Germany's hill-and-trough history kicked in early: from the time
that everyone's favourite fossils, the Neanderthals, left their
jaw-jutting remains in the Neander Valley near Dόsseldorf, this
joint has been in the thick of it.
All of Europe's great empires got their paws into Germany, but none
was ever able to count all its inhabitants as faithful subjects.
Different pockets of fierce resistance met the Roman legions (50
BC to the 5th century AD), the Frankish conqueror, Charlemagne (up
to the early 9th century), and Otto the Great's Holy Roman Empire
(from late in the 10th century).
By the time the house of Habsburg, ruling from Vienna, took control
in the 13th century it was little more than a conglomerate of German-speaking
states run by parochial princes.
The German people have greatly influenced the culture of Western
Europe, especially its music, literature, and architecture. German
scientists have made many important discoveries in chemistry, medicine
and physics. Germans are also famous for their support of the arts.
Germany has produced many great composers, including Beethoven and
Wagner. A group of German designers, known as the Bauhaus, had a
huge influence on modern architecture.