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Germany is a federal parliamentary republic in western-central Europe consisting of 16 constituent states, which retain limited sovereignty.
Germany's Holy Roman Empire Edit
On Christmas day, 800, the Frank King Charlemagne was crowned emperor and founded the Carolingian Empire, which was divided in 843. Frankish rule was extended under Charlemagne's sons and then later by his grandson 'Louis the German' who was referred to as Germanicus. However the Carolingian Empire he ruled was the old Germany and this geographical portion of the east Frankish kingdom additionally subsumed an assemblage of Alemannic, Bavarians, Main Franks, Saxons, Thuringia's, Slavic tribes from the Baltic and Adriatic, and even some Pannonian Avars. As such, the Holy Roman Empire comprised the eastern portion of Charlemagne's original kingdom and emerged as the strongest, some of this consequent to the aforementioned reign of 'Louis the German' and its extended cohesion was achieved through the unification efforts of Conrad of Franconia.
Under the Hohenstaufen emperors (1138–1254), the German princes increased their influence further south and east into territories inhabited by Slavs, preceding German settlement in these areas and further east (Ostsiedlung). Northern German towns grew prosperous as members of the Hanseatic League. Starting with the Great Famine in 1315, then the Black Death of 1348–50, the population of Germany declined. The edict of the Golden Bull in 1356 provided the basic constitution of the empire and codified the election of the emperor by seven prince-electors who ruled some of the most powerful principalities and archbishoprics.
Germany is in Western and Central Europe, with Denmark bordering to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France and Luxembourg to the southwest, and Belgium and the Netherlands to the northwest. The territory covers 357,021 km2 (137,847 sq mi), consisting of 349,223 km2 (134,836 sq mi) of land and 7,798 km2 (3,011 sq mi) of water. It is the seventh largest country by area in Europe and the 62nd largest in the world.
Elevation ranges from the mountains of the Alps (highest point: the Zugspitze at 2,962 meters or 9,718 feet) in the south to the shores of the North Sea in the northwest and the Baltic Sea (Ostsee) in the northeast. The forested uplands of central Germany and the lowlands of northern Germany are traversed by such major rivers as the Rhine, Danube and Elbe. Glaciers are found in the Alpine region, but are experiencing significant natural resources are iron ore, coal, potash, timber, lignite, uranium, copper, natural gas, salt, nickel, arable land and water.