A region named Germania inhabited by several Germanic peoples has been known and documented before AD 100. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire that lasted until 1806. During the 16th century, northern Germany became the center of the Protestant Reformation. As a modern nation-state, the country was first unified amidst the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. In 1949, after World War II, Germany was divided into two separate states—East Germany and West Germany—along the lines of Allied occupation. Germany was reunified in 1990. West Germany was a founding member of the European Community in 1957, which became the European Union in 1993. It is part of the 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, G8, G20, OECD, and the WTO. It is a major power with the world's fourth largest economy by nominal GDP and the fifth largest in purchasing power parity. It is the largest exporter and second largest importer of goods. 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.