Austria /ˈɔːstriə/ (help·info) (German: Österreich (help·info)), officially the Republic of Austria (German: Republik Österreich), is alandlocked country of roughly 8.3 million people in Central Europe. It borders Germany and the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakiaand Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The territory of Austria covers 83,872 square kilometres (32,383 sq mi), and is influenced by a temperate and alpine climate. Austria's terrain is highly mountainous due to the presence of the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 metres (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,797 metres (12,457 ft).The majority of the population speaks German, which is also the country's official language. Other local official languages areCroatian, Hungarian and Slovene.
The origins of Austria date back to the time of the Roman Empire when a Celtic kingdom was conquered by the Romans in approximately 15 BC, and later became Noricum, a Roman province, in the mid 1st century AD—an area which mostly encloses today's Austria. In 788 AD, the Frankish king Charlemagne conquered the area, and introduced Christianity. Under the native Habsburg dynasty, Austria became one of the great powers of Europe. In 1867, the Austrian Empire was merged into Austria-Hungary. The Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed in 1918 with the end of World War I. After establishing the First Austrian Republic in 1919 Austria was de facto annexed into Greater Germany by the Nazi regime in the so-called Anschluss in 1938. This lasted until the end of World War II in 1945, after which Austria was occupied by the Allies. In 1955, the Austrian State Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state, ending the occupation. In the same year, the Austrian Parliament created the Declaration of Neutrality which declared that the country would become permanently neutral.Today, Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states. The capital—and with a population exceeding 1.6 million, Austria's largest city—is Vienna. Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of $43,570. The country has developed a high standard of living, and in 2008 was ranked 14th in the world for its Human Development Index. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, joined the European Union in 1995, and is a founder of theOECD. Austria also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the European currency, the euro, in 1999.