 15th century. The Black Death pandemic of 1348 left its mark on Italy by killing perhaps one third of the population. However, the recovery from the plague led to a resurgence of cities, trade and economy which allowed the bloom of Humanism and Renaissance, that later spread to Europe.
Main articles: Italian Renaissance, Italian Wars, and History of Italy (1559–1814)
Italian states before the beginning of the Italian Wars in 1494.
In the 14th and 15th centuries, northern-central Italy was divided into a number of warring city-states, the rest of the peninsula being occupied by the larger Papal States and the Kingdom of Sicily, referred to here as Naples. Though many of these city-states were often formally subordinate to foreign rulers, as in the case of the Duchy of Milan, which was officially a constituent state of the mainly Germanic Holy Roman Empire, the city-states generally managed to maintain de facto independence from the foreign sovereigns that had seized Italian lands following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. The strongest among these city-states gradually absorbed the surrounding territories giving birth to the Signorie, regional states often led by merchant families which founded local dynasties. War between the city-states was endemic, and primarily fought by armies of mercenaries known as condottieri, bands of soldiers drawn from around Europe, especially Germany and Switzerland, led largely by Italian captains. Decades of fighting eventually saw Florence, Milan and Venice emerged as the dominant players that agreed to the Peace of Lodi in 1454, which saw relative calm brought to the region for the first time in centuries. This peace would hold for the next forty years.
Leonardo da Vinci, the quintessential Renaissance man, in a self-portrait, c. 1512. Royal Library, Turin
The Renaissance, a period of vigorous revival of the arts and culture, originated in Italy due to a number of factors: the great wealth accumulated by merchant cities, the patronageof its dominant families, and the migration of Greek scholars and texts to Italy following the Conquest of Constantinople at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. The Italian Renaissance peaked in the mid-16th century as foreign invasions plunged the region into the turmoil of the Italian Wars.
The Medici became the leading family of Florence and fostered and inspired the birth of the Italian Renaissance, along with other families of Italy, such as the Visconti and Sforza of Milan, the Este of Ferrara, and the Gonzaga of Mantua. Greatest artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Brunelleschi, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Giotto, Donatello, Titianand Raphael produced inspired works – their paintwork was more realistic-looking than had been created by Medieval artists and their marble statues rivalled and sometimes surpassed those of Classical Antiquity. Humanist historian Leonardo Bruni also split the history in the antiquity, Middle Ages and modern period. The ideas and ideals of the Renaissance soon spread into Northern Europe, France, England and much of Europe. In the meantime, the discovery of the Americas, the new routes to Asia discovered by the Portuguese and the rise of the Ottoman Empire, all factors which eroded the traditional Italian dominance in trade with the East, caused a long economic decline in the peninsula.
Estonia, officially the Republic of Estonia (Estonian: Eesti Vabariik), is a sovereign state in Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland with Finland on the other side, to the west by the Baltic Sea with Sweden to the west, to the south by Latvia (343 km), and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia (338.6 km). The territory of Estonia consists of a mainland and 2,222 islands in the Baltic Sea, covering a total area of 45,227 km2(17,462 sq mi), water 2,839 km2 (1,096 sq mi), land area 42,388 km2 (16,366 sq mi), and is influenced by a humid continental climate. Ethnic Estonians – the largest ethnic group in the country – are a Finnic people.
The territory of Estonia has been inhabited since at least 9000 BC. Ancient Estonians were some of the last European pagans, and were Christianized during a crusade in the 13th century. After centuries of successive German, Danish, Swedish, and Russian rule, Estonians experienced what has been described as a "national awakening" in the 19th and early 20th centuries. On 24 February 1918, independence was declared and later securedthrough a War of Independence. After democratic rule from 1918 to 1934, Estonia became autocratic during the Era of Silence. During World War II, Estonia suffered successive occupations by Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and Soviet Union again, resulting in its annexation as the Estonian SSR. After the loss of its de facto independence, Estonia's de jure state continuity was preserved by diplomats and government in exile. In 1987 the peaceful Singing Revolution against Soviet rule began, culminating with restoration of its de facto independence on 20 August 1991. Since restoration of its independence, Estonia has been a democratic unitary parliamentary republic divided into fifteen counties. Its capital and largest city is Tallinn. With a population of 1.3 million, it is one of the least-populous member states of the European Union, Eurozone, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Schengen Area, and of NATO.
Estonia is a developed country with an advanced, high-income economy that as of 2011 is among the fastest growing in the EU. It ranks very high in the Human Development Index of the United Nations,and it performs favourably in measurements of economic freedom, civil liberties and press freedom (3rd in the world in 2012 and 2007). The 2015 PISA test places Estonian secondary school students 3rd in the world, behind Singapore and Japan. Citizens of Estonia are provided with universal health care, free education, and the longest-paid maternity leave in the OECD. Since independence the country has rapidly developed its IT sector, becoming one of the world's most digitally advanced societies. In 2005 Estonia became the first state to hold elections over the Internet, and in 2014 the first state to provide e-residency.
In the Estonian language, the oldest known endonym of the Estonians was maarahvas, meaning "country people" or "people of the soil". The land inhabited by Estonians was called Maavald meaning "Country Realm" or "Land Realm".
One hypothesis regarding the modern name of Estonia is that it originated from the Aesti, a people described by the Roman historian Tacitus in his Germania (ca. 98 AD). The historic Aesti were allegedly Baltic people, whereas the modern Estonians are Finno-Ugric. The geographical areas between Aesti and Estonia do not match, with Aesti being farther south.
Ancient Scandinavian sagas refer to a land called Eistland, as the country is still called in Icelandic, and close to the Danish, German, Dutch, Swedish and Norwegian term Estland for the country. Early Latin and other ancient versions of the name are Estia and Hestia.
Esthonia was a common alternative English spelling before 1921; the country was admitted to the League of Nations under this name, and it continued in the international organization's records until December 1926.
Main article: History of Estonia
Prehistory and Viking Age
Main articles: Ancient Estonia and Oeselians
Bronze Age stone-cist graves
Human settlement in Estonia became possible 13,000 to 11,000 years ago, when the ice from the last glacial era melted. The oldest known settlement in Estonia is the Pulli settlement, which was on the banks of the river Pärnu, near the town of Sindi, in south-western Estonia. According to radiocarbon dating it was settled around 11,000 years ago.
The earliest human inhabitation during the Mesolithicperiod is connected to the Kunda culture, named after the town of Kunda in northern Estonia. At that time the country was covered with forests, and people lived in semi-nomadic communities near bodies of water. Subsistence activities consisted of hunting, gathering and fishing. Around 4900 BC appear ceramics of the neolithic period, known as Narva culture. Starting from around 3200 BC the Corded Ware culture appeared; this included new activities like primitive agriculture and animal husbandry.
The Bronze Age started around 1800 BC, and saw the establishment of the first hill fortsettlements. A transition from hunting-fishing-gathering subsistence to single-farm-based settlement started around 1000 BC, and was complete by the beginning of the Iron Agearound 500 BC. The large amount of bronze objects indicate the existence of active communication with Scandinavian and Germanic tribes.
Iron Age artefacts of a hoard from Kumna
A more troubled and war-ridden middle Iron Age followed, with external threats appearing from different directions. Several Scandinavian sagas referred to major confrontations with Estonians, notably when Estonians defeated and killed the Swedish king Ingvar. Similar threats appeared in the east, where Russian principalities were expanding westward. In 1030 Yaroslav the Wise defeated Estonians and established a fort in modern-day Tartu; this foothold lasted until an Estonian tribe, the Sosols, destroyed it in 1061, followed by their raid on Pskov. Around the 11th century, the Scandinavian Viking era around the Baltic Sea was succeeded by the Baltic Viking era, with seaborne raids by Curonians and by Estonians from the island of Saaremaa, known as Oeselians. In 1187 Estonians (Oeselians), Curonians or/and Karelians sacked Sigtuna, which was a major city of Sweden at the time.
In the early centuries AD, political and administrative subdivisions began to emerge in Estonia. Two larger subdivisions appeared: the parish (Estonian: kihelkond) and the county (Estonian: maakond), which consisted of multiple parishes. A parish was led by elders and centred around a hill fort; in some rare cases a parish had multiple forts. By the 13th century Estonia consisted of eight major counties: Harjumaa, Järvamaa, Läänemaa, Revala, Saaremaa, Sakala, Ugandi, and Virumaa; and six minor, single-parish counties: Alempois, Jogentagana, Mõhu, Nurmekund, Soopoolitse, and Vaiga. Counties were independent entities and engaged only in a loose co-operation against foreign threats.
There is little known of early Estonian pagan religious practices. The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia mentions Tharapita as the superior god of the Oeselians. Spiritual practices were guided by shamans, with sacred groves, especially oak groves, serving as places of worship.
Main articles: Livonian Crusade, Terra Mariana, and Danish Estonia
Medieval Estonia and Livonia after the crusade
In 1199 Pope Innocent III declared a crusade to "defend the Christians of Livonia". Fighting reached Estonia in 1206, when Danish king Valdemar II unsuccessfully invaded Saaremaa. The German Livonian Brothers of the Sword, who had previously subjugated Livonians, Latgalians, and Selonians, started campaigning against the Estonians in 1208, and over next few years both sides made numerous raids and counter-raids. A major leader of the Estonian resistance was Lembitu, an elder of Sakala County, but in 1217 the Estonians suffered a significant defeat in the Battle of St. Matthew's Day, where Lembitu was killed. In 1219, Valdemar II landed at Lyndanisse, defeated the Estonians in battle, and started conquering Northern Estonia. The next year, Sweden invaded Western Estonia, but were repelled by the Oeselians. In 1223, a major revolt ejected the Germans and Danes from the whole of Estonia, except Reval, but the crusaders soon resumed their offensive, and in 1227, Saaremaa was the last county to surrender.
After the crusade, the territory of present-day Southern Estonia and Latvia was named Terra Mariana, but later it became known simply as Livonia. Northern-Estonia became the Danish Duchy of Estonia, while the rest was divided between the Sword Brothers and prince-bishoprics of Dorpat and Ösel–Wiek. In 1236, after suffering a major defeat, the Sword Brothers merged into the Teutonic Order becoming the Livonian Order. In the next decades there were several uprisings against foreign rulers on Saaremaa. In 1343, a major rebellion started, known as the St. George's Night Uprising, encompassing the whole area of Northern-Estonia and Saaremaa. The Teutonic Order finished suppressing the rebellion in 1345, and the next year the Danish king sold his possessions in Estonia to the Order. The unsuccessful rebellion led to a consolidation of power for the Baltic German minority. For the subsequent centuries they remained the ruling elite in both cities and the countryside.
Kuressaare Castle in Saaremaadates back to the 1380s.
During the crusade, Reval (Tallinn) was founded, as the capital of Danish Estonia, on the site of Lyndanisse. In 1248 Reval received full town rights and adopted the Lübeck law. The Hanseatic League controlled trade on the Baltic Sea, and overall the four largest towns in Estonia became members: Reval, Dorpat (Tartu), Pernau (Pärnu), and Fellin(Viljandi). Reval acted as a trade intermediary between Novgorod and Western Hanseatic cities, while Dorpat filled the same role with Pskov. Many guilds were formed during that period, but only a very few allowed the participation of native Estonians Protected by their stone walls and alliance with the Hansa, prosperous cities like Reval and Dorpat repeatedly defied other rulers of Livonia. After the decline of the Teutonic Order after its defeat in the Battle of Grunwaldin 1410, and the defeat of the Livonian Order in the Battle of Swienta on 1 September 1435, the Livonian Confederation Agreement was signed on 4 December 1435.
The Reformation in Europe began in 1517, and soon spread to Livonia despite opposition by the Livonian Order. Towns were the first to embrace Protestantism in the 1520s, and by the 1530s the majority of the gentry had adopted Lutheranism for themselves and their peasant serfs. Church services were now conducted in vernacular language, which initially meant German, but in the 1530s the first religious services in Estonian also took place.
During the 16th century, the expansionist monarchies of Muscowy, Sweden, and Poland–Lithuania consolidated power, posing a growing threat to decentralised Livonia weakened by disputes between cities, nobility, bishops, and the Order.
Main article: Swedish Estonia
"Academia Dorpatensis" (now University of Tartu) was founded in 1632 by King Gustavus as the second university in the kingdom of Sweden. After the king's death it became known as “Academia Gustaviana”.
In 1558, Tsar Ivan the Terrible of Russia invaded Livonia, starting the Livonian War. The Livonian Order was decisively defeated in 1560, prompting Livonian factions to seek foreign protection. The majority of Livonia accepted Polish-Lithuanian rule, while Reval and the nobles of Northern Estonia swore loyalty to the Swedish king, and the Bishop of Ösel-Wiek sold his lands to the Danish king. Russian forces gradually conquered the majority of Livonia, but in the late 1570s the Polish-Lithuanian and Swedish armies started their own offensives and the bloody war finally ended in 1583 with Russian defeat. As result of the war, Northern Estonia became Swedish Duchy of Estonia, Southern Estonia became Polish-Lithuanian Duchy of Livonia, and Saaremaa remained under Danish control.
In 1600, the Polish-Swedish War broke out, causing further devastation. The protracted war ended in 1629 with Sweden gaining Livonia, including the regions of Southern Estonia and Northern Latvia. Danish Saaremaa was transferred to Sweden in 1645. The wars had halved the Estonian population from about 250–270,000 people in the mid 16th century to 115–120,000 in the 1630s.
Serfdom was retained under Swedish rule but legal reforms took place which strengthened peasants' land usage and inheritance rights, resulting this period's reputation of the "Good Old Swedish Time" in people's historical memory. Swedish king Gustaf II Adolf established gymnasiums in Reval and Dorpat; the latter was upgraded to Tartu University in 1632. Printing presses were also established in both towns. In the 1680s the beginnings of Estonian elementary education appeared, largely due to efforts of Bengt Gottfried Forselius, who also introduced orthographical reforms to written Estonian The population of Estonia grew rapidly for a 60–70-year period, until the Great Famine of 1695–97 in which some 70,000–75,000 people perished – about 20% of the population.
Russian Era and National Awakening
Main articles: Governorate of Estonia, Governorate of Livonia, and Estonian national awakening
Carl Robert Jakobsonplayed a key role in the Estonian national awakening.
The front page of Perno Postimees, the first Estonian language periodical newspaper
In 1700, the Great Northern War started, and by 1710 the whole of Estonia was conquered by the Russian Empire. The war again devastated the population of Estonia, with the 1712 population estimated at only 150,000–170,000. Russian administration restored all the political and landholding rights of Baltic Germans. The rights of Estonian peasants reached their lowest point, as serfdom completely dominated agricultural relations during the 18th century. Serfdom was formally abolished in 1816–1819, but this initially had very little practical effect; major improvements in rights of the peasantry started with reforms in the mid-19th century
The Estonian national awakening began in the 1850s as the leading figures started promoting an Estonian national identity among the general populace. Its economic basis was formed by widespread farm buyouts by peasants, forming a class of Estonian landowners. In 1857 Johann Voldemar Jannsen started publishing the first Estonian language newspaper and began popularising the denomination of oneself as eestlane (Estonian). Schoolmaster Carl Robert Jakobson and clergyman Jakob Hurt became leading figures in a national movement, encouraging Estonian peasants to take pride in themselves and in their ethnic identity The first nationwide movements formed, such as a campaign to establish the Estonian language Alexander School, the founding of the Society of Estonian Literati and the Estonian Students' Society, and the first national song festival, held in 1869 in Tartu. Linguistic reforms helped to develop the Estonian language. The national epic Kalevipoeg was published in 1862, and 1870 saw the first performances of Estonian theatre. In 1878 a major split happened in the national movement. The moderate wing led by Hurt focused on development of culture and Estonian education, while the radical wing led by Jacobson started demanding increased political and economical rights.
In the late 19th century the Russification period started, as the central government initiated various administrative and cultural measures to tie Baltic governorates more closely to the empire. The Russian language was used throughout the education system and many Estonian social and cultural activities were suppressed. Still, some administrative changes aimed at reducing power of Baltic German institutions did prove useful to Estonians. In the late 1890s there was a new surge of nationalism with the rise of prominent figures like Jaan Tõnisson and Konstantin Päts. In the early 20th century Estonians started taking over control of local governments in towns from Germans.
During the 1905 Revolution the first legal Estonian political parties were founded. An Estonian national congress was convened and demanded the unification of Estonian areas into a single autonomous territory and an end to Russification. During the unrest peasants and workers attacked manor houses. The Tsarist government responded with a brutal crackdown; some 500 people were executed and hundreds more were jailed or deported to Siberia.
Main articles: History of Estonia (1920–39), Estonian War of Independence, and Era of Silence
Declaration of independence in Pärnu on 23 February 1918. One of the first images of the Republic.
Estonian armoured train during the War of Independence
In 1917, after the February Revolution, the governorate of Estonia was expanded to include Estonian speaking areas of Livonia and was granted autonomy, enabling formation of the Estonian Provincial Assembly Bolsheviks seized power during the October Revolution, and disbanded the Provincial Assembly. However the Provincial Assembly established the Salvation Committee, and during the short interlude between Russian retreat and German arrival, the committee declared the independence of Estonia on 24 February 1918, and formed the Estonian Provisional Government. German occupation immediately followed, but after their defeat in World War I the Germans were forced to hand over power to the Provisional Government on 19 November.
On 28 November 1918 Soviet Russia invaded, starting the Estonian War of Independence. The Red Army came within 30 km from Tallinn, but in January 1919, the Estonian Army, led by Johan Laidoner, went on a counter-offensive, ejecting Bolshevik forces from Estonia within a few months. Renewed Soviet attacks failed, and in spring, the Estonian army, in cooperation with White Russian forces, advanced into Russia and Latvia. In June 1919, Estonia defeated the German Landeswehr which had attempted to dominate Latvia, restoring power to the government of K?rlis Ulmanis there. After the collapse of the White Russian forces, the Red Army launched a major offensive against Narva in late 1919, but failed to achieve a breakthrough. On 2 February 1920, the Tartu Peace Treaty was signed between Estonia and Soviet Russia, with the latter pledging to permanently give up all sovereign claims to Estonia.
In April 1919, the Estonian Constituent Assembly was elected. The Constituent Assembly passed a sweeping land reform expropriating large estates, and adopted a new highly liberal constitution establishing Estonia as a parliamentary democracy. In 1924, the Soviet Union organized a communist coup attempt, which quickly failed. Estonia’s cultural autonomy law for ethnic minorities, adopted in 1925, is widely recognized as one of the most liberal in the world at that time. The Great Depression put heavy pressure on Estonia’s political system, and in 1933, the right-wing Vaps movement spearheaded a constitutional reform establishing a strong presidency. On 12 March 1934 the acting head of state, Konstantin Päts, declared a state of emergency, falsely claiming that the Vaps movement had been planning a coup. Päts, together with general Johan Laidoner and Kaarel Eenpalu, established an authoritarian regime, where the parliament was dissolved and the newly established Patriotic League became the only legal political party. In order to legitimize the regime, a new constitution was adopted and elections were held in 1938. Opposition candidates were allowed to participate, but only as independents, while opposition parties remained banned. The Päts regime was relatively benign compared to other authoritarian regimes in interwar Europe, and there was no systematic terror against political opponents.
Estonia joined the League of Nations in 1921. Attempts to establish a larger alliancetogether with Finland, Poland, and Latvia failed, with only a mutual defence pact being signed with Latvia in 1923, and later was followed up with the Baltic Entente of 1934. In the 1930s, Estonia also engaged in secret military cooperation with Finland. Non-aggression pacts were signed with the Soviet Union in 1932, and with Germany in 1939. In 1938, Estonia declared neutrality, but this proved futile in World War II.
Second World War
The Red Army entering Estonia in 1939 after Estonia had been forced to sign the Bases Treaty
Main articles: Estonia in World War II and Occupation of the Baltic states
German occupation of Estonia in 1941
On 23 August 1939 Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. The pact’s secret protocol divided Eastern-Europe into spheres of influence, with Estonia belonging to the Soviet sphere. On 24 September, the Soviet Union presented an ultimatum, demanding that Estonia sign a treaty of mutual assistance which would allow Soviet military bases into the country. The Estonian government felt that it had no choice but to comply, and the treaty was signed on 28 September. In May 1940, Red Army forces in bases were set in combat readiness and, on June 14, the Soviet Union instituted a full naval and air blockade on Estonia. On the same day, the airliner Kaleva was shot down by the Soviet Air Force. On 16 June, Soviets presented an ultimatum demanding completely free passage of the Red Army into Estonia and the establishment of a pro-Soviet government. Feeling that resistance was hopeless, the Estonian government complied and, on the next day, the whole country was occupied. On 6 August 1940, Estonia was annexed by the Soviet Union as the Estonian SSR.
The Soviets established a regime of oppression; most of the high-ranking civil and military officials, intelligentsia and industrialists were arrested
Poland, officially the Republic of Poland (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Polska), is a countrylocated in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European UnionPoland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, ?ód?, Wroc?aw, Pozna?, Gda?sk, and Szczecin.
The establishment of the Polish state can be traced back to A.D. 966, when Mieszko I, ruler of the realm coextensive with the territory of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented its longstanding political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin. This union formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest (about 1 million km2) and most populous countries of 16th and 17th century Europe, with a uniquely liberal political system which adopted Europe's first written national constitution, the Constitution of 3 May 1791.
More than a century after the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, Poland regained its independence in 1918 with the Treaty of Versailles. In September 1939, World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Germany, followed by the Soviet Union invading Poland in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. More than six million Poles died in the war. In 1947, the Polish People's Republic was established as a satellite state under Soviet influence. In the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1989, most notably through the emergence of the Solidarity movement, Poland reestablished itself as a democratic republic.
Poland is a developed market and regional power. It has the eighth largest and one of the most dynamic economies in the European Union, simultaneously achieving a very high rank on the Human Development Index. Additionally, the Polish Stock Exchange in Warsaw is the largest and most important in Central Europe. Poland is a developed and democratic country, which maintains a high-income economyalong with very high standards of living, life quality, safety, education and economic freedom. Poland has a developed school educational system. The country provides free university education, state-funded social security and a universal health care system for all citizens. Poland has 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 14 of which are cultural. Poland is a member state of the European Union, the Schengen Area, the United Nations, NATO, the OECD, the Three Seas Initiative, and the Visegrád Group.
Main article: Name of Poland
The origin of the name "Poland" derives from the West Slavic tribe of Polans (Polanie) that inhabited the Warta river basin of the historic Greater Poland region starting in the 6th century. The origin of the name "Polanie" itself derives from the early Slavic word "pole"(field). In some languages, such as Hungarian, Lithuanian, Persian and Turkish, the exonym for Poland is Lechites (Lechici), which derives from the name of a semi-legendary ruler of Polans, Lech I.
Main article: History of Poland
Prehistory and protohistory
Main articles: Bronze- and Iron-Age Poland, Poland in Antiquity, Early Slavs, and Poland in the Early Middle Ages
Reconstruction of a Bronze Age, Lusatian culture settlement in Biskupin, c. 700 BC
Early Bronze Age in Poland begun around 2400 BC, while the Iron Age commenced in approximately 750 BC. During this time, the Lusatian culture, spanning both the Bronze and Iron Ages, became particularly prominent. The most famous archaeological find from the prehistory and protohistory of Poland is the Biskupin fortified settlement (now reconstructed as an open-air museum), dating from the Lusatian culture of the early Iron Age, around 700 BC.
Throughout the Antiquity period, many distinct ancient ethnic groups populated the regions of what is now Poland in an era that dates from about 400 BC to 500 AD. These groups are identified as Celtic, Sarmatian, Slavic, Baltic, and Germanic tribes. Also, recent archeological findings in the Kujawy region, confirmed the presence of the Roman Legions on the territory of Poland. These were most likely expeditionary missions sent out to protect the amber trade. The exact time and routes of the original migration and settlement of Slavic peoples lacks written records and can only be defined as fragmented.The Slavic tribes who would form Poland migrated to these areas in the second half of the 5th century AD. Up until the creation of Mieszko's state and his subsequent conversion to Christianity in 966 AD, the main religion of Slavic tribes that inhabited the geographical area of present-day Poland was Slavic paganism. With the Baptism of Poland the Polish rulers accepted Christianity and the religious authority of the Roman Church. However, the transition from paganism was not a smooth and instantaneous process for the rest of the population as evident from the pagan reaction of the 1030s.
Main articles: History of Poland during the Piast dynasty, Christianization of Poland, Civitas Schinesghe, Gesta principum Polonorum, and Kingdom of Poland (1025–1385)
Map of Poland under the rule of Duke Mieszko I, who is considered to be the creator of the Polish state, c. 960–996
Poland began to form into a recognizable unitary and territorial entity around the middle of the 10th century under the Piast dynasty. Poland's first historically documented ruler, Mieszko I, accepted Christianity with the Baptism of Poland in 966, as the new official religion of his subjects. The bulk of the population converted in the course of the next few centuries. In 1000, Boleslaw the Brave, continuing the policy of his father Mieszko, held a Congress of Gniezno and created the metropolis of Gniezno and the dioceses of Kraków, Ko?obrzeg, and Wroc?aw. However, the pagan unrest led to the transfer of the capital to Kraków in 1038 by Casimir I the Restorer.
Earliest known contemporary depiction of a Polish ruler. King Mieszko II Lambert of Poland, who ruled the nation between 1025 and 1031.
In 1109, Prince Boles?aw III Wrymouthdefeated the King of Germany Henry V at the Battle of Hundsfeld, stopping the German march into Poland. The significance of the event was documented by Gallus Anonymus in his 1118 chronicle. In 1138, Poland fragmented into several smaller duchies when Boles?aw divided his lands among his sons. In 1226, Konrad I of Masovia, one of the regional Piast dukes, invited the Teutonic Knights to help him fight the Baltic Prussian pagans; a decision that led to centuries of warfare with the Knights. In 1264, the Statute of Kalisz or the General Charter of Jewish Liberties introduced numerous right for the Jews in Poland, leading to a nearly autonomous "nation within a nation".
In the middle of the 13th century, the Silesian branch of the Piast dynasty (Henry I the Bearded and Henry II the Pious, ruled 1238–41) nearly succeeded in uniting the Polish lands, but the Mongols invaded the country from the east and defeated the combined Polish forces at the Battle of Legnica where Duke Henry II the Pious died. In 1320, after a number of earlier unsuccessful attempts by regional rulers at uniting the Polish dukedoms, W?adys?aw I consolidated his power, took the throne and became the first king of a reunified Poland. His son, Casimir III (reigned 1333–70), has a reputation as one of the greatest Polish kings, and gained wide recognition for improving the country's infrastructure. He also extended royal protection to Jews, and encouraged their immigration to Poland. Casimir III realized that the nation needed a class of educated people, especially lawyers, who could codify the country's laws and administer the courts and offices. His efforts to create an institution of higher learning in Poland were finally rewarded when Pope Urban V granted him permission to open the University of Kraków.
Casimir III the Great is the only Polish king to receive the title of Great. He built extensively during his reign, and reformed the Polish army along with the country's civil and criminal laws, 1333–70.
The Golden Liberty of the nobles began to develop under Casimir's rule, when in return for their military support, the king made a series of concessions to the nobility, and establishing their legal status as superior to that of the townsmen. When Casimir the Great died in 1370, leaving no legitimate male heir, the Piast dynasty came to an end.
During the 13th and 14th centuries, Poland became a destination for German, Flemish and to a lesser extent Walloon, Danish and Scottish migrants. Also, Jews and Armenians began to settle and flourish in Poland during this era (see History of the Jews in Poland and Armenians in Poland).
The Black Death, a plague that ravaged Europe from 1347 to 1351 did not significantly affect Poland, and the country was spared from a major outbreak of the disease. The reason for this was the decision of Casimir the Great to quarantine the nation's borders.
Main articles: History of Poland during the Jagiellon dynasty, Kingdom of Poland (1385–1569), and Renaissance in Poland
Battle of Grunwald was fought against the German Order of Teutonic Knights, and resulted in a decisive victory for the Kingdom of Poland, 15 July 1410.
The Jagiellon dynasty spanned the late Middle Ages and early Modern Era of Polish history. Beginning with the Lithuanian Grand Duke Jogaila (W?adys?aw II Jagie??o), the Jagiellon dynasty (1386–1572) formed the Polish–Lithuanian union. The partnership brought vast Lithuania-controlled Rus' areasinto Poland's sphere of influence and proved beneficial for the Poles and Lithuanians, who coexisted and cooperated in one of the largest political entities in Europe for the next four centuries. In the Baltic Sea region the struggle of Poland and Lithuania with the Teutonic Knights continued and culminated in the Battle of Grunwald (1410), where a combined Polish-Lithuanian army inflicted a decisive victory against the Teutonic Knights, allowing for territorial expansion of both nations into the far north region of Livonia. In 1466, after the Thirteen Years' War, King Casimir IV Jagiellon gave royal consent to the Peace of Thorn, which created the future Duchy of Prussia, a Polish vassal. The Jagiellon dynasty at one point also established dynastic control over the kingdoms of Bohemia (1471 onwards) and Hungary. In the south, Poland confronted the Ottoman Empire and the Crimean Tatars (by whom they were attacked on 75 separate occasions between 1474 and 1569), and in the east helped Lithuania fight the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Some historians estimate that Crimean Tatar slave-raiding cost Poland-Lithuania one million of its population between the years of 1494 and 1694.
Wawel Castle in Kraków, seat of Polish kings from 1038 until the capital was moved to Warsaw in 1596. The royal residence is an early example of Renaissance architecture in Poland.
Poland was developing as a feudal state, with a predominantly agricultural economy and an increasingly powerful landed nobility. The Nihil novi act adopted by the Polish Sejm (parliament) in 1505, transferred most of the legislative powerfrom the monarch to the Sejm, an event which marked the beginning of the period known as "Golden Liberty", when the state was ruled by the "free and equal" Polish nobility. Protestant Reformation movements made deep inroads into Polish Christianity, which resulted in the establishment of policies promoting religious tolerance, unique in Europe at that time. This tolerance allowed the country to avoid most of the religious turmoil that spread over Europe during the 16th century. The European Renaissance evoked in late Jagiellon Poland (kings Sigismund I the Old and Sigismund II Augustus) a sense of urgency in the need to promote a cultural awakening, and during this period Polish culture and the nation's economy flourished. In 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus a Polish astronomer from Toru?, published his epochal work De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), and thereby became the first proponent of a predictive mathematical model confirming the heliocentric theory, which became the accepted basic model for the practice of modern astronomy. Another major figure associated with the era is the classicist poet Jan Kochanowski.
Main articles: History of Poland in the Early Modern era (1569–1795), Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and Sarmatism
The Warsaw Confederation passed by the Polish national assembly (Sejm Konwokacyjny), extended religious freedoms and tolerance in the Commonwealth, and was the first of its kind act in Europe, 28 January 1573.
The 1569 Union of Lublin established the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, a more closely unified federal state with an elective monarchy, but which was governed largely by the nobility, through a system of local assemblies with a central parliament. The Warsaw Confederation (1573) guaranteed religious freedom for the Polish nobility (Szlachta) and burgesses (Mieszczanie). However, the peasants(Ch?opi) were still subject to severe limitations imposed on them by the nobility. The establishment of the Commonwealth coincided with a period of stability and prosperity in Poland, with the union thereafter becoming a European power and a major cultural entity, occupying approximately one million square kilometers of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as an agent for the dissemination of Western culture through Polonization into areas of modern-day Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus and Western Russia.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Poland suffered from a number of dynastic crises during the reigns of the Vasa kings Sigismund III and W?adys?aw IV and found itself engaged in major conflicts with Russia, Sweden and the Ottoman Empire, as well as a series of minor Cossackuprisings. In 1610, a Polish army under command Hetman Stanis?aw ?ó?kiewski seized Moscow after winning the Battle of Klushino. In 1611, the Tsar of Russia paid homage to the King of Poland.
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth at its greatest extent after the Truce of Deulino. During the first half of the 17th century, Poland covered an area of about 1,000,000 square kilometres (390,000 sq mi).
After the signing of Truce of Deulino, Poland had in the years 1618–1621 an area of about 1 million km2(390,000 sq mi).
From the middle of the 17th century, the nobles' democracy, suffering from internal disorder, gradually declined, thereby leaving the once powerful Commonwealth vulnerable to foreign intervention. Starting in 1648, the Cossack Khmelnytsky Uprising engulfed the south and east, eventually leaving Ukraine divided, with the eastern part, lost by the Commonwealth, becoming a dependency of the Tsardom of Russia. This was followed by the 'Deluge', a Swedish invasion of Poland, which marched through the Polish heartlands and ruined the country's population, culture and infrastructure—around four million of Poland's eleven million inhabitants died in famines and epidemics throughout the 17th century. However, under John III Sobieski the Commonwealth's military prowess was re-established, and in 1683 Polish forces played a major role in the Battle of Vienna against the Ottoman Army, commanded by Kara Mustafa, the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.
King John III Sobieskidefeated the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Vienna on 12 September 1683.
Sobieski's reign marked the end of the nation's golden era. Finding itself subjected to almost constant warfare and suffering enormous population losses as well as massive damage to its economy, the Commonwealth fell into decline. The government became ineffective as a result of large-scale internal conflicts (e.g. Lubomirski Rebellion against John II Casimir and rebellious confederations) and corrupted legislative processes. The nobility fell under the control of a handful of magnats, and this, compounded with two relatively weak kings of the Saxon Wettin dynasty, Augustus II and Augustus III, as well as the rise of Russia and Prussia after the Great Northern War only served to worsen the Commonwealth's plight. Despite this The Commonwealth-Saxony personal union gave rise to the emergence of the Commonwealth's first reform movement, and laid the foundations for the Polish Enlightenment.
During the later part of the 18th century, the Commonwealth made attempts to implement fundamental internal reforms; with the second half of the century bringing a much improved economy, significant population growth and far-reaching progress in the areas of education, intellectual life, art, and especially toward the end of the period, evolution of the social and political system. The most populous capital city of Warsaw replaced Gda?sk (Danzig) as the leading centre of commerce, and the role of the more prosperous townsmen increased.
Stanis?aw II Augustus, the last King of Poland, ascended to the throne in 1764 and reigned until his abdication on 25 November 1795.
Main articles: History of Poland (1795–1918) and Partitions of Poland
The royal election of 1764 resulted in the elevation of Stanis?aw II August (a Polish aristocrat connected to the Czartoryski family faction of magnates) to the monarchy. However, as a one-time personal admirer of Empress Catherine II of Russia, the new king spent much of his reign torn between his desire to implement reforms necessary to save his nation, and his perceived necessity to remain in a political relationship with his Russian sponsor. This led to the formation of the 1768 Bar Confederation, a szlachta rebellion directed against the Polish king and his Russian sponsors, which aimed to preserve Poland's independence and the szlachta's traditional privileges. Attempts at reform provoked the union's neighbours, and in 1772 the First Partition of the Commonwealth by Prussia, Russia and Austria took place; an act which the "Partition Sejm", under considerable duress, eventually "ratified" fait accompli. Disregarding this loss, in 1773 the king established the Commission of National Education, the first government education authority in Europe. Corporal punishment of children was officially prohibited in 1783.
Constitution of 3 May, enactment ceremony inside the Senate Chamber at the Warsaw Royal Castle, 1791.
The Great Sejm convened by Stanis?aw II August in 1788 successfully adopted the 3 May Constitution, the first set of modern supreme national laws in Europe. However, this document, accused by detractors of harbouring revolutionary sympathies, generated strong opposition from the Commonwealth's nobles and conservatives as well as from Catherine II, who, determined to prevent the rebirth of a strong Commonwealth set about planning the final dismemberment of the Polish-Lithuanian state. Russia was aided in achieving its goal when the Targowica Confederation, an organisation of Polish nobles, appealed to the Empress for help. In May 1792, Russian forces crossed the Commonwealth's frontier, thus beginning the Polish-Russian War.
The defensive war fought by the Poles ended prematurely when the King, convinced of the futility of resistance, capitulated and joined the Targowica Confederation. The Confederation then took over the government. Russia and Prussia, fearing the mere existence of a Polish state, arranged for, and in 1793 executed, the Second Partition of the Commonwealth, which left the country deprived of so much territory that it was practically incapable of independent existence. Eventually, in 1795, following the failed Ko?ciuszko Uprising, the Commonwealth was partitioned one last time by all three of its more powerful neighbours, and with this, effectively ceased to exist.
Era of insurrections
Main articles: Duchy of Warsaw, Grand Duchy of Posen, Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, and Congress Poland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomen tasavalta, Swedish: Republiken Finland) is a country in Northern Europe bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, between Norway to the north, Swedento the northwest, and Russia to the east. Finland is a Nordic country and is situated in the geographical region of Fennoscandia. The capital and by far the largest city is Helsinki.
Finland's population is 5.5 million (2017), and the majority of the population is concentrated in the southern region. 88.7% of the population is Finnish and speaks Finnish, a Uralic language unrelated to the Scandinavian languages; next come the Finland-Swedes (5.3%). Finland is the eighth-largest country in Europe and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. It is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital city of Helsinki, local governments in 311 municipalities, and one autonomous region, the Åland Islands. Over 1.4 million people live in the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, which produces one third of the country's GDP.
Finland was inhabited when the last ice ageended, approximately 9000 BCE. The first settlers left behind artifacts that present characteristics shared with those found in Estonia, Russia, and Norway. The earliest people were hunter-gatherers, using stone tools. The first pottery appeared in 5200 BCE, when the Comb Ceramic culturewas introduced. The arrival of the Corded Ware culture in southern coastal Finland between 3000 and 2500 BCE may have coincided with the start of agriculture. The Bronze Age and Iron Age were characterised by extensive contacts with other cultures in the Fennoscandian and Baltic regions and the sedentary farming inhabitation increased towards the end of Iron Age. At the time Finland had three main cultural areas – Southwest Finland, Tavastia and Karelia – as reflected in contemporary jewellery.
From the late 13th century, Finland gradually became an integral part of Sweden through the crusades and the Swedish part-colonisation of coastal Finland, a legacy reflected in the prevalence of the Swedish language and its official status. In 1809, Finland was incorporated into the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. In 1906, Finland became the first European state to grant all adult citizens the right to vote, and the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office.
Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared itself independent. In 1918, the fledgling state was divided by civil war, with the Bolshevik-leaning Red Guard supported by the equally new Soviet Russia, fighting the White Guard, supported by the German Empire. After a brief attempt to establish a kingdom, the country became a republic. During World War II, the Soviet Union sought repeatedly to occupy Finland, with Finland losing parts of Karelia, Salla, Kuusamo, Petsamo and some islands, but retaining independence.
Finland joined the United Nations in 1955 and established an official policy of neutrality. The Finno-Soviet Treaty of 1948 gave the Soviet Union some leverage in Finnish domestic politics during the Cold War era. Finland joined the OECD in 1969, the NATO Partnership for Peace in 1994, the European Union in 1995, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997, and finally the Eurozone at its inception, in 1999.
Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialisation, remaining a largely agrarian country until the 1950s. After World War II, the Soviet Union demanded war reparations from Finland not only in money but also in material, such as ships and machinery. This forced Finland to industrialise. It rapidly developed an advanced economy while building an extensive welfare state based on the Nordic model, resulting in widespread prosperity and one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, and human development. In 2015, Finland was ranked first in the World Human Capital and the Press Freedom Index and as the most stable country in the world during 2011–2016 in the Fragile States Index, and second in the Global Gender Gap Report. A large majority of Finns are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Finnish Constitution.
See also: Finns § Etymology
The earliest written appearance of the name Finland is thought to be on three runestones. Two were found in the Swedish province of Uppland and have the inscription finlonti (U 582). The third was found in Gotland. It has the inscription finlandi (G 319) and dates back to the 13th century. The name can be assumed to be related to the tribe name Finns, which is mentioned at first known time AD 98 (disputed meaning).
The name Suomi (Finnish for "Finland") has uncertain origins, but a candidate for a source is the Proto-Baltic word *?em?, meaning "land". In addition to the close relatives of Finnish (the Finnic languages), this name is also used in the Baltic languages Latvian and Lithuanian. Alternatively, the Indo-European word *g?m-on "man" (cf. Gothic guma, Latin homo) has been suggested, being borrowed as *?oma. The word originally referred only to the province of Finland Proper, and later to the northern coast of Gulf of Finland, with northern regions such as Ostrobothnia still sometimes being excluded until later. Earlier theories suggested derivation from suomaa (fen land) or suoniemi (fen cape), and parallels between saame(Sami, a Finno-Ugric people in Lapland), and Häme (a province in the inland) were drawn, but these theories are now considered outdated.
The first survived use of word Suomi is in 811 in the Royal Frankish Annals where it is used as a person name connected to a peace treaty.
In the earliest historical sources from the 12th and 13th centuries, the term Finland refers to the coastal region around Turku from Perniö to Uusikaupunki. This region later became known as Finland Proper in distinction from the country name Finland. Finland became a common name for the whole country in a centuries-long process that started when the Catholic Church established missionary diocese in Nousiainen in the northern part of the province of Suomi possibly sometime in the 12th century.
The devastation of Finland during the Great Northern War (1714–1721) and during the Russo-Swedish War (1741–43) caused Sweden to begin carrying out major efforts to defend its eastern half from Russia. These 18th-century experiences created a sense of a shared destiny that when put in conjunction with the unique Finnish language, led to the adoption of an expanded concept of Finland.
Main article: History of Finland
Main article: History of Finland § Prehistory
Reconstruction of Stone Agedwelling from Kierikki, Oulu.
If the archeological finds from Wolf Cave are the result of Neanderthals' activities, the first people inhabited Finland approximately 120,000-130,000 years ago. The area that is now Finland was settled in, at the latest, around 8,500 BCE during the Stone Age towards the end of the last glacial period. The artifacts the first settlers left behind present characteristics that are shared with those found in Estonia, Russia, and Norway. The earliest people were hunter-gatherers, using stone tools.
The first pottery appeared in 5200 BCE, when the Comb Ceramic culture was introduced. The arrival of the Corded Ware culture in Southern coastal Finland between 3000 and 2500 BCE may have coincided with the start of agriculture. Even with the introduction of agriculture, hunting and fishing continued to be important parts of the subsistence economy.
In the Bronze Age permanent all year round cultivation and animal husbandry spread, but the cold climate phase slowed the change. Cultures in Finland shared common features in pottery and also axes had similarities but local features existed. Seima-Turbino-phenomenonbrought first bronze artifacts to the region and possibly also the Finno-Ugric-Languages. Commercial contacts that had so far mostly been to Estonia started to extend to Scandinavia. Domestic manufacture of bronze artifacts started 1300 BCE with Maaninka-type bronze axes. Bronze was imported from Volga region and from Southern Scandinavia.
Northern Europe (814)
In the Iron Age population grew especially in Häme and Savo regions. Finland proper was the most densely populated area. Cultural contacts to the Baltics and Scandinavia became more frequent. Commercial contacts in the Baltic Sea region grew and extended during the 8th and 9th Centuries.
Main exports from Finland were furs, slaves, Castoreum, and falcons to European courts. Imports included silk and other fabrics, jewelry, Ulfberht swords, and, in lesser extent, glass. Production of iron started approximately in 500 BCE.
In the end of the 9th century indigenous artifact culture, especially women's jewelry and weapons, had more common local features than ever before. This has been interpreted to be expressing common Finnish identity which was born from an image of common origin.
An early form of Finnic languages spread to the Baltic Sea region approximately 1900 BCE with the Seima-Turbino-phenomenon. Common Finnic language was spoken around Gulf of Finland 2000 years ago. The dialects from which the modern day Finnish language was developed came into existence during the Iron Age.
Although distantly related, the Samiretained the hunter-gatherer lifestyle longer than the Finns. The Sami cultural identity and the Sami language have survived in Lapland, the northernmost province, but the Sami have been displaced or assimilated elsewhere.
Late Iron Age swords found from Finland.
The 12th and 13th centuries were a violent time in the northern Baltic Sea. The Livonian crusade was ongoing and the Finnish tribes such as the Tavastiansand Karelians were in frequent conflicts with Novgorodand with each other. Also, during the 12th and 13th centuries several crusades from the Catholic realms of the Baltic Sea area were made against the Finnish tribes. According to historical sources, Danes waged two crusades on Finland, in 1191 and in 1202, and Swedes, possibly the so-called second crusade to Finland, in 1249 against Tavastians and the third crusade to Finland in 1293 against the Karelians. The so-called first crusade to Finland, possibly in 1155, is most likely an unreal event. Also, it is possible that Germans made violent conversion of Finnish pagans in the 13th century. According to a papal letter from 1241, the king of Norway was also fighting against "nearby pagans" at that time.
Main article: Finland under Swedish rule
The Swedish Empire following the Treaty of Roskilde of 1658.
Dark green: Sweden proper, as represented in the Riksdag of the Estates. Other greens: Swedish dominions and possessions.
Now lying within Helsinki, Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site consisting of an inhabited 18th-century sea fortress built on six islands. It is one of Finland's most popular tourist attractions.
As a result of the crusades and the colonisation of some Finnish coastal areas with Christian Swedish population during the Middle Ages, Finland gradually became part of the kingdom of Sweden and the sphere of influence of the Catholic Church. Due to the Swedish conquest, the Finnish upper class lost its position and lands to the new Swedish and German nobility and to the Catholic Church. In Sweden even in the 17th and 18th centuries, it was clear that Finland was a conquered country and its inhabitants could be treated arbitrarily. Swedish kings visited Finland rarely and in Swedish contemporary texts Finns were portrayed to be primitive and their language inferior.
Swedish became the dominant language of the nobility, administration, and education; Finnish was chiefly a language for the peasantry, clergy, and local courts in predominantly Finnish-speaking areas. During the Protestant Reformation, the Finnsgradually converted to Lutheranism.
In the 16th century, Mikael Agricola published the first written works in Finnish. The first university in Finland, the Royal Academy of Turku, was established in 1640. Finland suffered a severe famine in 1696–1697, during which about one third of the Finnish population died, and a devastating plague a few years later.
In the 18th century, wars between Sweden and Russia twice led to the occupation of Finland by Russian forces, times known to the Finns as the Greater Wrath(1714–1721) and the Lesser Wrath (1742–1743). It is estimated that almost an entire generation of young men was lost during the Great Wrath, due namely to the destruction of homes and farms, and to the burning of Helsinki. By this time Finland was the predominant term for the whole area from the Gulf of Bothnia to the Russian border.
Two Russo-Swedish wars in twenty-five years served as reminders to the Finnish people of the precarious position between Sweden and Russia. An increasingly vocal elite in Finland soon determined that Finnish ties with Sweden were becoming too costly, and following Russo-Swedish War (1788–1790), the Finnish elite's desire to break with Sweden only heightened.
Even before the war there were conspiring politicians, among them Col G. M. Sprengtporten, who had supported Gustav III's coup in 1772. Sprengporten fell out with the king and resigned his commission in 1777. In the following decade he tried to secure Russian support for an autonomous Finland, and later became an adviser to Catherine II. In the spirit of the notion of Adolf Ivar Arwidsson (1791–1858), "we are not Swedes, we do not want to become Russians, let us therefore be Finns", the Finnish national identity started to become established.
Notwithstanding the efforts of Finland's elite and nobility to break ties with Sweden, there was no genuine independence movement in Finland until the early twentieth century. As a matter of fact, at this time the Finnish peasantry was outraged by the actions of their elite and almost exclusively supported Gustav's actions against the conspirators. (The High Court of Turku condemned Sprengtporten as a traitor c. 1793.) The Swedish era ended in the Finnish warin 1809.
Russian Empire era
Main article: Grand Duchy of Finland
See also: Finland's language strife and Russification of Finland
On 29 March 1809, having been taken over by the armies of Alexander I of Russia in the Finnish War, Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy in the Russian Empire until the end of 1917. In 1811, Alexander I incorporated Russian Vyborg province into the Grand Duchy of Finland. During the Russian era, the Finnish language began to gain recognition. From the 1860s onwards, a strong Finnish nationalist movement known as the Fennoman movement grew. Milestones included the publication of what would become Finland's national epic – the Kalevala – in 1835, and the Finnish language's achieving equal legal status with Swedish in 1892.
Pioneers in Karelia (1900) by Pekka Halonen
The Finnish famine of 1866–1868 killed 15% of the population, making it one of the worst famines in European history. The famine led the Russian Empire to ease financial regulations, and investment rose in following decades. Economic and political development was rapid. The GDP per capita was still half of that of the United States and a third of that of Britain.
In 1906, universal suffrage was adopted in the Grand Duchy of Finland. However, the relationship between the Grand Duchy and the Russian Empire soured when the Russian government made moves to restrict Finnish autonomy. For example, the universal suffrage was, in practice, virtually meaningless, since the tsar did not have to approve any of the laws adopted by the Finnish parliament. Desire for independence gained ground, first among radical liberals and socialists.
Civil war and early independence
Main articles: Finnish Declaration of Independence, Finnish Socialist Workers' Republic, and Finnish Civil War
White firing squad executing Red soldiers in Längelmäki (1918)
After the 1917 February Revolution, the position of Finland as part of the Russian Empire was questioned, mainly by Social Democrats. Since the head of state was the tsar of Russia, it was not clear who the chief executive of Finland was after the revolution. The Parliament, controlled by social democrats, passed the so-called Power Act to give the highest authority to the Parliament. This was rejected by the Russian Provisional Governmentwhich decided to dissolve the Parliament.
New elections were conducted, in which right-wing parties won with a slim majority. Some social democrats refused to accept the result and still claimed that the dissolution of the parliament (and thus the ensuing elections) were extralegal. The two nearly equally powerful political blocs, the right-wing parties and the social democratic party, were highly antagonized.
The October Revolution in Russia changed the geopolitical situation anew. Suddenly, the right-wing parties in Finland started to reconsider their decision to block the transfer of highest executive power from the Russian government to Finland, as the Bolsheviks took power in Russia. Rather than acknowledge the authority of the Power Law of a few months earlier, the right-wing government declared independence on 6 December 1917.
Finnish military leader and statesman Carl Gustaf Mannerheim in 1918
On 27 January 1918, the official opening shots of the war were fired in two simultaneous events. The government started to disarm the Russian forces in Pohjanmaa, and the Social Democratic Party staged a coup. The latter gained control of southern Finland and Helsinki, but the white government continued in exile from Vaasa. This sparked the brief but bitter civil war. The Whites, who were supported by Imperial Germany, prevailed over the Reds. After the war, tens of thousands of Reds and suspected sympathizers were interned in camps, where thousands died by execution or from malnutrition and disease. Deep social and political enmity was sown between the Reds and Whites and would last until the Winter War and beyond. The civil war and activist expeditions into Soviet Russia strained Eastern relations.
After a brief experimentation with monarchy, Finland became a presidential republic, with Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg elected as its first president in 1919. The Finnish–Russian border was determined by the Treaty of Tartu in 1920, largely following the historic border but granting Pechenga (Finnish: Petsamo) and its Barents Sea harbour to Finland. Finnish democracy did not see any Soviet coup attempts and survived the anti-Communist Lapua Movement. The relationship between Finland and the Soviet Union was tense. Army officers were trained in France, and relations with Western Europe and Sweden were strengthened.
In 1917, the population was 3 million. Credit-based land reform was enacted after the civil war, increasing the proportion of capital-owning population. About 70% of workers were occupied in agriculture and 10% in industry. The largest export markets were the United Kingdom and Germany.
World War II and after
Areas ceded by Finland to the Soviet Union after World War II. The Porkkalaland lease was returned to Finland in 1956
Main article: Military history of Finland during World War II
Finland fought the Soviet Union in the Winter War of 1939–1940 after the Soviet Union attacked Finland and in the Continuation War of 1941–1944, following Operation Barbarossa, when Finland aligned with Germany following Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union. For 872 days, the German army, aided indirectly by Finnish
Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a unitarysovereign state in Northwestern Europe whose core territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the Kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.
Norway has a total area of 385,252 square kilometres (148,747 sq mi) and a population of 5,258,317 (as of January 2017). The country shares a long eastern border with Sweden(1,619 km or 1,006 mi long). Norway is bordered by Finland and Russia to the north-east, and the Skagerrak strait to the south, with Denmark on the other side. Norway has an extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea.
King Harald V of the Dano-German House of Glücksburg is the current King of Norway. Erna Solberg became Prime Minister in 2013, and was reelected in September 2017. Erna Solberg replaced Jens Stoltenberg who was the Prime Minister between 2000 and 2001 and 2005–2013. A constitutional monarchy, Norway divides state power between the Parliament, the cabinetand the Supreme Court, as determined by the 1814 Constitution. The kingdom was established as a merger of a large number of petty kingdoms. By the traditional count from the year 872, the kingdom has existed continuously for 1,145 years, and the list of Norwegian monarchs includes over sixty kings and earls. From 1537 to 1814 Norway was a part of the Kingdom of Denmark, and 1814 to 1905 in a personal unionwith the Kingdom of Sweden.
Norway has both administrative and political subdivisions on two levels: counties and municipalities. The Sámi people have a certain amount of self-determination and influence over traditional territories through the Sámi Parliament and the Finnmark Act. Norway maintains close ties with both the European Union and the United States. Norway is a founding member of the United Nations, NATO, the European Free Trade Association, the Council of Europe, the Antarctic Treaty, and the Nordic Council; a member of the European Economic Area, the WTO, and the OECD; and a part of the Schengen Area.
Norway maintains Nordic welfare model with universal health care and a comprehensive social security system, and Norwegian Society's values are rooted in egalitarian ideals.Defined as a 21st century socialism, the Norwegian state owns key industrial sectors such as oil (Equinor) or hydropower (Statkraft), having extensive reserves of petroleum, natural gas, minerals, lumber, seafood, and fresh water. The petroleum industry accounts for around a quarter of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). On a per-capita basis, Norway is the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas outside the Middle East.
The country has the fourth-highest per capita income in the world on the World Bank and IMFlists. On the CIA's GDP (PPP) per capita list (2015 estimate) which includes autonomous territories and regions, Norway ranks as number eleven. It has the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, with a value of USD 1 trillion.Norway has had the highest Human Development Index ranking in the world since 2009, a position also held previously between 2001 and 2006. It also has the highest inequality-adjusted ranking. Norway ranked first on the World Happiness Report for 2017, and currently ranks first on the OECD Better Life Index, the Index of Public Integrity, and the Democracy Index. Norway has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
Opening of Ohthere's Old English account, translated: "Ohthere told his lord Ælfrede king that he lived northmost of all Norwegians…"
Norway has two official names: Norge in Bokmål and Noreg in Nynorsk. The English name Norway comes from the Old English word Norþweg mentioned in 880, meaning "northern way" or "way leading to the north", which is how the Anglo-Saxons referred to the coastline of atlantic Norway. The Anglo-Saxons of Britain also referred to the kingdom of Norway in 880 as Norðmanna land.
There is some disagreement about whether the native name of Norway originally had the same etymology as the English form. According to the traditional undisputed view, the first component was originally norðr, a cognate of English north, so the full name was Norðr vegr, "the way northwards", referring to the sailing route along the Norwegian coast, and contrasting with suðrvegar "southern way" (from Old Norse suðr) for (Germany), and austrvegr "eastern way" (from austr) for the Baltic.
According to another theory, the first component was a word nór, meaning "narrow" or "northern", referring to the inner-archipelago sailing route through the land ("narrow way"). The interpretation as "northern", as reflected in the English and Latin forms of the name, would then have been due to later folk etymology. This latter view originated with philologist Niels Halvorsen Trønnes in 1847; since 2016 it as also advocated by language student and activist Klaus Johan Myrvoll and was adopted by philology professor Michael Schulte. The form Nore is still used in placenames such as the village of Nore and lake Norefjorden in Buskerud county, and still has the same meaning. Among other arguments in favour of the theory, it is pointed out that the word has a long vowel in Skaldic poetry and is not attested with <ð> in any native Norse texts or inscriptions (the earliest runic attestations have the spellings nuruiak and nuriki). This resurrected theory has received some pushback by other scholars on various grounds, e. g. the uncontroversial presence of the element norðr in the ethnonym norðrmaðr "Norseman, Norwegian person" (modern Norwegian nordmann), and the adjective norr?nn "northern, Norse, Norwegian", as well as the very early attestations of the Latin and Anglo-Saxon forms with .
In a Latin manuscript of 849, the name Northuagia is mentioned, while a French chronicle of c. 900 uses the names Northwegia and Norwegia. When Ohthere of Hålogaland visited King Alfred the Great in England in the end of the ninth century, the land was called Norðwegr(lit. "Northway") and norðmanna land (lit. "Northmen's land"). The adjective Norwegian, recorded from c. 1600, is derived from the latinisation of the name as Norwegia; in the adjective Norwegian, the Old English spelling '-weg' has survived.
Old Norse norðmaðr was Latinized as Nortmannus in the ninth century to mean "Norseman" and also "Viking", giving rise to the name of the Normans. After Norway had become Christian, Noregr and Noregi had become the most common forms, but during the 15th century, the newer forms Noreg(h) and Norg(h)e, found in medieval Icelandic manuscripts, took over and have survived until the modern day.
Main articles: History of Norway and History of Scandinavia
Main article: Scandinavian prehistory
Nordic Bronze Age rock carvings at Steinkjer, Central Norway
The first inhabitants were the Ahrensburg culture(11th to 10th millennia BC), which was a late Upper Paleolithic culture during the Younger Dryas, the last period of cold at the end of the Weichselian glaciation. The culture is named after the village of Ahrensburg, 25 km (15.53 mi) north-east of Hamburg in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, where wooden arrow shafts and clubs have been excavated. The earliest traces of human occupation in Norway are found along the coast, where the huge ice shelf of the last ice age first melted between 11,000 and 8,000 BC. The oldest finds are stone tools dating from 9,500 to 6,000 BC, discovered in Finnmark (Komsa culture) in the north and Rogaland (Fosna culture) in the south-west. However, theories about two altogether different cultures (the Komsa culture north of the Arctic Circle being one and the Fosna culture from Trøndelag to Oslofjord being the other) were rendered obsolete in the 1970s.
More recent finds along the entire coast revealed to archaeologists that the difference between the two can simply be ascribed to different types of tools and not to different cultures. Coastal fauna provided a means of livelihood for fishermen and hunters, who may have made their way along the southern coast about 10,000 BC when the interior was still covered with ice. It is now thought that these so-called "Arctic" peoples came from the south and followed the coast northward considerably later.
In the southern part of the country are dwelling sites dating from about 5,000 BC. Finds from these sites give a clearer idea of the life of the hunting and fishing peoples. The implements vary in shape and mostly are made of different kinds of stone; those of later periods are more skilfully made. Rock carvings (i.e. petroglyphs) have been found, usually near hunting and fishing grounds. They represent game such as deer, reindeer, elk, bears, birds, seals, whales, and fish (especially salmon and halibut), all of which were vital to the way of life of the coastal peoples. The carvings at Alta in Finnmark, the largest in Scandinavia, were made at sea level from 4,200 to 500 BC and mark the progression of the land as the sea rose after the last ice age ended (Rock carvings at Alta).
Main article: Nordic Bronze Age
Locations of the Germanic tribes described by Jordanes in Norway
Between 3000 and 2500 BC, new settlers (Corded Ware culture) arrived in eastern Norway. They were Indo-European farmers who grew grain and kept cows and sheep. The hunting-fishing population of the west coast was also gradually replaced by farmers, though hunting and fishing remained useful secondary means of livelihood.
From about 1500 BC, bronze was gradually introduced, but the use of stone implements continued; Norway had few riches to barter for bronze goods, and the few finds consist mostly of elaborate weapons and brooches that only chieftains could afford. Huge burial cairns built close to the sea as far north as Harstad and also inland in the south are characteristic of this period. The motifs of the rock carvings differ from those typical of the Stone Age. Representations of the Sun, animals, trees, weapons, ships, and people are all strongly stylised.
Thousands of rock carvings from this period depict ships, and the large stone burial monuments known as stone ships, suggest that ships and seafaring played an important role in the culture at large. The depicted ships, most likely represent sewn plank built canoes used for warfare, fishing and trade. These ship types may have their origin as far back as the neolithic period and they continue into the Pre-Roman Iron Age, as exemplified by the Hjortspring boat.