National Language: German

Capital: Berlin

President: Gerhard Schroeder

Population: 82 million

Area: 357,000 km²

Landscape: forests, lakes, mountains (Bavarian Alps), plains

Major Religion(s): Christianity – Protestant and Roman Catholic

Currency: Euro (€) (since Jan. 1, 2002)

Education: Free public education; mandatory between ages 6-15; after age 10, students are sent to 3 different types of schools, depending upon their level – the number of years required varies with each level

Type of Government: Democratic Republic; Chancellor (head of federal gov’t); President (elected by federal assembly, foreign affairs, appoints gov’t. officials and judges)

History: The Treaty of Verdun in 843 gives birth to the kingdom of Germany by regrouping populations speaking the same language. During the following two centuries, the Franks from the east begin to differentiate themselves from the Franks of the west (future France) and the Holy Roman Empire is re-established (later called Holy German Roman Empire). In the 15th C, the newly established Protestanism is a source of conflict in the empire. It is recognized officially in 1555. The Counter-Reformation takes place and religious intolerance is a major source of the Thirty Years War (1618-48). The Prussian Empire gains in power during the 18th century.

Bismarck forms a centralized and unified Germany between 1862-70. Germany goes through period of expansion until WWI. After the War, Treaty of Versailles demands heavy reparation payments, loss of colonies, territorial concessions, and a reduction in the military. High inflation and economic crisis hit. Hitler becomes Chancellor in 1933 and Nazi Party becomes sole political party. Invades Austria as early as 1938 and other countries follow. WWII between 1939-45, where 6 million die in concentration camps. Country is divided in two in 1949 and re-united in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall the previous year.

For a more detailled history, please click «here».