|National motto: Deutschland Über Alles|
A region named Germania inhabited by several Germanic peoples has been known and documented before 100 AD. Since the 10th century German territories have formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire that lasted until 1806. During the period, in the 16th century, the northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. As a modern nation-state, the country was first unified amidst the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. German territorial gains continued sporadically until the country reached its current borders in the Central Europe War of 1914-1920.
Germany is a constitutional monarchy of twenty-one states (Reichsländer). The capital and largest city is Berlin. The Emperor is head of state; an elected Parliament (Reichstag) forms a legislature and the Chancellor (Reichskanzler) is head of government. Germany's constitutional system has evolved into its current form over many years. Each state is theoretically self-governing and the country could rightly be described as a federation; however, in recent years the central government has exerted greater influence over the states. Germany is a member of the League of Nations and the European Customs Union, in which is plays an integral (some would argue dominant) role.
Germany is the world's second largest economy by nominal GDP and the largest exporter of goods in 2007. In absolute terms, Germany allocates the biggest annual budget of development aid in the world, while its military expenditure ranked third. The country has developed a high standard of living and established a comprehensive system of social security. It holds a key position in European affairs and maintains a multitude of close partnerships on a global level. Germany is recognized as a scientific and technological leader in several fields.