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The Republic of the Netherlands, or just the Netherlands, is a sovereign state located in western Europe. The Netherlands is a federation of ten constituent countries, bordered by Prussia to the east and France to the south.
"Netherlands" literally means "lower countries", influenced by its low land and flat geography. It is a very densely populated country, home to about 33.19 million and covering about 33,986 square miles. From the mid-1500s on, the Low Countries or the "Netherlands" was, other than Flanders, probably the most commonly used name. The Low Countries today is a designation that includes the constituent countries of the Netherlands, Flanders, Belgium, and Luxembourg. It is synonymous with the term "Mainland Netherlands."
Ever since the colonial era, the Dutch created arguably the most powerful colonial empire, establishing colonies in Indonesia, South Africa, the Caribbean, and North America. Today, they have a strong economy, high standard of living, and are a prominent regional power.
After the end of the Ice Age, various Paleolithic groups inhabited the area, and around 8000 BC Mesolithic tribes resided in Friesland and Drenthe, where the oldest canoe in the world was recovered. Copper finds show that there was trade with other areas in Europe, as natural copper is not found in Dutch soil. The Bronze Age probably started somewhere around 2000 BC and lasted until around 800 BC. The many finds in Drenthe of rare and valuable objects, suggest that it was a trading center during the Bronze Age.
The Iron Age brought a measure of prosperity. Iron ore was available throughout the country, including bog iron extracted from the ore in peat bogs in the north, the natural iron-bearing balls found in the Veluwe and the red iron ore near the rivers in Brabant. Some evidence even suggests the making of Damascus steel swords using an advanced method of forging that combined the flexibility of iron with the strength of steel.
Romans and Germanic tribes
For around 450 years, from around 55 BC to around 410 AD, the Southern Netherlands were integrated into the Roman Empire. During the Gallic Wars, the area south of the Oude Rijn and west of the Rhine was conquered by Roman forces under Julius Caesar from 57 BC to 53 BC. The leaders of the Belgic alliance which Caesar confronted were in modern France: the Suessiones, Viromandui and Ambiani and perhaps some of their neighbours, in an area that Caesar appears to distinguish as the true "Belgium" of classical times.
The Rhine became fixed as Rome's northern frontier around 12 AD. Notable towns would arise along the Limes Germanicus, such as Nijmegen and Voorburg. The Netherlands was mainly part of two provinces: Gallia Belgica and Germania Inferior, separated by the Limes. During these times, the main Germanic tribe in the non-Roman Netherlands was the Frisii, the presumed ancestors of Frisians.
During the Migration Period, Germanic tribes traveled through and settled in the region of the Mainland Netherlands. A major presence in the Netherlands following the fall of the Roman Empire, the Franks would go on to create an empire in Francia. The Celts, Anglo-Saxons, and Jutes would all pass by or settle in the area; however, most of them ended up in Anglia.
Government & Politics
The Republic of the Netherlands is a federation comprised of ten constituent countries. The main constituent country in the Netherlands is the country of the same name.
|Luxembourg||856,576||Luxembourg City||Xavier Bettel|
|Curaçao||158,986||Willemstad||Ben de Witte|
|Sint Maarten||33,609||Philipsburg||William Marlin|
|Virgin Islands||28,054||Wegstad||Orlando Smith|
|Barbadoes||277,821||Sint Michel||Freundel Stuart|