Germany, Holy Roman Empire

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Summary

Germany (; ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany (, ), is a federal parliamentary republic in western-central Europe consisting of 16 constituent states, which retain limited sovereignty. Its capital city and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With 80.6 million inhabitants, it is the most populous member state in the European Union. Germany is a major economic and political power of the European continent and a historic leader in many cultural, theoretical and technical fields.

Details

On 25 December 800, the Frankish king Charlemagne was crowned emperor and founded the Carolingian Empire, which was divided in 843.Fulbrook 1991, p. 11. Frankish rule was extended under Charlemagne's sons and then later by his grandson 'Louis the German' who was referred to as Germanicus, but the Carolingian Empire he ruled was the old Germania (to the right of the Rhine) and this geographical portion of the east Frankish kingdom additionally subsumed an assemblage of Alamanni, Bavarians, Main Franks, Saxons, Thuringians, Slavic tribes from the Baltic and Adriatic, and even some Pannonian Avars. As such, the Holy Roman Empire comprised the eastern portion of Charlemagne's original kingdom and emerged as the strongest, some of this consequent to the aforementioned reign of 'Louis the German' and its extended cohesion was achieved through the unification efforts of Conrad of Franconia (911-918). Its territory stretched from the Eider River in the north to the Mediterranean coast in the south. Under the reign of the Ottonian emperors (919–1024), several major duchies were consolidated, and the German king Otto I was crowned Holy Roman Emperor of these regions in 962. In 996 Gregory V became the first German Pope, appointed by his cousin Otto III, whom he shortly after crowned Holy Roman Emperor. The Holy Roman Empire absorbed northern Italy and Burgundy under the reign of the Salian emperors (1024–1125), although the emperors lost power through the Investiture Controversy.

Under the Hohenstaufen emperors (1138–1254), the German princes increased their influence further south and east into territories inhabited by Slavs, preceding German settlement in these areas and further east (Ostsiedlung). Northern German towns grew prosperous as members of the Hanseatic League. Starting with the Great Famine in 1315, then the Black Death of 1348–50, the population of Germany declined. The edict of the Golden Bull in 1356 provided the basic constitution of the empire and codified the election of the emperor by seven prince-electors who ruled some of the most powerful principalities and archbishoprics.

Martin Luther publicised The Ninety-Five Theses in 1517 in Wittenberg, challenging the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church and initiating the Protestant Reformation. A separate Lutheran church became the official religion in many German states after 1530. Religious conflict led to the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), which devastated German lands. The population of the German states was reduced by about 30%. The Peace of Westphalia (1648) ended religious warfare among the German states, but the empire was de facto divided into numerous independent principalities. In the 18th century, the Holy Roman Empire consisted of approximately 1,800 such territories.

From 1740 onwards, dualism between the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy and the Kingdom of Prussia dominated German history. In 1806, the Imperium was overrun and dissolved as a result of the Napoleonic Wars.

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External Links

  • WikipediaGermany profilewww.deutschland.deDeutsche WelleGermanyFacts about GermanyDestatis.de

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