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 16th century, northern Germany became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. As a modern nation-state, the country was first unified amidst the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. After World War II, Germany was divided into two separate states along the lines of allied occupation in 1949. The two states became reunified again in 1990. West Germany was a founding member of the European Community (EC) in 1957, which became the European Union in 1993. It is part of the borderless Schengen zone and adopted the European currency, the euro, in 1999.
Germany is a federal parliamentary republic of sixteen states.The capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G8, the G4 nations, and signed the Kyoto protocol. It is the world's third largest economy by nominal GDP and the largest exporter of goods in 2007. In absolute terms, Germany allocates the second biggest annual budget of development aid in the world, while its military expenditure ranked sixth. 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.