Timeline Description: Germany is a major industrial country in north-central Europe, with its capital in Berlin. It is bordered by nine countries, and has two northern coastal boundaries on the Baltic Sea and the North Sea.
|200 BC||Germanic tribes enter central Germany.(End of 2nd century BCE)
While the Celts have been living in most of what is modern Germany, the Germanic tribes advance into central and southern Germany and displace the Celts. In doing so they come into contact with the Romans in Gaul.
|55 BC||Julius Caesar's campaigns establish contact with the Germanic tribes.(55 BCE)
By the time Julius Caesar began his campaigns in Gaul (58 - 50 BCE), Germanic tribes had settled west of the Rhine River and had reached the Danube River in the south. Caesar's victories in Germany confined the Germans to east of the Rhine, but a later German victory halted Roman progress and left the large part of Germany free from Roman occupation.
|376||Nomadic Huns drive Germans into the Roman Empire.(376 CE)
The nomadic Huns begin to move westward, which pushes the Germans into the Roman Empire in waves that continue into the 5th century. A number of independent Germanic kingdoms begin to emerge, and they weaken the western half of the Roman Empire.
|481||Clovis establishes a Frankish kingdom.
The Franks are one of the most prominent Germanic peoples at this time, and Merovingian king Clovis establishes a Frankish kingdom in Gaul and western Germany. He accepts Christianity, and later rulers expand the kingdom eastward.
|799||Charlemagne founds the Holy Roman Empire.(December 25, 799)
When Pope Leo III confers the title of emperor on Charlemagne, the Carolingian ruler of Clovis' expanded Frankish kingdom, Charlemagne becomes the founder and first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
|911||States end Carolingian rule.(November 10, 911)
Raids by Danes, Saracens, and Magyars contribute to the kingdom's increasing disintegration, and Saxon and Frankish leaders reject Carolingian rule. Five duchies emerge in Bavaria, Franconia, Swabia, Lorraine, and Saxony. Each duchy represents a separate feudal state within the German kingdom, leaving most of the kingdom's power in the hands of the nobles.
|1517||Martin Luther launches the Protestant Reformation.
Calling for reform of the Roman Catholic church, Martin Luther inspires widespread social and religious changes throughout Germany. His actions encourage peasants to protest oppressive feudal policies.
|May 23, 1618||The Thirty Years' War commences.
Continuing religious struggles and rising nationalist movements throughout the empire lead to the Thirty Years' War (1618 - 1648). The war devastates Germany's population and reduces its borders, and feudal princes seize much of the emperor's power. These princes begin to build their feudal states to prominence, most notably Austria and Prussia.
|June 9, 1815||The Congress of Vienna creates the German Confederation.
Following the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Congress of Vienna redraws the map of Europe and Germany in particular. The resulting 39 German states are politically united under the German Confederation, but powerful Austria opposes unification.
|January 18, 1871||Germany unites as an empire.
Led by prime minister Otto von Bismarck, the governments of the southern German states (excluding Austria) join with a northern confederation to create the unified German Empire. By the early 20th century, Germany becomes Europe's leading industrial nation.
|June 28, 1919||The Treaty of Versailles humiliates Germany.
After its disastrous defeat in World War I, Germany is forced to accept humiliating peace terms in the Treaty of Versailles. It loses its overseas colonies and some of its European territory, and the Rhineland is demilitarized.
|January 30, 1933||Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany.
The Great Depression of the 1930s leads to massive unemployment and social discontent in Germany. This enables Adolf Hitler, leader of the Nazi Party, to become chancellor of Germany. His fanatical pan-Germanism and expansionism ultimately leads to the outbreak of World War II.
|August 2, 1945||Germany is divided by Allied powers.
Following their victory in World War II, the Allied powers (including the U.S., France, Britain, and the Soviet Union) divide Germany and its capital, Berlin, into four zones of occupation. Disagreement over the unification of these zones ultimately leads to separation between East Germany (promoted by the Soviet Union) and West Germany (promoted by the U.S., Britain, and France). The Berlin Wall, built in 1961, divides the capital, which is solely in East Germany.
|November 9, 1989||The Berlin Wall falls.
Following a détente and reduction of tensions between East and West Germany, the East German people overthrow their communist government and bring down the Berlin Wall. Under the provisions of the West German constitution, Germany is reunited on October 3, 1990.
|November 1, 1993||The Maastricht Treaty establishes the European Union.
Germany participates in the formal establishment of the European Union, a political and economic coalition of European countries. In 2002, EU member states begin to adopt the euro as a form of currency universal across member countries.