Germany (Listeni /ˈdʒɜrməni/), officially the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland, pronounced [ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant] ( listen)), is a country in Western and Central Europe. Germany is a federal parliamentary republic of sixteen states. The capital and largest city is Berlin. It covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With 81.8 million inhabitants, it is the most populous member state and the largest economy of the European Union. It is one of the major political powers of the European continent and a technological leader in many fields.
A region named Germania, inhabited by several Germanic peoples, was documented before AD 100. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, which lasted until 1806. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation while southern and western parts remained dominated by Roman Catholic denominations. The different German states became first unified in 1871, with the inception of the German Empire. After the German revolution and the subsequent military surrender in World War 1, the Weimar Republic was proclaimed in 1918, followed by the Third Reich in 1933. The latter period was marked by a dictatorship, genocide and the initiation of World War II. After 1945, Germany was divided by allied occupation, and evolved into two states, East Germany and West Germany. In 1990 Germany was reunified.
Germany was a founding member of the European Community in 1957, which became the EU in 1993. It is part of the Schengen Area and since 1999 a member of the eurozone. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G8, the G20, the OECD and the Council of Europe, and took a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2011–2012 term.
It has the world's fourth largest economy by nominal GDP and the fifth largest by purchasing power parity. It is the second largest exporter and third largest importer of goods. In absolute terms, Germany spends the third biggest annual development aid budget in the world, while its military expenditure ranks seventh. The country has developed a very high standard of living and a comprehensive system of social security. Germany has been the home of many influential scientists and inventors, and is known for its cultural and political history.