Historical Facts about Germany

Historical Facts About Germany That Make for a Gripping Read

Germany has had a very eventful history. It has been involved in events that have changed the history of the world. This article presents some significant historical facts about the country.
History of Germany can be traced to the times when the nomadic tribes dominated the region. The region, however, was never considered as a nation or kingdom till the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire. It was known as Germania, Holy Roman Empire, and Prussia, during the course of its evolution as a nation.

Germany during the BC Era

In 500 BC, the northern parts of present day Germany were dominated by the Germanic tribes, and the southern parts were dominated by the Roman empire. The name Germany, is derived from the German tribal word 'gar' which means spear. The empire and the Germanic tribes often engaged in skirmishes and battles, openly defying each other's power. In 109 BC, the Germanic tribal settlements of Cimbri, Teutoni, and Helvetii formed a confederation to resist the Roman expansion northwards. Julius Caesar, invaded the territory of the Germanic tribes. These encounters were known as the Gallic Wars.

Germany during the AD Era

The Battle of Teutoburg, that took place in 9 AD, shook the Roman empire. The battle was actually a very clever ambush by the Germanic tribes under the leadership of Arminius, who was a tribal leader. 10,000 tribesmen slaughtered about 20,000 to 25,000 Roman soldiers and routed 3 legions. Another important battle, the Battle of the Weser River, took place under the leadership of Arminius, in 16 AD.

The period between 300 AD to 700 AD came to be known as the era of Völkerwanderung, when many migrations took place, and shaped the current population of Europe. During this time period, Germany started evolving into an official state. The German empire was founded by Emperor Charlemagne. The Holy Roman Empire was recognized by the Church, in 962 AD, with Otto I as the Imperator Romanorum.

In the year 1075 AD, the conflict between Pope Gregory VII and the emperor Henry IV gave rise to the Investiture Controversy. The Investiture Controversy was the power struggle between high-ranking church officials and the kings of Europe, regarding the appointment of the regional church officials, such as the bishops or abbots. This controversy led to a civil war in Germany and the adjoining regions, and was also responsible for the disintegration of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1077 AD, Henry IV took a long and dangerous journey, barefoot, through the Alps to the Fortress of Canossa in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, to meet Pope Gregory VII and beg forgiveness. It is rumored that the Pope left Henry standing in the snow for three days before opening the gates of the fort to forgive Henry.

The German Crusade of 1096 AD was an uprising by the German crusaders against the local Jews. This crusade involved the mass murders of some of the prominent Jew bankers and businessmen in Germany. In 1152 AD, Frederick I Barbarossa was crowned as the king of Germany. Frederick I is considered to be the greatest general of the Crusades. He led many successful battles during and around the time. His bravery and skills in battle were so influential, that in spite his death, many of his knights kept on fighting leaderless. Some of his knights, out of sorrow, even committed suicide.

1190 BC, at the end of the third Crusade, the famous order of the Teutonic Knights was formed. In 1291 BC, the Federal Charter for Germany was signed. The demonstration of the first printing press took place in 1455 AD when inventor Johannes Gutenberg printed the Gutenberg Bible. Another important event that took place in this period was that of the Swabian War, in 1499 AD. It was fought between the Swabian forces of the empire and the Swiss Confederacy. The result was very surprising, as the Swiss forces won the war. This war also established the boundaries between Germany and Switzerland. In 1517 AD, reformer Martin Luther, published his writings, "Ninety Five Theses", that triggered off the Protestant Reformation. The Peasants' War took place in 1524, when the common people of Germany revolted against the government.

Germany in the Modern Era

In the 1800s Germany played major roles in many European battles like the Neapolitan Wars from 1804 to 1815. In the 1900s Germany was held responsible for the two highly destructive world wars. The First World War began in 1914 and ended in 1918. After the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was governed by the Weimar Republic till 1933. In 1933 Hitler seized power, and started the period of the third Reich and Nazi Germany. The Second World War started in 1939 and ended in 1945, almost wiping Germany off the world map.

After the Second World War, the spirit and hope of the Germans was rekindled. The struggle of the German population to rehabilitate their nation was notable. In 1989, the Berlin Wall, that had divided Germany into East Germany (communist regime) and West Germany (democratic regime), was torn down by the citizens of Germany in order to unify their nation.

These days, Germany is considered one of the leading economic and intellectual powers, boasting of the most sophisticated technologies and systems. The Germans not only love their nation, but, also protect its history, artifacts, and environment. In spite of undertaking massive industrial, military and technological developments, the environment of this nation is regarded as a remarkably beautiful one.
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