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Afghanistan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Page semi-protected
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
جمهوری اسلامی افغانستان
Jomhūrī-ye Eslāmī-ye Afġānistān
(Persian)
د افغانستان اسلامي جمهوریت
Da Afġānistān Islāmī Jomhoriyat
(Pashto)

Flag Emblem
Anthem: Afghan National Anthem
National anthem of Afghanistan.ogg

Capital
(and largest city) Kabul
34°3′N 69°08′E
Official language(s) Persian (Dari)
Pashto
Demonym Afghan [alternatives]
Government Islamic republic
- President Hamid Karzai
- Vice President Mohammed Fahim
- Vice President Karim Khalili
- Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi
Establishment
- First Afghan state[1][2] October 1747
- Independence (from United Kingdom) August 19, 1919
Area
- Total 647,500 km2 (41st)
251,772 sq mi
- Water (%) negligible
Population
- 2010 estimate 28,395,716[3] (42nd)
- 1979 census 15.5 million[4]
- Density 43.5/km2 (150th)
111.8/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $27.361 billion[5]
- Per capita $906[5]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $15.608 billion[5]
- Per capita $517[5]
Gini (2008) 29[6] (low)
HDI (2007) 0.352 (low) (181st)
Currency Afghani (AFN)
Time zone D† (UTC+4:30)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code AF
Internet TLD .af
Calling code +93

Afghanistan Listeni/æfˈɡænɨstæn/ (Persian/Pashto: افغانستان, Afġānistān), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country in South and Central Asia.[7][8] With a population of about 28 million, it has an area of 647,500 km², making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world. It is bordered by Pakistan in the southeast,[note] Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and the People's Republic of China in the far northeast. The territory that now forms Afghanistan has been an ancient focal point of the Silk Road and human migration. Archaeologists have found evidence of human habitation from as far back as 50,000 BC.[9] Urban civilization may have begun in the area as early as 3,000 to 2,000 BC.[10]

The country sits at an important geostrategic location that connects the Middle East with Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent,[11] which has been home to various peoples through the ages.[12] The land has witnessed many military conquests since antiquity, notably by Alexander the Great, Chandragupta Maurya, and Genghis Khan.[9][10] It has also served as a source from which local dynasties such as the Greco-Bactrians, Kushans, Saffarids, Ghaznavids, Ghorids, Timurids, Mughals and many others have established empires of their own.[13]

The political history of modern Afghanistan begins in early 18th century with the rise of the Pashtuns, when the Hotaki dynasty rose to power in Kandahar in 1709 followed by Ahmad Shah Durrani's rise to power in 1747.[2][14][15] The capital of Afghanistan was shifted in 1776 from Kandahar to Kabul and part of the Afghan Empire was ceded to neighboring empires by 1893. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in the "Great Game" between the British and Russian empires.[16] On August 19, 1919, following the third Anglo-Afghan war and the signing of the Treaty of Rawalpindi, the nation regained control over its foreign policy from the British.

Since the late 1970s, Afghanistan has experienced a continuous state of war, including major occupations in the form of the 1979 Soviet war, a Taliban instigated civil war in the late 1990s and the October 2001 US-led military operation that overthrew the Taliban government. In December 2001, the United Nations Security Council authorized the creation of an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to help maintain security and assist the Karzai administration.[17]
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
1.1 Origin of the name
2 Geography
3 History
3.1 Pre-Islamic period
3.2 Islamization and Mongol invasion
3.3 Afghan nation-state
3.3.1 Hotaki dynasty and the Durrani Empire
3.3.2 Barakzai dynasty and Western influence
3.3.3 Saur revolution and Soviet war
3.3.4 Foreign interference and civil war
3.3.5 Taliban Emirate and United Front
3.3.6 Recent history (2001-present)
4 Government and politics
4.1 Elections and parties
5 Political divisions
6 Foreign relations and military
7 Economy
7.1 Mining and energy
7.2 Transport and communications
8 Demographics
8.1 Ethnic groups
8.2 Languages
8.3 Religions
9 Culture
9.1 Media
9.2 Sports
10 Health and education
11 Crime and law enforcement
12 Notes
13 See also
14 References
15 Bibliography
16 External links

Etymology
Main article: Name of Afghanistan

The name Afghānistān, (Persian: افغانستان, [avɣɒnestɒn]),[18] means the "Land of Afghans", originating from the word Afghan.
Origin of the name
Main article: Afghan (ethnonym)

The first part of the name "Afghan" designates the Pashtun people since ancient times, the founders of Afghanistan and the largest ethnic group of the country.[19] This name is mentioned in the form of Abgan in the 3rd century CE[20] and as Avagana or Afghana in the 6th century CE.

The Encyclopædia Iranica states:

From a more limited, ethnological point of view, "Afghān" is the term by which the Persian-speakers of Afghanistan (and the non-Paštō-speaking ethnic groups generally) designate the Paštūn. The equation [of] Afghan [and] Paštūn has been propagated all the more, both in and beyond Afghanistan, because the Paštūn tribal confederation is by far the most important in the country, numerically and politically. The term "Afghān" has probably designated the Paštūn since ancient times. Under the form Avagānā, this ethnic group is first mentioned by the Indian astronomer Varāha Mihira in the beginning of the 6th century CE in his Brihat-samhita.[19]

A people called the "Afghans" are mentioned several times in a 10th century geography book, Hudud al-'alam. Al-Biruni referred to them in the 11th century as various tribes living on the western frontier mountains of the Indus River, which would be the Sulaiman Mountains.[21] Ibn Battuta, a famous Moroccan travelling scholar visiting the region in 1333, writes:

We travelled on to Kabul, formerly a vast town, the site of which is now occupied by a village inhabited by a tribe of Persians called Afghans...[22]

Muhammad Qasim Hindu Shah (Ferishta) explains extensively about the Afghans in the 16th century. For example, he writes:

The men of Kábul and Khilj also went home; and whenever they were questioned about the Musulmáns of the Kohistán (the mountains), and how matters stood there, they said, "Don't call it Kohistán, but Afghánistán; for there is nothing there but Afgháns and disturbances." Thus it is clear that for this reason the people of the country call their home in their own language Afghánistán, and themselves Afgháns.[23]

Afghan soldiers of the Durrani Empire. The name "Afghaunistan" is printed on this 1847 Lithograph by James Rattray.

By the 17th century, it seems that some Pashtuns themselves were using the term as an ethnonym - a fact that is supported by traditional Pashto literature, for example, in the writings of the 17th-century Pashto poet Khushal Khan Khattak:

Pull out your sword and slay any one, that says Pashtun and Afghan are not one! Arabs know this and so do Romans: Afghans are Pashtuns, Pashtuns are Afghans![24]

The last part of the name, -stān is a Persian suffix for "place", prominent in many languages of the region. The name "Afghanistan" is described by the 16th century Mughal Emperor Babur in his memoirs as well as by later Mughal scholar Firishta, referring to territories south of Kabul that were inhabited by Pashtuns (called "Afghans" by them).[25] Until the 19th century the name Afghanistan was used for the traditional Pashtun territory, between the Hindu Kush mountains and the Indus River, while the kingdom as a whole was known as the Kingdom of Kabul, as mentioned by the British statesman and historian Mountstuart Elphinstone.[26] In 1857, in his review of J.W. Kaye's The Afghan War, Friedrich Engels describes "Afghanistan" as:

[...] an extensive country of Asia [...] between Persia and the Indies, and in the other direction between the Hindu Kush and the Indian Ocean. It formerly included the Persian provinces of Khorassan and Kohistan, together with Herat, Beluchistan, Cashmere, and Sinde, and a considerable part of the Punjab [...] Its principal cities are Kabul, the capital, Ghuznee, Peshawer, and Kandahar.[27]

Other parts of the country were at certain periods recognized as independent kingdoms, such as the Kingdom of Balkh in the early 18th century.[28] With the expansion and centralization of the country, Afghan authorities adopted the name "Afghanistan" for the entire kingdom, after its English translation had already appeared in various treaties between the British Raj and Qajarid Persia, referring to the lands subject to the Pashtun Barakzai dynasty of Kabul.[29] Afghanistan became the official internationally recognized name in 1919 after the Treaty of Rawalpindi was signed to regain the country's independence from the British,[30] and was confirmed as such in the nation's 1923 constitution.[31]
Geography
Main article: Geography of Afghanistan
Topography

A landlocked mountainous country with plains in the north and southwest, Afghanistan is described as being located within South Asia[7][32][33] or Central Asia.[8] It is part of the Greater Middle East Muslim world, which lies between latitudes 29° and 39° N, and longitudes 60° and 75° E. The country's highest point is Nowshak, at 7,485 m (24,557 ft) above sea level. It has a continental climate with very harsh winters in the central highlands, the glaciated northeast (around Nuristan) and the Wakhan Corridor, where the average temperature in January is below −15 °C (5 °F), and hot summers in the low-lying areas of the Sistan Basin of the southwest, the Jalalabad basin in the east, and the Turkistan plains along the Amu River in the north, where temperatures average over 35 °C (95 °F) in July.
Snow-covered mountains of Afghanistan

Despite having numerous rivers and reservoirs, large parts of the country are dry. The endorheic Sistan Basin is one of the driest regions in the world.[34] Afghanistan does not face water shortages because it receives plenty of snow during winter, especially in the Hindu Kush and Pamir Mountains, and the melting snow in the spring time enters the rivers, lakes, and streams. However, most of the country's water (approx. 70%) flows into neighboring countries of Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and others or end up at dry deserts. The state needs more than $2 billion to rehabilitate its irrigation systems so that the water is properly managed.[35]

At 249,984 sq mi (647,456 km2), Afghanistan is the world's 41st-largest country (before France and after Burma). It is about the size of Texas in the United States. It borders Pakistan in the east and south, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far east. The country is sometimes subjected to earthquakes, mainly in the northeastern Hindu Kush mountain range. Some 125 villages were damaged and over 4,000 people killed by two earthquakes in 1998.

The country's natural resources include: coal, copper, iron ore, lithium, uranium, rare earth elements, chromite, gold, zinc, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, marble, precious and semi-precious stones, natural gas, and petroleum.[36][37][38] It was revealed recently that the country has about $1-3 trillion worth of lithium[39][40] and an estimated 1 million metric tonnes of rare earth elements.[41]
History
Main article: History of Afghanistan
History of Afghanistan
The smaller Buddah of Bamiyan
Timeline
Pre-Islamic period [show]
Islamic conquest [show]
Modern history [show]

Wikipedia book Book · Category Category · Portal Portal

Excavations of prehistoric sites by Louis Dupree and others suggest that humans were living in what is now Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago, and that farming communities in the area were among the earliest in the world.[9][42][43] An important site of early historical activities, many say that Afghanistan compares to Egypt in terms of the historical value of its archaeological sites.[44]

Afghanistan is at a unique nexus point where numerous civilizations have interacted and often fought. It has been home to various peoples through the ages, among them the ancient Iranian peoples who established the dominant role of Indo-Iranian languages in the region. At multiple points, the land has been incorporated within large regional empires, among them the Achaemenid Empire, the Macedonian Empire, the Indian Maurya Empire, the Islamic Empire and the Sassanid Empire.

Many kingdoms have also risen to power in what is now Afghanistan, such as the Greco-Bactrians, Kushans, Hephthalites, Kabul Shahis, Saffarids, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Kartids, Timurids, Mughals, and finally the Hotaki and Durrani dynasties that marked the political origins of the modern state of Afghanistan.
Pre-Islamic period
Main article: Pre-Islamic period of Afghanistan

Archaeological exploration done in the 20th century suggests that the geographical area of Afghanistan has been closely connected by the culture of and trade with neighboring regions to the east, west, and north. Artifacts typical of the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, and Iron ages have been found in Afghanistan.[45] Urban civilization may have begun as early as 3,000 BCE, and the early city of Mundigak (near Kandahar in the south of the country) may have been a colony of the nearby Indus Valley Civilization.[43]

After 2,000 BCE, successive waves of semi-nomadic people from Central Asia moved south into the boundaries of modern Afghanistan, among them were many Indo-European-speaking Indo-Iranians.[42] These tribes later migrated further south to India, west to what is now Iran, and towards Europe via the area north of the Caspian.[46] The region was called Ariana.[42][47][48]
Bilingual (Greek and Aramaic) edict by Emperor Ashoka from the 3rd century BC was discovered in the southern city of Kandahar.

The ancient Zoroastrianism religion is believed by some to have originated in what is now Afghanistan between 1,800 and 800 BCE, as its founder Zoroaster is thought to have lived and died in Balkh.[49][50][51] Ancient Eastern Iranian languages may have been spoken in the region around the time of the rise of Zoroastrianism. By the middle of the 6th century BCE, the Achaemenid Persian Empire overthrew the Medes and incorporated the region (known as Arachosia, Aria, and Bactria in Ancient Greek) within its boundaries. An inscription on the tombstone of King Darius I of Persia mentions the Kabul Valley in a list of the 29 countries he had conquered.[52]

Alexander the Great and his Macedonian army arrived in the area of Afghanistan in 330 BCE after defeating Darius III of Persia a year earlier at the Battle of Gaugamela.[49] Following Alexander's brief occupation, the successor state of the Seleucid Empire controlled the area until 305 BCE when they gave much of it to the Indian Maurya Empire as part of an alliance treaty.

Alexander took these away from the Aryans and established settlements of his own, but Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus (Chandragupta), upon terms of intermarriage and of receiving in exchange 500 elephants.[53]
—Strabo, 64 BC - 24 AD

The Mauryans brought Buddhism from India and controlled southern Afghanistan until about 185 BCE when they were overthrown.[54] Their decline began 60 years after Ashoka's rule ended, leading to the Hellenistic reconquest of the region by the Greco-Bactrians. Much of it soon broke away from the Greco-Bactrians and became part of the Indo-Greek Kingdom. The Indo-Greeks had been defeated and expelled from the area by the Indo-Scythians by the end of the 2nd century BCE.

During the 1st century BCE, the Parthian Empire subjugated the region, but lost it to their Indo-Parthian vassals. In the mid to late 1st century CE the vast Kushan Empire, centered in modern Afghanistan, became great patrons of Buddhist culture. The Kushans were defeated by the Sassanids in the 3rd century CE. Although various rulers calling themselves Kushanshas (generally known as the Indo-Sassanids) continued to rule at least parts of the region, they were probably more or less subject to the Sassanids.[55]

The late Kushans were followed by the Kidarite Huns[56] who, in turn, were replaced by the short-lived but powerful Hephthalites, as rulers in the first half of the 5th century.[57] The Hephthalites were defeated by the Sasanian king Khosrau I in CE 557, who re-established Sassanid power in Persia. However, in the 6th century CE, the successors to the Kushans and Hepthalites established a small dynasty in Kabulistan called Kabul Shahi.
Islamization and Mongol invasion
Main articles: Islamic conquest of Afghanistan and Mongol invasion of Central Asia

Between the fourth and nineteenth centuries, much of modern Afghanistan was known by the regional name as Khorasan.[58][59] Two of the four main capitals of Khorasan (i.e. Balkh, Merv, Nishapur and Herat) are now located in modern Afghanistan, while Kandahar, Ghazni and Kabul formed the frontier between Khorasan and Hindustan.[60] The land inhabited by the Afghan tribes (i.e. ancestors of modern Pashtuns) was called Afghanistan, which loosely covered the area between the Hindu Kush and the Indus River, around the Sulaiman Mountains.[22][23]
Built during the Ghurids era, the Friday Mosque of Herat or Masjid Jami is one of the oldest mosques in Afghanistan.

Arab Muslims brought the religion of Islam to the western area of what is now Afghanistan during the 7th century and began spreading eastward from Khorasan and Sistan, some of the native inhabitants they encountered accepted it while others revolted.[61] Afghanistan at that time was mostly Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Hindu, with smaller populations of Jews, Christians and others.[62] The Kabul Shahi rulers lost their capital of Kabul around 870 AD after it was conquered by the Saffarids of Zaranj. Later, the Samanids extended their Islamic influence into the Hindu Kush area from Bukhara in the north. It is reported that Muslims and non-Muslims lived side by side.

"Kábul has a castle celebrated for its strength, accessible only by one road. In it there are Musulmáns, and it has a town, in which are infidels from Hind."[63]
—Istahkrí, 921

Afghanistan became one of the main centers in the Muslim world during the Islamic Golden Age.[64][42] By the 11th century the Ghaznavids had finally Islamized all of the remaining non-Muslim areas, with the exception of the Kafiristan region. They were replaced by the Ghurids who expanded and advanced the empire.

The region was overrun in 1219 AD by Genghis Khan and his Mongol barbarians, who devastated much of the land. His troops are said to have annihilated the ancient Khorasan cities of Herat and Balkh.[65] The destruction caused by the Mongols depopulated major cities and caused many of the locals to revert to an agrarian rural society.[66] Mongol rule continued with the Ilkhanate in the northwest while the Khiljis controlled the eastern Afghan tribal areas, until the invasion of Timur who established the Timurid dynasty.[67] During the Ghaznavid, Ghurid, and Timurid eras, Afghanistan produced fine Islamic architectural monuments as well as numerous scientific and literary works.

Babur, a descendant of both Timur and Genghis Khan, arrived from Central Asia and captured Kabul from the Arghun Dynasty, and from there he began to seize control of the central and eastern territories of Afghanistan. He remained in Kabul until 1526 when he and his army invaded Delhi in India to replace the Afghan Lodi dynasty with the Mughals. From the 16th century to the early 18th century, Afghanistan was part of three regional kingdoms: the Khanate of Bukhara in north, the Safavids in the west and the larger remaining area was ruled by the Delhi Sultanate.
Afghan nation-state
Hotaki dynasty and the Durrani Empire
Main articles: Hotaki dynasty and Durrani Empire
Mirwais Hotak revolted against the Safavid rule and declared the Kandahar region an independent Afghan kingdom in 1709, which was later expanded by his son Mahmud to include Persia.

Mirwais Hotak, an influential Afghan tribal leader of the Ghilzai tribe, gathered supporters and successfully rebelled against the Persian Safavids in the early 18th century. He overthrew and killed Gurgin Khan, the Georgian governor of Kandahar, and made the Afghan region independent from Persian rule. By 1713, Mirwais had decisively defeated two larger Persian-Georgian armies, one was led by Khusraw Khán (nephew of Gurgin) and the other by Rustam Khán. The armies were sent by Sultan Husayn, the Shah in Isfahan (now Iran), to re-take control of the Kandahar region.[68]

Mirwais died of a natural cause in 1715 and his brother Abdul Aziz took over until he was killed by his nephew Mahmud. In 1722, Mahmud led an Afghan army to the Persian capital of Isfahan, sacked the city after the Battle of Gulnabad and proclaimed himself King of Persia.[68] The Persians were unhappy with the Afghan rulers, and after the massacre of thousands of Shia religious scholars, nobles, and members of the Safavid fam

Albania
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the modern state. For other uses, see Albania (disambiguation).
Republic of Albania
Republika e Shqipërisë (Albanian)

Flag Coat of arms
Motto:
"Ti, Shqipëri, më jep nder, më jep emrin Shqiptar"
(Albanian)
"You Albania give me honor, give me the name Albanian"
Anthem: Himni i Flamurit
(Albanian)
"Hymn to the Flag"
Hymni i Flamurit instrumental.ogg

Location of Albania (green)in Europe (dark grey) — [Legend]
Location of Albania (green)

in Europe (dark grey) — [Legend]
Capital
(and largest city) Tirana
41°20′N 19°48′E
Official language(s) Albanian1
Ethnic groups 92% Albanians,
6% Greeks,[1][2] 2% others[3]
Demonym Albanian
Government Parliamentary republic
- President Bamir Topi
- Prime Minister Sali Berisha
Formation
- Principality of Arbër 1190
- League of Lezhë 2 March 1444
- Independence from the Ottoman Empire 28 November 1912
- Recognized by the Great Powers 2 December 1912
- Current Constitution 28 November 1998
Area
- Total 28,748 km2 (143rd)
11,100 sq mi
- Water (%) 4.7
Population
- 2010 estimate 3,194,972 [4][5] (136th)
- 2001 census 3,069,275 [6]
- Density 111.1/km2 (63)
327.8/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $23.864 billion[7]
- Per capita $7,453[7]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $11.773 billion[7]
- Per capita $3,677[7]
Gini (2005) 26.7[8] (low)
HDI (2010) increase 0.719[9] (high) (64th)
Currency Lek (ALL)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
- Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code AL
Internet TLD .al
Calling code 355
1 Greek, Macedonian and other regional languages are government-recognized minority languages.

Albania (Listeni/ælˈbeɪniə/ al-bay-nee-ə, Albanian: Shqipëri/Shqipëria, Gheg Albanian: Shqipnia/Shqypnia), officially known as the Republic of Albania (Albanian: Republika e Shqipërisë, pronounced [ɾɛpuˈblika ɛ ʃcipəˈɾiːs]; Gheg Albanian: Republika e Shqipnísë), is a country in Southeast Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo[a] to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the west, and on the Ionian Sea to the southwest. It is less than 72 km (45 mi) from Italy, across the Strait of Otranto which links the Adriatic Sea to the Ionian Sea. Albania is a member of the UN, NATO, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Council of Europe, World Trade Organisation, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and one of the founding members of the Union for the Mediterranean. Albania has been a potential candidate for accession to the European Union since January 2003, and it formally applied for EU membership on 28 April 2009.[10]

Albania is a parliamentary democracy with a transition economy. The Albanian capital, Tirana, is home to approximately 600,000 of the country's 3,000,000 people.[11] Free-market reforms have opened the country to foreign investment, especially in the development of energy and transportation infrastructure.[12][13][14] Albania was chosen as the top country in Lonely Planet's list of ten top countries to visit for 2011.[15]
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
3 Administrative divisions
4 Government, politics and armed forces
4.1 Executive branch
4.2 Legislative branch
4.3 Armed forces
5 Geography
5.1 Climate
5.2 Flora and fauna
6 Economy
7 Science and technology
8 Transport
8.1 Highways
8.2 Aviation
8.3 Railways
9 Demographics
9.1 Language
9.2 Religion
10 Culture
10.1 Music and folklore
10.2 Albanian language and literature
11 Education
12 Sport
13 Entertainment
14 Health
15 Cuisine
16 See also
17 Notes
18 References
19 External links

Etymology
Main article: Albania (toponym)

Albania is the Medieval Latin name of the country which is called Shqipëri by its people. In Medieval Greek, the country's name is Albania (Greek: Ἀλβανία) besides variants Albanitia, Arbanitia.[16]

The name may be derived from the Illyrian tribe of the Albani recorded by Ptolemy, the geographer and astronomer from Alexandria who drafted a map in 150 AD[17] that shows the city of Albanopolis[18] (located northeast of Durrës).

The name may have a continuation in the name of a medieval settlement called Albanon and Arbanon, although it is not certain this was the same place.[19] In his History written in 1079-1080, Byzantine historian Michael Attaliates was the first to refer to Albanoi as having taken part in a revolt against Constantinople in 1043 and to the Arbanitai as subjects of the Duke of Dyrrachium.[20] During the Middle Ages, the Albanians called their country Arbër or Arbën and referred to themselves as Arbëresh or Arbnesh.[21][22]

As early as the 16th century the placename Shqipëria and the ethnic demonym Shqiptarë gradually replaced Arbëria and Arbëresh. While the two terms are popularly interpreted as "Land of the Eagles" and "Children of the Eagles", they derive from the adverb shqip, which means "understanding each other".[23][24]

Under the Ottoman Empire Albania was referred to officially as Arnavutluk and its inhabitants as Arnauts.[25] The word is considered to be a metathesis from the word Arvanite, which was the Medieval Greek name for the Albanians.[26]
History
History of Albania
Gjergj Kastrioti.jpg
Prehistory[show]
Antiquity[show]
Middle Ages[show]
Ottoman Albania[show]
Post-Independence[show]
Contemporary Albania[show]
This box: view · talk · edit
Main article: History of Albania

The history of Albania emerged from the prehistoric stage from the 4th century BC, with early records of Illyria in Greco-Roman historiography. The modern territory of Albania has no counterpart in antiquity, comprising parts of the Roman provinces of Dalmatia (southern Illyricum), Macedonia (particularly Epirus Nova), and Moesia Superior. The territory remained under Roman (Byzantine) control until the Slavic migrations of the 7th century, and was integrated into the Bulgarian Empire in the 9th century.

The territorial nucleus of the Albanian state formed in the Middle Ages, as the Principality of Arbër and the Kingdom of Albania. The first records of the Albanian people as a distinct ethnicity also date to this period. In 15th century there was a series of confrontations between Albanians led by Scanderbeg and the advancing Ottoman Empire. Soon after the death of Scanderbeg the organized resistance ceased and the country became part of Ottoman Empire. It remained under Ottoman control as part of the Rumelia province until 1912, when the first independent Albanian state was declared. The formation of an Albanian national consciousness dates to the latter 19th century and is part of the larger phenomenon of rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire. A short-lived monarchy (1914-1925) was succeeded by an even shorter-lived first Albanian Republic (1925-1928), to be replaced by another monarchy (1928-1939), which was annexed by Fascist Italy during World War II. After the collapse of the Axis powers, Albania became a communist state, the Socialist People's Republic of Albania, which was dominated by Enver Hoxha (d. 1985). Hoxha's political heir Ramiz Alia oversaw the disintegration of the "Hoxhaist" state during the wider collapse of the Eastern Bloc in the later 1980s.

The communist regime collapsed in 1990, and the Republic of Albania was founded in 1991. The old communist party was routed in the elections of March 1992, amid economic collapse and social unrest. An economical crises spread in the late 1996 following the failure of some Ponzi schemes operating in the country, peaking in the 1997 in an armed rebellion, that led to another mass emigration of Albanians, mostly to Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Germany and to North America.

In 1999 the country was affected by Kosovo War, when a great number of Albanians from Kosovo found refuge in Albania.

Albania became a full member of NATO in 2009. The country is applying to join the European Union.
Flag of Albania.svg Independence Flag of Albanian Provisional Government 1912-1914.gif
Provisional Government Albania 1914 Flag.gif
Principality of Albania Flag of Albania 1926.svg
Albanian Republic Flag Kingdom Of Albania.svg
Albanian Kingdom Flag of Albania (1939).svg
Albania under Italy Flag of German occupied Albania.svg
Albania under Germany Flag of Albania 1946.svg
Communist Albania Flag of Albania.svg
Republic of Albania
1912 1912-1914 1914-1925 1925-1928 1928-1939 1939-1943 1943-1944 1944-1992 since 1992

George Kastrioti Skanderbeg
(1405-1468)

Ismail Qemali, hero of Albanian independence (1912-14)

President (1924-28)
and King (1928-39)
Zog of Albania

Enver Hoxha
(1944-1985)

Administrative divisions
Main articles: Counties of Albania, Districts of Albania, and Municipalities of Albania

Albania is divided into 12 administrative counties (Albanian: qark or prefekturë). These counties include 36 districts (Albanian: rreth) and 373 municipalities (Albanian: bashki or komunë). 72 municipalities have city status (Albanian: qytet). There are overall 2980 villages/communities (Albanian: fshat) in all Albania. Each district has its council which is composed of a number of municipalities. The municipalities are the first level of local governance, responsible for local needs and law enforcement.[27]
Counties of Albania
County Capital Districts Municipalities Cities Villages
1 Berat Berat Berat
Kuçovë
Skrapar 10
2
8 2
1
2 122
18
105
2 Dibër Peshkopi Bulqizë
Dibër
Mat 7
14
10 1
1
2 63
141
76
3 Durrës Durrës Durrës
Krujë 6
4 4
2 62
44
4 Elbasan Elbasan Elbasan
Gramsh
Librazhd
Peqin 20
9
9
5 3
1
2
1 177
95
75
49
5 Fier Fier Fier
Lushnjë
Mallakastër 14
14
8 3
2
1 117
121
40
6 Gjirokastër Gjirokastër Gjirokastër
Përmet
Tepelenë 11
7
8 2
2
2 96
98
77
7 Korçë Korçë Devoll
Kolonjë
Korçë
Pogradec 4
6
14
7 1
2
2
1 44
76
153
72
8 Kukës Kukës Has
Kukës
Tropojë 3
14
7 1
1
1 30
89
68
9 Lezhë Lezhë Kurbin
Lezhë
Mirditë 2
9
5 2
1
2 26
62
80
10 Shkodër Shkodër Malësi e Madhe
Pukë
Shkodër 5
8
15 1
2
2 56
75
141
11 Tirana Tirana Kavajë
Tirana 8
16 2
3 66
167
12 Vlorë Vlorë Delvinë
Sarandë
Vlorë 3
7
9 1
2
4 38
62
99
Government, politics and armed forces
Main article: Politics of Albania
Albania

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The Albanian republic is a parliamentary democracy established under a constitution renewed in 1998. Elections are held every four years to a unicameral 140-seat chamber, the People's Assembly. In June 2002, a compromise candidate, Alfred Moisiu, former Army General, was elected to succeed President Rexhep Meidani. Parliamentary elections in July 2005 brought Sali Berisha, an ex-Albanian communist party member, as leader of the Democratic Party, back to power. The current president Bamir Topi was elected by Parliament in July 2007.

The Euro-Atlantic integration of Albania has been the ultimate goal of the post-communist governments. Albania's EU membership bid has been set as a priority by the European Commission.

Albania, along with Croatia, joined NATO on 1 April 2009 becoming the 27th and 28th members of the alliance.[28]

The workforce of Albania has continued to migrate to Greece, Italy, Germany, other parts of Europe, and North America. However, the migration flux is slowly decreasing, as more and more opportunities are emerging in Albania itself as its economy steadily develops.
Executive branch

The head of state in Albania is the President of the Republic. The President is elected to a 5-year term by the Assembly of the Republic of Albania by secret ballot, requiring a 50%+1 majority of the votes of all deputies. The next election will run in 2012. The current President of the Republic is Bamir Topi.

The President has the power to guarantee observation of the constitution and all laws, act as commander in chief of the armed forces, exercise the duties of the Assembly of the Republic of Albania when the Assembly is not in session, and appoint the Chairman of the Council of Ministers (prime minister).

Executive power rests with the Council of Ministers (cabinet). The Chairman of the Council (prime minister) is appointed by the president; ministers are nominated by the president on the basis of the prime minister's recommendation. The People's Assembly must give final approval of the composition of the Council. The Council is responsible for carrying out both foreign and domestic policies. It directs and controls the activities of the ministries and other state organs.
President Bamir Topi PD 20 July 2007
Prime Minister Sali Berisha PD 9 September 2009
Legislative branch

The Assembly of the Republic of Albania (Kuvendi i Republikës së Shqipërisë) is the lawmaking body in Albania. There are 140 deputies in the Assembly, which are elected through a party-list proportional representation system. The President of the Assembly (or Speaker) has two deputies and chairs the Assembly. There are 15 permanent commissions, or committees. Parliamentary elections are held at least every four years.

The Assembly has the power to decide the direction of domestic and foreign policy; approve or amend the constitution; declare war on another state; ratify or annul international treaties; elect the President of the Republic, the Supreme Court and the Attorney General and his or her deputies; and control the activity of state radio and television, state news agency and other official information media.
Patrol boat Iliria of the Albanian Navy
Armed forces
Main article: Military of Albania

The Albanian Armed Forces (Forcat e Armatosura të Shqipërisë) first formed after independence in 1912. Albania reduced the number of active troops from a 1988 number of 65,000[29] to a 2009 number of 14,500[30] with a small fleet of aircraft and sea vessels. In the 1990s, the country scrapped enormous amounts of obsolete hardware, such as tanks and SAM systems from China.

Today, it consists of the General Staff Headquarters, the Albanian Land Forces, Albanian Air Force, Albanian Naval Defense Forces, the Albanian Logistic Brigade and the Albanian Training and Doctrine Command. Increasing the military budget was one of the most important conditions for NATO integration. Military spending accounted for about 2.7% of GDP in 2008. Since February 2008, Albania participates officially in NATO's Operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean Sea.[31] and received a NATO membership invitation on 3 April 2008.[32] Albania became a full member of NATO on 1 April 2009.
Geography
Main article: Geography of Albania
Satellite image of Albania
Ksamil islets.

Albania has a total area of 28,748 square kilometers. It lies between latitudes 39° and 43° N, and mostly between longitudes 19° and 21° E (a small area lies east of 21°). Albania's coastline length is 476 km (296 mi)[33]:240 and extends along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The lowlands of the west face the Adriatic Sea. The 70% of the country that is mountainous is rugged and often inaccessible from the outside. The highest mountain is Korab situated in the district of Dibër, reaching up to 2,753 metres (9,032 ft). The climate on the coast is typically Mediterranean with mild, wet winters and warm, sunny, and rather dry summers.

Inland conditions vary depending on altitude but the higher areas above 1,500 m/5,000 ft are rather cold and frequently snowy in winter; here cold conditions with lying snow may linger into spring. Besides the capital city of Tirana, which has 800,000 inhabitants, the principal cities are Durrës, Korçë, Elbasan, Shkodër, Gjirokastër, Vlorë and Kukës. In Albanian grammar, a word can have indefinite and definite forms, and this also applies to city names: both Tiranë and Tirana, Shkodër and Shkodra are used.

The three largest and deepest tectonic lakes of the Balkan Peninsula are partly located in Albania. Lake Shkodër in the country's northwest has a surface which can vary between 370 km2 (140 sq mi) and 530 km2, out of which one third belongs to Albania and rest to Montenegro. The Albanian shoreline of the lake is 57 km (35 mi). Ohrid Lake is situated in the country's southeast and is shared between Albania and Republic of Macedonia. It has a maximal depth of 289 meters and a variety of unique flora and fauna can be found there, including "living fossils" and many endemic species. Because of its natural and historical value, Ohrid Lake is under the protection of UNESCO. There is also Butrinti Lake which is a small tectonic lake. It is located in the national park of Butrint.
Mountains in central Albania
Climate
See also: Climate of Albania

With its coastline facing the Adriatic and Ionian seas, its highlands backed upon the elevated Balkan landmass, and the entire country lying at a latitude subject to a variety of weather patterns during the winter and summer seasons, Albania has a high number of climatic regions for so small an area. The coastal lowlands have typically Mediterranean weather; the highlands have a Mediterranean continental climate. In both the lowlands and the interior, the weather varies markedly from north to south.

The lowlands have mild winters, averaging about 7 °C (45 °F). Summer temperatures average 24 °C (75 °F). In the southern lowlands, temperatures average about 5 °C (9 °F) higher throughout the year. The difference is greater than 5 °C (9 °F) during the summer and somewhat less during the winter.

Inland temperatures are affected more by differences in elevation than by latitude or any other factor. Low winter temperatures in the mountains are caused by the continental air mass that dominates the weather in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Northerly and northeasterly winds blow much of the time. Average summer temperatures are lower than in the coastal areas and much lower at higher elevations, but daily fluctuations are greater. Daytime maximum temperatures in the interior basins and river valleys are very high, but the nights are almost always cool.
Albanian landscape

Average precipitation is heavy, a result of the convergence of the prevailing airflow from the Mediterranean Sea and the continental air mass. Because they usually meet at the point where the terrain rises, the heaviest rain falls in the central uplands. Vertical currents initiated when the Mediterranean air is uplifted also cause frequent thunderstorms. Many of these storms are accompanied by high local winds and torrential downpours.

When the continental air mass is weak, Mediterranean winds drop their moisture farther inland. When there is a dominant continental air mass, cold air spills onto the lowland areas, which occurs most frequently in the winter. Because the season's lower temperatures damage olive trees and citrus fruits, groves and orchards are restricted to sheltered places with southern and western exposures, even in areas with high average winter temperatures.

Lowland rainfall averages from 1,000 millimeters (39.4 in) to more than 1,500 millimeters (59.1 in) annually, with the higher levels in the north. Nearly 95% of the rain falls in the winter.

Rainfall in the upland mountain ranges is heavier. Adequate records are not available, and estimates vary widely, but annual averages are probably about 1,800 millimeters (70.9 in) and are as high as 2,550 millimeters (100.4 in) in some northern areas. The western Albanian Alps (valley of Boga) are among the wettest areas in Europe, receiving some 3,100 mm (122.0 in) of rain annually.[34] The seasonal variation is not quite as great in the coastal area.

The higher inland mountains receive less precipitation than the intermediate uplands. Terrain differences cause wide local variations, but the seasonal distribution is the most consistent of any area.

In 2009 an expedition from University of Colorado, discovered four small glaciers in the 'Cursed' mountains in North Albania. The glaciers are at the relatively low level of 2,000 meters - almost unique for such a southerly latitude.[35]
Flora and fauna
The lynx still survives in Albania.[36]

Although a small country, Albania is distinguished for its rich biological diversity. The variation of geomorphology, climate and terrain create favorable conditions for a number of endemic and sub-endemic species with 27 endemic and 160 subendemic vascular plants present in the country. The total number of plants is over 3250 species, approximately 30% of the entire flora species found in Europe.

Over a third of the territory of Albania - about 10,000 square kilometers (2.5 million acres) - is forested and the country is very rich in flora. About 3,000 different species of plants grow in Albania, many of which are used for medicinal purposes. Phytogeographically, Albania belongs to the Boreal Kingdom and is shared between the Adriatic and East Mediterranean provinces of the Mediterranean Region and the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region. Coastal regions and lowlands have typical Mediterranean macchia vegetation, whereas oak forests and vegetation are found on higher altitudes. Vast forests of black pine, beech and fir are found on higher mountains and alpine grasslands grow at altitudes above 1800 meters.[37]
Golden eagle-the national symbol of Albania.[38]

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature and Digital Map of European Ecological Regions by the European Environment Agency, the territory of

Algeria
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Algérie" redirects here. For the French WWII heavy cruiser, see French cruiser Algérie.

Coordinates: 29°34′24″N 2°22′23″E
People's Democratic Republic of Algeria
الجمهورية الجزائرية الديمقراطية الشّعبية (Arabic)
al Jumhuriyya al Jazā'iriyya ad-Dīmuqrāţiyya ash Sha'biyya
[note 1]

Flag Emblem
Motto: " بالشّعب وللشّعب " (Arabic)
"By the people and for the people"[1][2]
Anthem:
Kassaman instrumental.ogg

"Kassaman"
We Pledge
Capital
(and largest city) Algiers
36°42′N 3°13′E
Official language(s) Arabic[3]
National languages Berber
Demonym Algerian
Government Semi-presidential republic
- President Abdelaziz Bouteflika
- Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia
History
- Numidia from 202 BC
- Roman Republic from 46 BC
- Vandal Kingdom from 430
- Rustamid dynasty from 767
- Zirid dynasty from 973
- Hammadid dynasty from 1014
- Abdalwadid dynasty from 1235
- Ottoman Empire from 1516
- French rule from 1830
- Independence from France 3 July 1962 (recognized by France)
- Independence from France 5 July 1962 (declared by Algeria)
Area
- Total 2,381,741 km2 (10th)
919,595 sq mi
- Water (%) negligible
Population
- 2010 estimate 36,423,000[4]
- 1998 census 29,100,867
- Density 14.6/km2 (204th)
37.9/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $251.117 billion[5]
- Per capita $6,949[5]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $160.270 billion[5]
- Per capita $4,435[5]
Gini (1995) 35.3[6] (medium)
HDI (2010) increase 0.677[7] (high) (84th)
Currency Algerian dinar (DZD)
Time zone CET (UTC+01)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code DZ
Internet TLD .dz, الجزائر.
Calling code 213
Modern Standard Arabic is the official language.[8]
Tamazight is spoken by one third of the population and has been recognized as a "national language" by the constitutional amendment since 8 May 2002.[9] Algerian Arabic (or Darja) is the language used by the majority of the population. Although French has no official status, Algeria is the second Francophone country in the world in terms of speakers[10] and French is still widely used in the government, the culture, the media (newspapers) and the education system (since primary school), due to Algeria's colonial history and can be regarded as the de facto co-official language of Algeria. The Kabyle language, the most-spoken Berber language in the country, is taught and is partially co-official (with a few restrictions) in parts of Kabylia.

Algeria Listeni/ælˈdʒɪəriə/ (Arabic: الجزائر‎, al-Jazā'ir; Berber and Algerian Arabic: Dzayer or Ldzayer), officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria (Al Jumhuriyah al Jazairiyah ad Dimuqratiyah ash Shabiyah), also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria,[11][12][13][14] is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.

In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa, the Arab World and of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea; it is also the tenth-largest country in the world.[15] The country is bordered in the northeast by Tunisia, in the east by Libya, in the west by Morocco, in the southwest by Western Sahara, Mauritania, and Mali, in the southeast by Niger, and in the north by the Mediterranean Sea. Its size is almost 2,400,000 square kilometres (926,645 sq mi) with an estimated population of 36.3 million as of 2011.[16]

Algeria is a member of the African Union, the Arab League, OPEC and the United Nations. The country is also a founding member of the Arab Maghreb Union.[citation needed]
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Ancient Numidia
2.2 Middle Ages
2.3 Arrival of Islam
2.4 Spanish enclaves
2.5 Barbary Pirates rule
2.6 French rule
2.7 Post-independence
2.7.1 Algerian political events (1991-2002)
2.7.2 Post war
2.7.3 Popular protests - Since 2010
3 Geography
4 Climate and hydrology
5 Politics
6 Foreign relations and military
7 Provinces and districts
8 Economy
9 Agriculture
10 Demographics
10.1 Ethnic groups
10.2 Languages
10.3 Religion
10.4 Cities
11 Health
12 Education
13 Culture
13.1 Cinema
13.2 Music
13.3 Sport
13.4 Literature
13.5 Cookery
14 Landscapes and monuments of Algeria
15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Algeria
16 Affiliations
17 See also
18 Notes
19 References
20 Bibliography
21 External links

[edit] Etymology

The country's name is derived from the city of Algiers. The most common etymology links the city name to al-Jazā'ir (الجزائر, "The Islands"), a truncated form of the city's older name Jazā'ir Banī Mazghanā (جزائر بني مازغان, "Islands of the Mazghanna Tribe"),[17] employed by medieval geographers such as al-Idrisi. Another traces it to Ldzayer, the Maghrebi Arabic and Berber for "Algeria" possibly related to the Zirid Dynasty founder Ziri ibn-Manad.[citation needed] Ziri itself means "Moonlight" in Berber.[citation needed]
[edit] History
Main article: History of Algeria
[edit] Ancient Numidia
Massinissa the most famous king of Numidia

In Antiquity, Algeria was known as the kingdom of Numidia and its people were called the Numidians. The kingdom of Numidia had early relations with the Carthaginians, Romans and Ancient Greeks, the region was considered a fertile area, and the Numidians were known for their fine cavalry.[citation needed]

The indigenous peoples of northern Africa are a distinct native population, the Berbers.[18]

After 1000 BCE, the Carthaginians began establishing settlements along the coast. The Berbers seized the opportunity offered by the Punic Wars to become independent of Carthage, and Berber kingdoms began to emerge, most notably Numidia.[citation needed]

In 200 BCE, they were once again taken over, this time by the Roman Republic. When the Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476 CE, the Berbers became independent again in many regions, while the Vandals took control over other areas, where they remained until expelled by the Byzantine general Belisarius under the direction of Emperor Justinian I. The Byzantine Empire then retained a precarious grip on the east of the country until the coming of the Arabs in the 8th century.[citation needed]
[edit] Middle Ages
Great Mosque of Algiers
Bologhine Benziri statut

The Berber people controlled much of the Maghreb region throughout the Middle Ages. The Berbers were made up of several tribes. The two main branches were the Botr and Barnès tribes, who were themselves divided into tribes, and again into sub-tribes. Each region of the Maghreb contained several tribes (for example, Sanhadja, Houaras, Zenata, Masmouda, Kutama, Awarba, and Berghwata). All these tribes were independent and made territorial decisions.[19]

Several Berber dynasties emerged during the Middle Ages in Maghreb, Sudan, Andalusia, Italy, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Egypt, and other nearby lands. Ibn Khaldun provides a table summarizing the Zirid, Banu Ifran, Maghrawa, Almoravid, Hammadid, Almohad, Merinid, Abdalwadid, Wattasid, Meknassa and Hafsid dynasties.[20]
[edit] Arrival of Islam
This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2011)

When Muslim Arabs arrived in Algeria in the mid-7th century, a large number of locals converted to the new faith. After the fall of the Umayyad Arab Dynasty in 751, numerous local Berber dynasties emerged. Amongst those dynasties were the Aghlabids, Almohads, Abdalwadid, Zirids, Rustamids, Hammadids, Almoravids and the Fatimids.

Having converted the Berber Kutama of the Lesser Kabylia to its cause, the Shia Fatimids overthrew the Rustamids, and conquered Egypt, leaving Algeria and Tunisia to their Zirid vassals. When the latter rebelled, the Shia Fatimids sent in the Banu Hilal, a populous Arab tribe, to weaken them.
[edit] Spanish enclaves
See also: Oran#Spanish period
This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2011)
The Spanish fort of Santa Cruz, Oran

The Spanish expansionist policy in North Africa began with the rule of the Catholic monarchs Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon and their regent Cisneros, once the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula was completed, several towns and outposts on the Algerian coast were conquered and occupied by the Spanish Empire: Mers El Kébir (1505), Oran (1509), Algiers (1510) and Bugia (1510). On 15 January 1510 the King of Algiers, Samis El Felipe, was forced into submission by the king of Spain. King El Felipe called for help from the corsairs Hayreddin Barbarossa and Oruç Reis who previously helped Andalusian Muslims and Jews escape from Spanish oppression in 1492. In 1516, Oruç Reis conquered Algiers with the support of 1,300 Turkish soldiers on board 16 galliots and became its ruler, with Algiers joining the Ottoman Empire.

The Spaniards left Algiers in 1529, Bugia in 1554, Mers El Kébir and Oran in 1708. The Spanish returned in 1732 when the armada of the Duke of Montemar was victorious in the Battle of Aïn-el-Turk; Spain recaptured Oran and Mers El Kébir. Both cities were held until 1792, when they were sold by King Charles IV of Spain to the Bey of Algiers.
[edit] Barbary Pirates rule
Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha

Algeria was made part of the Ottoman Empire by Hayreddin Barbarossa and his brother Aruj in 1517. After the death of Oruç Reis in 1518, his brother succeeded him. The Sultan Selim I sent him 6,000 soldiers and 2,000 janissaries with which he conquered most of the Algerian territory taken by the Spanish, from Annaba to Mostaganem. Further Spanish attacks led by Hugo of Moncada in 1519 were also pushed back. In 1541, Charles V, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, attacked Algiers with a convoy of 65 warships, 451 ships and 23,000 men, 2000 of whom were mounted. The attack resulted in failure however, and the Algerian leader Hassan Agha became a national hero as Algiers grew into a center of military power in the Mediterranean.[citation needed]

The Ottomans established Algeria's modern boundaries in the north and made its coast a base for the Ottoman corsairs; their privateering peaked in Algiers in the 17th century. Piracy on American vessels in the Mediterranean resulted in the First (1801-1805) and Second Barbary Wars (1815) with the United States. The pirates forced the people on the ships they captured into slavery; when the pirates attacked coastal villages in southern and Western Europe the inhabitants were forced into the Arab slave trade.[21]
Five British escaping slavery from Algiers

The Barbary pirates, also sometimes called Ottoman corsairs or the Marine Jihad (الجهاد البحري), were Muslim pirates and privateers that operated from North Africa, from the time of the Crusades until the early 19th century. Based in North African ports such as Tunis in Tunisia, Tripoli in Libya and Algiers in Algeria, they preyed on Christian and other non-Islamic shipping in the western Mediterranean Sea.[citation needed]

Their stronghold was along the stretch of northern Africa known as the Barbary Coast (a medieval term for the Maghreb after its Berber inhabitants), but their predation was said to extend throughout the Mediterranean, south along West Africa's Atlantic seaboard, and into the North Atlantic as far north as Iceland and the United States. They often made raids, called Razzias, on European coastal towns to capture Christian slaves to sell at slave markets in places such as Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Algeria and Morocco.[22][23] According to Robert Davis, from the 16th to 19th century, pirates captured 1 million to 1.25 million Europeans as slaves. These slaves were captured mainly from seaside villages in Italy, Spain and Portugal, and from farther places like France, England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Russia, Scandinavia and even Iceland, India, Southeast Asia and North America.[citation needed]

The impact of these attacks was devastating - France, England, and Spain each lost thousands of ships, and long stretches of coast in Spain and Italy were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants. Pirate raids discouraged settlement along the coast until the 19th century.[citation needed]

The most famous corsairs were the Ottoman Barbarossa ("Redbeard") brothers -Hayreddin (Hızır) and his older brother Oruç Reis - who took control of Algiers in the early 16th century and turned it into the center of Mediterranean piracy and privateering for three centuries, as well as establishing the Ottoman Empire's presence in North Africa which lasted four centuries.[citation needed]

Other famous Ottoman privateer-admirals included Turgut Reis (known as Dragut in the West), Kurtoğlu (known as Curtogoli in the West), Kemal Reis, Salih Reis, Nemdil Reis and Murat Reis the Elder. Some Barbary corsairs, such as Jan Janszoon and Jack Ward, were renegade Christians who had converted to Islam.[citation needed]
French friars buying back French slaves.

In 1544, Hayreddin captured the island of Ischia, taking 4,000 prisoners, and enslaved some 9,000 inhabitants of Lipari, almost the entire population.[24] In 1551, Turgut Reis enslaved the entire population of the Maltese island of Gozo, between 5,000 and 6,000, sending them to Libya. In 1554, pirates sacked Vieste in southern Italy and took an estimated 7,000 slaves.[25] In 1555, Turgut Reis sacked Bastia, Corsica, taking 6,000 prisoners.[citation needed]

In 1558, Barbary corsairs captured the town of Ciutadella (Minorca), destroyed it, slaughtered the inhabitants and took 3,000 survivors to Istanbul as slaves.[26] In 1563, Turgut Reis landed on the shores of the province of Granada, Spain, and captured coastal settlements in the area, such as Almuñécar, along with 4,000 prisoners. Barbary pirates often attacked the Balearic Islands, and in response many coastal watchtowers and fortified churches were erected. The threat was so severe that the island of Formentera became uninhabited.[27][28]

Between 1609 to 1616, England lost 466 merchant ships to Barbary pirates.[29] In the 19th century, Barbary pirates would capture ships and enslave the crew. Later American ships were attacked. During this period, the pirates forged affiliations with Caribbean powers, paying a "license tax" in exchange for safe harbor of their vessels.[30] One American slave reported that the Algerians had enslaved 130 American seamen in the Mediterranean and Atlantic from 1785 to 1793.[31]

Plague had repeatedly struck the cities of North Africa. Algiers lost from 30,000 to 50,000 inhabitants to the plague in 1620-21, and again in 1654-57, 1665, 1691, and 1740-42.[32]
[edit] French rule
Main article: French rule in Algeria
Torturing the French consul of Algiers, during the Bombardment of the city by the French in 1683

On the pretext of a slight to their consul, the French invaded and captured Algiers in 1830.[33] The conquest of Algeria by the French was long and resulted in considerable bloodshed. A combination of violence and disease epidemics caused the indigenous Algerian population to decline by nearly one-third from 1830 to 1872.[34]
the six historical Leaders of the FLN

Between 1825 and 1847, 50,000 French people emigrated to Algeria,[35] but the conquest was slow, because of intense resistance from such people as Emir Abdelkader, Cheikh Mokrani, Cheikh Bouamama, the tribe of Ouled Sid Cheikh, Ahmed Bey and Fatma N'Soumer. Indeed, the conquest was not technically complete until the early 20th century when the last of the Tuareg people were conquered in 1920.[citation needed]

Meanwhile, however, the French made Algeria an integral part of France. Tens of thousands of settlers mainly from Spain and Italy, with some others from France and Malta moved in to farm the Algerian coastal plain and occupied significant parts of Algerian cities.[citation needed]

These settlers benefited from the French government's confiscation of communal land and the application of modern agricultural techniques that increased the amount of arable land.[36] Algeria's social fabric suffered during the occupation: literacy plummeted,[37] while land development uprooted much of the population.[citation needed]

Starting from the end of the 19th century, people of European descent in Algeria (or natives like Spanish people in Oran), as well as the native Algerian Jews (classified as Sephardi Jews), became full French citizens. Formally Algeria as a French territory was a member of the European Communities from the founding of the European Community of Coal and Steel (ECSC) in 1952. Formal membership ended with independence in 1962.[citation needed]

After Algeria's 1962 independence, the Europeans were called Pieds-Noirs ("black feet"). Some apocryphal sources suggest the title comes from the black boots settlers wore, but the term seems not to have been widely used until the time of the Algerian War of Independence and it is more likely it started as an insult towards settlers returning from Africa.[38] In contrast, the vast majority of Muslim Algerians (even veterans of the French army) received neither French citizenship nor the right to vote.[citation needed]
[edit] Post-independence

In 1954, the National Liberation Front (FLN) launched the Algerian War of Independence which was a guerrilla campaign. By the end of the war, newly elected French President Charles de Gaulle held a plebiscite, offering Algerians three options. In a famous speech (4 June 1958 in Algiers), de Gaulle proclaimed in front of a vast crowd of Pieds-Noirs "Je vous ai compris" ("I have understood you"). Most Pieds-Noirs then believed that de Gaulle meant that Algeria would remain French. The poll resulted in a landslide vote for complete independence from France. Over one million people, ten percent of the population, then fled the country for France in just a few months in mid-1962. These included most of the 1,025,000 Pieds-Noirs, as well as 81,000 Harkis (pro-French Algerians serving in the French Army). In the days preceding the bloody conflict, a group of Algerian Rebels opened fire on a marketplace in Oran killing numerous innocent civilians, mostly women. It is estimated that somewhere between 50,000 and 150,000 Harkis and their dependents were killed by the FLN or by lynch mobs in Algeria.[39]
Mohammed Boudiaf 7th president of Algeria, assassinated in 1992

Algeria's first president was the FLN leader Ahmed Ben Bella. He was overthrown by his former ally and defense minister, Houari Boumédienne in 1965. Under Ben Bella, the government had already become increasingly socialist and authoritarian, and this trend continued throughout Boumédienne's government. However, Boumédienne relied much more heavily on the army, and reduced the sole legal party to a merely symbolic role. Agriculture was collectivised, and a massive industrialization drive launched. Oil extraction facilities were nationalized. This was especially beneficial to the leadership after the 1973 oil crisis. However, the Algerian economy became increasingly dependent on oil which led to hardship when the price collapsed during the 1980s oil glut.[citation needed]

In foreign policy, Algeria has strained relations with Morocco, its western neighbor. Reasons for this include Morocco's disputed claim to portions of western Algeria (which led to the Sand War in 1963), Algeria's support for the Polisario Front for its right to self-determination, and Algeria's hosting of Sahrawi refugees within its borders in the city of Tindouf.[citation needed]

Within Algeria, dissent was rarely tolerated, and the state's control over the media and the outlawing of political parties other than the FLN was cemented in the repressive constitution of 1976.[citation needed]

Boumédienne died in 1978, but the rule of his successor, Chadli Bendjedid, was little more open. The state took on a strongly bureaucratic character and corruption was widespread.[citation needed]

The modernization drive brought considerable demographic changes to Algeria. Village traditions underwent significant change as urbanization increased. New industries emerged and agricultural employment was substantially reduced. Education was extended nationwide, raising the literacy rate from less than ten percent to over sixty percent. There was a dramatic increase in the fertility rate to seven to eight children per mother.[citation needed]

Therefore by 1980, there was a very youthful population and a housing crisis. The new generation struggled to relate to the cultural obsession with the war years and two conflicting protest movements developed: communists, including Berber identity movements; and Islamic intégristes. Both groups protested against one-party rule but also clashed with each other in universities and on the streets during the 1980s. Mass protests from both camps in autumn 1988 forced Bendjedid to concede the end of one-party rule.[citation needed]
[edit] Algerian political events (1991-2002)
Main article: Algerian Civil War
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The first round of elections were held in 1991. In December 1991, the Islamic Salvation F

Andorra
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Andorra (disambiguation).
Principality of Andorra
Principat d'Andorra

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Virtus Unita Fortior" (Latin)
"Strength United is Stronger"
Anthem: El Gran Carlemany, Mon Pare (Catalan)
The Great Charlemagne, my Father
Location of Andorra (green)in Europe (dark grey) — [Legend]
Location of Andorra (green)

in Europe (dark grey) — [Legend]
Capital
(and largest city) Andorra la Vella
42°30′N 1°31′E
Official language(s) Catalan[1]3
Ethnic groups 36.6% Andorran, 33.0% Spanish, 16.3% Portuguese, 6.3% French, 7.8% others.[2]
Demonym Andorran
Government Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional Diarchy
- Co-Princes Joan Enric Vives Sicília
Nicolas Sarkozy
- Representatives Nemesi Marqués Oste
Christian Frémont
- Prime Minister Antoni Martí
Independence
- Paréage from the Crown of Aragon
1278
Area
- Total 467.63 km2 (191st)
180.55 sq mi
- Water (%) 0.26 (121.4 ha)[3][4]
Population
- 31 December 2009 estimate 84,082[5] (194th)
- 2006 census 69,150
- Density 179.8/km2 (69th)
465.7/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
- Total $4.22 billion (155th)
- Per capita $44,900 (9th)
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
- Total $2.893 billion[6] (155th)
- Per capita $34,240[6] (28th)
Gini (2003) 27.21[7]
HDI (2010) increase 0.824[8] (very high) (30th)
Currency Euro (€)1 (EUR)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
- Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code AD
Internet TLD .ad2
Calling code +376
1 Before 1999, the French franc and Spanish peseta; the coins and notes of both currencies, however, remained legal tender until 2002. Small amounts of Andorran diners (divided into 100 centim) were minted after 1982.
2 Also .cat, shared with Catalan-speaking territories.
3 Spanish, French, and Portuguese are also widely spoken and understood. (See Languages of Andorra)
Andorran coat of arms at Andorran parliament.

Andorra Listeni/ænˈdɔrə/ (Catalan pronunciation: [ənˈdorə], locally: [anˈdɔra]), officially the Principality of Andorra (Catalan: Principat d'Andorra), also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra,[9] (Catalan: Principat de les Valls d'Andorra), is a small landlocked country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of 468 km2 (181 sq mi) and an estimated population of 84,082 in 2009. Its capital, Andorra la Vella, is the highest capital city in Europe, being at an elevation of 1023 metres.[10] The official language is Catalan, although Spanish, Portuguese, and French are also commonly spoken.

The Principality was formed in 1278. The role of monarch is exercised jointly by the two co-princes, the President of the French Republic and the Bishop of Urgell, Catalonia.

Andorra is a prosperous country mainly because of its tourism industry, which services an estimated 10.2 million visitors annually,[11] and also because of its status as a tax haven. It is not a member of the European Union, but the euro is the de facto currency. The people of Andorra have the 4th highest human life expectancy in the world — 82 years at birth.[12]
Contents
[hide]

1 History
2 Politics
3 Law and criminal justice
4 Foreign relations and defence
5 Geography
6 Economy
7 Demography
8 Education
9 Healthcare
10 Transport
11 Media and telecommunications
12 Culture
13 Sports
14 See also
15 References
16 External links

[edit] History
Main article: History of Andorra

Tradition holds that Charles the Great (Charlemagne) granted a charter to the Andorran people in return for fighting against the Moors. Overlordship of the territory was by the Count of Urgell and eventually by the bishop of the Diocese of Urgell. In 988, Borrell II, Count of Urgell, gave the Andorran valleys to the Diocese of Urgell in exchange for land in Cerdanya.[13] Since then the Bishop of Urgell, based in Seu d'Urgell, has owned Andorra.[14][dead link]

Before 1095, Andorra did not have any type of military protection and the Bishop of Urgell, who knew that the Count of Urgell wanted to reclaim the Andorran valleys,[14] asked for help and protection from the Lord of Caboet. In 1095, the Lord of Caboet and the Bishop of Urgell signed under oath a declaration of their co-sovereignty over Andorra. Arnalda, daughter of Arnau of Caboet, married the Viscount of Castellbò and both became Viscounts of Castellbò and Cerdanya. Years later their daughter, Ermessenda,[15] married Roger Bernat II, the French Count of Foix. They became Roger Bernat II and Ermessenda I, Counts of Foix, Viscounts of Castellbò and Cerdanya, and also co-sovereigns of Andorra (shared with the Bishop of Urgell).

In the 11th century, a dispute arose between the Bishop of Urgell and the Count of Foix. The conflict was resolved in 1278 with the mediation of Aragon by the signing of the first paréage which provided that Andorra's sovereignty be shared between the count of Foix[14] (whose title would ultimately transfer to the French head of state) and the Bishop of Urgell, in Catalonia. This gave the principality its territory and political form.

Over the years, the French co-title to Andorra passed to the kings of Navarre. After Henry of Navarre became King Henry IV of France, he issued an edict in 1607 that established the head of the French state and the Bishop of Urgell as co-princes of Andorra. In 1812-13, the First French Empire annexed Catalonia and divided it in four départements, with Andorra being made part of the district of Puigcerdà (département of Sègre).
[edit] 20th century

Andorra declared war on Imperial Germany during World War I, but did not actually take part in the fighting. It remained in an official state of belligerency until 1957 as it was not included in the Treaty of Versailles.

In 1933, France occupied Andorra as a result of social unrest before elections. On July 12, 1934, adventurer Boris Skossyreff issued a proclamation in Urgell, declaring himself "Boris I, King of Andorra", simultaneously declaring war on the Bishop of Urgell. He was arrested by Spanish authorities on July 20 and ultimately expelled from Spain. From 1936 to 1940, a French detachment was garrisoned in Andorra to prevent influences of the Spanish Civil War and Franco's Spain. Francoist troops reached the Andorran border in the later stages of the war. During World War II, Andorra remained neutral and was an important smuggling route between Vichy France and Spain.

Given its relative isolation, Andorra has existed outside the mainstream of European history, with few ties to countries other than France and Spain. In recent times, however, its thriving tourist industry along with developments in transport and communications have removed the country from its isolation. Its political system was modernised in 1993, when it became a member of the United Nations and the Council of Europe.
[edit] Politics
Main article: Politics of Andorra

Andorra is a parliamentary co-principality with the President of France and the Bishop of Urgell (Catalonia, Spain), as co-princes. This peculiarity makes the President of France, in his capacity as Prince of Andorra, an elected reigning monarch, even though he is not elected by a popular vote of the Andorran people. The politics of Andorra take place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democracy, whereby the Prime Minister of Andorra is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system.

The current Prime Minister is Antoni Martí of the Democrats for Andorra (DA). Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both government and parliament.

The Parliament of Andorra is known as the General Council. The General Council consists of between 28 and 42 Councilors, as the members of the legislative branch are called. The Councilors serve for four-year terms and elections are held between the thirtieth and fortieth days following the dissolution of the previous Council. The Councilors can be elected on two equal constituencies.

Half are elected in equal number from each of the seven administrative parishes and the other half of the Councilors are elected from a single national constituency. 15 days after the election, the Councilors hold their inauguration. During this session, the Syndic General, who is the head of the General Council, and the Subsyndic General, his assistant, are elected. Eight days later, the Council convenes once more. During this session the Head of Government, the Prime Minister of Andorra, is chosen from among the Councilors.
Casa de la Vall, Andorran Parliament.

Candidates for the prime-ministerial nomination can be proposed by a minimum of one-fifth of the Councilors. The Council then elects the candidate with the absolute majority of votes to be Head of Government. The Syndic General then notifies the Co-princes who in turn appoint the elected candidate as the Prime Minister of Andorra. The General Council is also responsible for proposing and passing laws. Bills may be presented to the Council as Private Members' Bills by three of the Local Parish Councils jointly or by at least one tenth of the citizens of Andorra.

The Council also approves the annual budget of the principality. The government must submit the proposed budget for parliamentary approval at least two months before the previous budget expires. If the budget is not approved by the first day of the next year, the previous budget is extended until a new one is approved. Once any bill is approved, the Syndic General is responsible for presenting it to the Co-princes so that they may sign and enact it.

If the Head of Government is not satisfied with the Council, he may request that the Co-princes dissolve the Council and order new elections. In turn, the Councilors have the power to remove the Head of Government from office. After a motion of censure is approved by at least one-fifth of the Councilors, the Council will vote and if it receives the absolute majority of votes, the Prime Minister is removed.
[edit] Law and criminal justice

The judiciary is composed of the Magistrates Court, the Criminal Law Court, the High Court of Andorra, and the Constitutional Court. The High Court of Justice is composed of five judges: one appointed by the Head of Government, one each by the Coprinces, one by the Syndic General, and one by the Judges and Magistrates. It is presided over by the member appointed by the Syndic General and the judges hold office for six-year terms.

The Magistrates and Judges are appointed by the High Court, and so is the President of the Criminal Law Court. The High Court also appoints members of the Office of the Attorney General. The Constitutional Court is responsible for interpreting the Constitution and reviewing all appeals of unconstitutionality against laws and treaties. It is composed of four judges, one appointed by each of the Coprinces and two by the General Council. They serve eight-year terms. The Court is presided over by one of the Judges on a two-year rotation so that each judge at one point will be the leader of the Court.
[edit] Foreign relations and defence
Main article: Foreign relations of Andorra

Andorra maintains a small Army, and all able-bodied men who own firearms must serve. The Army is unique in that all men are treated as officers. The Army's main responsibility is to present the national flag at ceremonies. The country also has an internal police force. Responsibility for defending Andorra rests primarily with France and Spain. Andorra is a full member of the United Nations, the OSCE, and has a special agreement with the European Union.
[edit] Geography
Map of Andorra with its seven parishes labeled.
Main articles: Geography of Andorra and Geology of Andorra
[edit] Parishes
Main article: Parishes of Andorra

Andorra consists of seven parishes:

Andorra la Vella
Canillo
Encamp
Escaldes-Engordany
La Massana
Ordino
Sant Julià de Lòria

[edit] Physical geography
Scenery of Andorran mountains
Topographic map of Andorra.

Due to its location in the eastern Pyrenees mountain range, Andorra consists predominantly of rugged mountains, the highest being the Coma Pedrosa at 2,942 metres (9,652 ft), and the average elevation of Andorra is 1,996 metres (6,549 ft).[16] These are dissected by three narrow valleys in a Y shape that combine into one as the main stream, the Gran Valira river, leaves the country for Spain (at Andorra's lowest point of 840 m/2,756 ft). Andorra's land area is 468 km2 (181 sq mi).

Phytogeographically, Andorra belongs to the Atlantic European province of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the WWF, the territory of Andorra belongs to the ecoregion of Pyrenees conifer and mixed forests.
[edit] Climate

Andorra has an alpine climate and continental climate. Its higher elevation means there is, on average, more snow in winter, lower humidity, and it is slightly cooler in summer. There are, on average, 300 days per year of sunshine.
[edit] Economy
Main article: Economy of Andorra
Caldea spa in Escaldes-Engordany, heated by natural hot spring water which is plentiful in the parish.

Tourism, the mainstay of Andorra's tiny, well-to-do economy, accounts for roughly 80% of GDP. An estimated 10.2 million tourists visit annually,[11] attracted by Andorra's duty-free status and by its summer and winter resorts. Andorra's relative advantage has recently eroded as the economies of adjoining France and Spain have been opened up, providing broader availability of goods and lower tariffs.

The banking sector, with its tax haven status, also contributes substantially to the economy. Agricultural production is limited—only 2% of the land is arable—and most food has to be imported. Some tobacco is grown locally. The principal livestock activity is domestic sheep raising. Manufacturing output consists mainly of cigarettes, cigars, and furniture. Andorra's natural resources include hydroelectric power, mineral water, timber, iron ore, and lead.[17]

Andorra is not a member of the European Union, but enjoys a special relationship with it, such as being treated as an EU member for trade in manufactured goods (no tariffs) and as a non-EU member for agricultural products. Andorra lacked a currency of its own and used both the French franc and the Spanish peseta in banking transactions until 31 December 1999, when both currencies were replaced by the EU's single currency, the euro. Coins and notes of both the franc and the peseta remained legal tender in Andorra until 31 December 2002. Andorra is negotiating to issue its own euro coins.

Andorra has one of the world's lowest unemployment rates, with the statistics on June 2009 showing almost 0% unemployment within the country.[citation needed]
[edit] Demography
View of the Ordino valley
The town of Encamp, Andorra, as seen from the Vall dels Cortals
Main article: Demographics of Andorra
[edit] Population

The population of Andorra is estimated to be 83,888 (July 2009).[18] The population has grown from 5,000 in 1900.

Andorran nationals are a plurality in the country (31,363);[19] other nationalities include Spaniards (27,300),[19] Portuguese (13,794),[19] French (5,213),[19] Britons (1,085)[19] and Italians.
[edit] Languages
Main article: Languages of Andorra

The historic and official language is Catalan, a Romance language. The Andorran government is keen to encourage the use of Catalan. It funds a commission for Catalan toponymy in Andorra (Catalan: la Comissió de Toponímia d'Andorra), and provides free Catalan classes to assist immigrants. Andorran television and radio stations use Catalan.

Because of immigration, historical links, and close geographic proximity, Spanish, Portuguese and French are also commonly spoken. Most Andorran residents can speak one or more of these, in addition to Catalan. English is less commonly spoken among the general population, though it is understood to varying degrees in the major tourist resorts. Andorra is one of only three European countries (together with France and Monaco)[20] that have never signed the Council of Europe Framework Convention on National Minorities.[21]
[edit] Religion

The population of Andorra is predominantly (90%) Roman Catholic.[22] Their patron saint is Our Lady of Meritxell. Though it is not an official state religion, the constitution acknowledges a special relationship with the Catholic Church, offering some special privileges to that group. The Muslim community is primarily made up of North African immigrants. Other Christian denominations include the Anglican Church, the Reunification Church, the New Apostolic Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Jehovah's Witnesses. There is a small community of Hindus and Bahá'ís.[23][24] Andorra also hosts a population of roughly 100 Jews (see: Andorran Jews).
[edit] Education
[edit] Schools

Children between the ages of 6 and 16 are required by law to have full-time education. Education up to secondary level is provided free of charge by the government.

There are three systems of schools - Andorran, French and Spanish - which use Catalan, French and Spanish, respectively, as the main language of instruction. Parents may choose which system their children attend. All schools are built and maintained by Andorran authorities, but teachers in the French and Spanish schools are paid for the most part by France and Spain. About 50% of Andorran children attend the French primary schools, and the rest attend Spanish or Andorran schools.
[edit] University of Andorra

The University of Andorra (UdA) is the state public university and is the only university in Andorra. It was established in 1997. The University provides first-level degrees in nursing, computer science, business administration, and educational sciences, in addition to higher professional education courses. The only two graduate schools in Andorra are the Nursing School and the School of Computer Science, the latter having a PhD program.
[edit] Virtual Studies Centre

The geographical complexity of the country as well as the small number of students prevents the University of Andorra from developing a full academic program, and it serves principally as a centre for virtual studies, connected to Spanish and French universities. The Virtual Studies Centre (Centre d'Estudis Virtuals) at the University runs in the region of twenty degrees at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels in fields including tourism, law, Catalan philology, humanities, psychology, political sciences, audiovisual communication, telecommunications engineering, and East Asia studies. The Centre also runs various postgraduate programs and continuing-education courses for professionals.
[edit] Healthcare

Healthcare in Andorra is provided to all employed persons and their families by the government-run social security system, CASS (Caixa Andorrana de Seguretat Social), which is funded by employer and employee contributions in respect of salaries.[25] The cost of healthcare is covered by CASS at rates of 75% for out-patient expenses such as medicines and hospital visits, 90% for hospitalisation, and 100% for work-related accidents. The remainder of the costs may be covered by private health insurance. Other residents and tourists require full private health insurance.[25]

The main hospital, Meritxell, is in Escaldes-Engordany.[26] There are also 12 primary health care centres in various locations around the Principality.[26]
[edit] Transport
A train at Latour-de-Carol, one of the two stations serving Andorra. Andorra has no railways, although the line connecting Latour-de-Carol and Toulouse, which in turn connects to France's TGVs at Toulouse, runs within two kilometres of the Andorran border.
Main article: Transport in Andorra

Until the 20th century, Andorra had very limited transport links to the outside world, and development of the country was affected by its physical isolation. Even now, the nearest major airports at Toulouse and Barcelona are both three hours' drive from Andorra.

Andorra has a road network of 279 km (173 mi), of which 76 km (47 mi) is unpaved. The two main roads out of Andorra la Vella are the CG-1 to the Spanish border, and the CG-2 to the French border via the Envalira Tunnel near Pas de la Casa.[27] Bus services cover all metropolitan areas and many rural communities, with services on most major routes running half-hourly or more frequently during peak travel times. There are frequent long-distance bus services from Andorra to Barcelona and Toulouse. Bus services are mostly run by private companies, but some local ones are operated by the government.

There are no railways, ports, or airports for fixed-wing aircraft in Andorra. There are, however, heliports in La Massana, Arinsal and Escaldes-Engordany with commercial helicopter services.[28][29] Nearby airports are located in Barcelona, Toulouse, Perpignan, Reus, and Girona. The closest public airport is Perpignan - Rivesaltes Airport, which is 160 km (99 mi) away and has short-haul services to several destinations in the United Kingdom and France. La Seu d'Urgell Airport, a small airfield 12 km (7 mi) south of Andorra currently used only by private aeroplanes, is being studied by the Catalan government as a possible future airport for public aviation services.[30]

The nea

Angola
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Angola (disambiguation).
Republic of Angola
República de Angola (Portuguese)

Flag Insignia
Anthem: Angola Avante! (Portuguese)
Forward Angola!
Capital
(and largest city) Luanda
8°50′S 13°20′E
Official language(s) Portuguese
Recognised national languages Kikongo, Chokwe, Umbundu, Kimbundu, Ganguela, Kwanyama
Ethnic groups Ovimbundu, Ambundu, Bakongo, Lunda-Chokwe, Nyaneka-Nkhumbi, Ovambo, Ganguela, Xindonga, Herero, Khoisan
Demonym Angolan
Government Unitary presidential republic
- President José Eduardo dos Santos
- Vice President Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos
Independence
- from Portugal November 11, 1975
Area
- Total 1,246,700 km2 (23rd)
481,354 sq mi
- Water (%) negligible
Population
- 2009 estimate 18,498,000[1][2]
- census (scheduled for 2012)
- Density 14.8/km2 (199th)
38.4/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $107.310 billion[3]
- Per capita $5,632[3]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $85.312 billion[3]
- Per capita $4,477[3]
Gini (2000) 59[4] (high)
HDI (2010) increase0.403 (low) (146th)
Currency Kwanza (AOA)
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+1)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code AO
Internet TLD .ao
Calling code +244

Angola, officially the Republic of Angola (Portuguese: República de Angola, pronounced [ʁɨˈpublikɐ dɨ ɐ̃ˈɡɔla];[5] Kikongo, Kimbundu, Umbundu: Repubilika ya Ngola), is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city. The exclave province of Cabinda has borders with the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Portuguese were present in some—mostly coastal—points of the territory of what is now Angola, from the 16th to the 19th century, interacting in diverse ways with the peoples that lived there. In the 19th century they slowly and hesitantly began to establish themselves in the interior. Angola as a Portuguese colony was not established before the end of the 19th century, and "effective occupation", as required by the Berlin Conference (1884) was achieved in the 1920s as with most African colonies. After independence, Angola was the scene of an intense civil war from 1975 to 2002. The country has vast mineral and petroleum reserves; however, its life expectancy and infant mortality rates are both among the worst-ranked in the world.[6]
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Early migrations and political units
2.2 Portuguese presence on the coast
2.3 Delimitation and occupation of Angola
2.4 Independence and civil war
2.5 Ceasefire with UNITA
3 Politics
4 Military
5 Police
6 Administrative divisions
6.1 Exclave of Cabinda
7 Transport
8 Geography
9 Climate
10 Economy
11 Demographics
11.1 Languages
11.2 Religion
12 Health
13 Education
14 Culture
15 Gallery
16 See also
17 References
18 Further reading
19 External links

[edit] Etymology

The name "Angola" comes from the Portuguese colonial name Reino de Angola, appearing as early as Dias de Novais's 1571 charter.[7] The toponym was erroneously derived by the Portuguese from the Mbundu title ngola held by the king or warrior-chief Kiluanji kia Ndambi of the Ndongo. Ndongo was a state in the highlands between the Kwanza and Lukala Rivers nominally tributary to the king of Kongo but which was seeking greater independence during the 16th century.
[edit] History
Main article: History of Angola
[edit] Early migrations and political units

Khoisan hunter-gatherers are the earliest known modern human inhabitants of the area. They were largely replaced by Bantu tribes during the Bantu migrations, though small numbers remain in parts of southern Angola to the present day. The Bantu came from the north, probably from somewhere near the present-day Republic of Cameroon. When they reached what is now Angola, they encountered the Khoisan, Bushmen and other groups considerably less technologically advanced than themselves, whom they easily dominated with their superior knowledge of metal-working, ceramics and agriculture. The establishment of the Bantu took many centuries and gave rise to various groups who took on different ethnic characteristics.

During this period of time, the Bantu established a number of political units ("kingdoms", "empires") in most parts of what today is Angola. The best known of these is the Kingdom of the Kongo that had its centre in the northwest of contemporary Angola, but included important regions in the west of present day Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of Congo as well as in southern Gabon. It established trade routes with other trading cities and civilizations up and down the coast of southwestern and West Africa and even with the Great Zimbabwe Mutapa Empire, but engaged in little or no transoceanic trade.[8]
[edit] Portuguese presence on the coast
View from Ilha de Luanda to the bay of Luanda, Angola's capital city and economic and commercial hub, 2008.
Main articles: Colonial history of Angola and Portuguese West Africa

The geographical areas now designated as Angola entered into contact with the Portuguese in the late 15th century, concretely in 1483, when Portugal established relations with the Kongo State, which stretched from modern Gabon in the north to the Kwanza River in the south. In this context, they established a small trade post at the port of Mpinda, in Soyo. The Portuguese explorer Paulo Dias de Novais founded Luanda in 1575 as "São Paulo de Loanda", with a hundred families of settlers and four hundred soldiers. Benguela, a Portuguese fort from 1587 which became a town in 1617, was another important early settlement they founded and ruled. The Portuguese would establish several settlements, forts and trading posts along the coastal strip of current-day Angola, which relied on slave trade, commerce in raw materials, and exchange of goods for survival. The African slave trade provided a large number of black slaves to Europeans and their African agents. For example, in what is now Angola, the Imbangala economy was heavily focused on the slave trade.[9][10]
Queen Nzinga in peace negotiations with the Portuguese governor in Luanda, 1657.

European traders would export manufactured goods to the coast of Africa where they would be exchanged for slaves. Within the Portuguese Empire, most black African slaves were traded to Portuguese merchants who bought them to sell as cheap labour for use on Brazilian agricultural plantations. This trade would last until the first half of the 19th century. According to John Iliffe, "Portuguese records of Angola from the 16th century show that a great famine occurred on average every seventy years; accompanied by epidemic disease, it might kill one-third or one-half of the population, destroying the demographic growth of a generation and forcing colonists back into the river valleys."[11]

The Portuguese gradually took control of the coastal strip during the 16th century by a series of treaties and wars forming the Portuguese colony of Angola. Taking advantage of the Portuguese Restoration War, the Dutch occupied Luanda from 1641 to 1648, where they allied with local peoples, consolidating their colonial rule against the remaining Portuguese resistance. In 1648, a fleet under the command of Salvador de Sá retook Luanda for Portugal and initiated a conquest of the lost territories, which restored Portugal to its former possessions by 1650. Treaties regulated relations with Kongo in 1649 and Njinga's Kingdom of Matamba and Ndongo in 1656. The conquest of Pungo Andongo in 1671 was the last major Portuguese expansion from Luanda outwards, as attempts to invade Kongo in 1670 and Matamba in 1681 failed. Portugal also expanded its territory behind the colony of Benguela to some extent, but until the 19th century the inroads from Luanda and Benguela were very limited, and Portugal had neither the intention nor the means to carry out a large scale territorial occupation and colonization.
[edit] Delimitation and occupation of Angola

The process resulted in few gains until the 1880s. Development of the hinterland began after the Berlin Conference in 1885 fixed the colony's borders, and British and Portuguese investment fostered mining, railways, and agriculture based on various forced labour systems. Full Portuguese administrative control of the hinterland did not occur until the beginning of the 20th century. In 1951, the colony was designated as an overseas province, called Overseas Province of Angola. Portugal had a presence in Angola for nearly five hundred years, and the population's initial reaction to calls for independence was scarce. More overtly political organisations first appeared in the 1950s, instigated by the USSR, and began to make organised demands for self determination, especially in international forums such as the Non-Aligned Movement.

The Portuguese regime, meanwhile, refused to accede to ths demands for independence, provoking an armed conflict that started in 1961 when black guerrillas attacked both white and black civilians in cross-border operations in northeastern Angola. The war came to be known as the Colonial War. In this struggle, the principal protagonists were the MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola), founded in 1956, the FNLA (National Front for the Liberation of Angola), which appeared in 1961, and UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola), founded in 1966. After many years of conflict that lead to the weakening of all the insurgent parties, Angola gained its independence on 11 November 1975, after the 1974 coup d'état in Lisbon, Portugal, which overthrew the Portuguese regime headed by Marcelo Caetano.

Portugal's new revolutionary leaders began in 1974 a process of political change at home and accepted its former colonies' independence abroad. In Angola, a fight for the conquest of power broke out immediately between the three nationalist movements. The events prompted a mass exodus of Portuguese citizens, creating up to 300 000 destitute Portuguese refugees—the retornados.[12] The new Portuguese government tried to mediate an understanding between the three competing movements, and succeeded in agreeing, on paper, to form a common government, but in the end non of them respected the commitments made, and the issue was resolved by military force.
[edit] Independence and civil war
Main articles: Angolan War of Independence and Angolan Civil War
Further information: 1980s in Angola and 1990s in Angola
Unbalanced scales.svg
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After independence in November 1975, Angola faced a devastating civil war which lasted several decades and claimed millions of lives and refugees.[13] Following negotiations held in Portugal, itself under severe social and political turmoil and uncertainty due to the April 1974 revolution, Angola's three main guerrilla groups agreed to establish a transitional government in January 1975.

Within two months, however, the FNLA, MPLA and UNITA were fighting each other and the country was well on its way to being divided into zones controlled by rival armed political groups. The superpowers were quickly drawn into the conflict, which became a flash point for the Cold War. The United States, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Africa supported the FNLA and UNITA.[14][15] The Soviet Union and Cuba supported the MPLA.

During most of this period, 1975-1990, the MPLA organised and maintained a socialist dictatorial regime, as well as a centrally planned cleptocratic economy[citation needed]. Despite the ongoing civil war, the model functioned to a certain degree, although it was foreseeable that it would eventually fail in face of UNITA opposition.[16]
[edit] Ceasefire with UNITA
Main article: 2000s in Angola

On February 22, 2002, after the MPLA regime come to terms with the USA, Jonas Savimbi, the leader of UNITA, was killed in combat with government troops. A cease-fire was reached by the two factions shortly afterwards. UNITA gave up its armed wing and assumed the role of major opposition party, although in the knowledge that in the present regime a legitimate democratic election is impossible. Although the political situation of the country began to stabilize, President Dos Santos has so far refused to institute regular democratic processes, UNITA head officials being given senior positions in top level companies. Among Angola's major problems are a serious humanitarian crisis (a result of the prolonged war), the abundance of minefields, the continuation of the political, and to a much lesser degree, military activities in favour of the independence of the northern exclave of Cabinda, carried out in the context of the protracted Cabinda Conflict by the Frente para a Libertação do Enclave de Cabinda, but most of all, the dilapidation of the country's rich mineral resources by the regime. While most of the internally displaced have now settled around the capital, in the so called "Musseques", the general situation for Angolans remains desperate.[17]
[edit] Politics
Embassy of Angola in Washington, D.C.
Main article: Politics of Angola
See also: List of political parties in Angola, Foreign relations of Angola, and List of diplomatic missions of Angola

Angola's motto is Virtus Unita Fortior, a Latin phrase meaning "Virtue is stronger when united." The executive branch of the government is composed of the President, the Vice-Presidents and the Council of Ministers. For decades, political power has been concentrated in the Presidency.

Governors of the 18 provinces are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the president. The Constitutional Law of 1992 establishes the broad outlines of government structure and delineates the rights and duties of citizens. The legal system is based on Portuguese and customary law but is weak and fragmented, and courts operate in only 12 of more than 140 municipalities. A Supreme Court serves as the appellate tribunal; a Constitutional Court with powers of judicial review has not been constituted until 2010, despite statutory authorization.

After the end of the Civil War the regime came under pressure from within as well as from the international environment, to become more democratic and less authoritarian. Its reaction was to operate a number of changes without substantially changing its character.[18]

Parliamentary elections held on 5 September 2008, announced MPLA as the winning party with 81% of votes. The closest opposition party was UNITA with 10%. These elections were the first since 1992 and were described as only partly free but certainly not as fair.[19] A White Book on the elections in 2008 lists up all irregularities surrounding the Parliamentary elections of 2008.[20]

Angola scored poorly on the 2008 Ibrahim Index of African Governance. It was ranked 44 from 48 sub-Saharan African countries, scoring particularly badly in the areas of Participation and Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development. The Ibrahim Index uses a number of different variables to compile its list which reflects the state of governance in Africa.[21]

The new constitution, adopted in 2010, further sharpened the authoritarian character of the regime. In the future, there will be no presidential elections: the president and the vice-president of the political party which comes out strongest in the parliamentary elections become automatically president and vice-president of Angola.[22] Through a variety of mechanisms, the state president controls all the other organs of the state, so that the principle of the division of power is not maintained. As a consequence, Angola has no longer a presidential system, in the sense of the systems existing e.g. in the USA or in France. In terms of the classifications used in constitutional law, its regime falls now in the same category as the "cesarist" monarchy of Napoléon Bonaparte in France, as António de Oliveira Salazar's "corporatist" system established by the Portuguese constitution of 1933, as the Brazilian military dictatorship based on the constitution of 1967/69, or as several authoritarian regimes in contemporary Africa.[23]
[edit] Military
Tazua Falls, Rio Cuango. One of Angola's richest sources of gem diamonds.
Main article: Angolan Armed Forces

The Angolan Armed Forces (AAF) is headed by a Chief of Staff who reports to the Minister of Defense. There are three divisions—the Army (Exército), Navy (Marinha de Guerra, MGA), and National Air Force (Força Aérea Nacional, FAN). Total manpower is about 110,000. Its equipment includes Russian-manufactured fighters, bombers, and transport planes. There are also Brazilian-made EMB-312 Tucano for training role, Czech-made L-39 for training and bombing role, Czech Zlin for training role and a variety of western made aircraft such as C-212\Aviocar, Sud Aviation Alouette III, etc. A small number of AAF personnel are stationed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa) and the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville).
[edit] Police

The National Police departments are: Public Order, Criminal Investigation, Traffic and Transport, Investigation and Inspection of Economic Activities, Taxation and Frontier Supervision, Riot Police and the Rapid Intervention Police. The National Police are in the process of standing up an air wing, which will provide helicopter support for police operations. The National Police are also developing their criminal investigation and forensic capabilities. The National Police has an estimated 6,000 patrol officers, 2,500 Taxation and Frontier Supervision officers, 182 criminal investigators and 100 financial crimes detectives and around 90 Economic Activity Inspectors.

The National Police have implemented a modernization and development plan to increase the capabilities and efficiency of the total force. In addition to administrative reorganization; modernization projects include procurement of new vehicles, aircraft and equipment, construction of new police stations and forensic laboratories, restructured training programs and the replacement of AKM rifles with 9 mm UZIs for police officers in urban areas.
[edit] Administrative divisions
Map of Angola with the provinces numbered
Main articles: Provinces of Angola, Municipalities of Angola, and Communes of Angola

Angola is divided into eighteen provinces (províncias) and 163 municipalities.[24] The provinces are:

Bengo
Benguela
Bié
Cabinda
Cuando Cubango
Cuanza Norte
Cuanza Sul
Cunene
Huambo



Huila
Luanda
Lunda Norte
Lunda Sul
Malanje
Moxico
Namibe
Uíge
Zaire

[edit] Exclave of Cabinda
Main articles: Cabinda and Republic of Cabinda

With an area of approximately 7,283 square kilometres (2,812 sq mi), the Northern Angolan province of Cabinda is unique in being separated from the rest of the country by a strip, some 60 kilometres (37 mi) wide, of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) along the lower Congo river. Cabinda borders the Congo Republic to the north and north-northeast and the DRC to the east and south. The town of Cabinda is the chief population center.

According to a 1995 census, Cabinda had an estimated population of 600,000, approximately 400,000 of whom live in neighboring countries. Population estimates are, however, highly unreliable. Consisting largely of tropical forest, Cabinda produces hardwoods, coffee, cocoa, crude rubber and palm oil. The product for which it is best known, however, is its oil, which has given it the nickname, "the Kuwait of Africa". Cabinda's petroleum production from its considerable offshore reserves now accounts for more than half of Angola's output. Most of the oil along its coast was discovered under Portuguese rule by the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company (CABGOC) from 1968 onwards.

Ever since Portugal handed over sovereignty of its former overseas province of Angola to the local independence groups (MPLA, UNITA, and FNLA), the territory of Cabinda has been a focus of separatist guerrilla actions opposing the Government of Angola (which has employed its military forces, the FAA—Forças Armadas Angolanas) and Cabindan separatists. The Cabindan separatists, FLEC-FAC, announced a virtual Federal Republic of Cabinda under the Presidency of N'Zita Henriques Tiago. One of the characteristics of the Cabindan independence movement is its constant fragmentation, into smaller and smaller factions, in a process which although not totally fomented by the Angolan government, is undoubtedly encouraged and duly exploited by it.
[edit] Transport
Avenida 4 de Fevereiro with the bay of Luanda.
Main article: Transport in Angola

Transport in Angola consists of:

Three separate railway systems totalling 2,761 km (1,715 mi)
76,626 km (47,613 mi) of highway of which 19,156 km (11,903 mi) is paved
1,295 navigable inland waterways
Eight major sea ports
243 airports, of which 32 are paved.

Travel on highways outside of towns and cities in Angola (and in some cases within) is often not best advised for those without four-by-four vehicles. Whilst a reasonable road infrastructure has existed within Angola, time and the war have taken their toll on the road surfaces, leaving many severely potholed, littered with broken asphalt. In many areas drivers have established alternate tracks to avoid the worst par

Antigua and Barbuda
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Antigua and Barbuda

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Each Endeavouring, All Achieving
Anthem: Fair Antigua, We Salute Thee
Royal anthem: God Save the Queen 1
Capital
(and largest city) Saint John's
17°7′N 61°51′W
Official language(s) English
Local language Antiguan Creole
Demonym Antiguan, Barbudan
Government Parliamentary democracy
under a federal constitutional monarchy
- Head of State Elizabeth II
- Governor-General Dame Louise Lake-Tack
- Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer
- Opposition Leader Lester Bryant Bird
Independence
- from the United Kingdom November 1, 1981
Area
- Total 440 km2 (195th)
170 sq mi
- Water (%) negligible
Population
- 2010 estimate 86,754 (191st)
- Density 197/km2 (57)
793/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $1.425 billion[1]
- Per capita $16,573[1]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $1.105 billion[1]
- Per capita $12,848[1]
HDI (2007) increase 0.868 (high) (47th)
Currency East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Time zone AST (UTC-4)
Drives on the left
ISO 3166 code AG
Internet TLD .ag
Calling code +1-268
1 God Save The Queen is the official national anthem but it is generally used only on regal and vice-regal occasions.

Antigua and Barbuda (Listeni/ænˈtiːɡə ænd bɑrˈbjuːdə/, local /ænˈtiːɡə ænd bɑrˈbjuːdə/; Spanish for "ancient" and "bearded") is a twin-island nation lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands (including Great Bird, Green, Guinea, Long, Maiden and York Islands and further south, the island of Redonda). The permanent population number approximately 85,000 (2010) and the capital and largest port and city is St. John's, on Antigua.

Separated by a few nautical miles, Antigua and Barbuda are in the middle of the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles, roughly at 17 degrees north of the Equator. The country is nicknamed "Land of 365 Beaches" due to the many beaches surrounding the islands. Its governance, language, and culture have all been strongly influenced by The British Empire, which the country was formerly part of.
Contents
[hide]

1 History
2 Politics
2.1 Administration
3 Geography
3.1 Islands
4 Military
5 Economy
6 Demographics
6.1 Ethnicity
6.2 Religion
6.3 Languages
7 Culture
8 Media
9 Sports
10 Education
11 Foreign relations
12 See also
13 References
14 External links

[edit] History
Main article: History of Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua was first settled by Archaic Age hunter-gatherer Amerindians, erroneously referred to as Siboney or Ciboney. Carbon-dating has established that the earliest settlements started around 3100 BCE. They were succeeded by the Ceramic Age pre-Columbian Arawak-speaking Saladoid people who migrated from the lower Orinoco River.

The Arawaks introduced agriculture, raising, among other crops, the famous Antigua Black Pineapple (Moris cultivar of Ananas comosus), corn, sweet potatoes (white with firmer flesh than the bright orange "sweet potato" used in the United States), chiles, guava, tobacco and cotton.

The indigenous West Indians made excellent sea-going vessels which they used to sail the Atlantic and the Caribbean. As a result, Caribs and Arawaks were able to colonize much of South America and the Caribbean Islands. Their descendants still live there, notably in Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia.

Most Arawaks left Antigua around 1100 CE; those who remained were later raided by the Caribs. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Caribs' superior weapons and seafaring prowess allowed them to defeat most of the West Indian Arawak nations, enslaving some and possibly cannibalizing others.

The Catholic Encyclopedia does make it clear that the European invaders had some difficulty differentiating between the native peoples they encountered. As a result, the number and types of ethnic/tribal groups in existence at that time may have been much more varied and numerous than just the two mentioned in this article.

European and African diseases, malnutrition and slavery eventually killed most of the Caribbean's native population, although no researcher has conclusively proven any of these causes as the real reason for these deaths.[2] Smallpox was probably the greatest killer.[3] In fact, some historians[who?] believe that the psychological stress of slavery may also have played a part in the massive number of deaths amongst enslaved natives. Others believe that the reportedly abundant, but starchy, low-protein diet may have contributed to severe malnutrition of the Amerindians, who were used to a diet fortified with protein from the sea.[2]

The island of Antigua, originally called "Wa'ladli" by Arawaks, is today called "Land of Wadadli" by locals. It is possible that Caribs called it "Wa'omoni". Christopher Columbus, while sailing by in 1493, may have named it Santa Maria la Antigua after an icon in the Spanish Seville Cathedral. The Spaniards did not colonize Antigua because it lacked fresh water but not aggressive Caribs.

The English settled on Antigua in 1632; Sir Christopher Codrington settled on Barbuda in 1684. Slavery, established to run sugar plantations around 1684, was abolished in 1834. The British ruled from 1632 to 1981, with a brief French interlude in 1666.

The islands became an independent state within the Commonwealth Realm system on November 1, 1981, with Elizabeth II as the first Queen of Antigua and Barbuda. The Right Honourable Vere Cornwall Bird became the first Prime Minister.
[edit] Politics
Main article: Politics of Antigua and Barbuda
Map of Antigua and Barbuda.

The politics of Antigua and Barbuda take place within a framework of a federal, parliamentary, representative democratic monarchy, in which the Head of State is the Monarch who appoints the Governor General as vice-regal representative. Elizabeth II is the present Queen of Antigua and Barbuda, having served in that position since the islands' independence from the United Kingdom in 1981. The Queen is currently represented by Governor General Dame Louise Lake-Tack (1944-) who became the first woman to hold this position. A Council of Ministers is appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister, currently Winston Baldwin Spencer (1948-). The Prime Minister is the Head of Government.

Executive power is exercised by the government while legislative power is vested in both the government and the two Chambers of Parliament. The bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (17 members appointed by members of the government and the opposition party, and approved by the Governor-General), and the House of Representatives (17 members elected by first past the post (check this entry) to serve five-year terms). The Speaker of the House is author and former St. John's University professor (New York) D. Gisele Isaac (check), while the President of the Senate is educator Hazlyn Francis-Mason.

The last elections held were on March 12, 2009, during which the Antigua Labour Party won seven seats, the United Progressive Party nine and the Barbuda People's Movement one.

Since 1949, the party system had been dominated by the populist Antigua Labour Party. However, the Antigua and Barbuda legislative election of 2004 saw the defeat of the longest-serving elected government in the Caribbean. Prime Minister Lester Bryant Bird, who had succeeded his father Vere Cornwall Bird, and Deputy Robin Yearwood had been in office since 1994.

The elder Bird was Prime Minister from 1981 to 1994 and Chief Minister of Antigua from 1960 to 1981, except for the 1971-1976 period when the Progressive Labour Movement (PLM) defeated his party. Vere Cornwall Bird, the nation's first Prime Minister, is credited with having brought Antigua and Barbuda and the Caribbean into a new era of independence.

The Judicial Branch is the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (based in Saint Lucia; one judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of the islands and presides over the High Court of Justice). In addition, Antigua is a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice. The Supreme Court of Appeal was the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council up until 2001, when the nations of the Caribbean Community voted to abolish the right of appeal to the Privy Council in favor of a Caribbean Court of Justice. Some debate between member countries repeatedly delayed the court's date of inauguration. As of March 2005 (check the status of this action), only Barbados was set to replace appeals to the Privy Council with appeals the Caribbean Court of Justice, which by then had come into operation.
[edit] Administration
Parishes of Antigua
Main article: Parishes and dependencies of Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is divided into six parishes and two dependencies:

Parishes
Saint George
Saint John
Saint Mary
Saint Paul
Saint Peter
Saint Philip
Dependencies
Barbuda
Redonda

Note: Though Barbuda and Redonda are called dependencies, they are integral parts of the state, making them essentially administrative divisions. Dependency is simply a title.
[edit] Geography
Main article: Geography of Antigua and Barbuda
[edit] Islands

Antigua - largest island
Barbuda
Bird Island
Bishop Island
Blake Island
Cinnamon Island
Codrington Island
Crump Island
Dulcina Island
Exchange Island



Five Islands
Great Bird Island
Green Island
Guiana Island
Hale Gate Island
Hawes Island
Henry Island
Johnson Island
Kid Island
Laviscounts Island



Lobster Island
Long Island
Maid Island
Moor Island
Nanny Island
Pelican Island
Prickly Pear Island
Rabbit Island
Rat Island
Red Head Island



Redonda
Sandy Island
Smith Island
The Sisters
Vernon Island
Wicked Will Island
York Island

[edit] Military
Wiki letter w cropped.svg This section requires expansion.

The Royal Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force has 285 members; within it, 200 12-to-18-year-old youngsters make up the Antigua and Barbuda Cadet Corps.
[edit] Economy

Tourism dominates the economy, accounting for more than half of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Antigua is famous for its many luxury resorts. Weak tourist activity since early 2000 has slowed the economy, however, and squeezed the government into a tight fiscal corner.

Investment banking and financial services also make up an important part of the economy. Major world banks with offices in Antigua include the Bank of America (Bank of Antigua), Barclays, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and Scotia Bank. Financial-services corporations with offices in Antigua include PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has accused the Antigua-based Stanford International Bank, owned by Texas billionaire Allen Stanford, of orchestrating a huge fraud which may have bilked investors of some $8 billion.[4] (check status 20100312)

The twin-island nation's agricultural production is focused on its domestic market and constrained by a limited water supply and a labor shortage stemming from the lure of higher wages in tourism and construction work.

Manufacturing is made up of enclave-type assembly for export, the major products being bedding, handicrafts and electronic components. Prospects for economic growth in the medium term will continue to depend on income growth in the industrialized world, especially in the United States, from which about one-third of all tourists come.

Following the opening of the American University of Antigua College of Medicine by investor and attorney Neil Simon in 2003, a new source of revenue was established. The university employs many local Antiguans and the approximate 1000 students consume a large amount of the goods and services.
[edit] Demographics
Main article: Demographics of Antigua and Barbuda
Demographics of Antigua and Barbuda, Data of FAO, year 2005. Number of inhabitants in thousands.
[edit] Ethnicity

Antigua has a population of 85,632, mostly made up of people of West African, British, and Portuguese descent. The ethnic distribution consists of 91% Black or Mulatto, 4.4% mixed race, 1.7% White, and 2.9% other (primarily East Indian and Asian). Most Whites are of Irish or British descent. Christian Levantine Arabs, and a small number of Asians and Sephardic Jews make up the remainder of the population.

Behind the late 20th-century revival and redefinition of the role of Afro-Antiguans and Barbudans in the society's cultural life is a history of racial/ethnic tensions which systematically excluded non-Whites. Within the colonial framework established by the British soon after their initial settlement of Antigua in 1623, five distinct and carefully ranked racial/ethnic groups emerged.

At the top of this social structure were the British, who justified their hegemony with arguments of White Supremacy and civilizing missions. Amongst them were divisions between British Antiguans and non-creolized Britons, with the latter coming out on top. In short, this was a racial/ethnic hierarchy which gave maximum recognition to people and cultural practices of Anglican origin.

Immediately below the British were the mulattos, a mixed-race group of Afro-European origin. Mulattos, lighter in shade than most Africans, developed a complex system based on skin shade to distinguish themselves from the latter and to legitimate their claims to higher status. In many ways, they paralleled the British White Supremacy ideology.

In the middle of this social stratification were the Portuguese, 2,500 of whom migrated as workers from Madeira (a Portuguese archipelago in the North Atlantic, to the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula) between 1847 and 1852 because of a severe famine there. Many established small businesses and joined the ranks of the mulatto class. The British never really considered the Portuguese as Whites and did not allow them into their ranks. Amongst Antiguans and Barbudans of Portuguese descent, status differences were based on the varying degrees of assimilation into the dominant group's Anglicized practices.

Next to the bottom were Middle Easterners who began migrating to Antigua and Barbuda around the turn of the 20th century. Starting as itinerant traders, they soon worked their way into the social mix. Although Middle Easterners came from a variety of areas, as a group they are usually referred to as Syrians.

Afro-Antiguans and Afro-Barbudans were at the bottom. Forced into slavery, Africans started arriving in Antigua and Barbuda in large numbers during the 1670s. Very quickly, they grew into the largest racial/ethnic group. Their entry into the local social structure was marked by a profound racialization: They ceased being Yoruba, Igbo, or Akan and became Negroes or Blacks.[citation needed]

In the 20th century, the colonial social structure gradually started to be phased out with the introduction of universal education and better economic opportunities. This process allowed Blacks to rise to the highest echelons of society and government.

In the last decade,[when?] Spanish-speaking immigrants from the Dominican Republic and Afro-Caribbean immigrants from Guyana and Dominique were added to this ethnic mosaic. They have entered at the social structure's bottom; it is still too early to predict their patterns of assimilation and social mobility.

Today, an increasingly large percentage of the population lives abroad, most notably in the United Kingdom (Antiguan Britons), United States and Canada. A minority of Antiguan residents are immigrants from other countries, particularly from Dominica, Guyana and Jamaica, and, increasing, from the Dominican Republic, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Nigeria. An estimated 4,500 American citizens also make their home in Antigua and Barbuda, making their numbers one of the largest American populations in the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean.[5]
[edit] Religion
St. John's Cathedral

Seventy-four percent [6] of Antiguans are Christians, with the Anglican denomination (about 44%) being the largest. Other Christian denominations present are Baptists,[7] Presbyterians[8][9] and Catholics.

Non-Christian religions practiced in the islands include the Rastafari Movement, Islam, Judaism and the Bahá'í Faith.
[edit] Languages

English is the official language, but many of the locals speak Antiguan Creole. The Barbudan accent is slightly different from the Antiguan.

In the years before Antigua and Barbuda's independence, Standard English was widely spoken in preference to Antiguan Creole, but afterwards Antiguans began treating Antiguan Creole as a respectable aspect of their culture. Generally, the upper and middle classes shun Antiguan Creole. The educational system dissuades the use of Antiguan Creole and instruction is done in Standard (British) English.

Many of the words used in the Antiguan dialect are derived from British as well as African languages. This can be easily seen in phrases such as: "Me nah go" meaning "I am not going". Another example is: "Ent it?" meaning "Ain't it?" which is itself dialectical and means "Isn't it?". Common island proverbs often can be traced to Africa.
[edit] Culture
See also: Cuisine of Antigua and Barbuda and Music of Antigua and Barbuda

The culture is predominantly British: For example, cricket is the national sport and Antigua has produced several famous cricket players including Sir Vivian Richards, Anderson "Andy" Roberts, and Richard "Richie" Richardson. Other popular sports include football, boat racing and surfing (the Antigua Sailing Week attracts locals and visitors from all over the world).

American popular culture and fashion also have a heavy influence. Most of the country's media is made up of major United States networks. attention to Aailable at boutiques in St. John's and elsewhere, although many Antiguans prefer to make a special shopping trip to St. Martin, North America, or San Juan in Puerto Rico.

Family and religion play an important roles in the lives of Antiguans. Most attend religious services on Sunday, although there is a growing number of Seventh-day Adventists who observe the Sabbath on Saturday.[citation needed]

The national Carnival held each August commemorates the abolition of slavery in the British West Indies, although on some islands, Carnival may celebrate the coming of Lent. Its festive pageants, shows, contests and other activities are a major tourist attraction.

Calypso and soca music are important in Antigua and Barbuda.[citation needed]

Corn and sweet potatoes play an important role in Antiguan cuisine. For example, a popular Antiguan dish, Dukuna (DOO-koo-NAH) is a sweet, steamed dumpling made from grated sweet potatoes, flour and spices. One of the Antiguan staple foods, fungi (FOON-ji), is a cooked paste made of cornmeal and water.
[edit] Media

Up until April 2010 there were two daily newspapers: Daily Observer and which also published newspapers on other Caribbean islands. Antigua Sun has ceased operation in April. It has been in circulation for 13 years. Besides most American television networks, the local channel ABS TV 10 is available (it is the only station which shows exclusively local programs). There are also several local and regional radio stations, such as V2C-AM 620, ZDK-AM 1100, VYBZ-FM 92.9, and ZDK-FM 97.1.
[edit] Sports
Antigua Recreation Ground
See also: Cricket in the West Indies

Like many Commonwealth countries, cricket is the most popular sport. The 2007 Cricket World Cup was hosted in the West Indies from March 11 to April 28, 2007. Antigua hosted eight matches at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, which was completed on February 11, 2007 and can hold up to 20,000 people. Antigua is a Host of Stanford Twenty20 - Twenty20 Cricket, a version started by Allen Stanford in 2006 as a regional cricket game with almost all Caribbean islands taking part. Antiguan Viv Richards scored the fastest Test Century and Brian Lara twice scored the World Test Record at the Antigua Recreation Ground.

Association football is also a very popular sport. Antigua does have a national football team but it is inexperienced. They have also formed a professional team, Antigua Barracuda FC, which is slated to join the USL First Division in 2011.

Athletics are popular. Talented athletes are trained from a young age, and Antigua and Barbuda has produced a few fairly adept athletes. Janill Williams, a young athlete with much promise comes from Gray's Farm, Antigua. Sonia Williams and Heather Samuel represented Antigua and Barbuda at the Olympic Games. Other prominent rising stars include Brendan Christian (100 m, 200 m), Daniel Bailey (100 m, 200 m) and James Grayman (high jump).

Antigua can boast of some excellent tennis players, most notably Brian Philip #1 and Roberto Esposito #2 on the island for under-18 tournaments, who both are also involved in under-18 ITF tournaments. Their coach's (Eli Armstrong) daughter Keishora Armstrong, who will be turning 13 later this year, is the under-18's champion on the girls' circuit.
[edit] Education

The people of Antigua & Barbuda enjoy a more-than-90% literacy rate. In 1998, Antigua and Barbuda adopted a national mandate to become the pre-eminent provider of medical services in the Caribbean. As part of this mission, Antigua and Barbu

Argentina
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For alternative meanings, see Argentina (disambiguation) and Argentine (disambiguation).

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Argentine Republic[1]
República Argentina (Spanish)

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "En unión y libertad" (Spanish)
"In Unity and Freedom"
Anthem: "Himno Nacional Argentino" (Spanish)
"Argentine National Anthem"
United States Navy Band - Himno Nacional Argentino.ogg

The Argentine claims in Antarctica (overlapping the Chilean and British Antarctic claims) along with the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the South Sandwich Islands (administered by the United Kingdom) shown in light green.

The Argentine claims in Antarctica (overlapping the Chilean and British Antarctic claims) along with the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the South Sandwich Islands (administered by the United Kingdom) shown in light green.
Capital
(and largest city) Buenos Aires
34°36′S 58°23′W
Official language(s) Spanish (de facto)
Recognised regional languages Araucano, Guaraní, Quechua, Welsh[2][3]
Ethnic groups (2005[4][5]) 86.4% European
8.5% Mestizo
3.3% Arab
1.6% Amerindian
0.4% Asian and others
Demonym Argentine, Argentinian, Argentinean
Government Federal representative presidential republic
- President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
- Vice President and President of the Senate
Julio Cobos
- Supreme Court President Ricardo Lorenzetti
Legislature Congress
- Upper House Senate
- Lower House Chamber of Deputies
Independence Spain from Spain
- May Revolution 25 May 1810
- Declared 9 July 1816
- Current constitution 1 May 1853
Area
- Total 2,766,890 km2 (8th)
1,068,302 sq mi
- Water (%) 1.1
Population
- 2010 census 40,117,096[6] (32nd)
- Density 14.49/km2 (207th)
37.53/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $642.4 billion[7] (22nd)
- Per capita $15,854[7] (51st)
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $370.3 billion[7] (27th)
- Per capita $9,138[7] (62nd)
Gini (2010) 41.4[8] (high)
HDI (2010) increase 0.775[9] (high) (46th)
Currency Peso ($) (ARS)
Time zone ART (UTC-3)
Date formats dd.mm.yyyy (CE)
Drives on the right (trains ride on the left)
ISO 3166 code AR
Internet TLD .ar
Calling code +54

Argentina Listeni/ˌɑrdʒənˈtiːnə/, officially the Argentine Republic (Spanish: República Argentina, pronounced [reˈpuβlika arxenˈtina]), is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires. It is the eighth-largest country in the world by land area and the largest among Spanish-speaking nations.

Argentina's continental area is between the Andes mountain range in the west and the Atlantic Ocean in the east. It borders Paraguay and Bolivia to the north, Brazil and Uruguay to the northeast, and Chile to the west and south. Argentine claims over Antarctica, as well as overlapping claims made by Chile and the United Kingdom, are suspended by the Antarctic Treaty of 1961. Argentina also claims the Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which are administered by the United Kingdom as British Overseas Territories.

A recognised middle power,[10] Argentina is Latin America's third-largest economy,[11] with a high rating on the Human development index.[9] Within Latin America, Argentina has the fifth highest nominal GDP per capita and the highest in purchasing power terms.[12] Analysts[13] have argued that the country has a "foundation for future growth due to its market size, levels of foreign direct investment, and percentage of high-tech exports as share of total manufactured goods", and it is classed by investors as an emerging economy. Argentina is a founding member of the United Nations, Mercosur, the Union of South American Nations, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the World Bank Group and the World Trade Organization, and is one of the G-15 and G-20 major economies.
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Early history
2.2 Colonial Period
2.3 Building of a nation-state
2.4 Modern history
2.5 Contemporary history
3 Politics
3.1 Foreign policy
3.2 Military
4 Provinces
5 Geography
5.1 Climate
5.2 Biodiversity
6 Economy
6.1 History
6.2 Science and technology
7 Demographics
7.1 Ethnography
7.2 Religion
7.3 Language
7.4 Urbanization
7.5 Largest cities
8 Culture
8.1 Literature
8.2 Visual arts
8.3 Film and theatre
8.4 Music
8.5 Media
8.6 Sports
8.7 Cuisine
8.8 National emblems
9 Education
10 Health care
11 See also
12 References
13 Sources
14 External links

Etymology
Main article: Name of Argentina

Argentina is derived from the poetic Spanish argento ("silver"). The first use of Argentina can be traced to the 1602 poem La Argentina y conquista del Río de la Plata (Argentina and the conquest of the silver river) by Martín del Barco Centenera. Although this name for the La Plata Basin was already in common usage by the 18th century, the area was formally called Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776. The autonomous governments that emerged from the 1810 May Revolution replaced "Viceroyalty" with "United Provinces".

One of the first prominent uses of the demonym "Argentine" was in the 1812 first Argentine National Anthem, which made reference to the ongoing Argentine War of Independence. The first formal use of the name was in the 1826 constitution, which used both the terms "Argentine Republic" and "Argentine Nation".[14] The Constitution was repealed, and the territories were instead known as the "Argentine Confederation". This name was used in the 1853 Constitution, being changed to that of the "Argentine Nation" in 1859, and to the "Argentine Republic" per an 1860 decree, when the country achieved its current organization. Nevertheless, the names of the "United Provinces of the Río de la Plata", "Argentine Republic" and "Argentine Confederation" are acknowledged as legitimate names of the country.[1]
History
Main article: History of Argentina
Early history
Cueva de las Manos, over 10,000 years old, is among the oldest evidence of indigenous culture in the Americas.

The earliest evidence of humans in Argentina dates from 11,000 BC and was found in Patagonia (Piedra Museo, Santa Cruz). These finds were of the Diaguitas, Huarpes, and Sanavirones indigenous peoples, among others. The Inca Empire, under Sapa-Inca Pachacutec, invaded and conquered present-day north-western Argentina in 1480, a feat usually attributed to Túpac Inca Yupanqui. The tribes of Omaguacas, Atacamas, Huarpes and Diaguitas were defeated and integrated into a region called Collasuyu. Others, such as the Sanavirones, Lule-Tonocoté, and Comechingones, resisted the Incas and remained independent from them. The Guaraní developed a culture based on yuca, sweet potato, and yerba mate. The central and southern areas (Pampas and Patagonia) were dominated by nomadic cultures, the most populous among them being the Mapuches.[15] The Atacaman settlement of Tastil in the north had an estimated population of 2,000 people, the highest populated area in pre-Columbian Argentina.

The most advanced indigenous populations were the Charrúas and Guaraníes, who developed some basic agriculture and the use of pottery. Most of their population were located at other sites of South America however, and their presence at the territory of modern Argentina was scarce by comparison.[16]
Colonial Period
See also: Government of the Río de la Plata, Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, and May Revolution
William Carr Beresford surrenders to Santiago de Liniers at the end of the first of the British invasions of the Río de la Plata.

European explorers arrived in 1516. Spain established the Viceroyalty of Peru in 1542, encompassing all its holdings in South America. Their first settlement in modern Argentina was the Fort of Sancti Spiritu established in 1527 next to the Paraná River. Buenos Aires, a permanent colony, was established in 1536 but was destroyed by natives. The city was established again in 1580 as part of the Governorate of the Río de la Plata.

The area which encompassed much of the territory that would later become Argentina was largely a territory of Spanish immigrants and their descendants (known as criollos), mestizos, native cultures, and descendants of African slaves. A third of Colonial-era settlers gathered in Buenos Aires and other cities, others lived on the pampas, as gauchos for example. Indigenous peoples inhabited much of the remainder and most of Patagonia and Gran Chaco remained under indigenous control.

Buenos Aires became the capital of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776, which was created over some former territories of the Viceroyalty of Peru. The Río de la Plata area was forced to import goods overland via Lima after 1595, and a reliance on contraband emerged. After 1776, however, Buenos Aires flourished as a commercial hub. In 1806 and 1807 the city was the site of two ill-fated British invasions. The resistance was headed both times by the French Santiago de Liniers, who would become viceroy through popular support. The news of the overthrow of the Spanish King Ferdinand VII during the Peninsular War created great concern in the Viceroyalty. The May Revolution of 1810 took place in Buenos Aires, removing Viceroy Cisneros from government and replacing him by the Primera Junta.
Building of a nation-state
See also: Argentine War of Independence and Argentine Civil Wars
Historical states
in present-day
Argentina
Jujuy-Tilcara-Pucara-P3130012.JPG
[show] before 1500
[show] 1500-1600
[show] 1600-1700
[show] 1700-1800
[show] 1800-present
more
José de San Martín, Liberator of Argentina, Chile and Peru

During the following decade a war for independence ensued in the former Viceroyalty, its regions divided between patriots and royalists. While the cities of present-day Argentina would align with the independents after 1811, the other regions would follow differing paths: Paraguay seceded, declaring its independence from Spain 1811 and from Argentina in 1842. Upper Peru was disputed with the royalists from Peru until it declared independence as Bolivia in 1824. The eastern bank of the Uruguay river was invaded by the Brazilian-Portuguese Empire in 1817 and declared independence as Uruguay in 1828 after the Argentina-Brazil War.

Internal conflicts would cause political instability within the patriots. In just four years the Primera Junta was replaced by the Junta Grande, the first and second triumvirates, and the first Supreme Director. In 1813 an Assembly convened to declare independence but it could not do so due to political disputes. A Civil War ensued between the provinces joined into the Federal League and the Supreme Directorship.

By 1816 the United Provinces of South America were under severe internal and external threats. In July a new Congress declared independence and named Juan Martín de Pueyrredón as the Supreme Director. The military campaign became the responsibility of José de San Martín, who led an army across the Andes in 1817 and defeated the Chilean royalists. With the Chilean navy at his disposal he then took the fight to the royalist stronghold of Lima. San Martín's military campaigns complemented those of Simón Bolívar in Gran Colombia and led to the independent's victory in the Spanish American wars of independence.

The 1820 Battle of Cepeda, fought between the Centralists and the Federalists, resulted in the end of the centralized national authority and created a power vacuum. A new constitution was enacted in 1826, during the War with Brazil, when Bernardino Rivadavia was elected the first President of Argentina. This constitution was soon rejected by the provinces, due to its Centralist bias, and Rivadavia resigned shortly after. The provinces then reorganized themselves as the Argentine Confederation, a loose confederation of provinces that lacked a common head of state. They would instead delegate some important powers to the governor of Buenos Aires Province, such as debt payment or the management of international relations.

Governor Juan Manuel de Rosas ruled from 1829 to 1832, and from 1835 to 1852. During his first term he convened the Pacto Federal and defeated the Unitarian League. After 1835 he was given the "Sum of public power". He faced unitarian resistance and a constant state of war, including a French blockade from 1838 to 1840, the War of the Confederation in the north, an Anglo-French blockade from 1845 to 1850, and the Corrientes Province revolt. Rosas remained undefeated during this series of conflicts and prevented further loss of national territory. His refusal to enact a national constitution, pursuant to the Pacto Federal, led to Entre Ríos Province Governor Justo José de Urquiza's reclaiming provincial sovereignty. He defeated Rosas at the Battle of Caseros, forcing him into exile. The San Nicolás Agreement followed and in 1853 the Constitution of Argentina was promulgated. Following the secession of the State of Buenos Aires from the Confederation, and its later return, Bartolomé Mitre was elected the first president of the unified country in 1862. National unity was further advanced by the War of the Triple Alliance,[17] which left over 300,000 dead and devastated Paraguay.[18]

After 1875 a wave of foreign investment and immigration from Europe led to the strengthening of a cohesive state, the development of modern agriculture and to a near-reinvention of Argentine society and economy. The rule of law was consolidated, in large measure, by Dalmacio Vélez Sársfield whose 1860 Commercial Code and 1869 Civil Code laid the foundation for Argentina's statutory laws. General Julio Argentino Roca's military campaign in the 1870s established Argentine dominance over the southern Pampas and Patagonia, subdued the remaining native peoples, and left 1,300 indigenous dead.[19][20] Waged to suppress Malón raids, some contemporary sources indicate that the "Conquest of the Desert" was a campaign of genocide by the Argentine government.[21]
Modern history
See also: Peronism, Dirty War, and Falklands War
Juan Perón and his influential wife, Eva.

Argentina increased in prosperity and prominence between 1880 and 1929 and emerged as one of the ten richest countries in the world, benefiting from an agricultural export-led economy as well as British and French investment. Driven by immigration and decreasing mortality the Argentine population grew fivefold and the economy 15-fold.[22] Conservative élites dominated Argentine politics through nominally democratic means until 1912, when President Roque Sáenz Peña enacted universal male suffrage and the secret ballot. This allowed their traditional rivals, the centrist Radical Civic Union, to win the country's first free elections in 1916. President Hipólito Yrigoyen enacted social and economic reforms and extended assistance to family farmers and small business. Yrigoyen was overthrown by a coup in 1930, however, which led to another decade of Conservative rule. The Concordance regime strengthened ties with the British Empire and their electoral policy was one of "patriotic fraud". The country was neutral during World War I and most of World War II, becoming an important source of foodstuffs for the Allied Nations.[22]

In 1946, General Juan Perón was elected president, creating a populist movement referred to as "Peronism". His wife Eva was popular and played a central political role until her death in 1952, mostly through the Eva Perón Foundation and the Female Peronist Party,[23] as women's suffrage was granted in 1947. During Perón's tenure, wages and working conditions improved appreciably, unionization was fostered, strategic industries and services were nationalized, as well as import substitution industrialization and urban development being prioritized in the agrarian sector.[24]

Formerly stable prices and exchange rates were disrupted however: the peso lost around 70% of its value from 1948 to 1950, and inflation reached 50% in 1951.[25] Foreign policy became more isolationist, straining US-Argentine relations. Perón intensified censorship as well as repression: 110 publications were shuttered,[26] and numerous opposition figures were imprisoned and tortured.[27] Advancing a personality cult, Perón rid himself of many important and capable advisers while promoting patronage. A bombing of Plaza de Mayo was followed some months later by a violent coup which deposed him in 1955. He fled into exile, eventually residing in Spain.
Arturo Frondizi (right) and his chief economic adviser, Rogelio Frigerio, whose policies promoted greater self-sufficiency in energy and industry.

Following an attempt to purge the Peronist influence and the banning of Peronists from political life, elections in 1958 brought Arturo Frondizi to office. Frondizi enjoyed some support from Perón's followers, and his policies encouraged investment to make the country self-sufficient in energy and industry, helping reverse a chronic trade deficit for Argentina. The military frequently interfered on behalf of conservative, agrarian interests however, and the results were mixed.[22] Frondizi was forced to resign in 1962. Arturo Illia was elected in 1963 and enacted expansionist policies but, despite prosperity, his attempts to include Peronists in the political process resulted in the armed forces retaking power in a quiet 1966 coup.

Though repressive, this new regime continued to encourage domestic development and invested record amounts into public works. The economy grew strongly and income poverty declined to 7% by 1975. Partly because of their repressiveness, however, political violence began to escalate and Perón, still in exile, skilfully co-opted student and labor protests which eventually resulted in the military regime's call for free elections in 1973, and Perón's return from Spain.[15]
Poster from the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo NGO, with photos of the disappeared

Taking office that year, Perón died in July 1974 leaving his third wife Isabel, the Vice President, to succeed him in office. Mrs. Perón had been chosen as a compromise among feuding Peronist factions who could agree on no other running mate; secretly though, she was beholden to Perón's most fascist advisers. The resulting conflict, between left and right-wing extremists, led to mayhem, financial chaos and a coup d'état in March 1976 which removed her from office.

The self-styled National Reorganization Process intensified measures against armed groups on the far left, such as People's Revolutionary Army and the Montoneros who had kidnapped and murdered people almost weekly since 1970.[28] Repression was quickly extended to the opposition in general and, during the "Dirty War", thousands of dissidents "disappeared". These abuses were aided and abetted by the CIA in Operation Condor, with many of the military leaders that took part in abuses trained in the School of the Americas.[29]

The new dictatorship brought some stability at first, and built numerous important public works, but frequent wage freezes and deregulation of finance led to a sharp fall in living standards and record foreign debt.[22] Deindustrialization, the peso's collapse, and crushing real interest rates, as well as unprecedented corruption, public revulsion over the Dirty War, and finally the 1982 defeat by the British in the Falklands War, discredited the military regime and led to free elections in 1983.
Contemporary history
See also: Argentine economic crisis (1999-2002) and Kirchnerism
Carlos Menem receives the Presidential sash from Raúl Alfonsín in 1989. This was the first democratic transfer of power between opposing political parties in Argentina since 1916.

Raúl Alfonsín's government took steps to account for the disappeared, established civilian control of the armed forces, and consolidated democratic institutions. The members of the three military juntas were prosecuted and sentenced to life terms. The previous regime's foreign debt, however, left the Argentine economy saddled by the conditions imposed on it by both its private creditors and the International Monetary Fund, and priority was given to servicing the foreign debt at the expense of public works and domestic credit. Alfonsín's failure to resolve worsening economic problems caused him to lose public confidence. Following a 1989 currency crisis that resulted in a sudden and ruinous 15-fold jump in prices, he left office five months early.[30]

Newly elected President Carlos Menem began pursuing privatizations and, after a second bout of hyperinflation in 1990, reached out to economist Domingo Cavallo, who imposed a peso-US$ fixed exchange rate in 1991 and adopted far-reaching market-based policies, dismantling protectionist barriers and business regulations, while accelerating privatizations. These reforms contributed to significant increases in investment and growth with stable prices through most of the 1990s; but the peso's fixed value could only be maintained by flooding the market with dollars, resulting in a renewed increase in the foreign debt. Towards 1998, moreover, a series of international financial crises and overvaluation of the pegged peso caused a gradual slide into economic crisis. The sense of stability and well being which had prevailed during the 1990s eroded quickly, and by the end of his term in 1999, the

Armenia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the modern-day republic. For other uses, see Armenia (disambiguation).
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Republic of Armenia
Հայաստանի Հանրապետություն
Hayastani Hanrapetut'yun

Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: Մեր Հայրենիք (Armenian)
Mer Hayrenik (transcription)
"Our Fatherland"
Mer Hayrenik instrumental.ogg

Capital
(and largest city) Yerevan
40°11′N 44°31′E
Official language(s) Armenian[1]
Ethnic groups 97.9% Armenian,
1.3% Yazidis,
0.5% Russian,
0.3% others.[2]
Demonym Armenian
Government Presidential republic[3]
- President Serzh Sargsyan
- Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan
- Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan
Formation and independence
- Traditional date 11 August 2492 BC
- Nairi 1200 BC
- Kingdom of Ararat 840s BC
- Orontid Dynasty 560 BC
- Kingdom of Armenia
formed
190 BC
- Democratic Republic of Armenia established
28 May 1918
- Independence
from the Soviet Union
Declared
Recognised
Finalised


23 August 1990
21 September 1991
25 December 1991
Area
- Total 29,743 km2 (141st)
11,484 sq mi
- Water (%) 4.71[4]
Population
- 2010 estimate 3,262,200 increase[5][6] (134th)
- Density 108.4/km2 (99th)
280.7/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $16.858 billion[7]
- Per capita $5,110[7]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $9.389 billion[7]
- Per capita $2,846[7]
Gini (2006) 37[8] (medium)
HDI (2010) increase 0.695[9] (high) (76th)
Currency Dram (դր.) (AMD)
Time zone UTC (UTC+4)
- Summer (DST) DST (UTC+5)
Drives on the Right
ISO 3166 code AM
Internet TLD .am
Calling code 374
Patron saint St. Bartholomew the Apostle, St. Gregory the Illuminator, St. Jude the Apostle, Virgin Mary

Armenia Listeni/ɑrˈmiːniə/ (Armenian: Հայաստան Hayastan [hɑjɑsˈtɑn]), officially the Republic of Armenia (Հայաստանի Հանրապետություն, Hayastani Hanrapetut'yun, [hɑjɑstɑˈni hɑnɾɑpɛtuˈtʰjun]), is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe,[10] it is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, the de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan to the south.

A former republic of the Soviet Union, Armenia is a unitary, multiparty, democratic nation-state with an ancient and historic cultural heritage. The Kingdom of Armenia became the first state to adopt Christianity as its religion[11] in the early years of the 4th century (the traditional date is 301).[12] The modern Republic of Armenia recognizes the Armenian Apostolic Church as the national church of Armenia, although the republic has separation of church and state.[13]

Armenia is a member of more than 40 international organisations, including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Asian Development Bank, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the World Trade Organization, World Customs Organization, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, and La Francophonie. It is a member of the CSTO military alliance, and also participates in NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme. In 2004 its forces joined KFOR, a NATO-led international force in Kosovo. It is also an observer member of the Eurasian Economic Community and the Non-Aligned Movement. The country is an emerging democracy, and is currently in a negotiation process with the European Union, of which it may become an Associate Member in the near future.[14][15][16][17] The Government of Armenia holds European integration as a key priority in its foreign policy as it is considered a European country by the European Union.[18][19][20][21][22][23]
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Antiquity
2.2 Middle Ages
2.3 Early Modern era
2.4 World War I and the Armenian Genocide
2.5 Democratic Republic of Armenia (DRA)
2.6 Soviet Armenia
2.7 Restoration of independence
3 Geography
3.1 Location
3.2 Topography
3.3 Environment
3.4 Climate
4 Government and politics
4.1 Foreign relations
4.2 Human rights
4.3 Military
4.4 Administrative divisions
5 Economy
6 Demographics
6.1 Cities
6.2 Diaspora
6.3 Ethnic groups
6.4 Languages
6.5 Health
6.6 Religion
6.7 Education
7 Culture
7.1 Music and Dance
7.2 Art
7.3 Sport
8 See also
9 References
10 External links

Etymology
Main articles: Armenia (name) and Hayk

The native Armenian name for the country is Hayk'. The name in the Middle Ages was extended to Hayastan, by addition of the Iranian suffix -stan (land). The name has traditionally been derived from Hayk (Հայկ), the legendary patriarch of the Armenians and a great-great-grandson of Noah, who according to Moses of Chorene defeated the Babylonian king Bel in 2492 BC, and established his nation in the Ararat region.[24] The further origin of the name is uncertain.

The exonym Armenia is attested in the Old Persian Behistun inscription (515 BC) as Armina (Old Persian a.png Old Persian ra.png Old Persian mi.png Old Persian i.png Old Persian na.png). Ancient Greek Armenia, Αρμενια Αρμένιοι "Armenians" is first mentioned by Hecataeus of Miletus (476 BC).[25] Xenophon, a Greek general serving in some of the Persian expeditions, describes many aspects of Armenian village life and hospitality. He relates that the people spoke a language that to his ear sounded like the language of the Persians.[26] According to the histories of both Moses of Chorene and Michael Chamich, Armenia derives from the name of Aram, a lineal descendent of Hayk.[27][28]
History
Main article: History of Armenia
Antiquity
Main articles: Prehistoric Armenia, Prehistory of the Armenians, Roman Armenia, and Armenia (Roman province)
The Kingdom of Armenia at its greatest extent under Tigranes the Great, who reigned between 95 and 66 BC

Armenia lies in the highlands surrounding the Biblical mountains of Ararat, upon which Noah's Ark is said to have come to rest after the flood. (Bible, Gen. 8:4). Recent archeological studies have found the world's earliest leather shoe,[29] skirt, and wine-producing facility[30] in Armenia, dated to about 4000 B.C. This points to an advanced early civilization In the Bronze Age; several states flourished in the area of Greater Armenia, including the Hittite Empire (at the height of its power), Mitanni (South-Western historical Armenia), and Hayasa-Azzi (1500-1200 BC). The Nairi people (12th to 9th centuries BC) and the Kingdom of Urartu (1000-600 BC) successively established their sovereignty over the Armenian Highland. Each of the aforementioned nations and tribes participated in the ethnogenesis of the Armenian people.[31][32][33][34] Yerevan, the modern capital of Armenia, was founded in 782 BC by king Argishti I.
Roman temple at Garni

Around 600 BC, the Kingdom of Armenia was established under the Orontid Dynasty. The kingdom reached its height between 95 and 66 BC under Tigranes the Great, becoming one of the most powerful kingdoms of its time within the region. Throughout its history, the kingdom of Armenia enjoyed periods of independence intermitted with periods of autonomy subject to contemporary empires. Armenia's strategic location between two continents has subjected it to invasions by many peoples, including the Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Mongols, Persians, Ottoman Turks and Russians.

Armenia was historically Mazdean Zoroastrian (as opposed to the Zurvanite Sassanid dynasty), particularly focused on the worship of Mihr (Avestan Mithra), and Christianity spread into the country as early as AD 40. King Tiridates III (AD 238-314) made Christianity the state religion in AD 301,[35][36] becoming the first officially Christian state, ten years before the Roman Empire granted Christianity an official toleration under Galerius, and 36 years before Constantine the Great was baptized.

After the fall of the Armenian kingdom in AD 428, most of Armenia was incorporated as a marzpanate within the Sassanid Empire. Following an Armenian rebellion in AD 451, Christian Armenians maintained their religious freedom, while Armenia gained autonomy.
Middle Ages
Main article: Medieval Armenia
Etchmiadzin Cathedral - the oldest church built by the state in the world.

After the Marzpanate period (428-636), Armenia emerged as the Emirate of Armenia, an autonomous principality within the Arabic Empire, reuniting Armenian lands previously taken by the Byzantine Empire as well. The principality was ruled by the Prince of Armenia, recognised by the Caliph and the Byzantine Emperor. It was part of the administrative division/emirate Arminiyya created by the Arabs, which also included parts of Georgia and Caucasian Albania, and had its center in the Armenian city Dvin. The Principality of Armenia lasted until 884, when it regained its independence from the weakened Arabic Empire.

The re-emergent Armenian kingdom was ruled by the Bagratuni dynasty, and lasted until 1045. In time, several areas of the Bagratid Armenia separated as independent kingdoms and principalities such as the Kingdom of Vaspurakan ruled by the House of Artsruni, while still recognizing the supremacy of the Bagratid kings.
The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, 1199-1375.

In 1045, the Byzantine Empire conquered Bagratid Armenia. Soon, the other Armenian states fell under Byzantine control as well. The Byzantine rule was short lived, as in 1071 Seljuk Turks defeated the Byzantines and conquered Armenia at the Battle of Manzikert, establishing the Seljuk Empire. To escape death or servitude at the hands of those who had assassinated his relative, Gagik II, King of Ani, an Armenian named Roupen went with some of his countrymen into the gorges of the Taurus Mountains and then into Tarsus of Cilicia. The Byzantine governor of the palace gave them shelter where the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia was eventually established.

Cilicia was a strong ally of the European Crusaders, and saw itself as a bastion of Christendom in the East. Cilicia's significance in Armenian history and statehood is also attested by the transfer of the seat of the Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church, spiritual leader of the Armenian people, to the region.

The Seljuk Empire soon started to collapse. In the early 12th century, Armenian princes of the Zakarid noble family established a semi-independent Armenian principality in Northern and Eastern Armenia, known as Zakarid Armenia, lasted under patronages of Seljuks, Georgian Kingdom, Atabegs of Azerbaijan and Khwarezmid Empire. The noble family of Orbelians shared control with the Zakarids in various parts of the country, especially in Syunik and Vayots Dzor.
Early Modern era
Further information: Ottoman Armenia, Russian Armenia, Persian Armenia
Yerevan fortress siege by forces of Tsarist Russia (XVIII century painter Rubo)

During the 1230s, the Mongol Empire conquered the Zakaryan Principality, as well as the rest of Armenia. The Mongolian invasions were soon followed by those of other Central Asian tribes (Kara Koyunlu, Timurid and Ak Koyunlu), which continued from the 13th century until the 15th century. After incessant invasions, each bringing destruction to the country, Armenia in time became weakened. During the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire and Safavid Persia divided Armenia among themselves. From 1604 Abbas I of Persia implemented a "scorched earth" policy in the region to protect his north-western frontier against any invading Ottoman forces, a policy which involved the forced resettlement of many Armenians from their homelands.[37] The Russian Empire later incorporated Eastern Armenia (consisting of the Erivan and Karabakh khanates[38] within Persia) in 1813 and 1828.[39]

Under Ottoman rule, the Armenians were granted considerable autonomy within their own enclaves and lived in relative harmony with other groups in the empire (including the ruling Turks). However, as Christians under a strict Muslim social system, Armenians faced pervasive discrimination. When they began pushing for more rights within the Ottoman Empire, Sultan 'Abdu'l-Hamid II, in response, organised state-sponsored massacres against the Armenians between 1894 and 1896, resulting in an estimated death toll of 80,000 to 300,000 people. The Hamidian massacres, as they came to be known, gave Hamid international infamy as the "Red Sultan" or "Bloody Sultan".

The Ottoman Empire began to collapse and in 1908 the Young Turk Revolution overthrew the government of Sultan Hamid. Armenians living in the empire hoped that the Committee of Union and Progress would change their second-class status. Armenian reform package (1914) was presented as a solution by appointing an inspector general over Armenian issues.[40]
World War I and the Armenian Genocide
Main article: Armenian Genocide
An Armenian woman kneeling beside dead child in field "within sight of help and safety at Aleppo."

When World War I broke out leading to confrontation of the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire in the Caucasus and Persian Campaigns, the new government in Constantinople began to look on the Armenians with distrust and suspicion. This was due to the fact that the Russian army contained a contingent of Armenian volunteers. On 24 April 1915, Armenian intellectuals were arrested by Ottoman authorities and, with the Tehcir Law (29 May 1915), eventually a large proportion of Armenians living in Anatolia perished in what has become known as the Armenian Genocide.

There was local Armenian resistance in the region, developed against the activities of the Ottoman Empire. The events of 1915 to 1917 are regarded by Armenians and the vast majority of Western historians to have been state-sponsored mass killings, or genocide.[41] Turkish authorities, however, maintain that the deaths were the result of a civil war coupled with disease and famine, with casualties incurred by both sides. According to the research conducted by Arnold J. Toynbee an estimated 600,000 Armenians died during the Armenian Genocide in 1915-16.[42]

According to the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the death toll was "more than a million".[43] Armenia and the Armenian diaspora have been campaigning for official recognition of the events as genocide for over 30 years. These events are traditionally commemorated yearly on 24 April, the Armenian Martyr Day, or the Day of the Armenian Genocide.
Democratic Republic of Armenia (DRA)
Main article: Democratic Republic of Armenia
The Government house of the Democratic Republic of Armenia (1918-1920)

Although the Russian army succeeded in gaining most of Ottoman Armenia during World War I, their gains were lost with the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.[citation needed] At the time, Russian-controlled Eastern Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan attempted to bond together in the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic. This federation, however, only lasted from February to May 1918, when all three parties decided to dissolve it. As a result, Eastern Armenia became independent as the Democratic Republic of Armenia (DRA) on 28 May.
Political divisions of Europe in 1919 showing the independent Armenian republic.

The DRA's short-lived independence was fraught with war, territorial disputes, and a mass influx of refugees from Ottoman Armenia bringing with them disease and starvation. The Entente Powers, appalled by the actions of the Ottoman government, sought to help the newly found Armenian state through relief funds and other forms of support.

At the end of the war, the victorious powers sought to divide up the Ottoman Empire. Signed between the Allied and Associated Powers and Ottoman Empire at Sèvres on 10 August 1920, the Treaty of Sèvres promised to maintain the existence of the Armenian republic and to attach the former territories of Ottoman Armenia to it. Because the new borders of Armenia were to be drawn by United States President Woodrow Wilson, Ottoman Armenia is also referred to as "Wilsonian Armenia." In addition, just days prior, on 5 August 1920, Mihran Damadian of the Armenian National Union, the de facto Armenian administration in Cilicia, declared the independence of Cilicia as an Armenian autonomous republic under French protectorate.[44]

There was even consideration of possibly making Armenia a mandate under the protection of the United States. The treaty, however, was rejected by the Turkish National Movement, and never came into effect. The movement, under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, used the treaty as the occasion to declare itself the rightful government of Turkey, replacing the monarchy based in Istanbul with a republic based in Ankara.
Armenian civilians fleeing Kars after its capture by Kazım Karabekir's forces

In 1920, Turkish nationalist forces invaded the fledgling Armenian republic from the east and the Turkish-Armenian War began. Turkish forces under the command of Kazım Karabekir captured Armenian territories that Russia had annexed in the aftermath of the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish War and occupied the old city of Alexandropol (present-day Gyumri). The violent conflict finally concluded with the Treaty of Alexandropol on 2 December 1920.

The treaty forced Armenia to disarm most of its military forces, cede more than 50% of its pre-war territory, and to give up all the "Wilsonian Armenia" granted to it at the Sèvres treaty. Simultaneously, the Soviet Eleventh Army, under the command of Grigoriy Ordzhonikidze, invaded Armenia at Karavansarai (present-day Ijevan) on 29 November. By 4 December, Ordzhonikidze's forces entered Yerevan and the short-lived Armenian republic collapsed.
Soviet Armenia
Main article: Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic
The coat of arms of Soviet Armenia depicting Mount Ararat in the center.

Armenia was annexed by Bolshevist Russia and along with Georgia and Azerbaijan, it was incorporated into the Soviet Union as part of the Transcaucasian SFSR (TSFSR) on 4 March 1922. With this annexation, the Treaty of Alexandropol was superseded by the Turkish-Soviet Treaty of Kars. In the agreement, Turkey allowed the Soviet Union to assume control over Adjara with the port city of Batumi in return for sovereignty over the cities of Kars, Ardahan, and Iğdır, all of which were part of Russian Armenia.

The TSFSR existed from 1922 to 1936, when it was divided up into three separate entities (Armenian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR, and Georgian SSR). Armenians enjoyed a period of relative stability under Soviet rule. They received medicine, food, and other provisions from Moscow, and communist rule proved to be a soothing balm in contrast to the turbulent final years of the Ottoman Empire. The situation was difficult for the church, which struggled under Soviet rule. After the death of Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin took the reins of power and began an era of renewed fear and terror for Armenians.[45] As with various other ethnic groups who lived in the Soviet Union during Stalin's Great Purge, tens of thousands of Armenians were either executed or deported.[citation needed]

Armenia was spared the devastation and destruction that wrought most of the western Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War of World War II. The Nazis never reached the South Caucasus, which they intended to do in order to capture the oil fields in Azerbaijan. Still, Armenia played a valuable role in aiding the allies both through industry and agriculture. An estimated 500,000 Armenians, out of a population of 1.4 million, were mobilised. 175,000 of these men died in the war.[46]

Fears decreased when Stalin died in 1953 and Nikita Khruschev emerged as the Soviet Union's new leader. Soon, life in Soviet Armenia began to see rapid improvement. The church which suffered greatly under Stalin was revived when Catholicos Vazgen I assumed the duties of his office in 1955. In 1967, a memorial to the victims of the Armenian Genocide was built at the Tsitsernakaberd hill above the Hrazdan gorge in Yerevan. This occurred after mass demonstrations took place on the tragic event's fiftieth anniversary in 1965.
Armenians gather at Theater Square in central Yerevan to protest Soviet policies and rule in 1988

During the Gorbachev era of the 1980s with the reforms of Glasnost and Perestroika, Armenians began to demand better environmental care for their country, opposing the pollution that Soviet-built factories brought. Tensions also developed between Soviet Azerbaijan and its autonomous district of Nagorno-Karabakh, a majority-Armenian region separated by Stalin from Armenia in 1923. About 484,000 Armenians lived in Azerbaijan in 1970.[47] The Armenians of Karabakh demanded unification with Soviet Armenia. Peaceful protests in Yerevan supporting the Karabakh Armenians were met with anti-Armenian pogroms in the Azerbaijani city of Sumgait. Compounding Armenia's problems was a devastating earthquake in 1988 with a moment magnitude of 7.2.[48]

Gorbachev's inability to alleviate any of Armenia's problems created disillusionment among the Armenians and fed a growing hunger for independence. In May 1990, the New Armenian Army (NAA) was established, serving as a defence force separate from the Soviet Red Army. Clashes soon broke out between the NAA and Soviet Internal Security Forces (MVD) troops based in Yerevan when Armenians decided to commemorate the establishment of the 1918 Democratic Republic of Armenia. The violence resulted in the deaths of five Armenians killed in a shootout with the MVD at the railway station. Witnesses there claimed that the MVD used excessive force and that they had instigated the fighting.

Further firefi

Australia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the country. For other uses, see Australia (disambiguation).
Page semi-protected
Commonwealth of Australia

Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: "Advance Australia Fair"[N 1]
Capital Canberra
Largest city Sydney
Official language(s) None[N 2]
National language English (de facto)[N 2]
Demonym Australian, Aussie[3][4]
Government Federal parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy
- Monarch Elizabeth II
- Governor-General Quentin Bryce
- Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Legislature Parliament
- Upper House Senate
- Lower House House of Representatives
Independence from the United Kingdom
- Constitution 1 January 1901
- Statute of Westminster 11 December 1931
- Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 9 October 1942 (with effect from 3 September 1939)
- Australia Act 3 March 1986
Area
- Total 7,617,930 km2 (6th)
2,941,299 sq mi
Population
- 2011 estimate 22,713,927[5] (50th)
- 2006 census 19,855,288[6]
- Density 2.8/km2 (233rd)
7.3/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $882.362 billion[7] (17th)
- Per capita $39,699[7] (9th)
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $1.235 trillion[7] (13th)
- Per capita $55,589[7] (6th)
Gini (2006) 30.5[8] (medium)
HDI (2010) increase 0.937[9] (very high) (2nd)
Currency Australian dollar (AUD)
Time zone various[N 3] (UTC+8 to +10.5)
- Summer (DST) various[N 3] (UTC+8 to +11.5)
Drives on the left
ISO 3166 code AU
Internet TLD .au
Calling code +61

Australia (play /əˈstreɪljə/), officially the Commonwealth of Australia,[10] is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.[N 4] It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area. Neighbouring countries include Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the northeast and New Zealand to the southeast.

For at least 40,000 years before European settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians,[12] who belonged to one or more of roughly 250 language groups.[13][14] After discovery by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades; the continent was explored and an additional five self-governing Crown Colonies were established.

On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Since Federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system which functions as a federal parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The federation comprises six states and several territories. The population of 22.6 million is heavily concentrated in the Eastern states and is highly urbanised.

A highly developed country, Australia is the world's thirteenth largest economy and has the world's seventh-highest per capita income. Australia's military expenditure is the world's twelfth largest. With the second-highest human development index globally, Australia ranks highly in many international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, health, education, economic freedom and the protection of civil liberties and political rights.[15] Australia is a member of the G20, OECD, WTO, APEC, UN, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, and the Pacific Islands Forum.
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
3 Politics
4 States and territories
5 Foreign relations and military
6 Geography and climate
7 Environment
8 Economy
9 Demography
9.1 Language
9.2 Religion
9.3 Education
9.4 Health
10 Culture
10.1 Arts
10.2 Media
10.3 Cuisine
10.4 Sport
11 See also
12 Notes
13 References
14 Bibliography
15 External links

Etymology

Pronounced [əˈstɹæɪljə, -liə] in Australian English,[16] the name Australia is derived from the Latin australis, meaning "southern". The country has been referred to colloquially as Oz since the early 20th century.[N 5] Aussie is a common colloquial term for "Australian".

Legends of Terra Australis Incognita—an "unknown land of the South"—date back to Roman times and were commonplace in medieval geography, although not based on any documented knowledge of the continent. Following European discovery, names for the Australian landmass were often references to the famed Terra Australis.

The earliest recorded use of the word Australia in English was in 1625 in "A note of Australia del Espíritu Santo, written by Master Hakluyt" and published by Samuel Purchas in Hakluytus Posthumus, a corruption of the original Spanish name Austrialia del Espíritu Santo for an island in Vanuatu.[21] The Dutch adjectival form Australische was used in a Dutch book in Batavia (Jakarta) in 1638, to refer to the newly discovered lands to the south.[22] Australia was later used in a 1693 translation of Les Aventures de Jacques Sadeur dans la Découverte et le Voyage de la Terre Australe, a 1676 French novel by Gabriel de Foigny, under the pen-name Jacques Sadeur.[23] Referring to the entire South Pacific region, Alexander Dalrymple used it in An Historical Collection of Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean in 1771. By the end of the 18th century, the name was being used to refer specifically to Australia, with the botanists George Shaw and Sir James Smith writing of "the vast island, or rather continent, of Australia, Australasia or New Holland" in their 1793 Zoology and Botany of New Holland,[24] and James Wilson including it on a 1799 chart.[25]

The name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who pushed for it to be formally adopted as early as 1804. When preparing his manuscript and charts for his 1814 A Voyage to Terra Australis, he was persuaded by his patron, Sir Joseph Banks, to use the term Terra Australis as this was the name most familiar to the public. Flinders did so, but allowed himself the footnote:

"Had I permitted myself any innovation on the original term, it would have been to convert it to Australia; as being more agreeable to the ear, and an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth."[26]

This is the only occurrence of the word Australia in that text; but in Appendix III, Robert Brown's General remarks, geographical and systematical, on the botany of Terra Australis, Brown makes use of the adjectival form Australian throughout,[27]—the first known use of that form.[28] Despite popular conception, the book was not instrumental in the adoption of the name: the name came gradually to be accepted over the following ten years.[29] Lachlan Macquarie, a Governor of New South Wales, subsequently used the word in his dispatches to England, and on 12 December 1817 recommended to the Colonial Office that it be formally adopted.[30] In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known officially as Australia.[31]
History
Main article: History of Australia
Map of Australia with coloured arrows showing the path of early explorers around the coast of Australia and surrounding islands
Exploration by Europeans till 1812
1606 Willem Janszoon
1606 Luis Váez de Torres
1616 Dirk Hartog
1619 Frederick de Houtman
1644 Abel Tasman
1696 Willem de Vlamingh
1699 William Dampier
1770 James Cook
1797-1799 George Bass
1801-1803 Matthew Flinders

Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun between 42,000 and 48,000 years ago,[32] possibly with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia. These first inhabitants may have been ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. At the time of European settlement in the late 18th century, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers, with a complex oral culture and spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime. The Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, were originally horticulturalists and hunter-gatherers.[33]

Following sporadic visits by fishermen from the Malay Archipelago,[34] the first recorded European sighting of the Australian mainland and the first recorded European landfall on the Australian continent were attributed to the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon. He sighted the coast of Cape York Peninsula on an unknown date in early 1606, and made landfall on 26 February at the Pennefather River on the western shore of Cape York, near the modern town of Weipa.[35] The Dutch charted the whole of the western and northern coastlines of "New Holland" during the 17th century, but made no attempt at settlement.[35] William Dampier, an English explorer/privateer landed on the northwest coast of Australia in 1688 and again in 1699 on a return trip. In 1770, James Cook sailed along and mapped the east coast of Australia, which he named New South Wales and claimed for Great Britain.[36] Cook's discoveries prepared the way for establishment of a new penal colony. The British Crown Colony of New South Wales was formed on 26 January 1788, when Captain Arthur Phillip led the First Fleet to Port Jackson.[37] This date became Australia's national day, Australia Day. Van Diemen's Land, now known as Tasmania, was settled in 1803 and became a separate colony in 1825.[38] The United Kingdom formally claimed the western part of Australia in 1828.[39]

Separate colonies were carved from parts of New South Wales: South Australia in 1836, Victoria in 1851, and Queensland in 1859.[40] The Northern Territory was founded in 1911 when it was excised from South Australia.[41] South Australia was founded as a "free province"—it was never a penal colony.[42] Victoria and Western Australia were also founded "free", but later accepted transported convicts.[43][44] A campaign by the settlers of New South Wales led to the end of convict transportation to that colony; the last convict ship arrived in 1848.[45]
A calm body of water is in the foreground. The shoreline is about 200 metres away. To the left, close to the shore, are three tall gum trees; behind them on an incline are ruins, including walls and watchtowers of light-coloured stone and brick, what appear to be the foundations of walls, and grassed areas. To the right lie the outer walls of a large rectangular four-storey building dotted with regularly spaced windows. Forested land rises gently to a peak several kilometres back from the shore.
Port Arthur, Tasmania was Australia's largest gaol for transported convicts.

The indigenous population, estimated at 750,000 to 1,000,000 at the time of European settlement,[46] declined steeply for 150 years following settlement, mainly due to infectious disease.[47] The "Stolen Generations" (removal of Aboriginal children from their families), which historians such as Henry Reynolds have argued could be considered genocide,[48] may have contributed to the decline in the Indigenous population.[49] Such interpretations of Aboriginal history are disputed by conservative commentators such as former Prime Minister John Howard as exaggerated or fabricated for political or ideological reasons.[50] This debate is known within Australia as the History wars.[51] The Federal government gained the power to make laws with respect to Aborigines following the 1967 referendum.[52] Traditional ownership of land—aboriginal title—was not recognised until 1992, when the High Court case Mabo v Queensland (No 2) overturned the notion of Australia as terra nullius ("land belonging to no one") before European occupation.[53]

A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s,[54] and the Eureka Rebellion against mining licence fees in 1854 was an early expression of civil disobedience.[55] Between 1855 and 1890, the six colonies individually gained responsible government, managing most of their own affairs while remaining part of the British Empire.[56] The Colonial Office in London retained control of some matters, notably foreign affairs,[57] defence,[58] and international shipping.
A balding man wearing a suit and playing a bugle, while standing in front of a crowd of other people and a stone monument.
The Last Post is played at an ANZAC Day ceremony in Port Melbourne, Victoria. Similar ceremonies are held in most suburbs and towns.

On 1 January 1901 federation of the colonies was achieved after a decade of planning, consultation, and voting.[59] The Commonwealth of Australia was established and it became a dominion of the British Empire in 1907. The Federal Capital Territory (later renamed the Australian Capital Territory) was formed in 1911 as the location for the future federal capital of Canberra. Melbourne was the temporary seat of government from 1901 to 1927 while Canberra was constructed.[60] The Northern Territory was transferred from the control of the South Australian government to the federal parliament in 1911.[61] In 1914, Australia joined Britain in fighting World War I, with support from both the outgoing Liberal Party and the incoming Labor Party.[62] Australians took part in many of the major battles fought on the Western Front.[63] Of about 416,000 who served, about 60,000 were killed and another 152,000 were wounded.[64] Many Australians regard the defeat of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) at Gallipoli as the birth of the nation—its first major military action.[65][66] The Kokoda Track campaign is regarded by many as an analogous nation-defining event during World War II.[67]

Britain's Statute of Westminster 1931 formally ended most of the constitutional links between Australia and the UK. Australia adopted it in 1942,[68] but it was backdated to 1939 to confirm the validity of legislation passed by the Australian Parliament during World War II.[69][70] The shock of the UK's defeat in Asia in 1942 and the threat of Japanese invasion caused Australia to turn to the United States as a new ally and protector.[71] Since 1951, Australia has been a formal military ally of the US, under the ANZUS treaty.[72] After World War II Australia encouraged immigration from Europe. Since the 1970s and following the abolition of the White Australia policy, immigration from Asia and elsewhere was also promoted.[73] As a result, Australia's demography, culture, and self-image were transformed.[74] The final constitutional ties between Australia and the UK were severed with the passing of the Australia Act 1986, ending any British role in the government of the Australian States, and closing the option of judicial appeals to the Privy Council in London.[75] In a 1999 referendum, 55 per cent of Australian voters and a majority in every Australian state rejected a proposal to become a republic with a president appointed by a two-thirds vote in both Houses of the Australian Parliament. Since the election of the Whitlam Government in 1972,[76] there has been an increasing focus in foreign policy on ties with other Pacific Rim nations, while maintaining close ties with Australia's traditional allies and trading partners.[77]
Politics
Main articles: Government of Australia, Politics of Australia, and Monarchy of Australia
A large white and cream coloured building with grass on its roof. The building is topped with a large flagpole.
Parliament House, Canberra was opened in 1988, replacing the provisional Parliament House building opened in 1927.

Australia is a constitutional monarchy with a federal division of powers. It uses a parliamentary system of government with Queen Elizabeth II at its apex as the Queen of Australia, a role that is distinct from her position as monarch of the other Commonwealth realms. The Queen resides in the United Kingdom, and she is represented by her viceroys in Australia, (the Governor-General at the federal level and by the Governors at the state level), who by convention act on the advice of her ministers. Supereme executive authority is vested by the constitution of Australia in the sovereign, but the power to exercise it is conferred by the constitution specifically to the Governor-General.[78][79] The most notable exercise of the Governor-General's reserve powers outside a Prime Minister's request was the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in the constitutional crisis of 1975.[80]

The federal government is separated into three branches:

The legislature: the bicameral Parliament, defined in section 1 of the constitution as comprising the Queen (represented by the Governor-General), the Senate, and the House of Representatives;
The executive: the Federal Executive Council, in practice the Governor-General as advised by the Prime Minister and Ministers of State;[81]
The judiciary: the High Court of Australia and other federal courts, whose judges are appointed by the Governor-General on advice of the Council.

In the Senate (the upper house), there are 76 senators: twelve each from the states and two each from the mainland territories (the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory).[82] The House of Representatives (the lower house) has 150 members elected from single-member electoral divisions, commonly known as "electorates" or "seats", allocated to states on the basis of population,[83] with each original state guaranteed a minimum of five seats.[84] Elections for both chambers are normally held every three years, simultaneously; senators have overlapping six-year terms except for those from the territories, whose terms are not fixed but are tied to the electoral cycle for the lower house; thus only 40 of the 76 places in the Senate are put to each election unless the cycle is interrupted by a double dissolution.[82]
A large Australian flag flying against the blue sky.
Australia's National Flag comprises the Union Jack, the Commonwealth Star and the Southern Cross.

Australia's electoral system uses preferential voting for all lower house elections with the exception of Tasmania and the ACT, which, along with the Senate and most state upper houses, combine it with proportional representation in a system known as the single transferable vote. Voting is compulsory for all enrolled citizens 18 years and over in every jurisdiction,[85] as is enrolment (with the exception of South Australia).[86] Although the Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor-General, in practice the party with majority support in the House of Representatives forms government and its leader becomes Prime Minister.[citation needed]

There are two major political groups that usually form government, federally and in the states: the Australian Labor Party, and the Coalition which is a formal grouping of the Liberal Party and its minor partner, the National Party.[87][88] Independent members and several minor parties—including the Greens and the Australian Democrats—have achieved representation in Australian parliaments, mostly in upper houses.

Following a partyroom leadership challenge, Julia Gillard became the first female Prime Minister in June 2010.[89] The last federal election was held on 21 August 2010 and resulted in the first hung parliament in over 50 years. Gillard was able to form a minority Labor government with the support of independents.
States and territories
Main article: States and territories of Australia
A clickable map of Australia's states and mainland territories

Australia has six states—New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia—and two major mainland territories—the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). In most respects these two territories function as states, but the Commonwealth Parliament can override any legislation of their parliaments. By contrast, federal legislation overrides state legislation only in areas that are set out in Section 51 of the Australian Constitution; state parliaments retain all residual legislative powers, including those over schools, state police, the state judiciary, roads, public transport, and local government, since these do not fall under the provisions listed in Section 51.[90]

Each state and major mainland territory has its own parliament—unicameral in the Northern Territory, the ACT, and Queensland, and bicameral in the other states. The states are sovereign entities, although subject to certain powers of the Commonwealth as defined by the Constitution. The lower houses are known as the Legislative Assembly (the House of Assembly in South Australia and Tasmania); the upper houses are known as the Legislative Council. The head of the government in each state is the Premier, and in each territory the Chief Minister. The Queen is represented in each state by a Governor; and in the Northern Territory, the Administrator.[91] In the Commonwealth, the Queen's representative is the Governor-General.[92]

The federal parliament directly administers the following territories:[81]

Jervis Bay Territory, a naval base and sea port for the national capital in land that was formerly part of New South Wales
Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Coral Sea Islands
Heard Island and McDonald Islands
Australian Antarctic Territory

Norfolk Island is also technically an external territory; however, under the Norfolk Island Act 1979 it has been granted more autonomy and is governed locally by its own legislative assembly. The Queen is represented by an Administrator, currently Owen Walsh.[93]
Foreign relations and military
Main articles: F

Austria
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Österreich" and "Oesterreich" redirect here. For the surname rendered in either of these two ways, see Österreich (surname). For the Austrian national anthem, whose melody is often given the short-form name "Österreich" or "Oesterreich", see Land der Berge, Land am Strome.
This article is about the country. For other uses, see Austria (disambiguation).
Republic of Austria
Republik Österreich

Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: Land der Berge, Land am Strome (German)
Land of Mountains, Land by the River
Land der Berge Land am Strome instrumental.ogg

Location of Austria (dark green)- in Europe (green & dark grey)- in the European Union (green) — [Legend]
Location of Austria (dark green)

- in Europe (green & dark grey)
- in the European Union (green) — [Legend]
Capital Vienna
48°12′N 16°21′E
Official language(s) German
Spoken languages Austro-Bavarian, Alemannic in Vorarlberg. Locally also Slovene, Burgenland Croatian and Hungarian
Ethnic groups (2001) 91.1% Austrians,
8.9% foreigners -
4% former Yugoslavs,
1.6% Turks,
2.4% others and unspecified[1]
Demonym Austrian
Government Federal Parliamentary republic
- President Heinz Fischer
- Chancellor Werner Faymann (SPÖ)
- President of the National Council Barbara Prammer (SPÖ)
Independence
- Austrian State Treaty in force 27 July 1955 (Duchy: 1156, Austrian Empire: 1804, First Austrian Republic: 1918-1938, Second Republic since 1945)
Area
- Total 83,855 km2 (115th)
32,377 sq mi
- Water (%) 1.7
Population
- 2011 estimate 8,414,638[2] (92nd)
- 2001 census 8,032,926
- Density 99/km2 (99th)
257/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
- Total $343 billion[3]
- Per capita $40.979[3]
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
- Total $405 billion[3]
- Per capita $48,350[3]
Gini (2007) 26[4] (low)
HDI (2010) decrease 0.851[5] (very high) (25th)
Currency Euro (€) ² (EUR)
Time zone CET (UTC+01)
- Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+02)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code AT
Internet TLD .at ³
Calling code 43
1 Slovene, Croatian, Hungarian are officially recognised regional languages and Austrian Sign Language is a protected minority language throughout the country.
2 Euro since 1 Jan 1999 virtual, since 1 Jan 2002 real currency; before: Austrian Schilling.
3 The .eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other European Union member states.

Austria (Listeni/ˈɒstriə/ or /ˈɔːstriə/; German: Österreich [ˈøːstəˌʁaɪç] ( listen)), officially the Republic of Austria (German: Republik Österreich), is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people[2] in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The territory of Austria covers 83,855 square kilometres (32,377 sq mi) and has 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 3,798 metres (12,461 ft).[6] The majority of the population speak local Austro-Bavarian dialects of German as their native language,[7] and German in its standard form is the country's official language.[8] Other local official languages are Burgenland Croatian, Hungarian and Slovene.[6]

The origins of modern-day Austria date back to the time of the Habsburg dynasty when the vast majority of the country was a part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Austria became one of the great powers of Europe and, in response to the coronation of Napoleon I as the Emperor of the French, the Austrian Empire was officially proclaimed in 1804. In 1867, the Austrian Empire was reformed into Austria-Hungary.

When the Habsburg (Austro-Hungarian) Empire collapsed in 1918 with the end of World War I, Austria used the name German Austria („Deutschösterreich", later „Österreich") in an attempt for union with Germany but was forbidden due to the Treaty of Saint Germain. The First Austrian Republic was established in 1919. In the 1938 Anschluss, Austria was occupied and annexed by Nazi Germany.[9] This lasted until the end of World War II in 1945, after which Nazi Germany was occupied by the Allies and Austria's former democratic constitution was restored. 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 Second Austrian Republic would become permanently neutral.

Today, Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states.[6][10] The capital and largest city, with a population exceeding 1.6 million, is Vienna.[6][11] Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of $43,723 (2010 est.). The country has developed a high standard of living and in 2010 was ranked 25th in the world for its Human Development Index. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955,[12] joined the European Union in 1995,[6] and is a founder of the OECD.[13] Austria also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995,[14] and adopted the European currency, the euro, in 1999.
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 20th century
3 Politics
3.1 Recent developments
3.2 Foreign relations
3.3 Military
4 Administrative divisions
5 Geography
5.1 Climate
6 Economy
6.1 Currency
6.2 Energy
7 Demographics
7.1 Language
7.2 Ethnic groups
7.3 Religion
7.4 Education
8 Culture
8.1 Music
8.2 Art and architecture
8.3 Cinema and theatre
8.4 Science and philosophy
8.5 Literature
8.6 Food and drink
8.7 Sports
9 See also
10 References
11 External links

[edit] Etymology
Main article: Name of Austria
First appearance of the word "ostarrichi". The word is circled in red. Modern Austria honours this document, dated 996, as the founding of the nation.

The German name for Austria, Österreich, derives from the word Ostarrîchi, which first appears in the "Ostarrîchi document" of 996.[15] This word is probably a translation of Medieval Latin Marchia orientalis into a local (Bavarian) dialect. The name means "Eastern borderlands". It was a prefecture of Bavaria created in 976. The word "Austria" is a Latinisation of the German name and was first recorded in the 12th century.

Friedrich Heer, one of the most important Austrian historians in the 20th century, stated in his book Der Kampf um die österreichische Identität (The Struggle Over Austrian Identity),[16] that the Germanic form Ostarrîchi was not a translation of the Latin word, but both resulted from a much older term originating in the Celtic languages of ancient Austria: more than 2,500 years ago, the major part of the actual country was called Norig by the Celtic population (Hallstatt culture); according to Heer, no- or nor- meant "east" or "eastern", whereas -rig is related to the modern German Reich, meaning "realm". Accordingly, Norig would essentially mean Ostarrîchi and Österreich, thus Austria. The Celtic name was eventually Latinised to Noricum after the Romans conquered the area that encloses most of modern day Austria, in approximately 15 BC. Noricum later became a Roman province in the mid 1st century AD.[17]
[edit] History
Main article: History of Austria

Settled in ancient times,[10] the Central European land that is now Austria was occupied in pre-Roman times by various Celtic tribes. The Celtic kingdom of Noricum was later claimed by the Roman Empire and made a province. Present day Petronell-Carnuntum in Eastern Austria was an important army camp turned capital city in what became known as the Upper Pannonia province. Fifty thousand people called Carnuntum home for nearly 400 years.[18]
Coats of arms of the Habsburg Emperor in 1605

After the fall of the Roman Empire the area was invaded by Bavarians, Slavs and Avars.[19] The Slavic tribe of the Carantanians migrated into the Alps and established the realm of Carantania, which covered much of eastern and central Austrian territory. Charlemagne conquered the area in 788 AD, encouraged colonisation and introduced Christianity.[19] As part of Eastern Francia, the core areas that now encompass Austria were bequeathed to the house of Babenberg. The area was known as the marchia Orientalis and was given to Leopold of Babenberg in 976.[20]

The first record showing the name Austria is from 996 where it is written as Ostarrîchi, referring to the territory of the Babenberg March.[20] In 1156 the Privilegium Minus elevated Austria to the status of a duchy. In 1192, the Babenbergs also acquired the Duchy of Styria. With the death of Frederick II in 1246, the line of the Babenbergs went extinct.[21]

As a result Ottokar II of Bohemia effectively assumed control of the duchies of Austria, Styria and Carinthia.[21] His reign came to an end with his defeat at Dürnkrut at the hands of Rudolph I of Germany in 1278.[22] Thereafter, until World War I, Austria's history was largely that of its ruling dynasty, the Habsburgs.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Habsburgs began to accumulate other provinces in the vicinity of the Duchy of Austria. In 1438 Duke Albert V of Austria was chosen as the successor to his father-in-law, Emperor Sigismund. Although Albert himself only reigned for a year, henceforth every emperor of the Holy Roman Empire was a Habsburg, with only one exception.
Battle of Vienna in 1683 broke the advance of the Ottoman Empire into Europe.

The Habsburgs began also to accumulate lands far from the hereditary lands. In 1477 Archduke Maximilian, only son of Emperor Frederick III, married the heiress Maria of Burgundy, thus acquiring most of the Netherlands for the family.[23][24] His son Philip the Fair married the heiress of Castile and Aragon, and thus acquired Spain and its Italian, African and New World appendages for the Habsburgs.[23][24] In 1526 following the Battle of Mohács, Bohemia and the part of Hungary not occupied by the Ottomans came under Austrian rule.[25] Ottoman expansion into Hungary led to frequent conflicts between the two empires, particularly evident in the so-called Long War of 1593 to 1606. The Turks made incursions into Styria nearly twenty times;[26] burning, pillaging, and taking thousands of slaves.[27]
The Congress of Vienna by Jean-Baptiste Isabey, 1819

During the long reign of Leopold I (1657-1705) and following the successful defense of Vienna in 1683 (under the command of the King of Poland, John III Sobieski),[28] a series of campaigns resulted in bringing all of Hungary to Austrian control by the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699.

Emperor Charles VI relinquished many of the fairly impressive gains the empire made in the previous years, largely due to his apprehensions at the imminent extinction of the House of Habsburg. Charles was willing to offer concrete advantages in territory and authority in exchange for other powers' worthless recognitions of the Pragmatic Sanction that made his daughter Maria Theresa his heir. With the rise of Prussia the Austrian-Prussian dualism began in Germany. Austria participated, together with Prussia and Russia, in the first and the third of the three Partitions of Poland (in 1772 and 1795).

Austria later became engaged in a war with Revolutionary France, at the beginning highly unsuccessful, with successive defeats at the hands of Napoleon meaning the end of the old Holy Roman Empire in 1806. Two years earlier,[29] in 1804, the Empire of Austria was founded. In 1814 Austria was part of the Allied forces that invaded France and brought to an end the Napoleonic Wars.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand (right) with his family

It thus emerged from the Congress of Vienna in 1815 as one of four of the continent's dominant powers and a recognised great power. The same year, the German Confederation, (Deutscher Bund) was founded under the presidency of Austria. Because of unsolved social, political and national conflicts the German lands were shaken by the 1848 revolution aiming to create a unified Germany.[30] A unified Germany would have been possible either as a Greater Germany, or a Greater Austria or just the German Confederation without Austria at all. As Austria was not willing to relinquish its German-speaking territories to what would become the German Empire of 1848, the crown of the newly formed empire was offered to the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. In 1864, Austria and Prussia fought together against Denmark and successfully freed the independent duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. Nevertheless as they could not agree on a solution to the administration of the two duchies, they fought in 1866 the Austro-Prussian War. Defeated by Prussia in the Battle of Königgrätz,[30] Austria had to leave the German Confederation and subsequently no longer took part in German politics.[31][32]

The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, the Ausgleich, provided for a dual sovereignty, the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary, under Franz Joseph I.[33] The Austrian-Hungarian rule of this diverse empire included various Slavic groups including Croats, Czechs, Poles, Rusyns, Serbs, Slovaks, Slovenes and Ukrainians, as well as large Italian and Romanian communities.

As a result, ruling Austria-Hungary became increasingly difficult in an age of emerging nationalist movements, causing a high reliance on the use of an expanded secret police. Yet the government of Austria tried its best to be accommodating in some respects: The Reichsgesetzblatt, publishing the laws and ordinances of Cisleithania, was issued in eight languages, all national groups were entitled to schools in their own language and to the use of their mother tongue at state offices, for example. The government of Hungary to the contrary tried to magyarise few ethnic entities[which?]. Thus the wishes of ethnic groups dwelling in both parts of the dual monarchy hardly could be solved.
[edit] 20th century

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914 by Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip[34]) was used by leading Austrian politicians and generals to persuade the emperor to declare war on Serbia, thereby risking and prompting the outbreak of World War I which led to the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Over one million Austro-Hungarian soldiers died in World War I.[35]
Ethno-linguistic map of Austria-Hungary, 1910

On 21 October 1918, the elected German members of the Reichsrat (parliament of Imperial Austria) met in Vienna as the Provisional National Assembly for German Austria (Provisorische Nationalversammlung für Deutschösterreich). On 30 October the assembly founded the State of German Austria by appointing a government, called Staatsrat. This new government was invited by the emperor to take part in the decision on the planned armistice with Italy, but refrained from this business; this left the responsibility for the end of the war on 3 November 1918, solely to the emperor and his government. On 11 November the emperor, counseled by ministers of the old and the new government, declared he would not take part in state business any more; on 12 November German Austria, by law, declared itself to be a democratic republic and part of the new German republic. The constitution, renaming Staatsrat to Bundesregierung (federal government) and Nationalversammlung to Nationalrat (national council) was passed on 10 November 1920.

The Treaty of Saint-Germain of 1919 (for Hungary the Treaty of Trianon of 1920) confirmed and consolidated the new order of Central Europe which to a great part had been established in November 1918, creating new states and resizing others. Over 3-million German speaking Austrians found themselves living outside of the newborn Austrian Republic as minorities in the newly formed or enlarged respective states of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Italy.[36] This included the provinces of South Tyrol and German Bohemia, the later which would play a role in sparking WWII. The South Tirol Question would become a lingering problem between Austria and Italy until it was officially settled by the 1980s with a large degree of autonomy being granted by the Italian national government. Between 1918 and 1919 Austria was known as the State of German Austria (Staat Deutschösterreich). Not only did the Entente powers forbid German Austria to unite with Germany, they also rejected the name German Austria in the peace treaty to be signed; it was therefore changed to Republic of Austria in late 1919.[37]
Map of Austria-Hungary

After the war inflation began to devaluate the Krone, still Austria's currency. In the autumn of 1922 Austria was granted an international loan supervised by the League of Nations.[38] The purpose of the loan was to avert bankruptcy, stabilise the currency and improve its general economic condition. With the granting of the loan, Austria passed from an independent state to the control exercised by the League of Nations. In 1925 the Schilling, replacing the Krone by 10,000:1, was introduced. Later it was called the Alpine dollar due to its stability. From 1925 to 1929 the economy enjoyed a short high before nearly crashing after Black Friday.

The First Austrian Republic lasted until 1933 when Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, using what he called "self-switch-off of Parliament" (Selbstausschaltung des Parlaments), established an autocratic regime tending toward Italian fascism.[39][40] The two big parties at this time, the Social Democrats and the Conservatives, had paramilitary armies;[41] the Social Democrats' Schutzbund was now declared illegal but still operative[41] as civil war broke out.[39][40][42]
Orthodox Jews in Leopoldstadt. About 10% of the total population of Vienna were Jews.

In February 1934 several members of the Schutzbund were executed,[43] the Social Democratic party was outlawed and many of its members were imprisoned or emigrated.[42] On 1 May 1934, the Austrofascists imposed a new constitution ("Maiverfassung") which cemented Dollfuss's power but on 25 July he was assassinated in a Nazi coup attempt.[44][45]

His successor, Kurt Schuschnigg, struggled to keep Austria independent as "the better German state", but on 12 March 1938, German troops occupied the country[46] while Austrian Nazis took over government. On 13 March 1938, the Anschluss of Austria was officially declared. Two days later Hitler, a native of Austria, proclaimed the "re-unification" of his home country with the rest of Germany on Vienna's Heldenplatz. He established a plebiscite confirming the union with Germany in April 1938.

Austria was incorporated into the Third Reich and ceased to exist as an independent state. The Aryanisation of the wealth of Jewish Austrians started immediately mid-March with a so called "wild" (i.e. extra-legal) phase but soon was structured legally and bureaucratically to strip Jewish citizens of any asset they may have possessed. The Nazis called Austria "Ostmark"[46] until 1942 when it was again renamed and called "Alpen-Donau-Reichsgaue". Some of the most prominent Nazis were of Austrian origin, including Adolf Hitler, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Adolf Eichmann, Franz Stangl, and Odilo Globocnik,[47] as were 40% of the staff at Nazi extermination camps.[48] Vienna fell on 13 April 1945, during the Soviet Vienna Offensive just before the total collapse of the Third Reich. The invading Allied powers, in particular the Americans, planned for the supposed "Alpine Fortress Operation" of national redoubt that was largely to have taken place on Austrian soil in the mountains of the eastern Alps. However it never materialized because of the rapid collapse of the Reich.

Karl Renner and Adolf Schärf (Socialist Party of Austria [Social Democrats and Revolutionary Socialists]), Leopold Kunschak (Austria's People's Party [former Christian Social People's Party]) and Johann Koplenig (Communist Party of Austria) declared Austria's secession from the Third Reich by the Declaration of Independence on 27 April 1945 and set up a provisional government in Vienna under state Chancellor Renner the same day, with the approval of the victorious Red Army and backed by Joseph Stalin.[49] (The date is officially named the birthday of the second republic.) At the end of April, most of Western and Southern Austria still was under Nazi rule. On 1 May 1945, the federal constitution of 1929, which had been terminated by dictator Dollfuss on 1 May 1934, was declared valid again.
Innsbruck hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics and will host the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics, the first in history

Total military deaths from 1939-1945 are estimated at 260,000.[50] Jewish Holocaust victims totaled 65,000.[51] About 140,000 Jewish Austrians had fled the country in 1938-39. Thousands of Austrians had taken part in serious Nazi crimes, a fact officially recognised by Chancellor Franz Vranitzky in 1992.

Much like Germany, Austria was divided into British, French, Soviet and American zones and governed by the Allied Commission for Austria.[52] As forecast in the Moscow Declaration in 1943, there was a subtle difference in the treatment of Austria by the Allies.[49] The Austrian Government, consisting of Social Democrats, Conservatives and Communists (until 1947) and residing in Vienna, which was surrounded by the Soviet zone, was recognised by the Western Allies in October 1945 after some doubts that Renner could be Stalin's puppet. Thereby the cr

Azerbaijan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the country in Eurasia. For other uses, see Azerbaijan (disambiguation).
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Republic of Azerbaijan
Azərbaycan Respublikası

Flag Emblem
Anthem: Azərbaycan marşı
(English: March of Azerbaijan)
National Anthem of the Republic of Azerbaijan instrumental.ogg

Location of Azerbaijan
Location of Azerbaijan
Capital
(and largest city) Baku
40°25′N 49°50′E
Official language(s) Azerbaijani
Demonym Azerbaijani
Government Presidential republic
- President Ilham Aliyev
- Prime Minister Artur Rasizade
Statehood formation
- Atabegs of Azerbaijan
1135
- Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
28 May 1918
- Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic
28 April 1920
- Independence
from the Soviet Union
Declared
Completed


30 August 1991
18 October 1991
Area
- Total 86,600 km2 (113th)
33,436 sq mi
- Water (%) 1.6%
Population
- 2011 estimate 9,165,000[1] (89th)
- 1999 census 7,953,438
- Density 105.8/km2 (103th)
274.1/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
- Total $94.318 billion[2]
- Per capita $10,340[2]
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
- Total $72.189 billion[2]
- Per capita $7,914[2]
Gini (2001) 36.5[3] (medium)
HDI (2010) increase 0.713[4] (high) (67th)
Currency Manat (AZN)
Time zone AZT (UTC+04)
- Summer (DST) (UTC+5)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code AZ
Internet TLD .az
Calling code 994

Azerbaijan (Listeni/ˌæzərbaɪˈdʒɑːn/ az-ər-by-jahn; Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan Respublikası) is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe,[5] it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south. The exclave of Nakhchivan is bounded by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, while having a short borderline with Turkey to the northwest.

The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the first democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world,[6][7][8] was established in 1918, but was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920.[9][10] Azerbaijan regained independence in 1991. Shortly thereafter, during the Nagorno-Karabakh War, neighboring Armenia occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, its surrounding territories and the enclaves of Karki, Yukhary Askipara, Barkhudarly and Sofulu. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which emerged in Nagorno-Karabakh, continues to be not diplomatically recognized by any nation and the region is still considered a de jure part of Azerbaijan, despite being de facto independent since the end of the war.[11][12][13][14]

Azerbaijan, a nation with a majority Turkic[15][16] and Shia[17] population, is a secular and a unitary republic with an ancient and historic cultural heritage. Azerbaijan is one of the six independent Turkic states as well as the active members of the Turkic Council and the TÜRKSOY community. Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 158 countries and holds membership in 38 international organizations.[18] It is one of the founding members of GUAM and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and in December 1991 the country became a founding member of the Commonwealth of Independent States.[19] On May 9, 2006 Azerbaijan was elected to membership in the newly established Human Rights Council by the United Nations General Assembly. The term of office began on June 19, 2006.[20] A Special Envoy of the European Commission is present in the country, which is also a member of the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) program. Azerbaijan is a correspondent at the International Telecommunication Union and member of the Non-Aligned Movement and holds observer status in World Trade Organization.[18][21]

Being one of the five most developed countries among CIS members, Azerbaijan has the 67th highest human development level in the world [22] In 2009 the country had an unemployment rate of 6%[23] and a low crime rate compared to other CIS and Eastern European countries.[24]
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Antiquity
2.2 Feudal era
2.3 Modern era
2.4 Republic era
3 Geography
3.1 Landscape
3.2 Biodiversity
4 Politics
4.1 Foreign relations
4.2 Administrative divisions
5 Military
6 Economy
6.1 Energy
6.2 Banking
6.3 Agriculture
6.4 Tourism
6.5 Transportation
7 Science and technology
8 Demographics
8.1 Religion
8.2 Language
8.3 Education
9 Culture
9.1 Music and folk dances
9.2 Architecture
9.3 Cinematography
9.4 Folk art
9.5 Cuisine
9.6 Literature
9.7 Sports
10 See also
11 References
12 External links

Etymology
Main article: Name of Azerbaijan

The name of Azerbaijan derives from Atropates,[25][26] a Persian[27][28][29] satrap under the Achaemenid Empire, that was later reinstated as the satrap of Media under Alexander of Macedonia.[30][31] The original etymology of this name is thought to have its roots in the once-dominant Zoroastrian religion. In the Avesta, Frawardin Yasht ("Hymn to the Guardian Angels"), there is a mention of âterepâtahe ashaonô fravashîm ýazamaide, which literally translates from Avestan as "we worship the Fravashi of the holy Atropatene".[32]

Atropates ruled over the region of Atropatene (present-day Iranian Azerbaijan). The name "Atropates" itself is the Greek transliteration of an Old-Iranian, probably Median, compounded name with the meaning "Protected by the (Holy) Fire" or "The Land of the (Holy) Fire".[33] The Greek name is mentioned by Diodorus Siculus and Strabo. Over the span of millenniums the name evolved to Āturpātākān then to Ādharbādhagān, Ādharbāyagān, Āzarbāydjān and present-day Azerbaycan. The word is translatable as "The Treasury" and "The Treasurer" of fire or "The Land of the Fire"[33] in Modern Persian.[34]
History
Main article: History of Azerbaijan
Antiquity
Petroglyphs in Gobustan dating back to 10,000 BC indicating a thriving culture. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site considered to be of "outstanding universal value"

The earliest evidence of human settlement in the territory of Azerbaijan dates to the late Stone Age and is related to the Guruchay culture of the Azykh Cave.[35] The Upper Paleolithic and late Bronze Age cultures are attested in the caves of Tağılar, Damcılı, Zar, Yataq-yeri and in the necropolises of Leylatepe and Saraytepe.

Early settlements included the Scythians in the ninth century BC.[33] Following the Scythians, Iranian Medes came to dominate the area to the south of the Aras.[31] The Medes forged a vast empire between 900-700 BC, which was integrated into the Achaemenids Empire around 550 BC. The area was conquered by the Achaemenids leading to the spread of Zoroastrianism.[36] Later it became part of Alexander the Great's Empire and its successor, the Seleucid Empire. Caucasian Albanians, the original inhabitants of the area, established an independent kingdom around the fourth century BC. During this period, Zoroastrianism spread in the Caucasus and Atropatene. Ancient Azerbaijanis spoke the Old Azari language.
Feudal era
The Maiden Tower in Old Baku is a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in the 11th-12th century.

The Sassanids turned Caucasian Albania into a vassal state in AD 252, while King Urnayr officially adopted Christianity as the state religion in the fourth century. Despite numerous conquests by the Sassanids and Byzantines, Albania remained an entity in the region until the ninth century. The Islamic Umayyad Caliphate repulsed both the Sassanids and Byzantines from the region and turned Caucasian Albania into a vassal state after the Christian resistance, led by Prince Javanshir, was suppressed in 667. The power vacuum left by the decline of the Abbasid Caliphate was filled by numerous local dynasties such as the Sallarids, Sajids, Shaddadids, Rawadids and Buyids. At the beginning of the 11th century, the territory was gradually seized by waves of Turkic Oghuz tribes from Central Asia. The first of these Turkic dynasties established was the Ghaznavids, which entered the area now known as Azerbaijan by 1030.

The pre-Turkic Azerbaijani population spoke an Iranian language called the Old Azari language, which was gradually replaced by a Turkic language, now known as the Azerbaijani language from the 11th century onward until it became completely extinct in the 16th century.[37] To distinguish it from the Turkic Azerbaijani or Azeri language, this Iranian language, is designated as the Azari language (or Old Azari language), because the Turkic language and people are also designated as "Azari" in the Persian language. However some linguists have also designated the Tati dialects of Iranian Azerbaijan and the Republic of Azerbaijan, like those spoken by the Tats, as a remnant of Azari.[38][39] Locally, the possessions of the subsequent Seljuq Empire were ruled by atabegs, who were technically vassals of the Seljuq sultans, being sometimes de facto rulers themselves. Under the Seljuq Turks, local poets such as Nizami Ganjavi and Khagani Shirvani gave rise to a blossoming of Persian literature on the territory of present-day Azerbaijan. The next ruling state of the Jalayirids was short-lived and fell under the conquests of Timur.

The local dynasty of Shirvanshahs became a vassal state of Timur's Empire and assisted him in his war with the ruler of the Golden Horde Tokhtamysh. Following Timur's death two independent and rival states emerged: Kara Koyunlu and Ak Koyunlu. The Shirvanshahs returned, maintaining a high degree of autonomy as local rulers and vassals from 861 until 1539. During their persecution by the Safavids, the last dynasty imposed Shia Islam upon the formerly Sunni population,[40][41][42] as it was battling against the Sunni Ottoman Empire.[43]
Modern era
Territories of Northern and Southern Khanates (and Sultanates) of Azerbaijan in 18th-19th centuries.[44]
The Bridge of Separation (Ayrılıq körpüsü) on the Azerbaijan-Iran border. The treaties of Gulistan and Turkemenchay divided the Azerbaijani people.[45]

After the Safavids, the area was ruled by the Iranian dynasties of Afshar and Zand and briefly by the Qajars. However de facto self-ruling khanates[46][47][48][49][50] emerged in the area, especially following the collapse of the Zand dynasty and in the early Qajar era. The brief and successful Russian campaign of 1812 was concluded with the Treaty of Gulistan, in which the shah's claims to some of the Khanates of the Caucasus were dismissed by Russia on the ground that they had been de facto independent long before their Russian occupation.[51]

The khanates exercised control over their affairs via international trade routes between Central Asia and the West.[52] Engaged in constant warfare, these khanates were eventually incorporated into the Russian Empire in 1813, following the two Russo-Persian Wars. The area to the North of the river Arax, amongst which the territory of the contemporary republic of Azerbaijan were Iranian territory until they were occupied by Russia.[9][53][54][55][56][57] Under the Treaty of Turkmenchay, Persia recognized Russian sovereignty over the Erivan Khanate, the Nakhchivan Khanate and the remainder of the Lankaran Khanate.

In 2007, during the construction of a stadium, constructors discovered the Guba mass grave. Studies by Azerbaijani and foreign scientists have confirmed the human remains found there to be of local residents of various nationalities, including Jews and Lezgins who were killed in the 1918 massacre.[58] To date, the remains of 600 people have been found, including about 50 children and 100 women.[59]
Map of Azerbaijan issued at Paris Peace Conference in 1919.

After the collapse of the Russian Empire during World War I, Azerbaijan, together with Armenia and Georgia became part of the short-lived Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic. When the republic dissolved in May 1918, Azerbaijan declared independence as the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR). The ADR was the first modern parliamentary republic in the Muslim World.[7][9][60] Among the important accomplishments of the Parliament was the extension of suffrage to women, making Azerbaijan the first Muslim nation to grant women equal political rights with men.[7] In this accomplishment, Azerbaijan also preceded the United Kingdom and the United States. Another important accomplishment of ADR was the establishment of Baku State University, which was the first modern-type university founded in Muslim East.[7]

By March 1920, it was obvious that Soviet Russia would attack the much-needed Baku. Vladimir Lenin said that the invasion was justified as Soviet Russia could not survive without Baku's oil.[61][62] Independent Azerbajian lasted only 23 months until the Bolshevik 11th Soviet Red Army invaded it, establishing the Azerbaijan SSR on April 28, 1920. Although the bulk of the newly formed Azerbaijani army was engaged in putting down an Armenian revolt that had just broken out in Karabakh, Azeris did not surrender their brief independence of 1918-20 quickly or easily. As many as 20,000 Azerbaijani soldiers died resisting what was effectively a Russian reconquest.[63]

On October 13, 1921, the Soviet republics of Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia signed an agreement with Turkey known as the Treaty of Kars. The previously independent Naxicivan SSR would also become autonomous ASSR within Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic by the treaty of Kars. On the other hand, Armenia was awarded the region of Zangezur and Turkey agreed to return Gyumri (then known as Alexandropol).

During World War II, Azerbaijan played a crucial role in the strategic energy policy of Soviet Union, with most of the Soviet Union's oil on the Eastern Front being supplied by Baku. By the Decree of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR in February 1942, the commitment of more than 500 workers and employees of the oil industry of Azerbaijan was awarded orders and medals. Operation Edelweiss carried out by the German Wehrmacht targeted Baku because of its importance as the energy (petroleum) dynamo of the USSR.[9] A fifth Azerbaijanis fought in the Second World War from 1941 to 1945. Approximately 681,000 people with over 100,000 of them women went to the front, while the total population of Azerbaijan was 3.4 million at the time.[64] Some 250,000 people from Azerbaijan were killed on the front. More than 130 Azerbaijanis were named Heroes of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijani Major-General Azi Aslanov was awarded twice Hero of the Soviet Union.[65]
Republic era
The rebirth of the Azerbaijan Republic as people gather at Azadlyg Square, shortly after Black January.

Following the politics of glasnost, initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev, civil unrest and ethnic strife grew in various regions of the Soviet Union, including Nagorno-Karabakh,[66] a region of the Azerbaijan SSR. The disturbances in Azerbaijan, in response to Moscow's indifference to already heated conflict, resulted in calls for independence and secession, which culminated in Black January in Baku.[67] Later in 1990, the Supreme Council of the Azerbaijan SSR dropped the words "Soviet Socialist" from the title, adopted the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Azerbaijan Republic and restored flag of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic as a state flag.[68] On 18 October 1991, the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan adopted a Declaration of Independence which was affirmed by a nationwide referendum in December 1991, when the Soviet Union was officially dissolved.[68]

The early years of independence were overshadowed by the Nagorno-Karabakh War with neighboring Armenia. By the end of hostilities in 1994, Armenia occupied up to 16 percent of Azerbaijani territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh itself.[16][69] An estimated 30,000 people had been killed and more than a million had been displaced.[70] Four United Nations Security Council Resolutions (822, 853, 874, and 884) demands for "the immediate withdrawal of all Armenian forces from all occupied territories of Azerbaijan."[71]

In 1993, democratically elected president Abulfaz Elchibey was overthrown by a military insurrection led by Colonel Surat Huseynov, which resulted in the rise to power of the former leader of Soviet Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev.[72] In 1994, Surat Huseynov, by that time a prime minister, attempted another military coup against Heydar Aliyev, but Huseynov was arrested and charged with treason.[73] In 1995, another coup attempt against Aliyev, by the commander of the OMON special unit, Rovshan Javadov, was averted, resulting in the killing of the latter and disbanding of Azerbaijan's OMON units.[74][75] During his presidency, Aliyev managed to reduce the country's unemployment, rein in criminal groups, establish the fundamental institutions of independent statehood, and brought stability, peace and major foreign investment. At the same time, the country was tainted by rampant corruption in the governing bureaucracy.[76] In October 1998, Aliyev was reelected for a second term. Despite the much improved economy, particularly with the exploitations of Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field and Shah Deniz gas field, Aliyev's presidency was criticized due to suspected vote fraud and corruption.[77]
Geography
Main articles: Geography of Azerbaijan, Environment of Azerbaijan, State Reserves of Azerbaijan, and National parks of Azerbaijan
See also: Extreme points of Azerbaijan
The highland settlement of Khinalug, one of the most ancient inhabited places in the world.

Azerbaijan is in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia, straddling Western Asia and Eastern Europe. It lies between latitudes 38° and 42° N, and longitudes 44° and 51° E. The total length of Azerbaijan's land borders is 2,648 km (1,645 mi), of which 1007 kilometers are with Armenia, 756 kilometers with Iran, 480 kilometers with Georgia, 390 kilometers with Russia and 15 kilometers with Turkey.[78] The coastline stretches for 800 km (497 mi), and the length of the widest area of the Azerbaijani section of the Caspian Sea is 456 km (283 mi).[78] The territory of Azerbaijan extends 400 km (249 mi) from north to south, and 500 km (311 mi) from west to east.

Three physical features dominate Azerbaijan: the Caspian Sea, whose shoreline forms a natural boundary to the east; the Greater Caucasus mountain range to the north; and the extensive flatlands at the country's center. There are also three mountain ranges, the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, and the Talysh Mountains, together covering approximately 40 percent of the country.[79] The highest peak of Azerbaijan is mount Bazardüzü (4,466 m), while the lowest point lies in the Caspian Sea (−28 m). Nearly half of all the mud volcanoes on Earth are concentrated in Azerbaijan, which is also among nominees for New7Wonders of Nature.[80]

The main water sources are the surface waters. However, only 24 of the 8,350 rivers are greater than 100 km (62 mi) in length.[79] All the rivers drain into the Caspian Sea in the east of the country.[79] The largest lake is Sarysu (67 km²), and the longest river is Kur (1,515 km), which is transboundary. Azerbaijan's four main islands in the Caspian Sea have a combined area of over thirty square kilometer.

Since the independence of Azerbaijan in 1991, the Azerbaijani government has taken drastic measures to preserve the environment of Azerbaijan. But national protection of the environment started to truly improve after 2001 when the state budget increased due to new revenues provided by the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. Within four years protected areas doubled and now make up eight percent of the country's territory. Since 2001 the government has set up seven large reserves and almost doubled the sector of the budget earmarked for environmental protection.[81]
Landscape
Main articles: Orography of Azerbaijan, Climate of Azerbaijan, and Water bodies of Azerbaijan
Mount Bazarduzu, the highest peak of Azerbaijan, as seen from Mount Shahdagh.

Azerbaijan is home to a vast variety of landscapes. Over half of Azerbaijan's land mass consists of mountain ridges, crests, yailas, and plateaus which rise up to hypsometric levels of 400-1000 meters (including the Middle and Lower lowlands), in some places (Talis, Jeyranchol-Ajinohur and Langabiz-Alat foreranges) up to 100-120 meters, and others from 0-50 meters and up (Qobustan, Absheron). The rest of Azerbaijan's terrain consist of plains and lowlands. Hypsometric marks within the Caucasus region vary from about −28 meters at the Caspian Sea shoreline up to 4,466 meters (Bazardüzü peak).[82]

The formation of climate in Azerbaijan is influenced particularly by cold arctic air masses of Scandinavian anticyclone, temperate of Siberian anticyclone, and Central Asian anticyclone.[83] Azerbaijan's diverse landscape affects the ways air masses enter the country.[83] The Greater Caucasus protects the country from direct influences of cold air masses coming from the north. That leads to the formation of subtropical climate on most foothills and plains of the country. Meanwhile, plains and foothills are characterized by high solar radiation rates.

9 out of 11 existing climate zones are present in Azerbaijan.[84] Both the absolute minimum temperature ( −33 °C/−27.4 °F ) and the absolute maximum

The Bahamas
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the country. For the Canadian singer-guitarist, see Bahamas (musician).
Commonwealth of the Bahamas

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Forward, Upward, Onward, Together"
Anthem: "March On, Bahamaland"
Royal anthem: "God Save the Queen"
Capital
(and largest city) Nassau
25°4′N 77°20′W
Official language(s) English
Recognised regional languages Bahamian Dialect
Ethnic groups 85% Black Bahamians, 12% White Bahamians, 3% Asians and Hispanic[1]
Demonym Bahamian
Government Unitary Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy.[2][3]
- Monarch Elizabeth II
- Governor-General Sir Arthur Foulkes
- Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham
Legislature Parliament
- Upper House Senate
- Lower House House of Assembly
Independence
- from the United Kingdom July 10, 1973[4]
Area
- Total 13,878 km2 (160th)
5,358 sq mi
- Water (%) 28%
Population
- 2009 estimate 330,000[5] (177th)
- 1990 census 254,685
- Density 23.27/km2 (181st)
60/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $8.921 billion[6]
- Per capita $25,894[6]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $7.538 billion[6]
- Per capita $21,878[6]
HDI (2010) increase 0.784[7] (very high) (43rd)
Currency Bahamian dollar (BSD)
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
- Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Drives on the left
Internet TLD .bs
Calling code +1-242

The Bahamas Listeni/bəˈhɑːməz/, officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets (rocks). It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States (nearest to the state of Florida). Its total land area is 13,939 km2 (5,382 sq mi), with an estimated population of 330,000. Its capital is Nassau. Geographically, The Bahamas lie in the same island chain as Cuba, Hispaniola and the Turks and Caicos Islands; the designation of Bahamas refers normally to the Commonwealth and not the geographic chain.

Originally inhabited by the Lucayans, a branch of the Arawakan-speaking Taino people, The Bahamas were the site of Columbus' first landfall in the New World in 1492. Although the Spanish never colonized The Bahamas, they shipped the native Lucayans to slavery in Hispaniola. The islands were mostly deserted from 1513 to 1648, when English colonists from Bermuda settled on the island of Eleuthera.

The Bahamas became a Crown Colony in 1718 when the British clamped down on piracy. Following the American War of Independence, thousands of pro-British loyalists and enslaved Africans moved to The Bahamas and set up a plantation economy. The slave trade was abolished in the British Empire in 1807 and many Africans liberated from slave ships by the Royal Navy were settled in The Bahamas during the 19th century. Slavery itself was abolished in 1834 and the descendants of enslaved and liberated Africans form the bulk of The Bahamas's population today.

In terms of GDP per capita, the Bahamas is the third richest country in the Americas (following the United States and Canada),[8] and the richest in the world whose population is predominantly of African origin.[citation needed]
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 18th century
2.2 20th century
3 Geography and climate
3.1 Climate
4 Government and politics
4.1 Administrative divisions
4.2 Military
4.3 National symbols
4.3.1 National flag
4.3.2 Coat of arms
4.3.3 National flower
5 Economy
6 Ethnic groups
6.1 Afro-Bahamians
6.2 Europeans
7 Demographics
8 Culture
9 See also
10 References
11 Further reading
11.1 General history
11.2 Economic history
11.3 Social history
12 External links

Etymology

The origin of the name Bahamas is unclear. It may derive from the Spanish baja mar ("low sea") or the Lucayan word for Grand Bahama island, ba-ha-ma ("large upper middle land").[9]
History
Map of The Bahamas
Main article: History of The Bahamas

Taino people moved into the uninhabited southern Bahamas from Hispaniola and Cuba around the 11th century AD. These people came to be known as the Lucayans. There were an estimated 30,000+ Lucayans at the time of Columbus's arrival in 1492. Christopher Columbus's first landfall in the New World was on an island named San Salvador (known to the Lucayans as Guanahani), which is generally accepted to be present-day San Salvador Island, (also known as Watling's Island) in the southeastern Bahamas.

An alternative theory holds that Columbus landed to the southeast on Samana Cay, according to calculations made in 1986 by National Geographic writer and editor Joseph Judge based on Columbus's log. Evidence in support of this remains inconclusive. On the landfall island, Columbus made first contact with the Lucayans and exchanged goods with them.

The Lucayans throughout The Bahamas were wiped out as a result of Spanish forced migration of the population to Hispaniola for use as forced labour there, and exposure to diseases to which they had no immunity.[10] The smallpox that ravaged the Taino Indians after Columbus's arrival wiped out half of the population in what is now The Bahamas.[11]

It is generally assumed that the islands were uninhabited by Europeans until the mid-17th century. However, recent research suggests that there may have been attempts to settle the islands by groups from Spain, France, and Britain, as well as by other Amerindians. In 1648, the Eleutherian Adventurers migrated from Bermuda. These English Puritans established the first permanent European settlement on an island which they named Eleuthera—the name derives from the Greek word for freedom. They later settled New Providence, naming it Sayle's Island after one of their leaders. To survive, the settlers resorted to salvaged goods from wrecks.

In 1670 King Charles II granted the islands to the Lords Proprietors of the Carolinas, who rented the islands from the king with rights of trading, tax, appointing governors, and administering the country.[12] In 1684 Spain's corsair Juan de Alcon raided the capital Charles Town, and in 1703 a joint Franco-Spanish expedition briefly occupied the Bahamian capital during the War of the Spanish Succession.
18th century

During proprietary rule, The Bahamas became a haven for pirates, including the infamous Blackbeard. To restore orderly government, The Bahamas were made a British crown colony in 1718 under the royal governorship of Woodes Rogers, who, after a difficult struggle, succeeded in suppressing piracy.[13] In 1720, Rogers led local militia to drive off a Spanish attack.

During the American War of Independence, the islands were a target for American naval forces under the command of Commodore Ezekial Hopkins. The capital of Nassau on the island of New Providence was occupied by US Marines for a fortnight.

In 1782, following the British defeat at Yorktown, a Spanish fleet appeared off the coast of Nassau, and the city surrendered without a fight.

After American independence, some 7,300 Loyalists and their slaves moved to The Bahamas from New York, Florida, and The Carolinas. These Loyalists established plantations on several islands and became a political force in the capital. The small population became mostly African from this point on.

The British abolished the slave trade in 1807, which led to the forced settlement on Bahamian islands of thousands of Africans liberated from slave ships by the Royal Navy. Slavery itself was finally abolished in the British Empire on August 1, 1834.
20th century

Modern political development began after the Second World War. The first political parties were formed in the 1950s and the British made the islands internally self-governing in 1964, with Sir Roland Symonette of the United Bahamian Party as the first premier.

In 1967, Sir Lynden Pindling of the Progressive Liberal Party became the first black premier of the colony, and in 1968 the title was changed to prime minister. In 1973, The Bahamas became fully independent, but retained membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. Sir Milo Butler was appointed the first Bahamian governor-general (the representative of Queen Elizabeth II) shortly after independence.

Based on the twin pillars of tourism and offshore finance, the Bahamian economy has prospered since the 1950s. However, there remain significant challenges in areas such as education, health care, housing, international narcotics trafficking and illegal immigration from Haiti.
Geography and climate
Main article: Geography of The Bahamas
The Bahamas from space. NASA Aqua satellite image, 2009

The country lies between latitudes 20° and 28°N, and longitudes 72° and 80°W.

The closest island to the United States is Bimini, which is also known as the gateway to The Bahamas. The island of Abaco is to the east of Grand Bahama. The southeasternmost island is Inagua. The largest island is Andros Island. Other inhabited islands include Eleuthera, Cat Island, Long Island, San Salvador Island, Acklins, Crooked Island, Exuma and Mayaguana. Nassau, capital city of The Bahamas, lies on the island of New Providence.

All the islands are low and flat, with ridges that usually rise no more than 15 to 20 m (49 to 66 ft). The highest point in the country is Mount Alvernia, formerly called Como Hill, which has an altitude of 63 metres (207 ft) on Cat Island.

To the southeast, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and three more extensive submarine features called Mouchoir Bank, Silver Bank, and Navidad Bank, are geographically a continuation of The Bahamas, but not part of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.[citation needed]
Climate
See also: Geography of the Bahamas

The climate of The Bahamas is subtropical to tropical, and is moderated significantly by the waters of the Gulf Stream, particularly in winter.[14] Conversely, this often proves very dangerous in the summer and autumn, when hurricanes pass near or through the islands. Hurricane Andrew hit the northern islands during the 1992 Atlantic hurricane season, and Hurricane Floyd hit most of the islands during the 1999 Atlantic hurricane season.

While there has never been a freeze reported in The Bahamas, the temperature can fall as low as 2-3 °C (35.6-37.4 °F) during Arctic outbreaks that affect nearby Florida. Snow was reported to have mixed with rain in Freeport in January 1977, the same time that it snowed in the Miami area.[15] The temperature was about 4.5 °C (40.1 °F) at the time.[16]
[hide]Climate data for Nassau, Bahamas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 25.4
(77.7) 25.5
(77.9) 26.6
(79.9) 27.9
(82.2) 29.7
(85.5) 31.0
(87.8) 32.0
(89.6) 32.1
(89.8) 31.6
(88.9) 29.9
(85.8) 27.8
(82) 26.2
(79.2) 28.8
(83.8)
Daily mean °C (°F) 21.4
(70.5) 21.4
(70.5) 22.3
(72.1) 23.8
(74.8) 25.6
(78.1) 27.2
(81) 28.0
(82.4) 28.1
(82.6) 27.7
(81.9) 26.2
(79.2) 24.2
(75.6) 22.3
(72.1) 24.8
(76.6)
Average low °C (°F) 17.3
(63.1) 17.3
(63.1) 17.9
(64.2) 19.6
(67.3) 21.4
(70.5) 23.3
(73.9) 24.0
(75.2) 24.0
(75.2) 23.7
(74.7) 22.5
(72.5) 20.6
(69.1) 18.3
(64.9) 20.8
(69.4)
Precipitation mm (inches) 39.4
(1.551) 49.5
(1.949) 54.4
(2.142) 69.3
(2.728) 105.9
(4.169) 218.2
(8.591) 160.8
(6.331) 235.7
(9.28) 164.1
(6.461) 161.8
(6.37) 80.5
(3.169) 49.8
(1.961) 1,389.4
(54.701)
Avg. precipitation days 8 6 7 8 10 15 17 19 17 15 10 8 140
Sunshine hours 220.1 220.4 257.3 276.0 269.7 231.0 272.8 266.6 213.0 223.2 222.0 213.9 2,886
Source: World Meteorological Organization (UN),[17] Hong Kong Observatory[18] for data of sunshine hours
Government and politics
Main article: Politics of The Bahamas
Bahamian Parliament, located in downtown Nassau
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham

The Bahamas is a sovereign, independent, nation. Political and legal traditions closely follow those of the United Kingdom and the Westminster system. The Bahamas is a parliamentary democracy with two main parties, the Free National Movement and the Progressive Liberal Party.

Tourism generates about half of all jobs, but the number of visitors has dropped significantly since the beginning of the global economic downturn during the last quarter of 2008. Banking and international financial services also have contracted, and The Bahamas is one of 34 secrecy jurisdictions that would be subject to the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act introduced in the U.S. Congress.

The Bahamas is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, and a Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state (represented by a Governor-General).

Legislative power is vested in a bicameral parliament, which consists of a 41-member House of Assembly (the lower house), with members elected from single-member districts, and a 16-member Senate, with members appointed by the governor-general, including nine on the advice of the prime minister, four on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and three on the advice of the prime minister after consultation with the leader of the opposition. The House of Assembly carries out all major legislative functions. As under the Westminster system, the prime minister may dissolve parliament and call a general election at any time within a five-year term.

The Prime Minister is the head of government and is the leader of the party with the most seats in the House of Assembly. Executive power is exercised by the cabinet, selected by the prime minister and drawn from his supporters in the House of Assembly. The current governor-general is Sir Arthur Foulkes and the current Prime Minister is Hubert Ingraham.

The Bahamas has a largely two-party system dominated by the centre-left Progressive Liberal Party and the centre-right Free National Movement. A handful of splinter parties have been unable to win election to parliament. These parties have included the Bahamas Democratic Movement, the Coalition for Democratic Reform and the Bahamian Nationalist Party.

Constitutional safeguards include freedom of speech, press, worship, movement, and association. Although The Bahamas is not geographically located in the Caribbean, it is a member of the Caribbean Community. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Jurisprudence is based on English law.
Administrative divisions
Districts of The Bahamas
Main article: Local government in the Bahamas

The districts of The Bahamas provide a system of local government everywhere except New Providence, whose affairs are handled directly by the central government. In 1996, the Bahamian Parliament passed "The Local Government Act" to facilitate the establishment of Family Island Administrators, Local Government Districts, Local District Councillors, and Local Town Committees for the various island communities. The overall goal of this act is to allow the various elected leaders to govern and oversee the affairs of their respective districts without the interference of Central Government. In total, there are 32 districts, with elections being held every three years. There are also one hundred and ten Councillors and two hundred and eighty-one Town Committee members to correspond with the various districts.[19]

Each Councillor or Town Committee member is responsible for the proper use of public funds for the maintenance and development of their constituency.

The districts other than New Providence are:

Acklins
Berry Islands
Bimini
Black Point, Exuma
Cat Island
Central Abaco
Central Andros
Central Eleuthera
City of Freeport, Grand Bahama
Crooked Island
East Grand Bahama
Exuma
Grand Cay, Abaco
Harbour Island, Eleuthera
Hope Town, Abaco
Inagua
Long Island



Mangrove Cay, Andros
Mayaguana
Moore's Island, Abaco
North Abaco
North Andros
North Eleuthera
Ragged Island
Rum Cay
San Salvador
South Abaco
South Andros
South Eleuthera
Spanish Wells, Eleuthera
West Grand Bahama
Green Turtle Cay (not shown on map on the right)







Military
Main article: Royal Bahamas Defence Force

The Bahamas does not have an army or an air force. Its military is composed of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF), the navy of The Bahamas. Under The Defence Act, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force has been mandated to defend The Bahamas, protect its territorial integrity, patrol its waters, provide assistance and relief in times of disaster, maintain order in conjunction with the law enforcement agencies of The Bahamas, and carry out any such duties as determined by the National Security Council. The Defence Force is also a member of Caricom's Regional Security Task Force.

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force officially came into existence on March 31, 1980. Their duties include defending the Bahamas, stopping drug smuggling, illegal immigration, poaching, and providing assistance to mariners whenever and wherever they can. The Defence Force has a fleet of 26 coastal and inshore patrol craft along with 2 aircraft and over 850 personnel including 65 officers and 74 women.
National symbols
National flag
National Flag of The Bahamas

The colours embodied in the design of the Bahamian flag symbolise the image and aspirations of the people of The Bahamas; the design reflects aspects of the natural environment (sun, sand, and sea) and the economic and social development. The flag is a black equilateral triangle against the mast, superimposed on a horizontal background made up of two colours on three equal stripes of aquamarine, gold and aquamarine.

The symbolism of the flag is as follows: Black, a strong colour, represents the vigour and force of a united people, the triangle pointing towards the body of the flag represents the enterprise and determination of the Bahamian people to develop and possess the rich resources of sun and sea symbolized by gold and aquamarine respectively. In reference to the representation of the people with the colour black, some white Bahamians have joked that they are represented in the thread which "holds it all together."[20]
Bahamian Coat of Arms
Coat of arms
Main article: Coat of arms of The Bahamas

The Coat of Arms of The Bahamas contains a shield with the national symbols as its focal point. The shield is supported by a marlin and a flamingo, which are the national animals of The Bahamas. The flamingo is located on the land, and the marlin on the sea, indicating the geography of the islands.

On top of the shield is a conch shell, which represents the varied marine life of the island chain. The conch shell rests on a helmet. Below this is the actual shield, the main symbol of which is a ship representing the Santa María of Christopher Columbus, shown sailing beneath the sun. Along the bottom, below the shield appears a banner upon which is scripted the national motto:[21]

"Forward, Upward, Onward Together."

The yellow elder
National flower

The yellow elder was chosen as the national flower of The Bahamas because it is native to the Bahama Islands, and it blooms throughout the year.

Selection of the yellow elder over many other flowers was made through the combined popular vote of members of all four of New Providence's garden clubs of the 1970s - the Nassau Garden Club, the Carver Garden Club, the International Garden Club, and the YWCA Garden Club.

They reasoned that other flowers grown there - such as the bougainvillea, hibiscus, and poinciana - had already been chosen as the national flowers of other countries. The yellow elder, on the other hand, was unclaimed by other countries (although it is now also the national flower of the United States Virgin Islands).[22]
Economy
Cruise ships in Nassau Harbour
Main article: Economy of The Bahamas

One of the most prosperous countries in the Caribbean region, The Bahamas relies on tourism to generate most of its economic activity. Tourism as an industry not only accounts for over 60 percent of the Bahamian GDP, but provides jobs for more than half the country's workforce.[23] After tourism, the next most important economic sector is financial services, accounting for some 15 percent of GDP.

The government has adopted incentives to encourage foreign financial business, and further banking and finance reforms are in progress. The government plans to merge the regulatory functions of key financial institutions, including the Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBB) and the Securities and Exchange Commission.[citation needed] The Central Bank administers restrictions and controls on capital and money market instruments. The Bahamas International Securities Exchange currently consists of 19 listed public companies. Reflecting the relative soundness of the banking system (mostly populated by Canadian banks), the impact of the global financial crisis on the financial sector has been limited.[citation needed]

The economy has a very competitive tax regime. The government derives its revenue from import tariffs, license fees, property and stamp taxes, but there is no income tax, corporate tax, capital gains tax, value-added tax (VAT), or wealth tax. Payroll taxes fund social insurance benefits. In the most recent year, Overall tax revenue as a percentage of GDP is 21.8 percent.[citation needed] Authorities are trying to increase tax compliance and collection in the wake of the global crisis. Inflation has been moderate, averaging 3.7 percent between 2006 and 2008.[citation needed]

By the terms of GDP per capita, the Bahamas is the third richest country in the Americas (after the United States and Canada).[24]
Ethnic groups
Main article: Demographics of The Bahamas
Afro-Bahamians

Afro-Bahamians or Bahamians of African descent are Bahamians whose ancestry lies within the continent of Africa, most notably West Africa. The first Africans to arrive to The Bahamas ca

Bahrain
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the historical region, see Bahrain (historical region). For the island, see Bahrain Island. For the town in Pakistan, see Behrain.
This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2011)
Page semi-protected
Kingdom of Bahrain
مملكة البحرين
Mamlakat al-Baḥrayn

Flag Emblem
Anthem: Bahrainona
Location of Bahrain (green)

in the Middle East (grey) — [Legend]
Capital
(and largest city) Manama
26°13′N 50°35′E
Official language(s) Arabic
Demonym Bahraini
Government Constitutional Monarchy
- King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
- Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
- Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa
Legislature National Assembly of Bahrain
Independence
- From Persia 1783
- Termination of special treaty with the United Kingdom 15 August 1971
Area
- Total 750 km2 (185th)
290 sq mi
- Water (%) 0
Population
- 2010 estimate 1,234,596[1] (155th)
- Density 1,646.1/km2 (7th)
4,257.2/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $29.712 billion[2]
- Per capita $26,852[2]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $22.656 billion[2]
- Per capita $20,474[2]
HDI (2010) increase 0.801[3] (very high) (39th)
Currency Bahraini dinar (BHD)
Time zone AST (UTC+3)
Drives on the Right
ISO 3166 code BH
Internet TLD .bh
Calling code 973

Bahrain Listeni/bɑːˈreɪn/ (Arabic: ‏البحرين‎ Al Baḥrayn), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain (Arabic: مملكة البحرين‎ Mamlakat al Baḥrayn About this sound Arabic pronunciation (help·info), English: Kingdom of the Two Seas), is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals.[4] Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.

Bahrain is an archipelago of 33 islands, the largest being Bahrain Island, at 55 km (34 mi) long by 18 km (11 mi) wide. Saudi Arabia lies to the west and is connected to Bahrain by the King Fahd Causeway. Qatar is to the southeast across the Gulf of Bahrain. The planned Qatar Bahrain Causeway will link Bahrain and Qatar and become the world's longest marine causeway.[5]

Known for its oil and pearls, Bahrain is also home to many large structures, including the Bahrain World Trade Center and the Bahrain Financial Harbour, with a proposal in place to build the 1,022 m (3,353 ft) high Murjan Tower. The Qal'at al-Bahrain (the harbour and capital of the ancient land of Dilmun) was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.[6] The Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit.[7]
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Pre-Islamic
2.2 Islamic conversion and Portuguese control
2.3 Rise of the Bani Utbah
2.4 Al Khalifa ascendancy to Bahrain and their treaties with the British
2.5 The Dawsari Tribe in Bahrain
2.6 Discovery of petroleum
2.7 Separation of Bahrain from Iran
3 Politics
3.1 Women's rights
3.2 1990s uprising in Bahrain
3.3 2011 Bahraini uprising
4 Governorates
5 Economy
6 Geography
7 Climate
8 Demographics
9 Culture
9.1 Language and religion
9.2 Formula One and other motorsports events
9.3 Holidays
10 Military
11 Education
12 Tourism
13 See also
14 References
15 External links

Etymology

Bahrain means "two seas" in Arabic. As the island is in the middle of a bay, the two seas referred to lie to the east and west.[8] Other authors cite alternate meanings for the name. "The name of Bahrein, which means 'Two Seas'. Is derived, according to the natives of the country, from the existence of two strata of water located there. The higher film is extremely salty, whereas the deeper consists of sweet water with a very pleasant taste." So wrote Masoudi, the famous Arabian author. Ibn Khallakan has a different explanation. He cites the Persian lexicographer Al-Ahsa as follows: "Al Bahrein ("The Two Seas") is so named because in the region where the towns are situated, near the gate of Al-Ahsa and the village of Hajar, there is a lake ten parsangs distance from the Great Green Ocean (The Persian Gulf). The lake is three miles long and as many broad. It does not overflow, and the waters are tranquil and salt. According to Al-Jawahari, the author of Sahab, the inhabitants are called Bahrani rather than the more formal form Bahri, because "the latter term might be misunderstood, having as it does another meanings, namely, "Belonging to the Sea."[9]

However, al-Bahrayn, "the Two Seas", is a cosmographical and cosmological concept appearing five times in the Qu'ran. This did not apply to the country of Bahrain. "The variety of explanations, none of them convincing, of the name al-Bahrayn in the Arabic sources indicates its origins remain unknown. In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times the name applied to the mainland of Eastern Arabia, embracing the oases of al-Katif and Hadjar (now al-Hasa); later it was restricted to the archipelago offshore."[10]
History
Main article: History of Bahrain
Pre-Islamic
Asia in 600 AD, showing the Persian Empire in Sassanid era before the Arab conquest.
Bahrain political map, 2003

Inhabited since ancient times, Bahrain occupies a strategic location in the Persian Gulf that has been ruled and influenced by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians and the Arabs, under whom the island became Islamic. Bahrain may have been associated with Dilmun, an important Bronze age trade centre linking Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley.[11]

Prior to Alexander the Great's arrival in the Persian Gulf in the 4th century BC, there are no historical references to Bahrain.[11] From the 6th to 3rd century BC, Bahrain was added to the Persian Empire by the Achaemenian dynasty.[12] By about 250 BC, the Parthian dynasty brought the Persian Gulf under its control and extended its influence as far as Oman. From the 3rd century BC until the arrival of Islam in the 7th century AD, Bahrain was controlled by two other Persian dynasties, the Parthians and the Sassanids. In order to control trade routes, the Parthians established garrisons along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf.[13] In the 3rd century AD, the Sassanids succeeded the Parthians, holding the area until the rise of Islam four centuries later. Ardashir I, first ruler of the Sassanian dynasty, marched on Oman and Bahrain, where he defeated Sanatruq II.[14] At this time, Bahrain comprised the southern Sassanid province along the Persian Gulf's southern shore as well as the archipelago of the present day country.[15]

The Sassanid Empire divided their southern province into the three districts of Haggar (now al-Hafuf province, Saudi Arabia), Batan Ardashir (now al-Qatif province, Saudi Arabia) and Mishmahig (which in Middle-Persian/Pahlavi means "ewe-fish").[14] Until Bahrain adopted Islam in 629 AD, it was a centre of Nestorian Christianity.[14] Early Islamic sources describe the country as inhabited by members of the Abdul Qais, Tamim and Bakr tribes who worshipped the idol Awal.
Islamic conversion and Portuguese control

In 899 AD, the Qarmatians, a millenarian Ismaili Muslim sect seized Bahrain, seeking to create a utopian society based on reason and redistribution of property among initiates. Thereafter, the Qarmatians demanded tribute from the caliph in Baghdad, and in 930 AD sacked Mecca and Medina, bringing the sacred Black Stone back to their base in Ahsa, in medieval Bahrain, for ransom. According to historian Al-Juwayni, the stone was returned 22 years later in 951 under mysterious circumstances. Wrapped in a sack, it was thrown into the Great Mosque of Kufa in Iraq, accompanied by a note saying "By command we took it, and by command we have brought it back." The theft and removal of the Black Stone caused it to break into seven pieces.[14][16][17]

Following a 976 AD defeat by the Abbasids,[18] the Quarmations were overthrown by the Arab Uyunid dynasty of al-Hasa, who took over the entire Bahrain region in 1076.[19] The Uyunids controlled Bahrain until 1235, when the archipelago was briefly occupied by the Iranian ruler of Fars. In 1253, the Bedouin Usfurids brought down the Uyunid dynasty, thereby gaining control over eastern Arabia, including the islands of Bahrain. In 1330, the archipelago became a tributary state of the rulers of Hormuz,[20] though locally the islands were controlled by the Shi'ite Jarwanid dynasty of Qatif.[21]

Until the late Middle Ages, "Bahrain" referred to the larger historical region of Bahrain that included Al-Ahsa, Al-Qatif (both now within the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia) and the Awal Islands (now the Bahrain Islands). The region stretched from Basra in Iraq to the Strait of Hormuz in Oman. This was Iqlīm al-Bahrayn's "Bahrayn Province". The exact date at which the term "Bahrain" began to refer solely to the Awal archipelago is unknown.[22] In the mid-15th century, the archipelago came under the rule of the Jabrids, a Bedouin dynasty also based in Al-Ahsa that ruled most of eastern Arabia.

In 1521, the Portuguese allied with Hormuz and seized Bahrain from the Jabrid ruler Migrin ibn Zamil, who was killed during the takeover. Portuguese rule lasted for nearly 80 years, during which time they depended mainly on Sunni Persian governors.[23] The Portuguese were expelled from the islands in 1602 by Abbas I of the Safavid dynasty of Iran, who declared Shia Islam the official religion of Bahrain.[24] For the next two centuries, Iranian rulers retained control of the archipelago, interrupted by the 1717 and 1738 invasions of the Ibadhis of Oman.[25][26] During most of this period, they resorted to governing Bahrain indirectly, either through the city of Bushehr or through immigrant Sunni Arab clans. The latter were tribes returning to the Arabian side of the Persian Gulf from Persian territories in the north who were known as Huwala (literally: those that have changed or moved).[23][27][28] In 1753, the Huwala clan of Al Madhkur invaded Bahrain on behalf of the Iranians and restored direct Iranian rule.[29]
Rise of the Bani Utbah

In 1783, Nasr Al-Madhkur, ruler of Bahrain and Bushire, lost the islands of Bahrain following his defeat by the Bani Utbah tribe at the 1782 Battle of Zubarah. Bahrain was not new territory to the Bani Utbah; they had been a presence there since the 17th century.[30] During that time, they started purchasing date palm gardens in Bahrain. A document belonging to Shaikh Salama Bin Saif Al Utbi, one of the shaikhs of the Al Bin Ali tribe (an offshoot of the Bani Utbah), states that Mariam Bint Ahmed Al Sindi, a Shia woman, sold a palm garden on the island of Sitra to Shaikh Salama Bin Saif Al Utbi in the year 1699-1111 Hijri calendar, preceding the arrival of the Al-Khalifa to Bahrain by more than 90 years.[31]

The Al Bin Ali were the dominant group controlling the town of Zubarah on the Qatar peninsula,[32][33] originally the center of power of the Bani Utbah. After the Bani Utbah gained control of Bahrain, the Al Bin Ali had a practically independent status there as a self-governing tribe. They used a flag with four red and three white stripes, called the Al-Sulami flag[34] in Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, and the Eastern province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was raised on their ships during wartime, in the pearl season and on special occasions such as weddings and during Eid[disambiguation needed] as well as in the "Ardha of war".[35] The Al Bin Ali were known for their courage, persistence, and abundant wealth.[36]

Later, different Arab family clans and tribes, mostly from Qatar, moved to Bahrain to settle after the fall of the Zand Dynasty of Persia. These families and tribes included the Al Khalifa, Al-Ma'awdah, Al-Fadhil, Al-Mannai, Al-Noaimi, Al-Sulaiti, Al-Sadah, Al-Thawadi, and other families and tribes.

Most of these tribes settled in Muharraq, the capital of Bahrain and center of power at that time since the Al Bin Ali lived there. The oldest and largest neighborhood in Muharraq city is called Al Bin Ali. Members of this tribe lived in this area for more than three centuries.[citation needed]
Al Khalifa ascendancy to Bahrain and their treaties with the British

In 1797, fourteen years later after gaining the power of the Bani Utbah, the Al Khalifa family moved to Bahrain and settled in Jaww, later moving to Riffa. They were originally from Kuwait having left in 1766. Al-Sabah family traditions relates that the ancestors of their tribe and those of the Al-Khalifa tribe came to Kuwait after their expulsion from Umm Qasr upon Khor Zubair by the Turks, an earlier base from which they preyed on the caravans of Basra and pirated ships in the Shatt Al Arab waterway.[37]

In the early 19th century, Bahrain was invaded by both the Omanis and the Al Sauds. In 1802 it was governed by a twelve year old child, when the Omani ruler Sayyid Sultan installed his son, Salim, as Governor in the Arad Fort.[38]

In 1820, the Al Khalifa tribe came to power in Bahrain and entered a treaty relationship with Great Britain, by then the dominant military power in the Persian Gulf. This treaty granted the Al Khalifa the title of Rulers of Bahrain.

After Egyptian Mohammad Pasha took the Arabian Peninsula from the Wahhabis on behalf of the Ottoman Empire in 1830, Sheikh Abdul Al Khalifeh declared allegiance to the Iranian Government to avoid the Egyptians taking control of Bahrain.

In 1860, the Government of Al Khalifeh used the same tactic when the British tried to overpower Bahrain. Sheikh Mohammad Ben Khalifeh wrote a letter to Nasseredin Shah of Iran declaring himself, his brother and all of members of Al Khalifeh and the people of Bahrain Iranian subjects. In another letter to the Iranian Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammad demanded that the Government of Iran provide direct guidance and protection from British pressure.

Later on, under pressure from Colonel Sir Lewis Pelly, Sheikh Mohammad requested military assistance from Iran, but the Government of Iran at that time had no ability to protect Bahrain from British aggression. As a result the Government of British India eventually overpowered Bahrain. Colonel Pelly signed an agreement with Sheikh Mohammad in May 1861 and later with his brother Sheikh Ali that placed Bahrain under British rule and protection. In 1868, British representatives signed another agreement with the rulers of Al Khalifeh making Bahrain part of the British protectorate territories in the Persian Gulf. This treaty was similar to those entered into by the British Government with the other Persian Gulf principalities. It specified that the ruler could not dispose of any of his territory except to the United Kingdom and could not enter into relationships with any foreign government without British consent. In return the British promised to protect Bahrain from all aggression by sea and to lend support in case of land attack. More importantly the British promised to support the rule of the Al Khalifa in Bahrain, securing its unstable position as rulers of the country. Other agreements in 1880 and 1892 sealed the protectorate status of Bahrain to the British.

According to School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) academic, Nelida Fuccaro:

From this perspective state building under the Al Khalifa shayks should not be considered exclusively as the result of Britain's informal empire in the Persian Gulf. In fact, it was a long process of strategic negotiation with different sections of the local population in order to establish a pre-eminence of their particularly artistic Sunni/Bedouin tradition of family rule.
—Nelida Fuccaro, Persians and the space in the city in Bahrain 1869-1937[39]

Unrest amongst the people of Bahrain began when Britain officially established complete dominance over the territory in 1892. The first revolt and widespread uprising took place in March 1895 against Sheikh Essa Ben Ali, then ruler of the Al Khalifeh. Sheikh Essa was the first of the Al Khalifeh to rule a land without Iranian relations. Sir Arnold Wilson, Britain's representaive in the Persian Gulf and author of The Persian Gulf, arrived in Bahrain from Masghat at this time. The uprising developed further with some protesters killed by British forces.

Peace and trade brought a new prosperity to Bahrain. With the country no longer dependent upon pearling, by the mid-19th century it became the pre-eminent trading centre in the Persian Gulf, overtaking rivals Basra, Kuwait, and finally, in the 1870s, Muscat.[40] At the same time, Bahrain's socio-economic development began to diverge from the rest of the Persian Gulf undergoing transformation from a tribal trading centre to a modern state.[41] This process was spurred by the arrival of large numbers of Persian, Huwala, and Indian merchant families who set up businesses on the island, making it the hub of a web of trade routes across the Persian Gulf, Persia and the Indian sub-continent. A contemporary account of Manama in 1862 found:

Mixed with the indigenous population [of Manamah] are numerous strangers and settlers, some of whom have been established here for many generations back, attracted from other lands by the profits of either commerce or the pearl fishery, and still retaining more or less the physiognomy and garb of their native countries. Thus the gay-coloured dress of the southern Persian, the saffron-stained vest of Oman, the white robe of Nejed, and the striped gown of Bagdad, are often to be seen mingling with the light garments of Bahreyn, its blue and red turban, its white silk-fringed cloth worn Banian fashion round the waist, and its frock-like overall; while a small but unmistakable colony of Indians, merchants by profession, and mainly from Guzerat, Cutch, and their vicinity, keep up here all their peculiarities of costume and manner, and live among the motley crowd, 'among them, but not of them'.
—WG Palgrave, Narrative of a Year's Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia (1862-3)[42]

Palgrave's description of Manama's coffee houses in the mid-19th century portrays them as cosmopolitan venues in contrast to what he describes as the 'closely knit and bigoted universe of central Arabia'.[42] Palgrave describes a people with an open - even urbane - outlook: "Of religious controversy I have never heard one word. In short, instead of Zelators and fanatics, camel-drivers and Bedouins, we have at Bahrain [Manama] something like 'men of the world, who know the world like men' a great relief to the mind; certainly it was so to mine."[42]

The great trading families that emerged during this period have been compared to the Borgias and Medicis[42] and their great wealth - long before the oil wealth the region would later be renowned for - gave them extensive power, and among the most prominent were the Persian Al Safar family, who held the position of Native Agents of Britain in 19th century.[42] The Al Safar enjoyed an 'exceptionally close'[42] relationship with the Al Khalifa clan from 1869, although the al-Khalifa never intermarried with them - it has been speculated that this was to limit the Safars' influence on the ruling family or because the Safars were Shia Muslims.

Bahrain's trade with India saw the cultural influence of the subcontinent grow dramatically, with styles of dress, cuisine, and education all showing a marked Indian influence. According to Exeter University's James Onley "In these and countless other ways, eastern Arabia's ports and people were as much a part of the Indian Ocean world as they were a part of the Arab world."[42]

In 1911, a group of Bahraini merchants demanded restrictions on the British influence in the country. The group's leaders were subsequently arrested and exiled to India. In 1923, the British deposed Sheikh Issa Ben Ali who they accused of opposing Britain and set up a permanent representative in Bahrain. This coincided with renewal of Iran's claim over the ownership of Bahrain, a development that Sheikh Essa had been accused of welcoming. The preference shown by the people of Bahrain towards the renewal of Iran ownership's claim also caused concern for Britain. To remedy these problems, in 1926, Britain dispatched Sir Charles Belgrave, one of her most experienced colonial officers, as an advisor to the Emir of Bahrain. His harsh measures intensified the increasing aversion of people towards him and led to his eventual expulsion from Bahrain in 1957. Belgrave's colonial undertakings were not limited to violent deeds against the people of Bahrain but also included a series of initiatives that included removal of Iranian influence on Bahrain and The Persian Gulf. In 1937, Belgrave proposed changing the name of the Persian Gulf to the "Gulf of Arabia", a move that did not happen place but was implemnted by Abdul Karim Ghasim, the dictator of Baghdad[citation needed].

In 1927, Rezā Shāh demanded the return of Bahrain in a letter to the Allied Nations Community.[clarification needed "League of Nations?"] Britain believed that weakened domination over Bahrain would cause her to lose control all over the P

Bangladesh
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the People's Republic of Bangladesh. For other uses, see Bangladesh (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 23°N 90°E
People's Republic of Bangladesh
গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রী বাংলাদেশ
Gônoprojatontri Bangladesh

Flag Emblem
Anthem:
Amar Shonar Bangla instrumental.ogg

Amar Shonar Bangla
My Golden Bangla
Capital
(and largest city) Dhaka
23°42′N 90°21′E
Official language(s) Bangla
Demonym Bangladeshi
Government Unitary state and parliamentary democracy[1]
- President Zillur Rahman
- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
- Speaker Abdul Hamid
- Chief Justice Md. Muzammel Hossain
Legislature Jatiya Sangsad
Independence from Pakistan
- Declared March 26, 1971
- Victory Day December 16, 1971
Area
- Total 147,570 km2 (94th)
56,977 sq mi
- Water (%) 6.4
Population
- 2011 estimate 142.3 million[2] (8th)
- Density 1,099.3/km2 (9th)
2,917.6/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $258.608 billion[3]
- Per capita $1,572[3]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $104.919 billion[3]
- Per capita $638[3]
Gini (2005) 33.2[4] (medium)
HDI (2010) increase 0.469[5] (low) (132nd)
Currency Taka (BDT)
Time zone BST (UTC+6)
Drives on the left
ISO 3166 code BD
Internet TLD .bd
Calling code 880
1 Adjusted population, p.4,

Bangladesh (Listeni/ˈbɑːŋɡlədɛʃ/ or Listeni/bæŋɡləˈdɛʃ/; Bengali: বাংলাদেশ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh (Bangla: গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রী বাংলাদেশ Gônoprojatontri Bangladesh) is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma (Myanmar) to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south. Together with the Indian state of West Bengal, it makes up the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. The name Bangladesh means "Country of Bengal" in the official Bengali language.

The borders of present-day Bangladesh were established with the partition of Bengal and India in 1947, when the region became East Pakistan, part of the newly formed nation of Pakistan. However, it was separated from the western wing by 1,600 km (994 mi) of Indian territory. Due to political exclusion, ethnic and linguistic discrimination, and economic neglect by the politically-dominant West Pakistan, popular agitation grew against West Pakistan and led to the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, which the Bengali people won with the support of India. After independence, the new state endured famines, natural disasters and widespread poverty, as well as political turmoil and military coups. The restoration of democracy in 1991 has been followed by relative calm and economic progress.

Bangladesh is a parliamentary democracy, with an elected parliament called the Jatiyo Sangshad. It is the eighth most populous country and among the most densely populated countries in the world. A high poverty rate prevails, although the United Nations has acclaimed Bangladesh for achieving tremendous progress in human development.[6][7] Geographically, the country straddles the fertile Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta and is subject to annual monsoon floods and cyclones.

The country is listed among the Next Eleven economies. It is a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, the D-8 and BIMSTEC, and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Non-Aligned Movement. However, Bangladesh continues to face a number of major challenges, including widespread political and bureaucratic corruption, economic competition relative to the world, serious overpopulation, widespread poverty, and an increasing danger of hydrologic shocks brought on by ecological vulnerability to climate change.[citation needed]
Contents
[hide]

1 History
2 Government and politics
3 Foreign policy and military
4 Divisions, districts and upazilas
5 Geography and climate
6 Flora and fauna
7 Economy
7.1 Next Mega-Projects
8 Demographics
8.1 Health and education
8.2 Religion
9 Culture
10 Education
11 Sports
12 See also
13 References
14 External links

[edit] History
Main articles: History of Bangladesh and History of Bengal
Somapura Mahavihara in Paharpur, Bangladesh, is the greatest Buddhist Vihara in the Indian Subcontinent, built by Dharmapala of Bengal.

Remnants of civilization in the greater Bengal region date back four thousand years,[8] when the region was settled by Dravidian, Tibeto-Burman, and Austro-Asiatic peoples. The exact origin of the word "Bangla" or "Bengal" is not known, though it is believed to be derived from Bang, the Dravidian-speaking tribe that settled in the area around the year 1000 BCE.[9]

The kingdom of Gangaridai was formed from at least the 7th century BCE, which later united with Bihar under the Magadha, Nanda, Mauryan and Sunga Empires. Bengal was later part of the Gupta Empire and Harsha Empire from the 3rd to the 6th centuries CE. Following its collapse, a dynamic Bengali named Shashanka founded an impressive short-lived kingdom. After a period of anarchy, the Bengali Buddhist Pala dynasty ruled the region for four hundred years, followed by a shorter reign of the Hindu Sena dynasty.

Medieval European geographers located paradise at the mouth of the Ganges and although this was overhopeful, Bengal was probably the wealthiest part of the subcontinent until the 16th century. The area's early history featured a succession of Indian empires, internal squabbling, and a tussle between Hinduism and Buddhism for dominance.

Islam was introduced to the Bengal region in the 12th century by Arab Muslim merchants; Sufi missionaries, and subsequent Muslim conquests helped spread Islam throughout the region.[10] Bakhtiar Khilji, a Turkic general, defeated Lakshman Sen of the Sena dynasty and conquered large parts of Bengal in the year 1204. The region was ruled by several sultans, Hindu states and land-lords-Baro-Bhuyans for the next few hundred years. By the 16th century, the Mughal Empire controlled Bengal, and Dhaka became an important provincial centre of Mughal administration.
Sixty Dome Mosque in Mosque city of Bagerhat was built in the 15th century and is the largest historical mosque in Bangladesh, as well as a World Heritage site.

European traders arrived late in the 15th century, and their influence grew until the British East India Company gained control of Bengal following the Battle of Plassey in 1757.[11] The bloody rebellion of 1857 - known as the Sepoy Mutiny - resulted in transfer of authority to the crown with a British viceroy running the administration.[12] During colonial rule, famine racked the Indian subcontinent many times, including the war-induced Great Bengal famine of 1943 that claimed 3 million lives.[13]

Between 1905 and 1911, an abortive attempt was made to divide the province of Bengal into two zones, with Dhaka being the capital of the eastern zone.[14] When India was partitioned in 1947, Bengal was partitioned along religious lines, with the western part going to India and the eastern part (Muslims majority) joining Pakistan as a province called East Bengal (later renamed East Pakistan), with its capital at Dhaka.[15]
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (3rd person from right) and Maulana Bhashani (4th person from right) in 1953

In 1950, land reform was accomplished in East Bengal with the abolishment of the feudal zamindari system.[16] Despite the economic and demographic weight of the east, however, Pakistan's government and military were largely dominated by the upper classes from the west. The Bengali Language Movement of 1952 was the first sign of friction between the two wings of Pakistan.[17] After staging compromise talks with Mujib, President Yahya Khan and military officials arrested him in the early hours of 26 March 1971, and launched Operation Searchlight,[18] a sustained military assault on East Pakistan. Yahya's methods were extremely bloody, and the violence of the war resulted in many civilian deaths .[19] Chief targets included intellectuals and Hindus, and about ten million refugees fled to neighbouring India.[20] Estimates of those massacred throughout the war range from three hundred thousand to 3 million.[21]

Before his arrest by the Pakistan Army, Sk. Mujibur Rahman formally declared the independence of Bangladesh, and directed everyone to fight till the last soldier of the Pakistan army was evicted from East Pakistan. Awami League leaders set up a government-in-exile in Calcutta, India. The exile government formally took oath at Mujib Nagar in Kustia district of East Pakistan on 17 April 1971, with Tajuddin Ahmad as the first Prime Minister.

After Mujib declared independence of Bangladesh, Yahyah's brutal crackdown, including a virtual massacre of the intelligentsia in the universities of Bangladesh, was comparable in method to the war crimes of the Nazis. International public opinion was revolted and a tidal wave of hapless refugees, their number soon reaching 10 million, sought shelter in India.[22]

The Bangladesh Liberation War lasted for nine months. The Bangladesh Forces formed within 11 sectors led by General M.A.G. Osmani consisting of Bengali Regulars, and Mukti Bahini conducted a massive guerilla war against the Pakistan Forces with all out support from the Indian Armed Forces. Jointly, the Mitro Bahini achieved a decisive victory over Pakistan on 16 December 1971, with Indian Armed Forces taking over 90,000 prisoners of war.

After its independence, Bangladesh became a parliamentary democracy, with Mujib as the Prime Minister. In the 1973 parliamentary elections, the Awami League gained an absolute majority. A nationwide famine occurred during 1973 and 1974,[13] and in early 1975, Mujib initiated a one-party socialist rule with his newly formed BAKSAL. On 15 August 1975, Mujib and most of his family members were assassinated by mid-level military officers.[23] A series of bloody coups and counter-coups in the following three months culminated in the ascent to power of General Ziaur Rahman, who reinstated multi-party politics, and founded the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). Zia's rule ended when he was assassinated by elements of the military in 1981.[23]

Bangladesh's next major ruler was General Hossain Mohammad Ershad, who gained power in a bloodless coup in 1982, and ruled until 1990, when he was forced to resign after a massive revolt of all major political parties and the public, along with pressure from western donors (which was a major shift in international policy after the fall of the Soviet Union). Since then, Bangladesh has reverted to a parliamentary democracy. Zia's widow, Khaleda Zia, led the Bangladesh Nationalist Party to parliamentary victory at the general election in 1991, and became the first female Prime Minister in Bangladeshi history. However, the Awami League, headed by Sheikh Hasina, one of Mujib's surviving daughters, won the next election in 1996. It lost again to the Bangladesh Nationalist Party in 2001.

On 11 January 2007, following widespread political unrest, a caretaker government was appointed to administer the next general election. The country had suffered from extensive corruption,[24] disorder and political violence. The new caretaker government has made it a priority to root out corruption from all levels of government. To this end, many notable politicians and officials, along with large numbers of lesser officials and party members, have been arrested on corruption charges. The caretaker government held what observers described as a largely free and fair election on 29 December 2008.[25] Awami League's Sheikh Hasina won the elections with a landslide victory and took the oath of Prime Minister on 6 January 2009.[26]
[edit] Government and politics
Main article: Politics of Bangladesh
See also: Constitution of Bangladesh
Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban houses the Parliament of Bangladesh and is one of the largest legislative complexes in the world
National symbols of Bangladesh Anthem Amar Shonar Bangla
Animal Royal Bengal Tiger
Bird Oriental Magpie Robin
Fish Hilsa
Flower White Water Lily
Fruit Jack fruit
Tree Mango Tree
Sport Hadudu
Calendar Bengali calendar

Bangladesh is a unitary state and parliamentary democracy.[27] Direct elections in which all citizens, aged 18 or over, can vote are held every five years for the unicameral parliament known as Jatiya Sangsad. The parliamentary building is known as the Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban and was designed by architect Louis Kahn. Currently the parliament has 345 members including 45 reserved seats for women, elected from single-member constituencies. The Prime Minister, as the head of government, forms the cabinet and runs the day-to-day affairs of state. While the Prime Minister is formally appointed by the President, he or she must be an MP who commands the confidence of the majority of parliament. The President is the head of state but mainly a ceremonial post elected by the parliament.[28]

However the President's powers are substantially expanded during the tenure of a caretaker government, which is responsible for the conduct of elections and transfer of power. The officers of the caretaker government must be non-partisan and are given three months to complete their task. This transitional arrangement is an innovation that was pioneered by Bangladesh in its 1991 election and then institutionalized in 1996 through its 13th constitutional amendment.[29]

The Constitution of Bangladesh was drafted in 1972 and has undergone 14 amendments.[29] The highest judicial body is the Supreme Court. Justices are appointed by the President. The judicial and law enforcement institutions are weak.[30] Separation of powers, judicial from executive was finally implemented on 1 November 2007. It is expected that this separation will make the judiciary stronger and impartial. Laws are loosely based on English common law, but family laws such as marriage and inheritance are based on religious scripts, and therefore differ between religious communities.

Major parties in Bangladesh are the Bangladesh Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). BNP is led by Khaleda Zia and has traditionally been allied with Islamist parties like Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh and Islami Oikya Jot,[31] while Sheikh Hasina's Awami League aligns with leftist and secularist parties. Hasina and Zia are bitter rivals who have dominated politics for over 15 years; each is related to one of the leaders of the independence movement. Another important player is the Jatiya Party, headed by former military dictator Ershad. The Awami League-BNP rivalry has been bitter and punctuated by protests, violence and murder. Student politics is particularly strong in Bangladesh, a legacy from the liberation movement era. Almost all parties have highly active student wings, and student leaders have been elected to the Parliament.

Two radical terrorist organizations, Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) and Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), were banned in February 2005. Several small-scale bomb attacks taking place since 1999 have been blamed on those groups, and dozens of suspected members have been detained in security operations, including the heads of those two parties in 2006. The masterminds were tried and executed. The Bangladesh government won praise from world leaders, including Western leaders, for its strong anti-terrorist stance.

The January 22, 2007 election was postponed indefinitely and emergency law declared on January 11, 2007 as the Army backed caretaker government of Fakhruddin Ahmed aimed to prepare a new voter list and crack down on corruption. They also assisted the interim Government of Bangladesh in a drive against corruption, which resulted in Bangladesh's position in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index changed from the very bottom, where they had been for 3 years in a row, to 147th in just 1 year.[32] A large alliance led by the Bangladesh Awami League won the December 29, 2008 poll, in a landslide victory. They got 230 seats among 300 seats in the parliament.[33]
[edit] Foreign policy and military
Main articles: Foreign relations of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Armed Forces
A BAF MiG-29
BNS Bangabandhu, a Bangladeshi Navy frigate

Bangladesh pursues a moderate foreign policy that places heavy reliance on multinational diplomacy, especially at the United Nations. In 1974 Bangladesh joined both the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations and has since been elected to serve two terms on the Security Council in 1978-1979 and 2000-2001. In the 1980s, Bangladesh played a lead role in founding the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in order to expand relations with other South Asian states. Since the founding of SAARC 1985, a Bangladeshi has held the post of Secretary General on two occasions.

Bangladesh's most important and complex foreign relationship is with India. This relationship is informed by historical and cultural ties and forms an important part of the domestic political discourse. Bangladesh's relationship with India began on a positive note because of India's assistance in the independence war and reconstruction. Throughout the years, relations between both countries have fluctuated for a number of reasons.

A major source of tension between Bangladesh and India is the Farakka Dam.[34] In 1975, India constructed a dam on the Ganges River 11 miles (18 km) from the Bangladeshi border. Bangladesh alleges that the dam diverts much needed water from Bangladesh and adds a man-made disaster to the country already plagued by natural disasters. The dam also has terrible ecological consequences.[34] On the other hand, India has voiced concerns about anti-Indian separatists and Islamic militants allegedly being harboured across their 2,500-mile (4,000 km) border, as well as the flow of illegal migrants, and is building a fence along most of it.[35] But at the 2007 SAARC meeting both nations pledged to work cooperatively on security, economic and border issues.[36]

The current strength of the army is around 200,000 including reservists,[37] the air force 22,000,[37] and navy 14,950.[38] In addition to traditional defense roles, the military has been called on to provide support to civil authorities for disaster relief and internal security during periods of political unrest. Bangladesh is not currently active in any ongoing war, but it did contribute 2,300 troops to the coalition that fought in Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and Bangladesh is consistently a top contributor to UN peacekeeping forces around the world. As of May 2007, Bangladesh had major deployments in Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sudan, Timor-Leste and Côte d'Ivoire.[39][40]

Bangladesh enjoys relatively warm ties with the People's Republic of China which has, particularly in the past decade, increased economic cooperation with the South Asian nation. Between 2006 and 2007, trade between the two nations rose by 28.5% and there have been agreements to grant various Bangladeshi commodities tariff-free access to the Chinese market. Cooperation between the Military of Bangladesh and the People's Liberation Army is also increasing, with joint military agreements signed and Bangladesh procuring Chinese arms which range from small arms to large naval surface combatants such as the Chinese Type 053H1 Missile Frigate.
[edit] Divisions, districts and upazilas
Main articles: Divisions of Bangladesh, Districts of Bangladesh, and Upazilas of Bangladesh
Administrative divisions of Bangladesh. This map shows the highest level unit called a Division.

Bangladesh is divided into seven administrative divisions,[41][42] each named after their respective divisional headquarters: Barisal (বরিশাল), Chittagong (চট্টগ্রাম), Dhaka (ঢাকা), Khulna (খুলনা), Rajshahi (রাজশাহী), Sylhet (সিলেট), and Rangpur (রংপুর).

Divisions are subdivided into districts (zila). There are 64 districts in Bangladesh, each further subdivided into upazila (subdistricts) or thana. The area within each police station, except for those in metropolitan areas, is divided into several unions, with each union consisting of multiple villages. In the metropolitan areas, police stations are divided into wards, which are further divided into mahallas. There are no elected officials at the divisional, district or upazila levels, and the administration is composed only of government officials. Direct elections are held for each union (or ward), electing a chairperson and a number of members. In 1997, a parliamentary act was passed to reserve three seats (out of 12) in every union for female candidates.[43]

Dhaka is the capital and largest city of Bangladesh. Other major cities include Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Barisal, Bogra, Comilla, Mymensingh and Rangpur. These cities have mayoral elections, while other municipalities elect a chairperson. Mayors and chairpersons are elected for a span of five years.
City↓ City population (2008 estimate)[44]↓ Metro population (2008 estimate)[44]↓
Dhaka 7,000,940 12,797,394
Chittagong 2,579,107 3,858,093
Khulna 855,650 1,588,425
Rajshahi 472,775 775,496
Sylhet 463,198 -
Barisal 210,374 -
Rangpur 251,699 -
[edit] Geography and climate
Main article: Geography of Bangladesh
See also: Flooding in Bangladesh
Satellite image presenting physical features of Bangladesh
Boats are a major method of transportation in Bangladesh, a floodplain with more than 700 rivers.

Bangladesh lies between latitu

Barbados
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Barbados (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 13°0′N 59°32′W
Barbados

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Pride and Industry"
Anthem: "National Anthem of Barbados"
Capital
(and largest city) Bridgetown
13°0′N 59°32′W
Official language(s) English
Recognised regional languages Bajan
Ethnic groups 80% Afro-Bajan, 16% Asian and Multiracial, 4% European
Demonym Barbadian, Bajan (colloquial)
Government Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy
- Queen Elizabeth II
- Governor-General Clifford Husbands
- Prime Minister Freundel Stuart
Legislature Parliament
- Upper House Senate
- Lower House House of Assembly
Independence
- from the United Kingdom 30 November 1966
Area
- Total 431 km2 (200th)
166 sq mi
- Water (%) negligible
Population
- 2009 estimate 284,589[1] (180th)
- 2001 census 250,012
- Density 660/km2 (15th)
1,704/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $6.227 billion[2]
- Per capita $22,512[2]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $3.963 billion[2]
- Per capita $14,326[2]
HDI (2010) increase 0.788[3] (Very High) (42nd)
Currency Barbadian dollar ($) (BBD)
Time zone Eastern Caribbean (UTC-4)
Drives on the left
ISO 3166 code BB
Internet TLD .bb
Calling code +1 (spec. +1-246)

Barbados (Listeni/bɑrˈbeɪdɒs/ or /bɑrˈbeɪdoʊs/) is an island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is 34 kilometres (21 mi) in length and as much as 23 kilometres (14 mi) in width, amounting to 431 square kilometres (166 sq mi). It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres (62 mi) east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea;[4] therein, it is about 168 kilometres (104 mi) east of the islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and 400 kilometres (250 mi) north-east of Trinidad and Tobago. Barbados is outside of the principal Atlantic hurricane belt.

Barbados was visited by the Portuguese in 1536, but left it unclaimed by Portugal leaving only wild hogs for a good supply of meat whenever the island was visited. The first English ship, the Olive Blossom, arrived in Barbados in 1625. They took possession of it in the name of 'James, King of England'. It became an English and later British colony.[5]

Barbados has an estimated population of 284,589 people,[6] with around 80,000 living in or around Bridgetown, the largest city and the country's capital.[7] In 1966, Barbados became an independent state and Commonwealth realm, retaining Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State.[8] Barbados is one of the Caribbean's leading tourist destinations and is one of the most developed island in the region, with an HDI number of 0.788. In 2010 Barbados also ranked in the top 3 in The Americas on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index beating out Chile in 3rd, and coming after Canada in the top spot.[9]
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Early history
2.2 Colonial rule
3 Government and politics
3.1 Law
3.2 Courts
3.3 Foreign relations
4 Geography and climate
4.1 Geology
4.2 Climate
5 Parishes
6 Economy
7 Transport
8 Tourism
8.1 Attractions, landmarks and points of interest
9 Demographics
9.1 Languages
9.2 Religion
10 Healthcare
11 Education
12 Culture
13 Sports
14 National symbols
14.1 Flower
14.2 Flag
14.3 Golden Shield
14.4 Coat of arms
15 National heroes
16 See also
17 Notes
18 References
18.1 Videography
19 External links

[edit] Etymology

According to accounts by descendants of the indigenous Arawakan-speaking tribes in other regional areas, the original name for Barbados was Ichirouganaim, with possible translations including "Red Land with White Teeth",[10] "Redstone island with teeth outside (reefs)",[11] or simply "Teeth".[12][13][14]

The reason for the later name Barbados is controversial. The Portuguese, en route to Brazil,[15][16] were the first Europeans to come upon the island, and they named it Barbados. The word Barbados means "bearded ones", but it is a matter of conjecture whether "bearded" refers to the long, hanging roots of the bearded fig-tree (Ficus citrifolia), indigenous to the island; to allegedly bearded Caribs once inhabiting the island; or, more fancifully, to the foam spraying over the outlying reefs giving the impression of a beard. In 1519, a map produced by the Genoese mapmaker Visconte Maggiolo showed and named Barbados in its correct position.

Other names or nicknames associated with Barbados include "Bim", "Bimshire" and "da Rock". The origin is uncertain but several theories exist. The National Cultural Foundation of Barbados says that "Bim" was a word commonly used by slaves and that it derives from the phrase "bi mu"[17] or either ("bem", "Ndi bem", "Nwanyi ibem" or "Nwoke ibem")[18] from an Igbo phrase meaning "my people". In colloquial or literary contexts, "Bim" can also take a more deific tone, referring to the "goddess" Barbados.[citation needed]

The word Bim and Bimshire are recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary and the Chamber's Twentieth Century Dictionaries. Another possible source for "Bim" is reported to be in the Agricultural Reporter of 25 April 1868, The Rev. N Greenidge (father of one of the island's most famous scholars, Abel Hendy Jones Greenidge) suggested the listing of Bimshire as a county of England. Expressly named were "Wiltshire, Hampshire, Berkshire and Bimshire".[18] Lastly in the Daily Argosy (of Demerara i.e. Guyana) of 1652 it referred to Bim as a possible corruption of the word "Byam", who was a Royalist leader against the Parliamentarians. That source suggested the followers of Byam became known as Bims and became a word for all Barbadians.[18]
[edit] History
Main articles: History of Barbados and Timeline of Barbadian history
[edit] Early history

Amerindian settlement of Barbados dates to about the 4th to 7th century AD, by a group known as the Saladoid-Barrancoid.[19] In the 13th century, the Caribs arrived from South America.[20]

The Portuguese briefly claimed Barbados from the mid-16th to the 17th centuries, and may have seized the Arawaks on Barbados and used them as slave labour. Other Arawaks are believed to have fled to neighbouring islands. Apart from possibly displacing the Caribs, the Portuguese left little impact and by the 1610s left for South America, leaving the island uninhabited. Some Arawaks arrived from Guyana in the 1800s and continue to live in Barbados.[20][21][22]
[edit] Colonial rule

From about 1600 the English, French and Dutch began to found colonies in North America and the smaller Caribbean islands. Barbados was the third major English settlement in the Americas (1607: Jamestown, 1620:Plymouth Colony, 1627: Barbados. The British Leeward Islands were occupied at about the same time as Barbados: 1623: St Kitts, 1628: Nevis, 1632: Montserrat, 1632: Antigua.) In the period 1640-60 the West Indies attracted over two thirds of English emigrants to the New World. By 1650 there were 44,000 English in the Caribbean, 12,000 on the Chesapeake and 23,000 in New England. The population of Barbados was estimated at 30,000. Most emigrants arrived as indentured servants. After five years of labor they were given 'freedom dues' of about ₤10, usually in goods. Before the mid-1630s they also received 5 to 10 acres of land but after that time the island filled up and there was no more free land. Around the time of Cromwell a number of rebels and criminals were also transported. The death rate was very high (Parish registers from the 1650s show, for the white population, four times as many deaths as marriages.) The main export was tobacco, but tobacco prices fell in the 1630s as Chesapeake production expanded.

From the 1640s the introduction of sugar from Dutch Brazil completely transformed society and the economy. A workable sugar plantation required a large investment and a great deal of heavy labor. White smallholders were bought out and the island was filled up with large slave-worked sugar plantations. At first, Dutch traders supplied the equipment, finance and slaves and carried most of the sugar to Europe. In 1644 there were about 800 slaves on the island. By 1660 there were 27,000 blacks and 26,000 whites. By 1666 at least 12,000 white smallholders had been bought out, died or left the island. Many of the remaining whites were increasingly poor. By 1680 there were seventeen slaves for every indentured servant. By 1700 there were 15,000 free whites and 50,000 enslaved blacks. In 1680 over half the arable land was held by 175 large planters who held at least 60 slaves. The great planters had connections with the English aristocracy and great influence on Parliament. (In 1668 the West Indian sugar crop sold for £180,000 after customs of £18,000. Chesapeake tobacco earned £50,000 after customs of £75,000). So much land was devoted to sugar that most food had to be imported from New England. The poorer whites that were squeezed off the island went to the British Leeward Islands or, especially, Jamaica. In 1670 South Carolina was founded from Barbados.

By 1660 Barbados generated more trade than all the other English colonies combined. It was surpassed by Jamaica in 1713. Even though, in 1730-31 the estimated value of the colony of Barbados was as much as ₤5,500,000.[23] Bridgetown, the capital, was one of the three largest cities in British America (the other two were Boston, Massachusetts and Port Royal, Jamaica.) By 1700 the English West Indies produced 25,000 tons of sugar, compared to 20,000 for Brazil, 10,000 for the French islands and 4,000 for the Dutch islands.[24]

English sailors who landed on Barbados in 1625 arrived at the site of present-day Holetown. The English then took possession of Barbados in the name of James I. From the arrival of the first English settlers in 1627-1628 until independence in 1966, Barbados was under uninterrupted British governance (and was the only Caribbean island that did not change hands during the colonial period). Nevertheless, Barbados always enjoyed a large measure of local autonomy. Its House of Assembly began meeting in 1639. Among the initial important figures was Anglo-Dutchman Sir William Courten.

Fighting during the War of the Three Kingdoms and the Interregnum spilled over into Barbados and Barbadian territorial waters. The island was not involved in the war until after the execution of Charles I, when the island's government fell under the control of Royalists (ironically the Governor, Philip Bell, remained loyal to Parliament while the Barbadian House of Assembly, under the influence of Humphrey Walrond, supported Charles II). To try to bring the recalcitrant colony to heel, the Commonwealth Parliament passed an act on 3 October 1650 which prohibited trade between England and the island, and because the island also traded with the Netherlands, further navigation acts were passed prohibiting any but English vessels trading with Dutch colonies. These acts were a precursor to the First Anglo-Dutch War. The Commonwealth of England sent an invasion force under the command of Sir George Ayscue which arrived in October 1651. After some skirmishing, the Royalists supporters in the Barbados House of Assembly led by Lord Willoughby surrendered. The conditions of surrender were incorporated into the Charter of Barbados (Treaty of Oistins), which was signed in the Mermaid's Inn, Oistins, on 17 January 1652.[25]

With the increased implementation of slave codes, which created differential treatment between Africans and the white workers and planters, the island became increasingly unattractive to poor whites. Black or slave codes were implemented in 1661, 1676, 1682, and 1688. In response to these codes, several slave rebellions were attempted or planned during this time, but none succeeded. Nevertheless, poor whites who had or acquired the means to emigrate often did so. Planters expanded their importation of African slaves to cultivate sugar cane.

Barbados eventually had one of the world's biggest sugar industries after starting sugar cane cultivation in 1640.[26] One group which was instrumental for ensuring the early success of the sugar cane industry were the Sephardic Jews, who originally been expelled from the Iberian peninsula to end up in Dutch Brazil.[26] This quickly replaced tobacco plantations on the islands which were previously the main export. As the sugar industry developed into its main commercial enterprise, Barbados was divided into large plantation estates that replaced the smallholdings of the early English settlers. Some of the displaced farmers moved to other English colonies in the Americas, most notably North and South Carolina, and British Guiana, as well as Panama. To work the plantations, planters imported enslaved West Africans to Barbados and other Caribbean islands.

The British abolished the slave trade in 1807 but not the institution itself. In 1816, slaves rose up in the largest major slave rebellion in the island's history. Twenty thousand slaves from over 70 plantations rebelled. They drove whites off the plantations, but widespread killings did not take place. This was later termed "Bussa's Rebellion" after the slave ranger, Bussa, who with his assistants hated slavery, found the treatment of slaves on Barbados to be "intolerable", and believed the political climate in the UK made the time ripe to peacefully negotiate with planters for freedom (Davis, p. 211; Northrup, p. 191). Bussa's Rebellion failed. One hundred and twenty slaves died in combat or were immediately executed; another 144 were brought to trial and executed; remaining rebels were shipped off the island (Davis, pp. 212-213).

Slavery was finally abolished in the British Empire 18 years later in 1834. In Barbados and the rest of the British West Indian colonies, full emancipation from slavery was preceded by an apprenticeship period that lasted four years.
Statue of Lord Nelson in National Heroes Square which predates the more famous Nelson's Column by some 27 years.

In 1884, the Barbados Agricultural Society sent a letter to Sir Francis Hincks requesting his private and public views on whether the Dominion of Canada would favourably entertain having the then colony of Barbados admitted as a member of the Canadian Confederation. Asked of Canada were the terms of the Canadian side to initiate discussions, and whether or not the island of Barbados could depend on the full influence of Canada in getting the change agreed to by the United Kingdom. Then in 1952 the Barbados Advocate newspaper polled several prominent Barbadian politicians, lawyers, businessmen, the Speaker of the Barbados House of Assembly and later as first President of the Senate, Sir Theodore Branker, Q.C. and found them to be in favour of immediate federation of Barbados along with the rest of the British Caribbean with complete Dominion Status within five years from the date of inauguration of the West Indies Federation with Canada.

However, plantation owners and merchants of British descent still dominated local politics, owing to the high-income qualification required for voting. More than 70% of the population, many of them disenfranchised women, were excluded from the democratic process. It was not until the 1930s that the descendants of emancipated slaves began a movement for political rights. One of the leaders of this movement, Sir Grantley Adams, founded the Barbados Labour Party in 1938, then known as the Barbados Progressive League.

Adams and his party demanded more rights for the poor and for the people, and staunchly supported the monarchy. Progress toward a more democratic government in Barbados was made in 1942, when the exclusive income qualification was lowered and women were given the right to vote. By 1949 governmental control was wrested from the planters and, in 1958, Adams became Premier of Barbados.

From 1958 to 1962, Barbados was one of the ten members of the West Indies Federation, an organisation doomed by nationalistic attitudes and by the fact that its members, as British colonies, held limited legislative power. Adams served as its first and only "Premier", but his leadership failed in attempts to form similar unions, and his continued defence of the monarchy was used by his opponents as evidence that he was no longer in touch with the needs of his country. Errol Walton Barrow, a fervent reformer, became the new people's advocate. Barrow had left the BLP and formed the Democratic Labour Party as a liberal alternative to Adams' conservative government. Barrow instituted many progressive social programmes, such as free education for all Barbadians and the school meals system. By 1961, Barrow had replaced Adams as Premier and the DLP controlled the government.

With the Federation dissolved, Barbados reverted to its former status, that of a self-governing colony. The island negotiated its own independence at a constitutional conference with Britain in June 1966. After years of peaceful and democratic progress, Barbados finally became an independent state on 30 November 1966, with Errol Barrow its first Prime Minister, although Queen Elizabeth II remained the monarch. Upon independence Barbados maintained historical linkages with Britain by establishing membership to the Commonwealth of Nations grouping. A year later Barbados' international linkages were expanded by obtaining membership to the United Nations and the Organization of American States.
[edit] Government and politics
Parliament Building.
Main articles: Government of Barbados and Politics of Barbados

Barbados has been an independent country since 30 November 1966. It functions as a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, modelled on the British Westminster system, with Elizabeth II, Queen of Barbados, as head of state represented locally by the Governor-General, Clifford Husbands and the Prime Minister as the head of the government. The number of representatives within the House of Assembly has gradually increased from 24 at independence, to its present composition of thirty seats.

Barbados functions as a two-party system, the two dominant parties being the ruling Democratic Labour Party and the opposition, Barbados Labour Party. The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) had been in government for 15 years, since 1993 until the 2008 general election. Under this administration, the former Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Owen S. Arthur acted as the Regional Leader of the CSM (Caribbean Single Market).

The Honourable David Thompson, who was elected Prime Minister of Barbados in 2008, died of pancreatic cancer on 23 October 2010. He was succeeded by Deputy Prime Minister Freundel Stewart, who was sworn in the same day.[27][28]

Barbados has had several third parties over a period of time since independence: The People's Pressure Movement formed in the early 1970s and contested the 1976 elections; The National Democratic Party, which contested the 1994 elections; and the People's Democratic Congress, which contested the 2008 elections. Apart from these there were several independents who contested the elections, but independents are yet to win a seat in Parliament.
[edit] Law

The Constitution of Barbados is the supreme law of the nation.[29] The Attorney General heads the independent judiciary. Historically, Barbadian law was based entirely on English common law with a few local adaptations. At the time of independence, the British Parliament ceased having the ability to change local legislation at its own discretion. British law and various legal statutes within British law at this time, and other prior measures adopted by the Barbadian parliament became the basis of the modern-day law system.

More recently, however, local Barbadian legislation may be shaped or influenced by such organisations as the United Nations, the Organization of American States, or other international fora to which Barbados has obligatory commitments by treaty. Additionally, through international cooperation, other institutions may supply the Barbados Parliament with key sample legislation to be adapted to meet local circumstances before crafting it as local law.

Laws are passed by the Barbadian Parliament, whereby upon their passage, are given official vice-regal assent by the Governor-General to become law.

In Barbados, camouflage clothing is reserved for military use and forbidden for civilians to wear.

As of October 2010, it is illegal for persons to smoke in public areas.
[edit] Courts
Main article: Judiciary of Barbados

The local court system of Barbados is made-up of:

Magistrates' Courts: Covering Criminal, Civil, Domestic, Domestic Violence, and Juvenile matters. But can also take up matters dealing with Corornor's Inquests, Liquor Licences, and civil marriages. Further, the Magistrates' Courts deal with Contract and Tort law where claims do not exceed $10,000.00.[30]
The Supreme Court: is made up of High Court and Court of Appeals.[30]
High Court: Consisting of Civil, Criminal, and Family law divisions.
Court of Appeal: Handles appeals from the High Court and Magistrates' Court. It hears appeals in both the civil, and c

Belarus
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


This article is about the country. For other uses, see Belarus (disambiguation).
This is a featured article. Click here for more information.
Republic of Belarus
Рэспубліка Беларусь (Belarusian)
Республика Беларусь (Russian)

Flag National emblem
Anthem: Дзяржаўны гімн Рэспублікі Беларусь (Belarusian)
Dziaržaŭny himn Respubliki Biełaruś (transliteration)
State Anthem of the Republic of Belarus
My Belarusy.ogg

Location of Belarus (green)in Europe (dark grey) — [Legend]
Location of Belarus (green)

in Europe (dark grey) — [Legend]
Capital
(and largest city) Minsk
53°55′N 27°33′E
Official language(s) Belarusian
Russian[1]
Ethnic groups (2009) 83.7% Belarusians,
8.3% Russians,
3.1% Poles,
1.7% Ukrainians, 4.2% others and unspecified[2]
Demonym Belarusian
Government Presidential republic
- President Alexander Lukashenko
- Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich
Independence from the Soviet Union
- Declared 27 July 1990
- Established 25 August 1991
- Completed 25 December 1991
Area
- Total 207,595 km2 (85th)
80,155 sq mi
- Water (%) negligible (2.830 km2)1
Population
- 2009 census 9,503,807[2] (86th)
- Density 45.8/km2 (142nd)
120.8/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $131.201 billion[3]
- Per capita $13,909[3]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $54.713 billion[3]
- Per capita $5,800[3]
Gini (2005) 27.9[4] (low)
HDI (2010) increase 0.732[5] (high) (61st)
Currency Belarusian ruble (BYR)
Time zone Kiev Time[6] (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code BY
Internet TLD .by
Calling code 375
1 "FAO's Information System on Water and Agriculture". FAO. Retrieved 4 April 2008.

Belarus (Listeni/bɛləˈruːs/ bel-ə-rooss; Belarusian: Беларусь, [bʲɛlaˈrusʲ] Russian: Беларусь, Белоруссия, [Belarus', Belorussiya]), officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe,[7] bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno (Hrodna), Gomel (Homiel), Mogilev (Mahilyow) and Vitebsk (Vitsebsk). Over forty percent of its 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) is forested,[8] and its strongest economic sectors are agriculture and manufacturing.

Until the 20th century, the lands of modern day Belarus belonged to several countries, including the Principality of Polotsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire. As a result of the Russian Revolution, Belarus became a founding constituent republic of the Soviet Union and was renamed as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. The borders of Belarus took their modern shape in 1939 when lands that were part of the Second Polish Republic were incorporated into after the Soviet invasion of Poland.[9][10][11][12][13][14] The nation and its territory were devastated in World War II, during which Belarus lost about a third of its population and more than half of its economic resources.[15] The republic was redeveloped in the post-war years. In 1945 the Belorussian SSR became a founding member of the UN, along with the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian SSR.

The parliament of the republic declared the sovereignty of Belarus on 27 July 1990, and during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence on 25 August 1991. Alexander Lukashenko has been the country's president since 1994. Under his lead and despite objections from Western governments, Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of the economy have been continued. According to some organizations and countries, elections have been unfair, and political opponents have been violently suppressed.[16][17][18] In 2000, Belarus and Russia signed a treaty for greater cooperation, with some hints of forming a Union State.

Most of Belarus's population of 9.49 million reside in the urban areas surrounding Minsk and other oblast (regional) capitals.[19] More than 80% of the population are native Belarusians, with sizable minorities of Russians, Poles and Ukrainians. Since a referendum in 1995, the country has had two official languages: Belarusian and Russian. The Constitution of Belarus does not declare an official religion, although the primary religion in the country is Russian Orthodox Christianity. The second most popular, Roman Catholicism, has a much smaller following by comparison, but both Orthodox and Catholic Christmas and Easter are officially celebrated as national holidays. Belarus also has the highest Human Development Index among members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Prior to First World War
2.2 Since initial independence
3 Geography
4 Politics
4.1 Human rights
4.2 Foreign relations
4.3 Military
4.4 Administrative divisions
5 Economy
6 Demographics
6.1 Religion
7 Culture
7.1 Literature
7.2 Music
7.3 Performances
7.4 Dress
7.5 Cuisine
7.6 Heritage Sites
7.7 Communications
8 See also
9 Notes
10 References
11 External links

[edit] Etymology

The name "Belarus" corresponds literally with the term "White Ruthenia" (White Rus'). There are several claims to where the origin of the name "White Rus'" came from.[20] An ethno-religious theory suggests that the name used to describe the part of old Ruthenian lands within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania that was mostly populated by the early Christianized Slavs, as opposed to Black Ruthenia, which to a greater extent was inhabited by predominantly pagan Balts.[21] Another possible origin for the name is for the white clothing that was worn by the local Slavic population.[20][22] Yet another theory suggests that the old Ruthenian lands (Polatsk, Vitsiebsk and Mahilyow) which were not conquered by the Tatars were referred to as "white". Other sources claim that before 1267, the land not conquered by the Mongols was considered "White Rus'".[20] In 2008, historian Ales Bely defended his PhD thesis in the Lithuanian Institute of History, Vilnius entitled Localization of the Choronym of White Rus in the European Written and Map Sources of the 13th to mid-18th Centuries[23] which showed that the term White Rus was originally largely referred to the lands of the Novgorod Republic conquered by the Grand Duchy of Moscow in 1478, and translated to the territory of what is now Eastern Belarus together with Westward expansion of Muscovy during the Livonian War in the 17th century.

As the names "Ruthenia" and "Rus'" have very often been confused with their modern derivative "Russia", White Ruthenia has often been referred to as "White Russia". This misinterpretation has been supported by the Moscovite regents after the fall of Kievan Rus'. The Moskovite dukes, starting with Ivan IV, considered themselves to be the rightful successors of the Ruthenian grand duke dynasty, and their use of the name "Russia" as referring to all former Ruthenian (east slavic) lands became a political weapon and a casus belli for claiming the west Ruthenian territories from Lithuania and Poland.[24] The name first appeared in German and Latin medieval literature. In chronicles written by Jan of Czarnków, he spoke of the Lithuanian grand duke Jogaila and his mother being imprisoned in 1381 at "Albae Russiae, Poloczk dicto".[25] The Latin term "Alba Russia" was again used by Pope Pius VI when establishing a Jesuit Society in 1783. His official Papal bull exclaimed "Approbo Societatem Jesu in Alba Russia degentem, approbo, approbo."[26] Historically, the country was referred to in English as "White Ruthenia". The first known use of "White Russia" to refer to Belarus was in the late-16th century by Englishman Sir Jerome Horsey, who was known for his close contacts with the Russian Royal Court.[27] During the 17th century, Russian tsars used "White Rus"" when describing the lands captured from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.[28]

Belarus was formally named "Belorussia" (Russian: Белоруссия; the latter part similar, but spelled and stressed differently from Россия, "Russia") in the days of the Russian Empire, and the Russian tsar was usually styled "Tsar of All the Russias", as "Russia" or the "Russian Empire" was formed by all the Russias - the Great, Little, and White. At the time, "Byelorussia" was the only Russian language name of the country; under the Russian Empire, Belarus was generally seen as a part of the Russian nation and the Belarusian language was viewed as a dialect of Russian.[29] After the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, the term White Russia caused some confusion because it was also the name of the military force that opposed the "red" Bolsheviks.[30] During the period of the Belorussian SSR, the term "Byelorussia" was embraced as part of a national consciousness. In the Polish-held Western Belarus, "Byelorussia" became commonly used in the regions of Białystok and Grodno during the interwar period.[31]

The term "Belorussia" (its names in other languages such as English being based on the Russian form) was only used officially until 1991, when the Supreme Soviet of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic decreed by law that the new independent republic should be called "Belarus" (Беларусь) in Russian and in all other language transcriptions of its name. The change was made to reflect adequately the Belarusian language form of the name. The use of Byelorussian SSR and any abbreviations of that name was allowed from 1991 until 1993.[32] Conservative forces in the newly independent Belarus did not support the name change and opposed its inclusion in the 1991 draft of the Constitution of Belarus.[33]

Accordingly, the name "Belorussia" was replaced by "Belarus" in English[34] and to some extent in Russian (although the traditional name still persists in that language as well); likewise, the adjective "Belorussian" or "Byelorussian" was replaced by "Belarusian" in English (though Russian has not developed a new adjective). "Belarusian" is closer to the original Russian term of "bielaruski."[34] Belarusian intelligentsia in the Stalin era attempted to change the name from "Belorussia" to a form of "Krivia" because of the supposed connection with Russia.[35] Some nationalists also object to the name for the same reason.[36][37] However, several popular newspapers published locally still retain the old name of the country in Russian in their names, for example Komsomolskaya Pravda v Byelorussii, which is the localized publication of a popular Russian tabloid. Also, those who wish for Belarus to be reunited with Russia continue to use "Belorussia".[37] Officially, the full name of the country is "Republic of Belarus" (Рэспубліка Беларусь, Республика Беларусь, Respublika Belarus" About this sound listen (help·info)).[32][38]
[edit] History
Main article: History of Belarus
[edit] Prior to First World War

Both Homo erectus and Neanderthal remains have been found in the region. Later Neolithic modern man that moved into the area established from 5000-2000 BCE Bandkerimik cultures, which predominated. Remains for the Dnieper-Donets culture were also found in Belarus and parts of Ukraine.[39] Cimmerians and other pastoralists roamed through the area by 1000 BCE. By 500 BCE, Slavs had taken up residence there, with Scythian pressure on the outskirts of their territories. Various Asiatic "barbarian" invasions passed around the region, including Huns and Avars c. 400-600 CE, but did not dislodge the Slavic presence.[40]
Stamp with the Cross of St. Euphrasyne from 1992

The region that is now Belarus was first settled by Slavic tribes in the 6th century. They gradually came into contact with the Varangians, bands of Scandinavian warriors and traders.[41] Though defeated and briefly exiled by the local population, the Varangians were later asked to return[41] and helped to form a polity—commonly referred to as the Kievan Rus'—in exchange for tribute. The Kievan Rus' state began in about 862 around the city of Kiev[42] or alternatively around the present-day city of Novgorod.[42]

Upon the death of Kievan Rus' ruler, Yaroslav I the Wise, the state split into independent principalities.[43] These Ruthenian principalities were badly affected by a Mongol invasion in the 13th century, and many were later incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.[44] Of the principalities held by the Duchy, nine were settled by ancestors of the Belarusian people.[45] During this time the Duchy was involved in several military campaigns, including fighting on the side of Poland against the Teutonic Knights at the Battle of Grunwald in 1410; the joint victory allowed the Duchy to control the northwestern border lands of Eastern Europe.[46]
Position of Grand Duchy of Lithuania in Eastern Europe until 1434.
Map of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Belarus was in its structure.

On 2 February 1386, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland were joined in a personal union through a marriage of their rulers.[47] This union set in motion the developments that eventually resulted in the formation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, created in 1569. The Russians, led by Ivan III of Moscow, began military conquests in 1486 in an attempt to reunite the Kievan Rus' lands, specifically the territories of modern day Belarus and Ukraine.[48]

The union between Poland and Lithuania ended in 1795 with the partitioning of Poland by Imperial Russia, Prussia, and Austria.[49] During this time the territories of modern day Belarus were acquired by the Russian Empire under the reign of Catherine II[50] and held until their occupation by German Empire during World War I.[51]
[edit] Since initial independence

During the negotiations of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Belarus first declared independence on 25 March 1918, forming the Belarusian People's Republic. The Belarusian People's Republic was created while under German occupation, and it was one of the first attempts to "Westernize" Belarus. Socialist Soviet Republic of Byelorussia was proclaimed.[52][53] Immediately after formation, the Polish-Soviet War was started, and Belarus was torn between resurgent Poland and Soviet Russia. Part of Belarus under Russian rule became the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1919. Soon that part was merged into the Lithuanian-Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. The contested lands were split between Poland and the Soviet Union after the war ended in 1921, and the Belorussian SSR became a founding member of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922.[52][54] The western part of modern Belarus remained part of Poland.[55][56][56]

A set of agricultural reforms, culminating in the Belarusian phase of Soviet collectivization, began in the 1920s. A process of rapid industrialization was undertaken during the 1930s, following the model of Soviet five-year plans.
The Brest Fortress to the War Memorial
Soviet partisan fighters behind German front lines in Belarus in 1943

In 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invaded and occupied Poland, marking the beginning of World War II. Much of northeastern Poland, which had been part of the country since the Peace of Riga two decades earlier, was annexed to the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, and now constitutes West Belarus.[9][10][11][12][13][14] The Soviet-controlled Belarusian People Council officially took control of the territories, which had a predominantly ethnic Belarusian population, on 28 October 1939, in Białystok.[14]

Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. The Brest Fortress, which had been annexed in 1939, received one of the fiercest of the war's opening blows, with its notable defense in 1941 coming to be remembered as an act of heroism in countering the German aggression. Statistically, BSSR was the hardest hit Soviet republic in the war and remained in Nazi hands until 1944. During that time, Germany destroyed 209 out of 290 cities in the republic, 85% of the republic's industry, and more than one million buildings.[15] Casualties were estimated to be between two and three million (about a quarter to one-third of the total population), while the Jewish population of Belarus was devastated during the Holocaust and never recovered.[15][57] The population of Belarus did not regain its pre-war level until 1971.[57]

After the war ended, Belarus was officially among the 51 founding countries of the United Nations Charter in 1945; along with Ukraine it was given an additional vote at the UN alongside that of the Soviet Union. Intense post-war reconstruction was initiated promptly. During this time, the Belorussian SSR became a major center of manufacturing in the western region of the USSR, increasing jobs and bringing an influx of ethnic Russians into the republic.[58] The borders of Belorussian SSR and Poland were redrawn to a point known as the Curzon Line.[59]
Map of the Belorussian SSR, 1940

Joseph Stalin implemented a policy of Sovietization to isolate the Belorussian SSR from Western influences.[57] This policy involved sending Russians from various parts of the Soviet Union and placing them in key positions in the Belorussian SSR government. The official use of the Belarusian language and other cultural aspects were limited by Moscow. After Stalin died in 1953, successor Nikita Khrushchev continued this program, stating, "The sooner we all start speaking Russian, the faster we shall build communism."[57]

The Belorussian SSR was significantly exposed to nuclear fallout from the explosion at the Chernobyl power plant in neighboring Ukrainian SSR in 1986.[60]

In June 1988 at the rural site of Kurapaty near Minsk, archaeologist Zyanon Paznyak, the leader of Christian Conservative Party of the BPF, discovered mass graves of victims executed in 1937-1941.[60] Some nationalists contend that this discovery is proof that the Soviet government was trying to erase the Belarusian people, causing Belarusian nationalists to seek independence.[61]

Two years later, in March 1990, elections for seats in the Supreme Soviet of the Belorussian SSR took place. Though the pro-independence Belarusian Popular Front took only 10% of the seats, the populace was content with the selection of the delegates.[62] Belarus declared itself sovereign on 27 July 1990 by issuing the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic. With the support of the Communist Party, the country's name was changed to the Republic of Belarus on 25 August 1991.[62] Stanislav Shushkevich, the chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Belarus, met with Boris Yeltsin of Russia and Leonid Kravchuk of Ukraine on 8 December 1991 in Belavezhskaya Pushcha to formally declare the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States.[62]

A national constitution was adopted in March 1994 in which the functions of prime minister were given to the president of Belarus. Two-round elections for the presidency (24 June 1994 and 10 July 1994)[63] resulted in the politically unknown Alexander Lukashenko winning more than 45% of the vote in the first round and 80%[62] in the second round, beating Vyacheslav Kebich who received 14% of the votes. Lukashenko was re-elected in 2001, in 2006 and in 2010.
[edit] Geography
Main article: Geography of Belarus
Strusta Lake in the Vitebsk Province

Belarus lies between latitudes 51° and 57° N, and longitudes 23° and 33° E. It is landlocked, relatively flat, and contains large tracts of marshy land.[64] According to a 2005 estimate by the United Nations, 40% of Belarus is covered by forests.[65] Many streams and 11,000 lakes are found in Belarus.[64] Three major rivers run through the country: the Neman, the Pripyat, and the Dnieper. The Neman flows westward towards the Baltic sea and the Pripyat flows eastward to the Dnieper; the Dnieper flows southward towards the Black Sea.[66]

The highest point is Dzyarzhynskaya Hara (Dzyarzhynsk Hill) at 345 metres (1,132 ft), and the lowest point is on the Neman River at 90 metres (295 ft).[64] The average elevation of Belarus is 525 feet (160 m) above sea level.[67] The climate features cold winters, with average January temperatures at −6 °C (21.2 °F), and cool and moist summers with an average temperature of 18 °C (64.4 °F).[68] Belarus has an average annual rainfall of 550 to 700 mm (21.7 to 27.6 in).[68] The country is in the transitional zone between continental climates and maritime climates.[64]
Horses grazing in Minsk Province

Natural resources include peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomite (limestone), marl, chalk, sand, gravel, and clay.[64] About 70% of the radiation from neighboring Ukraine's 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster entered Belarusian territory, and as of 2005 about a fifth of Belarusian land (principally farmland and forests in the southeastern provinces) continues to be affected by radiation fallout.[69] The United Nations and other agencies have aimed to reduce the level of radiation in affected areas, especially through the use of caesium binders and rapeseed cultivation, which are me

Belgium
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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This article is about the country. For other uses, see Belgium (disambiguation).
"Belgian" redirects here. For the article on the people, see Belgians.
Kingdom of Belgium
Koninkrijk België (Dutch)
Royaume de Belgique (French)
Königreich Belgien (German)

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Eendracht maakt macht (Dutch)
L'union fait la force (French)
Einigkeit macht stark (German)
"Strength through Unity" (lit. "Unity makes strength")
Anthem: The "Brabançonne"
instrumental version:
The Brabanconne.ogg

Location of Belgium (dark green)- in Europe (green & dark grey)- in the European Union (green) — [Legend]
Location of Belgium (dark green)

- in Europe (green & dark grey)
- in the European Union (green) — [Legend]
Capital Brussels
50°51′N 4°21′E
Largest metropolitan area Brussels
Official language(s) Dutch
French
German
Ethnic groups see Demographics
Demonym Belgian
Government Federal parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy[1]
- King Albert II
- Prime Minister Yves Leterme
Legislature Federal Parliament
- Upper House Senate
- Lower House Chamber of Representatives
Independence
- Declared from the Netherlands 4 October 1830
- Recognised 19 April 1839
Area
- Total 30,528 km2 (139th)
11,787 sq mi
- Water (%) 6.4
Population
- 2011 estimate 11,007,020[1] (76th)
- 2001 census 10,296,350
- Density 354.7[2]/km2 (33rd)
918.6/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $394.346 billion[3]
- Per capita $36,100[3]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $465.676 billion[3]
- Per capita $42,630[3]
Gini (2005) 28[1] (low)
HDI (2010) increase 0.867[1] (very high) (18th)
Currency Euro (€)1 (EUR)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
- Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code BE
Internet TLD .be2
Calling code 32
1 Before 1999: Belgian franc (BEF).
2 The .eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other European Union member states.

Belgium (Listeni/ˈbɛldʒəm/ bel-jəm), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, as well as those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.[nb 1] Belgium covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres (11,787 sq mi), and it has a population of about 11 million people. Straddling the cultural boundary between Germanic and Latin Europe, Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups, the Dutch-speakers, mostly Flemish, and the French-speakers, mostly Walloons, plus a small group of German-speakers. Belgium's two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia. The Brussels-Capital Region, officially bilingual, is a mostly French-speaking enclave within the Flemish Region.[1] A German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia.[4] Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political and cultural conflicts are reflected in the political history and a complex system of government.[5][6]

Historically, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were known as the Low Countries, which used to cover a somewhat larger area than the current Benelux group of states. The region was called Belgica in Latin because of the Roman province Gallia Belgica which covered more or less the same area. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, it was a prosperous centre of commerce and culture. From the 16th century until the Belgian Revolution in 1830, when Belgium seceded from the Netherlands, many battles between European powers were fought in the area of Belgium, causing it to be dubbed the battleground of Europe,[7] a reputation strengthened by both World Wars.

Upon its independence, Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution[8][9] and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa.[10] The second half of the 20th century was marked by the rise of non-violent but fraught conflicts between the Flemings and the Francophones fuelled by cultural differences on the one hand and an asymmetrical economic evolution of Flanders and Wallonia on the other hand. These still-active conflicts have caused far-reaching reforms of the formerly unitary Belgian state into a federal state which may lead to a complete partition of the country in the future.[11][12][13]
Contents
[hide]

1 History
2 Politics
3 Communities and Regions
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Military
7 Science and technology
8 Demographics
8.1 Languages
8.2 Education
8.3 Religion
8.4 Health
9 Culture
9.1 Fine arts
9.2 Folklore
9.3 Cuisine
9.4 Sports
10 See also
11 Notes
12 References
13 External links

History
Main article: History of Belgium
The Seventeen Provinces (orange, brown and yellow areas) and the Bishopric of Liège (green)

The name 'Belgium' is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that, before Roman invasion in 100 BC, was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples.[14][15] A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings. A gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire.[16] The Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided the region into Middle and West Francia and therefore into a set of more or less independent fiefdoms which, during the Middle Ages, were vassals either of the King of France or of the Holy Roman Emperor.[16]

Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 14th and 15th centuries.[17] Emperor Charles V extended the personal union of the Seventeen Provinces in the 1540s, making it far more than a personal union by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 and increased his influence over the Prince-Bishopric of Liège.[18] The Eighty Years' War (1568-1648) divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces (Belgica Foederata in Latin, the "Federated Netherlands") and the Southern Netherlands (Belgica Regia, the "Royal Netherlands"). The latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and comprised most of modern Belgium. This was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. Following the campaigns of 1794 in the French Revolutionary Wars, the Low Countries—including territories that were never nominally under Habsburg rule, such as the Prince-Bishopric of Liège—were annexed by the French First Republic, ending Austrian rule in the region. The reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815.

The 1830 Belgian Revolution led to the establishment of a Catholic and bourgeois, officially French-speaking and neutral, independent Belgium under a provisional government and a national congress.[19][20] Since the installation of Leopold I as king on 21 July 1831 (which now celebrated as Belgium's National Day[21]), Belgium has been a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a laicist constitution based on the Napoleonic code. Although the franchise was initially restricted, universal suffrage for men was introduced after the general strike of 1893 (with plural voting until 1919) and for women in 1949.
Episode of the Belgian Revolution of 1830 (1834), by Egide Charles Gustave Wappers, Museum of Ancient Art, Brussels

The main political parties of the 19th century were the Catholic Party and the Liberal Party, with the Belgian Labour Party emerging towards the end of the century. French was originally the single official language adopted by the nobility and the bourgeoisie. It progressively lost its overall importance as Dutch became recognised as well. This recognition became official in 1898 and in 1967 a Dutch version of the Constitution was legally accepted.[22]

The Berlin Conference of 1885 ceded control of the Congo Free State to King Leopold II as his private possession. From around 1900 there was growing international concern for the extreme and savage treatment of the Congolese population under Leopold II, for whom the Congo was primarily a source of revenue from ivory and rubber production. In 1908 this outcry led the Belgian state to assume responsibility for the government of the colony, henceforth called the Belgian Congo.[23] Germany invaded Belgium in 1914 as part of the Schlieffen Plan and much of the Western Front fighting of World War I occurred in western parts of the country. The opening months of the war were known as the Rape of Belgium due to German atrocities. Belgium took over the German colonies of Ruanda-Urundi (modern day Rwanda and Burundi) during the war, and they were mandated to Belgium in 1924 by the League of Nations. In the aftermath of the First World War, the Prussian districts of Eupen and Malmedy were annexed by Belgium in 1925, thereby causing the presence of a German-speaking minority.

The country was again invaded by Germany in 1940 and was occupied until its liberation by the Allies in 1944. After World War II, a general strike forced king Leopold III, who many saw as collaborating with the Germans during the war, to abdicate in 1951.[citation needed] The Belgian Congo gained independence in 1960 during the Congo Crisis;[24] Ruanda-Urundi followed with its independence two years later. Belgium joined NATO as a founding member and formed the Benelux group of nations with the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Belgium became one of the six founding members of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951 and of the European Atomic Energy Community and European Economic Community, established in 1957. The latter is now the European Union, for which Belgium hosts major administrations and institutions, including the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the extraordinary and committee sessions of the European Parliament.
Politics
Main articles: Politics of Belgium and Belgian federal government
Albert II, King of the Belgians

Belgium is a constitutional, popular monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. The bicameral federal parliament is composed of a Senate and a Chamber of Representatives. The former is made up of 40 directly elected politicians and 21 representatives appointed by the 3 Community parliaments, 10 co-opted senators and the children of the king, as Senators by Right who in practice do not cast their vote. The Chamber's 150 representatives are elected under a proportional voting system from 11 electoral districts. Belgium has compulsory voting and thus holds one of the highest rates of voter turnout in the world.[25]

The King (currently Albert II) is the head of state, though with limited prerogatives. He appoints ministers, including a Prime Minister, that have the confidence of the Chamber of Representatives to form the federal government. The numbers of Dutch- and French-speaking ministers are equal as prescribed by the constitution (the Prime Minister not being counted).[26] The judicial system is based on civil law and originates from the Napoleonic code. The Court of Cassation is the court of last resort, with the Court of Appeal one level below.

Belgium's political institutions are complex; most political power is organised around the need to represent the main cultural communities.[27] Since around 1970, the significant national Belgian political parties have split into distinct components that mainly represent the political and linguistic interests of these communities.[28] The major parties in each Community, though close to the political centre, belong to three main groups: the right-wing Liberals, the socially conservative Christian Democrats and the socialists forming the left wing.[29] Further notable parties came into being well after the middle of last century, mainly around linguistic, nationalist, or environmental themes and recently smaller ones of some specific liberal nature.[28]
Prime Minister Yves Leterme

A string of Christian Democrat coalition governments from 1958 was broken in 1999 after the first dioxin crisis, a major food contamination scandal.[30][31][32] A 'rainbow coalition' emerged from six parties: the Flemish and the French-speaking Liberals, Social Democrats, Greens.[33] Later, a 'purple coalition' of Liberals and Social Democrats formed after the Greens lost most of their seats in the 2003 election.[34] The government led by Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt from 1999 to 2007 achieved a balanced budget, some tax reforms, a labour-market reform, scheduled nuclear phase-out and instigated legislation allowing more stringent war crime and more lenient soft drug usage prosecution. Restrictions on withholding euthanasia were reduced and same-sex marriage legalized. The government promoted active diplomacy in Africa[35] and opposed the invasion of Iraq.[36]

Verhofstadt's coalition fared badly in the June 2007 elections. For more than a year, the country experienced a political crisis.[37] This crisis was such that many observers speculated on a possible partition of Belgium.[11][12][13] From 21 December 2007 until 20 March 2008 the temporary Verhofstadt III Government was in office. This coalition of the Flemish and Francophone Christian Democrats, the Flemish and Francophone Liberals together with the Francophone Social Democrats was an interim government until 20 March 2008. On that day a new government, led by Flemish Christian Democrat Yves Leterme, the actual winner of the federal elections of June 2007, was sworn in by the king. On 15 July 2008 Leterme announced the resignation of the cabinet to the king, as no progress in constitutional reforms had been made.[38] In December 2008 he once more offered his resignation to the king after a crisis surrounding the sale of Fortis to BNP Paribas.[39] At this juncture, his resignation was accepted and Flemish Christian Democrat Herman Van Rompuy was sworn in as Prime Minister on 30 December 2008.[40]

After Herman Van Rompuy was designated the first permanent President of the European Council on 19 November 2009, he offered the resignation of his government to King Albert II on 25 November 2009. A few hours later, the new government under Prime Minister Yves Leterme was sworn in. On 22 April 2010, Leterme again offered the resignation of his cabinet to the king[41] after one of the coalition partners, the OpenVLD, withdrew from the government, and on 26 April 2010 King Albert officially accepted the resignation.[42] The Parliamentary elections in Belgium on 13 June 2010 saw the Flemish nationalist N-VA become the largest party in Flanders, and the Socialist Party PS the largest party in Wallonia.[43] Belgium has since then been governed by Leterme's caretaker government awaiting the end of the currently deadlocked negotiations for formation of a new government. By 30 March 2011 this set a new world record for the elapsed time without an official government, previously held by war-torn Iraq. As this time increases to more than a year, the general understanding that the incumbent will merely continue existing and perform only urgent business becomes increasingly questioned.[44]
Communities and Regions
Main article: Communities, regions and language areas of Belgium
Communities:
Flemish Community / Dutch language area
Flemish & French Community / bilingual language area
French Community / French language area
German-speaking Community / German language area
Regions:
Flemish Region / Dutch language area
Brussels-Capital Region / bilingual language area
Walloon Region / French and German language areas

Following a usage which can be traced back to the Burgundian and Habsburgian courts,[45] in the 19th century it was necessary to speak French to belong to the governing upper class, and those who could only speak Dutch were effectively second-class citizens.[46] Late that century, and continuing into the 20th century, Flemish movements evolved to counter this situation.[47] While the Walloons and most Brusselers adopted French as their first language, the Flemings refused to do so and succeeded progressively in imposing Dutch as Flanders' official language.[47] Following World War II, Belgian politics became increasingly dominated by the autonomy of its two main language communities.[48] Intercommunal tensions rose and the constitution was amended in order to minimise the conflict potentials.[48]

Based on the four language areas defined in 1962-63 (the Dutch, bilingual, French and German language areas), consecutive revisions of the country's constitution in 1970, 1980, 1988 and 1993 established a unique federal state with segregated political power into three levels:[49][50]

The federal government, based in Brussels.
The three language communities:
the Flemish Community (Dutch-speaking);
the French Community (French-speaking);
the German-speaking Community.
The three regions:
the Flemish Region, subdivided into five provinces;
the Walloon Region, subdivided into five provinces;
the Brussels-Capital Region.

The constitutional language areas determine the official languages in their municipalities, as well as the geographical limits of the empowered institutions for specific matters.[51] Although this would allow for seven parliaments and governments, when the Communities and Regions were created in 1980, Flemish politicians decided to merge both.[52] Thus the Flemings just have one single institutional body of parliament and government is empowered for all except federal and specific municipal matters.[nb 2]

The overlapping boundaries of the Regions and Communities have created two notable peculiarities: the territory of the Brussels-Capital Region (which came into existence nearly a decade after the other regions) is included in both the Flemish and French Communities, and the territory of the German-speaking Community lies wholly within the Walloon Region. Conflicts jurisdiction between the bodies are resolved by the Constitutional Court of Belgium. The structure is intended as a compromise to allow different cultures to live together peacefully.[8]

The Federal State's authority includes justice, defence, federal police, social security, nuclear energy, monetary policy and public debt, and other aspects of public finances. State-owned companies include the Belgian Post Group and Belgian Railways. The Federal Government is responsible for the obligations of Belgium and its federalized institutions towards the European Union and NATO. It controls substantial parts of public health, home affairs and foreign affairs.[53] The budget—without the debt—controlled by the federal government amounts to about 50% of the national fiscal income. The federal government employs around 12% of the civil servants.[54]

Communities exercise their authority only within linguistically determined geographical boundaries, originally oriented towards the individuals of a Community's language: culture (including audiovisual media), education and the use of the relevant language. Extensions to personal matters less directly connected with language comprise health policy (curative and preventive medicine) and assistance to individuals (protection of youth, social welfare, aid to families, immigrant assistance services, and so on.).[55]

Regions have authority in fields that can be broadly associated with their territory. These include economy, employment, agriculture, water policy, housing, public works, energy, transport, the environment, town and country planning, nature conservation, credit and foreign trade. They supervise the provinces, municipalities and intercommunal utility companies.[56]

In several fields, the different levels each have their own say on specifics. With education, for instance, the autonomy of the Communities neither includes decisions about the compulsory aspect nor allows for setting minimum requirements for awarding qualifications, which remain federal matters.[53] Each level of government can be involved in scientific research and international relations associated with its powers. The treaty-making power of the Regions' and Communities' Governments is the broadest of all the Federating units of all the Federations all over the world.[57][58][59]
Geography
Main article: Geography of Belgium
Polders along the Yser river

Belgium shares borders with France (620 km), Germany (167 km), Luxembourg (148 km) and the Netherlands (450 km). Its total area, including surface water area, is 33,990 square kilometres; land area alone is 30,528 km2. It lies between latitudes 49° and 53° N, and longitudes 2° and 7° E.[citation needed]

Belgium has three main geographical regions: the coastal plain in the north-west and the central plateau both belong to the Anglo-Belgian Basin; the Ardennes uplands in the south-east are part of the Hercynian orogenic belt. The Paris Basin reaches a small fourth area at Belgium's southernmost tip, Belgian Lorraine.[60]

The coastal plain consists mainly of sand dunes and polders. Further inland lies a smooth, slowly rising landscape irrigated by numerous waterways, with fertile valleys and the northeastern sandy plain of the Campine (Kempen). The thickly forested hills and plateaus of the Ardennes are more rugged and rocky with caves and small gorges. Extending westward into France, this area is eastwardly connected to the Eifel in Germany by the High Fens plateau, on which the Signal de Botrange forms the country's highest point at 694 metres (2,277 ft).[61][62]

The climate is maritime temperate with signif

Benin
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Benin (disambiguation).
This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2008)
Republic of Benin
République du Bénin (French)
Orílẹ̀-èdè Olómìnira ilẹ̀ Benin (Yoruba)

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Fraternité, Justice, Travail" (French)
"Fraternity, Justice, Labour"
Anthem: L'Aube Nouvelle (French)
The Dawn of a New Day
Location of Benin within the African Union.
Location of Benin (dark blue)

- in Africa (blue & dark grey)
- in the African Union (blue) — [Legend]
Capital Porto-Novo1
6°28′N 2°36′E
Largest city Cotonou
Official language(s) French
Vernacular Fon, Yoruba
Demonym Beninese; Beninois
Government Multiparty democracy
- President Yayi Boni
- Prime Minister Pascal Koupaki
Independence
- from France August 1, 1960
Area
- Total 112,622 km2 (101st)
43,484 sq mi
- Water (%) 0.02%
Population
- 2009 estimate 8,791,832[1] (89th)
- 2002 census 8,500,500
- Density 78.1/km2 (120th)
202.2/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $13.993 billion[2]
- Per capita $1,451[2]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $6.649 billion[2]
- Per capita $689[2]
Gini (2003) 36.5[3] (medium)
HDI (2007) increase 0.492 (low) (161st)
Currency West African CFA franc (XOF)
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+1)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code BJ
Internet TLD .bj
Calling code 229
1 Cotonou is the seat of government.
2 Estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected.

Benin Listeni/bɨˈniːn/ (formerly, Dahomey), officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Its small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin is where a majority of the population is located. The capital of Benin is Porto-Novo, but the seat of government is located in the country's largest city of Cotonou. Benin covers an area of approximately 110,000 square kilometers (42,000 sq mi), with a population of approximately 9.05 million. Benin is a tropical, sub-Saharan nation, highly dependent on agriculture, with substantial employment and income arising from subsistence farming.[4]

The official language of Benin is French, however, indigenous languages such as Fon and Yoruba are commonly spoken. The largest religious group in Benin is Roman Catholicism, followed closely by Muslims, Vodun, and Protestants. Benin is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone, La Francophonie, the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, the African Petroleum Producers Association and the Niger Basin Authority.[5]

From the 17th century to the 19th century, the land of current-day Benin was ruled by the Kingdom of Dahomey. The region became known as the Slave Coast during the early 17th century due to the prevalence of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In 1892, with the slave trade banned and regional power diminishing, France took over the area and renamed it French Dahomey. In 1960, Dahomey gained full independence from France, bringing in a democratic government for the next 12 years.

Between 1972 and 1990, a self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninist dictatorship called the People's Republic of Benin existed, ushering in a period of repression which ultimately led to an economic collapse. Formation of the Republic of Benin occurred in 1991, bringing in multiparty elections.
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
3 Politics
4 Departments and communes
5 Geography
6 Economy
7 Demographics
8 Health
9 Culture
9.1 Arts
9.2 Customary names
9.3 Language
9.4 Religion
9.5 Education
9.6 Cuisine
10 See also
11 References
12 External links

[edit] Etymology

During the colonial period and at independence, the country was known as Dahomey. It was renamed on November 30, 1975, to Benin after the body of water on which the country lies - the Bight of Benin - which, in turn, had been named after the Benin Empire. The country of Benin has no direct connection to Benin City in modern Nigeria, nor to the Benin bronzes.

The new name, Benin, was chosen for its neutrality. Dahomey was the name of the former Kingdom of Dahomey, which covered only the southern third of the present country and therefore did not represent the northwestern sector Atakora nor the kingdom of Borgu, which covered the northeastern third.
[edit] History
Main article: History of Benin
History of Benin
Flag of Benin.svg
This article is part of a series
Kingdom of Abomey
Kingdom of Dahomey
Kingdom of Whydah
Franco-Dahomean Wars
French Dahomey
Republic of Dahomey
People's Republic of Benin
Republic of Benin
Benin Portal
v · d · e

The Kingdom of Dahomey formed from a mixture of ethnic groups on the Abomey plain. Historians theorize that the insecurity caused by slave trading may have contributed to mass migrations of groups to modern day Abomey, including some Aja, a Gbe people who are believed to have founded the city. Those Aja living in Abomey mingled with the local Fon people, also a Gbe people, creating a new ethnic group known as "Dahomey".

The Gbe peoples are said to be descendents of a number of migrants from Wyo. Gangnihessou (a member of an Aja dynasty that in the 16th century along with the Aja populace had come from Tado before settling and ruling separately in what is now Abomey, Allada, and Porto Novo) became the first ruler of the Dahomey Kingdom. Dahomey had a military culture aimed at securing and eventually expanding the borders of the small kingdom with its capital at modern day Abomey.

The Dahomey Kingdom was known for its culture and traditions. Young boys were often apprenticed to older soldiers, and taught the kingdom's military customs until they were old enough to join the army.[citation needed] Dahomey was also famous for instituting an elite female soldier corps, called Ahosi or "our mothers" in the Fongbe language, and known by many Europeans as the Dahomean Amazons. This emphasis on military preparation and achievement earned Dahomey the nickname of "black Sparta" from European observers and 19th century explorers like Sir Richard Burton.

The kings of Dahomey sold their war captives into transatlantic slavery;[6] otherwise the captives would have been killed in a ceremony known as the Annual Customs. By c.1750, the King of Dahomey was earning an estimated £250,000 per year by selling Africans to the European slave-traders.[7] Though the leaders of Dahomey appeared initially to resist the slave trade, it flourished in the region of Dahomey for almost three hundred years (beginning in 1472 with a trade agreement with Portuguese merchants), leading to the area being named "the Slave Coast". Court protocols, which demanded that a portion of war captives from the kingdom's many battles be decapitated, decreased the number of enslaved people exported from the area. The number went from 20,000 per year at the beginning of the seventeenth century to 12,000 at the beginning of the 19th century.[citation needed] The decline was partly due to the banning[citation needed] of the trans-Atlantic slave trade by Britain and other countries. This decline continued until 1885, when the last Portuguese slave ship departed from the coast of the present-day Benin Republic.

By the middle of the nineteenth century, Dahomey started to lose its status as the regional power. This enabled the French to take over the area in 1892. In 1899, the French included the land called French Dahomey within the French West Africa colony. In 1958, France granted autonomy to the Republic of Dahomey, and full independence as of August 1, 1960. The president who led them to independence was Hubert Maga.

For the next twelve years, ethnic strife contributed to a period of turbulence. There were several coups and regime changes, with four figures dominating — Hubert Maga, Sourou Apithy, Justin Ahomadegbé and Emile Derlin Zinsou — the first three representing a different area and ethnicity of the country. These three agreed to form a presidential council after violence marred the 1970 elections.

On May 7, 1972, Maga turned over power to Ahomadegbe. On October 26, 1972, Lt. Col. Mathieu Kérékou overthrew the ruling triumvirate, becoming president and stating that the country will not "burden itself by copying foreign ideology, and wants neither Capitalism, Communism, nor Socialism". On November 30, however, he announced that the country was officially Marxist, under the control of the Military Council of the Revolution (CNR[citation needed]), which nationalized the petroleum industry and banks. On November 30, 1975, he renamed the country to People's Republic of Benin.

In 1979, the CNR was dissolved, and Kérékou arranged show elections where he was the only allowed candidate. Establishing relations with the People's Republic of China, North Korea, and Libya, he put nearly all businesses and economic activities under state control, causing foreign investment in Benin to dry up.[8] Kérékou attempted to reorganize education, pushing his own aphorisms such as "Poverty is not a fatality", resulting in a mass exodus of teachers, along with a large number of other professionals.[8] The regime financed itself by contracting to take nuclear waste from France.[8]

In 1980, Kérékou converted to Islam and changed his first name to Ahmed, then changed his name back after claiming to be a born-again Christian.

In 1989, riots broke out after the regime did not have money to pay its army. The banking system collapsed. Eventually Kérékou renounced Marxism and a convention forced Kérékou to release political prisoners and arrange elections.[8]

The name of the country was changed to the Republic of Benin on March 1, 1990, once the newly formed country's constitution was complete, after the abolition of Marxism-Leninism in the nation in 1989.[9][10]

In 1991, Kérékou was defeated by Nicéphore Soglo, and became the first black African president to step down after an election. Kérékou returned to power after winning the 1996 vote. In 2001, a closely fought election resulted in Kérékou winning another term, after which his opponents claimed election irregularities.

Kérékou and former president Soglo did not run in the 2006 elections, as both were barred by the constitution's restrictions on age and total terms of candidates. Kérékou is widely praised[citation needed] for making no effort to change the constitution so that he could remain in office or run again, unlike many African leaders.

On March 5, 2006, an election was held that was considered free and fair. It resulted in a runoff between Yayi Boni and Adrien Houngbédji. The runoff election was held on March 19, and was won by Boni, who assumed office on April 6. The success of the fair multi-party elections in Benin won praise internationally.
[edit] Politics
Main article: Politics of Benin

Benin's politics take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, where the President of Benin is both head of state and head of government, within a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the legislature. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The political system is derived from the 1990 Constitution of Benin and the subsequent transition to democracy in 1991.

In its 2007 Worldwide Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders ranked Benin 53rd out of 169 countries.

Benin scored highly in the 2009 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, which comprehensively measures the state of governance across the continent. Benin was ranked 15th out of 53 African countries, and scored particularly well in the categories of Safety & Security and Participation & Human Rights.[11]

Benin has been rated equal-88th out of 159 countries in a 2005 analysis of police, business and political corruption.[12]
[edit] Departments and communes
Departments of Benin
Main articles: Departments of Benin and Communes of Benin

Benin is divided into 12 departments (French: départements), and subdivided into 77 communes. In 1999, the previous six departments were each split into two halves, forming the current 12. The six new departments have not been assigned an official capital yet.[verification needed]

Alibori
Atakora
Atlantique
Borgou
Collines
Donga
Kouffo
Littoral
Mono
Ouémé
Plateau
Zou

[edit] Geography
Map of Benin
Main articles: Geography of Benin and Climate of Benin
Atakora.

Benin, a narrow, north-south strip of land in west Africa, lies between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer. Benin lies between latitudes 6° and 13°N, and longitudes 0° and 4°E. Benin is bounded by Togo to the west, Burkina Faso and Niger to the north, Nigeria to the east, and the Bight of Benin to the south.

With an area of 112,622 km2 (43,484 sq mi), Benin extends from the Niger River in the north to the Atlantic Ocean in the south, a distance of 650 km (404 mi). Although the coastline measures 121 km (75 mi) the country measures about 325 km (202 mi) at its widest point.

It is one of the smaller countries in West Africa, one-eighth the size of Nigeria, its neighbor to the east. It is, however, twice as large as Togo, its neighbor to the west.

Benin shows little variation in elevation and can be divided into four areas from the south to the north, starting with the low-lying, sandy, coastal plain (highest elevation 10 m (32.8 ft)) which is, at most, 10 km (6.2 mi) wide. It is marshy and dotted with lakes and lagoons communicating with the ocean. Behind the coast lies the Guinean forest-savanna mosaic covered plateaus of southern Benin (altitude between 20 and 200 m (66 and 656 ft)) are split by valleys running north to south along the Couffo, Zou, and Oueme Rivers.

Then an area of flat lands dotted with rocky hills whose altitude seldom reaches 400 m (1,312 ft) extends around Nikki and Save. Finally, a range of mountains extends along the northwest border and into Togo; this is the Atacora, with the highest point, Mont Sokbaro, at 658 m (2,159 ft).

Benin has fields of lying fallow, mangroves, and remnants of large sacred forests. In the rest of the country, the savanna is covered with thorny scrubs and dotted with huge baobab trees. Some forests line the banks of rivers. In the north and the northwest of Benin the Reserve du W du Niger and Pendjari National Park attract tourists eager to see elephants, lions, antelopes, hippos, and monkeys.[13] Historically Benin has served as habitat for the endangered Painted Hunting Dog, Lycaon pictus;[14] however, this canid is thought to have been locally extirpated.

Benin's climate is hot and humid. Annual rainfall in the coastal area averages 1300 mm or about 51 inches. Benin has two rainy and two dry seasons per year. The principal rainy season is from April to late July, with a shorter less intense rainy period from late September to November. The main dry season is from December to April, with a short cooler dry season from late July to early September. Temperatures and humidity are high along the tropical coast. In Cotonou, the average maximum temperature is 31 °C (87.8 °F); the minimum is 24 °C (75.2 °F).[13]

Variations in temperature increase when moving north through a savanna and plateau toward the Sahel. A dry wind from the Sahara called the Harmattan blows from December to March, during which grass dries up, the vegetation turns reddish brown, and a veil of fine dust hangs over the country, causing the skies to be overcast. It also is the season when farmers burn brush in the fields.[13]
[edit] Economy
Main article: Economy of Benin
Cotton field in northern Benin

The economy of Benin is dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production, and regional trade. Cotton accounts for 40% of GDP and roughly 80% of official export receipts.[15] Growth in real output has averaged around 5% in the past seven years, but rapid population growth has offset much of this increase. Inflation has subsided over the past several years. Benin uses the CFA franc, which is pegged to the euro.

Benin's economy has continued to strengthen over the past years, with real GDP growth estimated at 5.1 percent and 5.7 percent in 2008 and 2009, respectively. The main driver of growth is the agricultural sector, with cotton being the country's main export, while services continue to contribute the largest part of GDP largely because of Benin's geographical location, enabling trade, transportation, transit and tourism activities with its neighbouring states.[16]

In order to raise growth still further, Benin plans to attract more foreign investment, place more emphasis on tourism, facilitate the development of new food processing systems and agricultural products, and encourage new information and communication technology. Projects to improve the business climate by reforms to the land tenure system, the commercial justice system, and the financial sector were included in Benin's US$307 million Millennium Challenge Account grant signed in February 2006.[17]

The Paris Club and bilateral creditors have eased the external debt situation, with Benin benefiting from a G8 debt reduction announced in July 2005, while pressing for more rapid structural reforms. An insufficient electrical supply continues to adversely affect Benin's economic growth though the government recently has taken steps to increase domestic power production.[1]

Although trade unions in Benin represent up to 75% of the formal workforce, the large informal economy has been noted by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITCU) to contain ongoing problems, including a lack of women's wage equality, the use of child labour, and the continuing issue of forced labour.[18]

Benin is a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).[19]

Cotonou harbors the country's only seaport and international airport. A new port is currently under construction between Cotonou and Porto Novo. Benin is connected by 2 lane asphalted roads to its neighboring countries (Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Nigeria). Mobile telephone service is available across the country through various operators. ADSL connections are available in some areas. Benin is connected to the Internet by way of satellite connections (since 1998) and a single submarine cable SAT-3/WASC (since 2001), keeping the price of data extremely high. Relief is expected with initiation of the Africa Coast to Europe cable in 2011.

Currently, about a third of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 per day.[20]
[edit] Demographics
Woman from Kobli, Atakora, Benin.
Main article: Demography of Benin

The majority of Benin's population lives in the south. The population is young, with a life expectancy of 59 years. About 42 African ethnic groups live in this country; these various groups settled in Benin at different times and also migrated within the country. Ethnic groups include the Yoruba in the southeast (migrated from Nigeria in the 12th century); the Dendi in the north-central area (they came from Mali in the 16th century); the Bariba and the Fula (French: Peul; Fula: Fulɓe) in the northeast; the Betammaribe and the Somba in the Atacora Range; the Fon in the area around Abomey in the South Central and the Mina, Xueda, and Aja (who came from Togo) on the coast.[13]

Recent migrations have brought other African nationals to Benin that include Nigerians, Togolese, and Malians. The foreign community also includes many Lebanese and Indians involved in trade and commerce. The personnel of the many European embassies and foreign aid missions and of nongovernmental organizations and various missionary groups account for a large part of the 5500 European population.[13] A small part of the European population consists of Beninese citizens of French ancestry, whose ancestors ruled Benin and left after independence.
[edit] Health
Main article: Health in Benin
See also: HIV/AIDS in Benin

During the 1980s, less than 30 percent of the population had access primary health care services. Benin had one of the highest death rates for children under the age of five in the world. Its infant mortality rate stood at 203 deaths for every 1000 live births. Only one in three mothers had access to child health care services. The Bamako Initiative changed that dramatically by introducing community-based health care reform, resulting in more efficient and equitable provision of services.[21] A comprehensive approach strategy was extended to all areas of health care, with subsequent improvement in the health care indicators and improvement in health care efficiency and cost.[22] Demographic and Health Surveys has completed three surveys in Benin since 1996.[23]
[edit] Culture
[edit] Arts
See also: Literature of Benin and Music of Benin

Beninese literature had a strong oral tradition long before French became the dominant language.[24] Felix Couchoro wrote the first Beninese novel, L'Esclave in 1929.

Post-independence, the country was home to a vibrant and innovative music scene, where native folk music combin

Bhutan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Page move-protected

Coordinates: 27°25′01″N 90°26′06″E
Kingdom of Bhutan
འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་

'Brug Rgyal-khab (Wylie)
Dru Gäkhap

Flag Emblem
Anthem: Druk Tsendhen
Capital Thimphu
27°28.0′N 89°38.5′E
Official language(s) Dzongkha
Demonym Bhutanese
Government Unitary parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy
- King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
- Prime Minister Jigme Y. Thinley
Formation Early 17th century
- Wangchuk Dynasty 17 December 1907
- Constitutional Monarchy 2007
Area
- Total 38,394 km2 [1][2](135th)
14,824 sq mi
- Water (%) 1.1
Population
- 2009 estimate 691,141[3] (161st)
- 2005 census 634,982[4]
- Density 18.0/km2 (154th)
46.6/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $3.875 billion[5]
- Per capita $5,429[5]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $1.412 billion[5]
- Per capita $1,978[5]
HDI (2007) increase 0.619[6] (medium) (132nd)
Currency Ngultrum2 (BTN)
Time zone BTT (UTC+6)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+6)
Drives on the left
ISO 3166 code BT
Internet TLD .bt
Calling code 975
1 The population of Bhutan had been estimated based on the reported figure of about 1 million in the 1970s when the country had joined the United Nations and precise statistics were lacking.[7] Thus using the annual increase rate of 2-3%, the most population estimates were around 2 million in the year 2000. A national census was carried out in 2005 and it turned out that the population was 672,425. Consequently, United Nations Population Division had down-estimated the country's population in the 2006 revision[8] for the whole period from 1950 to 2050.
2 Indian rupee is also legal tender

Bhutan (Dzongkha: འབྲུག་ཡུལ་, tr Brug Yul, "Druk Yul"; Nepali: भूटान, Bhutān), officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China. Bhutan is separated from the nearby country of Nepal to the west by the Indian state of Sikkim, and from Bangladesh to the south by West Bengal.

Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefdoms until the early 17th century, when the area was unified by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who fled religious persecution in Tibet and cultivated a separate Bhutanese identity. In the early 20th century, Bhutan came into contact with the British Empire, after which Bhutan continued strong bilateral relations with India upon its independence. In 2006, Business Week magazine rated Bhutan the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest in the world, based on a global survey.[9]

Bhutan's landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the Sub-alpine Himalayan heights in the north, with some peaks exceeding 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). The state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism, and the population of 691,141 is predominantly Buddhist, with Hinduism the second-largest religion. The capital and largest city is Thimphu. After centuries of absolute monarchy, Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy and held its first general elections in 2007. Bhutan is a member of the United Nations and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC); it hosted the sixteenth SAARC summit in April 2010. The total area of the country has been reported as 38,394 square kilometres (14,824 sq mi) since 2002.[1][2] The area had previously been reported as approximately 46,500 km2 (18,000 sq mi) in 1997.[10]
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Political reform and modernization
3 Government and politics
4 Military and foreign affairs
5 Geography
5.1 Climate
6 Wildlife
6.1 Conservation significance
6.2 Conservation issues
7 Economy
8 Administrative divisions
9 Cities and towns
10 Demographics
10.1 Religion
10.2 Languages
11 Culture
12 Sports
13 Traffic and transport
14 See also
15 Notes
16 References
17 Further reading
18 External links

[edit] Etymology

Names similar to Bhutan — including Bottanthis, Bottan, Bottanter — began to appear in Europe around the 1580s. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier's 1676 Six Voyages is the first to record the name Boutan. However, in every case, these seem to have been describing not modern Bhutan but the Kingdom of Tibet. The modern distinction between the two did not begin until well into Bogle's 1774 expedition — realizing the differences between the two regions, cultures, and states, his final report to the East India Company formally proposed labeling the Druk Desi's kingdom as "Boutan" and the Panchen Lama's as "Tibet". The EIC's surveyor general James Rennell first anglicized the French name as Bootan and then popularized the distinction between it and greater Tibet.[11]
Near Delhi, Tibet appears as "Thibet or Bootan"
1777
"Thibet" with its interior and "Bootan" clearly separated
1786
Two of Rennell's EIC maps, showing the division of "Thibet or Bootan" into separate regions.

The precise etymology of Bhutan is unknown, although it quite probably derives from the Tibetan endonym Bod, used for Greater Tibet. It is traditionally taken to be a transcription of the Sanskrit Bhoṭa-anta (भोट-अन्त, "end of Tibet"), in reference to Bhutan's position as the southern extremity of the Tibetan plateau and culture.[12][13]

Locally, Bhutan has been known by many names. The earliest western records of Bhutan, the 1627 Relacao of the Portuguese Jesuits Estêvão Cacella and João Cabral, records its name variously as Cambirasi (among the Koch Biharis[14]), Potente, and Mon (an endonym for southern Tibet).[11] The first time a separate Kingdom of Bhutan did appear on a western map, it did so under its local name as "Broukpa".[11] Others including Lho Mon ("Dark Southland"), Lho Tsendenjong ("Southland of the Cypress"), Lhomen Khazhi ("Southland of the Four Approaches") and Lho Men Jong ("Southland of the Herbs).[15][16]
[edit] History
Main articles: History of Bhutan and Timeline of Bhutanese history

Stone tools, weapons, elephants, and remnants of large stone structures provide evidence that Bhutan was inhabited as early as 2000 BC, although there are no existing records from that time. Historians have theorized that the state of Lhomon (literally, "southern darkness", a reference to the indigenous Mon religion), or Monyul ("Dark Land", a reference to the Monpa, the aboriginal peoples of Bhutan) may have existed between 500 BC and AD 600. The names Lhomon Tsendenjong (Sandalwood Country), and Lhomon Khashi, or Southern Mon (country of four approaches), have been found in ancient Bhutanese and Tibetan chronicles.[17]

Buddhism was first introduced to Bhutan in the 7th century AD. Tibetan king Songtsän Gampo[18] (reigned 627-49), a convert to Buddhism, ordered the construction of two Buddhist temples, at Bumthang in central Bhutan and at Kyichu (near Paro) in the Paro Valley.[19] Buddhism was propagated in earnest[18] in 746[20] under King Sindhu Rāja (also Künjom;[21] Sendha Gyab; Chakhar Gyalpo), an exiled Indian king who had established a government in Bumthang at Chakhar Gutho Palace.[22]:35 [23]:13

Buddhist saint Padma Sambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche) came to Bhutan in in 747.[24] Much of early Bhutanese history is unclear because most of the records were destroyed when fire ravaged the ancient capital, Punakha, in 1827. By the 10th century, Bhutan's political development was heavily influenced by its religious history. Various sub-sects of Buddhism emerged which were patronized by the various Mongol warlords. After the decline of the Mongols in the 14th century, these sub-sects vied with each other for supremacy in the political and religious landscape, eventually leading to the ascendancy of the Drukpa sub-sect by the 16th century.

Until the early 17th century, Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefdoms, when the area was unified by the Tibetan lama and military leader Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal who had fled religious persecution in Tibet. To defend the country against intermittent Tibetan forays, Namgyal built a network of impregnable dzong (fortresses), and promulgated the Tsa Yig, a code of law that helped to bring local lords under centralized control. Many such dzong still exist and are active centers of religion and district administration. Portuguese Jesuit Estêvão Cacella and another priest were the first recorded Europeans to visit Bhutan, on their way to Tibet. They met Ngawang Namgyal, presented him with firearms, gunpowder and a telescope, and offered him their services in the war against Tibet, but the Shabdrung declined the offer. After a stay of nearly eight months Cacella wrote a long letter from the Chagri Monastery reporting on his travels. This is a rare extant report of the Shabdrung.

After Namgyal's death in 1651, Bhutan fell into civil war. Taking advantage of the chaos, the Tibetans attacked Bhutan in 1710, and again in 1730 with the help of the Mongols. Both assaults were successfully thwarted, and an armistice was signed in 1759.
Map of Bhutan showing border with China as of 2010
A thrikheb (throne cover) from the 19th century. Throne covers were placed atop the temple cushions used by high lamas. The central circular swirling quadrune is the Gankyil in its mode as the "Four Joys".

In the 18th century, the Bhutanese invaded and occupied the kingdom of Cooch Behar to the south. In 1772, Cooch Behar appealed to the British East India Company which assisted them in ousting the Bhutanese and later in attacking Bhutan itself in 1774. A peace treaty was signed in which Bhutan agreed to retreat to its pre-1730 borders. However, the peace was tenuous, and border skirmishes with the British were to continue for the next hundred years. The skirmishes eventually led to the Duar War (1864-65), a confrontation for control of the Bengal Duars. After Bhutan lost the war, the Treaty of Sinchula was signed between British India and Bhutan. As part of the war reparations, the Duars were ceded to the United Kingdom in exchange for a rent of Rs. 50,000. The treaty ended all hostilities between British India and Bhutan.

During the 1870s, power struggles between the rival valleys of Paro and Tongsa led to civil war in Bhutan, eventually leading to the ascendancy of Ugyen Wangchuck, the ponlop (governor) of Tongsa. From his power base in central Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuck defeated his political enemies and united the country following several civil wars and rebellions in the period 1882-85.

In 1907, an epochal year for the country, Ugyen Wangchuck was unanimously chosen as the hereditary king of the country by an assembly of leading Buddhist monks, government officials, and heads of important families. The British government promptly recognized the new monarchy, and in 1910 Bhutan signed the Treaty of Punakha, a subsidiary alliance which gave the British control of Bhutan's foreign affairs and meant that Bhutan was treated as an Indian princely state. This had little real effect, given Bhutan's historical reticence, and also did not appear to affect Bhutan's traditional relations with Tibet.

After the new Union of India gained independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947, Bhutan became one of the first countries to recognize India's independence. On 8 August 1949 a treaty similar to that of 1910, in which Britain had gained power over Bhutan's foreign relations, was signed with the newly independent India.[17]

In 1953, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck established the country's legislature - a 130-member National Assembly - to promote a more democratic form of governance. In 1965, he set up a Royal Advisory Council, and in 1968 he formed a Cabinet. In 1971, Bhutan was admitted to the United Nations, having held observer status for three years. In July 1972, Jigme Singye Wangchuck ascended to the throne at the age of sixteen after the death of his father, Dorji Wangchuck.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the country expelled or forced to leave nearly one fifth of its population in the name of preserving its Tibetan Mahayana Buddhist culture and identity.[25] In one of the world's least known episodes of what many scholars believe was an "ethnic cleansing," the Nepali-origin, mainly Hindu Bhutanese fled their homeland. According to the UNHCR, more than 107,000 Bhutanese refugees living in seven camps in eastern Nepal is already documented by 2008.[26]

In late 2003, the Bhutanese army successfully launched a large-scale operation to flush out Assom liberationist insurgents who were operating training camps in southern Bhutan. It is called Operation: All Clear and the Royal Bhutan Army drove out the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), and Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO) insurgent groups hiding in Bhutan's jungles.
[edit] Political reform and modernization
Further information: Law of Bhutan and Constitution of Bhutan

King Jigme Singye Wangchuck introduced significant political reforms, transferring most of his administrative powers to the Council of Cabinet Ministers and allowing for impeachment of the King by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly.[27]

In 1999, the government lifted a ban on television and the Internet, making Bhutan one of the last countries to introduce television. In his speech, the King said that television was a critical step to the modernisation of Bhutan as well as a major contributor to the country's Gross National Happiness (Bhutan is the only country to measure happiness),[28] but warned that the "misuse" of television could erode traditional Bhutanese values.[29]

A new constitution was presented in early 2005. In December 2005, Jigme Singye Wangchuck announced that he would abdicate the throne in his son's favor in 2008. On 14 December 2006, he announced that he would be abdicating immediately. This was followed with the first national parliamentary elections in December 2007 and March 2008.

On November 6, 2008, 28-year old Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, eldest son of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, was crowned King.[30]
[edit] Government and politics
Main article: Politics of Bhutan
View of Tashichoedzong, Thimphu, seat of the Bhutanese government since 1952.

Bhutan's political system has developed from an absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy. In 1999, the fourth king of Bhutan created a body called the Lhengye Zhungtshog (Council of Ministers). The Druk Gyalpo (King of Druk Yul) is head of state. Executive power is exercised by the Lhengye Zhungtshog, the council of ministers. Legislative power was vested in both the government and the former Grand National Assembly.

On the 17th of December 2005, the 4th King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, announced to a stunned nation that the first general elections would be held in 2008, and that he would abdicate the throne in favor of his eldest son, the crown prince.[31] King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck took the throne on December 14, 2006 upon his father's abdication. Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was adorned with Bhutan's Raven Crown at an ornate coronation ceremony in Thimphu on Thursday, November 6, 2008, becoming the world's youngest reigning monarch and head of the newest democracy.[32]

The new political system comprises an upper and lower house, the latter based on political party affiliations. Elections for the upper house (National Council) were held on December 31, 2007, while elections for the lower house, the 47-seat National Assembly, were held on March 24, 2008. Two political parties, the People's Democratic Party (PDP) headed by Sangay Ngedup, and the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) headed by Jigmi Thinley, competed in the National Assembly election. The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa won the elections taking 45 out of 47 seats in the parliament.[33]

Judicial power is vested in the courts of Bhutan. The Chief Justice is the administrative head of the Judiciary.
[edit] Military and foreign affairs
Main articles: Military of Bhutan and Foreign relations of Bhutan

The Royal Bhutan Army is Bhutan's military service. It includes the Royal Bodyguard and the Royal Bhutan Police. Membership is voluntary, and the minimum age for recruitment is 18. The standing army numbers about 16,000 and is trained by the Indian Army.[34] It has an annual budget of about US$13.7 million — 1.8 percent of the GDP. Being a landlocked country, Bhutan has no navy. Additionally, Bhutan has no air force or army aviation corps. Instead the Army relies on Eastern Air Command of the Indian Air Force for air assistance.

In 2007, Bhutan and India signed a new treaty that clarified that Bhutan was master of its own foreign relations, superseding the treaty signed in 1949. The superseded treaty is still sometimes misinterpreted to mean that India controls Bhutan's foreign affairs, but the government of Bhutan handles all of its own foreign affairs, including the sensitive (to India) border demarcation issue with China. Bhutan has diplomatic relations with 21 countries, and with the European Union, with missions in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Kuwait. It has two UN missions, one in New York and one in Geneva. Only India and Bangladesh have residential embassies in Bhutan, while Thailand has a consulate office in Bhutan.

By a long standing treaty, Indian and Bhutanese citizens may travel to each other's countries without a passport or visa using their national identity cards instead. Bhutanese citizens may also work in India without legal restriction. Bhutan does not have formal diplomatic ties with its northern neighbour, the People's Republic of China, although exchanges of visits at various levels between the two have significantly increased in recent times. The first bilateral agreement between China (PRC) and Bhutan was signed in 1998, and Bhutan has also set up honorary consulates in Macau and Hong Kong. Bhutan's border with China is largely not demarcated and thus disputed in some places. Approximately 269 square kilometers remain under discussion between China and Bhutan.[35]

On 13 November 2005, Chinese soldiers crossed into the disputed territories between China and Bhutan, and began building roads and bridges.[36] Bhutanese Foreign Minister Khandu Wangchuk took up the matter with Chinese authorities after the issue was raised in the Bhutanese parliament. In response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang of the People's Republic of China has said that the border remains in dispute and that the two sides are continuing to work for a peaceful and cordial resolution of the dispute.[37] An Indian intelligence officer has said that a Chinese delegation in Bhutan told the Bhutanese that they were "overreacting." The Bhutanese newspaper Kuensel has said that China might use the roads to further Chinese claims along the border.[36]

On 8 February 2007, the Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty was substantially revised. The Treaty of 1949, Article 2 states: "The Government of India undertakes to exercise no interference in the internal administration of Bhutan. On its part the Government of Bhutan agrees to be guided by the advice of the Government of India in regard to its external relations." In the revised treaty it now reads as "In keeping with the abiding ties of close friendship and cooperation between Bhutan and India, the Government of the Kingdom of Bhutan and the Government of the Republic of India shall cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to their national interests. Neither government shall allow the use of its territory for activities harmful to the national security and interest of the other." The revised treaty also includes this preamble: "Reaffirming their respect for each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity", an element that was absent in the earlier version. The Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty of 2007 clarifies Bhutan's status as an independent and sovereign nation.

Bhutan has no formal relations with the United States,[38] Russia, China, the United Kingdom or France. Informal contact with the United States is made through the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.[38]
[edit] Geography
Main article: Geography of Bhutan
Topographic map of Bhutan
Gangkhar Puensum from Ura La, Bhutan

The Kingdom of Bhutan is nestled in the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayas, and landlocked between the Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and the Indian states of Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to the west and south. It lies between latitudes 26° and 29°N, and longitudes 88° and 93°E. The land consists mostly of steep and high mountains crisscrossed by a network of swift rivers, which form deep valleys before draining into the Indian plains. Elevation rises from 200 m (660 ft) in the southern foothills to more than 7,000 m (23,000 ft). This great geographical diversity combined with equally diverse climate conditions contributes to Bhutan's outstanding range of biodiversity and ecosystems.[2]

The northern region of the country consists of an arc of Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows reaching up to glaciated mountain peaks with an extremely cold climate at the highest elevations. Most peaks in the north are over 7,000 m (23,000 ft) above sea level; the highest point in Bhutan is Gangkhar Puensum at 7,570 metres (24,840 ft), which has the disti

Bhutan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Page move-protected

Coordinates: 27°25′01″N 90°26′06″E
Kingdom of Bhutan
འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་

'Brug Rgyal-khab (Wylie)
Dru Gäkhap

Flag Emblem
Anthem: Druk Tsendhen
Capital Thimphu
27°28.0′N 89°38.5′E
Official language(s) Dzongkha
Demonym Bhutanese
Government Unitary parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy
- King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
- Prime Minister Jigme Y. Thinley
Formation Early 17th century
- Wangchuk Dynasty 17 December 1907
- Constitutional Monarchy 2007
Area
- Total 38,394 km2 [1][2](135th)
14,824 sq mi
- Water (%) 1.1
Population
- 2009 estimate 691,141[3] (161st)
- 2005 census 634,982[4]
- Density 18.0/km2 (154th)
46.6/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $3.875 billion[5]
- Per capita $5,429[5]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $1.412 billion[5]
- Per capita $1,978[5]
HDI (2007) increase 0.619[6] (medium) (132nd)
Currency Ngultrum2 (BTN)
Time zone BTT (UTC+6)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+6)
Drives on the left
ISO 3166 code BT
Internet TLD .bt
Calling code 975
1 The population of Bhutan had been estimated based on the reported figure of about 1 million in the 1970s when the country had joined the United Nations and precise statistics were lacking.[7] Thus using the annual increase rate of 2-3%, the most population estimates were around 2 million in the year 2000. A national census was carried out in 2005 and it turned out that the population was 672,425. Consequently, United Nations Population Division had down-estimated the country's population in the 2006 revision[8] for the whole period from 1950 to 2050.
2 Indian rupee is also legal tender

Bhutan (Dzongkha: འབྲུག་ཡུལ་, tr Brug Yul, "Druk Yul"; Nepali: भूटान, Bhutān), officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China. Bhutan is separated from the nearby country of Nepal to the west by the Indian state of Sikkim, and from Bangladesh to the south by West Bengal.

Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefdoms until the early 17th century, when the area was unified by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who fled religious persecution in Tibet and cultivated a separate Bhutanese identity. In the early 20th century, Bhutan came into contact with the British Empire, after which Bhutan continued strong bilateral relations with India upon its independence. In 2006, Business Week magazine rated Bhutan the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest in the world, based on a global survey.[9]

Bhutan's landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the Sub-alpine Himalayan heights in the north, with some peaks exceeding 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). The state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism, and the population of 691,141 is predominantly Buddhist, with Hinduism the second-largest religion. The capital and largest city is Thimphu. After centuries of absolute monarchy, Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy and held its first general elections in 2007. Bhutan is a member of the United Nations and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC); it hosted the sixteenth SAARC summit in April 2010. The total area of the country has been reported as 38,394 square kilometres (14,824 sq mi) since 2002.[1][2] The area had previously been reported as approximately 46,500 km2 (18,000 sq mi) in 1997.[10]
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Political reform and modernization
3 Government and politics
4 Military and foreign affairs
5 Geography
5.1 Climate
6 Wildlife
6.1 Conservation significance
6.2 Conservation issues
7 Economy
8 Administrative divisions
9 Cities and towns
10 Demographics
10.1 Religion
10.2 Languages
11 Culture
12 Sports
13 Traffic and transport
14 See also
15 Notes
16 References
17 Further reading
18 External links

[edit] Etymology

Names similar to Bhutan — including Bottanthis, Bottan, Bottanter — began to appear in Europe around the 1580s. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier's 1676 Six Voyages is the first to record the name Boutan. However, in every case, these seem to have been describing not modern Bhutan but the Kingdom of Tibet. The modern distinction between the two did not begin until well into Bogle's 1774 expedition — realizing the differences between the two regions, cultures, and states, his final report to the East India Company formally proposed labeling the Druk Desi's kingdom as "Boutan" and the Panchen Lama's as "Tibet". The EIC's surveyor general James Rennell first anglicized the French name as Bootan and then popularized the distinction between it and greater Tibet.[11]
Near Delhi, Tibet appears as "Thibet or Bootan"
1777
"Thibet" with its interior and "Bootan" clearly separated
1786
Two of Rennell's EIC maps, showing the division of "Thibet or Bootan" into separate regions.

The precise etymology of Bhutan is unknown, although it quite probably derives from the Tibetan endonym Bod, used for Greater Tibet. It is traditionally taken to be a transcription of the Sanskrit Bhoṭa-anta (भोट-अन्त, "end of Tibet"), in reference to Bhutan's position as the southern extremity of the Tibetan plateau and culture.[12][13]

Locally, Bhutan has been known by many names. The earliest western records of Bhutan, the 1627 Relacao of the Portuguese Jesuits Estêvão Cacella and João Cabral, records its name variously as Cambirasi (among the Koch Biharis[14]), Potente, and Mon (an endonym for southern Tibet).[11] The first time a separate Kingdom of Bhutan did appear on a western map, it did so under its local name as "Broukpa".[11] Others including Lho Mon ("Dark Southland"), Lho Tsendenjong ("Southland of the Cypress"), Lhomen Khazhi ("Southland of the Four Approaches") and Lho Men Jong ("Southland of the Herbs).[15][16]
[edit] History
Main articles: History of Bhutan and Timeline of Bhutanese history

Stone tools, weapons, elephants, and remnants of large stone structures provide evidence that Bhutan was inhabited as early as 2000 BC, although there are no existing records from that time. Historians have theorized that the state of Lhomon (literally, "southern darkness", a reference to the indigenous Mon religion), or Monyul ("Dark Land", a reference to the Monpa, the aboriginal peoples of Bhutan) may have existed between 500 BC and AD 600. The names Lhomon Tsendenjong (Sandalwood Country), and Lhomon Khashi, or Southern Mon (country of four approaches), have been found in ancient Bhutanese and Tibetan chronicles.[17]

Buddhism was first introduced to Bhutan in the 7th century AD. Tibetan king Songtsän Gampo[18] (reigned 627-49), a convert to Buddhism, ordered the construction of two Buddhist temples, at Bumthang in central Bhutan and at Kyichu (near Paro) in the Paro Valley.[19] Buddhism was propagated in earnest[18] in 746[20] under King Sindhu Rāja (also Künjom;[21] Sendha Gyab; Chakhar Gyalpo), an exiled Indian king who had established a government in Bumthang at Chakhar Gutho Palace.[22]:35 [23]:13

Buddhist saint Padma Sambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche) came to Bhutan in in 747.[24] Much of early Bhutanese history is unclear because most of the records were destroyed when fire ravaged the ancient capital, Punakha, in 1827. By the 10th century, Bhutan's political development was heavily influenced by its religious history. Various sub-sects of Buddhism emerged which were patronized by the various Mongol warlords. After the decline of the Mongols in the 14th century, these sub-sects vied with each other for supremacy in the political and religious landscape, eventually leading to the ascendancy of the Drukpa sub-sect by the 16th century.

Until the early 17th century, Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefdoms, when the area was unified by the Tibetan lama and military leader Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal who had fled religious persecution in Tibet. To defend the country against intermittent Tibetan forays, Namgyal built a network of impregnable dzong (fortresses), and promulgated the Tsa Yig, a code of law that helped to bring local lords under centralized control. Many such dzong still exist and are active centers of religion and district administration. Portuguese Jesuit Estêvão Cacella and another priest were the first recorded Europeans to visit Bhutan, on their way to Tibet. They met Ngawang Namgyal, presented him with firearms, gunpowder and a telescope, and offered him their services in the war against Tibet, but the Shabdrung declined the offer. After a stay of nearly eight months Cacella wrote a long letter from the Chagri Monastery reporting on his travels. This is a rare extant report of the Shabdrung.

After Namgyal's death in 1651, Bhutan fell into civil war. Taking advantage of the chaos, the Tibetans attacked Bhutan in 1710, and again in 1730 with the help of the Mongols. Both assaults were successfully thwarted, and an armistice was signed in 1759.
Map of Bhutan showing border with China as of 2010
A thrikheb (throne cover) from the 19th century. Throne covers were placed atop the temple cushions used by high lamas. The central circular swirling quadrune is the Gankyil in its mode as the "Four Joys".

In the 18th century, the Bhutanese invaded and occupied the kingdom of Cooch Behar to the south. In 1772, Cooch Behar appealed to the British East India Company which assisted them in ousting the Bhutanese and later in attacking Bhutan itself in 1774. A peace treaty was signed in which Bhutan agreed to retreat to its pre-1730 borders. However, the peace was tenuous, and border skirmishes with the British were to continue for the next hundred years. The skirmishes eventually led to the Duar War (1864-65), a confrontation for control of the Bengal Duars. After Bhutan lost the war, the Treaty of Sinchula was signed between British India and Bhutan. As part of the war reparations, the Duars were ceded to the United Kingdom in exchange for a rent of Rs. 50,000. The treaty ended all hostilities between British India and Bhutan.

During the 1870s, power struggles between the rival valleys of Paro and Tongsa led to civil war in Bhutan, eventually leading to the ascendancy of Ugyen Wangchuck, the ponlop (governor) of Tongsa. From his power base in central Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuck defeated his political enemies and united the country following several civil wars and rebellions in the period 1882-85.

In 1907, an epochal year for the country, Ugyen Wangchuck was unanimously chosen as the hereditary king of the country by an assembly of leading Buddhist monks, government officials, and heads of important families. The British government promptly recognized the new monarchy, and in 1910 Bhutan signed the Treaty of Punakha, a subsidiary alliance which gave the British control of Bhutan's foreign affairs and meant that Bhutan was treated as an Indian princely state. This had little real effect, given Bhutan's historical reticence, and also did not appear to affect Bhutan's traditional relations with Tibet.

After the new Union of India gained independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947, Bhutan became one of the first countries to recognize India's independence. On 8 August 1949 a treaty similar to that of 1910, in which Britain had gained power over Bhutan's foreign relations, was signed with the newly independent India.[17]

In 1953, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck established the country's legislature - a 130-member National Assembly - to promote a more democratic form of governance. In 1965, he set up a Royal Advisory Council, and in 1968 he formed a Cabinet. In 1971, Bhutan was admitted to the United Nations, having held observer status for three years. In July 1972, Jigme Singye Wangchuck ascended to the throne at the age of sixteen after the death of his father, Dorji Wangchuck.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the country expelled or forced to leave nearly one fifth of its population in the name of preserving its Tibetan Mahayana Buddhist culture and identity.[25] In one of the world's least known episodes of what many scholars believe was an "ethnic cleansing," the Nepali-origin, mainly Hindu Bhutanese fled their homeland. According to the UNHCR, more than 107,000 Bhutanese refugees living in seven camps in eastern Nepal is already documented by 2008.[26]

In late 2003, the Bhutanese army successfully launched a large-scale operation to flush out Assom liberationist insurgents who were operating training camps in southern Bhutan. It is called Operation: All Clear and the Royal Bhutan Army drove out the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), and Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO) insurgent groups hiding in Bhutan's jungles.
[edit] Political reform and modernization
Further information: Law of Bhutan and Constitution of Bhutan

King Jigme Singye Wangchuck introduced significant political reforms, transferring most of his administrative powers to the Council of Cabinet Ministers and allowing for impeachment of the King by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly.[27]

In 1999, the government lifted a ban on television and the Internet, making Bhutan one of the last countries to introduce television. In his speech, the King said that television was a critical step to the modernisation of Bhutan as well as a major contributor to the country's Gross National Happiness (Bhutan is the only country to measure happiness),[28] but warned that the "misuse" of television could erode traditional Bhutanese values.[29]

A new constitution was presented in early 2005. In December 2005, Jigme Singye Wangchuck announced that he would abdicate the throne in his son's favor in 2008. On 14 December 2006, he announced that he would be abdicating immediately. This was followed with the first national parliamentary elections in December 2007 and March 2008.

On November 6, 2008, 28-year old Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, eldest son of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, was crowned King.[30]
[edit] Government and politics
Main article: Politics of Bhutan
View of Tashichoedzong, Thimphu, seat of the Bhutanese government since 1952.

Bhutan's political system has developed from an absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy. In 1999, the fourth king of Bhutan created a body called the Lhengye Zhungtshog (Council of Ministers). The Druk Gyalpo (King of Druk Yul) is head of state. Executive power is exercised by the Lhengye Zhungtshog, the council of ministers. Legislative power was vested in both the government and the former Grand National Assembly.

On the 17th of December 2005, the 4th King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, announced to a stunned nation that the first general elections would be held in 2008, and that he would abdicate the throne in favor of his eldest son, the crown prince.[31] King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck took the throne on December 14, 2006 upon his father's abdication. Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was adorned with Bhutan's Raven Crown at an ornate coronation ceremony in Thimphu on Thursday, November 6, 2008, becoming the world's youngest reigning monarch and head of the newest democracy.[32]

The new political system comprises an upper and lower house, the latter based on political party affiliations. Elections for the upper house (National Council) were held on December 31, 2007, while elections for the lower house, the 47-seat National Assembly, were held on March 24, 2008. Two political parties, the People's Democratic Party (PDP) headed by Sangay Ngedup, and the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) headed by Jigmi Thinley, competed in the National Assembly election. The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa won the elections taking 45 out of 47 seats in the parliament.[33]

Judicial power is vested in the courts of Bhutan. The Chief Justice is the administrative head of the Judiciary.
[edit] Military and foreign affairs
Main articles: Military of Bhutan and Foreign relations of Bhutan

The Royal Bhutan Army is Bhutan's military service. It includes the Royal Bodyguard and the Royal Bhutan Police. Membership is voluntary, and the minimum age for recruitment is 18. The standing army numbers about 16,000 and is trained by the Indian Army.[34] It has an annual budget of about US$13.7 million — 1.8 percent of the GDP. Being a landlocked country, Bhutan has no navy. Additionally, Bhutan has no air force or army aviation corps. Instead the Army relies on Eastern Air Command of the Indian Air Force for air assistance.

In 2007, Bhutan and India signed a new treaty that clarified that Bhutan was master of its own foreign relations, superseding the treaty signed in 1949. The superseded treaty is still sometimes misinterpreted to mean that India controls Bhutan's foreign affairs, but the government of Bhutan handles all of its own foreign affairs, including the sensitive (to India) border demarcation issue with China. Bhutan has diplomatic relations with 21 countries, and with the European Union, with missions in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Kuwait. It has two UN missions, one in New York and one in Geneva. Only India and Bangladesh have residential embassies in Bhutan, while Thailand has a consulate office in Bhutan.

By a long standing treaty, Indian and Bhutanese citizens may travel to each other's countries without a passport or visa using their national identity cards instead. Bhutanese citizens may also work in India without legal restriction. Bhutan does not have formal diplomatic ties with its northern neighbour, the People's Republic of China, although exchanges of visits at various levels between the two have significantly increased in recent times. The first bilateral agreement between China (PRC) and Bhutan was signed in 1998, and Bhutan has also set up honorary consulates in Macau and Hong Kong. Bhutan's border with China is largely not demarcated and thus disputed in some places. Approximately 269 square kilometers remain under discussion between China and Bhutan.[35]

On 13 November 2005, Chinese soldiers crossed into the disputed territories between China and Bhutan, and began building roads and bridges.[36] Bhutanese Foreign Minister Khandu Wangchuk took up the matter with Chinese authorities after the issue was raised in the Bhutanese parliament. In response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang of the People's Republic of China has said that the border remains in dispute and that the two sides are continuing to work for a peaceful and cordial resolution of the dispute.[37] An Indian intelligence officer has said that a Chinese delegation in Bhutan told the Bhutanese that they were "overreacting." The Bhutanese newspaper Kuensel has said that China might use the roads to further Chinese claims along the border.[36]

On 8 February 2007, the Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty was substantially revised. The Treaty of 1949, Article 2 states: "The Government of India undertakes to exercise no interference in the internal administration of Bhutan. On its part the Government of Bhutan agrees to be guided by the advice of the Government of India in regard to its external relations." In the revised treaty it now reads as "In keeping with the abiding ties of close friendship and cooperation between Bhutan and India, the Government of the Kingdom of Bhutan and the Government of the Republic of India shall cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to their national interests. Neither government shall allow the use of its territory for activities harmful to the national security and interest of the other." The revised treaty also includes this preamble: "Reaffirming their respect for each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity", an element that was absent in the earlier version. The Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty of 2007 clarifies Bhutan's status as an independent and sovereign nation.

Bhutan has no formal relations with the United States,[38] Russia, China, the United Kingdom or France. Informal contact with the United States is made through the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.[38]
[edit] Geography
Main article: Geography of Bhutan
Topographic map of Bhutan
Gangkhar Puensum from Ura La, Bhutan

The Kingdom of Bhutan is nestled in the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayas, and landlocked between the Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and the Indian states of Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to the west and south. It lies between latitudes 26° and 29°N, and longitudes 88° and 93°E. The land consists mostly of steep and high mountains crisscrossed by a network of swift rivers, which form deep valleys before draining into the Indian plains. Elevation rises from 200 m (660 ft) in the southern foothills to more than 7,000 m (23,000 ft). This great geographical diversity combined with equally diverse climate conditions contributes to Bhutan's outstanding range of biodiversity and ecosystems.[2]

The northern region of the country consists of an arc of Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows reaching up to glaciated mountain peaks with an extremely cold climate at the highest elevations. Most peaks in the north are over 7,000 m (23,000 ft) above sea level; the highest point in Bhutan is Gangkhar Puensum at 7,570 metres (24,840 ft), which has the disti

Bhutan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Page move-protected

Coordinates: 27°25′01″N 90°26′06″E
Kingdom of Bhutan
འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་

'Brug Rgyal-khab (Wylie)
Dru Gäkhap

Flag Emblem
Anthem: Druk Tsendhen
Capital Thimphu
27°28.0′N 89°38.5′E
Official language(s) Dzongkha
Demonym Bhutanese
Government Unitary parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy
- King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
- Prime Minister Jigme Y. Thinley
Formation Early 17th century
- Wangchuk Dynasty 17 December 1907
- Constitutional Monarchy 2007
Area
- Total 38,394 km2 [1][2](135th)
14,824 sq mi
- Water (%) 1.1
Population
- 2009 estimate 691,141[3] (161st)
- 2005 census 634,982[4]
- Density 18.0/km2 (154th)
46.6/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $3.875 billion[5]
- Per capita $5,429[5]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $1.412 billion[5]
- Per capita $1,978[5]
HDI (2007) increase 0.619[6] (medium) (132nd)
Currency Ngultrum2 (BTN)
Time zone BTT (UTC+6)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+6)
Drives on the left
ISO 3166 code BT
Internet TLD .bt
Calling code 975
1 The population of Bhutan had been estimated based on the reported figure of about 1 million in the 1970s when the country had joined the United Nations and precise statistics were lacking.[7] Thus using the annual increase rate of 2-3%, the most population estimates were around 2 million in the year 2000. A national census was carried out in 2005 and it turned out that the population was 672,425. Consequently, United Nations Population Division had down-estimated the country's population in the 2006 revision[8] for the whole period from 1950 to 2050.
2 Indian rupee is also legal tender

Bhutan (Dzongkha: འབྲུག་ཡུལ་, tr Brug Yul, "Druk Yul"; Nepali: भूटान, Bhutān), officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China. Bhutan is separated from the nearby country of Nepal to the west by the Indian state of Sikkim, and from Bangladesh to the south by West Bengal.

Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefdoms until the early 17th century, when the area was unified by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who fled religious persecution in Tibet and cultivated a separate Bhutanese identity. In the early 20th century, Bhutan came into contact with the British Empire, after which Bhutan continued strong bilateral relations with India upon its independence. In 2006, Business Week magazine rated Bhutan the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest in the world, based on a global survey.[9]

Bhutan's landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the Sub-alpine Himalayan heights in the north, with some peaks exceeding 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). The state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism, and the population of 691,141 is predominantly Buddhist, with Hinduism the second-largest religion. The capital and largest city is Thimphu. After centuries of absolute monarchy, Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy and held its first general elections in 2007. Bhutan is a member of the United Nations and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC); it hosted the sixteenth SAARC summit in April 2010. The total area of the country has been reported as 38,394 square kilometres (14,824 sq mi) since 2002.[1][2] The area had previously been reported as approximately 46,500 km2 (18,000 sq mi) in 1997.[10]
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Political reform and modernization
3 Government and politics
4 Military and foreign affairs
5 Geography
5.1 Climate
6 Wildlife
6.1 Conservation significance
6.2 Conservation issues
7 Economy
8 Administrative divisions
9 Cities and towns
10 Demographics
10.1 Religion
10.2 Languages
11 Culture
12 Sports
13 Traffic and transport
14 See also
15 Notes
16 References
17 Further reading
18 External links

[edit] Etymology

Names similar to Bhutan — including Bottanthis, Bottan, Bottanter — began to appear in Europe around the 1580s. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier's 1676 Six Voyages is the first to record the name Boutan. However, in every case, these seem to have been describing not modern Bhutan but the Kingdom of Tibet. The modern distinction between the two did not begin until well into Bogle's 1774 expedition — realizing the differences between the two regions, cultures, and states, his final report to the East India Company formally proposed labeling the Druk Desi's kingdom as "Boutan" and the Panchen Lama's as "Tibet". The EIC's surveyor general James Rennell first anglicized the French name as Bootan and then popularized the distinction between it and greater Tibet.[11]
Near Delhi, Tibet appears as "Thibet or Bootan"
1777
"Thibet" with its interior and "Bootan" clearly separated
1786
Two of Rennell's EIC maps, showing the division of "Thibet or Bootan" into separate regions.

The precise etymology of Bhutan is unknown, although it quite probably derives from the Tibetan endonym Bod, used for Greater Tibet. It is traditionally taken to be a transcription of the Sanskrit Bhoṭa-anta (भोट-अन्त, "end of Tibet"), in reference to Bhutan's position as the southern extremity of the Tibetan plateau and culture.[12][13]

Locally, Bhutan has been known by many names. The earliest western records of Bhutan, the 1627 Relacao of the Portuguese Jesuits Estêvão Cacella and João Cabral, records its name variously as Cambirasi (among the Koch Biharis[14]), Potente, and Mon (an endonym for southern Tibet).[11] The first time a separate Kingdom of Bhutan did appear on a western map, it did so under its local name as "Broukpa".[11] Others including Lho Mon ("Dark Southland"), Lho Tsendenjong ("Southland of the Cypress"), Lhomen Khazhi ("Southland of the Four Approaches") and Lho Men Jong ("Southland of the Herbs).[15][16]
[edit] History
Main articles: History of Bhutan and Timeline of Bhutanese history

Stone tools, weapons, elephants, and remnants of large stone structures provide evidence that Bhutan was inhabited as early as 2000 BC, although there are no existing records from that time. Historians have theorized that the state of Lhomon (literally, "southern darkness", a reference to the indigenous Mon religion), or Monyul ("Dark Land", a reference to the Monpa, the aboriginal peoples of Bhutan) may have existed between 500 BC and AD 600. The names Lhomon Tsendenjong (Sandalwood Country), and Lhomon Khashi, or Southern Mon (country of four approaches), have been found in ancient Bhutanese and Tibetan chronicles.[17]

Buddhism was first introduced to Bhutan in the 7th century AD. Tibetan king Songtsän Gampo[18] (reigned 627-49), a convert to Buddhism, ordered the construction of two Buddhist temples, at Bumthang in central Bhutan and at Kyichu (near Paro) in the Paro Valley.[19] Buddhism was propagated in earnest[18] in 746[20] under King Sindhu Rāja (also Künjom;[21] Sendha Gyab; Chakhar Gyalpo), an exiled Indian king who had established a government in Bumthang at Chakhar Gutho Palace.[22]:35 [23]:13

Buddhist saint Padma Sambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche) came to Bhutan in in 747.[24] Much of early Bhutanese history is unclear because most of the records were destroyed when fire ravaged the ancient capital, Punakha, in 1827. By the 10th century, Bhutan's political development was heavily influenced by its religious history. Various sub-sects of Buddhism emerged which were patronized by the various Mongol warlords. After the decline of the Mongols in the 14th century, these sub-sects vied with each other for supremacy in the political and religious landscape, eventually leading to the ascendancy of the Drukpa sub-sect by the 16th century.

Until the early 17th century, Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefdoms, when the area was unified by the Tibetan lama and military leader Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal who had fled religious persecution in Tibet. To defend the country against intermittent Tibetan forays, Namgyal built a network of impregnable dzong (fortresses), and promulgated the Tsa Yig, a code of law that helped to bring local lords under centralized control. Many such dzong still exist and are active centers of religion and district administration. Portuguese Jesuit Estêvão Cacella and another priest were the first recorded Europeans to visit Bhutan, on their way to Tibet. They met Ngawang Namgyal, presented him with firearms, gunpowder and a telescope, and offered him their services in the war against Tibet, but the Shabdrung declined the offer. After a stay of nearly eight months Cacella wrote a long letter from the Chagri Monastery reporting on his travels. This is a rare extant report of the Shabdrung.

After Namgyal's death in 1651, Bhutan fell into civil war. Taking advantage of the chaos, the Tibetans attacked Bhutan in 1710, and again in 1730 with the help of the Mongols. Both assaults were successfully thwarted, and an armistice was signed in 1759.
Map of Bhutan showing border with China as of 2010
A thrikheb (throne cover) from the 19th century. Throne covers were placed atop the temple cushions used by high lamas. The central circular swirling quadrune is the Gankyil in its mode as the "Four Joys".

In the 18th century, the Bhutanese invaded and occupied the kingdom of Cooch Behar to the south. In 1772, Cooch Behar appealed to the British East India Company which assisted them in ousting the Bhutanese and later in attacking Bhutan itself in 1774. A peace treaty was signed in which Bhutan agreed to retreat to its pre-1730 borders. However, the peace was tenuous, and border skirmishes with the British were to continue for the next hundred years. The skirmishes eventually led to the Duar War (1864-65), a confrontation for control of the Bengal Duars. After Bhutan lost the war, the Treaty of Sinchula was signed between British India and Bhutan. As part of the war reparations, the Duars were ceded to the United Kingdom in exchange for a rent of Rs. 50,000. The treaty ended all hostilities between British India and Bhutan.

During the 1870s, power struggles between the rival valleys of Paro and Tongsa led to civil war in Bhutan, eventually leading to the ascendancy of Ugyen Wangchuck, the ponlop (governor) of Tongsa. From his power base in central Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuck defeated his political enemies and united the country following several civil wars and rebellions in the period 1882-85.

In 1907, an epochal year for the country, Ugyen Wangchuck was unanimously chosen as the hereditary king of the country by an assembly of leading Buddhist monks, government officials, and heads of important families. The British government promptly recognized the new monarchy, and in 1910 Bhutan signed the Treaty of Punakha, a subsidiary alliance which gave the British control of Bhutan's foreign affairs and meant that Bhutan was treated as an Indian princely state. This had little real effect, given Bhutan's historical reticence, and also did not appear to affect Bhutan's traditional relations with Tibet.

After the new Union of India gained independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947, Bhutan became one of the first countries to recognize India's independence. On 8 August 1949 a treaty similar to that of 1910, in which Britain had gained power over Bhutan's foreign relations, was signed with the newly independent India.[17]

In 1953, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck established the country's legislature - a 130-member National Assembly - to promote a more democratic form of governance. In 1965, he set up a Royal Advisory Council, and in 1968 he formed a Cabinet. In 1971, Bhutan was admitted to the United Nations, having held observer status for three years. In July 1972, Jigme Singye Wangchuck ascended to the throne at the age of sixteen after the death of his father, Dorji Wangchuck.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the country expelled or forced to leave nearly one fifth of its population in the name of preserving its Tibetan Mahayana Buddhist culture and identity.[25] In one of the world's least known episodes of what many scholars believe was an "ethnic cleansing," the Nepali-origin, mainly Hindu Bhutanese fled their homeland. According to the UNHCR, more than 107,000 Bhutanese refugees living in seven camps in eastern Nepal is already documented by 2008.[26]

In late 2003, the Bhutanese army successfully launched a large-scale operation to flush out Assom liberationist insurgents who were operating training camps in southern Bhutan. It is called Operation: All Clear and the Royal Bhutan Army drove out the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), and Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO) insurgent groups hiding in Bhutan's jungles.
[edit] Political reform and modernization
Further information: Law of Bhutan and Constitution of Bhutan

King Jigme Singye Wangchuck introduced significant political reforms, transferring most of his administrative powers to the Council of Cabinet Ministers and allowing for impeachment of the King by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly.[27]

In 1999, the government lifted a ban on television and the Internet, making Bhutan one of the last countries to introduce television. In his speech, the King said that television was a critical step to the modernisation of Bhutan as well as a major contributor to the country's Gross National Happiness (Bhutan is the only country to measure happiness),[28] but warned that the "misuse" of television could erode traditional Bhutanese values.[29]

A new constitution was presented in early 2005. In December 2005, Jigme Singye Wangchuck announced that he would abdicate the throne in his son's favor in 2008. On 14 December 2006, he announced that he would be abdicating immediately. This was followed with the first national parliamentary elections in December 2007 and March 2008.

On November 6, 2008, 28-year old Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, eldest son of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, was crowned King.[30]
[edit] Government and politics
Main article: Politics of Bhutan
View of Tashichoedzong, Thimphu, seat of the Bhutanese government since 1952.

Bhutan's political system has developed from an absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy. In 1999, the fourth king of Bhutan created a body called the Lhengye Zhungtshog (Council of Ministers). The Druk Gyalpo (King of Druk Yul) is head of state. Executive power is exercised by the Lhengye Zhungtshog, the council of ministers. Legislative power was vested in both the government and the former Grand National Assembly.

On the 17th of December 2005, the 4th King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, announced to a stunned nation that the first general elections would be held in 2008, and that he would abdicate the throne in favor of his eldest son, the crown prince.[31] King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck took the throne on December 14, 2006 upon his father's abdication. Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was adorned with Bhutan's Raven Crown at an ornate coronation ceremony in Thimphu on Thursday, November 6, 2008, becoming the world's youngest reigning monarch and head of the newest democracy.[32]

The new political system comprises an upper and lower house, the latter based on political party affiliations. Elections for the upper house (National Council) were held on December 31, 2007, while elections for the lower house, the 47-seat National Assembly, were held on March 24, 2008. Two political parties, the People's Democratic Party (PDP) headed by Sangay Ngedup, and the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) headed by Jigmi Thinley, competed in the National Assembly election. The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa won the elections taking 45 out of 47 seats in the parliament.[33]

Judicial power is vested in the courts of Bhutan. The Chief Justice is the administrative head of the Judiciary.
[edit] Military and foreign affairs
Main articles: Military of Bhutan and Foreign relations of Bhutan

The Royal Bhutan Army is Bhutan's military service. It includes the Royal Bodyguard and the Royal Bhutan Police. Membership is voluntary, and the minimum age for recruitment is 18. The standing army numbers about 16,000 and is trained by the Indian Army.[34] It has an annual budget of about US$13.7 million — 1.8 percent of the GDP. Being a landlocked country, Bhutan has no navy. Additionally, Bhutan has no air force or army aviation corps. Instead the Army relies on Eastern Air Command of the Indian Air Force for air assistance.

In 2007, Bhutan and India signed a new treaty that clarified that Bhutan was master of its own foreign relations, superseding the treaty signed in 1949. The superseded treaty is still sometimes misinterpreted to mean that India controls Bhutan's foreign affairs, but the government of Bhutan handles all of its own foreign affairs, including the sensitive (to India) border demarcation issue with China. Bhutan has diplomatic relations with 21 countries, and with the European Union, with missions in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Kuwait. It has two UN missions, one in New York and one in Geneva. Only India and Bangladesh have residential embassies in Bhutan, while Thailand has a consulate office in Bhutan.

By a long standing treaty, Indian and Bhutanese citizens may travel to each other's countries without a passport or visa using their national identity cards instead. Bhutanese citizens may also work in India without legal restriction. Bhutan does not have formal diplomatic ties with its northern neighbour, the People's Republic of China, although exchanges of visits at various levels between the two have significantly increased in recent times. The first bilateral agreement between China (PRC) and Bhutan was signed in 1998, and Bhutan has also set up honorary consulates in Macau and Hong Kong. Bhutan's border with China is largely not demarcated and thus disputed in some places. Approximately 269 square kilometers remain under discussion between China and Bhutan.[35]

On 13 November 2005, Chinese soldiers crossed into the disputed territories between China and Bhutan, and began building roads and bridges.[36] Bhutanese Foreign Minister Khandu Wangchuk took up the matter with Chinese authorities after the issue was raised in the Bhutanese parliament. In response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang of the People's Republic of China has said that the border remains in dispute and that the two sides are continuing to work for a peaceful and cordial resolution of the dispute.[37] An Indian intelligence officer has said that a Chinese delegation in Bhutan told the Bhutanese that they were "overreacting." The Bhutanese newspaper Kuensel has said that China might use the roads to further Chinese claims along the border.[36]

On 8 February 2007, the Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty was substantially revised. The Treaty of 1949, Article 2 states: "The Government of India undertakes to exercise no interference in the internal administration of Bhutan. On its part the Government of Bhutan agrees to be guided by the advice of the Government of India in regard to its external relations." In the revised treaty it now reads as "In keeping with the abiding ties of close friendship and cooperation between Bhutan and India, the Government of the Kingdom of Bhutan and the Government of the Republic of India shall cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to their national interests. Neither government shall allow the use of its territory for activities harmful to the national security and interest of the other." The revised treaty also includes this preamble: "Reaffirming their respect for each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity", an element that was absent in the earlier version. The Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty of 2007 clarifies Bhutan's status as an independent and sovereign nation.

Bhutan has no formal relations with the United States,[38] Russia, China, the United Kingdom or France. Informal contact with the United States is made through the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.[38]
[edit] Geography
Main article: Geography of Bhutan
Topographic map of Bhutan
Gangkhar Puensum from Ura La, Bhutan

The Kingdom of Bhutan is nestled in the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayas, and landlocked between the Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and the Indian states of Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to the west and south. It lies between latitudes 26° and 29°N, and longitudes 88° and 93°E. The land consists mostly of steep and high mountains crisscrossed by a network of swift rivers, which form deep valleys before draining into the Indian plains. Elevation rises from 200 m (660 ft) in the southern foothills to more than 7,000 m (23,000 ft). This great geographical diversity combined with equally diverse climate conditions contributes to Bhutan's outstanding range of biodiversity and ecosystems.[2]

The northern region of the country consists of an arc of Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows reaching up to glaciated mountain peaks with an extremely cold climate at the highest elevations. Most peaks in the north are over 7,000 m (23,000 ft) above sea level; the highest point in Bhutan is Gangkhar Puensum at 7,570 metres (24,840 ft), which has the disti

Bhutan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Page move-protected

Coordinates: 27°25′01″N 90°26′06″E
Kingdom of Bhutan
འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་

'Brug Rgyal-khab (Wylie)
Dru Gäkhap

Flag Emblem
Anthem: Druk Tsendhen
Capital Thimphu
27°28.0′N 89°38.5′E
Official language(s) Dzongkha
Demonym Bhutanese
Government Unitary parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy
- King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
- Prime Minister Jigme Y. Thinley
Formation Early 17th century
- Wangchuk Dynasty 17 December 1907
- Constitutional Monarchy 2007
Area
- Total 38,394 km2 [1][2](135th)
14,824 sq mi
- Water (%) 1.1
Population
- 2009 estimate 691,141[3] (161st)
- 2005 census 634,982[4]
- Density 18.0/km2 (154th)
46.6/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $3.875 billion[5]
- Per capita $5,429[5]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $1.412 billion[5]
- Per capita $1,978[5]
HDI (2007) increase 0.619[6] (medium) (132nd)
Currency Ngultrum2 (BTN)
Time zone BTT (UTC+6)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+6)
Drives on the left
ISO 3166 code BT
Internet TLD .bt
Calling code 975
1 The population of Bhutan had been estimated based on the reported figure of about 1 million in the 1970s when the country had joined the United Nations and precise statistics were lacking.[7] Thus using the annual increase rate of 2-3%, the most population estimates were around 2 million in the year 2000. A national census was carried out in 2005 and it turned out that the population was 672,425. Consequently, United Nations Population Division had down-estimated the country's population in the 2006 revision[8] for the whole period from 1950 to 2050.
2 Indian rupee is also legal tender

Bhutan (Dzongkha: འབྲུག་ཡུལ་, tr Brug Yul, "Druk Yul"; Nepali: भूटान, Bhutān), officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China. Bhutan is separated from the nearby country of Nepal to the west by the Indian state of Sikkim, and from Bangladesh to the south by West Bengal.

Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefdoms until the early 17th century, when the area was unified by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who fled religious persecution in Tibet and cultivated a separate Bhutanese identity. In the early 20th century, Bhutan came into contact with the British Empire, after which Bhutan continued strong bilateral relations with India upon its independence. In 2006, Business Week magazine rated Bhutan the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest in the world, based on a global survey.[9]

Bhutan's landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the Sub-alpine Himalayan heights in the north, with some peaks exceeding 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). The state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism, and the population of 691,141 is predominantly Buddhist, with Hinduism the second-largest religion. The capital and largest city is Thimphu. After centuries of absolute monarchy, Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy and held its first general elections in 2007. Bhutan is a member of the United Nations and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC); it hosted the sixteenth SAARC summit in April 2010. The total area of the country has been reported as 38,394 square kilometres (14,824 sq mi) since 2002.[1][2] The area had previously been reported as approximately 46,500 km2 (18,000 sq mi) in 1997.[10]
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Political reform and modernization
3 Government and politics
4 Military and foreign affairs
5 Geography
5.1 Climate
6 Wildlife
6.1 Conservation significance
6.2 Conservation issues
7 Economy
8 Administrative divisions
9 Cities and towns
10 Demographics
10.1 Religion
10.2 Languages
11 Culture
12 Sports
13 Traffic and transport
14 See also
15 Notes
16 References
17 Further reading
18 External links

[edit] Etymology

Names similar to Bhutan — including Bottanthis, Bottan, Bottanter — began to appear in Europe around the 1580s. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier's 1676 Six Voyages is the first to record the name Boutan. However, in every case, these seem to have been describing not modern Bhutan but the Kingdom of Tibet. The modern distinction between the two did not begin until well into Bogle's 1774 expedition — realizing the differences between the two regions, cultures, and states, his final report to the East India Company formally proposed labeling the Druk Desi's kingdom as "Boutan" and the Panchen Lama's as "Tibet". The EIC's surveyor general James Rennell first anglicized the French name as Bootan and then popularized the distinction between it and greater Tibet.[11]
Near Delhi, Tibet appears as "Thibet or Bootan"
1777
"Thibet" with its interior and "Bootan" clearly separated
1786
Two of Rennell's EIC maps, showing the division of "Thibet or Bootan" into separate regions.

The precise etymology of Bhutan is unknown, although it quite probably derives from the Tibetan endonym Bod, used for Greater Tibet. It is traditionally taken to be a transcription of the Sanskrit Bhoṭa-anta (भोट-अन्त, "end of Tibet"), in reference to Bhutan's position as the southern extremity of the Tibetan plateau and culture.[12][13]

Locally, Bhutan has been known by many names. The earliest western records of Bhutan, the 1627 Relacao of the Portuguese Jesuits Estêvão Cacella and João Cabral, records its name variously as Cambirasi (among the Koch Biharis[14]), Potente, and Mon (an endonym for southern Tibet).[11] The first time a separate Kingdom of Bhutan did appear on a western map, it did so under its local name as "Broukpa".[11] Others including Lho Mon ("Dark Southland"), Lho Tsendenjong ("Southland of the Cypress"), Lhomen Khazhi ("Southland of the Four Approaches") and Lho Men Jong ("Southland of the Herbs).[15][16]
[edit] History
Main articles: History of Bhutan and Timeline of Bhutanese history

Stone tools, weapons, elephants, and remnants of large stone structures provide evidence that Bhutan was inhabited as early as 2000 BC, although there are no existing records from that time. Historians have theorized that the state of Lhomon (literally, "southern darkness", a reference to the indigenous Mon religion), or Monyul ("Dark Land", a reference to the Monpa, the aboriginal peoples of Bhutan) may have existed between 500 BC and AD 600. The names Lhomon Tsendenjong (Sandalwood Country), and Lhomon Khashi, or Southern Mon (country of four approaches), have been found in ancient Bhutanese and Tibetan chronicles.[17]

Buddhism was first introduced to Bhutan in the 7th century AD. Tibetan king Songtsän Gampo[18] (reigned 627-49), a convert to Buddhism, ordered the construction of two Buddhist temples, at Bumthang in central Bhutan and at Kyichu (near Paro) in the Paro Valley.[19] Buddhism was propagated in earnest[18] in 746[20] under King Sindhu Rāja (also Künjom;[21] Sendha Gyab; Chakhar Gyalpo), an exiled Indian king who had established a government in Bumthang at Chakhar Gutho Palace.[22]:35 [23]:13

Buddhist saint Padma Sambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche) came to Bhutan in in 747.[24] Much of early Bhutanese history is unclear because most of the records were destroyed when fire ravaged the ancient capital, Punakha, in 1827. By the 10th century, Bhutan's political development was heavily influenced by its religious history. Various sub-sects of Buddhism emerged which were patronized by the various Mongol warlords. After the decline of the Mongols in the 14th century, these sub-sects vied with each other for supremacy in the political and religious landscape, eventually leading to the ascendancy of the Drukpa sub-sect by the 16th century.

Until the early 17th century, Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefdoms, when the area was unified by the Tibetan lama and military leader Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal who had fled religious persecution in Tibet. To defend the country against intermittent Tibetan forays, Namgyal built a network of impregnable dzong (fortresses), and promulgated the Tsa Yig, a code of law that helped to bring local lords under centralized control. Many such dzong still exist and are active centers of religion and district administration. Portuguese Jesuit Estêvão Cacella and another priest were the first recorded Europeans to visit Bhutan, on their way to Tibet. They met Ngawang Namgyal, presented him with firearms, gunpowder and a telescope, and offered him their services in the war against Tibet, but the Shabdrung declined the offer. After a stay of nearly eight months Cacella wrote a long letter from the Chagri Monastery reporting on his travels. This is a rare extant report of the Shabdrung.

After Namgyal's death in 1651, Bhutan fell into civil war. Taking advantage of the chaos, the Tibetans attacked Bhutan in 1710, and again in 1730 with the help of the Mongols. Both assaults were successfully thwarted, and an armistice was signed in 1759.
Map of Bhutan showing border with China as of 2010
A thrikheb (throne cover) from the 19th century. Throne covers were placed atop the temple cushions used by high lamas. The central circular swirling quadrune is the Gankyil in its mode as the "Four Joys".

In the 18th century, the Bhutanese invaded and occupied the kingdom of Cooch Behar to the south. In 1772, Cooch Behar appealed to the British East India Company which assisted them in ousting the Bhutanese and later in attacking Bhutan itself in 1774. A peace treaty was signed in which Bhutan agreed to retreat to its pre-1730 borders. However, the peace was tenuous, and border skirmishes with the British were to continue for the next hundred years. The skirmishes eventually led to the Duar War (1864-65), a confrontation for control of the Bengal Duars. After Bhutan lost the war, the Treaty of Sinchula was signed between British India and Bhutan. As part of the war reparations, the Duars were ceded to the United Kingdom in exchange for a rent of Rs. 50,000. The treaty ended all hostilities between British India and Bhutan.

During the 1870s, power struggles between the rival valleys of Paro and Tongsa led to civil war in Bhutan, eventually leading to the ascendancy of Ugyen Wangchuck, the ponlop (governor) of Tongsa. From his power base in central Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuck defeated his political enemies and united the country following several civil wars and rebellions in the period 1882-85.

In 1907, an epochal year for the country, Ugyen Wangchuck was unanimously chosen as the hereditary king of the country by an assembly of leading Buddhist monks, government officials, and heads of important families. The British government promptly recognized the new monarchy, and in 1910 Bhutan signed the Treaty of Punakha, a subsidiary alliance which gave the British control of Bhutan's foreign affairs and meant that Bhutan was treated as an Indian princely state. This had little real effect, given Bhutan's historical reticence, and also did not appear to affect Bhutan's traditional relations with Tibet.

After the new Union of India gained independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947, Bhutan became one of the first countries to recognize India's independence. On 8 August 1949 a treaty similar to that of 1910, in which Britain had gained power over Bhutan's foreign relations, was signed with the newly independent India.[17]

In 1953, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck established the country's legislature - a 130-member National Assembly - to promote a more democratic form of governance. In 1965, he set up a Royal Advisory Council, and in 1968 he formed a Cabinet. In 1971, Bhutan was admitted to the United Nations, having held observer status for three years. In July 1972, Jigme Singye Wangchuck ascended to the throne at the age of sixteen after the death of his father, Dorji Wangchuck.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the country expelled or forced to leave nearly one fifth of its population in the name of preserving its Tibetan Mahayana Buddhist culture and identity.[25] In one of the world's least known episodes of what many scholars believe was an "ethnic cleansing," the Nepali-origin, mainly Hindu Bhutanese fled their homeland. According to the UNHCR, more than 107,000 Bhutanese refugees living in seven camps in eastern Nepal is already documented by 2008.[26]

In late 2003, the Bhutanese army successfully launched a large-scale operation to flush out Assom liberationist insurgents who were operating training camps in southern Bhutan. It is called Operation: All Clear and the Royal Bhutan Army drove out the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), and Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO) insurgent groups hiding in Bhutan's jungles.
[edit] Political reform and modernization
Further information: Law of Bhutan and Constitution of Bhutan

King Jigme Singye Wangchuck introduced significant political reforms, transferring most of his administrative powers to the Council of Cabinet Ministers and allowing for impeachment of the King by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly.[27]

In 1999, the government lifted a ban on television and the Internet, making Bhutan one of the last countries to introduce television. In his speech, the King said that television was a critical step to the modernisation of Bhutan as well as a major contributor to the country's Gross National Happiness (Bhutan is the only country to measure happiness),[28] but warned that the "misuse" of television could erode traditional Bhutanese values.[29]

A new constitution was presented in early 2005. In December 2005, Jigme Singye Wangchuck announced that he would abdicate the throne in his son's favor in 2008. On 14 December 2006, he announced that he would be abdicating immediately. This was followed with the first national parliamentary elections in December 2007 and March 2008.

On November 6, 2008, 28-year old Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, eldest son of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, was crowned King.[30]
[edit] Government and politics
Main article: Politics of Bhutan
View of Tashichoedzong, Thimphu, seat of the Bhutanese government since 1952.

Bhutan's political system has developed from an absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy. In 1999, the fourth king of Bhutan created a body called the Lhengye Zhungtshog (Council of Ministers). The Druk Gyalpo (King of Druk Yul) is head of state. Executive power is exercised by the Lhengye Zhungtshog, the council of ministers. Legislative power was vested in both the government and the former Grand National Assembly.

On the 17th of December 2005, the 4th King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, announced to a stunned nation that the first general elections would be held in 2008, and that he would abdicate the throne in favor of his eldest son, the crown prince.[31] King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck took the throne on December 14, 2006 upon his father's abdication. Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was adorned with Bhutan's Raven Crown at an ornate coronation ceremony in Thimphu on Thursday, November 6, 2008, becoming the world's youngest reigning monarch and head of the newest democracy.[32]

The new political system comprises an upper and lower house, the latter based on political party affiliations. Elections for the upper house (National Council) were held on December 31, 2007, while elections for the lower house, the 47-seat National Assembly, were held on March 24, 2008. Two political parties, the People's Democratic Party (PDP) headed by Sangay Ngedup, and the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) headed by Jigmi Thinley, competed in the National Assembly election. The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa won the elections taking 45 out of 47 seats in the parliament.[33]

Judicial power is vested in the courts of Bhutan. The Chief Justice is the administrative head of the Judiciary.
[edit] Military and foreign affairs
Main articles: Military of Bhutan and Foreign relations of Bhutan

The Royal Bhutan Army is Bhutan's military service. It includes the Royal Bodyguard and the Royal Bhutan Police. Membership is voluntary, and the minimum age for recruitment is 18. The standing army numbers about 16,000 and is trained by the Indian Army.[34] It has an annual budget of about US$13.7 million — 1.8 percent of the GDP. Being a landlocked country, Bhutan has no navy. Additionally, Bhutan has no air force or army aviation corps. Instead the Army relies on Eastern Air Command of the Indian Air Force for air assistance.

In 2007, Bhutan and India signed a new treaty that clarified that Bhutan was master of its own foreign relations, superseding the treaty signed in 1949. The superseded treaty is still sometimes misinterpreted to mean that India controls Bhutan's foreign affairs, but the government of Bhutan handles all of its own foreign affairs, including the sensitive (to India) border demarcation issue with China. Bhutan has diplomatic relations with 21 countries, and with the European Union, with missions in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Kuwait. It has two UN missions, one in New York and one in Geneva. Only India and Bangladesh have residential embassies in Bhutan, while Thailand has a consulate office in Bhutan.

By a long standing treaty, Indian and Bhutanese citizens may travel to each other's countries without a passport or visa using their national identity cards instead. Bhutanese citizens may also work in India without legal restriction. Bhutan does not have formal diplomatic ties with its northern neighbour, the People's Republic of China, although exchanges of visits at various levels between the two have significantly increased in recent times. The first bilateral agreement between China (PRC) and Bhutan was signed in 1998, and Bhutan has also set up honorary consulates in Macau and Hong Kong. Bhutan's border with China is largely not demarcated and thus disputed in some places. Approximately 269 square kilometers remain under discussion between China and Bhutan.[35]

On 13 November 2005, Chinese soldiers crossed into the disputed territories between China and Bhutan, and began building roads and bridges.[36] Bhutanese Foreign Minister Khandu Wangchuk took up the matter with Chinese authorities after the issue was raised in the Bhutanese parliament. In response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang of the People's Republic of China has said that the border remains in dispute and that the two sides are continuing to work for a peaceful and cordial resolution of the dispute.[37] An Indian intelligence officer has said that a Chinese delegation in Bhutan told the Bhutanese that they were "overreacting." The Bhutanese newspaper Kuensel has said that China might use the roads to further Chinese claims along the border.[36]

On 8 February 2007, the Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty was substantially revised. The Treaty of 1949, Article 2 states: "The Government of India undertakes to exercise no interference in the internal administration of Bhutan. On its part the Government of Bhutan agrees to be guided by the advice of the Government of India in regard to its external relations." In the revised treaty it now reads as "In keeping with the abiding ties of close friendship and cooperation between Bhutan and India, the Government of the Kingdom of Bhutan and the Government of the Republic of India shall cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to their national interests. Neither government shall allow the use of its territory for activities harmful to the national security and interest of the other." The revised treaty also includes this preamble: "Reaffirming their respect for each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity", an element that was absent in the earlier version. The Indo-Bhutan Friendship Treaty of 2007 clarifies Bhutan's status as an independent and sovereign nation.

Bhutan has no formal relations with the United States,[38] Russia, China, the United Kingdom or France. Informal contact with the United States is made through the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.[38]
[edit] Geography
Main article: Geography of Bhutan
Topographic map of Bhutan
Gangkhar Puensum from Ura La, Bhutan

The Kingdom of Bhutan is nestled in the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayas, and landlocked between the Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and the Indian states of Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to the west and south. It lies between latitudes 26° and 29°N, and longitudes 88° and 93°E. The land consists mostly of steep and high mountains crisscrossed by a network of swift rivers, which form deep valleys before draining into the Indian plains. Elevation rises from 200 m (660 ft) in the southern foothills to more than 7,000 m (23,000 ft). This great geographical diversity combined with equally diverse climate conditions contributes to Bhutan's outstanding range of biodiversity and ecosystems.[2]

The northern region of the country consists of an arc of Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows reaching up to glaciated mountain peaks with an extremely cold climate at the highest elevations. Most peaks in the north are over 7,000 m (23,000 ft) above sea level; the highest point in Bhutan is Gangkhar Puensum at 7,570 metres (24,840 ft), which has the disti

Bolivia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the South American country. For other uses, see Bolivia (disambiguation).
Plurinational State of Bolivia
Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia (Spanish)
Bulivya Mamallaqta (Quechua)
Wuliwya Suyu (Aymara)

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "¡La union es la fuerza!" (Spanish)
Anthem: National Anthem of Bolivia (Spanish) "Himno Nacional de Bolivia"
Wiphala of Qulla Suyu:[1]
Wiphala of Qulla Suyu
Capital Sucre (constitutional capital)[2][3]
19°2′S 65°15′W
La Paz (administrative capital)[3]
16°30′S 68°09′W
Largest city Santa Cruz de la Sierra
17°48′S 63°10′W
Official language(s) Spanish
Quechua
Aymara
and 34 other native languages[4][5]
Ethnic groups 55% Amerindian (Quechua, Aymara and 34 other ethnic groups), 30% Mestizo, 15% White[6]
Demonym Bolivian
Government Unitary Presidential Republic
- President Evo Morales
- Vice President Álvaro García
Independence from Spain
- Declared 6 August 1825
- Recognized 21 July 1847
Area
- Total 1,098,581 km2 (28th)
424,163 sq mi
- Water (%) 1.29
Population
- 2010 estimate increase10,907,778[7] (84th)
- 2001 census 8,280,184
- Density 8.9/km2 (220th)
23/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $47.882 billion[8]
- Per capita $4,592[8]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $19.373 billion[8]
- Per capita $1,858[8]
Gini (2009) 58.2[9] (high)
HDI (2010) increase 0.643[10] (medium) (95th)
Currency Boliviano (BOB)
Time zone (UTC-4)
Drives on the Right
ISO 3166 code BO
Internet TLD .bo
Calling code +591

Coordinates: 16.712°S 64.666°W Bolivia Listeni/bəˈlɪviə/, officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia[11][12] (Quechua: Bulivya Mamallaqta, Spanish: Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia, IPA: [esˈtaðo pluɾinasjoˈnal de βoˈliβja] Aymara: "Wuliwya Suyu"), is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America. It is bordered by Brazil to the north and east, Paraguay and Argentina to the south, Chile by the south west, and Peru by the west. Prior to European colonization, the Andean region of Bolivia was a part of the Inca Empire - the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century. During most of the Spanish colonial period, this territory was called Upper Peru and was under the administration of the Viceroyalty of Peru, which included most of Spain's South American colonies. After declaring independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the establishment of the Republic, named for Simón Bolívar, on 6 August 1825. Bolivia has struggled through periods of political instability, dictatorships and economic woes.

Bolivia is a Democratic Republic that is divided into nine departments. Its geography is varied from the peaks of the Andes in the West, to the Eastern Lowlands, situated within the Amazon Basin. It is a developing country, with a Medium Human Development Index score, and a poverty level around 60%. Its main economic activities include agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, and manufacturing goods such as textiles, clothing, refined metals, and refined petroleum. Bolivia is very wealthy in minerals, especially tin.

The Bolivian population, estimated at 10 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Mestizos, Europeans, and Africans. The main language spoken is Spanish, although the Aymara and Quechua languages are also common and all three, as well as 34 other indigenous languages, are official. The large number of different cultures within Bolivia has contributed greatly to a wide diversity in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music.
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Colonial period
2.2 Independence and subsequent wars
2.3 Economic instability and continued wars
2.4 Nationalist Revolutionary Movement
2.5 CIA activities and leftist insurgency
2.6 Military governments: García Meza and Siles Zuazo
2.7 Sánchez de Lozada and Banzer: Liberalizing the economy
2.8 Plan de Todos
2.9 The Morales administration
3 Geography
3.1 Climate
3.2 Geology
4 Economy
5 Demographics
5.1 Health
5.2 Religion
5.3 Language
6 Politics and government
6.1 Executive branch
6.1.1 Prisons
6.2 Legislative branch
6.3 Judicial branch
6.4 Electoral branch
7 Administrative divisions
8 Military
9 Civil aviation
9.1 TAM (Transporte Aéreo Militar)
9.2 TAB (Transportes Aéreos Bolivianos)
10 Culture
11 Education
12 See also
13 Further reading
14 References
15 External links
16 Related information

Etymology

Bolivia was named for Simón Bolívar, a leader in the Spanish American wars of independence.[13] Antonio José de Sucre had been given the option by Bolívar to either keep Upper Peru (present-day Bolivia) under the newly formed Republic of Peru, to unite with the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, or to formally declare its independence from the Viceroyalty of Peru that had dominated most of the region. Sucre opted to create a new nation and, with local support, named it in honor of Simón Bolívar.[14]

However, the original name given to the newly formed country was Republic of Bolívar. The name would not change to Bolivia until some days later when congressman Manuel Martín Cruz proposed: "If from Romulus comes Rome, then from Bolívar comes Bolivia" (Spanish: Si de Rómulo Roma, de Bolívar Bolivia). The name stuck and was approved by the Republic on 3 October 1825.[15]

In 2009, a new constitution changed the country's name from the "Republic of Bolivia" to the "Plurinational State of Bolivia" in recognition of the multi-ethnic nature of the country and the enhanced position of Bolivia's indigenous peoples under the new constitution.[16][17][18]
History
Main article: History of Bolivia
Tiwanaku at its largest territorial extent, AD 950

The region that is now known as Bolivia has been continuously occupied for over 2,000 years, when the Aymara arrived in the region. Present-day Aymara associate themselves with an advanced civilization situated at Tiwanaku, in Western Bolivia. The capital city of Tiwanaku dates from as early as 1500 BC when it was a small agriculturally based village.[19]

The community grew to urban proportions between AD 600 and AD 800, becoming an important regional power in the southern Andes. According to early estimates, at its maximum extent, the city covered approximately 6.5 square kilometers, and had between 15,000 - 30,000 inhabitants.[20] However, satellite imaging was used recently to map the extent of fossilized suka kollus across the three primary valleys of Tiwanaku, arriving at population-carrying capacity estimates of anywhere between 285,000 and 1,482,000 people.[21]

Around AD 400, Tiwanaku went from being a locally dominant force to a predatory state. Tiwanaku expanded its reaches into the Yungas and brought its culture and way of life to many other cultures in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. However, Tiwanaku was not a violent culture in many respects. In order to expand its reach, Tiwanaku exercised great political astuteness, creating colonies, fostering trade agreements (which made the other cultures rather dependent), and instituting state cults.[22]

The empire continued to grow with no end in sight. William H. Isbell states that "Tiahuanaco underwent a dramatic transformation between AD 600 and 700 that established new monumental standards for civic architecture and greatly increased the resident population."[23] Tiwanaku continued to absorb cultures rather than eradicate them. Archaeologists note a dramatic adoption of Tiwanaku ceramics into the cultures which became part of the Tiwanaku empire. Tiwanaku's power was further solidified through the trade it implemented among the cities within its empire.[22]

Tiwanaku's elites gained their status through the surplus food they controlled, collected from outlying regions and then redistributed to the general populace. Further, this elite's control of llama herds became a powerful control mechanism as llamas were essential for carrying goods between the civic centre and the periphery. These herds also came to symbolize class distinctions between the commoners and the elites. Through this control and manipulation of surplus resources, the elite's power continued to grow until about AD 950. At this time a dramatic shift in climate occurred.[24]

There occurred a significant drop in precipitation in the Titicaca Basin. Some archaeologists venture to label this a major drought. As the rainfall decreased, many of the cities further away from Lake Titicaca began to tender less foodstuffs to the elites. As the surplus of food decreased, and thus the amount available to underpin their power, the control of the elites began to falter. The capital city became the last place viable place for food production due to the resiliency of the raised field method of agriculture. But, in the end, even this more productive design for food production was no match for the vagaries of the weather. Tiwanaku disappeared around AD 1000 because food production, the main source of the power elite's control, dried up. The area remained uninhabited for centuries thereafter.[24]
Inca Expansion (1438-1527)

Between 1438 and 1527, the Inca empire, during its last great expansion, gained control over much of what is now western Bolivia. The Incas would not maintain control of the region for long however, as the rapidly expanding Inca Empire was internally weak. As such, the impending Spanish conquest would be remarkably easy.
Colonial period

The Spanish conquest of the Inca empire began in 1524 and was mostly completed by 1533. The territory now called Bolivia was then known as "Upper Peru" and was under the authority of the Viceroy of Lima. Local government came from the Audiencia de Charcas located in Chuquisaca (La Plata—modern Sucre). Founded in 1545 as a mining town, Potosí soon produced fabulous wealth, becoming the largest city in the New World with a population exceeding 150,000 people.[25]

By the late 16th century Bolivian silver was an important source of revenue for the Spanish Empire.[26] A steady stream of natives served as labor force (the Spanish employed the pre-Columbian draft system called the mita).[27] Upper Peru was bounded to Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776. Túpac Katari led the indigenous rebellion that laid siege to La Paz in March 1781, during which 20,000 people died.[28] As Spanish royal authority weakened during the Napoleonic wars, sentiment against colonial rule grew.
Independence and subsequent wars

The struggle for independence started in the city of Sucre in 1809, with the Chuquisaca Revolution (Chuquisaca was then the name of the city). That revolution, which created a local government Junta, was followed by the La Paz revolution, during which Bolivia actually declared independence. Both revolutions were short-lived, and defeated by the Spanish authorities, but the following year the Spanish American wars of independence raged across the continent. Bolivia was captured and recaptured many times during the war by the royalists and patriots. Buenos Aires sent three military campaigns, all of which were defeated, and eventually limited itself to protecting the national borders at Salta. Bolivia was finally freed of Royalist dominion by Antonio José de Sucre, with a military campaign coming from the North in support of the campaign of Simón Bolívar. After 16 years of war the Republic was proclaimed on 6 August 1825 and named Bolivia in honor of Bolívar.

In 1836, Bolivia, under the rule of Marshal Andrés de Santa Cruz, invaded Peru to reinstall the deposed president, General Luis José de Orbegoso. Peru and Bolivia formed the Peru-Bolivian Confederation, with de Santa Cruz as the Supreme Protector. Following tension between the Confederation and Chile, Chile declared war on 28 December 1836. Argentina, Chile's ally, declared war on the Confederation on 9 May 1837. The Peruvian-Bolivian forces achieved several major victories during the War of the Confederation: the defeat of the Argentinian expedition and the defeat of the first Chilean expedition on the fields of Paucarpata near the city of Arequipa.

On the same field, the Chilean and Peruvian rebel army surrendered unconditionally and signed the Paucarpata Treaty. The treaty stipulated that Chile would withdraw from Peru-Bolivia, Chile would return captured Confederate ships, economic relations would be normalized, and the Confederation would pay Peruvian debt to Chile. In Chile, public outrage over the treaty forced the government to reject it. Chile organized a second attack on the Confederation and defeated it in the Battle of Yungay. After this defeat, Santa Cruz resigned and went to exile in Ecuador and then Paris, and the Peruvian-Bolivian Confederation was dissolved.

Following the independence of Peru, Peruvian president General Agustín Gamarra invaded Bolivia. The Peruvian army was decisively defeated at the Battle of Ingavi on 20 November 1841 where Gamarra was killed. The Bolivian army under General José Ballivián then mounted a counter-offensive, capturing the Peruvian port of Arica. Later, both sides signed a peace treaty in 1842, putting a final end to the war.
Economic instability and continued wars

A period of political and economic instability in the early to mid-19th century weakened Bolivia. Then in the War of the Pacific (1879-83) against Chile, it lost its access to the sea and the adjoining rich salitre (saltpeter) fields, together with the port of Antofagasta.

Since independence, Bolivia has lost over half of its territory to neighboring countries in wars.[citation needed] It also lost the state of Acre, in the Acre War; important because this region was known for its production of rubber. Peasants and the Bolivian army fought briefly but after a few victories, and facing the prospect of a total war against Brazil, it was forced to sign the Treaty of Petrópolis in 1903, in which Bolivia lost this rich territory. Popular myth has it that Bolivian president Mariano Melgarejo (1864-71) traded the land for what he called "a magnificent white horse" and Acre was subsequently flooded by Brazilians which ultimately led to confrontation and fear of war with Brazil.

In the late 19th century, an increase in the world price of gold brought Bolivia relative prosperity and political stability. During the early 20th century, tin replaced gold as the country's most important source of wealth. A succession of governments controlled by the economic and social elite followed laissez-faire capitalist policies through the first thirty years of the 20th century.[29]

Living conditions of the native people, who constitute most of the population, remained deplorable. With work opportunities limited to primitive conditions in the mines and in large estates having nearly feudal status, they had no access to education, economic opportunity, and political participation. Bolivia's defeat by Paraguay in the Chaco War (1932-35), where Bolivia lost a great part of the Gran Chaco region in dispute, marked a turning-point.[30][31][32]
Nationalist Revolutionary Movement
A llama in the Llaguna Collorada, a shallow salt lake in the southwestern Bolivian sector of the Altiplano.

The Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (MNR) emerged as a broadly based party. Denied its victory in the 1951 presidential elections, the MNR led a successful revolution in 1952. Under President Víctor Paz Estenssoro, the MNR, having strong popular pressure, introduced universal suffrage into his political platform and carried out a sweeping land-reform promoting rural education and nationalization of the country's largest tin mines.

12 years of tumultuous rule left the MNR divided. In 1964, a military junta overthrew President Estenssoro at the outset of his third term. The 1969 death of President René Barrientos Ortuño, a former member of the junta who was elected president in 1966, led to a succession of weak governments. Alarmed by the rising Popular Assembly and the increase in the popularity of President Juan Jose Torres, the military, the MNR, and others installed Colonel (later General) Hugo Banzer Suárez as president in 1971.

Banzer ruled with MNR support from 1971 to 1974. Then, impatient with schisms in the coalition, he replaced civilians with members of the armed forces and suspended political activities. The economy grew impressively during most of Banzer's presidency, but human rights violations and eventual fiscal crises undercut his support. He was forced to call elections in 1978, and Bolivia again entered a period of political turmoil.
CIA activities and leftist insurgency
Further information: CIA activities in Bolivia and Ñancahuazú Guerrilla

The CIA had been active in providing finances and training to the Bolivian military in 1960s. The revolutionary leader Che Guevara was killed by a team of CIA officers and members of the Bolivian Army on 9 October 1967, in Bolivia. The CIA reported that Guevara was captured on 8 October as a result of the clash with the Cuban-led guerrillas. He had a wound in his leg, but was otherwise in fair condition. At 1150 hours on 9 October the Second Ranger Battalion received direct orders from Bolivian Army Headquarters in La Paz to kill Guevara. These orders were carried out at 1315 hours the same day with a burst of fire from an M-2 automatic rifle. Felix Rodriguez was a CIA officer on the team with the Bolivian Army that captured and shot Guevara.[33] Rodriguez said that after he received a Bolivian presidential execution order, he told "the soldier who pulled the trigger to aim carefully, to remain consistent with the Bolivian government's story that Che had been killed in action during a clash with the Bolivian army." Rodriguez said the US government had wanted Che in Panama, and "I could have tried to falsify the command to the troops, and got Che to Panama as the US government said they had wanted," said Mr Rodriguez, but he chose to "let history run its course" as desired by Bolivia."[34]
Military governments: García Meza and Siles Zuazo

Elections in 1979 and 1981 were inconclusive and marked by fraud. There were coups d'état, counter-coups, and caretaker governments. In 1980, General Luis García Meza Tejada carried out a ruthless and violent coup d'état that did not have popular support. He pacified the people by promising to remain in power only for one year. (At the end of the year, he staged a televised rally to claim popular support and announced, "Bueno, me quedo," or, "All right; I'll stay [in office]."[35] He was deposed shortly thereafter.) His government was notorious for human-rights-abuses, drug-trafficking, and economic mismanagement; during his presidency, the inflation that later crippled the Bolivian economy could already be felt. Later convicted in absentia for various crimes by attorney Juan del Granado, including murder, García Meza was extradited from Brazil and began serving a 30-year prison sentence in 1995.

After a military rebellion forced out Meza in 1981, three other military governments in 14 months struggled with Bolivia's growing problems. Unrest forced the military to convoke the Congress elected in 1980 and allow it to choose a new chief executive. In October 1982, Hernán Siles Zuazo again became president, 22 years after the end of his first term of office (1956-60).
Sánchez de Lozada and Banzer: Liberalizing the economy

Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada pursued an aggressive economic and social reform agenda. The most dramatic reform was the "capitalization" program, under which investors, typically foreign, acquired 50% ownership and management control of public enterprises, such as the state petroleum corporation, telecommunications system, airlines, railroads, and electric utilities, in return for agreed upon capital investments.
Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada

The reforms and economic restructuring were strongly opposed by certain segments of society, which instigated frequent and sometimes violent protests, particularly in La Paz and the Chapare coca-growing region, from 1994 through 1996. The de Lozada government pursued a policy of offering monetary compensation for voluntary eradication of illegal coca by its growers in the Chapare region. The policy produced little net reduction in coca, and in the mid-1990s Bolivia accounted for about one-third of the world's coca that was being processed into cocaine. The coca leaf has long been part of the Bolivian culture, as indigenous workers have traditionally used the leaf for its properties as a mild stimulant and appetite suppressant.

During this time, the umbrella labor-organization of Bolivia, the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB), became increasingly unable to effectively challenge government policy. A teachers' strike in 1995 was defeated because the COB could not marshal the support of many of its members, including construction and factory workers. The state also used selective martial law to keep the disruptions caused by the teachers to a minimum. The teachers were led by Trotskyites, and were considered to be the most militant union in the COB. Their downfall was a major blow to the COB, which also became mired in internal corruption and infighting in 1996.

In the 1997 elections, General Hugo Banzer, leader of the Nationalist Democratic Action party (ADN) and former dictator (1971-78), won 22% of the vote, while the MNR candidate won 18%. General Banzer formed a coalition of the ADN, MIR, UCS, and CONDEPA parties, w

Bosnia and Herzegovina
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Bosnia" redirects here. For other uses, see Bosnia (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina or Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
To comply with Wikipedia's guidelines, the introduction of this article may need to be rewritten. Please discuss this issue on the talk page and read the layout guide to make sure the section will be inclusive of all essential details. (May 2011)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosna i Hercegovina
Босна и Херцеговина

Flag Coat of arms
Anthem:
National Anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina.ogg

Državna himna Bosne i Hercegovine / Државна химна Босне и Херцеговине
The National Anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Location of Bosnia and Herzegovina (green)in Europe (dark grey) — [Legend]
Location of Bosnia and Herzegovina (green)

in Europe (dark grey) — [Legend]
Capital
(and largest city) Sarajevo
43°52′N 18°25′E
Official language(s) Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian[1][2]
Ethnic groups (2000) 48.0% Bosniaks,
37.1% Serbs,
14.3% Croats,
0.6% others[2]
Demonym Bosnians, Herzegovinians[2]
Government Federal democratic republic[2]
- High Representative Valentin Inzko1
- Presidency members Bakir Izetbegović2
Nebojša Radmanović3
Željko Komšić4
- Chairman of the Council of Ministers Nikola Špirić
Independence
- First Mentioned De Administrando Imperio 950
- Banate 1154
- Kingdom 1377
- Independence lost
to Ottoman Empire conquest 1463
- Bosnian uprising 1831
- Jurisdiction transferred
to Austro-Hungarian Empire 1878
- Annexation of Bosnia by Austro-Hungarian Empire 1908
- National Day November 25, 1943 (ZAVNOBIH)
- Independence Day (from SFR Yugoslavia) March 1, 1992
- Observed April 6, 1992
Area
- Total 51,129 km2 (127th)
19,741 sq mi
Population
- 2010 estimate 3,843,126 [3] (128st5)
- 1991 census 4,377,033 [4]
- Density 75/km2 (129th5)
194/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
- Total $31.366 billion[5]
- Per capita $8,063[5]
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
- Total $18.294 billion[5]
- Per capita $4,702[5]
Gini (2007) 34.1[6]
HDI (2010) increase 0.710[7] (high) (68th)
Currency Convertible Mark (BAM)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
- Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code BA
Internet TLD .ba
Calling code 387
1 Not a government member; the High Representative is an international civilian peace implementation overseer with authority to dismiss elected and non-elected officials and enact legislation
2 Current presidency Chair; Croat.
3 Current presidency member; Bosniak.
4 Current presidency member; Serb.
5 Rank based on 2007 UN estimate of de facto population.

About this sound Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnian, Serbian, & Croatian: Босна и Херцеговина or Bosna i Hercegovina - Bosančica: босɴɖ ӡєʍƛѧ Сʌɖвєɴɖ), sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a Slavic sovereign state in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the 26 kilometres (16 miles) of coastline on the Adriatic Sea surrounding the town of Neum.[8][9] In the central and southern interior of the country the geography is mountainous, in the northwest it is moderately hilly, and the northeast is predominantly flatland. The inland is a geographically larger region and has a moderate continental climate, bookended by hot summers and cold and snowy winters. The southern tip of the country has a Mediterranean climate and plain topography.

The country is home to three ethnic groups, or so-called constituent peoples, a term unique for Bosnia-Herzegovina. Bosniaks are the largest group of the three, with Serbs second and Croats third. Regardless of ethnicity, a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina is often identified in English as a Bosnian. The terms Herzegovinian and Bosnian are maintained as a regional rather than ethnic distinction, and Herzegovina has no precisely defined borders of its own. Moreover, the country was called just "Bosnia" (without Herzegovina) until Austro-Hungarian occupation at the end of the nineteenth century.[10]

Formerly one of the six federal units constituting the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina gained its independence during the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a parliamentary republic, which has a bicameral legislature and a three-member Presidency composed of a member of each major ethnic group. However, the central government's power is highly limited, as the country is largely decentralized and comprises two autonomous entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, with a third region, the Brčko District, governed under local government. The country is a potential candidate for membership to the European Union and has been a candidate for NATO membership since April 2010, when it received a Membership Action Plan at the summit in Tallinn. Additionally, the country has been a member of the Council of Europe since 24 April 2002 and a founding member of the Mediterranean Union upon its establishment on 13 July 2008. On 1 January 2010, the country started a 2-year term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Pre-Slavic Period (until 958)
2.2 Medieval Slavic Bosnia (958-1463)
2.3 Ottoman Era (1463-1878)
2.4 Austro-Hungarian rule (1878-1918)
2.5 Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1918-1941)
2.6 World War II (1941-45)
2.7 Socialist Yugoslavia (1945-1992)
2.8 Bosnian War (1992-1995)
3 Geography
4 Government and politics
5 Military
6 Foreign relations
7 Demographics
7.1 Largest municipalities
8 Economy
8.1 Communications
8.2 Tourism
8.2.1 Tourist attractions
9 Education
10 Culture
10.1 Architecture
10.2 Literature
10.3 Art
10.4 Music
10.5 Cinema
10.6 Sports
10.7 Cuisine
10.8 Leisure activities
11 See also
12 References
13 External links

[edit] Etymology

The first preserved mention of the name "Bosnia" is in the De Administrando Imperio, a politico-geographical handbook written by the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII in 958. (The 12th-century Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja also mentions an 8th-century source for the name which, however, has not survived.) The exact meaning and origin of the word is somewhat cloudy. The name "Bosnia" most probably comes from the name of the Bosna river around which it has been historically based, which was recorded in the Roman era under the name Bossina.[11] More direct root of the river's names are unknown. Philologist Anton Mayer proposed a connection with the Indo-European root bos or bogh, meaning "running water".[12] Certain Roman sources similarly mention Bathinus flumen as a name of the Illyrian Bosona, both of which would mean "running water" as well.[12] Other theories involve the rare Latin term Bosina, meaning boundary, and possible Slavic origins.[12]

The origins of "Herzegovina" can be identified with more precision and certainty. During the Early Middle Ages the region was known as Hum, from the Zachlumoi tribe of Serbs which inhabited it. In the 1440s, the region was ruled by the powerful nobleman Stefan Vukčić Kosača. In a document sent to Friedrich III on January 20, 1448, Stefan Vukčić Kosača called himself "Herzog of Saint Sava, lord of Hum and Primorje, great duke of the Bosnian kingdom". Herzog is the German for "duke", and so the lands he controlled later became known as Herzegovina ("Dukedom", from the addition of -ovina, "land").[11] The region was administered by the Ottomans as the sanjak and then pashaluk of Hersek. The name Herzegovina was first included in the official name of the then Ottoman province in the mid-nineteenth century.[dubious - discuss]

On initial proclamation of independence in 1992 the country's official name was the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina but following the 1995 Dayton Agreement and the new constitution that came with it the name was officially changed to only Bosnia and Herzegovina.
[edit] History
Main article: History of Bosnia and Herzegovina
[edit] Pre-Slavic Period (until 958)
Main article: History of Bosnia and Herzegovina (until 958)

Bosnia has been inhabited since at least the Neolithic age. The earliest Neolithic population became known in the Antiquity as the Illyrians. Celtic migrations in the 4th century BC were also notable. Concrete historical evidence for this period is scarce, but overall it appears that the region was populated by a number of different peoples speaking distinct languages. Conflict between the Illyrians and Romans started in 229 BC, but Rome would not complete its annexation of the region until AD 9.
Walls of ancient Daorson, Ošanići near Stolac, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 3rd century BC.

It was precisely in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina that Rome fought one of the most difficult battles in its history since the Punic Wars, as described by the Roman historian Suetonius.[13] This was the Roman campaign against the revolt of indigenous communities from Illyricum, known in history as the Great Illyrian Revolt, and also as the Pannonian revolt, or Bellum Batonianum, the latter named after two leaders of the rebellious Illyrian communities, Bato/Baton of the Daesitiates, and Bato of the Breuci.[14]

The Great Illyrian revolt was a rising up of Illyrians against the Romans, more specifically a revolt against Tiberius' attempt to recruit them for his war against the Germans. The Illyrians put up a fierce resistance to the most powerful army on earth at the time[citation needed] (the Roman Army) for four years (AD 6 to AD 9), but they were finally subdued by Rome in AD 9, with the Roman side suffering heavy losses.

The last Illyrian stronghold, of which their defence won the admiration of Roman historians, is said to have been Arduba.[15] Bato of Daesitiates was captured and taken to Italy. It is alleged that when Tiberius asked Bato and the Daesitiates why they had rebelled, Baton was reputed to have answered: "You Romans are to blame for this; for you send as guardians of your flocks, not dogs or shepherds, but wolves." Bato spent the rest of his life in the Italian town of Ravenna.[16]

In the Roman period, Latin-speaking settlers from the entire Roman Empire settled among the Illyrians, and Roman soldiers were encouraged to retire in the region.[11]

The land was originally part of Illyria up until the Roman occupation. Following the split of the Roman Empire between 337 and 395 AD, Dalmatia and Pannonia became parts of the Western Roman Empire. Some claim that the region was conquered by the Ostrogoths in 455 AD. It subsequently changed hands between the Alans and the Huns. By the 6th century, Emperor Justinian had reconquered the area for the Byzantine Empire. The Illyrians were conquered by the Avars in the 6th century.
[edit] Medieval Slavic Bosnia (958-1463)
Main article: History of Bosnia and Herzegovina (958-1463)
Tvrtko I of Bosnia ruled in 1353-1366 and again in 1367-1377 as ban and in 1377-1391 as the first King of Bosnia (later also Serbia)
Expansion of the Bosnian kingdom in the XIV century
Carpet at the Bosniak Institute in Sarajevo describing the medieval Bosnian kingdom
The Charter of Kulin Ban is the oldest document of its kind among the South Slavic languages and is currently in a Saint Petersburg museum.[17]

Modern knowledge of the political situation in the west Balkans during the Early Middle Ages is unclear. Upon their arrival, the Slavs brought with them a tribal social structure which probably fell apart and gave way to Feudalism only with Frankish penetration into the region in the late 9th century. The Slavic tribes also brought their mythology and pagan system of believes, the Rodovjerje. In particular, Perun / Перун, the highest god of the pantheon and the god of thunder and lightning is also commonly found in Bosnian toponymy, for instance in the name of Mount Perun (Perunova Gora / Перунова Гора). Along with the Slavic settlers, the native Illyrians were Christianized. Bosnia and Herzegovina, because of its geographic position and terrain, was probably one of the last areas to go through this process, which presumably originated from the urban centers along the Dalmatian coast. Thus, Slavic Bosnian tribes remained pagans for a longer time, and finally converted to the Bogumil Christian faith.

The principalities of Serbia and Croatia split control of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 9th and 10th century, but by the High Middle Ages political circumstance led to the area being contested between the Kingdom of Hungary and the Byzantine Empire. Following another shift of power between the two in the early 12th century, Bosnia found itself outside the control of both and emerged as an independent state under the rule of local bans.[11]

The first Bosnian monarch was Ban Borić. The second was Ban Kulin whose rule marked the start of a controversy with the Bosnian Church, an indigenous Bogomilism sect considered heretical by the Roman Catholic Church, which he allowed access in the country. In response to Hungarian attempts to use church politics regarding the issue as a way to reclaim sovereignty over Bosnia, Kulin held a council of local church leaders to renounce the heresy and embraced Catholicism in 1203. Despite this, Hungarian ambitions remained unchanged long after Kulin's death in 1204, waning only after an unsuccessful invasion in 1254.

Bosnian history from then until the early 14th century was marked by the power struggle between the Šubić and Kotromanić families. This conflict came to an end in 1322, when Stephen II Kotromanić became Ban. By the time of his death in 1353, he was successful in annexing territories to the north and west, as well as Zahumlje and parts of Dalmatia. He was succeeded by his nephew Tvrtko who, following a prolonged struggle with nobility and inter-family strife, gained full control of the country in 1367. Tvrtko crowned himself on 26 October 1377 as Stephen Tvrtko I the King of Rascia, Bosnia, Dalmatia, Croatia, the Seaside.

Based on archaeological evidence, he was crowned in the in Mile near Visoko in the church which was built in the time of Stephen II Kotromanić's reign, where he was also buried alongside his uncle Stjepan II.[18][19] Following his death in 1391 however, Bosnia fell into a long period of decline. The Ottoman Empire had already started its conquest of Europe and posed a major threat to the Balkans throughout the first half of the 15th century. Finally, after decades of political and social instability, the Kingdom of Bosnia ceased to exist in 1463.
[edit] Ottoman Era (1463-1878)
Main article: History of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1463-1878)
The Ottoman province of Bosnia in the 17th century.

The Ottoman conquest of Bosnia marked a new era in the country's history and introduced drastic changes in the political and cultural landscape. The Ottomans allowed for the preservation of Bosnia's identity by incorporating it as an integral province of the Ottoman Empire with its historical name and territorial integrity — a unique case among subjugated states in the Balkans.[20]

Within Bosnia the Ottomans introduced a number of key changes in the territory's socio-political administration; including a new landholding system, a reorganization of administrative units, and a complex system of social differentiation by class and religious affiliation.[11]

The three centuries of Ottoman rule also had a drastic impact on Bosnia's population make-up, which changed several times as a result of the empire's conquests, frequent wars with European powers, forced and economic migrations, and epidemics. A native Slavic-speaking Muslim community emerged and eventually became the largest of the ethno-religious groups due to the restriction imposed by the Ottoman Empire,[12] and conversions-for-gain.

The Bosnian Christian communities also experienced major changes. The Bosnian Franciscans (and the Catholic population as a whole) were to some minor extent protected by official imperial decree. Meanwhile, the schismatic Bosnian Church disappeared altogether.[11]

As the Ottoman Empire continued their rule in the Balkans (Rumelia), Bosnia was somewhat relieved of the pressures of being a frontier province, and experienced a period of general welfare. A number of cities, such as Sarajevo and Mostar, were established and grew into regional centers of trade and urban culture and were then visited by Ottoman traveler Evliya Çelebi in 1648. Within these cities, various Ottoman Sultans financed the construction of many works of Bosnian architecture such as the country's first library in Sarajevo, madrassas, school of Sufi philosophy, and clock tower (Sahat Kula), along with numerous other important cultural structures, bridges such as the Stari Most and the Tsar's Mosque and the Gazi Husrev-beg's Mosque.

Furthermore, some Bosnians played influential roles in the Ottoman Empire's cultural and political history during this time.[20] Bosnian recruits formed a large component of the Ottoman ranks in the battles of Mohács and Krbava field, while numerous other Bosnians rose through the ranks of the Ottoman military to occupy the highest positions of power in the Empire, including admirals such as Matrakçı Nasuh; generals such as Isa-Beg Isaković, Gazi Husrev-beg and Telli Hasan Pasha; administrators such as Ferhat-paša Sokolović and Osman Gradaščević; and Grand Viziers such as the influential Mehmed Paša Sokolović. Some Bosnians emerged as Sufi mystics, scholars such as Ali Džabič; and poets in the Turkish, Albanian, Arabic, and Persian languages.[12]
Bosniaks praying, ca. 1906.

However, by the late 17th century the Empire's military misfortunes caught up with the country, and the conclusion of the Great Turkish War with the treaty of Karlowitz in 1699 once again made Bosnia the Empire's westernmost province. The following century was marked by further military failures, numerous revolts within Bosnia, and several outbursts of plague. The Porte's false efforts at modernizing the Ottoman state were met with distrust growing to become great hostility in Bosnia, where local aristocrats stood to lose much through the proposed reforms.

This, combined with frustrations over political concessions to nascent Christian states in the east, culminated in a famous and ultimately unsuccessful revolt by Husein Gradaščević, in 1831 after the Turkish Sultan Mahmud II slaughtered and abolished the Janissary.[12] Related rebellions would be extinguished by 1850, but the situation continued to deteriorate. Later agrarian unrest eventually sparked the Herzegovinian rebellion, a widespread peasant uprising, in 1875. The conflict rapidly spread and came to involve several Balkan states and Great Powers, a situation which eventually led to the Congress of Berlin and the treaty of Berlin in 1878.[11]
[edit] Austro-Hungarian rule (1878-1918)
Main article: History of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1878-1918)

At the Congress of Berlin in 1878, the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister Gyula Andrássy obtained the occupation and administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and he also obtained the right to station garrisons in the Sanjak of Novi Pazar, which remained under Ottoman administration. The Sanjak preserved the separation of Serbia and Montenegro, and the Austro-Hungarian garrisons there would open the way for a dash to Salonika that "would bring the western half of the Balkans under permanent Austrian influence."[21] "High [Austro-Hungarian] military authorities desired [an ...] immediate major expedition with Salonika as its objective."[22]

On 28 September 1878 the Finance Minister, Koloman von Zell, threatened to resign if the army, behind which stood the Archduke Albert, were allowed to advance to Salonika. In the session of the Hungarian Parliament of 5 November 1878 the Opposition proposed that the Foreign Minister should be impeached for violating the constitution by his policy during the Near East Crisis and by the occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The motion was lost by 179 to 95. By the Opposition rank and file the gravest accusations were raised against Andrassy.[22]

Although an Austro-Hungarian side quickly came to an agreement with Bosnians, tensions remained in certain parts of the country (particularly south) and a mass emigration of predominantly Slavic dissidents occurred.[11] However, a state of relative stability was reached soon enough and Austro-Hungarian authorities were able to embark on a number of social and administrative reforms which intended to make Bosnia and Herzegovina into a "model colony".
A plaque commemorating the location of the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.

With the aim of establishing the province as a stable political model that would help dissipate rising South Slav nationalism, Habsburg rule did much to codify laws, to introduce new political practices, and generally to provide for modernisation. The Austro-Hungarian Empire built the three Roman Catholic churches in Sarajevo and these three churches are among only 20 Catholic churches in the state of Bosnia.

Within three years of formal occupation of Bosnia Herzegovina, Austria-Hungary, in 1881, obtained German, and more importantly, Russian, approval for the annexation of these provinces, at the time which best

Botswana
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Republic of Botswana
Lefatshe la Botswana

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Pula (Rain)
Anthem: Fatshe leno la rona
(This Land of Ours)
Location of Botswana (dark blue)- in Africa (light blue & dark grey)- in the African Union (light blue) — [Legend]
Location of Botswana (dark blue)

- in Africa (light blue & dark grey)
- in the African Union (light blue) — [Legend]
Capital
(and largest city) Gaborone
25°40′S 25°55′E
Official language(s) English, Setswana
Demonym Batswana
Government Parliamentary republic
- President Ian Khama
- Vice President Mompati Merafhe
Independence
- from the United Kingdom 30 September 1966
Area
- Total 581,730 km2 (47th)
224,610 sq mi
- Water (%) 2.6
Population
- 2010 estimate 2,029,307[1] (144th)
- 2001 census 1,680,863
- Density 3.4/km2 (229th)
8.9/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $28.491 billion[2]
- Per capita $15,489[2]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $14.030 billion[2]
- Per capita $7,627[2]
Gini (1993) 63[3] (high)
HDI (2010) increase 0.633[4] (medium) (98th)
Currency Pula (BWP)
Time zone Central Africa Time (UTC+02)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC)
Drives on the left
ISO 3166 code BW
Internet TLD .bw
Calling code +267

Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana (Tswana: Lefatshe la Botswana), is a country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" (singular: Motswana). Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966. It has held free and fair democratic elections since independence.

Botswana is flat, and up to 70% is covered by the Kalahari Desert. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. Its border with Zambia to the north is poorly defined but at most is a few hundred meters long. [5]

A mid-sized, landlocked country of just over two million people, Botswana was one of the poorest countries in Africa when it gained independence from Britain in 1966, with a GDP per capita of about US$70. Botswana has transformed itself, becoming one of the fastest-growing economies in the world to a GDP (purchasing power parity) per capita of about $14,800 (2010 IMF estimate).[citation needed] The country also has a strong tradition as a representative democracy.
Contents
[hide]

1 History
2 Politics and government
2.1 Administrative divisions
3 Geography and environment
3.1 Environmental problems
4 Defence
5 Economy
6 Demographics
6.1 Language
6.2 Religion
7 Health
7.1 HIV/AIDS
7.2 Cancer
8 Education
9 Sports
10 Culture
10.1 Music
10.2 Visual arts
10.3 Cuisine
10.4 Holidays
11 See also
12 Notes and references
13 Further reading
14 External links

[edit] History
Main article: History of Botswana
History of Botswana
Arms of Botswana.svg
This article is part of a series
The Bantu expansion
Tswana people
Griqua people
Stellaland
Bechuanaland Protectorate
Bechuanaland Stamps history
Republic of Botswana
see also: History of Gaborone
Botswana Portal
v · d · e
City centre buildings in Gaborone, Botswana
A traditional dwelling

In the 19th century, hostilities broke out between Tswana inhabitants of Botswana and Ndebele tribes who were making incursions into the territory from the north-east. Tensions also escalated with the Boer settlers from the Transvaal to the east. After appeals by the Batswana leaders Khama III, Bathoen and Sebele for assistance, the British Government put "Bechuanaland" under its protection on 31 March 1885. The northern territory remained under direct administration as the Bechuanaland Protectorate and is modern-day Botswana, while the southern territory became part of the Cape Colony and is now part of the northwest province of South Africa. The majority of Setswana-speaking people today live in South Africa.

When the Union of South Africa was formed in 1910 out of the main British colonies in the region, the Bechuanaland Protectorate, Basutoland (now Lesotho) and Swaziland (the "High Commission Territories") were not included, but provision was made for their later incorporation. However, a vague undertaking was given to consult their inhabitants, and although successive South African governments sought to have the territories transferred, Britain kept delaying; consequently, it never occurred. The election of the Nationalist government in 1948, which instituted apartheid, and South Africa's withdrawal from the Commonwealth in 1961, ended any prospect of incorporation of the territories into South Africa.

An expansion of British central authority and the evolution of tribal government resulted in the 1920 establishment of two advisory councils to represent both Africans and Europeans. Proclamations in 1934 regularized tribal rule and powers. A European-African advisory council was formed in 1951, and the 1961 constitution established a consultative legislative council.

In June 1964, Britain accepted proposals for a democratic self-government in Botswana. The seat of government was moved in 1965 from Mafikeng in South Africa, to the newly established Gaborone, which sits near its border. The 1965 constitution led to the first general elections and to independence on 30 September 1966. Seretse Khama, a leader in the independence movement and the legitimate claimant to the Ngwato chiefship, was elected as the first president, re-elected twice.

The presidency passed to the sitting vice president, Quett Masire, who was elected in his own right in 1984 and re-elected in 1989 and 1994. Masire retired from office in 1998. The presidency passed to the sitting vice president, Festus Mogae, who was elected in his own right in 1999 and re-elected in 2004. The presidency passed in 2008 to Ian Khama (son of the first president), who resigned his position as leader of the Botswana Defence Force to take up this civilian role.

A long-running dispute over the northern border with Namibia's Caprivi Strip was the subject of a ruling by the International Court of Justice in December 1999, which ruled that Kasikili Island belongs to Botswana.[6]
[edit] Politics and government
Main articles: Politics of Botswana and Human rights in Botswana
See also: Foreign relations of Botswana

The politics of Botswana take place in a framework of a representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Botswana is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of Botswana. The most recent election, its tenth, was held on 16 October 2009.

Since independence was declared, the party system has been dominated by the Botswana Democratic Party. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. According to Transparency International, Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa and ranks similarly close to Portugal and South Korea.[7] The national anthem is Fatshe leno la rona.
[edit] Administrative divisions
Main articles: Districts of Botswana and Sub-districts of Botswana
Districts of Botswana

Botswana is divided into 16 districts - 10 rural districts and 6 urban districts.

Central District
Ghanzi District
Kgalagadi District
Kgatleng District
Kweneng District
North-East District
Ngamiland District
South-East District
Southern District
Chobe District

[edit] Geography and environment
Main articles: Geography of Botswana and Climate of Botswana
Map of Botswana
A lechwe in the Okavango Delta

At 600,370 km2 (231,804 sq mi) Botswana is the world's 47th-largest country (after Ukraine). It is comparable in size to Madagascar, and is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Texas or the Canadian province of Manitoba. It lies between latitudes 17° and 27°S, and longitudes 20° and 30°E.

The country is predominantly flat, tending toward gently rolling tableland. Botswana is dominated by the Kalahari Desert, which covers up to 70% of its land surface. The Okavango Delta, the world's largest inland delta, is in the northwest. The Makgadikgadi Pan, a large salt pan, lies in the north.

The Limpopo River Basin, the major landform of all of southern Africa, lies partly in Botswana, in the southeast of the country. The Chobe River lies to the north, providing a boundary between Botswana and Namibia (Caprivi Region). The Chobe River meets with the Zambezi River at a place called Kazungula (meaning a small sausage tree, a point where Sebitwane and his Makololo tribe crossed the Zambezi into Zambia).

Botswana has diverse areas of wildlife habitat. In addition to the delta and desert areas, there are grasslands and savannas, where Blue Wildebeest, antelopes, and other mammals and birds are found. Northern Botswana has one of the few remaining large populations of the endangered African Wild Dog. Chobe National Park, found in the Chobe District, has the world's largest concentration of African elephants. The park covers about 11,000 km2 (4,247 sq mi) and supports about 350 species of birds.
Sunrise in Botswana

The Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve (in the Okavango Delta) are major tourist destinations. Other reserves include the Central Kalahari Game Reserve located in the Kalahari desert in Ghanzi District; Makgadikgadi Pans National Park and Nxai Pan National Park are in Central District in the Makgadikgadi Pan. Mashatu Game Reserve is privately owned: located where the Shashe River and Limpopo River meet in eastern Botswana. The other privately owned reserve is Mokolodi Nature Reserve near Gaborone. There are also specialised sanctuaries like the Khama Rhino Sanctuary (for Rhinoceros) and Makgadikgadi Sanctuary (for Flamingos). They are both located in Central District.
[edit] Environmental problems
Moremi Gorge, in the Tswapong Hills east of Palapye, Botswana. The porous rock absorbs rainwater, which then seeps out forming permanent cascades and pools. The hills provide one of Botswana's two breeding sites for the endangered cape vulture.
Tourists at Chobe National Park
A baobab tree (Adansonia digitata)

Botswana is currently facing two major environmental problems: drought and desertification. The desertification problems predominantly stem from the severe times of drought in the country. Due to the drought, 75% of the country's human and animal populations are dependent on groundwater. Groundwater use has eased the effects of drought, but has left a toll on the land. Groundwater is retrieved through drilling deep boreholes, which leads to the erosion of the land. Surface water is very scarce in Botswana and less than 5% of the agriculture in the country is sustainable by rainfall. Due to this 95% of the country raises cattle and livestock as a means for an income. Therefore, it is not a surprise to see that 71% of the country's land is used for communal grazing, which has been a major cause for the desertification of the country.[8]

Since raising livestock has proven to be profitable for the people of Botswana, the land is continuing to be exploited. The animal populations have continued to dramatically increase. From 1966 to 1991 the livestock population has increased from 1.7 million to 5.5 million[8]:64. Similarly, the human population has increased from 574,000 in 1971 to 1.5 million in 1995, nearly a 200% increase. "Over 50% of all households in Botswana own cattle, which is presently the largest single source of rural income". "Rangeland degradation or desertification is regarded as the reduction in land productivity as a result of overstocking and overgrazing or as a result of veld product gathering for commercial use. Degradation is exacerbated by the effects of drought and climate change".[8] It has been reported that the Okavango Delta is drying up due to the increased grazing of livestock.[9] The Okavango Delta is one of the major semi-forested wetlands in Botswana, the largest inland delta in the world and is a crucial ecosystem to the survival of many animals.[9]

The Department and Forestry and Range Resources has already begun to implement project to reintroduce indigenous vegetation into communities in Kgalagadi South, Kweneng North and Boteti.[10] Reintroduction of indigenous vegetation will help with the degradation of the land. The United States Government has also entered into an agreement with Botswana, giving them $7 million US dollars to reduce Botswana's debt by $8.3 million US dollars. The stipulation of the US reducing Botswana's debt is that Botswana will focus on more extensive conservation of the land.[9]

The United Nations Development Programme claims that a major problem behind the overexploitation of resources, including land, in Botswana, is due to the poverty level. To help change this the UNDP joined in with a project started in the southern community of Struizendam in Botswana. The purpose of the project is to draw from "indigenous knowledge and traditional land management systems". The leaders of this movement are supposed to be the people in the community, in order to draw these in, in turn increasing their possibilities to earn an income and thus decreasing poverty. The UNDP also stated that the government has to effectively implement policies to allow people to manage their own local resources and are giving the government information to help with policy development[11]
[edit] Defence
Main article: Botswana Defence Force

At the time of independence, Botswana had no armed forces. It was only after attacks from the Rhodesian and South African armies[citation needed] that the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) was formed in self-defence in 1977. The president is commander in chief and appoints a defence council. The BDF has approximately 12,000 members.

Following political changes in South Africa and the region, the BDF's missions have increasingly focused on prevention of poaching, preparing for disasters, and foreign peacekeeping. The United States has been the largest single foreign contributor to the development of the BDF, and a large segment of its officer corps has received U.S. training. It is considered an apolitical and professional institution[citation needed].
[edit] Economy
Mochudi, one of the larger villages in Botswana
An aerial view over Gaborone, Botswana
Headquarters of Debswana Diamond Company Ltd in Gaborone, Botswana
Main article: Economy of Botswana

Since independence, Botswana has had one of the fastest growth rates in per capita income in the world.[12] Botswana has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country. By one estimate, it has the fourth highest gross national income at purchasing power parity in Africa, giving it a standard of living around that of Mexico and Turkey.[13]

According to the International Monetary Fund, economic growth averaged over 9% per year from 1966 to 1999. Botswana has a high level of economic freedom compared to other African countries.[14] The government has maintained a sound fiscal policy, despite consecutive budget deficits in 2002 and 2003, and a negligible level of foreign debt. It earned the highest sovereign credit rating in Africa and has stockpiled foreign exchange reserves (over $7 billion in 2005/2006) amounting to almost two and a half years of current imports.

Debswana, the largest diamond mining company operating in Botswana, is 50% owned by the government.[15] Mineral industry provides about 40% of all government revenues.[16] In 2007, significant quantities of uranium were discovered, and mining is projected to begin by 2010. Several international mining corporations have established regional headquarters in Botswana, and prospected for diamonds, gold, uranium, copper, and even oil, many coming back with positive results. Government announced in early 2009, that they would try and shift their economic dependence on diamonds, over serious concern that diamonds are predicted to dry out in Botswana over the next twenty years.
Botswana's trading partners in 2004. Source: CIA World Factbook.

An array of financial institutions populates the country's financial system, with pension funds and commercial banks being the two most important segments by asset size. Banks remain profitable, well-capitalized, and liquid, as a result of growing national resources and high interest rates.[17]

Botswana's competitive banking system is one of Africa's most advanced.[clarification needed] Generally adhering to global standards in the transparency of financial policies and banking supervision, the financial sector provides ample access to credit for entrepreneurs.[citation needed] The opening of Capital Bank in 2008 brought the total number of licensed banks to eight.[citation needed] The government is involved in banking through state-owned financial institutions and a special financial incentives program that is aimed at increasing Botswana's status as a financial centre.[citation needed] Credit is allocated on market terms, although the government provides subsidized loans.[citation needed] Reform of non-bank financial institutions has continued in recent years, notably through the establishment of a single financial regulatory agency that provides more effective supervision.[citation needed] The government has abolished exchange controls, and with the resulting creation of new portfolio investment options, the Botswana Stock Exchange is growing.[citation needed]

The constitution prohibits the nationalization of private property and provides for an independent judiciary, and the government respects this in practice. The legal system is sufficient to conduct secure commercial dealings, although a serious and growing backlog of cases prevents timely trials. The protection of intellectual property rights has improved significantly. Botswana is ranked second only to South Africa among sub-Saharan Africa countries in the 2009 International Property Rights Index.

While generally open to foreign participation in its economy, Botswana reserves a number of sectors for citizen participation. Increased foreign investment plays a significant role in the privatization of state-owned enterprises. Investment regulations are transparent, and bureaucratic procedures are streamlined and open, although somewhat slow. Investment returns such as profits and dividends, debt service, capital gains, returns on intellectual property, royalties, franchise's fees, and service fees can be repatriated without limits.
[edit] Demographics
Starting fire by hand. Bushmen in Botswana.
A girl in the Okavango Delta.
Main article: Demographics of Botswana

Botswana's main ethnic groups are Batswana, BaKalanga, Bushmen or AbaThwa also known as Basarwa. Other tribes are Bayei, Bambukushu, Basubia, Baherero and Bakgalagadi. Other groups of ethnicities in Botswana include whites and Indians, both groups being roughly equally small in number. Botswana's Indian population is made up of many Indian-Africans of several generations, from Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius, South Africa, and so on, as well as first generation Indian immigrants. The white population is native to Botswana or from other parts of Africa including Zimbabwe and South Africa. The white population speaks either English or Afrikaans and makes up roughly 3% of the population.

Since 2000, because of deteriorating economic conditions in Zimbabwe, the number of Zimbabweans in Botswana has risen into the tens of thousands.[18]

Fewer than 10,000 Bushmen are still living the traditional hunter-gatherer style of life. Since the mid-1990s the central government of Botswana has been trying to move San out of their lands.[19] The UN's top official on indigenous rights, Prof. James Anaya, has condemned Botswana's persecution of the Bushmen in a report released in February 2010.[20][21]
[edit] Language
Main articles: Languages of Botswana and Setswana
A rondavel at Khutse Kalahari Lodge, Botswana.

The official language of Botswana is English although Setswana is widely spoken across the country. In Setswana prefixes are more important than they are in many other languages. These prefixes include "Bo", which refers to the country, "Ba", which refers to the people, "Mo", which is one person, and "Se" which is the language. For example, the main tribe of Botswana is the Tswana people, hence the name Botswana for its country. The people as a whole are Batswana, one person is a Motswana, and the language they speak is Setswana.
[edit] Religion
Main article: Religion in Botswana
Religion in Botswana[1]
religion percent
Christianity

71.6%
None

20.6%
Indigenous

6%
Other

1.4%
Unspecified

0.4%

An estimated 70 percent of the country's citizens identify themselves as Christians. Anglicans, Methodists, and the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa make up the majority of Christians. There are also congregations of Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Seventh-day Adventists, Baptists, the Dutch Reformed Church, Mennonites, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other Christian sects.

According to the 2001 census, the country's Muslim community, primarily of South Asian origin, numbers slightly more than 5,000. The 2001 census also lists approximately 3,000 Hindus and 700 Baha'is. Approximately 20 percent of citizens espouse no religion. R

Brazil
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the country. For other uses, see Brazil (disambiguation).
Page semi-protected
Federative Republic of Brazil
República Federativa do Brasil (Portuguese)

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Ordem e Progresso"
(Portuguese)
"Order and Progress"
Anthem: Hino Nacional Brasileiro
(Portuguese)
"Brazilian National Anthem"
National seal
Selo Nacional do Brasil National Seal of Brazil (color).svg
(Portuguese)
"National Seal of Brazil"
Capital Brasília
15°45′S 47°57′W
Largest city São Paulo
Official language(s) Portuguese
Ethnic groups (2008
[1] ) 48.43% White
43.80% Brown (Multiracial)
6.84% Black
0.58% Asian
0.28% Amerindian
Demonym Brazilian
Government Federal presidential constitutional republic
- President Dilma Rousseff (PT)
- Vice President Michel Temer (PMDB)
- President of the Chamber of Deputies Marco Maia (PT)
- President of the Senate José Sarney (PMDB)
- Chief Justice Cezar Peluso
Legislature National Congress
- Upper House Federal Senate
- Lower House Chamber of Deputies
Independence from United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves
- Declared 7 September 1822
- Recognized 29 August 1825
- Republic 15 November 1889
- Current constitution 5 October 1988
Area
- Total 8,514,877 km2 (5th)
3,287,597 sq mi
- Water (%) 0.65
Population
- 2011 census 192 376 496 [2] (5th)
- Density 22/km2 (182nd)
57/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $2.172 trillion[3]
- Per capita $11,239[3]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $2.090 trillion[3]
- Per capita $10,816[3]
Gini (2009) ▼54[4] (high)
HDI (2010) 0.699[5] (high) (73rd)
Currency Real (R$) (BRL)
Time zone BRT[6] (UTC-2 to -4[6])
- Summer (DST) BRST (UTC-2 to -4)
Date formats dd/mm/yyyy (CE)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code BR
Internet TLD .br
Calling code +55

Brazil Listeni/brəˈzɪl/ (Portuguese: Brasil, IPA: [bɾaˈziw]), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil[7][8] (Portuguese: República Federativa do Brasil, About this sound listen (help·info)), is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people.[9][10] It is the only Portuguese-speaking country in the Americas and the largest lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) country in the world.[9]

Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 km (4,655 mi).[9] It is bordered on the north by Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and the French overseas region of French Guiana; on the northwest by Colombia; on the west by Bolivia and Peru; on the southwest by Argentina and Paraguay and on the south by Uruguay. Numerous archipelagos form part of Brazilian territory, such as Fernando de Noronha, Rocas Atoll, Saint Peter and Paul Rocks, and Trindade and Martim Vaz.[9] It borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile.

Brazil was a colony of Portugal from the landing of Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500 until 1815, when it was elevated to the rank of kingdom and the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves was formed. The colonial bond was in fact broken in 1808, when the capital of the Portuguese colonial Empire was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, after Napoleon invaded Portugal.[11] The independence from the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves was achieved in 1822. Initially independent as the Empire of Brazil, period when it was a unitary state governed under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system, the country has been a presidential republic since 1889, after a military coup d'état proclaimed the Republic, although the bicameral legislature, now called Congress, dates back to 1824, when the first constitution was ratified.[11] Its current Constitution, formulated in 1988, defines Brazil as a Federal Republic.[12] The Federation is formed by the union of the Federal District, the 26 States, and the 5,564 Municipalities.[12][13]

The Brazilian economy is the world's seventh largest economy by nominal GDP[14] and the eighth largest by purchasing power parity.[15] Brazil is one of the world's fastest growing major economies. Economic reforms have given the country new international recognition.[16] Brazil is a founding member of the United Nations, the G20, CPLP, Latin Union, the Organization of Ibero-American States, Mercosul and the Union of South American Nations, and is one of the BRIC countries. Brazil is also home to a diversity of wildlife, natural environments, and extensive natural resources in a variety of protected habitats.[9]
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Portuguese colonization
2.2 Independence and Empire
2.3 Early republic
2.4 Contemporary era
3 Geography
3.1 Climate
3.2 Biodiversity
3.3 Environment
4 Politics
4.1 Law
4.2 Foreign relations
4.3 Military
4.4 Administrative divisions
5 Economy
5.1 Components and energy
5.2 Science and technology
5.3 Transport
6 Demographics
6.1 Religion
6.2 Urbanization
6.3 Language
7 Culture
7.1 Music
7.2 Literature
7.3 Cuisine
7.4 Sports
8 See also
9 References
9.1 Bibliographic
10 Further reading
11 External links

Etymology
Main article: Name of Brazil

The etymology of Brazil remains unclear. Traditionally, the word "Brazil" comes from brazilwood, a timber tree that many sailors traded from Brazilian regions to Europe in the 16th century.[17] In Portuguese brazilwood is called pau-brasil, with the word brasil commonly given the etymology "red like an ember", formed from Latin brasa ("ember") and the suffix -il (from -iculum or -ilium).[18][19][20] This theory is taught as official in schools of Brazil and Portugal.

However, the Brazilian scholar José Adelino da Silva Azevedo has postulated that the word is much older, either of Celtic or Phoenician origin. The Phoenicians traded a red dye extracted from a mineral mined in Celtic lands, from Iberia to Ireland.[21] In Irish mythology there is a Western island called Hy-Brazil, and this is seen by some, including the writer and philologist J.R.R. Tolkien,[22] as one of the most likely etymological sources for the name "Brazil". The same theory was also advanced by 16th century scholars.[17]

In the Guarani language, an official language of Paraguay, Brazil is called "Pindorama". This was the name the natives gave to the region, meaning "land of the palm trees".
History
Main article: History of Brazil
Portuguese colonization
Main article: Colonial Brazil
See also: Indigenous peoples in Brazil and Slavery in Brazil

The land now called Brazil was claimed by Portugal in April 1500, on the arrival of the Portuguese fleet commanded by Pedro Álvares Cabral.[23] The Portuguese encountered stone age natives divided into several tribes, most of whom spoke languages of the Tupi-Guarani family, and fought among themselves.[24]

Though the first settlement was founded in 1532, colonization was effectively begun in 1534, when Dom João III divided the territory into twelve hereditary captaincies,[25][26] but this arrangement proved problematic and in 1549 the king assigned a Governor-General to administer the entire colony.[26][27] The Portuguese assimilated some of the native tribes[28] while others were enslaved or exterminated in long wars or by European diseases to which they had no immunity.[29][30] By the mid-16th century, sugar had become Brazil's most important export[24][31] and the Portuguese imported African slaves[32][33] to cope with the increasing international demand.[29][34]
The first Christian mass in Brazil, 1500.

Through wars against the French, the Portuguese slowly expanded their territory to the southeast, taking Rio de Janeiro in 1567, and to the northwest, taking São Luís in 1615.[35] They sent military expeditions to the Amazon rainforest and conquered British and Dutch strongholds,[36] founding villages and forts from 1669.[37] In 1680 they reached the far south and founded Sacramento on the bank of the Rio de la Plata, in the Eastern Strip region (present-day Uruguay).[38]

At the end of the 17th century, sugar exports started to decline[39] but beginning in the 1690s, the discovery of gold by explorers in the region that would later be called Minas Gerais (General Mines) in current Mato Grosso and Goiás, saved the colony from imminent collapse.[40] From all over Brazil, as well as from Portugal, thousands of immigrants came to the mines.[41]

The Spanish tried to prevent Portuguese expansion into the territory that belonged to them according to the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, and succeeded in conquering the Eastern Strip in 1777. However, this was in vain as the Treaty of San Ildefonso, signed in the same year, confirmed Portuguese sovereignty over all lands proceeding from its territorial expansion, thus creating most of the current Brazilian borders.[42]

In 1808, the Portuguese royal family and the majority of the Portuguese nobility, fleeing the troops of the French Emperor Napoleon I that were invading Portugal and most of Central Europe, established themselves in the city of Rio de Janeiro, which thus became the seat of the entire Portuguese Empire.[43] In 1815 Dom João VI, then regent on behalf of his incapacitated mother, elevated Brazil from colony to sovereign Kingdom united with Portugal.[43] In 1809 the Portuguese invaded French Guiana (which was returned to France in 1817)[44] and in 1816 the Eastern Strip, subsequently renamed Cisplatina.[45]
The public flogging of a slave in Rio de Janeiro. From Jean-Baptiste Debret, Voyage Pittoresque et Historique au Bresil (1834-1839).
Independence and Empire
Main articles: Brazilian Independence and Empire of Brazil

King João VI returned to Europe on 26 April 1821, leaving his elder son Prince Pedro de Alcântara as regent to rule Brazil.[46] The Portuguese government attempted to turn Brazil into a colony once again, thus depriving it of its achievements since 1808.[47] The Brazilians refused to yield and Prince Pedro stood by them declaring the country's independence from Portugal on 7 September 1822.[48] On 12 October 1822, Pedro was declared the first Emperor of Brazil and crowned Dom Pedro I on 1 December 1822.[49]
Declaration of the Brazilian independence by Emperor Pedro I on 7 September 1822.

At that time most Brazilians were in favour of a monarchy and republicanism had little support.[50][51] The subsequent Brazilian War of Independence spread through almost the entire territory, with battles in the northern, northeastern, and southern regions.[52] The last Portuguese soldiers surrendered on 8 March 1824[53] and independence was recognized by Portugal on 29 August 1825.[54]

The first Brazilian constitution was promulgated on 25 March 1824, after its acceptance by the municipal councils across the country.[55][56][57][58] Pedro I abdicated on 7 April 1831 and went to Europe to reclaim his daughter's crown, leaving behind his five year old son and heir, who was to become Dom Pedro II.[59] As the new emperor could not exert his constitutional prerogatives until he reached maturity, a regency was created.[60]

Disputes between political factions led to rebellions and an unstable, almost anarchical, regency.[61] It is estimated that from 30 to 40% of the population of the Province of Grão-Pará died during the Cabanagem revolt.[62] The rebellious factions, however, were not in revolt against the monarchy,[63][64] even though some declared the secession of the provinces as independent republics, but only so long as Pedro II was a minor.[65] Because of this, Pedro II was prematurely declared of age and "Brazil was to enjoy nearly half a century of internal peace and rapid material progress."[66]
Brazilian forces (in blue uniform) engage the Paraguayan army (some in red uniform and other shirtless) during the War of the Triple Alliance.

Despite the loss of Cisplatina in 1828 when it became an independent nation known as Uruguay,[67] Brazil won three international wars during the 58-year reign of Pedro II (the Platine War, the Uruguayan War and the War of the Triple Alliance, which left over 50,000 dead)[68] and witnessed the consolidation of representative democracy, mainly due to successive elections and unrestricted freedom of the press.[69] Most importantly, slavery was extinguished after a slow but steady process that began with the end of the international traffic in slaves in 1850[70] and ended with the complete abolition of slavery in 1888.[71] The slave population had been in decline since Brazil's independence: in 1823, 29% of the Brazilian population were slaves but by 1887 this had fallen to 5%.[72]

When the monarchy was overthrown on 15 November 1889[73] there was little desire in Brazil to change the form of government[74] and Pedro II was at the height of his popularity among his subjects.[75][76] However, he "bore prime, perhaps sole, responsibility for his own overthrow."[77] After the death of his two sons, Pedro believed that "the imperial regime was destined to end with him."[78] He cared little for the regime's fate[79][80] and so neither did anything, nor allowed anyone else to do anything, to prevent the military coup, backed by former slave owners who resented the abolition of slavery.[81][82][83]
Early republic
Main articles: República Velha, Estado Novo (Brazil), and Brazilian Second Republic
The Brazilian coup d'état of 1930 raised Getúlio Vargas (center with military uniform but no hat) to power. He ruled the country for fifteen years.

At the beginning of the republican government it was little more than a military dictatorship,[73] and the new constitution restricted political rights, such as the right to vote,[84][85] yet provided for direct elections to be held in 1894.[86] However, already in 1891, from the unfoldings of the encilhamento bubble[87][88] and of the 1st naval revolt, the country entered in a prolonged cycle of financial, social and political instability, that would extend until the 1920s keeping the country plagued by several rebellions, both civilian[89][90][91] as military,[92][93][94] which little by little undermined the regime in a such extent, that by 1930 it was possible to the defeated presidential candidate Getúlio Vargas, supported by the majority of military,[95] lead a coup d'état and assume the presidency.[96]

Vargas and the military, who were supposed to assume the government temporarily to implement democratic reforms related to 1891's Constitution, closed the Congress and ruled with emergency powers, replacing the states' governors with their supporters.[97][98] Under the Claiming of the broken promises of changing, in 1932 the oligarchy of São Paulo tried to regain the power[99] and in 1935 the Communists rebelled,[100] having both been defeated. However, the communist threat served as an excuse for Vargas to preclude elections launching another coup d'état in 1937, creating a full dictatorship[101][102][103][104] In May 1938, there was another failed attempt to takeover the power by local fascists.[105][106]

In foreign policy, the success in resolving border disputes with neighboring countries[107] in the early years of this period, was followed by a failed attempt to permanently exert a prominent role in the League of Nations[108] after military involvement in World War I.[109][110][111] Notwithstanding, Brazil remained neutral at the beginning of World War II until the Pan-American Conference of January 1942 when Brazil stood alongside the U.S.A. severing diplomatic relations with the Axis powers.[112] In retaliation, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy extended their submarine warfare against Brazil, which led the country to enter the war on the allied side in August of that year.[113][114]

With the allied victory in 1945 and the end of the Nazi-fascist regimes in Europe, Vargas's position became unsustainable and he was swiftly overthrown in another military coup.[115] Democracy was reinstated and General Eurico Gaspar Dutra was elected president taking office in 1946.[116] Having returned to power democratically elected at the end of 1950, Vargas committed suicide in August 1954 amid a political crisis.[117][118]
Contemporary era
Main articles: Military dictatorship (Brazil) and History of Brazil since 1985
The transition from Fernando Henrique Cardoso to Luís Inácio Lula da Silva indicated that Brazil had finally succeeded in achieving its long-sought political stability.

Several brief interim governments succeeded after Vargas's suicide.[119] Juscelino Kubitscheck became president in 1956 and assumed a conciliatory posture towards the political opposition that allowed him to govern without major crises.[120] The economy and industrial sector grew remarkably,[121] but his greatest achievement was the construction of the new capital city of Brasília, inaugurated in 1960.[122] His successor was Jânio Quadros, who resigned in 1961 less than a year after taking office.[123] His vice-president, João Goulart, assumed the presidency, but aroused strong political opposition[124] and was deposed in April 1964 by a coup that resulted in a military regime.[125]

The new regime was intended to be transitory[126] but it gradually closed in on itself and became a full dictatorship with the promulgation of the Fifth Institutional Act in 1968.[127] The repression of the dictatorship's opponents, including urban guerrillas,[128] was harsh, but not as brutal as in other Latin American countries.[129] Due to the extraordinary economic growth, known as an "economic miracle", the regime reached its highest level of popularity in the years of repression.[130]

General Ernesto Geisel became president in 1974 and began his project of re-democratization through a process that he said would be "slow, gradual and safe."[131][132] Geisel ended the military indiscipline that had plagued the country since 1889,[133] as well as the torture of political prisoners, censorship of the press,[134] and finally, the dictatorship itself, after he extinguished the Fifth Institutional Act.[127] However, the military regime continued, under his chosen successor General João Figueiredo, to complete the transition to full democracy.[135]

The civilians fully returned to power in 1985 when José Sarney assumed the presidency[136] but, by the end of his term, he had become extremely unpopular due to the uncontrollable economic crisis and unusually high inflation.[137] Sarney's unsuccessful government allowed the election in 1989 of the almost unknown Fernando Collor, who was subsequently impeached by the National Congress in 1992.[138] Collor was succeeded by his Vice-President Itamar Franco, who appointed Fernando Henrique Cardoso as Minister of Finance.

Cardoso produced a highly successful Plano Real (Royal or Real Plan)[139] that granted stability to the Brazilian economy[140] and he was elected as president in 1994 and again in 1998.[141] The peaceful transition of power to Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, who was elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006, proved that Brazil had finally succeeded in achieving its long-sought political stability.[142] Lula was succeeded in 2011 by the current president, Dilma Rousseff.[143]
Geography
Main article: Geography of Brazil
See also: List of countries and outlying territories by total area
Topography map of Brazil

Brazil occupies a large area along the eastern coast of South America and includes much of the continent's interior,[144] sharing land borders with Uruguay to the south; Argentina and Paraguay to the southwest; Bolivia and Peru to the west; Colombia to the northwest; and Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana and the French overseas department of French Guiana to the north. It shares a border with every country in South America except for Ecuador and Chile. It also encompasses a number of oceanic archipelagos, such as Fernando de Noronha, Rocas Atoll, Saint Peter and Paul Rocks, and Trindade and Martim Vaz.[9] Its size, relief, climate, and natural resources make Brazil geographically diverse.[144] Including its Atlantic islands, Brazil lies between latitudes 6°N and 34°S, and longitudes 28° and 74°W.

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, after Russia, Canada, China and the United States, and third largest in the Americas; with a total area of 8,514,876.599 km2 (3,287,612 sq mi),[145] including 55,455 km2 (21,411 sq mi) of water.[9] It spans three time zones; from UTC-4 in the western states, to UTC-3 in the eastern states (and the official time of Brazil) and UTC-2 in the Atlantic islands.[6]

Brazilian topography is also diverse and includes hills, mountains, plains, highlands, and scrublands. Much of the terrain lies between 200 metres (660 ft) and 800 metres (2,600 ft) in elevation.[146] The main upland area occupies most of the southern half of the country.[146] The northwestern parts of the plateau consist of broad, rolling terrain broken by low, rounded hills.[146]

The southeastern section is more rugged, with a complex mass of ridges and mountain ranges reaching elevations of up to 1,200 metres (3,900 ft).[146] These ranges include the Mantiqueira and Espinhaço mountains and the Serra do Mar.[146] In the north, the Guiana Highlands form a major drainage divide, separating rivers that flow south into the Amazon Basin from rivers that empty into the Orinoco River system, in Venezuela, to the north. The highest point in Brazil is the Pico da Neblina at 2,994 metres (9,823 ft), and the lowest is the Atlantic Ocean.[9]

Brazil has a dense and complex system of rivers, one of the

Brunei
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
State of Brunei, the Abode of Peace
Negara Brunei Darussalam
نݢارا بروني دارالسلام

Flag Crest
Motto: "الدائمون المحسنون بالهدى" "Sentiasa membuat kebajikan dengan petunjuk Allah"
"Always in service with God's guidance" (translation)
Anthem: Allah Peliharakan Sultan
God Bless the Sultan
Location of Brunei (red)[Legend]
Location of Brunei (red)

[Legend]
Capital
(and largest city) Bandar Seri Begawan
4°53.417′N 114°56.533′E
Official language(s) Bahasa Melayu (Malay)[1][2]
Official scripts Malay alphabet,
Jawi alphabet[3]
Demonym Bruneian
Government Unitary Islamic sultanate
- Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah
- Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah
- Prime Minister Hassanal Bolkiah
Formation
- Sultanate 14th century
- End of
British protectorate January 1, 1984
Area
- Total 5,765 km2 (172nd)
2,226 sq mi
- Water (%) 8.6
Population
- 2011 estimate 401,890[4] (174th)
- 2001 census 332,844
- Density 67.3/km2 (134th)
174.4/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $20.382 billion[5] (122nd)
- Per capita $48,891[5] (8th)
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $13.022 billion[5]
- Per capita $31,238[5]
HDI (2010) increase 0.805[6] (very high) (37th)
Currency Brunei dollar (BND)
Time zone (UTC+8)
Drives on the left
ISO 3166 code BN
Internet TLD .bn
Calling code +6731
1 Also 080 from East Malaysia

Brunei Listeni/bruːˈnaɪ/, officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace[7] (Malay: Negara Brunei Darussalam, Jawi: نݢارا بروني دارالسلام), is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, it is completely surrounded by the state of Sarawak, Malaysia, and in fact it is separated into two parts by Limbang, which is part of Sarawak. It is the only sovereign state completely on the island of Borneo, with the remainder of the island belonging to Malaysia and Indonesia. Brunei's population is around 400,000 (July 2010).

Brunei can trace its beginnings to the 7th century, when it was a subject state of the Srivijayan empire under the name P'o-li. It later became a vassal state of Majapahit empire before converting to Islam in the 15th century. At the peak of its empire, the sultanate had control that extended over the coastal regions of modern-day Sarawak and Sabah, the Sulu archipelago, and the islands off the northwest tip of Borneo. The thalassocracy was visited by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 and fought the Castille War in 1578 against Spain. Its empire began to decline with the forced ceding of Sarawak to James Brooke and the ceding of Sabah to the British North Borneo Chartered Company. After the loss of Limbang, Brunei finally became a British protectorate in 1888, receiving a resident in 1906. In the post-occupation years, it formalised a constitution and fought an armed rebellion.[8] Brunei regained its independence from the United Kingdom on 1 January 1984. Economic growth during the 1970s and 1990s, averaging 56% from 1999 to 2008, has transformed Brunei Darussalam into a newly industrialised country.

Brunei has the second highest Human Development Index among the South East Asia nations after Singapore, and is classified as a Developed Country.[9] According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Brunei is ranked 4th in the world by gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity.[10]
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
3 Politics and government
3.1 Press freedom
4 Foreign relations
5 Subdivisions
6 Geography
7 Economy
8 Health care
9 Transport
10 Demographics
11 Culture
12 See also
13 Notes and references
14 Bibliography
15 External links

[edit] Etymology

According to legend, Brunei was founded by Awang Alak Betatar. His move from Garang, a place in the Temburong District[11] to the Brunei river estuary led to the discovery of Brunei. According to legend, upon landing he exclaimed "Baru nah!" (loosely translating as "that's it!" or "there"), from which the name Brunei was derived.[12]

It was renamed Barunai in the 14th century, possibly influenced by the Sanskrit word varuṇai (वरुणै), meaning "seafarers", later to become Brunei. The word Borneo is of the same origin. In the country's full name Negara Brunei Darussalam, Darussalam (Arabic: دار السلام‎) means "Abode of Peace", while Negara means "country" in Malay. Negara derives from the Sanskrit nagara (नगर), meaning "city".[citation needed]
[edit] History
Main article: History of Brunei

The power of the Sultanate of Brunei was at its peak between the 15th to the 17th centuries, with its power extending from northern Borneo to the southern Philippines.[4] The efforts of the Brunei Sultans in spreading Islam helped to spread the religion not only in Borneo but also as far north as to the southern Philippines islands. When Malacca fell to the Portuguese in 1511, it was Brunei that played a major role in the spread of Islam in the region.[citation needed]

By the 16th century, Islam was firmly rooted in Brunei, and the country had built one of its biggest mosques. In 1578, Alonso Beltrán, a Spanish traveler described it as being five stories tall and built on the water.[13] Most likely it had five layers of roofs to represent the Five Pillars of Islam. This mosque was destroyed by the Spanish in June that same year.

European influence gradually brought an end to this regional power, as Brunei entered a period of decline compounded by internal strife over royal succession. Piracy was also detrimental to the kingdom.[4] Later, there was a brief war with Spain, in which Brunei's capital was occupied. Eventually the sultanate was victorious but lost territories to Spain, including the island of Luzon. The decline of the Bruneian Empire culminated in the 19th century, when Brunei lost much of its territory to the White Rajahs of Sarawak, resulting in its current small landmass and separation into two parts.[citation needed] Brunei was a British protectorate from 1888 to 1984,[4] and occupied by Japan from 1941 to 1945 during World War II.

There was a small rebellion against the monarchy during the 1960s, which was suppressed with help from the United Kingdom. This event became known as the Brunei Revolt and was partly responsible for the failure to create the North Borneo Federation. The rebellion partially affected Brunei's decision to opt out of the Malaysian Federation.
[edit] Politics and government
Main article: Politics of Brunei
Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan of Brunei.

Brunei has a constitutional sultanate. It has a legal system based on English common law, although Islamic shariah law supersedes this in some cases.[4]

The political system in the country is governed by the constitution and the tradition of the Malay Islamic Monarchy, the concept of "Melayu Islam Beraja" (MIB). The three components of MIB cover Malay culture, Islamic religion and the political framework under the monarchy.[14]

Under Brunei's 1959 constitution, His Majesty Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah is the head of state with full executive authority, including emergency powers, since 1962. The Sultan's role is enshrined in the national ideology known as Melayu Islam Beraja (MIB), or Malay Muslim Monarchy. The country has been under hypothetical martial law since the Brunei Revolt of 1962. The Royal family retains a venerated status within the country.
[edit] Press freedom

Media in Brunei is extremely pro-government. The country has been given "Not Free" status by Freedom House; press criticism of the government and monarchy is rare.[15] Nonetheless, the press is not overtly hostile towards other viewpoints and is not restricted on only publishing articles regarding the government. The government allowed a printing and publishing company, Brunei Press SDN BHD, to form in 1953. It continues to print the leading English daily Borneo Bulletin. This paper began as a weekly community paper, became the country's daily paper in 1990 and "remains the foremost source of information on local and foreign affairs."[14] Apart from The Borneo Bulletin, there is also the Media Permata, the local Malay newspaper which is circulated daily. The Brunei Times, another newspaper written in English is an independent newspaper published in Brunei Darussalam. It is owned by the company, Brunei Times Sdn Bhd which consist of a group of prominent local businessmen.

The Brunei government owns and operates six television channels with the introduction of digital TV using DVB-T (RTB 1, RTB 2, RTB 3 (HD), RTB 4, RTB 5 and RTB New Media (Game portal) and five radio stations (National FM, Pilihan FM, Nur Islam FM, Harmony FM and Pelangi FM). A private company has made cable television available (Astro-Kristal) as well as one private radio station, Kristal FM.[14]
[edit] Foreign relations
Main article: Foreign relations of Brunei

With its traditional ties with the United Kingdom, it became the 49th member of the Commonwealth immediately on the day of its independence on 1 January 1984.[16] As its first initiatives toward improved regional relations, Brunei joined ASEAN on January 7, 1984, becoming the sixth member.[17] It later joined the United Nations at the 39th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and became a full member on 21 September 1984 as a means to achieve recognition of its sovereignty and full independence from the world community.[18] As it is an Islamic country, Brunei Darussalam became a full member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (now the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) in January 1984 at the Fourth Islamic Summit held in Morocco.[19]

After its accession to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) in 1989, Brunei hosted the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in November 2000 and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in July 2002.[20] As for other economic ties, Brunei Darussalam became an original member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since it came into force in 1 January 1995,[21] and is a major player in BIMP-EAGA which was formed during the Inaugural Ministers' Meeting in Davao, Philippines on March 24, 1994.[22]

Brunei is recognized by every nation in the world. It shares a close relationship particularly with the Philippines and other nations such as Singapore. In April 2009, Brunei and the Philippines signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that seeks to strengthen the bilateral cooperation of the two countries in the fields of agriculture and farm-related trade and investments.[23]

Brunei is one of many nations to lay claim to some of the disputed Spratly Islands.[24] The status of Limbang as part of Sarawak was disputed by Brunei since the area was first annexed in 1890.[25] The issue was reportedly settled in 2009, with Brunei agreeing to accept the border in exchange for Malaysias giving up claims to oil fields in Bruneian waters.[26]
[edit] Subdivisions
Districts of Brunei
Main articles: Districts of Brunei and Mukims of Brunei

Brunei is divided into four districts (daerah):

Belait
Brunei and Muara
Temburong
Tutong

The district of Temburong is physically separated from the rest of Brunei by part of Sarawak State (Malaysia). The districts are subdivided into 38 mukims.
Rank↓ Mukim↓ Population↓ Town/Suburb/Town↓ District↓
1 Sengkurong 62,400 Jerudong and Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei-Muara
2 Gadong A & Gadong B 59,610 Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei-Muara
3 Berakas A 57,500 Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei-Muara
4 Kuala Belait 35,500 Kuala Belait Belait
5 Seria 32,900 Seria Town (Pekan Seria) Belait
6 Berakas B 23,400 Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei-Muara
7 Sungai Liang 18,100 None Belait
8 Pengkalan Batu approx. 15,000 None Brunei-Muara
9 Kilanas approx. 15,000 Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei-Muara
10 Kota Batu 12,600 Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei-Muara
11 Pekan Tutong 12,100 Pekan Tutong Tutong
12 Mentiri 10,872 None Brunei-Muara
13 Serasa approx. 10,000 Muara Town (Pekan Muara) Brunei-Muara
14 Kianggeh 8,540 Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei-Muara
15 Burong Pinggai Ayer approx. 8,200 Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei-Muara
16 Keriam 8,000 None Tutong
17 Lumapas 7,458 Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei-Muara
18 Kiudang 7,000 None Tutong
19 Saba approx. 6,600 Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei-Muara
20 Sungai Kedayan approx. 6,000 Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei-Muara
[edit] Geography
Main article: Geography of Brunei
Map of Brunei Demis.png

Brunei is a southeast Asian country consisting of two unconnected parts with the total area of 5,765 square kilometres (2,226 sq mi). It has 161 kilometres (100 mi) of coastline next to the South China sea, and it shares a 381 km (237 mi) border with Malaysia. It has 500 square kilometres (193 sq mi) of territorial waters, and an 200 nm exclusive economic zone.[4]

77% of the population lives in the eastern part of Brunei, while only about 10,000 live in the mountainous south eastern part (the district of Temburong). The total population of Brunei Darussalam is approximately 408,000 (July 2010) of which around 150,000 live in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan.[27] Other major towns are the port town of Muara, the oil producing town of Seria and its neighboring town, Kuala Belait. In the Belait district, the Panaga area is home to large numbers of expatriates due to Royal Dutch Shell and British Army housing and recreational facilities.

Most of Brunei is within the Borneo lowland rain forests ecoregion that covers most of the island but there are areas of mountain rain forests inland.

The climate of Brunei is tropical equatorial.[4] The average annual temperature is 26.1 °C (79.0 °F), with the April-May average of 24.7 °C (76.5 °F) and the October-December average of 23.8 °C (74.8 °F).[28]
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean Maximum (°C)
25.8
24.8
27.2
27.1
27.5
27.1
28.4
28.3
28.0
26.5
24.4
24.0

28.3
Mean Minimum (°C)
22.1
22.0
22.5
23.9
23.9
24.7
24.1
24.3
25.3
23.1
22.2
23.6

26.2
Average Rainfall (mm) 277.7 138.3 113.0 200.3 239.0 214.2 228.8 215.8 257.7 319.9 329.4 343.5
2873.9
[edit] Economy
Main article: Economy of Brunei

This small, wealthy economy is a mixture of foreign and domestic entrepreneurship, government regulation, welfare measures, and village tradition. Crude oil and natural gas production account for nearly half of its GDP. Substantial income from overseas investment supplements income from domestic production. The government provides for all medical services and subsidizes rice and housing. The national airline, Royal Brunei, is trying to make Brunei a hub for international travel between Europe and Australia/New Zealand, and also has services to major Asian destinations. Brunei is increasingly importing from other countries.

Brunei's leaders are very concerned that steadily increased integration in the world economy will undermine internal social cohesion although it became a more prominent player by serving as chairman for the 2000 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Stated plans for the future include upgrading the labour force, reducing unemployment, strengthening the banking and tourism sectors, and, in general, further widening the economic base.

To achieve its target for food self-sufficiency, Brunei renamed its Brunei Darussalam Rice 1 to Laila Rice during the launch of the "Padi Planting Towards Achieving Self-Sufficiency of Rice Production in Brunei Darussalam" ceremony at the Wasan padi fields in April 2009.[29] In August 2009, the Royal Family reaped the first few Laila padi stalks, after years of multiple attempts to boost local rice production, a goal which was envisioned about half a century ago.[30] In July 2009 Brunei launched its national halal branding scheme, Brunei Halal, with an aim to export to foreign markets.[31]
[edit] Health care

All Brunei citizens have access to free health care from public hospitals. The largest hospital in Brunei is Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital (RIPAS) hospital situated in the country's capital Bandar Seri Begawan. There are two private medical centres, Gleneagles JPMC Sdn Bhd .[32] and Jerudong Park Medical Centre. As of 2008, no hospitals in Brunei were undergoing international healthcare accreditation.

There is currently no medical school in Brunei, and Bruneians wishing to study to become doctors must attend university overseas. However, the Institute of Medicines had been introduced at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam and a new building has been built for the faculty. The building, including research lab facilities, was completed in 2009. There has been a School of Nursing since 1951.[33] 58 nurse managers were appointed in RIPAS to improve service and provide better medical care.[34] In December 2008, The nursing college merged with the Institute of Medicines at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam to produce more nurses and midwives.[35] It is now called the PAPRSB (Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa'datul Bolkiah) Institute of Health Sciences.[36]

The Health Promotion Centre opened in November 2008 and serves to educate the public on the importance of having a healthy lifestyle.[37]
[edit] Transport
Main article: Transport in Brunei

The major population centres in the country are linked by a network of 2,800 kilometres of road. The 135 km highway from Muara Town to Kuala Belait is being upgraded to a dual carriageway.[14]

Brunei is accessible by air, sea and land transport. Brunei International Airport is the main entry point to the country. Royal Brunei Airlines[38] is the national carrier. The ferry terminal at Muara services regular connections to Labuan island (Malaysia). The speedboats provide passenger and goods transportation to the Temburong district. The main highway running across Brunei is the Tutong-Muara Highway. The country's road network is well developed. Brunei has one main sea port located at Muara. The export of its petroleum products is carried out through dedicated terminals.

With one private car for every 2.09 persons, Brunei Darussalam has one of the highest car ownership rates in the world. This has been attributed to the absence of comprehensive transport system, low import tax, inexpensive maintenance and low unleaded petrol price of B$0.53 per litre.[14]
[edit] Demographics
Main article: Demographics of Brunei
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque at night.

The population of Brunei in July 2011 was 401,890 of which 76 per cent live in urban areas. The average life expectancy is 76.17 years. In 2004, 66.3 per cent of the population were Malay, 11.2 per cent are Chinese, 3.4 per cent are Indigenous, with smaller groups making up the rest.[4]

The official language of Brunei is Melayu Brunei (Brunei Malay), the official standardized form of the Malay language used in Brunei. Brunei Malay is quite divergent from standard Malay and the rest of the Malay dialects and is mostly mutually unintelligible.[1] English and Chinese are also spoken.[39] Bahasa Rojak, often spoken by the media and the public, is known as a "mixed language" and considered detrimental to normal Malay.[40] Other languages spoken include Kedayan, Tutong, Murut, Dusun and Iban.[39] English is also widely spoken[41] and there is a relatively large expatriate community with significant numbers of British and Australian citizens.

Islam is the official religion of Brunei,[4] and the sultan is the head of the religion in the country.[citation needed] Two-thirds of the population adheres to Islam. Other faiths practiced are Buddhism (13 percent, mainly by the Chinese) and Christianity (10 percent).[4] Freethinkers, mostly Chinese, form about seven percent of the population. Although most of them practice some form of religion with elements of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, they prefer to present themselves as having professed no religion officially, hence regarded as atheists in official censuses. Followers of indigenous religions are about two percent of the population.
[edit] Culture
Main article: Culture of Brunei

The culture of Brunei is predominantly Malay (reflecting its ethnicity), with heavy influences from Islam, but is seen as more conservative than Malaysia.[42]

Brunei's culture mainly derived from the Old Malay World, which encompassed the Malay Archipelago and from this stemmed what is known as the Malay Civilisation. Based on historical facts, various cultural elements and foreign civilisations had a hand in influencing the culture of this country. Thus, the influence of culture can be traced to four dominating periods of animism, Hinduism, Islam and the West. However, it was Islam that managed to wind its roots deeply into the culture of Brunei hence it became a way of life and adopted as the state's ideology and philosophy.[43]

As a Sharia country, the sale and public consumption of alcohol is banned.[44] Non-Muslims are allowed to purchase a limited amount of alcohol from their point of embarkation overseas for their own private consumption.[14]
[edit] See also
Geography image Geography portal
Asia image Asia portal
Southeast Asia image Southeast Asia portal

Additional, more specific, and related topics may be found at:

Outline of Brunei
Index of Brunei-related articles
List of Brunei-related topics

Malay language edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Astronomy in Brunei
Brooketon
Commonwealth of Nations
Communications in Brunei
Girl Guides in Brunei
Hospitals in Brunei
Istana Nurul Iman (Sultan&

Bulgaria
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the country. For other uses, see Bulgaria (disambiguation).
Republic of Bulgaria
Република България
Republika Balgariya

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Съединението прави силата1 (Bulgarian)
Saedinenieto pravi silata (transliteration)
Unity makes strength (English)
Anthem: Мила Родино (Bulgarian)
Mila Rodino (transliteration)
Dear Motherland (English)
Location of Bulgaria (dark green)- in Europe (green & dark grey)- in the European Union (green) — [Legend]
Location of Bulgaria (dark green)

- in Europe (green & dark grey)
- in the European Union (green) — [Legend]
Capital
(and largest city) BG Sofia coa.svg Sofia (София)
42°41′N 23°19′E
Official language(s) Bulgarian
Ethnic groups (2011) 84.8% Bulgarians,
8.8% Turks, 4.9% Roma, 1.5% others and don't self-define[1]
Demonym Bulgarian
Government Parliamentary democracy
- President Georgi Parvanov
- Prime Minister Boyko Borisov
Formation
- First Bulgarian Empire 681-1018
- Second Bulgarian Empire 1185-1396
- Re-established as a tributary principality 1878
- Third independent Bulgarian state Since 1908
Area
- Total 110,993.6 km2 (105th)
42,823 sq mi
- Water (%) 0.3
Population
- 2011 census 7,364,570 [1] (98th)
- Density 66.2/km2 (139th)
171/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
- Total $101.627 billion[2] (70th)
- Per capita $13,563[2] (65th)
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
- Total $54.271 billion[2] (75th)
- Per capita $7,243[2] (74th)
Gini (2008) 33.5[3] (medium)
HDI (2010) increase 0.743[4] (high) (58th)
Currency Lev2 (BGN)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
- Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code BG
Internet TLD .bg3
Calling code 359
1 "Bulgaria's National Flag". Bulgarian Government. 3 October 2005. Retrieved 1 January 2007.
2 plural Levs.
3 In common with other European Union member-states, the .eu domain is also in use.
4 Cell phone system GSM and NMT 450i
5 Domestic power supply 220 V/50 Hz, Schuko (CEE 7/4) sockets

Bulgaria Listeni/bʌlˈɡɛəriə/ (Bulgarian: България, Balgariya, IPA: [bɤ̞ɫˈɡarijɐ]), officially the Republic of Bulgaria (Република България, Republika Balgariya, IPA: [rɛˈpublikɐ bɤ̞ɫˈɡarijɐ]) is a country in Southeast Europe. Bulgaria borders five other countries: Romania to the north (mostly along the Danube), Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia to the west, and Greece and Turkey to the south. The Black Sea defines the extent of the country to the east.

With a territory of 110,994 square kilometers (42,855 sq mi), Bulgaria ranks as the 15th-largest country in Europe. Several mountainous areas define the landscape, most notably Stara Planina (the Balkan mountains) and Rhodope mountain ranges, as well as the Rila range, which includes the highest peak in the entire Balkans. In contrast, the Danubian plain in the north and the Upper Thracian Plain in the south represent Bulgaria's lowest and most fertile regions. The 378-kilometer (235 mi) Black Sea coastline covers the entire eastern bound of the country.

The emergence of a unified Bulgarian ethnicity and state dates back to the 7th century AD. All Bulgarian political entities that subsequently emerged preserved the traditions (in ethnic name, language and alphabet) of the First Bulgarian Empire (681-1018), which at times covered most of the Balkans and became a cultural hub for the Slavs in the Middle Ages.[5] With the decline of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396), Bulgarian territories came under Ottoman rule for nearly five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 led to the establishment of a Third Bulgarian state as a principality in 1878, which gained its full sovereignty in 1908.[6] In 1945, after World War II, it became a communist state[7] and was a part of the Eastern Bloc until the political changes in Eastern Europe in 1989/1990, when the Communist Party allowed multi-party elections. Bulgarian politics undertook a transition to democracy and free-market capitalism was introduced.

The Bulgarian government functions as a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic. Sofia, a global city, is the country's capital and the 12th largest settlement in the European Union.[8] Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, NATO, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and is a founding state of the OSCE and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization. Bulgaria has a high Human Development Index of 0.743, ranking 58th in the world in 2010.[9]
Contents
[hide]

1 History
1.1 Prehistory and antiquity
1.2 First Bulgarian Empire
1.3 Second Bulgarian Empire
1.4 Ottoman rule and national awakening
1.5 Modern era
2 Geography
2.1 Relief and natural resources
2.2 Hydrography and climate
2.3 Environment and wildlife
3 Politics
3.1 Law
3.2 Foreign relations and military
3.3 Administrative divisions
4 Economy
4.1 Tourism
4.2 Infrastructure
4.3 Science and technology
5 Demographics
5.1 Education
5.2 Health
5.3 Urbanization
6 Culture
6.1 Archaeological and World Heritage sites
6.2 Art, music and literature
6.3 Media
6.4 Cuisine
6.5 Sports
7 See also
8 References
9 Further reading
10 External links
10.1 Government
10.2 General information
10.3 Travel

[edit] History
Main article: History of Bulgaria
[edit] Prehistory and antiquity
Further information: Neolithic Europe, Bronze Age Europe, Thracians, Odrysian kingdom, Slavs, and Bulgars
A gold rhyton from the Panagyurishte treasure, the 4th-3rd century BC

Prehistoric cultures in the Bulgarian lands include the Neolithic Hamangia culture and Vinča culture (6th to 3rd millennia BC), the eneolithic Varna culture (5th millennium BC; see also Varna Necropolis), and the Bronze Age Ezero culture. The Karanovo chronology serves as a gauge for the prehistory of the wider Balkans region.

The Thracians, one of the three primary ancestral groups of modern Bulgarians, lived separated in various tribes until King Teres united most of them around 500 BC in the Odrysian kingdom. They were eventually subjugated by Alexander the Great and later by the Roman Empire. After migrating from their original homeland, the easternmost South Slavs settled on the territory of modern Bulgaria during the 6th century and assimilated the Hellenized or Romanised Thracians. Eventually the élite of the Bulgars, a Central Asian people originating from the Mount Imeon area in present-day Afghanistan,[10] incorporated all of them into the First Bulgarian Empire.[11] By the 9th century, Bulgars and Slavs were mutually assimilated.[12]
[edit] First Bulgarian Empire
Main article: First Bulgarian Empire

Asparukh, heir of Old Great Bulgaria's khan Kubrat, migrated with several Bulgar tribes to the lower courses of the rivers Danube, Dniester and Dniepr (known as Ongal) after his father's state was subjugated by the Khazars. He conquered Moesia and Scythia Minor (Dobrudzha) from the Byzantine Empire, expanding his new kingdom further into the Balkan Peninsula.[13] A peace treaty with Byzantium in 681 and the establishment of a Bulgarian capital at Pliska south of the Danube mark the beginning of the First Bulgarian Empire.

Succeeding khans strengthened the Bulgarian state — Tervel (700-721) established Bulgaria as a major military power by defeating a 26,000-strong Arab army during the Second Arab Siege of Constantinople;[14] Krum (802-814)[15] doubled the country's territory, killed emperor Nicephorus I in the Battle of Pliska,[16] and introduced the first written code of law; Boris I (852-889) abolished Tengriism in favor of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in 864,[17] and introduced the Cyrillic alphabet. Simeon the Great's rule (893-927) saw the largest territorial expansion of Bulgaria in its history,[18] along with a golden age of Bulgarian culture and a military supremacy over the Byzantine Empire, demonstrated in the Battle of Achelous (917).[19]
Khan Krum feasts with his nobles after the battle of Pliska. His servant (far right) brings the wine-filled skull cup of emperor Nicephorus I.

After Simeon's death, Bulgaria declined during the mid-10th century, weakened by wars with Croatians, Magyars, Pechenegs and Serbs, and the spread of the Bogomil heresy.[20][21] This resulted in consecutive Rus' and Byzantine invasions, which ended with the seizure of the capital Preslav by the Byzantine army.[22] Under Samuil, Bulgaria somewhat recovered from these attacks and even managed to conquer Serbia, Bosnia[23] and Duklja,[24] but this ended in 1014, when Byzantine Emperor Basil II ("the Bulgar-Slayer") defeated its armies at Klyuch.[25] Samuil died shortly after the battle, on 15 October 1014,[25] and by 1018 the Byzantine Empire conquered the remaimed parts of the First Bulgarian Empire, putting it to an end.
[edit] Second Bulgarian Empire
Main articles: Uprising of Asen and Peter and Second Bulgarian Empire

Basil II managed to prevent rebellions by retaining the local rule of the Bulgarian nobility (incorporated into Byzantine aristocracy as archons or strategoi),[26] guaranteeing the indivisibility of Bulgaria in its former geographic borders and recognising the autocephaly of the Bulgarian Archbishopric of Ohrid.[27] After his death Byzantine domestic policies changed, which led to a series of unsuccessful rebellions, the largest being led by Peter II Delyan. It was not until 1185 when Asen dynasty nobles Ivan Asen I and Peter IV organized a major uprising and succeeded in reestablishing the Bulgarian state, marking the beginning of the Second Bulgarian Empire.
The Bulgarian Empire under tzar Ivan Asen II

The Asen dynasty set up its capital in Tarnovo. Kaloyan, the third of the Asen monarchs, extended his dominions to Belgrade, Nish and Skopie; he acknowledged the spiritual supremacy of the Pope, and received a royal crown from a papal legate.[11] Cultural and economic growth persisted under Ivan Asen II (1218-1241), who extended Bulgaria's control over Albania, Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace.[28] The achievements of the Tarnovo artistic school as well as the first coins to be minted by a Bulgarian ruler were only a few signs of the empire's welfare at that time.[11]

The Asen dynasty ended in 1257, and due to Tatar invasions, internal conflicts, and constant Byzantine and Hungarian attacks, the country's military and economic might declined. By the end of the 14th century, factional divisions between Bulgarian feudal landlords (bolyari) and the spread of Bogomilism had caused the Second Bulgarian Empire to split into three small tsardoms (At Vidin, Tarnovo and Karvuna) and several semi-independent principalities that fought among themselves, and also with Byzantines, Hungarians, Serbs, Venetians and Genoese. In the same period the Ottoman Turks, who had already started their invasion of the Balkans, conquered most Bulgarian towns and fortresses south of the Balkan Mountains and began their northwards conquest.[29]
[edit] Ottoman rule and national awakening
Main articles: Ottoman Bulgaria and National awakening of Bulgaria

In 1393, the Ottomans captured Tarnovo, the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, after a three-month siege. In 1396, the Vidin Tsardom fell after the defeat of a Christian crusade at the Battle of Nicopolis. Finally, the Vidin Tzardom fell to in 1423 and with this, the Ottomans finally subjugated and occupied all Bulgarian controlled lands south of the Danube.[30][31][32] During their rule, the Bulgarian population south of the Danube suffered greatly from oppression, intolerance and misgovernment.[33] North of the Danube, where a significant number of Bulgarian nobility and common folk remained, the population was under the jurisdiction of various Christian autonomous, predominately Wallachian led principalities, where the Bulgarian alphabet continued to be used [34] and many cities kept their Bulgarian names, like the Wallachian capital of Targovishte. The nobility in the Christian principalities north of the Danube, continued to be known by their Bulgarian titles of Boyars and regularly helped Bulgarian population to continue to migrate north, as part of their military campaigns south of the Danube.[35] Thus, Bulgarian population north of the Danube never came under Ottoman occupation, which greatly helped the National revival south of the Danube in later centuries. The nobility south of the Danube however, was eliminated and parts of the peasantry enserfed to Ottoman masters[36] while Bulgarians lacked judicial equality with the Ottoman Muslims and had to pay much higher taxes than them.[37] Bulgarian culture became isolated from Europe, its achievements destroyed, and the educated clergy fled to other countries.[38]

Throughout the nearly five centuries of Ottoman rule, the Bulgarian people responded to the oppression by strengthening the haydut ("rebels") tradition,[12] and attempted to reestablish their state by organizing several revolts, most notably the First and Second Tarnovo Uprisings (1598 / 1686) and Karposh's Rebellion (1689). The National awakening of Bulgaria became one of the key factors in the struggle for liberation, resulting in the 1876 April uprising—the largest and best-organized Bulgarian rebellion. Though crushed by the Ottoman authorities—in reprisal, the Turks massacred some 15,000 Bulgarians[12]—the uprising prompted the Great Powers to take action. They convened the Constantinople Conference in 1876, but their decisions were rejected by the Ottoman authorities, which allowed the Russian Empire to seek a solution by force without risking military confrontation with other Great Powers (as had happened in the Crimean War of 1854 to 1856). The Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 resulted in the defeat of Ottoman forces by the Russian Army (supported by Bulgarian volunteer forces and the Romanian Army) and the Treaty of San Stefano (3 March 1878), which set up an autonomous Bulgarian principality.

The Great Powers immediately rejected the treaty, fearing that such a large country in the Balkans might threaten their interests. The subsequent Treaty of Berlin (1878) provided for a much smaller autonomous state comprising Moesia and the region of Sofia.[39] The Bulgarian principality proclaimed itself a fully independent state on 5 October (22 September O.S.), 1908, after it won a war against Serbia and incorporated the semi-autonomous Ottoman territory of Eastern Rumelia.
[edit] Modern era
Main articles: Principality of Bulgaria, Kingdom of Bulgaria, People's Republic of Bulgaria, and History of Bulgaria since 1989
See also: Serbo-Bulgarian War, First Balkan War, Second Balkan War, Bulgaria during World War I, and Bulgaria during World War II
Tzar Ferdinand I and his cabinet prepare to announce the declaration of independence, 1908

In the years following the achievement of complete independence Bulgaria became increasingly militarized, and was referred to as "the Balkan Prussia".[40][41] In 1885 Northern Bulgaria and Southern Bulgaria united and subsequently defeated Serbia in the war of 1885. Between 1912 and 1918, Bulgaria became involved in a string of three consecutive conflicts - the Balkan Wars and World War I. After a disastrous defeat in the Second Balkan War, Bulgaria again found itself fighting on the losing side as a result of its alliance with the Central Powers in World War I. Despite achieving several decisive victories at Doiran, Monastir and again at Doiran in 1918, the country capitulated in 1918 and suffered significant territorial losses,[12] a total of 412,000 casualties, and a wave of more than 253,000[42] refugees who put an additional strain on the already ruined national economy.

The political unrest resulting from these losses led to the establishment of a royal authoritarian dictatorship by Tsar Boris III (1918-1943). Bulgaria entered World War II in 1941 as a member of the Axis but declined to participate in Operation Barbarossa and saved its Jewish population from deportation to concentration camps.[43] In the summer of 1943 Boris III died suddenly, an event which pushed the country into political turmoil as the war turned against Nazi Germany and the Communist guerilla movement gained more power.[44] In September 1944 the Communist-dominated Fatherland Front took power, following strikes and unrest, ending the alliance with Nazi Germany and joining the Allied side until the end of the war in 1945.
Zhelyu Zhelev (left), the first democratically elected president of Bulgaria[45] with George H. W. Bush in 1990

The Communist uprising of 9 September 1944 led to the abolition of monarchic rule, but it was not until 1946 that a people's republic was established. It came under the Soviet sphere of influence, with Georgi Dimitrov (1946-1949) as the foremost Bulgarian political leader. Bulgaria installed a Soviet-style planned economy with some market-oriented policies emerging on an experimental level[46] under Todor Zhivkov (1954-1989). By the mid 1950s standards of living rose significantly.[47] Lyudmila Zhivkova, daughter of Zhivkov, promoted Bulgaria's national heritage, culture and arts worldwide.[48] On the other hand, an assimilation campaign of the late 1980s directed against ethnic Turks resulted in the emigration of some 300,000 of them to Turkey.[49][50] On 10 November 1989, the Bulgarian Communist Party gave up its political monopoly, Zhivkov resigned, and Bulgaria embarked on a transition from a single-party republic to a parliamentary democracy.

In June 1990 the first free elections took place, won by the moderate wing of the Communist Party (the Bulgarian Socialist Party—BSP). In July 1991, a new constitution that provided for a relatively weak elected President and for a Prime Minister accountable to the legislature, was adopted. The new system eventually failed to improve living standards or create economic growth — the average quality of life and economic performance actually remained lower than in the times of Communism well into the early 2000s.[51]

A reform package introduced in 1997 restored positive economic growth, but led to rising social inequality. Bulgaria became a member of NATO in 2004 and of the European Union in 2007. The US Library of Congress Federal Research Division reported it in 2006 as having generally good freedom of speech and human rights records,[52] while Freedom House listed Bulgaria as "free" in 2011, giving it scores of 2 for political rights and 2 for civil liberties.[53]

This score represents a reduction in its previous ranking of 1 for Political Rights on 2008.
[edit] Geography
Main article: Geography of Bulgaria

Bulgaria lies between latitudes 41° and 45° N, and longitudes 22° and 29° E.

Geographically and in terms of climate, Bulgaria features notable diversity, with the landscape ranging from the Alpine snow-capped peaks in Rila, Pirin and the Balkan Mountains to the mild and sunny Black Sea coast; from the typically continental Danubian Plain (ancient Moesia) in the north to the strong Mediterranean climatic influence in the valleys of Macedonia and in the lowlands in the southernmost parts of Thrace.
Sandstone formations near Melnik, southern Bulgaria
The Black Sea as seen from Medni Rid peak near Burgas.
[edit] Relief and natural resources

About 30% of the land is made up of plains, while plateaus and hills account for 41%.[54] The mountainous southwest of the country has two alpine ranges — Rila (where mount Musala, at 2,925 meters (9,596 ft),[55] is located) and Pirin, and further east stand the lower but more extensive Rhodope Mountains. The Balkan mountain chain runs west-east through the middle of the country, north of the Rose Valley. Hilly countryside and plains lie to the southeast, along the Black Sea coast, and along Bulgaria's main river, the Danube, to the north.

Bulgaria has large deposits of bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, bismuth and manganese. Smaller deposits exist of iron, gold, silver, uranium, chromite, nickel, and others. Bulgaria has abundant non-metalliferous minerals such as rock-salt, gypsum, kaolin and marble.
[edit] Hydrography and climate

The country has a dense network of about 540 rivers, most of them—with the notable exception of the Danube—short and with low water-levels.[56] Most rivers flow through mountainous areas. The longest river located solely in Bulgarian territory, the Iskar, has a length of 368 kilometers (229 mi). Other major rivers include the Struma and the Maritsa in the south.
Some 20 nesting couples of the Eastern Imperial Eagle exist in Bulgaria, and their number is gradually growing.[57]

Bulgaria overall has a temperate climate, with cold winters and hot summers. The barrier effect of the Balkan Mountains has some influence on climate throughout the country - northern Bulgaria experiences lower temperatures and receives more rain than the southern lowlands.

Precipitation averages about 630 millimeters (24.8 in) per year.[58] In the lowlands rainfall varies between 500 and 800 millimeters (19.7 and 31.5 in), and in the mountain areas between 1,000 and 2,500 millimeters (39.4 and 98.4 in) of rain falls per year. Drier areas include Dobrudja and the northern coastal strip, while the higher parts of the Rila, Pirin, Rhodope Mountains, Stara Planina, Osogovska Mountain and Vitosha receive the highest levels of precipitation.
[edit] Environment and wildlife

Bulgaria has signed and ratified the Kyoto protocol[59] and has achieved a 30% reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from 1990 to 2009, completing the protocol's objectives.[60] However, pollution from outdated factories and

Burkina Faso
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Burkina Faso
(browse)

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Unité-Progrès-Justice"
("Unity, Progress, Justice")
Anthem: Une Seule Nuit (French)
One Single Night - Thomas Sankara
Location of Burkina Faso (dark blue)- in Africa (light blue & dark grey)- in the African Union (light blue) — [Legend]
Location of Burkina Faso (dark blue)

- in Africa (light blue & dark grey)
- in the African Union (light blue) — [Legend]
Capital
(and largest city) Ouagadougou
12°20′N 1°40′W
Official language(s) French
Recognised regional languages Mòoré, Dioula (Bambara)
Demonym Burkinabé (also Burkinabè and Burkinabe)
Government Semi-presidential republic
- President Blaise Compaoré
- Prime Minister Luc-Adolphe Tiao
Independence
- from France 5 August 1960
Area
- Total 274,200 km2 (74th)
105,869 sq mi
- Water (%) 0.146 %
Population
- 2009 estimate 15,746,232[1] (61st)
- 2006 census 14,017,262
- Density 57.4/km2 (145th)
148.9/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $19.992 billion[2]
- Per capita $1,360[2]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $8.781 billion[2]
- Per capita $597[2]
Gini (2007) 39.5[3] (medium)
HDI (2007) increase 0.389 (low) (177th)
Currency West African CFA franc[4] (XOF)
Time zone (UTC+0)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code BF
Internet TLD .bf
Calling code 226
1 The data here is an estimation for the year 2005 produced by the International Monetary Fund in April 2005.

Burkina Faso (Listeni/bərˌkiːnə ˈfɑːsoʊ/ bər-kee-nə fah-soh; French: [byʁkina faso]) - also known by its short-form name Burkina - is a landlocked country in west Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest.

Its size is 274,200 square kilometres (105,900 sq mi) with an estimated population of more than 15,757,000. Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta, it was renamed on 4 August 1984, by President Thomas Sankara to mean "the land of upright people" in Mòoré and Dioula, the major native languages of the country. Figuratively, "Burkina" may be translated, "men of integrity," from the Mòoré language, and "Faso" means "father's house" in Dioula. The inhabitants of Burkina Faso are known as Burkinabè (play /bərˈkiːnəbeɪ/ bər-kee-nə-bay).

Burkina Faso was populated between 14,000 and 5000 BC by hunter-gatherers in the country's northwestern region. Farm settlements appeared between 3600 and 2600 BC. What is now central Burkina Faso was principally composed of Mossi kingdoms. These Mossi Kingdoms would become a French protectorate in 1896. After gaining independence from France in 1960, the country underwent many governmental changes until arriving at its current form, a semi-presidential republic. The president is Blaise Compaoré.

Burkina Faso's capital is Ouagadougou. It is a member of the African Union, Community of Sahel-Saharan States, La Francophonie, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and Economic Community of West African States.
Contents
[hide]

1 History
1.1 Early history
1.2 From colony to independence
1.3 Upper Volta
1.4 Burkina Faso
2 Politics
3 Regions, provinces, and departments
4 Military, police, and security forces
5 Geography and climate
6 Economy
7 Demographics
7.1 Health
7.2 Religion
8 Culture
8.1 Cuisine
9 Cinema
10 Sports
11 Education
12 National and independent media
13 See also
14 References
15 External links

[edit] History
Main article: History of Burkina Faso
[edit] Early history

The territory of today's Burkina Faso was populated very early, between 14,000 and 5000 BC, by hunter-gatherers in the northwestern part of the country, whose tools, such as scrapers, chisels and arrowheads, were discovered in 1973 by Simran Nijjar. Settlements with farmers appeared between 3600 and 2600 BC. On the basis of traces of the farmers' structures, the settlements appear to have been permanent. The use of iron, ceramics and polished stone developed between 1500 and 1000 BC, as well as a preoccupation with spiritual matters, as shown by burial remains.

Relics of the Dogon are found in Burkina Faso's north and northwest regions. Sometime between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Dogon left the area to settle in the cliffs of Bandiagara. Elsewhere, the remains of high walls are localized in the southwest of Burkina Faso (as well as in the Côte d'Ivoire), but the people who built them have not yet been identified.

The central part of Burkina Faso included a number of Mossi kingdoms, the most powerful of which were those of Wagadogo (Ouagadougou) and Yatenga. These kingdoms emerged probably in the early sixteenth century from obscure origins veiled by legend featuring a heterogeneous set of warrior figures.[5]
[edit] From colony to independence
Traditional homes in south-east Burkina Faso

After a decade of intense rivalry and competition between the British and the French, waged through treaty-making expeditions under military or civilian explorers, the Mossi kingdom of Ouagadougou was defeated by French colonial forces and became a French protectorate in 1896. The eastern region and the western region, where a standoff against the forces of the powerful ruler Samori Ture complicated the situation, came under French occupation in 1897. By 1898, the majority of the territory corresponding to Burkina Faso today was nominally conquered; however, control of many parts remained uncertain.

The French and British convention of 14 June 1898 ended the scramble between the two colonial powers and drew the borders between the countries' colonies. On the French side, a war of conquest against local communities and political powers continued for about five years. In 1904, the largely pacified territories of the Volta basin were integrated into the Upper Senegal and Niger colony of French West Africa as part of the reorganization of the French West African colonial empire. The colony had its capital in Bamako.

Draftees from the territory participated in the European fronts of World War I in the battalions of the Senegalese Rifles. Between 1915 and 1916, the districts in the western part of what is now Burkina Faso and the bordering eastern fringe of Mali became the stage of one of the most important armed oppositions to colonial government, known as the Volta-Bani War.[6] The French government finally suppressed the movement, but only after suffering defeats and being forced to gather the largest expeditionary force of its colonial history up to that point. Armed opposition also wracked the Sahelian north when the Tuareg and allied groups of the Dori region ended their truce with the government.

French Upper Volta was established on 1 March 1919. This move was a result of French fears of the recurrence of armed uprising along with economic considerations, and to bolster its administration, the colonial government separated the present territory of Burkina Faso from Upper Senegal and Niger. The new colony was named Haute Volta and François Charles Alexis Édouard Hesling became its first governor.Hesling initiated an ambitious road-making program and promoted the growth of cotton for export. The cotton policy - based on coercion - failed, and revenue stagnated. The colony was later dismantled on 5 September 1932, being split up between the Côte d'Ivoire, French Sudan and Niger. Côte d'Ivoire received the largest share, which contained most of the population as well as the cities of Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso.
Children of the 1983-1987 revolution

The decision to split the colony was reversed during the intense anti-colonial agitation that followed the end of World War II. On 4 September 1947, the colony was revived as a part of the French Union, with its previous boundaries. On 11 December 1958, it achieved self-government and became the Republic of Upper Volta and a member of the Franco-African Community. A revision in the organization of French Overseas Territories began with the passage of the Basic Law (Loi Cadre) of 23 July 1956. This act was followed by reorganizational measures approved by the French parliament early in 1957 to ensure a large degree of self-government for individual territories. Upper Volta became an autonomous republic in the French community on 11 December 1958. Full independence from France was received in 1960.
[edit] Upper Volta
Main article: Republic of Upper Volta

The Republic of Upper Volta (French: République de Haute-Volta) was established on 11 December 1958, as a self-governing colony within the French Community. The name Upper Volta indicated that the country contains the upper part of the Volta River system. The river's three tributaries are called the Black Volta, White Volta and Red Volta, and the colors of the national flag corresponded to these parts of the river system.

Before attaining autonomy it had been French Upper Volta and part of the French Union. On 5 August 1960, it attained full independence from France. The first president, Maurice Yaméogo, was the leader of the Voltaic Democratic Union (UDV). The 1960 constitution provided for election by universal suffrage of a president and a national assembly for five-year terms. Soon after coming to power, Yaméogo banned all political parties other than the UDV. The government lasted until 1966 when after much unrest—mass demonstrations and strikes by students, labor unions, and civil servants—the military intervened.

The military coup deposed Yaméogo, suspended the constitution, dissolved the National Assembly, and placed Lt. Col. Sangoulé Lamizana at the head of a government of senior army officers. The army remained in power for four years, and on 14 June 1970, the Voltans ratified a new constitution that established a four-year transition period toward complete civilian rule. Lamizana remained in power throughout the 1970s as president of military or mixed civil-military governments. After conflict over the 1970 constitution, a new constitution was written and approved in 1977, and Lamizana was reelected by open elections in 1978.

Lamizana's government faced problems with the country's traditionally powerful trade unions, and on 25 November 1980, Col. Saye Zerbo overthrew President Lamizana in a bloodless coup. Colonel Zerbo established the Military Committee of Recovery for National Progress as the supreme governmental authority, thus eradicating the 1977 constitution.

Colonel Zerbo also encountered resistance from trade unions and was overthrown two years later, on 7 November 1982, by Maj. Dr. Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo and the Council of Popular Salvation (CSP). The CSP continued to ban political parties and organizations, yet promised a transition to civilian rule and a new constitution.

Factional infighting developed between moderates in the CSP and the radicals, led by Capt. Thomas Sankara, who was appointed prime minister in January 1983. The internal political struggle and Sankara's leftist rhetoric led to his arrest and subsequent efforts to bring about his release, directed by Capt. Blaise Compaoré. This release effort resulted in yet another military coup d'état on 4 August 1983.

After the coup, Sankara formed the National Council for the Revolution (CNR), with himself as president. Sankara also established Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs) to "mobilize the masses" and implement the CNR's revolutionary programs. The CNR, whose exact membership remained secret until the end, contained two small intellectual Marxist-Leninist groups. Sankara, Compaore, Capt. Henri Zongo, and Maj. Jean-Baptiste Lingani—all leftist military officers—dominated the regime.

On 4 August 1984, as a final result of President Sankara's zealous activities, the country's name was eventually changed from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, which translates to "land of honest people".[7]
[edit] Burkina Faso

On 15 October 1987 Sankara was killed by an armed gang with twelve other officials in a coup d'état organised by his former colleague, Blaise Compaoré. Deterioration in relations with neighbouring countries was one of the reasons given, with Compaore stating that Sankara jeopardised foreign relations with former colonial power France and neighbouring Ivory Coast. Prince Johnson, a former Liberian warlord allied to Charles Taylor, told Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that it was engineered by Charles Taylor. After the coup and although Sankara was known to be dead, some CDRs mounted an armed resistance to the army for several days.

Sankara's body was dismembered and he was quickly buried in an unmarked grave, while his widow and two children fled the nation. Compaoré immediately reversed the nationalizations, overturned nearly all of Sankara's policies, returned the country back under the IMF fold, and ultimately spurned most of Sankara's legacy. As of 2010, Compaoré is entering his 23rd year in power. He "has become immensely wealthy" and purchased a presidential plane to reflect his personal prestige, while landlocked Burkina Faso ranks as the third least developed country in the world.

In February-April 2011, the death of a schoolboy provoked an uprising throughout the country, coupled with a military mutiny and a strike of the magistrates, dubbed the 2011 Burkinabè protests.
[edit] Politics
Main article: Politics of Burkina Faso
Former prime minister Tertius Zongo

With French help, the incumbent Blaise Compaoré seized power in a coup d'état in 1987, betraying his long-time friend and ally Thomas Sankara, who was killed in the coup.[8]

The constitution of 2 June 1991 established a semi-presidential government with a parliament which can be dissolved by the President of the Republic, who is elected for a term of seven years.

In 2000, the constitution was amended to reduce the presidential term to five years. The amendment took effect during the 2005 elections. The amendment also would have prevented the incumbent president, Blaise Compaoré, from being reelected.

However, in October 2005, notwithstanding a challenge by other presidential candidates, the constitutional council ruled that, because Compaoré was the sitting president in 2000, the amendment would not apply to him until the end of his second term in office. This cleared the way for his candidacy in the 2005 election. On 13 November, Compaoré was reelected in a landslide, because of a divided political opposition.

In the 2010 November Presidential elections, President Compaoré was reelected for another term in office. Only 1.6 million Burkinabès voted, out of a total population 10 times that size.

The parliament consists of one chamber known as the National Assembly which has 111 seats with members elected to serve five year terms. There is also a constitutional chamber, composed of ten members, and an economic and social council whose roles are purely consultative.

Political freedoms are severely restricted in Burkina Faso, with human rights organisations decrying numerous acts of state-sponsored violence against journalists and other politically active members of society.
[edit] Regions, provinces, and departments
Regions of Burkina Faso.
Main articles: Regions of Burkina Faso, Provinces of Burkina Faso, and Communes of Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is divided into thirteen regions, forty-five provinces, and 301 departments. The regions are:

Boucle du Mouhoun
Cascades
Centre
Centre-Est
Centre-Nord
Centre-Ouest
Centre-Sud
Est
Hauts-Bassins
Nord
Plateau-Central
Sahel
Sud-Ouest

[edit] Military, police, and security forces
Main article: Military of Burkina Faso

The country employs numerous police and security forces, generally modeled after organizations used by French police, and France continues to provide significant support and training to police forces in Burkina Faso.[9] The Gendarmerie Nationale is organized along military lines, with most police services delivered at the brigade level.[10] The Gendarmerie operates under the authority of the Minister of Defence, and its members are employed chiefly in the rural areas and along borders.[10]

There is also a municipal police force controlled by the Ministry of Territorial Administration; a national police force controlled by the Ministry of Security; and an autonomous Presidential Security Regiment (Régiment de la Sécurité Présidentielle, or RSP), a 'palace guard' devoted to the protection of the President of the Republic.[10] Both the gendarmerie and the national police are subdivided into both administrative and judicial police functions; the former are detailed to protect public order and provide security, the latter are charged with criminal investigations.[10]

All foreigners and citizens are required to carry photo ID passports, or other forms of identification or risk a fine, and police spot identity checks are commonplace for persons traveling by auto, bush-taxi, or bus.[11][12]

The army consists of some 6,000 men in voluntary service, augmented by a part-time national People's Militia composed of civilians between 25 and 35 years of age who are trained in both military and civil duties. According to Jane's Sentinel Country Risk Assessment, Burkina Faso's Army is small and poorly equipped, but has numbers of wheeled light-armour vehicles, and may have developed useful combat expertise through interventions in Liberia and elsewhere in Africa.

The army is relatively well-funded and motivated by African standards, although undermanned for its force structure. The regular army is believed to be neglected in relation to the élite Presidential Security Regiment (RSP) and reports have emerged in recent years of disputes over pay and conditions.[13] There is an air force with some 19 operational aircraft, but no navy, as the country is landlocked. Military expenses constitute approximately 1.2% of the nation's GDP.

In April 2011, there was an army mutiny; the president named new chiefs of staff, and a curfew was imposed in Ouagadougou.[14]
[edit] Geography and climate
Satellite image of Burkina Faso
Main articles: Geography of Burkina Faso and Climate of Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso lies mostly between latitudes 9° and 15°N (a small area is north of 15°), and longitudes 6°W and 3°E.

It is made up of two major types of countryside. The larger part of the country is covered by a peneplain, which forms a gently undulating landscape with, in some areas, a few isolated hills, the last vestiges of a Precambrian massif. The southwest of the country, on the other hand, forms a sandstone massif, where the highest peak, Ténakourou, is found at an elevation of 749 meters (2,457 ft). The massif is bordered by sheer cliffs up to 150 meters (492 ft) high. The average altitude of Burkina Faso is 400 meters (1,312 ft) and the difference between the highest and lowest terrain is no greater than 600 meters (1,969 ft). Burkina Faso is therefore a relatively flat country.

The country owes its former name of Upper Volta to three rivers which cross it: the Black Volta (or Mouhoun), the White Volta (Nakambé) and the Red Volta (Nazinon). The Black Volta is one of the country's only two rivers which flow year-round, the other being the Komoé, which flows to the southwest. The basin of the Niger River also drains 27% of the country's surface.

The Niger's tributaries - the Béli, the Gorouol, the Goudébo and the Dargol - are seasonal streams and flow for only four to six months a year. They still, however, can cause large floods. The country also contains numerous lakes - the principal ones are Tingrela, Bam and Dem. The country contains large ponds, as well, such as Oursi, Béli, Yomboli and Markoye. Water shortages are often a problem, especially in the north of the country.
Savannah near the Gbomblora Department, on the road from Gaoua to Batié.

Burkina Faso has a primarily tropical climate with two very distinct seasons. In the rainy season, the country receives between 600 and 900 millimeters (23.6 and 35.4 in) of rainfall; in the dry season, the harmattan - a hot dry wind from the Sahara - blows. The rainy season lasts approximately four months, May/June to September, and is shorter in the north of the country. Three climatic zones can be defined: the Sahel, the Sudan-Sahel, and the Sudan-Guinea. The Sahel in the north typically receives less than 600 millimeters (23.6 in)[15] of rainfall per year and has high temperatures, 5-47 degrees Celsius (41-116.6 °F).

A relatively dry tropical savanna, the Sahel extends beyond the borders of Burkina Faso, from the Horn of Africa to the Atlantic Ocean, and borders the Sahara to its north and the fertile region of the Sudan to the South. Situated between 11°3' and 13°5' north latitude, the Sudan-Sahel region is a transitional zone with regards to rainfall and temperature. Further to the south, the Sudan-Guinea zone receives more than 900 millimeters (35.4 in)[15] of rain each year and has cooler average temperatures.

Burkina Faso's natural resources include manganese, limestone, marble, phosphates, pumice, salt and small deposits of gold.

Burkina Faso's fauna and flora are protected in two national parks and several reserves: see List of national parks in Africa, Nature reserves of Burkina Faso.
[edit] Economy
Shop in Burkina Faso.
A village pump in Burkina Faso.
This file has annotations. Move the mouse pointer over the image to see them
Main article: Ec

Burma
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Myanmar long form.svg
Pyidaunzu Thanmăda Myăma Nainngandaw

Flag State seal
Anthem: Kaba Ma Kyei
US NAVY Band - Kaba Ma Kyei.ogg

Location of Burma (green) and within ASEAN (dark grey)
Location of Burma (green) and within ASEAN (dark grey)
Capital Naypyidaw
19°45′N 96°6′E
Largest city Yangon (Rangoon)
Official language(s) Burmese
Recognised regional languages Jingpho, Kayah, Karen, Chin, Mon, Rakhine, Shan
Official scripts Burmese script
Demonym Burmese/Myanma
Government Unitary Presidential republic
- President Thein Sein
- Vice President Tin Aung Myint Oo
Sai Mauk Kham
Legislature Pyidaungsu Hluttaw
- Upper House Amyotha Hluttaw
- Lower House Pyithu Hluttaw
Formation
- Pagan Dynasty 23 December 849
- Toungoo Dynasty 16 October 1510
- Konbaung Dynasty 21 March 1752
- Independence 4 January 1948 (from United Kingdom)
- coup d'état 2 March 1962
- 2011 new constitution 30 March 2011
Area
- Total 676,578 km2 (40th)
261,227 sq mi
- Water (%) 3.06
Population
- 2010 estimate 58,840,000[1] (24th)
- 1983 census 33,234,000 (3)
- Density 73.9/km2 (119th)
191.5/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $76.473 billion[2]
- Per capita $1,250[2]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $42.953 billion[2]
- Per capita $702[2]
HDI (2010) decrease 0.451[3] (low) (132nd)
Currency kyat (K) (MMK)
Time zone MST (UTC+06:30)
Drives on the right[4]
Internet TLD .mm
Calling code 95
1 Some governments recognise Rangoon as the national capital.[5]
This article contains Burmese script. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Burmese characters.

Burma Listeni/ˈbɜrmə/, officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Listeni/ˌmjɑːnˈmɑr/ (Burmese: ပြည်ထောင်စု သမ္မတ မြန်မာနိုင်ငံတော်, Pyidaunzu Thanmăda Myăma Nainngandaw, pronounced [pjìdà̀uɴzṵ θà̀ɴməda̯ mjəmà nàiɴŋàɴdɔ̀]), is a country in Southeast Asia. The country is bordered by the People's Republic of China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, and the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, with the Andaman Sea defining its southern periphery. One-third of Burma's total perimeter of 1,930 kilometres (1,200 mi) forms an uninterrupted coastline. At 676,578 km2 (261,227 sq mi), Burma is the 40th largest country in the world and the second largest country in Southeast Asia. Burma is also the 24th most populous country in the world with over 58.8 million people.[6]

Burma is home to some of the major civilizations of Southeast Asia including Pyu and Mon.[7] In 9th century, the Burmans of the Kingdom of Nanzhao, entered the upper Irrawaddy valley and established the Pagan Kingdom in 1057. The Burmese language and culture slowly came to intertwine with Pyu and Mon norms. During this period, Pagan Kings adopted Buddhism as the predominant religion of the country. After Pagan's fall in 1287, several warring states emerged. In the second half of the 16th century, the Taungoo Dynasty reunified the country, and founded the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia for a brief period. In the 18th century, the Konbaung Dynasty restored the kingdom, and went to war with all its neighbors. The kingdom fought three wars with the British and was eventually annexed into British Raj.

The British rule brought several enduring social, economic, cultural and administrative changes that completely transformed the once-feudal society. Since independence in 1948, the country has been in one of the longest running civil wars among the country's myriad ethnic groups that remains unresolved. From 1962 to 2011, the country was under military rule and in the process has become one of the least developed nations in the world. The military junta finally dissolved in 2011 following a general election in 2010 and the subsequent inauguration of Burma's civilian government.

Burma is a resource rich country. However, since the reformations of 1962, the Burmese economy has become one of the least developed in the world. Burma's GDP stands at $42.953 billion and grows at an average rate of 2.9% annually - the lowest rate of economic growth in the Greater Mekong Subregion.[8] Among others, the EU, United States and Canada have imposed economic sanctions on Burma.[9] Burma's health care system is one of the worst in the world: World Health Organization ranked Burma at 190th, the worst performing of all countries.

The United Nations and several other organizations have reported consistent and systematic human rights violations in the country, including child labour, human trafficking and a lack of freedom of speech.
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 Geography
2.1 Climate
2.2 Wildlife
3 History
3.1 Prehistory
3.2 Bagan (1044-1287)
3.3 Small kingdoms (1287-1531)
3.4 Taungoo (1531-1752)
3.5 Konbaung (1752-1885)
3.6 Colonial era (1886-1948)
3.7 Democratic republic (1948-1962)
3.8 Rule by military junta (1962-2011)
3.8.1 Ne Win years
3.8.2 Uprising of 1988 and the SPDC
3.8.2.1 2007 Burmese anti-government protest
3.9 Dissolution of SPDC and constitutional referendum (2008-present)
3.10 List of historical capitals
4 Government and politics
5 Human rights
6 Administrative divisions (regions and states)
7 Foreign relations and military
8 Economy
8.1 Agriculture
8.2 Natural resources
8.3 Tourism
9 Demographics
9.1 Ethnic groups
10 Culture
10.1 Language
10.2 Religion
10.3 Units of measure
11 Education
12 Media
13 See also
14 Notes
15 External links

[edit] Etymology
Main article: Names of Burma

"Burma" is derived from the Burmese word "Bamar" (ဗမာ), which in turn is the colloquial form of Myanmar (မြန်မာ) (or Mranma in old Burmese), both of which historically referred to the majority Burmans (or the Bamar). Depending on the register used the pronunciation would be "Bama" (pronounced [bəmà]), or "Myamah" (pronounced [mjəmà]). The name "Burma" has been in use in English since the time of British colonial rule.

In 1989, the military government officially changed the English translations of many colonial-era names, including the name of the country to "Myanmar". This prompted one scholar to coin the term "Myanmarification" to refer to the top-down programme of political and cultural reform in the context of which the renaming was done. The renaming remains a contested issue.[10]

While most of the name changes are closer to their actual Burmese pronunciations, many opposition groups and countries continue to oppose their use in English because they recognise neither the legitimacy of the ruling military government nor its authority to rename the country or towns in English.[11] Various non-Burman ethnic groups choose not to recognise the name because the term Myanmar has historically been used as a label for the majority ethnic group, the Bamar, rather than for the country.[12][13][14]

Various world entities have chosen to accept or reject the name change. The United Nations, of which Myanmar is a member, endorsed the name change five days after its announcement by the government.[15] However, governments of many countries including Australia, Canada, France,[16] the United Kingdom and the United States[17] still refer to the country as "Burma", with varying levels of recognition of the validity of the name change itself.

Others, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the governments of Germany, India, Japan,[18] Russia,[19] Brazil and the People's Republic of China recognise "Myanmar" as the official name.

Media usage is also mixed. In spite of the usage by the United States government, some American news outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The International Herald Tribune and CNN, and international news agencies the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse have adopted the official name "Myanmar". The name "Burma", however, continues to be used by other news outlets, including Voice of America, The Washington Post, the BBC, ITN, most British newspapers, The Times of India and Time. Other sources often use combined terms such as "Burma, also known as Myanmar" or "Myanmar, previously known as Burma". Some media outlets that use "Myanmar" refer to "Burma" as the nation's "colonial name."[20][21][22]

Uncertainty among English speakers about how to pronounce "Myanmar" gives rise to pronunciations such as /ˈmjɑːnmɑr/, /maɪ.ənˈmɑr/, /ˈmiːənmɑr/ and /miːˈænmɑr/. The BBC recommends /mjænˈmɑr/.[23][24][25] The common pronunciation in Burmese is [mjəmà].

On 21 October 2010 some media reported that the government changed the official name to Republic of the Union of Myanmar, which was established as part of the 2008 Constitution.[26] But this information was not confirmed by any Burmese government sources nor any other credible sources till 30 March 2011 - the new name Republic of the Union of Myanmar is in effect as of inauguration of new government.[27] Prior to this, the country was known formally as the Union of Myanmar since 1989. This had itself replaced the previous designation of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma used in the 1974 Constitution, which in turn had replaced the 1947 Constitution adopted following independence, which had referred simply to the Union of Burma.[citation needed]
[edit] Geography
Main article: Geography of Burma
The Irrawaddy Delta, which is approximately 50,400 km2 (19,460 sq mi) in area, is largely used for rice cultivation.[28]
Buddhist monastery on Taung Kalat southwest of Mount Popa

Burma, which has a total area of 678,500 square kilometres (262,000 sq mi), is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia, and the 40th-largest in the world. It lies between latitudes 9° and 29°N, and longitudes 92° and 102°E. As of February 2011, Burma constituted of 14 states and regions, 67 districts, 330 townships, 64 sub‐townships, 377 towns, 2914 Wards, 14220 village tracts and 68290 villages.

It is bordered to the northwest by Chittagong Division of Bangladesh and Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh of India to the northwest. Its north and northeast border straddles the Tibet and Yunnan regions of China for a Sino-Burman border total of 2,185 kilometres (1,358 mi). It is bounded by Laos and Thailand to the southeast. Burma has 1,930 kilometres (1,200 mi) of contiguous coastline along the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea to the southwest and the south, which forms one quarter of its total perimeter.[8]

In the north, the Hengduan Shan mountains form the border with China. Hkakabo Razi, located in Kachin State, at an elevation of 5,881 metres (19,295 ft), is the highest point in Burma.[29] Three mountain ranges, namely the Rakhine Yoma, the Bago Yoma, and the Shan Plateau exist within Burma, all of which run north-to-south from the Himalayas.[30] The mountain chains divide Burma's three river systems, which are the Irrawaddy, Salween (Thanlwin), and the Sittaung rivers.[28] The Irrawaddy River, Burma's longest river, nearly 2,170 kilometres (1,348 mi) long, flows into the Gulf of Martaban. Fertile plains exist in the valleys between the mountain chains.[30] The majority of Burma's population lives in the Irrawaddy valley, which is situated between the Rakhine Yoma and the Shan Plateau.
[edit] Climate
Main article: Climate of Burma
Limestone landscape of Mon State

Much of the country lies between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator. It lies in the monsoon region of Asia, with its coastal regions receiving over 5,000 mm (196.9 in) of rain annually. Annual rainfall in the delta region is approximately 2,500 mm (98.4 in), while average annual rainfall in the Dry Zone, which is located in central Burma, is less than 1,000 mm (39.4 in). Northern regions of the country are the coolest, with average temperatures of 21 °C (70 °F). Coastal and delta regions have an average maximum temperature of 32 °C (89.6 °F).[28]
[edit] Wildlife

The country's slow economic growth has contributed to the preservation of much of its environment and ecosystems. Forests, including dense tropical growth and valuable teak in lower Burma, cover over 49% of the country, including areas of acacia, bamboo, ironwood and michelia champaca. Coconut and betel palm and rubber have been introduced. In the highlands of the north, oak, pine and various rhododendrons cover much of the land.[31] Heavy logging since the new 1995 forestry law went into effect has seriously reduced forest acreage and wildlife habitat.[32] The lands along the coast support all varieties of tropical fruits and once had large areas of mangroves although much of the protective mangroves have disappeared. In much of central Burma (the Dry Zone), vegetation is sparse and stunted.

Typical jungle animals, particularly tigers and leopards, occur sparsely in Burma. In upper Burma, there are rhinoceros, wild buffalo, wild boars, deer, antelope, and elephants, which are also tamed or bred in captivity for use as work animals, particularly in the lumber industry. Smaller mammals are also numerous, ranging from gibbons and monkeys to flying foxes and tapirs. The abundance of birds is notable with over 800 species, including parrots, peafowl, pheasants, crows, herons, and paddybirds. Among reptile species there are crocodiles, geckos, cobras, Burmese pythons, and turtles. Hundreds of species of freshwater fish are wide-ranging, plentiful and are very important food sources.[33] For a list of protected areas, see List of protected areas in Burma.
[edit] History
Main article: History of Burma
This section may be too long and overly detailed.
Please consider summarizing the material while citing sources as needed.
[edit] Prehistory
Main article: Prehistory of Burma

Archaeological evidence suggests that civilisation in the region which now forms Burma is quite old. The oldest archaeological find was of cave paintings and a Holocene assemblage in a hunter-gatherer cave site in Padah Lin in Shan State.[34][35]

The Mon people are thought to be the earliest group to migrate into the lower Irrawaddy valley, and by the mid-10th century BC were dominant in southern Burma.[36]

The Tibeto-Burman speaking Pyu arrived later in the 1st century BC, and established several city states - of which Sri Ksetra was the most powerful - in central Irrawaddy valley. The Mon and Pyu kingdoms were an active overland trade route between India and China. The Pyu kingdoms entered a period of rapid decline in early 9th century AD when the powerful kingdom of Nanzhao (in present-day Yunnan) invaded the Irrawaddy valley several times.
[edit] Bagan (1044-1287)
Main article: Pagan Kingdom

Tibeto-Burman speaking Burmans, or the Bamar, began migrating to the Irrawaddy valley from present-day Yunnan's Nanzhao kingdom starting in 7th century AD. Filling the power gap left by the Pyu, the Burmans established a small kingdom centred in Bagan in 849. But it was not until the reign of King Anawrahta (1044-1077) that Bagan's influence expanded throughout much of present-day Burma.

After Anawrahta's capture of the Mon capital of Thaton in 1057, the Burmans adopted Theravada Buddhism from the Mons. The Burmese script was created, based on the Mon script, during the reign of King Kyanzittha (1084-1112). Prosperous from trade, Bagan kings built many magnificent temples and pagodas throughout the country - many of which can still be seen today.

Bagan's power slowly waned in the 13th century. Kublai Khan's Mongol forces invaded northern Burma starting in 1277, and sacked Bagan city itself in 1287. Bagan's over two century reign of Irrawaddy valley and its periphery was over.
Pagodas and temples in present-day Bagan, the capital of the Bagan Kingdom
[edit] Small kingdoms (1287-1531)

The Mongols could not stay for long in the searing Irrawaddy valley. But the Tai-Shan people from Yunnan who came down with the Mongols fanned out to the Irrawaddy valley, Shan states, Laos, Siam and Assam, and became powerful players in Southeast Asia.

The Bagan empire was irreparably broken up into several small kingdoms:

The Burman kingdom of Ava or Innwa (1364-1555), the successor state to three smaller kingdoms founded by Burmanised Shan kings, controlling Upper Burma (without the Shan states)
The Mon kingdom of Hanthawady Pegu or Bago (1287-1540), founded by a Mon-ised Shan King Wareru (1287-1306), controlling Lower Burma (without Taninthayi).
The Rakhine kingdom of Mrauk U (1434-1784), in the west.
Several Shan states in the Shan hills in the east and the Kachin Hills in the north while the north-western frontier of present Chin hills still disconnected yet.

This period was characterised by constant warfare between Ava and Bago, and to a lesser extent, Ava and the Shans. Ava briefly controlled Rakhine (1379-1430) and came close to defeating Bago a few times, but could never quite reassemble the lost empire. Nevertheless, Burmese culture entered a golden age. Hanthawady Bago prospered. Bago's Queen Shin Saw Bu (1453-1472) raised the gilded Shwedagon Pagoda to its present height.

By the late-15th century, constant warfare had left Ava greatly weakened. Its peripheral areas became either independent or autonomous. In 1486, King Minkyinyo (1486-1531) of Taungoo broke away from Ava and established a small independent kingdom. In 1527, Mohnyin (Shan: Mong Yang) Shans finally captured Ava, upsetting the delicate power balance that had existed for nearly two centuries. The Shans would rule Upper Burma until 1555.
Burmese-Siamese War of 1548-49. Siam defeated the first Burmese invasion.
[edit] Taungoo (1531-1752)
Main article: Taungoo Dynasty

Reinforced by fleeing Burmans from Ava, the minor Burman Kingdom of Taungoo under its young, ambitious king Tabinshwehti (1531-1551) defeated the more powerful Mon kingdom at Bago, reunifying all of Lower Burma by 1540. Tabinshwehti's successor King Bayinnaung (1551-1581) would go on to conquer Manipur (1556), Shan states (1557), Chiang Mai (1557), Ayutthaya (1564, 1569) and Lan Xang (1574), bringing most of western South East Asia under his rule. Preparing to invade Rakhine State, a maritime power controlling the entire coastline west of Rakhine Yoma, up to Chittagong province in Bengal.

Bayinnaung's massive empire unravelled soon after his death in 1581. Ayutthaya Siamese had driven out the Burmese by 1593 and went on to take Tanintharyi. In 1599, Rakhine forces aided by Portuguese mercenaries sacked the kingdom's capital Bago. Chief Portuguese mercenary Filipe de Brito e Nicote (Burmese: Nga Zinga) promptly rebelled against his Rakhine masters and established Portuguese rule in Thanlyin (Syriam), then the most important seaport in Burma. The country was in chaos.

The Burmese under King Anaukpetlun (1605-1628) regrouped and defeated the Portuguese in 1611. Anaukpetlun reestablished a smaller reconstituted kingdom based in Ava covering Upper Burma, Lower Burma and Shan states (but without Rakhine or Taninthayi). After the reign of King Thalun (1629-1648), who rebuilt the war-torn country, the kingdom experienced a slow and steady decline for the next 100 years. The Mons successfully rebelled starting in 1740 with French help and Siamese encouragement, broke away Lower Burma by 1747, and finally put an end to the House of Taungoo in 1752 when they took Ava.
[edit] Konbaung (1752-1885)
Main article: Konbaung Dynasty
A British 1825 lithograph of Shwedagon Pagoda reveals early British occupation in Burma during the First Anglo-Burmese War.

King Alaungpaya (1752-1760), established the Konbaung Dynasty in Shwebo in 1752.[37] He founded Yangon in 1755. By his death in 1760, Alaungpaya had reunified the country. In 1767, King Hsinbyushin (1763-1777) sacked Ayutthya. The Qing Dynasty of China invaded four times from 1765 to 1769 without success. The Chinese invasions allowed the new Siamese kingdom based in Bangkok to repel the Burmese out of Siam by the late 1770s.

King Bodawpaya (1782-1819) failed repeatedly to reconquer Siam in 1780s and 1790s. Bodawpaya did manage to capture the western kingdom of Rakhine State, which had been largely independent since the fall of Bagan, in 1784. Bodawpaya also formally annexed Manipur, a rebellion-prone protectorate, in 1813.

King Bagyidaw's (1819-1837) general Maha Bandula put down a rebellion in Manipur in 1819 and captured then independent kingdom of Assam in 1819 (again in 1821). The new conquests brought the Burmese adjacent to the British India. The British defeated the Burmese in the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824-1826). Burma had to cede Assam, Manipur, Rakhine State (Arakan) and Tanintharyi (Tenessarim).

In 1852, the British attacked a much weakened Burma during a Burmese palace power struggle. After the Second Anglo-Burmese War, which lasted 3 months, the British had captured the remaining coastal provinces: Ayeyarwady, Yangon and Bago, naming the territories as Lower Burma.

King Mindon (1853-1878) founded Mandalay in 1859 and made it his capital. He skilfully navigated the growing threats posed by the competing interests of Britain and France. In the process, Mindon had to renounce Kayah (Karenni) states in 1875. His successor, King Thibaw (1878-1885), was largely ineffectual. In 1885, the British, alarmed by the French conquest of neighbouring Laos, occupied Upper Burma. The Third Anglo-Burmes

Burundi
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Republic of Burundi
Republika y'u Burundi (Kirundi)
République du Burundi (French)

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Ubumwe, Ibikorwa, Iterambere" (Kirundi)
"Unité, Travail, Progrès" (French)
"Unity, Work, Progress" 1
Anthem: Burundi bwacu
(Our Burundi)
Location of Burundi (dark blue)- in Africa (light blue & dark grey)- in the African Union (light blue) — [Legend]
Location of Burundi (dark blue)

- in Africa (light blue & dark grey)
- in the African Union (light blue) — [Legend]
Capital
(and largest city) Bujumbura
3°30′S 30°00′E
Official language(s) Kirundi, French
Vehicular languages Kirundi, Swahili
Demonym Burundian
Government Republic
- President Pierre Nkurunziza
- 1st Vice President Terence Sinunguruza
- 2nd Vice President Gervais Rufyikiri
Independence from Belgium
- Date July 1, 1962
Area
- Total 27,834 km2 (145th)
10,745 sq mi
- Water (%) 7.8
Population
- 2011 estimate 10,216,190[1] (89th)
- 2008 census 8,038,618[2]
- Density 367.0/km2 (45th)
836.5/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $3.397 billion[3]
- Per capita $410[3]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $1.489 billion[3]
- Per capita $180[3]
Gini (1998) 42.4[4] (medium)
HDI (2010) increase 0.282 (low) (166th)
Currency Burundi franc (FBu) (BIF)
Time zone CAT (UTC+2)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code BI
Internet TLD .bi
Calling code 257
1 Before 1966, "Ganza Sabwa".
2 Estimate is based on regression; other PPP figures are extrapolated from the latest International Comparison Program for benchmark estimates.

Burundi (pronounced [buˈɾundi]), officially the Republic of Burundi (Kirundi: Republika y'u Burundi; French: République du Burundi), is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its size is just under 28,000 km² with an estimated population of over 10,000,000. Its capital is Bujumbura. Although the country is landlocked, much of the southwestern border is adjacent to Lake Tanganyika.

The Twa, Tutsi, and Hutu peoples have occupied Burundi since the country's formation five centuries ago. Burundi was ruled as a kingdom by the Tutsi for over two hundred years. However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, Germany and Belgium occupied the region, and Burundi and Rwanda became a European colony known as Ruanda-Urundi.

Political unrest occurred throughout the region because of social differences between the Tutsi and Hutu, provoking civil war in Burundi throughout the middle twentieth century. Presently, Burundi is governed as a presidential representative democratic republic.

Burundi is one of the ten poorest countries in the world. It has one of the lowest per capita GDP of any nation in the world.[5] Burundi has a low gross domestic product largely due to civil wars, corruption, poor access to education, and the effects of HIV/AIDS[citation needed]. Burundi is densely populated, with substantial emigration. Cobalt and copper are among Burundi's natural resources. Some of Burundi's main exports include coffee and sugar.
Contents
[hide]

1 History
1.1 European conquest
1.2 Independence and civil war
1.3 First attempt at democracy
1.4 Peace agreements
1.5 UN involvement
1.6 2006 to present
2 Politics
3 Provinces, communes and collines
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
6.1 Religion
6.2 Health
7 Culture
7.1 Education
8 See also
9 Notes
10 References
11 Further reading
12 External links

[edit] History
Main article: History of Burundi
[edit] European conquest

After its defeat in World War I, Germany handed control of a section of the former German East Africa to Belgium.[6] On October 20, 1924, this land, which consisted of modern-day Rwanda and Burundi, became a Belgian League of Nations mandate territory, in practical terms part of the Belgian colonial empire, known as Ruanda-Urundi. However, the Belgians allowed Ruanda-Urundi to continue its kingship dynasty.[1][7]

Following World War II, Ruanda-Urundi was a United Nations Trust Territory under Belgian administrative authority.[1] During the 1940s, a series of policies caused divisions throughout the country. On October 4, 1943, powers were split in the legislative division of Burundi's government between chiefdoms and lower chiefdoms. Chiefdoms were in charge of land, and lower sub-chiefdoms were established. Native authorities also had powers.[7] In 1948, Belgium allowed the region to form political parties.[6] These factions would be one of the main influences for Burundi's independence from Belgium.
[edit] Independence and civil war

On January 20, 1959, Burundi's ruler Mwami Mwambutsa IV requested from the Belgian Minister of Colonies a separation of Burundi and Rwanda and a dissolution of Ruanda-Urundi.[8] Six months later, political parties were formed to bring attention to Burundi's independence from Europe and to separate Rwanda from Burundi.[8] The first of these political parties was the Union for National Progress (UPRONA).

Burundi's push for independence was influenced to some extent by the instability and ethnic persecution that occurred in Rwanda. In November 1959, Rwandese Hutu attacked the Tutsi and massacred them by the thousands. Many Tutsi escaped to Uganda and Burundi to find freedom from persecution. [9] The Hutu took power in Rwanda by winning Belgian-run elections in 1960.[10][11]

The UPRONA, a multi-ethnic unity party led by Prince Louis Rwagasore and the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) became the most prominent organizations throughout Burundi-Urundi. After UPRONA's victory in legislative elections, Prince Rwagasore was assassinated on October 13 in 1961, allegedly with the help of the Belgian colonial administration.[6][12]

The country claimed independence on July 1, 1962,[6] and legally changed its name from Ruanda-Urundi to Burundi.[13] Mwami Mwambutsa IV was named king.[10] On September 18, 1962, just over two months after declaring independence from Belgium, Burundi joined the United Nations.[14]

Upon Burundi's independence, a constitutional monarchy was established and both Hutus and Tutsis were represented in parliament. When King Mwambutsa appointed a Tutsi prime minister, the Hutus, who were the majority in parliament, felt cheated. An ensuing attempted coup by the Hutu-dominated police was ruthlessly suppressed by the Army, then led by a Tutsi officer, Captain Michel Micombero.[15] When the next Hutu Prime Minister, Pierre Ngendandumwe, was assassinated in 1965, Hutus engaged in a series of attacks on Tutsi, which the government repressed ruthlessly, fearing the killings of Tutsis by Hutus, who wanted to follow the "Model Rwanda". The Burundi police and military were now brought under the control of the Tutsi.

Mwambutsa was deposed in 1966 by his son, Prince Ntare V, who claimed the throne. That same year, Tutsi Prime Minister Captain Michel Micombero deposed Ntare, abolished the monarchy, and declared the nation a republic, though it was in effect a military regime.[16]

In 1972, an all Hutu organization known as Umugambwe w'Abakozi b'Uburundi or Burundi Workers' Party (UBU) organized and carried out systematic attacks on ethnic Tutsi with the declared intent of annihilating the whole group.[17] The military regime responded with large-scale reprisals targeting Hutus. The total number of casualties was never established, but estimates for the Tutsi genocide and the reprisals on the Hutus together are said to exceed 100,000 at the very least, with a similar number of asylum-seekers in Tanzania and Rwanda. In 1976, another Tutsi, Colonel Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, led a bloodless coup and promoted various reforms. A new constitution was promulgated in 1981, keeping Burundi a one-party state.[15] In August 1984, Bagaza was elected head of state. During his tenure, Bagaza suppressed political opponents and religious freedoms.

Major Pierre Buyoya, a Tutsi, overthrew Bagaza in 1987 and suspended the constitution, dissolved the political parties, and reinstated military rule under the Military Committee for National Salvation (CSMN).[15] Anti-Tutsi ethnic propaganda disseminated by the remnants of the 1972 UBU, which had re-organized as PALIPEHUTU in 1981, led to killings of Tutsi peasants in the northern communes of Ntega and Marangara in August 1988. The death toll was put at 5,000 by the government, though some international NGOs believe this understates the losses.

The new regime did not unleash harsh reprisals (as in 1972), but the trust it gained was soon eroded when it decreed an amnesty for those who had called for, carried out, and taken credit for the killings on ethnic grounds, which amounts to genocide in international law. Many analysts consider this period as the beginning of the "culture of impunity." But other analysts consider the "culture of impunity" to have had started from 1965 and 1972, when the revolt of a small and identifiable number of Hutus unleashed massive killings of Tutsis on the whole territory.

In the aftermath of the killings, a group of Hutu intellectuals wrote an open letter to Pierre Buyoya, asking for more representation of the Hutus in the administration. The signatories were sent to prison. Nevertheless, only few weeks later, Buyoya appointed a new government with an equal number of Hutu and Tutsi, and a Hutu, Adrien Sibomana, as Prime Minister. Buyoya also created a commission in charge of addressing the issue of national unity.[15] In 1992, a new constitution that provided for multi-party system was promulgated,[15] and a civil war sprang up from Burundi's core.

An estimated 250,000 people died between 1962 and 1993.[18] Since Burundi's independence in 1962, there have been two events called genocides in the country. The 1972 mass killings of Hutus by the Tutsi-dominated army,[19] and the 1993 mass killings of Tutsis by the Hutu populace are both described as genocide in the final report of the International Commission of Inquiry for Burundi presented to the United Nations Security Council in 2002.[20]
[edit] First attempt at democracy

In June 1993, Melchior Ndadaye, leader of the Hutu-dominated Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU), won the first democratic election and became the first Hutu head of the state, leading a pro-Hutu government. However, in October 1993, Tutsi soldiers assassinated Ndadaye, which started further years of violence between Hutus and Tutsis. It is estimated that some 300,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the years following the assassination.[21]

In early 1994, the parliament elected Cyprien Ntaryamira, also a Hutu, to the office of president. He and the president of Rwanda were killed together when their airplane was shot down. More refugees started fleeing to Rwanda. Another Hutu, parliament speaker Sylvestre Ntibantunganya was appointed as president in October 1994. Within months, a wave of ethnic violence began, starting with the massacre of Hutu refugees in the capital, Bujumbura, and the withdrawal of the mainly Tutsi Union for National Progress from the government and parliament.

In 1996, Pierre Buyoya, a Tutsi, took power through a coup d'état. He suspended the constitution and was sworn in as president in 1998. In response to the rebel attacks, the population was forced by the government to relocate to refugee camps.[22] Under his rule, long peace talks started, mediated by South Africa. Both parties signed agreements in Arusha, Tanzania and Pretoria, South Africa, to share power in Burundi. The agreements took four years to plan, and on August 28, 2000, a transitional government for Burundi was planned as a part of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement. The transitional government was placed on a trial basis for five years. After several aborted cease-fires, a 2001 peace plan and power sharing agreement has been relatively successful. A cease-fire was signed in 2003 between the Tutsi-controlled Burundian government and the largest Hutu rebel group, CNDD-FDD (National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy).[23]

In 2003, FRODEBU Hutu leader Domitien Ndayizeye was elected president.[24] In early 2005, ethnic quotas were formed for determining positions in Burundi's government. Throughout the year, elections for parliamentary and president occurred.[25][dead link] To this day, conflicts between the Hutu and the Tutsi continue. As of 2008, the Burundian government is talking with the Hutu-led Palipehutu-National Liberation Forces (NLF)[26] to bring peace to the country.[27] In 2005, Pierre Nkurunziza, once a leader of a Hutu rebel group, was elected to president.
[edit] Peace agreements

Following the request of the United Nation Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to intervene in the humanitarian crisis, African leaders began a series of peace talks between the warring factions. Talks were initiated under the aegis of former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere in 1995; following his death, South African President Nelson Mandela took the helm. As the talks progressed, South African President Thabo Mbeki and United States President Bill Clinton would also lend their respective weight.

The peace talks took the form of Track I mediations. This method of negotiation can be defined as a form of diplomacy involving governmental or intergovernmental representatives, who may use their positive reputations, mediation or the "carrot and stick" method as a means of obtaining or forcing an outcome, frequently along the lines of "bargaining" or "win-lose".[28]

The main objective framing the talks was a structural transformation of the Burundian government and military as a way to bridge the ethnic gap between the Tutsis and Hutus. This would be accomplished in two ways. First, a transitional power sharing government would be established, with the president holding office for three year terms. The second objective involved a restructuring of the military, where the two groups would be represented equally.

As the protracted nature of the peace talks demonstrated, there were several obstacles facing the mediators and negotiating parties. First, the Burundian officials perceived the goals as "unrealistic" and viewed the treaty as ambiguous, contradictory and confusing. Second, and perhaps most importantly, the Burundians believed the treaty would be irrelevant without an accompanying cease fire. This would require separate and direct talks with the rebel groups. The main Hutu party was skeptical of the offer of a power-sharing government; they alleged that they were deceived by the Tutsis in past agreements.[29]

In 2000, the Burundian President signed the treaty, as well as 13 of the 19 warring Hutu and Tutsi factions. However, disagreements persisted over which group would preside over the nascent government and when the ceasefire would commence. The spoilers of the peace talks were the hardliner Tutsi and Hutu groups who refused to sign the accord; as a result, violence intensified. Three years later at a summit of African leaders in Tanzania, the Burundian president and the main opposition Hutu group signed an accord to end the conflict; the signatory members were granted ministerial posts within the government. However, smaller militant Hutu groups - such as the Forces for National Liberation - remained active.
[edit] UN involvement

Between 1993 and 2003, many rounds of peace talks, overseen by regional leaders in Tanzania, South Africa, and Uganda, gradually established power-sharing agreements to satisfy the majority of the contending groups. African Union (AU) peacekeepers were deployed to help oversee the installation of a transitional government. In June 2004, the UN stepped in and took over peacekeeping responsibilities as a signal of growing international support for the already markedly advanced peace process in Burundi.[30]

The mission's mandate, under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, has been to monitor cease-fire; carry out disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of former combatants; support humanitarian assistance and refugee and IDP return; assist with elections; protect international staff and Burundian civilians; monitor Burundi's troublesome borders including halting illicit arms flows; and assist in carrying out institutional reforms including those of the Constitution, judiciary, armed forces, and police. The mission has been allotted 5,650 military personnel, 120 civilian police, and about 1,000 international and local civilian personnel. The mission has been functioning well and has greatly benefited from the existence of a fairly functional transitional government, which is in the process of transitioning into a more legitimate, elected entity.[30]

The main difficulty the operation faced at first was the continued resistance to the peace process by the last Tutsi nationalist rebel group. This organization continued its violent conflict on the outskirts of the capital despite the UN's presence. By June 2005, the group had stopped fighting and was brought back into the political process. All political parties have accepted a formula for inter-ethnic power-sharing, which means no political party can gain access to government offices unless it is ethnically integrated.[30]

The focus of the UN's mission had been to enshrine the power-sharing arrangements in a popularly voted constitution, so that elections may be held and a new government installed. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration were done in tandem with elections preparations. In February 2005, the Constitution was approved with over 90% of the popular vote. In May, June, and August 2005, three separate elections were also held at the local level for the Parliament and the presidency.

While there are still some difficulties with refugee returns and securing adequate food supplies for the war-weary population, the mission has overall managed to win the trust and confidence of a majority of the formerly warring leaders as well as the population at large.[30] It has also been involved with several "quick impact" projects including rehabilitating and building schools, orphanages, health clinics, and rebuilding infrastructure such as water lines.
[edit] 2006 to present

Reconstruction efforts in Burundi started to practically take effect after 2006. The UN shut down its peacekeeping mission and re-focused on helping with reconstruction.[31] Toward achieving economic reconstruction, Rwanda, D.R.Congo and Burundi relaunched the regional economic bloc: The Great Lakes Countries Economic Community.[31] In addition, Burundi, along with Rwanda, joined the East African Community in 2007.

However, the terms of the September 2006 Ceasefire between the government and the last remaining armed opposition group, the FLN (Forces for National Liberation, also called NLF or FROLINA), were not totally implemented, and senior FLN members subsequently left the truce monitoring team, claiming that their security was threatened.[32] In September 2007, rival FLN factions clashed in the capital, killing 20 fighters and causing residents to begin fleeing. Rebel raids were reported in other parts of the country.[31] The rebel factions disagreed with the government over disarmament and the release of political prisoners.[33] In late 2007 and early 2008, FLN combatants attacked government-protected camps where former combatants now live, in search of peace. The homes of rural residents were also pillaged.[33]

The 2007 report[33] of Amnesty International mentions many areas where improvement is required. Civilians are victims of repeated acts of violence done by the FLN. The latter also recruits child soldiers. The rate of violence against women is high. Perpetrators regularly escape prosecution and punishment by the state. There is an urgent need for reform of the judicial system. Genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity remain unpunished. The establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Special Tribunal for investigation and prosecution has not yet been implemented. The freedom of expression is limited, journalists are frequently arrested for carrying out legitimate professional activities. A total of 38,087 Burundian refugees have been repatriated between January and November 2007.

In late March 2008, the FLN sought for the parliament to adopt a law guaranteeing them 'provisional immunity' from arrest. This would cover ordinary crimes, but not grave violations of international humanitarian law like war crimes or crimes against humanity .[33] Even though the government has granted this in the past to people, the FLN is unable to obtain the provisional immunity.

On April 17, 2008, the FLN bombarded Bujumbura. The Burundian army fought back and the FLN suffered heavy losses. A new ceasefire was signed on May 26, 2008. In August 2008, President Nkurunziza met with the FLN leader Agathon Rwasa, with the mediation of Charles Nqakula, South Africa's Minister for Safety and Security. This was the first direct meeting since June 2007. Both agree to meet twice a week to establish a commission to resolve any disputes that might arise during the peace negotiations.[34]

Refugee camps are now closing down, and 450,000 refugees have returned. The economy of the country is shattered - Burundi has the lowest per capita gross income in the world. With the return of refugees, amongst others, property conflicts have started.
[edit] Po

Burundi
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Republic of Burundi
Republika y'u Burundi (Kirundi)
République du Burundi (French)

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Ubumwe, Ibikorwa, Iterambere" (Kirundi)
"Unité, Travail, Progrès" (French)
"Unity, Work, Progress" 1
Anthem: Burundi bwacu
(Our Burundi)
Location of Burundi (dark blue)- in Africa (light blue & dark grey)- in the African Union (light blue) — [Legend]
Location of Burundi (dark blue)

- in Africa (light blue & dark grey)
- in the African Union (light blue) — [Legend]
Capital
(and largest city) Bujumbura
3°30′S 30°00′E
Official language(s) Kirundi, French
Vehicular languages Kirundi, Swahili
Demonym Burundian
Government Republic
- President Pierre Nkurunziza
- 1st Vice President Terence Sinunguruza
- 2nd Vice President Gervais Rufyikiri
Independence from Belgium
- Date July 1, 1962
Area
- Total 27,834 km2 (145th)
10,745 sq mi
- Water (%) 7.8
Population
- 2011 estimate 10,216,190[1] (89th)
- 2008 census 8,038,618[2]
- Density 367.0/km2 (45th)
836.5/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $3.397 billion[3]
- Per capita $410[3]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $1.489 billion[3]
- Per capita $180[3]
Gini (1998) 42.4[4] (medium)
HDI (2010) increase 0.282 (low) (166th)
Currency Burundi franc (FBu) (BIF)
Time zone CAT (UTC+2)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code BI
Internet TLD .bi
Calling code 257
1 Before 1966, "Ganza Sabwa".
2 Estimate is based on regression; other PPP figures are extrapolated from the latest International Comparison Program for benchmark estimates.

Burundi (pronounced [buˈɾundi]), officially the Republic of Burundi (Kirundi: Republika y'u Burundi; French: République du Burundi), is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its size is just under 28,000 km² with an estimated population of over 10,000,000. Its capital is Bujumbura. Although the country is landlocked, much of the southwestern border is adjacent to Lake Tanganyika.

The Twa, Tutsi, and Hutu peoples have occupied Burundi since the country's formation five centuries ago. Burundi was ruled as a kingdom by the Tutsi for over two hundred years. However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, Germany and Belgium occupied the region, and Burundi and Rwanda became a European colony known as Ruanda-Urundi.

Political unrest occurred throughout the region because of social differences between the Tutsi and Hutu, provoking civil war in Burundi throughout the middle twentieth century. Presently, Burundi is governed as a presidential representative democratic republic.

Burundi is one of the ten poorest countries in the world. It has one of the lowest per capita GDP of any nation in the world.[5] Burundi has a low gross domestic product largely due to civil wars, corruption, poor access to education, and the effects of HIV/AIDS[citation needed]. Burundi is densely populated, with substantial emigration. Cobalt and copper are among Burundi's natural resources. Some of Burundi's main exports include coffee and sugar.
Contents
[hide]

1 History
1.1 European conquest
1.2 Independence and civil war
1.3 First attempt at democracy
1.4 Peace agreements
1.5 UN involvement
1.6 2006 to present
2 Politics
3 Provinces, communes and collines
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
6.1 Religion
6.2 Health
7 Culture
7.1 Education
8 See also
9 Notes
10 References
11 Further reading
12 External links

[edit] History
Main article: History of Burundi
[edit] European conquest

After its defeat in World War I, Germany handed control of a section of the former German East Africa to Belgium.[6] On October 20, 1924, this land, which consisted of modern-day Rwanda and Burundi, became a Belgian League of Nations mandate territory, in practical terms part of the Belgian colonial empire, known as Ruanda-Urundi. However, the Belgians allowed Ruanda-Urundi to continue its kingship dynasty.[1][7]

Following World War II, Ruanda-Urundi was a United Nations Trust Territory under Belgian administrative authority.[1] During the 1940s, a series of policies caused divisions throughout the country. On October 4, 1943, powers were split in the legislative division of Burundi's government between chiefdoms and lower chiefdoms. Chiefdoms were in charge of land, and lower sub-chiefdoms were established. Native authorities also had powers.[7] In 1948, Belgium allowed the region to form political parties.[6] These factions would be one of the main influences for Burundi's independence from Belgium.
[edit] Independence and civil war

On January 20, 1959, Burundi's ruler Mwami Mwambutsa IV requested from the Belgian Minister of Colonies a separation of Burundi and Rwanda and a dissolution of Ruanda-Urundi.[8] Six months later, political parties were formed to bring attention to Burundi's independence from Europe and to separate Rwanda from Burundi.[8] The first of these political parties was the Union for National Progress (UPRONA).

Burundi's push for independence was influenced to some extent by the instability and ethnic persecution that occurred in Rwanda. In November 1959, Rwandese Hutu attacked the Tutsi and massacred them by the thousands. Many Tutsi escaped to Uganda and Burundi to find freedom from persecution. [9] The Hutu took power in Rwanda by winning Belgian-run elections in 1960.[10][11]

The UPRONA, a multi-ethnic unity party led by Prince Louis Rwagasore and the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) became the most prominent organizations throughout Burundi-Urundi. After UPRONA's victory in legislative elections, Prince Rwagasore was assassinated on October 13 in 1961, allegedly with the help of the Belgian colonial administration.[6][12]

The country claimed independence on July 1, 1962,[6] and legally changed its name from Ruanda-Urundi to Burundi.[13] Mwami Mwambutsa IV was named king.[10] On September 18, 1962, just over two months after declaring independence from Belgium, Burundi joined the United Nations.[14]

Upon Burundi's independence, a constitutional monarchy was established and both Hutus and Tutsis were represented in parliament. When King Mwambutsa appointed a Tutsi prime minister, the Hutus, who were the majority in parliament, felt cheated. An ensuing attempted coup by the Hutu-dominated police was ruthlessly suppressed by the Army, then led by a Tutsi officer, Captain Michel Micombero.[15] When the next Hutu Prime Minister, Pierre Ngendandumwe, was assassinated in 1965, Hutus engaged in a series of attacks on Tutsi, which the government repressed ruthlessly, fearing the killings of Tutsis by Hutus, who wanted to follow the "Model Rwanda". The Burundi police and military were now brought under the control of the Tutsi.

Mwambutsa was deposed in 1966 by his son, Prince Ntare V, who claimed the throne. That same year, Tutsi Prime Minister Captain Michel Micombero deposed Ntare, abolished the monarchy, and declared the nation a republic, though it was in effect a military regime.[16]

In 1972, an all Hutu organization known as Umugambwe w'Abakozi b'Uburundi or Burundi Workers' Party (UBU) organized and carried out systematic attacks on ethnic Tutsi with the declared intent of annihilating the whole group.[17] The military regime responded with large-scale reprisals targeting Hutus. The total number of casualties was never established, but estimates for the Tutsi genocide and the reprisals on the Hutus together are said to exceed 100,000 at the very least, with a similar number of asylum-seekers in Tanzania and Rwanda. In 1976, another Tutsi, Colonel Jean-Baptiste Bagaza, led a bloodless coup and promoted various reforms. A new constitution was promulgated in 1981, keeping Burundi a one-party state.[15] In August 1984, Bagaza was elected head of state. During his tenure, Bagaza suppressed political opponents and religious freedoms.

Major Pierre Buyoya, a Tutsi, overthrew Bagaza in 1987 and suspended the constitution, dissolved the political parties, and reinstated military rule under the Military Committee for National Salvation (CSMN).[15] Anti-Tutsi ethnic propaganda disseminated by the remnants of the 1972 UBU, which had re-organized as PALIPEHUTU in 1981, led to killings of Tutsi peasants in the northern communes of Ntega and Marangara in August 1988. The death toll was put at 5,000 by the government, though some international NGOs believe this understates the losses.

The new regime did not unleash harsh reprisals (as in 1972), but the trust it gained was soon eroded when it decreed an amnesty for those who had called for, carried out, and taken credit for the killings on ethnic grounds, which amounts to genocide in international law. Many analysts consider this period as the beginning of the "culture of impunity." But other analysts consider the "culture of impunity" to have had started from 1965 and 1972, when the revolt of a small and identifiable number of Hutus unleashed massive killings of Tutsis on the whole territory.

In the aftermath of the killings, a group of Hutu intellectuals wrote an open letter to Pierre Buyoya, asking for more representation of the Hutus in the administration. The signatories were sent to prison. Nevertheless, only few weeks later, Buyoya appointed a new government with an equal number of Hutu and Tutsi, and a Hutu, Adrien Sibomana, as Prime Minister. Buyoya also created a commission in charge of addressing the issue of national unity.[15] In 1992, a new constitution that provided for multi-party system was promulgated,[15] and a civil war sprang up from Burundi's core.

An estimated 250,000 people died between 1962 and 1993.[18] Since Burundi's independence in 1962, there have been two events called genocides in the country. The 1972 mass killings of Hutus by the Tutsi-dominated army,[19] and the 1993 mass killings of Tutsis by the Hutu populace are both described as genocide in the final report of the International Commission of Inquiry for Burundi presented to the United Nations Security Council in 2002.[20]
[edit] First attempt at democracy

In June 1993, Melchior Ndadaye, leader of the Hutu-dominated Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU), won the first democratic election and became the first Hutu head of the state, leading a pro-Hutu government. However, in October 1993, Tutsi soldiers assassinated Ndadaye, which started further years of violence between Hutus and Tutsis. It is estimated that some 300,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the years following the assassination.[21]

In early 1994, the parliament elected Cyprien Ntaryamira, also a Hutu, to the office of president. He and the president of Rwanda were killed together when their airplane was shot down. More refugees started fleeing to Rwanda. Another Hutu, parliament speaker Sylvestre Ntibantunganya was appointed as president in October 1994. Within months, a wave of ethnic violence began, starting with the massacre of Hutu refugees in the capital, Bujumbura, and the withdrawal of the mainly Tutsi Union for National Progress from the government and parliament.

In 1996, Pierre Buyoya, a Tutsi, took power through a coup d'état. He suspended the constitution and was sworn in as president in 1998. In response to the rebel attacks, the population was forced by the government to relocate to refugee camps.[22] Under his rule, long peace talks started, mediated by South Africa. Both parties signed agreements in Arusha, Tanzania and Pretoria, South Africa, to share power in Burundi. The agreements took four years to plan, and on August 28, 2000, a transitional government for Burundi was planned as a part of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement. The transitional government was placed on a trial basis for five years. After several aborted cease-fires, a 2001 peace plan and power sharing agreement has been relatively successful. A cease-fire was signed in 2003 between the Tutsi-controlled Burundian government and the largest Hutu rebel group, CNDD-FDD (National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy).[23]

In 2003, FRODEBU Hutu leader Domitien Ndayizeye was elected president.[24] In early 2005, ethnic quotas were formed for determining positions in Burundi's government. Throughout the year, elections for parliamentary and president occurred.[25][dead link] To this day, conflicts between the Hutu and the Tutsi continue. As of 2008, the Burundian government is talking with the Hutu-led Palipehutu-National Liberation Forces (NLF)[26] to bring peace to the country.[27] In 2005, Pierre Nkurunziza, once a leader of a Hutu rebel group, was elected to president.
[edit] Peace agreements

Following the request of the United Nation Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to intervene in the humanitarian crisis, African leaders began a series of peace talks between the warring factions. Talks were initiated under the aegis of former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere in 1995; following his death, South African President Nelson Mandela took the helm. As the talks progressed, South African President Thabo Mbeki and United States President Bill Clinton would also lend their respective weight.

The peace talks took the form of Track I mediations. This method of negotiation can be defined as a form of diplomacy involving governmental or intergovernmental representatives, who may use their positive reputations, mediation or the "carrot and stick" method as a means of obtaining or forcing an outcome, frequently along the lines of "bargaining" or "win-lose".[28]

The main objective framing the talks was a structural transformation of the Burundian government and military as a way to bridge the ethnic gap between the Tutsis and Hutus. This would be accomplished in two ways. First, a transitional power sharing government would be established, with the president holding office for three year terms. The second objective involved a restructuring of the military, where the two groups would be represented equally.

As the protracted nature of the peace talks demonstrated, there were several obstacles facing the mediators and negotiating parties. First, the Burundian officials perceived the goals as "unrealistic" and viewed the treaty as ambiguous, contradictory and confusing. Second, and perhaps most importantly, the Burundians believed the treaty would be irrelevant without an accompanying cease fire. This would require separate and direct talks with the rebel groups. The main Hutu party was skeptical of the offer of a power-sharing government; they alleged that they were deceived by the Tutsis in past agreements.[29]

In 2000, the Burundian President signed the treaty, as well as 13 of the 19 warring Hutu and Tutsi factions. However, disagreements persisted over which group would preside over the nascent government and when the ceasefire would commence. The spoilers of the peace talks were the hardliner Tutsi and Hutu groups who refused to sign the accord; as a result, violence intensified. Three years later at a summit of African leaders in Tanzania, the Burundian president and the main opposition Hutu group signed an accord to end the conflict; the signatory members were granted ministerial posts within the government. However, smaller militant Hutu groups - such as the Forces for National Liberation - remained active.
[edit] UN involvement

Between 1993 and 2003, many rounds of peace talks, overseen by regional leaders in Tanzania, South Africa, and Uganda, gradually established power-sharing agreements to satisfy the majority of the contending groups. African Union (AU) peacekeepers were deployed to help oversee the installation of a transitional government. In June 2004, the UN stepped in and took over peacekeeping responsibilities as a signal of growing international support for the already markedly advanced peace process in Burundi.[30]

The mission's mandate, under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, has been to monitor cease-fire; carry out disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of former combatants; support humanitarian assistance and refugee and IDP return; assist with elections; protect international staff and Burundian civilians; monitor Burundi's troublesome borders including halting illicit arms flows; and assist in carrying out institutional reforms including those of the Constitution, judiciary, armed forces, and police. The mission has been allotted 5,650 military personnel, 120 civilian police, and about 1,000 international and local civilian personnel. The mission has been functioning well and has greatly benefited from the existence of a fairly functional transitional government, which is in the process of transitioning into a more legitimate, elected entity.[30]

The main difficulty the operation faced at first was the continued resistance to the peace process by the last Tutsi nationalist rebel group. This organization continued its violent conflict on the outskirts of the capital despite the UN's presence. By June 2005, the group had stopped fighting and was brought back into the political process. All political parties have accepted a formula for inter-ethnic power-sharing, which means no political party can gain access to government offices unless it is ethnically integrated.[30]

The focus of the UN's mission had been to enshrine the power-sharing arrangements in a popularly voted constitution, so that elections may be held and a new government installed. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration were done in tandem with elections preparations. In February 2005, the Constitution was approved with over 90% of the popular vote. In May, June, and August 2005, three separate elections were also held at the local level for the Parliament and the presidency.

While there are still some difficulties with refugee returns and securing adequate food supplies for the war-weary population, the mission has overall managed to win the trust and confidence of a majority of the formerly warring leaders as well as the population at large.[30] It has also been involved with several "quick impact" projects including rehabilitating and building schools, orphanages, health clinics, and rebuilding infrastructure such as water lines.
[edit] 2006 to present

Reconstruction efforts in Burundi started to practically take effect after 2006. The UN shut down its peacekeeping mission and re-focused on helping with reconstruction.[31] Toward achieving economic reconstruction, Rwanda, D.R.Congo and Burundi relaunched the regional economic bloc: The Great Lakes Countries Economic Community.[31] In addition, Burundi, along with Rwanda, joined the East African Community in 2007.

However, the terms of the September 2006 Ceasefire between the government and the last remaining armed opposition group, the FLN (Forces for National Liberation, also called NLF or FROLINA), were not totally implemented, and senior FLN members subsequently left the truce monitoring team, claiming that their security was threatened.[32] In September 2007, rival FLN factions clashed in the capital, killing 20 fighters and causing residents to begin fleeing. Rebel raids were reported in other parts of the country.[31] The rebel factions disagreed with the government over disarmament and the release of political prisoners.[33] In late 2007 and early 2008, FLN combatants attacked government-protected camps where former combatants now live, in search of peace. The homes of rural residents were also pillaged.[33]

The 2007 report[33] of Amnesty International mentions many areas where improvement is required. Civilians are victims of repeated acts of violence done by the FLN. The latter also recruits child soldiers. The rate of violence against women is high. Perpetrators regularly escape prosecution and punishment by the state. There is an urgent need for reform of the judicial system. Genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity remain unpunished. The establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Special Tribunal for investigation and prosecution has not yet been implemented. The freedom of expression is limited, journalists are frequently arrested for carrying out legitimate professional activities. A total of 38,087 Burundian refugees have been repatriated between January and November 2007.

In late March 2008, the FLN sought for the parliament to adopt a law guaranteeing them 'provisional immunity' from arrest. This would cover ordinary crimes, but not grave violations of international humanitarian law like war crimes or crimes against humanity .[33] Even though the government has granted this in the past to people, the FLN is unable to obtain the provisional immunity.

On April 17, 2008, the FLN bombarded Bujumbura. The Burundian army fought back and the FLN suffered heavy losses. A new ceasefire was signed on May 26, 2008. In August 2008, President Nkurunziza met with the FLN leader Agathon Rwasa, with the mediation of Charles Nqakula, South Africa's Minister for Safety and Security. This was the first direct meeting since June 2007. Both agree to meet twice a week to establish a commission to resolve any disputes that might arise during the peace negotiations.[34]

Refugee camps are now closing down, and 450,000 refugees have returned. The economy of the country is shattered - Burundi has the lowest per capita gross income in the world. With the return of refugees, amongst others, property conflicts have started.
[edit] Po

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Cambodia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the Kim Wilde song, see Cambodia (song).
Kingdom of Cambodia
Cambodia5-trans.png
Preăh Réachéanachâk Kâmpŭchéa

Flag Royal Arms
Motto:
CambodiaMotto.svg
Nation, Religion, King
Anthem:
Nokor Reach
Royal Kingdom
Location of Cambodia (green)in ASEAN (dark grey) — [Legend]
Location of Cambodia (green)

in ASEAN (dark grey) — [Legend]
Capital
(and largest city) Phnom Penh
11°33′N 104°55′E
Official language(s) Khmer
Official script Khmer script
Demonym Khmer or Cambodian
Government Unitary parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy
- King Norodom Sihamoni
- Prime Minister Hun Sen (CPP)
- Senate President Chea Sim (CPP)
- President of National Assembly Heng Samrin (CPP)
Legislature Parliament
- Upper House Senate
- Lower House National Assembly
Formation
- Funan Kingdom 68
- Chenla Kingdom 550
- Khmer Empire 802
- French Colonization 1863
- Independence from France November 9, 1953
- Monarchy Restored September 24, 1993
Area
- Total 181,035 km2 (88th)
69,898 sq mi
- Water (%) 2.5
Population
- 2011 estimate 14,805,358[1] (65th)
- 2008 census 13,388,910
- Density 81.8/km2 (118th)
211.8/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $30.181 billion[2]
- Per capita $2,470[2]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $11.629 billion[2]
- Per capita $1,040[2]
Gini (2007) 43[3] (medium)
HDI (2010) increase 0.494[4] (medium) (124th)
Currency Riel, United States Dollar
(KHR, USD)
Time zone (UTC+7)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code KH
Internet TLD .kh
Calling code +855
This article contains Khmer text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Khmer script.

Cambodia (Listeni/kæmˈboʊdiə/;[5] Khmer: Kampuchea, IPA: [kɑmˈpuˈciə]), officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With a total landmass of 181,035 square kilometres (69,898 sq mi), it is bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest.

With a population of over 14.8 million, Cambodia is the 69th most populous country in the world. The official religion is Theravada Buddhism which is practiced by around 95% of the Cambodian population. The country minority groups include Vietnamese, Chinese, Chams and 30 various hill tribes.[6] The capital and largest city is Phnom Penh, the political, economical, and cultural center of Cambodia.

The kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with Norodom Sihamoni an elected monarch chosen by the Royal Throne Council as head of state. The head of government is Hun Sen who is currently the longest serving leader in South East Asia and has ruled Cambodia for over 25 years.

In 802 AD Jayavarman II declared himself king which marked the beginning of the Khmer Empire. Successive kings flourished which marked the Khmer empire's immense power and wealth who dominate much of South East Asia for over 600 years. Cambodia was ruled as a vassal between its neighbors, until it was colonized by the French in mid-19th century. Cambodia gained independence in 1953. The Vietnam War extended into Cambodia, giving rise to the Khmer Rouge, which took Phnom Penh in 1975. Cambodia reemerged several years later within a socialistic sphere of influence as the People's Republic of Kampuchea until 1993. After years of isolation, the war-ravaged nation was reunited under the monarchy in 1993.

Rebuilding from decades of civil war, Cambodia has seen rapid progress in the economical and human resource areas. The country has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with economic growth growing an average 6.0% for the last 10 years. Strong textiles, agriculture, construction, garments, and tourism sectors led to foreign investments and international trade.[7] In 2005, oil and natural gas deposits were found beneath Cambodia's territorial waters, and once commercial extraction begins in 2011, the oil revenues could profoundly affect Cambodia's economy.[8]
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Pre-history
2.2 Pre-Angkorian and Angkorian eras
2.3 Dark ages of Cambodia
2.4 French colonization
2.5 Independence and Vietnam War
2.6 Khmer Rouge regime
2.7 End of Khmer Rouge and transition
3 Politics
3.1 Government
3.2 Military
3.3 Foreign relations
4 Geography
4.1 Climate
4.2 Wildlife
4.3 Administrative divisions
5 Economy
5.1 Tourism
6 Demographics
6.1 Religion
6.2 Education
6.3 Health
7 Culture
7.1 Cuisine
7.2 Sports
7.3 Dance
7.4 Music
7.5 Internet
8 Transport
9 See also
10 References
11 External links

Etymology
Main article: Name of Cambodia

The official name of the country is the Kingdom of Cambodia, which is pronounced in Khmer as Preăh Réachéanachâk Kâmpŭchéa. Etymologically, its components are: -Preah- ("sacred") ; -Reachea- (from Sanskrit raja, meaning "king, royal, realm") ; -ana- (from Pāli āṇā, "authority, command, power", itself from Sanskrit ājñā, same meaning) -chak (from Sanskrit chakra meaning "wheel", a symbol of power and rule).

In the Khmer language, the country is named Kampuchea (Khmer: កម្ពុជា). Kampuchea is a derivation of the Sanskrit term Kambojadeśa (Sanskrit: कम्बोजदेश). The Khmer people will often refer to their country using the polite form Prâteh Kampuchea (Khmer: ប្រទេសកម្ពុជា) which literally means "the Country of Cambodia". Cambodians also most commonly use the more colloquial word "Srok Khmer" (Khmer: ស្រុកខ្មែរ) which translates to "the Land of Khmers".

The English name, "Cambodia" is derived from the French "Cambodge", a contraction of the Sanskrit name.
History
Main article: History of Cambodia
Pre-history
Main article: Early history of Cambodia
A gold-lotus bowl dating back to 1200CE.
Khmer army going to war against the Cham, from a relief on the Bayon

The sparse evidence for a Pleistocene human occupation of present day Cambodia are quartz and quartzite pebble tools found in terraces along the Mekong River, in Stung Treng and Kratié provinces, and in Kampot Province, but their dating is unreliable.[9]

Some slight archaeological evidence shows communities of hunter-gatherers inhabited Cambodia during Holocene: the most ancient Cambodian archeological site is considered to be the cave of L'aang Spean, in Battambang Province, which belongs to the so-called Hoabinhian period. Excavations in its lower layers produced a series of radiocarbon dates as of 6000 BC.[9][10]

Upper layers in the same site gave evidence of transition to Neolithic, containing the earliest dated earthenware ceramics in Cambodia[11]

Archeological records for the period between Holocene and Iron Age remain equally limited. Other prehistoric sites of somewhat uncertain date are Samrong Sen (not far from the ancient capital of Oudong), where the first investigations began in 1877,[12] and Phum Snay, in the northern province of Banteay Meanchey.[13] Prehistoric artifacts are often found during mining activities in Ratanakiri.[9]

The most outstanding prehistoric evidence in Cambodia however are probably various "circular earthworks", discovered in the red soils near Memot and in the adjacent region of Vietnam as of the end of the 1950s. Their function and age are still debated, but some of them possibly date from 2nd millennium BC at least.[14][15]

A pivotal event in Cambodian prehistory was the slow penetration of the first rice farmers from the north, which began in the late 3rd millennium BC.[16]

Iron was worked by about 500 BC, with supporting evidence coming from the Khorat Plateau, in modern day Thailand. In Cambodia, some Iron Age settlements were found beneath Angkorian temples, like Baksei Chamkrong. Others were circular earthworks, like Lovea, a few kilometers north-west of Angkor. Burials, much richer, testify to improvement of food availability and trade (even on long distances: in the 4th century BC trade relations with India were already opened) and the existence of a social structure and labor organization.[16]
Pre-Angkorian and Angkorian eras
Main article: Khmer Empire
Angkor Wat
Prasat Bayon

During the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries, the Indianised states of Funan and Chenla coalesced in present-day Cambodia and southwestern Vietnam. For more than 2,000 years, Cambodia absorbed influences from India, passing them on to other Southeast Asian civilizations that are now Thailand and Laos.[17] The Khmer Empire flourished in the area from the 9th to the 13th centuries.[18] Around the 13th century, Theravada Buddhism was introduced to the area through monks from Sri Lanka.[19] From then on, Theravada Buddhism grew and eventually became the popular religion.

The Khmer Empire was Southeast Asia's largest empire during the 12th century and it remained very powerful. The empire declined yet remained powerful in the region until the 15th century. The empire's centre of power was Angkor, where a series of capitals was constructed during the empire's zenith. In 2007 an international team of researchers using satellite photographs and other modern techniques concluded that Angkor had been the largest pre-industrial city in the world with an urban sprawl of 1,150 square miles.[20] The city could have supported a population of up to one million people[21] and Angkor Wat, the most famous and best-preserved religious temple at the site, are reminders of Cambodia's past as a major regional power.
Dark ages of Cambodia
Main article: Dark ages of Cambodia
The ancient city of Longvek

After a long series of wars with neighboring kingdoms, Angkor was sacked by the Ayutthaya Kingdom and abandoned in 1432 because of ecological failure and infrastructure breakdown.[22][23] This led to a period of economic, social, and cultural stagnation when the kingdom's internal affairs came increasingly under the control of its neighbors. By this time, the Khmer penchant for monument building had ceased. Older faiths such as Mahayana Buddhism and the Hindu cult of the god-king had been supplanted by Theravada Buddhism.

The court moved the capital to Longvek where the kingdom sought to regain its glory through maritime trade. Portuguese and Spanish travelers described the city as a place of flourishing wealth and foreign trade. The attempt was short-lived however, as continued wars with the Ayutthaya and the Vietnamese resulted in the loss of more territory and Longvek being conquered in 1594. With the capturing of Longvek by the Siamese, the nation never fully recovered. During the next three centuries, the Khmer kingdom alternated as a vassal state of the Ayutthaya Kingdom and Vietnamese kings, as well as short-lived periods of relative independence.

A new Khmer capital was established at Odong south of Longvek, but its monarchs could survive only by entering into what amounted to vassal relationships with the Siamese and Vietnamese. A renewed struggle between Siam and Vietnam for control of Cambodia in the nineteenth century resulted in a period when Vietnamese officials attempted to force the Khmers to adopt Vietnamese customs. This led to several rebellions against the Vietnamese. The Siamese-Vietnamese War (1841-1845) ended with an agreement to placed the country under joint suzerainty. This later led to the signing of a treaty for French Protection of Cambodia by King Norodom I.
French colonization
King Norodom is credited for saving Cambodia from disappearing altogether
Map of French Indochina

In 1863 King Norodom, who had been installed by Thailand,[24] sought the protection of France from the Thai and Vietnamese after tensions grew between them. In 1867 the Thai king signed a treaty with France, renouncing suzerainty over Cambodia in exchange for the control of Battambang and Siem Reap provinces which officially became part of Thailand. The provinces were ceded back to Cambodia by a border treaty between France and Thailand in 1906.

Cambodia continued as a protectorate of France from 1863 to 1953, administered as part of the colony of French Indochina, though occupied by the Japanese empire from 1941 to 1945.[25] Between 1874 and 1962, the total population increased from about 946,000 to 5.7 million.[26] After King Norodom's death in 1904, France manipulated the choice of king, and Sisowath, Norodom's brother, was placed on the throne. The throne became vacant in 1941 with the death of Monivong, Sisowath's son, and France passed over Monivong's son, Monireth, feeling he was too independently minded. Instead, Norodom Sihanouk, a maternal grand-son of king Sisowath was enthroned. The French thought young Sihanouk would be easy to control.[25] They were wrong, however, and under the reign of King Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodia gained independence from France on November 9, 1953.[25]
Independence and Vietnam War

Cambodia became a constitutional monarchy under King Norodom Sihanouk. When French Indochina was given independence, Cambodia lost official control over the Mekong Delta as it was awarded to Vietnam.[citation needed] The area had been controlled by the Vietnamese since 1698 with King Chey Chettha II granting Vietnamese permission to settle in the area decades before.[25]
Norodom Sihanouk and Mao Zedong in 1956

In 1955, Sihanouk abdicated in favour of his father in order to participate in politics and was elected prime minister. Upon his father's death in 1960, Sihanouk again became head of state, taking the title of prince. As the Vietnam War progressed, Sihanouk adopted an official policy of neutrality in the Cold War, although he was widely considered to be sympathetic to the communist cause. While visiting Beijing in 1970 he was ousted by a military coup led by Prime Minister General Lon Nol and Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak, who had the support of the United States. The king urged his followers to help in overthrowing this government, hastening the onset of civil war.[27] Soon the Khmer Rouge rebels began using him to gain support.

Between 1969 and 1973, Republic of Vietnam forces and U.S. forces bombed and briefly invaded Cambodia in an effort to disrupt the Viet Cong and Khmer Rouge.[28] Some two million Cambodians were made refugees by the war and fled to Phnom Penh. Estimates of the number of Cambodians killed during the bombing campaigns vary widely, as do views of the effects of the bombing. The U.S. Seventh Air Force argued that the bombing prevented the fall of Phnom Penh in 1973 by killing 16,000 of 25,500 Khmer Rouge fighters besieging the city.[29] However, journalist William Shawcross and Cambodia specialists Milton Osborne, David P. Chandler and Ben Kiernan argued that the bombing drove peasants to join the Khmer Rouge.[30] Cambodia specialist Craig Etcheson argued that the Khmer Rouge "would have won anyway", even without U.S. intervention driving recruitment despite the U.S. secretly playing a major role behind the leading cause of the Khmer Rouge.[31]
Khmer Rouge regime
Main articles: Democratic Kampuchea and Khmer Rouge

As the Vietnam War ended, a draft USAID report observed that the country faced famine in 1975, with 75% of its draft animals destroyed, and that rice planting for the next harvest would have to be done "by the hard labour of seriously malnourished people". The report predicted that

"Without large-scale external food and equipment assistance there will be widespread starvation between now and next February ... Slave labour and starvation rations for half the nation's people (probably heaviest among those who supported the republic) will be a cruel necessity for this year, and general deprivation and suffering will stretch over the next two or three years before Cambodia can get back to rice self-sufficiency".[32]

Flag of the Khmer Rouge and Democratic Kampuchea

The Khmer Rouge reached Phnom Penh and took power in 1975. The regime, led by Pol Pot, changed the official name of the country to Democratic Kampuchea. They immediately evacuated the cities and sent the entire population on forced marches to rural work projects. They attempted to rebuild the country's agriculture on the model of the 11th century, discarded Western medicine, and destroyed temples, libraries, and anything considered Western. At least a million Cambodians, out of a total population of 8 million, died from executions, overwork, starvation and disease.[33]

Estimates as to how many people were killed by the Khmer Rouge regime range from approximately one to three million; the most commonly cited figure is two million (about one-third of the population).[34][35] This era gave rise to the term Killing Fields, and the prison Tuol Sleng became notorious for its history of mass killing. Hundreds of thousands fled across the border into neighbouring Thailand. The regime disproportionately targeted ethnic minority groups. The Cham Muslims suffered serious purges with as much as half of their population exterminated.[36]

In the late 1960s, an estimated 425,000 ethnic Chinese lived in Cambodia, but by 1984, due to Khmer Rouge genocide and to emigration, only about 61,400 Chinese remained in the country.[37] Forced repatriation in 1970 and deaths during the Khmer Rouge era reduced the Vietnamese population in Cambodia from between 250,000 and 300,000 in 1969 to a reported 56,000 in 1984.[26] Professionals, such as doctors, lawyers and teachers, were also targeted. According to Robert D. Kaplan, "eyeglasses were as deadly as the yellow star" as they were seen as a sign of intellectualism.[33]
End of Khmer Rouge and transition
Main article: Modern Cambodia
Stupa which houses the skulls of those killed by the Khmer Rouge at Choeung Ek

In November 1978, Vietnamese troops invaded Cambodia.[38] The People's Republic of Kampuchea (PRK), a Pro-Soviet state led by the Salvation Front, a group of Cambodian leftists dissatisfied with the Khmer Rouge, was established. In opposition to the newly-created state, a government-in-exile referred to as the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK) was formed in 1981 from three factions. This consisted of the Khmer Rouge, a royalist faction led by Sihanouk, and the Khmer People's National Liberation Front. The Khmer Rouge representative to the UN, Thiounn Prasith, was retained.[39][40]

Throughout the 1980s the Khmer Rouge, supplied by China, Thailand, the United States[41] and the United Kingdom[42][43] continued to control much of the country and attacked territory not under their dominance. These attacks, led to economic sanctions[44] by the U.S. and its allies, made reconstruction virtually impossible and left the country deeply impoverished.

Peace efforts began in Paris in 1989 under the State of Cambodia, culminating two years later in October 1991 in a comprehensive peace settlement. The UN was given a mandate to enforce a ceasefire and deal with refugees and disarmament known as the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC).[45]

In 1993, Norodom Sihanouk was restored as King of Cambodia, making Cambodia the world's only postcommunist country which restored monarchy as the system of government. The stability established following the conflict was shaken in 1997 by a coup d'état[46] but has otherwise remained in place. In recent years, reconstruction efforts have progressed and led to some political stability in the form of a multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy.[47] In July 2010 Kang Kek Iew was the first Khmer Rouge member found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity in his role as the former commandant of the S21 extermination camp. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison.[48]
Politics
Main articles: Politics of Cambodia and List of political parties in Cambodia
Government
King Norodom Sihamoni during the 2008 Royal Ploughing Ceremony
Independence Monument: built to commemorate Cambodia's independence from France on November 9, 1953.

National politics in Cambodia take place within the framework of the nation's constitution of 1993. The government is a constitutional monarchy operated as a parliamentary representative democracy. The Prime Minister of Cambodia, an office held by Hun Sen since 1985, is the head of government, while the King of Cambodia (currently Norodom Sihamoni) is the head of state. The prime minister is appointed by the king, on the advice and with the approval of the National Assembly

The prime minister and the ministerial appointees exercise executive power while legislative powers are shared by the executive and the bicameral Parliament of Cambodia, which consists of a lower house, the National Assembly or Radhsphea and an upper house, the Senate or Sénat. Members of the 123-seat Assembly are elected through a system of proportional representation and serve for a maximum term of five years. The Senate has 61 seats, two of which are appointed by the king and two others by the National Assembly. Senators serve five year terms.

On October 14, 2004, King Norodom Sihamoni was selected by a special nine-member throne council, part of a selection process that was quickly put in place after the abdication of King Norodom Sihanouk a week prior. Sihamoni's selection was endorsed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly Speaker Prince Norodom Ranariddh (the king's half brother and current chief advisor), b

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Cameroon
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This is a featured article. Click here for more information.
Republic of Cameroon
République du Cameroun

Flag Coat of Arms
Motto: "Paix - Travail - Patrie" (French)
"Peace - Work - Fatherland"
Anthem: Ô Cameroun, Berceau de nos Ancêtres (French)
O Cameroon, Cradle of our Forefathers 1
Location of Cameroon within the African Union.
Location of Cameroon (dark green)

- in Africa (blue & dark grey)
- in the African Union (blue) — [Legend]
Capital Yaoundé[1]
3°52′N 11°31′E
Largest city Douala[1]
Official language(s) French and English (de facto)
Demonym Cameroonian
Government Republic
- President Paul Biya[1]
- Prime Minister Philémon Yang
Independence from France
- Declared 1 January 1960
- Annexation of former British Cameroon 1 October 1961
Area
- Total 475,442 km2 (53rd)
183,568 sq mi
- Water (%) 1.3
Population
- July 2009 estimate 19,100,000 (58th)
- 2003 census 15,746,179
- Density 39.7/km2 (167th)
102,8/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $44.327 billion[2]
- Per capita $2,170[2]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $22.478 billion[2]
- Per capita $1,100[2]
Gini (2001) 44.6[3] (medium)
HDI (2010) increase 0.460 (low[4]) (131st)
Currency Central African CFA franc (XAF)
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+1)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code CM
Internet TLD .cm
Calling code 237
1 These are the titles as given in the Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon, Article X. The French version of the song is sometimes called "Chant de Ralliement", as in National Anthems of the World, and the English version "O Cameroon, Cradle of Our Forefathers", as in DeLancey and DeLancey 61.

Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon (French: République du Cameroun), is a country in west Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the Bight of Bonny, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. The country is called "Africa in miniature" for its geological and cultural diversity. Natural features include beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests, and savannas. The highest point is Mount Cameroon in the southwest, and the largest cities are Douala, Yaoundé, and Garoua. Cameroon is home to over 200 different linguistic groups. The country is well known for its native styles of music, particularly makossa and bikutsi, and for its successful national football team. French and English are the official languages.

Early inhabitants of the territory included the Sao civilisation around Lake Chad and the Baka hunter-gatherers in the southeastern rainforest. Portuguese explorers reached the coast in the 15th century and named the area Rio dos Camarões ("River of Prawns"), the name from which Cameroon derives. Fulani[5] soldiers founded the Adamawa Emirate in the north in the 19th century, and various ethnic groups of the west and northwest established powerful chiefdoms and fondoms. Cameroon became a German colony in 1884.

After World War I, the territory was divided between France and Britain as League of Nations mandates. The Union des Populations du Cameroun political party advocated independence but was outlawed by France in the 1950s. It waged war on French and UPC militant forces until 1971. In 1960, the French administered part of Cameroon became independent as the Republic of Cameroun under President Ahmadou Ahidjo. The southern part of British Cameroons merged with it in 1961 to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. The country was renamed the United Republic of Cameroon in 1972 and the Republic of Cameroon in 1984.

Compared to other African countries, Cameroon enjoys relatively high political and social stability. This has permitted the development of agriculture, roads, railways, and large petroleum and timber industries. Nevertheless, large numbers of Cameroonians live in poverty as subsistence farmers. Power lies firmly in the hands of the authoritarian president since 1982, Paul Biya, and his Cameroon People's Democratic Movement party. The English speaking territories of Cameroon have grown increasingly alienated from the government, and politicians from those regions have called for greater decentralization and even the secession (for example: the Southern Cameroons National Council) of the former British-governed territories.
Contents
[hide]

1 History
2 Politics and government
3 Education
4 Regions
5 Geography
6 Economy and infrastructure
7 Demographics
7.1 Religion
8 Culture
9 See also
10 Notes
11 References
12 External links

[edit] History
Main article: History of Cameroon
Joseph Merrick (shown here attending an Isubu funeral in 1845) was a Jamaican Baptist missionary who established a church among the Isubu of the coast.
The manuscript above is written in a Bamum script used in Cameroon today.

The territory of present day Cameroon was first settled during the Neolithic. The longest continuous inhabitants are groups such as the Baka.[6] The Sao culture arose around Lake Chad c. AD 500 and gave way to the Kanem and its successor state, the Bornu empire. Kingdoms, fondoms, and chiefdoms arose in the west.

Portuguese sailors reached the coast in 1472. They noted an abundance of the mud lobster Lepidophthalmus turneranus in the Wouri River and named it Rio dos Camarões, Portuguese for "River of Shrimp", and the phrase from which Cameroon is derived. Over the following few centuries, European interests regularised trade with the coastal peoples, and Christian missionaries pushed inland. In the early 19th century, Modibo Adama led Fulani soldiers on a jihad in the north against non-Muslim and partially Muslim peoples and established the Adamawa Emirate. Settled peoples who fled the Fulani caused a major redistribution of population.[7]

When the Germans first arrived in Cameroon, they found that the Bamum people had been using ingenious writing systems. These writing systems include the Bamum script and Shomum script which are still widely used in Cameroon. These scripts are collectively taught throughout Cameroon via the Bamum Scripts and Archives Project and are widely known to have been popularized or reinvented by the Sultan Ibrahim Njoya in the 1800s A.D.[citation needed] The German Empire claimed the territory as the colony of Kamerun in 1884 and began a steady push inland. They initiated projects to improve the colony's infrastructure, relying on a harsh system of forced labour.[8] With the defeat of Germany in World War I, Kamerun became a League of Nations mandate territory and was split into French Cameroun and British Cameroons in 1919. France integrated the economy of Cameroun with that of France[9] and improved the infrastructure with capital investments, skilled workers, and continued forced labour.[8]

The British administered their territory from neighbouring Nigeria. Natives complained that this made them a neglected "colony of a colony". Nigerian migrant workers flocked to Southern Cameroons, ending forced labour but angering indigenous peoples.[10] The League of Nations mandates were converted into United Nations Trusteeships in 1946, and the question of independence became a pressing issue in French Cameroun.[9] France outlawed the most radical political party, the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC), on 13 July 1955. This prompted a long guerrilla war and the assassination of the party's leader, Ruben Um Nyobé, near Boumnyebel, the village where he was born. In British Cameroons, the question was whether to reunify with French Cameroun or join Nigeria.
Ahmadou Ahidjo arrives at Washington, D.C., in July 1982.

On 1 January 1960 at 2:30 am, French Cameroun gained independence from France under President Ahmadou Ahidjo. On 1 October 1961, the formerly British Southern Cameroons united with French Cameroun to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. Ahidjo used the ongoing war with the UPC to concentrate power in the presidency, continuing with this even after the suppression of the UPC in 1971.[11]

His political party, the Cameroon National Union (CNU), became the sole legal political party on 1 September 1966 and in 1972, the federal system of government was abolished in favour of a United Republic of Cameroon, headed from Yaoundé.[12] Ahidjo pursued an economic policy of planned liberalism, prioritising cash crops and petroleum exploitation. The government used oil money to create a national cash reserve, pay farmers, and finance major development projects; however, many initiatives failed when Ahidjo appointed unqualified allies to direct them.[13]

Ahidjo stepped down on 4 November 1982 and left power to his constitutional successor, Paul Biya. However, Ahidjo remained in control of the CNU and tried to run the country from behind the scenes until Biya and his allies pressured him into resigning. Biya began his administration by moving toward a more democratic government, but a failed coup d'état nudged him toward the leadership style of his predecessor.[14]

An economic crisis took effect in the mid-1980s to late 1990s as a result of international economic conditions, drought, falling petroleum prices, and years of corruption, mismanagement, and cronyism. Cameroon turned to foreign aid, cut government spending, and privatised industries. With the reintroduction of multi-party politics in December 1990, the former British Cameroons pressure groups called for greater autonomy, with some (SCNC) advocating complete secession as the Republic of Ambazonia.[15] In February 2008, Cameroon experienced its worst violence in 15 years when a transport union strike in Douala escalated into violent protests in 31 municipal areas.[16][17]
[edit] Politics and government
Main article: Politics of Cameroon
President Paul Biya of Cameroon and Ambassador R. Niels Marquardt of the United States, 16 February 2006.

The President of Cameroon has broad, unilateral powers to create policy, administer government agencies, command the armed forces, negotiate and ratify treaties, and declare a state of emergency.[18] The president appoints government officials at all levels, from the prime minister (considered the official head of government), to the provincial governors, divisional officers, and urban-council members in large cities. The president is selected by popular vote every seven years. In smaller municipalities, the public elects mayors and councilors.

Corruption is rife at all levels of government. In 1997, Cameroon established anti-corruption bureaus in 29 ministries, but only 25% became operational,[19] and in 2007, Transparency International placed Cameroon at number 138 on a list of 163 countries ranked from least to most corrupt.[20] On 18 January 2006, Biya initiated an anti-corruption drive under the direction of the National Anti-Corruption Observatory.[19]

Cameroon's legal system is largely based on French civil law with common law influences.[21] Although nominally independent, the judiciary falls under the authority of the executive's Ministry of Justice.[22] The president appoints judges at all levels. The judiciary is officially divided into tribunals, the court of appeal, and the supreme court. The National Assembly elects the members of a nine-member High Court of Justice that judges high-ranking members of government in the event they are charged with high treason or harming national security.
A statue of a chief in Bana, West Region, shows the prestige afforded such rulers. The Cameroonian government recognizes the power of traditional authorities provided their rulings do not contradict national law.

Human rights organisations accuse police and military forces of mistreating and even torturing criminal suspects, ethnic minorities, homosexuals, and political activists.[23] Prisons are overcrowded with little access to adequate food and medical facilities,[24][25] and prisons run by traditional rulers in the north are charged with holding political opponents at the behest of the government.[26] However, since the first decade of the 21st century, an increasing number of police and gendarmes have been prosecuted for improper conduct.[25]

The National Assembly makes legislation. The body consists of 180 members who are elected for five-year terms and meet three times per year. Laws are passed on a majority vote. Rarely has the assembly changed or blocked legislation proposed by the president. The 1996 constitution establishes a second house of parliament, the 100-seat Senate, but this body has never been put into practice.[21] The government recognises the authority of traditional chiefs, fons, and lamibe to govern at the local level and to resolve disputes as long as such rulings do not conflict with national law.[27]

President Paul Biya's Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM) was the only legal political party until December 1990. Numerous regional political groups have since formed. The primary opposition is the Social Democratic Front (SDF), based largely in the Anglophone region of the country and headed by John Fru Ndi.[28] Biya and his party have maintained control of the presidency and the National Assembly in national elections, but rivals contend that these have been unfair.[15] Human rights organisations allege that the government suppresses the freedoms of opposition groups by preventing demonstrations, disrupting meetings, and arresting opposition leaders and journalists.[26][29] Freedom House ranks Cameroon as "not free" in terms of political rights and civil liberties.[30] The last parliamentary elections were held on 22 July 2007.[31]

Cameroon is a member of both the Commonwealth of Nations and La Francophonie. Its foreign policy closely follows that of its main ally, France (the former colonial ruler).[32] The country relies heavily on France for its defence,[22] although military spending is high in comparison to other sectors of government.[33] Biya has clashed with the government of Nigeria over possession of the Bakassi peninsula and with Gabon's president, El Hadj Omar Bongo, over personal rivalries.[28]
[edit] Education
Main articles: Education in Cameroon and Health in Cameroon
A traditional doctor advertises his services in Tatum, Northwest Region. Such healers are popular alternatives to conventionally trained doctors.

In 2001, the literacy rate of Cameroon was estimated to be 67.9% (77% for males and 59.8% for females).[34] Most children have access to free, state-run schools or subsidised, private and religious facilities.[35] The educational system is a mixture of British and French precedents[36] with most instruction in English or French.[37] Cameroon has one of the highest school attendance rates in Africa.[35] Girls attend school less regularly than boys do because of cultural attitudes, domestic duties, early marriage and pregnancy, and sexual harassment. Although attendance rates are higher in the south,[35] a disproportionate number of teachers are stationed there, leaving northern schools chronically understaffed.[25]

The quality of health care is generally low.[38] Outside the major cities, facilities are often dirty and poorly equipped.[39] Endemic diseases include dengue fever, filariasis, leishmaniasis, malaria, meningitis, schistosomiasis, and sleeping sickness.[40] The HIV/AIDS seroprevalence rate is estimated at 5.4% for those aged 15-49,[41] although a strong stigma against the illness keeps the number of reported cases artificially low.[38] Traditional healers remain a popular alternative to Western medicine.[42]
[edit] Regions
Main articles: Regions of Cameroon and Divisions of Cameroon
Cameroon is divided into 10 regions.

The constitution divides Cameroon into 10 semi-autonomous regions, each under the administration of an elected Regional Council. A presidential decree of 12 November 2008 officially instigated the change from provinces to regions.[43] Each region is headed by a presidentially appointed governor. These leaders are charged with implementing the will of the president, reporting on the general mood and conditions of the regions, administering the civil service, keeping the peace, and overseeing the heads of the smaller administrative units. Governors have broad powers: they may order propaganda in their area and call in the army, gendarmes, and police.[44] All local government officials are employees of the central government's Ministry of Territorial Administration, from which local governments also get most of their budgets.[45]

The regions are subdivided into 58 divisions (French départements). These are headed by presidentially appointed divisional officers (préfets), who perform the governors' duties on a smaller scale. The divisions are further sub-divided into sub-divisions (arrondissements), headed by assistant divisional officers (sous-prefets). The districts, administered by district heads (chefs de district), are the smallest administrative units. These are found in large sub-divisions and in regions that are difficult to reach.

The three northernmost regions are the Far North (Extrême Nord), North (Nord), and Adamawa (Adamaoua). Directly south of them are the Centre (Centre) and East (Est). The South Province (Sud) lies on the Gulf of Guinea and the southern border. Cameroon's western region is split into four smaller regions: The Littoral (Littoral) and Southwest (Sud-Ouest) regions are on the coast, and the Northwest (Nord-Ouest) and West (Ouest) regions are in the western grassfields. The Northwest and Southwest were once part of British Cameroons; the other regions were in French Cameroun.
[edit] Geography
Main article: Geography of Cameroon
Volcanic plugs dot the landscape near Rhumsiki, Far North Region.

At 475,442 square kilometres (183,569 sq mi), Cameroon is the world's 53rd-largest country.[46] It is comparable in size to Papua New Guinea and somewhat larger than the U.S. state of California.[21][47] The country is located in Central and West Africa on the Bight of Bonny, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. Cameroon lies between latitudes 1° and 13°N, and longitudes 8° and 17°E.

Tourist literature describes Cameroon as "Africa in miniature" because it exhibits all major climates and vegetation of the continent: coast, desert, mountains, rainforest, and savanna.[48] The country's neighbours are Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south.

Cameroon is divided into five major geographic zones distinguished by dominant physical, climatic, and vegetative features. The coastal plain extends 15 to 150 kilometres (9 to 93 mi) inland from the Gulf of Guinea[49] and has an average elevation of 90 metres (295 ft).[50] Exceedingly hot and humid with a short dry season, this belt is densely forested and includes some of the wettest places on earth, part of the Cross-Sanaga-Bioko coastal forests.[51][52]

The South Cameroon Plateau rises from the coastal plain to an average elevation of 650 metres (2,133 ft).[53] Equatorial rainforest dominates this region, although its alternation between wet and dry seasons makes it is less humid than the coast. This area is part of the Atlantic Equatorial coastal forests ecoregion.
Countryside near Ngaoundal in Cameroon's Adamawa Region.

An irregular chain of mountains, hills, and plateaus known as the Cameroon range extends from Mount Cameroon on the coast—Cameroon's highest point at 4,095 metres (13,435 ft)[54]—almost to Lake Chad at Cameroon's northern border at 13°05'N. This region has a mild climate, particularly on the Western High Plateau, although rainfall is high. Its soils are among Cameroon's most fertile, especially around volcanic Mount Cameroon.[54] Volcanism here has created crater lakes. On 21 August 1986, one of these, Lake Nyos, belched carbon dioxide and killed between 1,700 and 2,000 people.[55] This area has been delineated by the World Wildlife Fund as the Cameroonian Highlands forests ecoregion.

The southern plateau rises northward to the grassy, rugged Adamawa Plateau. This feature stretches from the western mountain area and forms a barrier between the country's north and south. Its average elevation is 1,100 metres (3,609 ft),[53] and its average temperature ranges from 22 °C (71.6 °F) to 25 °C (77 °F) with high rainfall between April and October peaking in July and August.[56] The northern lowland region extends from the edge of the Adamawa to Lake Chad with an average elevation of 300 to 350 metres (984 to 1,148 ft).[54] Its characteristic vegetation is savanna scrub and grass. This is an arid region with sparse rainfall and high median temperatures.

Cameroon has four patterns of drainage. In the south, the principal rivers are the Ntem, Nyong, Sanaga, and Wouri. These flow southwestward or westward directly into the Gulf of Guinea. The Dja and Kadéï drain southeastward into the Congo River. In northern Cameroon, the Bénoué River runs north and west and empties into the Niger. The Logone flows northward into Lake Chad, which Cameroon shares with three neighbouring countries.
[edit] Economy and infrastructure
Street vendor in Douala, Cameroon
Fishing is a major industry in Cameroon. Fifteenth-century Portuguese explorers found prawns in such abun

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Canada
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the country. For other uses, see Canada (disambiguation).
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Canada
Vertical triband (red, white, red) with a red maple leaf in the centre A shield divided into four rectangles over a triangle. The first rectangle contains three lions passant guardant in gold on red; the second, a red lion rampant on gold; the third, a gold harp on blue; the fourth, three gold fleurs-de-lis on blue. The triangle contains three red maple leaves on a white background. A gold helmet sits on top of the shield, upon which is a crowned lion holding a red maple leaf. On the right is a lion rampant flying the Union Flag. On the left is a unicorn flying a fleurs-de-lis flag. A red ribbon around the shield says "desiderantes meliorem patriam". Below is a blue scroll inscribed "A mari usque ad mare" on a wreath of flowers.
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: A Mari Usque Ad Mare (Latin)
"From Sea to Sea"
Anthem: "O Canada"
Royal anthem: "God Save the Queen"[1][2]
Projection of North America with Canada in green
Capital Ottawa
45°24′N 75°40′W
Largest city Toronto
Official language(s) English and French
Recognised regional languages Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, Cree, Dëne Sųłiné, Gwich'in, Inuvialuktun, Slavey and Tłįchǫ Yatiì[3]
Demonym Canadian
Government Federal parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy[4]
- Monarch Elizabeth II
- Governor General David Johnston
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Legislature Parliament
- Upper House Senate
- Lower House House of Commons
Establishment
- British North America Acts July 1, 1867
- Statute of Westminster December 11, 1931
- Canada Act April 17, 1982
Area
- Total 9,984,670 km2 (2nd)
3,854,085 sq mi
- Water (%) 8.92 (891,163 km2/344,080 mi2)
Population
- 2011 estimate 34,604,000[5] (35th)
- 2006 census 31,612,897[6]
- Density 3.41/km2 (228th)
8.3/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $1.330 trillion[7]
- Per capita $39,057[7]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $1.574 trillion[7]
- Per capita $46,215[7]
Gini (2005) 32.1[8] (medium)
HDI (2010) increase 0.888[9] (very high) (8th)
Currency Canadian dollar ($) (CAD)
Time zone (UTC−3.5 to −8)
- Summer (DST) (UTC−2.5 to −7)
Date formats dd-mm-yyyy, mm-dd-yyyy, and yyyy-mm-dd (CE)
Drives on the Right
ISO 3166 code CA
Internet TLD .ca
Calling code +1
Canada portal

Canada (play /ˈkænədə/) is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west and northward into the Arctic Ocean. It is the world's second largest country by total area. Canada's common border with the United States to the south and northwest is the longest in the world.

The land that is now Canada was inhabited for millennia by various groups of Aboriginal peoples. Beginning in the late 15th century, British and French expeditions explored, and later settled, along the Atlantic coast. France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763 after the Seven Years' War. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces. This began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Statute of Westminster 1931 and culminated in the Canada Act 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament.

Canada is a federal state that is governed as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. It is a bilingual nation with both English and French as official languages at the federal level. One of the world's most highly developed countries, Canada has a diversified economy that is reliant upon its abundant natural resources and upon trade - particularly with the United States, with which Canada has had a long and complex relationship. It is a member of the G7, G8, G20, NATO, OECD, WTO, Commonwealth of Nations, Francophonie, OAS, APEC, and UN. With the eighth-highest Human Development Index globally, it has one of the highest standards of living in the world.
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Aboriginal peoples
2.2 European colonization
2.3 Confederation and expansion
2.4 Early 20th century
2.5 Modern times
3 Geography
4 Government and politics
4.1 Law
4.2 Foreign relations and military
4.3 Provinces and territories
5 Economy
5.1 Science and technology
6 Demographics
6.1 Language
7 Culture
8 See also
9 References
10 Further reading
11 External links

Etymology
Main article: Name of Canada

The name Canada comes from a St. Lawrence Iroquoian word, kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement".[10] In 1535, indigenous inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City region used the word to direct French explorer Jacques Cartier to the village of Stadacona.[11] Cartier later used the word Canada to refer not only to that particular village, but also the entire area subject to Donnacona (the chief at Stadacona); by 1545, European books and maps had begun referring to this region as Canada.[11]

In the 17th and early 18th century, Canada referred to the part of New France that lay along the Saint Lawrence River and the northern shores of the Great Lakes. The area was later split into two British colonies, Upper Canada and Lower Canada. They were re-unified as the Province of Canada in 1841.[12] Upon Confederation in 1867, the name Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country, and Dominion (a term from Psalm 72:8) was conferred as the country's title.[13] As Canada asserted its political autonomy from the United Kingdom, the federal government increasingly used simply Canada on state documents and treaties, a change that was reflected in the renaming of the national holiday from Dominion Day to Canada Day in 1982.[14]
History
Main article: History of Canada
See also: Timeline of Canadian history
Aboriginal peoples
Main article: Aboriginal peoples in Canada

Archaeological and genetic studies support a human presence in the northern Yukon from 26,500 years ago, and in southern Ontario from 9,500 years ago.[15][16][17] Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are two of the earliest archaeological sites of human (Paleo-Indians) habitation in Canada.[18][19][20] The characteristics of Canadian Aboriginal societies included permanent settlements, agriculture, complex societal hierarchies, and trading networks.[21][22] Some of these cultures had faded by the time of the first permanent European arrivals (c. late 15th-early 16th centuries), and have been discovered through archaeological investigations.[23]

The aboriginal population is estimated to have been between 200,000[24] and two million in the late 15th century,[25] with a figure of 500,000 accepted by Canada's Royal Commission on Aboriginal Health.[26] Repeated outbreaks of European infectious diseases such as influenza, measles, and smallpox (to which they had no natural immunity), combined with other effects of European contact, resulted in a forty to eighty percent aboriginal population decrease post-contact.[24] Aboriginal peoples in Canada include the First Nations,[27] Inuit,[28] and Métis.[29] The Métis are a mixed-blood people who originated in the mid-17th century when First Nation and Inuit married European settlers.[30] The Inuit had more limited interaction with European settlers during the colonization period.[31]
European colonization
Main articles: New France and Canada under British rule (1763-1867)
Further information: Former colonies and territories in Canada
Benjamin West's The Death of General Wolfe (1771) dramatizes Wolfe's death during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham at Quebec in 1759

European colonization began when Norsemen settled briefly at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland around 1000.[32] No further European exploration occurred until 1497, when Italian seafarer John Cabot explored Canada's Atlantic coast for England.[33] Basque and Portuguese mariners established seasonal whaling and fishing outposts along the Atlantic coast.[34] In 1534 Jacques Cartier explored the Saint Lawrence River for France.[35]

In 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert claimed St. John's, Newfoundland as the first North American English colony by royal prerogative of Queen Elizabeth I.[36] French explorer Samuel de Champlain arrived in 1603 and established the first permanent European settlements at Port Royal in 1605 and Quebec City in 1608. Among French colonists of New France, Canadiens extensively settled the Saint Lawrence River valley and Acadians settled the present-day Maritimes, while fur traders and Catholic missionaries explored the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and the Mississippi watershed to Louisiana. The Beaver Wars broke out over control of the North American fur trade.[35]

The English established additional colonies in Cupids and Ferryland, Newfoundland beginning in 1610 and soon after founded the Thirteen Colonies to the south.[34] A series of four French and Indian Wars erupted between 1689 and 1763.[35] Mainland Nova Scotia came under British rule with the Treaty of Utrecht (1713); the Treaty of Paris (1763) ceded Canada and most of New France to Britain after the Seven Years' War.[37]

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 carved the Province of Quebec out of New France and annexed Cape Breton Island to Nova Scotia.[14] St. John's Island (now Prince Edward Island) became a separate colony in 1769.[38] To avert conflict in Quebec, the British passed the Quebec Act of 1774, expanding Quebec's territory to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. It re-established the French language, Catholic faith, and French civil law there. This angered many residents of the Thirteen Colonies and helped to fuel the American Revolution.[14]

The Treaty of Paris (1783) recognized American independence and ceded territories south of the Great Lakes to the United States. New Brunswick was split from Nova Scotia as part of a reorganization of Loyalist settlements in the Maritimes. To accommodate English-speaking Loyalists in Quebec, the Constitutional Act of 1791 divided the province into French-speaking Lower Canada (later Quebec) and English-speaking Upper Canada (later Ontario), granting each its own elected legislative assembly.[39]
Robert Harris's Fathers of Confederation,[40] an amalgamation of the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences

The Canadas were the main front in the War of 1812 between the United States and Britain. Following the war, large-scale immigration to Canada from Britain and Ireland began in 1815.[25] From 1825 to 1846, 626,628 European immigrants landed at Canadian ports.[41] Between one-quarter and one-third of all Europeans who immigrated to Canada before 1891 died of infectious diseases.[24]

The desire for responsible government resulted in the aborted Rebellions of 1837. The Durham Report subsequently recommended responsible government and the assimilation of French Canadians into English culture.[14] The Act of Union 1840 merged The Canadas into a united Province of Canada. Responsible government was established for all British North American provinces by 1849.[42] The signing of the Oregon Treaty by Britain and the United States in 1846 ended the Oregon boundary dispute, extending the border westward along the 49th parallel. This paved the way for British colonies on Vancouver Island (1849) and in British Columbia (1858).[43]
Confederation and expansion
Main articles: Canadian Confederation and Territorial evolution of Canada
refer to caption
An animated map, exhibiting the growth and change of Canada's provinces and territories since Confederation

Following several constitutional conferences, the Constitution Act, 1867 officially proclaimed Canadian Confederation on July 1, 1867, with four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.[44][45][46] Canada assumed control of Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory to form the Northwest Territories, where the Métis' grievances ignited the Red River Rebellion and the creation of the province of Manitoba in July 1870.[47] British Columbia and Vancouver Island (which had united in 1866) and Prince Edward Island joined the Confederation in 1871 and 1873, respectively.[48] Prime Minister John A. Macdonald and his Conservative government established a National Policy of tariffs to protect nascent Canadian manufacturing industries.[46]

To open the West, the government sponsored construction of three transcontinental railways (including the Canadian Pacific Railway), opened the prairies to settlement with the Dominion Lands Act, and established the North-West Mounted Police to assert its authority over this territory.[49][50] In 1898, after the Klondike Gold Rush in the Northwest Territories, the Canadian government created the Yukon Territory. Under Liberal Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier, continental European immigrants settled the prairies, and Alberta and Saskatchewan became provinces in 1905.[48]
Early 20th century
Main article: Canada in the World Wars and Interwar Years
Group of armed soldiers march past a wrecked tank and a body
Canadian soldiers at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917

Because Britain still maintained control of Canada's foreign affairs under the Confederation Act, its declaration of war in 1914 automatically brought Canada into World War I. Volunteers sent to the Western Front later became part of the Canadian Corps. The Corps played a substantial role in the Battle of Vimy Ridge and other major battles of the war.[51] Out of approximately 625,000 who served, about 60,000 were killed and another 173,000 were wounded.[52] The Conscription Crisis of 1917 erupted when conservative Prime Minister Robert Borden brought in compulsory military service over the objection of French-speaking Quebecers. In 1919, Canada joined the League of Nations independently of Britain and,[51] the Statute of Westminster 1931 affirmed Canada's independence.[4]

The Great Depression brought economic hardship throughout Canada. In response, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in Alberta and Saskatchewan enacted many measures of a welfare state (as pioneered by Tommy Douglas) into the 1940s and 1950s.[53] Canada declared war on Germany independently during World War II under Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, three days after Britain. The first Canadian Army units arrived in Britain in December 1939.[51]

Canadian troops played important roles in the failed 1942 Dieppe Raid, the Allied invasion of Italy, the Normandy landings, the Battle of Normandy, and the Battle of the Scheldt in 1944.[51] Canada provided asylum for the monarchy of the Netherlands while that country was occupied, and is credited by the country for leadership and major contributions to its liberation from Nazi Germany.[54] The Canadian economy boomed as industry manufactured military materiel for Canada, Britain, China, and the Soviet Union.[51] Despite another Conscription Crisis in Quebec, Canada finished the war with a large army and strong economy.[55]
Modern times
Main articles: History of Canada (1945-1960), (1960-1981), (1982-1992), and (1992-present)
At Rideau Hall, Governor General the Viscount Alexander of Tunis (centre) receives the bill finalizing the union of Newfoundland and Canada, March 31, 1949.

Newfoundland (now Newfoundland and Labrador) joined Canada in 1949.[56] Canada's post-war economic growth, combined with the policies of successive Liberal governments, led to the emergence of a new Canadian identity, marked by the adoption of the current Maple Leaf Flag in 1965,[57] the implementation of official bilingualism (English and French) in 1969,[58] and official multiculturalism in 1971.[59] There was also the founding of socially democratic programmes, such as Medicare, the Canada Pension Plan, and Canada Student Loans, though provincial governments, particularly Quebec and Alberta, opposed many of these as incursions into their jurisdictions.[60] Finally, another series of constitutional conferences resulted in the 1982 patriation of Canada's constitution from the United Kingdom, concurrent with the creation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.[61] In 1999, Nunavut became Canada's third territory after a series of negotiations with the federal government.[62]

At the same time, Quebec underwent profound social and economic changes through the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s, giving birth to a modern nationalist movement. The radical Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) ignited the October Crisis in 1970.[63] The sovereignist Parti Québécois was elected in 1976 and organized an unsuccessful referendum on sovereignty-association in 1980. Attempts to accommodate Quebec nationalism constitutionally through the Meech Lake Accord failed in 1990.[64] This led to the formation of the Bloc Québécois in Quebec and invigoration of the Reform Party of Canada in the West.[65][66] A second referendum followed in 1995, in which sovereignty was rejected by a slimmer margin of just 50.6 to 49.4 percent. In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that unilateral secession by a province would be unconstitutional, and the Clarity Act was passed by parliament, outlining the terms of a negotiated departure from Confederation.[64]

In addition to the issues of Quebec sovereignty, a number of crises shook Canadian society in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These included the explosion of Air India Flight 182 in 1985, the largest mass murder in Canadian history;[67] the École Polytechnique massacre in 1989, a university shooting targeting female students;[68] and the Oka Crisis in 1990,[69] the first of a number of violent confrontations between the government and Aboriginal groups.[70] Canada also joined the Gulf War in 1990 as part of a US-led coalition force, and was active in several peacekeeping missions in the late 1990s.[71] It sent troops to Afghanistan in 2001, but declined to send forces to Iraq when the US invaded in 2003.[72]
Geography
Main article: Geography of Canada
A satellite composite image of Canada. Boreal forests prevail on the rocky Canadian Shield. Ice and tundra are prominent in the Arctic. Glaciers are visible in the Canadian Rockies and Coast Mountains. Flat and fertile prairies facilitate agriculture. The Great Lakes feed the Saint Lawrence River (in the southeast), where lowlands host much of Canada's population.

Canada occupies a major northern portion of North America, sharing the land borders with the contiguous United States to the south and the US state of Alaska to the northwest, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west; to the north lies the Arctic Ocean.[73][74] By total area (including its waters), Canada is the second-largest country in the world, after Russia. By land area, Canada ranks fourth.[74]

The country lies between latitudes 41° and 84°N, and longitudes 52° and 141°W. Since 1925, Canada has claimed the portion of the Arctic between 60° and 141°W longitude,[75] but this claim is not universally recognized. The northernmost settlement in Canada (and in the world) is Canadian Forces Station Alert on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island - latitude 82.5°N - 817 kilometres (450 nautical miles, 508 miles) from the North Pole.[76] Much of the Canadian Arctic is covered by ice and permafrost. Canada also has the longest coastline in the world: 202,080 kilometres (125,570 mi).[74]
A semi-circular waterfall between two outcrops of forest
The Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario, is one of the world's most voluminous waterfalls,[77] renowned both for its beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power.

Since the last glacial period Canada has consisted of eight distinct forest regions, including extensive boreal forest on the Canadian Shield.[78] Canada has more lakes than any other country, containing much of the world's fresh water.[79] There are also fresh-water glaciers in the Canadian Rockies and the Coast Mountains. Canada is geologically active, having many earthquakes and potentially active volcanoes, notably Mount Meager, Mount Garibaldi, Mount Cayley, and the Mount Edziza volcanic complex.[80] The volcanic eruption of Tseax Cone in 1775 caused a catastrophic disaster, killing 2,000 Nisga'a people and destroying their village in the Nass River valley of northern British Columbia; the eruption produced a 22.5-kilometre (14.0 mi) lava flow, and according to legend of the Nisga'a people, it blocked the flow of the Nass River.[81]

The population density, 3.3 inhabitants per square kilometre (8.5 /sq mi), is among the lowest in the world. The most densely populated part of the country is the Quebec City - Windsor Corridor, situated in Southern Quebec and Southern Ontario along the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River.[82]

Average winter and summer high temperatures across Canada vary according to the location. Winters can be harsh in many regions of the country, particularly in the interior and Prairie provinces, which experience a continental climate, where daily average temperatures are near −15 °C (5 °F) but can drop below −40 °C (−40 °F) with severe wind chills.[83] In noncoastal regions, snow can cover the ground almost six months of the year (more i

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Cape Verde
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the country. For the surface feature on Mars, see Cape Verde (Mars). For weather pattern, see Cape Verde-type hurricane.
Republic of Cape Verde
República de Cabo Verde

Flag National emblem
Anthem: Cântico da Liberdade (Portuguese)
Song of Freedom
Topographic map of Cape Verde
Capital
(and largest city) Praia
14°55′N 23°31′W
Official language(s) Portuguese
Recognised regional languages Cape Verdean Creole
Demonym Cape Verdean
Government Parliamentary republic
- President Jorge Carlos Fonseca
- Prime Minister José Maria Neves
Independence
- from Portugal July 5, 1975
Area
- Total 4,033 km2 (172nd)
1,557 sq mi
- Water (%) negligible
Population
- 2010 estimate 567,000[1] (165th)
- 2009 census 509,000[2]
- Density 125.5/km2 (79th)
325.0/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
- Total $2.035 billion[3]
- Per capita $3,783[3]
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
- Total $1.867 billion[3]
- Per capita $3,469[3]
HDI (2010) increase 0.534[4] (medium) (118st)
Currency Cape Verdean escudo (CVE)
Time zone CVT (UTC-1)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC-1)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code CV
Internet TLD .cv
Calling code +238

The Republic of Cape Verde Listeni/ˌkeɪp ˈvɜrd/ (Portuguese: Cabo Verde, pronounced [ˈkabu ˈveɾd(i)]; Kabuverdianu: Kabu Verd) is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres off the coast of Western Africa. The islands, covering a combined area of slightly over 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi), are of volcanic origin and while three of them (Sal, Boa Vista and Maio) are fairly flat, sandy and dry, the remaining ones are generally rockier and have more vegetation. However, because of the infrequent occurrence of rainfall the overall landscape is not particularly green, despite what the country's name suggests (verde is Portuguese for "green"). The name of the country stems instead from the nearby Cap Vert, on the Senegalese coast,[5] which in its turn was originally named "Cabo Verde" when it was sighted by Portuguese explorers in 1444, a few years before the islands were discovered.

The previously uninhabited islands were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th Century, and became an important location in the Atlantic slave trade due to their geographically advantageous position. The islands' prosperity often attracted pirates, including Sir Francis Drake, a corsair under the British crown, who twice sacked the (then) capital Ribeira Grande, in the 1580s. The islands were also visited by Charles Darwin's expedition in 1832. The decline in the slave trade in the 19th century resulted in an economic crisis for the islands. With few natural resources, and without strong sustainable investment from the Portuguese, the citizens grew increasingly discontent with the colonial masters, who nevertheless refused to provide the local authorities with more autonomy. This discontent festered and culminated in 1975, when a movement led by Amílcar Cabral achieved independence for the archipelago.

The country has an estimated population (most of creole ethnicity) of about 500,000, with its capital city Praia accounting for a quarter of its citizens. Nearly 38% of the population lives in rural areas according to the 2010 Cape Verdean census; about 20% lives below the poverty threshold,[6] and the literacy rate is around 85%. Politically, the country is a very stable democracy, with notable economic growth and improvements of living conditions despite its lack of natural resources, and has garnered international recognition by other countries and international organizations, which often provide development aid. Since 2007, Cape Verde has been classified as a developing nation.

Tough economic times during the last decades of its colonization and the first years of Cape Verde's independence led many to migrate to Europe, the Americas and other African countries. This migration was so significant that the number of Cape Verdeans and their descendants living abroad currently exceeds the population of Cape Verde itself. Historically, the influx of remittances from these immigrant communities to their families has provided a substantial contribution to help strengthen the country's economy. Currently, the Cape Verdean economy is mostly service-oriented with a growing focus on tourism and foreign investment, which benefits from the islands' warm climate throughout the year, diverse landscape, welcoming people and cultural richness, especially in music.
Contents
[hide]

1 History
2 Geography
2.1 Physical geography
2.2 Climate
2.3 Biome
2.4 Human geography
2.4.1 Demographics
2.4.2 Emigration
3 Politics
3.1 International recognition
4 Economy
4.1 Development
5 Wildlife
6 Tourism
7 Transport
8 Culture
8.1 Cuisine
9 Health and education
9.1 Health
9.2 Education
10 Football
11 Windsurfing
12 See also
13 References
14 External links

[edit] History
Main article: History of Cape Verde
View of Monte Cara from Mindelo
The Serra Malagueta mountain range in the northern part of the island of Santiago
The sandy Viana desert on the island of Boa Vista

Before the arrival of Europeans, the Cape Verde Islands were uninhabited. The islands of the Cape Verde archipelago were discovered by Italian and Portuguese navigators around 1456. According to Portuguese official records [7] the first discoveries were made by Genoese born Antonio de Noli, who was afterwards appointed governor of Cape Verde by Portuguese King Afonso V. Other navigators mentioned as contributing with discoveries in the Cape Verde archipelago are Diogo Gomes, Diogo Dias, Diogo Afonso and the Italian Alvise Cadamosto.

In 1462, Portuguese settlers arrived at Santiago and founded a settlement they called Ribeira Grande (now called Cidade Velha, to avoid being confused with the town of Ribeira Grande on the Santo Antão island). Ribeira Grande was the first permanent European settlement in the tropics.[8]

In the 16th century, the archipelago prospered from the transatlantic slave trade.[8] Pirates occasionally attacked the Portuguese settlements. Sir Francis Drake, a British corsair, sacked Ribeira Grande in 1585.[8] After a French attack in 1712, the town declined in importance relative to nearby Praia, which became the capital in 1770.[8]

With the decline in the slave trade, Cape Verde's early prosperity slowly vanished. However, the islands' position astride mid-Atlantic shipping lanes made Cape Verde an ideal location for re-supplying ships. Because of its excellent harbour, Mindelo (on the island of São Vicente) became an important commercial centre during the 19th century.[8]

In 1951, Portugal changed Cape Verde's status from a colony to an overseas province in an attempt to blunt growing nationalism. In 1956, Amilcar Cabral, and a group of fellow Cape Verdeans and Guineans organised (in Portuguese Guinea) the clandestine African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which demanded improvement in economic, social and political conditions in Cape Verde and Portuguese Guinea and formed the basis of the two nations' independence movement. Moving its headquarters to Conakry, Guinea in 1960, the PAIGC began an armed rebellion against Portugal in 1961. Acts of sabotage eventually grew into a war in Portuguese Guinea that pitted 10,000 Soviet bloc-supported PAIGC soldiers against 35,000 Portuguese and African troops.[8]

By 1972, the PAIGC controlled much of Portuguese Guinea despite the presence of the Portuguese troops, but the organization did not attempt to disrupt Portuguese control in Cape Verde. Portuguese Guinea declared independence in 1973 and was granted de jure independence in 1974. Following the April 1974 revolution in Portugal, the PAIGC became an active political movement in Cape Verde. In December 1974, the PAIGC and Portugal signed an agreement providing for a transitional government composed of Portuguese and Cape Verdeans. On June 30, 1975, Cape Verdeans elected a National Assembly which received the instruments of independence from Portugal on July 5, 1975.[8]

Immediately following the November 1980 coup in Guinea-Bissau, relations between Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau became strained. Cape Verde abandoned its hope for unity with Guinea-Bissau and formed the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV). Problems have since been resolved and relations between the countries are good. The PAICV and its predecessor established a one-party system and ruled Cape Verde from independence until 1990.[8]

Responding to growing pressure for pluralistic democracy, the PAICV called an emergency congress in February 1990 to discuss proposed constitutional changes to end one-party rule. Opposition groups came together to form the Movement for Democracy (MPD) in Praia in April 1990. Together, they campaigned for the right to contest the presidential election scheduled for December 1990.

The one-party state was abolished September 28, 1990, and the first multi-party elections were held in January 1991. The MPD won a majority of the seats in the National Assembly, and MPD presidential candidate António Mascarenhas Monteiro defeated the PAICV's candidate with 73.5% of the votes. Legislative elections in December 1995 increased the MPD majority in the National Assembly. The party won 50 of the National Assembly's 72 seats.

A February 1996 presidential election returned President Monteiro to office. Legislative elections in January 2001 returned power to the PAICV, with the PAICV holding 40 of the National Assembly seats, MPD 30, and Party for Democratic Convergence (PCD) and Party for Labor and Solidarity (PTS) 1 each. In February 2001, the PAICV-supported presidential candidate Pedro Pires defeated former MPD leader Carlos Veiga by only 13 votes.[8]
[edit] Geography
Main article: Geography of Cape Verde
Praia
Climate chart (explanation)
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
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Source: BBC Weather[9]
[show]Imperial conversion
The beach of Calhau, with Monte Verde in the background, on the island of São Vicente
The summit of Pico do Fogo, the highest peak in the Cape Verde archipelago, located on the island of Fogo
Natural salt evaporation ponds at Pedra de Lume, on the island of Sal
Terra satellite took this photo of Cape Verde islands on November 23, 2010.

The Cape Verde archipelago is located in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 570 kilometres (350 mi) off the coast of West Africa, near Mauritania and Senegal, and is part of the Macaronesia ecoregion. It lies between latitudes 14° and 18°N, and longitudes 22° and 26°W.

The country is a horseshoe-shaped cluster of ten islands (nine inhabited) and eight islets,[10] that constitute an area of 4033 km².[10]

The islands are spatially divided into two groups:

The Ilhas de Barlavento (English: windward islands): Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal, Boa Vista;[10] and
The Ilhas de Sotavento (English: leeward islands): Maio, Santiago, Fogo, Brava.[10]

The largest island, both in size and population, is Santiago, which hosts the nation's capital, Praia, the principal agglomeration in the archipelago.[10]
[edit] Physical geography

Magnetic anomalies identified in the vicinity of the archipelago indicate that the structures forming the islands date back 125-150 million years: the islands themselves date from 8 million (in the west) to 20 million years (in the east).[11] The oldest exposed rocks occurred on Maio and northern peninsula of Santiago and are 128-131 million year old pillow lavas. The first stage of volcanism in the islands began in the early Miocene, and reached its peak at the end of this period, when the islands reached their maximum sizes. Historical volcanism (within human settlement) has been restricted to the island of Fogo.

The origin of the islands' volcanism has been attributed to a hotspot, associated with bathymetric swell that formed the Cape Verde Rise.[12] The Rise is one of the largest protuberances in the world's oceans, rising 2.2 kilometers in a semi-circular region of 1200 km², associated with a rise of the geoid and elevated surface heat flow.[11]

Though Cape Verde's islands are all volcanic in origin, they vary widely in terrain.[10]

Most recently erupting in 1995, Pico do Fogo is the largest active volcano in the region. It has a 8 km (5 mi) diameter caldera, whose rim is 1,600 m (5,249 ft) altitude and an interior cone that rises to 2,829 m (9,281 ft) above sea level. The caldera resulted from subsidence, following the partial evacuation (eruption) of the magma chamber, along a cylindrical column from within magma chamber (at a depth of 8 km (5 mi)).

Geologically, the islands are principally composed of igneous rocks, with volcanic structures and pyroclastic debris comprising the majority of the archipelago's total volume. The volcanic and plutonic rocks are distinctly basic; the archipelago is a soda-alkaline petrographic province, with a petrologic succession which is similar to that found in other Macaronesian islands.

Extensive salt flats are found on Sal and Maio.[10] On Santiago, Santo Antão, and São Nicolau, arid slopes give way in places to sugarcane fields or banana plantations spread along the base of towering mountains.[10]
[edit] Climate
Main article: Climate of Cape Verde

Cape Verde's climate is milder than that of the African mainland because the surrounding sea moderates temperatures on the islands.[10] Average daily high temperatures range from 25 °C (77 °F) in January to 29 °C (84.2 °F) in September.[9] Cape Verde is part of the Sahelian arid belt, with nothing like the rainfall levels of nearby West Africa.[10] It does rain irregularly between August and October, with frequent brief-but-heavy downpours.[10] A desert is usually defined as terrain which receives less than 250 mm (9.8 in) of annual rainfall. Cape Verde's total (261 mm/10.3 in) is slightly above this criterion, which makes the area climate semi-desert.

Hurricanes that form near the Cape Verde Islands are sometimes referred to as Cape Verde-type hurricanes. These hurricanes can become very intense as they cross warm Atlantic waters.
[edit] Biome

Cape Verde's isolation has resulted in the islands having a number of endemic species, particularly bird and reptiles, many of which are endangered by human development. Endemic birds include Alexander's Swift (Apus alexandri), Bourne's Heron (Ardea purpurea bournei), the Raso Lark (Alauda razae), the Cape Verde Warbler (Acrocephalus brevipennis), and the Iago Sparrow (Passer iagoensis).[13] The islands are also an important breeding area for seabirds including the Cape Verde Shearwater. Reptiles include the Cape Verde Giant Gecko (Tarentola gigas).
[edit] Human geography
Main article: Administrative divisions of Cape Verde
Aerial view of the capital of the archipelago, Praia, on the island of Santiago
Vista of Nova Sintra, the municipal seat of Brava

Cape Verde is divided into 22 municipalities (concelhos) and subdivided into 32 parishes (freguesias), based on the religious parishes that existed during the colonial period:
Barlavento Islands Island Municipality Parish
Santo Antão Ribeira Grande Nossa Senhora do Rosário
Nossa Senhora do Livramento
Santo Crucifixo
São Pedro Apóstolo
Paul Santo António das Pombas
Porto Novo São João Baptista
Santo André
São Vicente São Vicente Nossa Senhora da Luz
Santa Luzia
São Nicolau Ribeira Brava Nossa Senhora da Lapa
Nossa Senhora do Rosário
Tarrafal de São Nicolau São Francisco
Sal Sal Nossa Senhora das Dores
Boa Vista Boa Vista Santa Isabel
São João Baptista
View of downtown Mindelo en Baía do Porto Grande, São Vicente
The uninhabited islets Ilhéus Secos or Ilhéus do Rombo as seen from off the coast, with the town of Nova Sintra in the foreground
Sotavento Islands Island Municipality Parish
Maio Maio Nossa Senhora da Luz
Santiago Praia Nossa Senhora da Graça
São Domingos Nossa Senhora da Luz
São Nicolau Tolentino
Santa Catarina Santa Catarina
São Salvador do Mundo São Salvador do Mundo
Santa Cruz Santiago Maior
São Lourenço dos Órgãos São Lourenço dos Órgãos
Ribeira Grande de Santiago Santíssimo Nome de Jesus
São João Baptista
São Miguel São Miguel Arcanjo
Tarrafal Santo Amaro Abade
Fogo São Filipe São Lourenço
Nossa Senhora da Conceição
Santa Catarina do Fogo Santa Catarina do Fogo
Mosteiros Nossa Senhora da Ajuda
Brava Brava São João Baptista
Nossa Senhora do Monte


[edit] Demographics
Main article: Demographics of Cape Verde
Population pyramid (demographics) showing age distribution of males to females (2005)

Most of the population is of creole ethnicity, mixed from black African and European descent. The European men who colonized Cape Verde did not usually bring wives or families with them. As female African slaves were brought to the islands inter-marriages occurred.[10]

A genetic study revealed that the ancestry of the population in Cape Verde is 57% African and 43% European.[14]

Around 95% of the population is Christian (more than 85 percent of the population is nominally Roman Catholic,[15] though for a minority of the population Catholicism is syncretized with African influences).[2] The largest Protestant denomination is the Church of the Nazarene; other groups include the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Assemblies of God, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, and various other Pentecostal and evangelical groups.)[15] There are small Baha'i communities and a small Muslim community.[15] The number of atheists is estimated at less than 1 percent of the population.[15]

Cape Verde's official language is Portuguese. It is the language of instruction and government. However, the Cape Verdean Creole is used colloquially and is the mother tongue of virtually all Cape Verdeans. Cape Verdean Creole or Kriolu is a dialect continuum of a Portuguese-based creole, which varies from island to island. There is a substantial body of literature in Creole, especially in the Santiago Creole and the São Vicente Creole. Creole has been gaining prestige since the nation's independence from Portugal. However, the differences between the varied forms of the language within the islands have been a major obstacle in the way of standardization of the language. Some people have advocated the development of two standards: a North (Barlavento) standard, centered on the São Vicente Creole, and a South (Sotavento) standard, centered on the Santiago Creole. Manuel Veiga, PhD, a linguist by training, and Minister of Culture of Cape Verde, is the premier proponent of Kriolu's officialization and standardization. The demographic statistics site ESA says Cape Verde has a population of 567,000 in 2010.
[edit] Emigration
Main article: Cape Verdean diaspora
Local women on the island of Santiago

Today, more Cape Verdeans live abroad than in Cape Verde itself, with significant emigrant[16] Cape Verdean communities in the United States (500,000 Cape Verdeans descent, with a major concentration on the New England coast from Providence, Rhode Island, to New Bedford, Massachusetts). There are also significant Cape Verde populations in Portugal (150,000), Angola (45,000), São Tomé and Príncipe (25,000), Senegal (25,000), the Netherlands (20,000, of which 15,000 are concentrated in Rotterdam), France (25,000), Scandinavia (7,000), Italy (10,000) and Spain (12,500). There is also a Cape Verdean community in Argentina numbering 8,000. A large number of Cape Verdeans and people of Cape Verdean descent that immigrated before 1975 are not included in these statistics, because all the Cape Verdeans had Portuguese passports before 1975.

There are approximately 2,000 Chinese immigrants in Cape Verde, as well as citizens of the African mainland (most of these immigrants hail from West Africa), there are also a significant number of citizens of Europe and South America (Brazil) residing in the country. There are an estimated 20,000 immigrants in Cape Verde of which 14,000 are legal residents.

In the USA, the children and grandchildren of the first immigrant waves became involved in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. This led them to make links with other US black groups. Cape-Verdean Americans have also been involved in the US Army for centuries; in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, the First and Second World Wars, as well as the Korean and Vietnam Wars.[17] Cape Verdeans moved to places all over the world, from Macau to Haiti to Argentina to northern Europe.[18]
[edit] Politics
President of Cape Verde, Pedro Pires, meeting with the then Brazilian president Lula da Silva
Main article: Politics of Cape Verde

Cape Verde is a stable representative Parliamentary republic.[19] The constitution —adopted in 1980 and revised in 1992, 1995 and 1999— defines the basic principles of its government. The president is the head of state and is elected by popular vote for a 5-year term. The prime minister is the head of government and proposes other ministers and secretaries of state. The prime minister is nominated by the National Assembly and appointed by the preside

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Central African Republic
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with Central Africa, British Central Africa, or Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
Page move-protected
Central African Republic
République centrafricaine
Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Unité, Dignité, Travail" (French)
"Unity, Dignity, Work"
Anthem: La Renaissance (French)
E Zingo (Sango)
The Renaissance
Capital
(and largest city) Bangui
4°22′N 18°35′E
Official language(s) French, Sango
Demonym Central African
Government Republic
- President François Bozizé
- Prime Minister Faustin-Archange Touadéra
Legislature National Assembly
Independence
- from France 13 August 1960
Area
- Total 622,984 km2 (43rd)
240,534 sq mi
- Water (%) 0
Population
- 2009 estimate 4,422,000[1] (124th)
- 2003 census 3,895,150
- Density 7.1/km2 (223rd)
18.4/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $3.446 billion[2]
- Per capita $744[2]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $2.018 billion[2]
- Per capita $436[2]
Gini (1993) 61.3[3] (high)
HDI (2007) increase 0.369 (low) (179th)
Currency Central African CFA franc (XAF)
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+1)
Drives on the right[4]
Internet TLD .cf
Calling code 236
Bangui shopping district
Trucks in Bangui
Map of Central African Republic

The Central African Republic (CAR) (French: République centrafricaine, pronounced: [ʁepyblik sɑ̃tʁafʁikɛn], or Centrafrique [sɑ̃tʀafʀik]; Sango Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka), is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It borders Chad in the north, Sudan in the north east, South Sudan in the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo in the south, and Cameroon in the west. The CAR covers a land area of about 240,000 square miles (620,000 km2), and has an estimated population of about 4.4 million as of 2008. Bangui is the capital city.

Most of the CAR consists of Sudano-Guinean savannas but it also includes a Sahelo-Sudanian zone in the north and an equatorial forest zone in the south. Two thirds of the country lies in the basins of the Ubangi River, which flows south into the Congo River, while the remaining third lies in the basin of the Chari River, which flows north into Lake Chad.

Since most of the territory is located in the Ubangi and Shari river basins, France called the colony it carved out in this region Ubangi-Chari, or Oubangui-Chari in French. It became a semi-autonomous territory of the French Community in 1958 and then an independent nation on 13 August 1960. For over three decades after independence, the CAR was ruled by presidents who either were not freely elected or took power by force. Local discontent with this system was eventually reinforced by international pressure, following the end of the Cold War.

The first multi-party democratic elections were held in 1993 with resources provided by the country's donors and help from the UN Office for Electoral Affairs, and brought Ange-Félix Patassé to power. He lost popular support during his presidency and was overthrown in 2003 by French-backed General François Bozizé, who went on to win a democratic election in May 2005. Inability to pay workers in the public sector led to strikes in 2007, forcing the resignation of the government in early 2008. A new Prime Minister, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, was named on 22 January 2008.

The Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world and among the ten poorest countries in Africa. The Human Development Index for the Central African Republic is 0.369, which gives the country a rank of 179 out of 182 countries with data.[5]
Contents
[hide]

1 History
1.1 Early history
1.2 Exposure to the outside world
1.3 French colonialism
1.4 Independence
2 Humanitarian aid, peacebuilding, and development
2.1 Peacebuilding Commission
2.2 Peacebuilding Fund
3 Politics
3.1 Human rights
4 Prefectures and sub-prefectures
5 Geography
5.1 Climate
6 Economy
7 Demographics
7.1 Health
8 Religion
9 Culture
9.1 Music
9.2 Education
10 Legal System
11 See also
12 References
13 Further reading
14 External links

[edit] History
Main article: History of the Central African Republic
This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2011)
[edit] Early history

Between about 1000 BC and 1000 AD, Ubangian-speaking peoples spread eastward from Cameroon to Sudan and settled in most of the territory of the CAR. During the same period, a much smaller number of Bantu-speaking immigrants settled in Southwestern CAR and some Central Sudanic-speaking populations settled along the Oubangi.

The majority of the CAR's inhabitants thus speak Ubangian languages or Bantu languages belonging to the Niger-Congo family. A minority speak Central Sudanic languages of the Nilo-Saharan family. More recent immigrants include many Muslim merchants who most often speak Arabic or Hausa.
[edit] Exposure to the outside world

Until the early 19th century, the peoples of the CAR lived beyond the expanding Islamic frontier in the Sudanic zone of Africa and thus had relatively little contact with Abrahamic religions or northern economies. During the first decades of the 19th century, however, Muslim traders began increasingly to penetrate the region of the CAR and to cultivate special relations with local leaders in order to facilitate their trade and settlement in the region.

The initial arrival of Muslim traders in the early 19th century was relatively peaceful and depended upon the support of local peoples, but after about 1850, slave traders with well-armed soldiers began to penetrate the region. Between c. 1860 and 1910, slave traders from Sudan, Chad, Cameroon, Dar al-Kuti in Northern CAR and Nzakara and Zande states in Southeastern CAR exported much of the population of Eastern CAR, a region with very few inhabitants today.
[edit] French colonialism
Main article: Ubangi-Shari
This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2011)
Oubangui-Chari in 1910

European penetration of Central African territory began in the late 19th century during the so-called Scramble for Africa (c. 1875-1900). Count Savorgnan de Brazza took the lead in establishing the French Congo with headquarters in the city named after him, Brazzaville, and sent expeditions up the Ubangi River in an effort to expand France's claims to territory in Central Africa. King Leopold II of Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom also competed to establish their claims to territory in the Central African region.

In 1889 the French established a post on the Ubangi River at Bangui, the future capital of Ubangi-Shari and the CAR. De Brazza then sent expeditions in 1890-91 up the Sangha River in what is now Southwestern CAR, up the center of the Ubangi basin toward Lake Chad, and eastward along the Ubangi River toward the Nile. De Brazza and the procolonial in France wished to expand the borders of the French Congo to link up with French territories in West Africa, North Africa and East Africa.

In 1894, the French Congo's borders with Leopold II's Congo Free State and German Cameroon were fixed by diplomatic agreements. Then, in 1899, the French Congo's border with Sudan was fixed along the Congo-Nile watershed, leaving France without her much coveted outlet on the Nile and turning Southeastern Ubangi-Shari into a cul-de-sac.

Once European negotiators agreed upon the borders of the French Congo, France had to decide how to pay for the costly occupation, administration, and development of the territory. The reported financial successes of Leopold II's concessionary companies in the Congo Free State convinced the French government in 1899 to grant 17 private companies large concessions in the Ubangi-Shari region. In return for the right to exploit these lands by buying local products and selling European goods, the companies promised to pay rent to the colonial state and to promote the development of their concessions. The companies employed European and African agents who frequently used extremely brutal methods to force Central Africans to work for them. At the same time, the French colonial administration began to force Central Africans to pay taxes and to provide the state with free labor. The companies and French administration often collaborated in their efforts to force Central Africans to work for their benefit, but they also often found themselves at odds.

Some French officials reported abuses committed by private company militias and even by their own colonial colleagues and troops, but efforts to bring these criminals to justice almost always failed. When news of atrocities committed against Central Africans by concessionary company employees and colonial officials or troops reached France and caused an outcry, there were investigations and some feeble attempts at reform, but the situation on the ground in Ubangi-Shari remained essentially the same.
Stamp from 1924

In the meantime, during the first decade of French colonial rule (c. 1900-1910), the rulers of African states in the Ubangi-Shari region increased their slave raiding activities and also their sale of local products to European companies and the colonial state. They took advantage of their treaties with the French to procure more weapons which were used to capture more slaves and so much of the eastern half of Ubangi-Shari was depopulated as a result of the export of Central Africans by local rulers during the first decade of colonial rule. Those who had power, Africans and Europeans, often made life miserable for those who did not have the power to resist.

During the second decade of colonial rule (c. 1910-1920), armed employees of private companies and the colonial state continued to use brutal methods to deal with local populations who resisted forced labor but the power of local African rulers was destroyed and so slave raiding was greatly diminished. In 1911, the Sangha and Lobaye basins were ceded to Germany as part of an agreement which gave France a free-hand in Morocco and so Western Ubangi-Shari came under German rule until World War I, during which France reconquered this territory by using Central African troops.

The third decade of colonial rule (1920-1930) was a period of transition during which a network of roads was built, cash crops were promoted, mobile health services were formed to combat sleeping sickness, and Protestant missions established stations in different parts of the country. New forms of forced labor were also introduced, however, as the French conscripted large numbers of Ubangians to work on the Congo-Ocean Railway and many of these recruits died of exhaustion and illness.

In 1925 the French writer André Gide published Voyage au Congo in which he described the alarming consequences of conscription for the Congo-Ocean railroad and exposed the continuing atrocities committed against Central Africans in Western Ubangi-Shari by employees of the Forestry Company of Sangha-Ubangi, for example. In 1928 a major insurrection, the Kongo-Wara 'war of the hoe handle' broke out in Western Ubangi-Shari and continued for several years. The extent of this insurrection, perhaps the largest anticolonial rebellion in Africa during the interwar years, was carefully hidden from the French public because it provided evidence, once again, of strong opposition to French colonial rule and forced labor.

During the fourth decade of colonial rule (c. 1930-1940), cotton, tea, and coffee emerged as important cash crops in Ubangi-Shari and the mining of diamonds and gold began in earnest. Several cotton companies were granted purchasing monopolies over large areas of cotton production and were thus able to fix the prices paid to cultivators in order to assure profits for their shareholders. Europeans established coffee plantations and Central Africans also began to cultivate coffee.

The fifth decade of colonial rule (c. 1940-1950) was shaped by the Second World War and the political reforms which followed in its wake. In September 1940 pro-Gaullist French officers took control of Ubangi-Shari.
[edit] Independence

On 1 December 1958 the colony of Ubangi-Shari became an autonomous territory within the French Community and took the name Central African Republic. The founding father and president of the Conseil de Gouvernement, Barthélémy Boganda, died in a mysterious plane accident in 1959, just eight days before the last elections of the colonial era. On 13 August 1960 the Central African Republic gained its independence and two of Boganda's closest aides, Abel Goumba and David Dacko, became involved in a power struggle. With the backing of the French, Dacko took power and soon had Goumba arrested. By 1962 President Dacko had established a one-party state.
Jean-Bédel Bokassa

On 31 December 1965 Dacko was overthrown in the Saint-Sylvestre coup d'état by Colonel Jean-Bédel Bokassa, who suspended the constitution and dissolved the National Assembly. President Bokassa declared himself President for life in 1972, and named himself Emperor Bokassa I of the Central African Empire on 4 December 1976. A year later, Emperor Bokassa crowned himself in a lavish and expensive ceremony that was ridiculed by much of the world. In 1979 France carried out a coup against Bokassa and "restored" Dacko to power. Dacko, in turn, was overthrown in a coup by General André Kolingba on 1 September 1981.

Kolingba suspended the constitution and ruled with a military junta until 1985. He introduced a new constitution in 1986 which was adopted by a nationwide referendum. Membership in his new party, the Rassemblement Démocratique Centrafricain (RDC) was voluntary. In 1987, semi-competitive elections to parliament were held and municipal elections were held in 1988. Kolingba's two major political opponents, Abel Goumba and Ange-Félix Patassé, boycotted these elections because their parties were not allowed to compete.

By 1990, inspired by the fall of the Berlin Wall, a pro-democracy movement became very active. In May 1990 a letter signed by 253 prominent citizens asked for the convocation of a National Conference but Kolingba refused this request and detained several opponents. Pressure from the United States, more reluctantly from France, and from a group of locally represented countries and agencies called GIBAFOR (France, USA, Germany, Japan, EU, World Bank and UN) finally led Kolingba to agree, in principle, to hold free elections in October 1992, with help from the UN Office of Electoral Affairs. After using the excuse of alleged irregularities to suspend the results of the elections as a pretext for holding on to power, President Kolingba came under intense pressure from GIBAFOR to establish a "Conseil National Politique Provisoire de la République" (Provisional National Political Council) (CNPPR) and to set up a "Mixed Electoral Commission" which included representatives from all political parties.

When elections were finally held in 1993 (again with the help of the international community) Ange-Félix Patassé led in the first round and Kolingba came in fourth behind Abel Goumba and David Dacko. In the second round, Patassé won 53 percent of the vote while Goumba won 45.6 percent. Most of Patassé's support came from Gbaya, Kare and Kaba voters in seven heavily populated prefectures in the northwest while Goumba's support came largely from ten less-populated prefectures in the south and east. Furthermore, Patassé's party, the Mouvement pour la Libération du Peuple Centrafricain (MLPC) or Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People gained a simple but not an absolute majority of seats in parliament, which meant Patassé needed coalition partners.

Patassé relieved former President Kolingba of his military rank of general in March 1994 and then charged several former ministers with various crimes. Patassé also removed many Yakoma from important, lucrative posts in the government. Two hundred mostly Yakoma members of the presidential guard were also dismissed or reassigned to the army. Kolingba's RDC loudly proclaimed that Patassé's government was conducting a "witch hunt" against the Yakoma.

A new constitution was approved on 28 December 1994 and promulgated on 14 January 1995, but this constitution, like those before it, did not have much impact on the practice of politics. In 1996-1997, reflecting steadily decreasing public confidence in its erratic behaviour, three mutinies against Patassé's government were accompanied by widespread destruction of property and heightened ethnic tension. On 25 January 1997, the Bangui Peace Accords were signed which provided for the deployment of an inter-African military mission, the Mission Interafricaine de Surveillance des Accords de Bangui (MISAB). Mali's former president, Amadou Touré, served as chief mediator and brokered the entry of ex-mutineers into the government on 7 April 1997. The MISAB mission was later replaced by a U.N. peacekeeping force, the Mission des Nations Unies en RCA (MINURCA).

In 1998 parliamentary elections resulted in Kolingba' RDC winning 20 out of 109 seats, which constituted a comeback, but in 1999, notwithstanding widespread public anger in urban centers with his corrupt rule, Patassé won free elections to become president for a second term.

On 28 May 2001 rebels stormed strategic buildings in Bangui in an unsuccessful coup attempt. The army chief of staff, Abel Abrou, and General François N'Djadder Bedaya were shot, but Patassé regained the upper hand by bringing in at least 300 troops of the rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba (from across the river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and by Libyan soldiers.

In the aftermath of this failed coup, militias loyal to Patassé sought revenge against rebels in many neighborhoods of the capital, Bangui, that resulted in the destruction of many homes as well as the torture and murder of many opponents. Eventually Patassé came to suspect that General François Bozizé was involved in another coup attempt against him and so Bozizé fled with loyal troops to Chad. In March 2003, Bozizé launched a surprise attack against Patassé, who was out of the country. Libyan troops and some 1,000 soldiers of Bemba's Congolese rebel organization failed to stop the rebels, who took control of the country and thus succeeded in overthrowing Patassé.

François Bozizé suspended the constitution and named a new cabinet which included most opposition parties. Abel Goumba, "Mr. Clean", was named vice-president, which gave Bozizé's new government a positive image. Bozizé established a broad-based National Transition Council to draft a new constitution and announced that he would step down and run for office once the new constitution was approved. A national dialogue was held from 15 September to 27 October 2003, and Bozizé won a fair election that excluded Patassé, to be elected president on a second ballot, in May 2005.
[edit] Humanitarian aid, peacebuilding, and development

The Central African Republic is heavily dependent upon multilateral foreign aid and the presence of numerous NGOs which provide services which the government fails to provide. As one UNDP official put it, the CAR is a country "sous serum", or a country metaphorically hooked up to an IV. (Mehler 2005:150). The very presence of numerous foreign personnel and organizations in the country, including peacekeepers and even refugee camps, provides an important source of revenue for many Central Africans.[citation needed]

The country is self-sufficient in food crops, but much of the population lives at a subsistence level. Livestock development is hindered by the presence of the tsetse fly.

In 2006 due to ongoing violence, over 50,000 in the country's north-west were at risk of starvation,[6] and this was only averted thanks to United Nations support.[citation needed]
[edit] Peacebuilding Commission

On 12 June 2008, the Central African Republic became the fourth country to be placed on the agenda of the UN Peacebuilding Commission,[7] which was set up in 2005 to help countries emerging from conflict avoid the slide back into war or chaos. The 31-member body agreed to take up the situation after a request from the government.
[edit] Peacebuilding Fund

The Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared on 8 January 2008 that the Central African Republic was eligible to receive assistance from the Peacebuilding Fund.[8] Three priority areas were identified: 1) Security sector reform 2) Promotion of good governance and the rule of law and 3) Revitalization of communities affected by conflicts.
[edit] Politics
Bangui airport
Main articles: Politics of the Central African Republic and Central African Republic Council of Ministers

François Bozizé is President of the country. A new constitution was approved by voters in a referendum held on 5 December 2004. Full multiparty presidential and parliamentary elections were held in March 2005,[9] with a second round in May. Bozizé was declared the winner after a run-off vote.[10]

In February 2006, there were reports of widespread violence in the northern part of the CAR.[11] Thousands of refugees fled the

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Chad
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the country. For other uses, see Chad (disambiguation).
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Republic of Chad
République du Tchad
جمهورية تشاد
Ǧumhūriyyat Tšād

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Unité, Travail, Progrès" (French)
"Unity, Work, Progress"
Anthem: "La Tchadienne"
The Chadian Hymn
Capital
(and largest city) N'Djamena
12°06′N 16°02′E
Official language(s) French, Arabic
Demonym Chadian
Government Presidential republic
- President Idriss Déby
- Prime Minister Emmanuel Nadingar
Independence
- from France August 11, 1960
Area
- Total 1,284,000 km2 (21st)
495,753 sq mi
- Water (%) 1.9
Population
- 2009 estimate 10,329,208[1] (74th)
- 1993 census 6,279,921
- Density 8.0/km2 (212th)
20.8/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $17.359 billion[2]
- Per capita $1,698[2]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $7.848 billion[2]
- Per capita $767[2]
HDI (2010) increase 0.295 (low) (163rd)
Currency Central African CFA franc (XAF)
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)
- Summer (DST) Not observed (UTC+1)
ISO 3166 code TD
Internet TLD .td
Calling code 235

Chad Listeni/ˈtʃæd/ (French: Tchad, Arabic: تشاد‎ Tšād), officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west. Due to its distance from the sea and its largely desert climate, the country is sometimes referred to as the "Dead Heart of Africa".

Chad is divided into multiple regions: a desert zone in the north, an arid Sahelian belt in the centre and a more fertile Sudanese savanna zone in the south. Lake Chad, after which the country is named, is the largest wetland in Chad and the second largest in Africa. Chad's highest peak is the Emi Koussi in the Sahara, and N'Djamena, (formerly Fort-Lamy), the capital, is the largest city. Chad is home to over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups. Arabic and French are the official languages. Islam and Christianity are the most widely practised religions.

Beginning in the 7th millennium BC, human populations moved into the Chadian basin in great numbers. By the end of the 1st millennium BC, a series of states and empires rose and fell in Chad's Sahelian strip, each focused on controlling the trans-Saharan trade routes that passed through the region. France conquered the territory by 1920 and incorporated it as part of French Equatorial Africa.

In 1960, Chad obtained independence under the leadership of François Tombalbaye. Resentment towards his policies in the Muslim north culminated in the eruption of a long-lasting civil war in 1965. In 1979, the rebels conquered the capital and put an end to the south's hegemony. However, the rebel commanders fought amongst themselves until Hissène Habré defeated his rivals. He was overthrown in 1990 by his general Idriss Déby. Recently, the Darfur crisis in Sudan has spilt over the border and destabilised the nation, with hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees living in and around camps in eastern Chad.

While many political parties are active, power lies firmly in the hands of President Déby and his political party, the Patriotic Salvation Movement. Chad remains plagued by political violence and recurrent attempted coups d'état (see Battle of N'Djamena (2006) and Battle of N'Djamena (2008)).

Chad is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world; most inhabitants live in poverty as subsistence herders and farmers. Since 2003, crude oil has become the country's primary source of export earnings, superseding the traditional cotton industry.
Contents
[hide]

1 History
2 Politics and government
3 Humanitarian situation
4 Regions, departments, and sub-prefectures
5 Geography
5.1 Climate
6 Economy and infrastructure
7 Demographics
8 Religion
9 Culture
10 See also
11 Notes
12 References
13 External links

[edit] History
Main article: History of Chad

In the 7th millennium BC, ecological conditions in the northern half of Chadian territory favored human settlement, and the region experienced a strong population increase. Some of the most important African archaeological sites are found in Chad, mainly in the Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti Region; some date to earlier than 2000 BC.[3][4]

For more than 2000 years, the Chadian Basin has been inhabited by agricultural and sedentary peoples. The region became a crossroads of civilizations. The earliest of these were the legendary Sao, known from artifacts and oral histories. The Sao fell to the Kanem Empire,[5][6] the first and longest-lasting of the empires that developed in Chad's Sahelian strip by the end of the 1st millennium AD. The power of Kanem and its successors was based on control of the trans-Saharan trade routes that passed through the region.[4] These states, at least tacitly Muslim, never extended their control to the southern grasslands except to raid for slaves.[7]
By defeating and killing Rabih az-Zubayr on April 22, 1900, at the Battle of Kousséri, France removed a major obstacle to its colonisation of Chad.
15,000 Chadian soldiers fought for Free France during World War II.[8]

French colonial expansion led to the creation of the Territoire Militaire des Pays et Protectorats du Tchad in 1900. By 1920, France had secured full control of the colony and incorporated it as part of French Equatorial Africa.[9] French rule in Chad was characterised by an absence of policies to unify the territory and sluggish modernisation. The French primarily viewed the colony as an unimportant source of untrained labour and raw cotton; France introduced large-scale cotton production in 1929. The colonial administration in Chad was critically understaffed and had to rely on the dregs of the French civil service. Only the south was governed effectively; French presence in the north and east was nominal. The educational system suffered from this neglect.[4][10]

After World War II, France granted Chad the status of overseas territory and its inhabitants the right to elect representatives to the French National Assembly and a Chadian assembly. The largest political party was the Chadian Progressive Party (PPT), based in the southern half of the colony. Chad was granted independence on August 11, 1960 with the PPT's leader, François Tombalbaye, as its first president.[4][11][12]

Two years later, Tombalbaye banned opposition parties and established a one-party system. Tombalbaye's autocratic rule and insensitive mismanagement exacerbated interethnic tensions. In 1965 Muslims began a civil war. Tombalbaye was overthrown and killed in 1975,[13] but the insurgency continued. In 1979 the rebel factions conquered the capital, and all central authority in the country collapsed. Armed factions, many from the north's rebellion, contended for power.[14][15]

The disintegration of Chad caused the collapse of France's position in the country. Libya moved to fill the power vacuum and became involved in Chad's civil war.[16] Libya's adventure ended in disaster in 1987; the French-supported president, Hissène Habré, evoked a united response from Chadians of a kind never seen before[17] and forced the Libyan army off Chadian soil.[18]

Habré consolidated his dictatorship through a power system that relied on corruption and violence; an estimated 40,000 people were killed under his rule.[19][20] The president favoured his own Daza ethnic group and discriminated against his former allies, the Zaghawa. His general, Idriss Déby, overthrew him in 1990.[21]

Déby attempted to reconcile the rebel groups and reintroduced multiparty politics. Chadians approved a new constitution by referendum, and in 1996, Déby easily won a competitive presidential election. He won a second term five years later.[22] Oil exploitation began in Chad in 2003, bringing with it hopes that Chad would at last have some chances of peace and prosperity. Instead, internal dissent worsened, and a new civil war broke out. Déby unilaterally modified the constitution to remove the two-term limit on the presidency; this caused an uproar among the civil society and opposition parties.[23] In 2006 Déby won a third mandate in elections that the opposition boycotted. Ethnic violence in eastern Chad has increased; the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has warned that a genocide like that in Darfur may yet occur in Chad.[24]

In 2006 and in 2008 rebel forces have attempted to take the capital by force, but have on both occasions failed.[25]
[edit] Politics and government
Main article: Politics of Chad
See also: Foreign relations of Chad

Chad's constitution provides for a strong executive branch headed by a president who dominates the political system. The president has the power to appoint the prime minister and the cabinet, and exercises considerable influence over appointments of judges, generals, provincial officials and heads of Chad's para-statal firms. In cases of grave and immediate threat, the president, in consultation with the National Assembly, may declare a state of emergency. The president is directly elected by popular vote for a five-year term; in 2005 constitutional term limits were removed.[26]

This removal allows a president to remain in power beyond the previous two-term limit.[26] Most of Déby's key advisers are members of the Zaghawa ethnic group, although southern and opposition personalities are represented in government.[27][28]

Corruption is rife at all levels; Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2005 named Chad the most corrupt country in the world,[29] and it has fared only slightly better in the following years.[30] In 2007, it scored 1.8 out of 10 on the Corruption Perceptions Index (with 10 being the least corrupt). Only Tonga, Uzbekistan, Haiti, Iraq, Burma, and Somalia scored lower.[31] Critics of President Déby have accused him of cronyism and tribalism.[32]

Chad's legal system is based on French civil law and Chadian customary law where the latter does not interfere with public order or constitutional guarantees of equality. Despite the constitution's guarantee of judicial independence, the president names most key judicial officials. The legal system's highest jurisdictions, the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Council, have become fully operational since 2000. The Supreme Court is made up of a chief justice, named by the president, and 15 councillors, appointed for life by the president and the National Assembly. The Constitutional Court is headed by nine judges elected to nine-year terms. It has the power to review legislation, treaties and international agreements prior to their adoption.[27][28]
Embassy of Chad in Washington, D.C.

The National Assembly makes legislation. The body consists of 155 members elected for four-year terms who meet three times per year. The Assembly holds regular sessions twice a year, starting in March and October, and can hold special sessions when called by the prime minister. Deputies elect a National Assembly president every two years. The president must sign or reject newly passed laws within 15 days. The National Assembly must approve the prime minister's plan of government and may force the prime minister to resign through a majority vote of no confidence. However, if the National Assembly rejects the executive branch's programme twice in one year, the president may disband the Assembly and call for new legislative elections. In practice, the president exercises considerable influence over the National Assembly through his party, the Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS), which holds a large majority.[27]

Until the legalisation of opposition parties in 1992, Déby's MPS was the sole legal party in Chad.[27] Since, 78 registered political parties have become active.[33] In 2005, opposition parties and human rights organisations supported the boycott of the constitutional referendum that allowed Déby to stand for re-election for a third term[34] amid reports of widespread irregularities in voter registration and government censorship of independent media outlets during the campaign.[35] Correspondents judged the 2006 presidential elections a mere formality, as the opposition deemed the polls a farce and boycotted.[36]

Déby faces armed opposition from groups who are deeply divided by leadership clashes but united in their intention to overthrow him.[37] These forces stormed the capital on April 13, 2006, but were ultimately repelled. Chad's greatest foreign influence is France, which maintains 1,000 troops in the country. Déby relies on the French to help repel the rebels, and France gives the Chadian army logistical and intelligence support for fear of a complete collapse of regional stability.[38] Nevertheless, Franco-Chadian relations were soured by the granting of oil drilling rights to the American Exxon company in 1999.[39]

Educators face considerable challenges due to the nation's dispersed population and a certain degree of reluctance on the part of parents to send their children to school. Although attendance is compulsory, only 68% of boys attend primary school, and more than half of the population is illiterate. Higher education is provided at the University of N'Djamena.[27][40]
[edit] Humanitarian situation
Main article: Human rights in Chad

According to the United Nations, Chad has been affected by a humanitarian crisis since at least 2001. As of 2008, the country of Chad hosts over 280,000 refugees from the Sudan's Darfur region, over 55,000 from the Central African Republic, as well as over 170,000 internally displaced persons.[41]

In February 2008 in the aftermath of the battle of N'Djamena, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes expressed "extreme concern" that the crisis would have a negative effect on the ability of humanitarians to deliver life-saving assistance to half a million beneficiaries, most of whom - according to him - heavily rely on humanitarian aid for their survival.[42] UN spokesperson Maurizio Giuliano stated to The Washington Post: "If we do not manage to provide aid at sufficient levels, the humanitarian crisis might become a humanitarian catastrophe".[43]
[edit] Regions, departments, and sub-prefectures
Main articles: Regions of Chad, Departments of Chad, and Sub-prefectures of Chad

Chad has been divided since February 2008 in 22 regions.[44][45] The subdivision of Chad in regions came about in 2003 as part of the decentralisation process, when the government abolished the previous 14 prefectures. Each region is headed by a presidentially appointed governor. Prefects administer the 61 departments within the regions.[45] The departments are divided into 200 sub-prefectures, which are in turn composed of 446 cantons.[46][47]

The cantons are scheduled to be replaced by communautés rurales, but the legal and regulatory framework has not yet been completed.[48] The constitution provides for decentralised government to compel local populations to play an active role in their own development.[49] To this end, the constitution declares that each administrative subdivisions be governed by elected local assemblies,[50] but no local elections have taken place,[51] and communal elections scheduled for 2005 have been repeatedly postponed.[33]
Regions of Chad
Bol, Chad in 1971. Bol is located in the Lac region near Lake Chad

The regions are:[45]

Bahr el Gazel
Batha
Borkou
Chari-Baguirmi
Ennedi
Guéra
Hadjer-Lamis
Kanem
Lac
Logone Occidental
Logone Oriental



Mandoul
Mayo-Kebbi Est
Mayo-Kebbi Ouest
Moyen-Chari
Ouaddaï
Salamat
Sila
Tandjilé
Tibesti
Wadi Fira
N'Djamena

[edit] Geography
Main article: Geography of Chad
View of Chari River
Chad is divided into three distinct zones, the Sudanese savanna in the south, the Sahara Desert in the north, and the Sahelian belt in Chad's center.

At 1,284,000 square kilometres (496,000 sq mi), Chad is the world's 21st-largest country. It is slightly smaller than Peru and slightly larger than South Africa.[52][53] Chad is in north central Africa, lying between latitudes 7° and 24°N, and 13° and 24°E. Chad is bounded to the north by Libya, to the east by Sudan, to the west by Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon, and to the south by the Central African Republic. The country's capital is 1,060 kilometres (660 mi) from the nearest seaport Douala (Cameroon).[40][54] Due to this distance from the sea and the country's largely desert climate, Chad is sometimes referred to as the "Dead Heart of Africa".[55]

A heritage of the colonial era, Chad's borders do not coincide wholly with natural boundaries. The dominant physical structure is a wide basin bounded to the north, east and south by mountain ranges such as the Ennedi Plateau in the north-east. Lake Chad, after which the country is named, is the remains of an immense lake that occupied 330,000 square kilometres (130,000 sq mi) of the Chad Basin 7,000 years ago.
Lake Chad in a 2001 satellite image. On the top, the changes from 1973 to 1997 are shown.

[40] Although in the 21st century it covers only 17,806 square kilometres (6,875 sq mi), and its surface area is subject to heavy seasonal fluctuations,[56] the lake is Africa's second largest wetland.[57] The Emi Koussi, a dormant volcano in the Tibesti Mountains that reaches 3,414 metres (11,201 ft) above sea level, is the highest point in Chad and the Sahara.

The region's tall grasses and extensive marshes make it favourable for birds, reptiles, and large mammals. Chad's major rivers—the Chari, Logone and their tributaries—flow through the southern savannas from the southeast into Lake Chad.[40][58]
[edit] Climate
Main article: Climate of Chad

Each year a tropical weather system known as the intertropical front crosses Chad from south to north, bringing a wet season that lasts from May to October in the south, and from June to September in the Sahel.[59] Variations in local rainfall create three major geographical zones. The Sahara lies in the country's northern third. Yearly precipitations throughout this belt are under 50 millimetres (2.0 in); only the occasional spontaneous palm grove survives, the only ones to do so south of the Tropic of Cancer. The Sahara gives way to a Sahelian belt in Chad's centre; precipitation there varies from 300 to 600 mm (11.8 to 23.6 in) per year. In the Sahel, a steppe of thorny bushes (mostly acacias) gradually gives way to the south to East Sudanian savanna in Chad's Sudanese zone. Yearly rainfall in this belt is over 900 mm (35.4 in).[54]
[edit] Economy and infrastructure
Main article: Economy of Chad
A Chadian maternity ward. Although improving, Chad's infrastructure remains far less developed than that of its northern neighbours.

The United Nations' Human Development Index ranks Chad as the seventh poorest country in the world, with 80% of the population living below the poverty line. The GDP (Purchasing power parity) per capita was estimated as US$1,600 in 2008.[60] Chad is part of the Bank of Central African States, the Customs and Economic Union of Central Africa (UDEAC) and the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).[61] Its currency is the CFA franc. Years of civil war have scared away foreign investors; those who left Chad between 1979 and 1982 have only recently begun to regain confidence in the country's future. In 2000 major direct foreign investment in the oil sector began, boosting the country's economic prospects.[52][27]
Women in Mao, where water is provided by a water tower. Access to clean water is often a problem in Chad.

Over 80% of Chad's population relies on subsistence farming and livestock raising for its livelihood.[52] The crops grown and the locations of herds are determined by the local climate. In the southernmost 10 percent of the territory lies the nation's most fertile cropland, with rich yields of sorghum and millet. In the Sahel only the hardier varieties of millet grow, and these with much lower yields than in the south. On the other hand, the Sahel is ideal pastureland for large herds of commercial cattle and for goats, sheep, donkeys and horses. The Sahara's scattered oases support only some dates and legumes.[4]

Before the development of oil industry, cotton dominated industry and the labour market and accounted for approximately 80% of export earnings.[62] Cotton remains a primary export, although exact figures are not available. Rehabilitation of Cotontchad, a major cotton company that suffered from a decline in world cotton prices, has been financed by France, the Netherlands, the European Union, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). The parastatal is now expected to be privatised.[27]

ExxonMobil leads a consortium of Chevron and Petronas that has invested $3.7 billion to develop oil reserves estimated at one billion barrels in southern Chad. Oil production began in 2003 with the completion of a pipeline (financed in part by the World Bank) that links the southern oilfields to terminals on the Atlantic coast of Cameroon. As a condition of its assistance, the World Bank insisted that 80% of oil revenues be spent on development projects. In Jan

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Chile
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Chile (disambiguation).
Page semi-protected
Republic of Chile
República de Chile (Spanish)

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Por la razón o la fuerza
"By reason or by force" (Spanish)[1]
Anthem: Himno Nacional de Chile (Spanish)
Capital
(and largest city) Santiago1
33°26′S 70°40′W
Official language(s) Spanish
Demonym Chilean
Government Unitary presidential republic
- President of the Republic Sebastián Piñera
- Minister of the Interior and Public Security Rodrigo Hinzpeter RN
- President of the Senate Guido Girardi PPD
- President of the Chamber of Deputies Patricio Melero UDI
- President of the Supreme Court Milton Juica
Independence from Spain
- Declared February 12, 1818
- Recognized April 25, 1844
- Current constitution
September 11, 1980
Area
- Total 756,950 km2 (38th)
292,183 sq mi
- Water (%) 1.07²
Population
- 2011 estimate 16,888,760[2] (60th)
- 2002 census 15,116,435
- Density 22/km2 (194th)
57/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $257.884 billion[3]
- Per capita $15,002[3]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $203.323 billion[3]
- Per capita $11,828[3]
Gini (2006) 52.0[4] (high)
HDI (2010) increase 0.783[5] (high) (44th)
Currency Peso (CLP)
Time zone CLT or EAST3 (UTC−4 to −6)
- Summer (DST) CLST (UTC−3 to −5)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code CL
Internet TLD .cl
Calling code +56
1 The legislature is based in Valparaíso
2 Includes Easter Island and Isla Sala y Gómez; does not include 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of territory claimed in Antarctica
3 The mainland uses UTC-4, in summer DST UTC-3; Easter Island uses UTC-6, in summer DST UTC-5.

Chile Listeni/ˈtʃɪliː/,[6] officially the Republic of Chile (Spanish: República de Chile [reˈpuβlika ðe ˈtʃile] ( listen)), is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Along with Ecuador, it is one of two countries in South America that do not border Brazil. The Pacific coastline of Chile is 78,563.2 kilometres.[7] Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas and Easter Island. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.

The shape of Chile is a distinctive ribbon of land 4,300 kilometres (2,700 mi) long and on average 175 kilometres (109 mi) wide. Its climate varies, ranging from the world's driest desert - the Atacama - in the north, through a Mediterranean climate in the centre, to a rainy temperate climate in the south.[8] The northern desert contains great mineral wealth, principally copper. The relatively small central area dominates in terms of population and agricultural resources, and is the cultural and political center from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century, when it incorporated its northern and southern regions. Southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands and features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands.[9]

Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, northern Chile was under Inca rule while the indigenous Mapuche inhabited central and southern Chile. Chile declared its independence from Spain on February 12, 1818. In the War of the Pacific (1879-83), Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia and won its current northern territory. It was not until the 1880s that the Mapuche were completely subjugated.[2] Although relatively free of the coups and arbitrary governments that blighted South America, Chile endured the 17-year long military dictatorship (1973-1990) of Augusto Pinochet that left more than 3,000 people dead or missing.[8]

Today, Chile is one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations[8] and a recognized middle power.[10] It leads Latin American nations in human development, competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, economic freedom, low perception of corruption and state of peace.[11] It also ranks high regionally in freedom of the press and democratic development. However, it has a high economic inequality, as measured by the Gini index.[12] In May 2010 Chile became the first South American to join the OECD.[13] Chile is a founding member of both the United Nations and the Union of South American Nations.
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Early history and colonization
2.2 Independence
2.3 20th century
2.4 21st century
3 Politics
3.1 Defense
3.2 Foreign relations
3.3 Administrative divisions
4 Geography
4.1 Climate
4.2 Biodiversity
4.2.1 Fauna
4.2.2 Fungi
4.2.3 Flora
5 Economy
5.1 Economic policies
5.2 Foreign trade
5.3 Trade agreements
5.4 Finance
5.5 Tourism
6 Demographics
6.1 Indigenous communities
6.2 Immigration
6.3 Religion
6.4 Languages
6.5 Largest cities
7 Culture
7.1 Music and dance
7.2 Literature
7.3 Cuisine
7.4 Sports
7.5 National symbols
8 Healthcare
9 See also
10 References
11 Further reading
12 External links

Etymology

There are various theories about the origin of the word Chile. According to a theory by 17th century Spanish chronicler Diego de Rosales,[14] the Incas of Peru called the valley of the Aconcagua "Chili" by corruption of the name of a Picunche tribal chief ("cacique") called Tili, who ruled the area at the time of the Incan conquest in the 15th century.[15][16] Another theory points to the similarity of the valley of the Aconcagua with that of the Casma Valley in Peru, where there was a town and valley named Chili.[16]

Other theories say Chile may derive its name from a Native American word meaning either "ends of the earth" or "sea gulls;"[17] from the Mapuche word chilli, which may mean "where the land ends;"[18] or from the Quechua chiri, "cold,"[19] or tchili, meaning either "snow"[19][20] or "the deepest point of the Earth."[21] Another origin attributed to chilli is the onomatopoeic cheele-cheele—the Mapuche imitation of the warble of a bird locally known as trile.[18][22] The Spanish conquistadors heard about this name from the Incas, and the few survivors of Diego de Almagro's first Spanish expedition south from Peru in 1535-36 called themselves the "men of Chilli."[18] Ultimately, Almagro is credited with the universalization of the name Chile, after naming the Mapocho valley as such.[16]
History
Main article: History of Chile
Early history and colonization
The Mapuche people were the original inhabitants of southern and central Chile

About 10,000 years ago, migrating Native Americans settled in fertile valleys and coastal areas of what is present-day Chile. Example settlement sites from the very early human habitation are Monte Verde, Cueva del Milodon and the Pali Aike Crater's lava tube. The Incas briefly extended their empire into what is now northern Chile, but the Mapuche (or Araucanians as they were known by the Spaniards) successfully resisted many attempts by the Inca Empire to subjugate them, despite their lack of state organization.[23] They fought against the Sapa Inca Tupac Yupanqui and his army. The result of the bloody three-day confrontation known as the Battle of the Maule was that the Inca conquest of the territories of Chile ended at the Maule river.[24]

In 1520, while attempting to circumnavigate the earth, Ferdinand Magellan discovered the southern passage now named after him, the Strait of Magellan. The next Europeans to reach Chile were Diego de Almagro and his band of Spanish conquistadors, who came from Peru in 1535 seeking gold. The Spanish encountered various cultures that supported themselves principally through slash-and-burn agriculture and hunting. The conquest of Chile began in earnest in 1540 and was carried out by Pedro de Valdivia, one of Francisco Pizarro's lieutenants, who founded the city of Santiago on February 12, 1541. Although the Spanish did not find the extensive gold and silver they sought, they recognized the agricultural potential of Chile's central valley, and Chile became part of the Spanish Empire.[24]
Pedro de Valdivia
Bernardo O'Higgins, Supreme Director of Chile

Conquest of the land took place gradually, and the Europeans suffered repeated setbacks at the hands of the local population. A massive Mapuche insurrection that began in 1553 resulted in Valdivia's death and the destruction of many of the colony's principal settlements. Subsequent major insurrections took place in 1598 and in 1655. Each time the Mapuche and other native groups revolted, the southern border of the colony was driven northward. The abolition of slavery by the Spanish crown in 1683 was done in recognition that enslaving the Mapuche intensified resistance rather than cowing them into submission. Despite the royal prohibitions relations remained strained from continual colonialist interference.[25]

Cut off to the north by desert, to the south by the Mapuche, to the east by the Andes Mountains, and to the west by the ocean, Chile became one of the most centralized, homogeneous colonies in Spanish America. Serving as a sort of frontier garrison, the colony found itself with the mission of forestalling encroachment by both the Mapuche and Spain's European enemies, especially the British and the Dutch. Buccaneers and English adventurers menaced the colony in addition to the Mapuche, as was shown by Sir Francis Drake's 1578 raid on Valparaíso, the colony's principal port. Chile hosted one of the largest standing armies in the Americas, making it one of the most militarized of the Spanish possessions, as well as a drain on the treasury of the Viceroyalty of Peru.[18]

The first general census was performed by the government of Agustín de Jáuregui between 1777 and 1778; it indicated that the population consisted of 259,646 inhabitants: 73.5% of European descent, 7.9% mestizos, 8.6% Indians and 9.8% blacks. Francisco Hurtado, Governor of the province of Chiloé, conducted a census there in 1784 and found the population consisted of 26,703 inhabitants, 64.4% of which were whites and 33.5% of which were natives.

The Diocese of Concepción conducted a census of areas south of the Maule river in 1812, but did not include the indigenous population or the inhabitants of the province of Chiloé. The population is estimated at 210,567, 86.1% of which were Spanish or of European descent, 10% of which were Indians and 3.7% of which were mestizos, blacks and mulattos.[26]
Independence

The usurpation of the Spanish throne by Napoleon's brother Joseph in 1808 precipitated the drive by the colony for independence from Spain. A national junta in the name of Ferdinand - heir to the deposed king - was formed on September 18, 1810. The Government Junta of Chile proclaimed Chile an autonomous republic within the Spanish monarchy (in memory of this day Chile celebrates its National Day on September 18 each year). After these events, a movement for total independence, under the command of José Miguel Carrera (one of the most renowned patriots) and his two brothers Juan José and Luis Carrera, soon gained a wider following. Spanish attempts to re-impose arbitrary rule during what was called the Reconquista led to a prolonged struggle, including infighting from Bernardo O'Higgins, who challenged Carrera's leadership.

Intermittent warfare continued until 1817. With Carrera in prison in Argentina, O'Higgins and anti-Carrera cohort José de San Martín, hero of the Argentine War of Independence, led an army that crossed the Andes into Chile and defeated the royalists. On February 12, 1818, Chile was proclaimed an independent republic. The political revolt brought little social change, however, and 19th century Chilean society preserved the essence of the stratified colonial social structure, which was greatly influenced by family politics and the Roman Catholic Church. A strong presidency eventually emerged, but wealthy landowners remained powerful.[24]
War of the Pacific: The Battle of Iquique on May 21, 1879

Toward the end of the 19th century, the government in Santiago consolidated its position in the south by suppressing the Mapuche during the Occupation of Araucanía. A treaty with Argentina confirming Chilean sovereignty over the Strait of Magellan was signed in 1881. As a result of the War of the Pacific with Peru and Bolivia (1879-83), Chile expanded its territory northward by almost one-third, eliminating Bolivia's access to the Pacific, and acquired valuable nitrate deposits, the exploitation of which led to an era of national affluence.

The Chilean Civil War in 1891 brought about a redistribution of power between the President and Congress, and Chile established a parliamentary style democracy. However, the Civil War had also been a contest between those who favored the development of local industries and powerful Chilean banking interests, particularly the House of Edwards who had strong ties to foreign investors.
20th century

The Chilean economy partially degenerated into a system protecting the interests of a ruling oligarchy. By the 1920s, the emerging middle and working classes were powerful enough to elect a reformist president, Arturo Alessandri, whose program was frustrated by a conservative congress. In the 1920s, Marxist groups with strong popular support arose.[24]

A military coup led by General Luis Altamirano in 1924 set off a period of great political instability that lasted until 1932. The longest lasting of the ten governments between those years was that of General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, who briefly held power in 1925 and then again between 1927 and 1931 in what was a de facto dictatorship, although not really comparable in harshness or corruption to the type of military dictatorship that has often bedeviled the rest of Latin America .[27][28] By relinquishing power to a democratically elected successor, Ibáñez del Campo retained the respect of a large enough segment of the population to remain a viable politician for more than thirty years, in spite of the vague and shifting nature of his ideology. When constitutional rule was restored in 1932, a strong middle-class party, the Radicals, emerged. It became the key force in coalition governments for the next 20 years. During the period of Radical Party dominance (1932-52), the state increased its role in the economy. In 1952, voters returned Ibáñez del Campo to office for another six years. Jorge Alessandri succeeded Ibáñez del Campo in 1958, bringing Chilean conservatism back into power democratically for another term.

The 1964 presidential election of Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Montalva by an absolute majority initiated a period of major reform. Under the slogan "Revolution in Liberty", the Frei administration embarked on far-reaching social and economic programs, particularly in education, housing, and agrarian reform, including rural unionization of agricultural workers. By 1967, however, Frei encountered increasing opposition from leftists, who charged that his reforms were inadequate, and from conservatives, who found them excessive. At the end of his term, Frei had not fully achieved his party's ambitious goals.[24]
President Salvador Allende

In the 1970 election, Senator Salvador Allende of the Socialist Party of Chile (part of the "Popular Unity" coalition which included the Communists, Radicals, Social-Democrats, dissident Christian Democrats, the Popular Unitary Action Movement, and the Independent Popular Action),[24] achieved a partial majority in a plurality of votes in a three-way contest, followed by candidates Radomiro Tomic for the Christian Democrat Party and Jorge Alessandri for the Conservative Party. Allende was not elected with an absolute majority, receiving fewer than 35% of votes. It became a war of classes, motivated by the central government. Despite pressure from the United States government, the Chilean Congress conducted a runoff vote between the leading candidates, Allende and former president Jorge Alessandri and keeping with tradition, chose Allende by a vote of 153 to 35. Frei refused to form an alliance with Alessandri to oppose Allende, on the grounds that the Christian Democrats were a workers party and could not make common cause with the right-wing.[29][30]

An economic depression that began in 1972 was exacerbated by capital flight, plummeting private investment, and withdrawal of bank deposits in response to Allende's socialist program. Production fell and unemployment rose. Allende adopted measures including price freezes, wage increases, and tax reforms, to increase consumer spending and redistribute income downward.[31] Joint public-private public works projects helped reduce unemployment.[32][page needed] Much of the banking sector was nationalized. Many enterprises within the copper, coal, iron, nitrate, and steel industries were expropriated, nationalized, or subjected to state intervention. Industrial output increased sharply and unemployment fell during the Allende administration's first year.[32]
Augusto Pinochet

Allende's program included advancement of workers' interests,[32][33] replacing the judicial system with "socialist legality",[34] nationalization of banks and forcing others to bankruptcy,[35] and strengthening "popular militias" known as MIR.[35] Started under former President Frei, the Popular Unity platform also called for nationalization of Chile's major copper mines in the form of a constitutional amendment. The measure was passed unanimously by Congress. As a result,[36] the Richard Nixon administration organized and inserted secret operatives in Chile, in order to quickly destabilize Allende's government.[37] In addition, American financial pressure restricted international economic credit to Chile.[38] The economic problems were also exacerbated by Allende's public spending which was financed mostly by printing money and poor credit ratings given by commercial banks.[39] Simultaneously, opposition media, politicians, business guilds and other organizations helped to accelerate a campaign of domestic political and economical destabilization, some of which was helped by the United States.[38][40] By early 1973, inflation was out of control. The crippled economy was further battered by prolonged and sometimes simultaneous strikes by physicians, teachers, students, truck owners, copper workers, and the small business class. On 26 May 1973, Chile's Supreme Court, which was opposed to Allende's government, unanimously denounced the Allende disruption of the legality of the nation. Although illegal under the Chilean constitution, the court supported and strengthened Pinochet's seizure of power.[35][41]

Finally, a military coup overthrew Allende on September 11, 1973. As the armed forces bombarded the presidential palace, Allende apparently committed suicide.[42][43] A military junta, led by General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, took over control of the country. The first years of the regime were marked by human rights violations. On October 1973, at least 72 people were murdered by the Caravan of Death.[44] According to the Rettig Report and Valech Commission, at least 2,115 were killed,[45] and at least 27,265 [46] were tortured (including 88 children younger than 12 years old).[46] A new Constitution was approved by a controversial plebiscite on September 11, 1980, and General Pinochet became president of the republic for an 8-year term. After Pinochet obtained rule of the country, several hundred committed Chilean revolutionaries joined the Sandinista army in Nicaragua, guerrilla forces in Argentina or training camps in Cuba, Eastern Europe and Northern Africa.[47]

In the late 1980s, largely as a result of events such as the 1982 economic collapse[48] and mass civil resistance in 1983-88, the government gradually permitted greater freedom of assembly, speech, and association, to include trade union and political activity.[49] The government launched market-oriented reforms with Hernán Büchi as Minister of Finance, but poverty levels continued growing.[50] Chile moved toward a free market economy that saw an increase in domestic and foreign private investment, although the copper industry and other important mineral resources were not opened for competition. In a plebiscite on October 5, 1988, General Pinochet was denied a second 8-year term as president (56% against 44%). Chileans elected a new president and the majority of members of a two-chamber congress on December 14, 1989. Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin, the candidate of a coalition of 17 political parties called the Concertación, received an absolute majority of votes (55%).[51] President Aylwin served from 1990 to 1994, in what was considered a transition period.

In December 1993, Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, the son of previous president Eduardo Frei Montalva, led the Concertación coalition to victory with an absolute majority of votes (58%).[52]
21st century
See also: 2010 Chile earthquake and 2010 Copiapó mining accident
All five Chilean presidents since 1990.

Frei Ruiz-Tagle was succeeded in 2000 by Socialist Ricardo Lagos, who won the presidency in an unprecedented runo

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China
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the country. For the sovereign state also known as Taiwan, see Republic of China. For other uses, see China (disambiguation).
"PRC" redirects here. For other uses, see PRC (disambiguation).
This article contains Chinese text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters.
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People's Republic of China
中华人民共和国
Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó

Flag Emblem
Anthem:
March of the Volunteers instrumental.ogg

"March of the Volunteers"
《义勇军进行曲》 (Pinyin: "Yìyǒngjūn Jìnxíngqǔ")
Capital Beijing
39°55′N 116°23′E
Largest city Shanghai[1][2]
Official language(s) Modern Standard Mandarin
(or Putonghua) [3]
Recognised regional languages Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur, Zhuang, and various others
Official written language Vernacular Chinese
Official script Simplified Chinese[3]
Ethnic groups 91.51% Han;[4] 55 recognised minorities
List of ethnic groups[show]
Demonym Chinese
Government Single-party state,
nominal communist state[5][a]
- President Hu Jintao
- Premier Wen Jiabao
- Congress Chairman Wu Bangguo
- Conference Chairman Jia Qinglin
- CPC General Secretary Hu Jintao
Legislature National People's Congress
Establishment
- Unification of China under the Qin Dynasty 221 B.C.E
- Republic established 1 January 1912
- People's Republic of China proclaimed 1 October 1949
Area
- Total 9,640,821 km2 [b] or 9,671,018 km²[b](3rd/4th)
3,704,427 sq mi
- Water (%) 2.8[c]
Population
- 2010 census 1,339,724,852[4] (1st)
- Density 139.6/km2 (53rd)
363.3/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $10.085 trillion[6] (2nd)
- Per capita $7,518[6] (94th)
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $5.878 trillion[6] (2nd)
- Per capita $4,382[6] (94th)
Gini (2007) 41.5[7]
HDI (2010) increase 0.663[8] (medium) (89th)
Currency Chinese yuan (renminbi) (¥) (CNY)
Time zone China Standard Time (UTC+8)
Date formats yyyy-mm-dd
or yyyy年m月d日
(CE; CE-1949)
Drives on the right, except for Hong Kong & Macau
ISO 3166 code CN
Internet TLD .cn[c] .中國[9] .中国
Calling code +86[c]
a. ^ Simple characterizations of the political structure since the 1980s are no longer possible.[10]

b. ^ 9,598,086 km2 (3,705,842 sq mi) excludes all disputed territories.
9,640,821 km2 (3,722,342 sq mi) Includes Chinese-administered area (Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract, both territories claimed by India), Taiwan is not included.[11]
c. ^ Information for mainland China only. Hong Kong, Macau, and territories under the jurisdiction of the Republic of China (Taiwan) are excluded.
China
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese: 中国
Traditional Chinese: 中國
Literal meaning: Middle Kingdom[12][13]
[show]Transliterations
People's Republic of China
Alternative Chinese name
Simplified Chinese: 中华人民共和国
Traditional Chinese: 中華人民共和國
[show]Transliterations
Mongolian name
Mongolian: Bügüde nayiramdaqu dumdadu arad ulus, ᠪᠦᠭᠦᠳᠡ ᠨᠠᠶᠢᠷᠠᠮᠳᠠᠬᠤ ᠳᠤᠮᠳᠠᠳᠤ ᠠᠷᠠᠳ ᠤᠯᠤᠰ
Tibetan name
Tibetan: ཀྲུང་ཧྭ་མི་དམངས་སྤྱི
མཐུན་རྒྱལ་ཁབ
[show]Transliterations
Uyghur name
Uyghur: جۇڭخۇا خەلق جۇمھۇرىيىت ‎
Zhuang name
Zhuang: Cunghvaz Yinzminz Gunghozgoz

China Listeni/ˈtʃaɪnə/ (Chinese: 中国/中华; pinyin: Zhōngguó/Zhōnghuá; see also Names of China), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is the most populous state in the world, with over 1.339 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres (3.7 million square miles). It is the world's second-largest country by land area,[14] and the third- or fourth-largest in total area, depending on the definition of total area.[15]

The People's Republic of China is a single-party state governed by the Communist Party of China (CPC).[16] The PRC exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four directly-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and two largely self-governing[17] former European colonies, Hong Kong and Macau, as special administrative regions (SARs). Its capital city is Beijing.[18] The PRC also claims as a 23rd province the island of Taiwan, which is controlled by the Government of Republic of China (ROC). This claim of Taiwan is controversial and related to the complex political status of Taiwan and the unresolved Chinese Civil War.

China's landscape is vast and diverse, with forest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts in the arid north and northwest near Mongolia and Central Asia, and subtropical forests in the wetter south near Southeast Asia. The terrain of western China is rugged and elevated, with the towering Himalaya, Karakorum, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain separating China from South and Central Asia. The world's apex, Mt. Everest (8,848 m) and the second-highest point, K2 (8,611 m) lie on China's borders, respectively, with Nepal and Pakistan. The country's lowest and the world's third-lowest point, Lake Ayding (-154 m), is located in the Turpan Depression. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third- and sixth-longest in the world, flow from the desolate Tibetan Plateau to the densely-populated eastern seaboard. China's coastline along the Pacific Ocean, 14,500-kilometre (9,000 mi) in length (the 11th-longest in the world), is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East and South China Seas.

The ancient Chinese civilization—one of the world's earliest—flourished in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain.[19] China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, known as dynasties, beginning with the Xia (approx. 2,000 BC) and lasting almost 4,000 years, until the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1912. Since the Qin Dynasty (not to be confused with Qing Dynasty) first united China in 221 BC, the country has been divided and reunited numerous times in history. The Republic of China (ROC), founded in 1912 after the overthrow of the Qing, ruled the Chinese mainland until 1949. In the 1946-1949 phase of the Chinese Civil War, the Chinese Communists defeated the Chinese Nationalists (Kuomintang) on the mainland and established the People's Republic of China in Beijing on October 1, 1949. The Kuomintang relocated the ROC government to Taiwan with its capital in Taipei. The ROC's jurisdiction is now limited to Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and several outlying islands. Since then, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (subsequently became known as "Taiwan") have remained in dispute over the sovereignty of China and the political status of Taiwan, mutually claiming each other's territory and competing for international diplomatic recognition. In 1971, the PRC gained admission to United Nations and took the Chinese seat as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. The PRC is also a member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the WTO, APEC, BRIC, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the G-20. As of September 2011, all but 23 nations have recognized the PRC as the sole legitimate government of China.

Since the introduction of market-based economic reforms in 1978, China has become the world's fastest-growing major economy,[20] and the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. As of 2011, it is the world's second-largest economy, after the United States, by both nominal GDP and purchasing power parity (PPP).[21] On per capita terms, however, China ranked only 91st by nominal GDP and 94th by GDP (PPP) in 2010, according to the IMF. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army, with the second-largest defense budget. In 2003, China became the third nation in the world, after the Soviet Union and the United States, to independently launch a successful manned space mission. China has been characterized as a potential superpower by a number of academics,[22] military analysts,[23] and public policy and economics analysts.[24]
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
1.1 English names
1.2 Chinese names
2 History
2.1 Prehistory
2.2 Early dynastic rule
2.3 Imperial China
2.4 Late dynastic rule
2.5 Republic of China (1912-1949)
2.6 1949 to present
3 Geography
3.1 Political geography
3.2 Landscape and climate
3.3 Biodiversity
3.4 Environment
4 Politics
4.1 Administrative divisions
4.2 Foreign relations
4.3 Military
4.4 Sociopolitical issues and reform
5 Economy
5.1 Science and technology
5.2 Communications
5.3 Transport
6 Demographics
6.1 Ethnic groups
6.2 Languages
6.3 Urbanization
6.4 Education
6.5 Health
6.6 Religion
7 Culture
7.1 Cuisine
7.2 Sports
8 See also
9 References
10 External links

Etymology
Main article: Names of China
English names

The word "China" is derived from Cin (چین), a Persian name for China popularized in Europe by the 14th-century explorer Marco Polo.[25][26] The first recorded use in English dates from 1555.[27] The Persian word is, in turn, thought to be derived from the Sanskrit word Cīna (चीन),[28] which was used as a name for China as early as AD 150.[29] The traditional theory, proposed in the 17th century by Martino Martini, is that this word is derived from Qin (Chinese: 秦, Old Chinese: *dzin[30]), the westernmost of the Chinese kingdoms during the Zhou Dynasty, or from the succeeding Qin Dynasty (221 - 206 BC).[31]
Chinese names

In China, common names for the country include Zhongguo (Chinese: 中国; literally "Middle Kingdom", Mandarin pronunciation: [tʂʊ́ŋkwɔ̌]) and Zhonghua (Chinese: 中华). The official name of China changed with each dynasty or with each new government. The term Zhongguo appeared various ancient texts such as the Classic of History (6th century BCE),[32] and in earlier times the term was used in various senses. In pre-imperial times, it was often as a cultural concept to distinguish the Huaxia from the barbarians. Sometimes Zhongguo, which can be either singular or plural, referring to the group of states in the central plain. The Chinese were not unique in regarding their country as "central", since other civilizations had the same view.[33]

Zhongguo was used as a common name for the Republic of China (simplified Chinese: 中华民国; traditional Chinese: 中華民國; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Mínguó) after its establishment in 1912. After the Communists took over control of mainland China in 1949, they established the People's Republic of China (simplified Chinese: 中华人民共和国; traditional Chinese: 中華人民共和國; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó). The PRC's official abbreviation is "中国."[citation needed]
History
Main articles: History of China and Timeline of Chinese history
This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2011)
Prehistory

Archaeological evidence suggests that the earliest hominids in China date from 250,000 to 2.24 million years ago.[34][35] A cave in Zhoukoudian (near present-day Beijing) has fossils dated at somewhere between 300,000 to 780,000 years.[36][37][38] The fossils are of Peking Man, an example of Homo erectus who used fire.

The earliest evidence of a fully modern human in China comes from Liujiang County, Guangxi, where a cranium has been found and dated at approximately 67,000 years old. Controversy persists over the dating of the Liujiang remains (a partial skeleton from Minatogawa in Okinawa).[39][40]
Early dynastic rule
See also: Dynasties in Chinese history
Jade deer ornament made during the first historical Chinese dynasty, the Shang, 17th to 11th Century BC.

Chinese tradition names the first dynasty Xia, but it was considered mythical until scientific excavations found early Bronze Age sites at Erlitou in Henan Province in 1959.[41] Archaeologists have since uncovered urban sites, bronze implements, and tombs in locations cited as Xia's in ancient historical texts, but it is impossible to verify that these remains are of the Xia without written records from the period.
Some of the thousands of life-size Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Dynasty, ca. 210 BC.

The first Chinese dynasty that left historical records, the loosely feudal Shang (Yin), settled along the Yellow River in eastern China from the 17th to the 11th century BC. The Oracle bone script of the Shang Dynasty represent the oldest forms of Chinese writing found and the direct ancestor of modern Chinese characters used throughout East Asia. The Shang were invaded from the west by the Zhou, who ruled from the 12th to the 5th century BC, until their centralized authority was slowly eroded by feudal warlords. Many independent states eventually emerged out of the weakened Zhou state, and continually waged war with each other in the Spring and Autumn Period, only occasionally deferring to the Zhou king. By the time of the Warring States Period, there were seven powerful sovereign states, each with its own king, ministry and army.
Imperial China

The first unified Chinese state was established by Qin Shi Huang of the Qin state in 221 BC. Qin Shi Huang proclaimed himself the "First Emperor" (始皇帝), and imposed many reforms throughout China, notably the forced standardization of the Chinese language, measurements, length of cart axles, and currency. The Qin Dynasty lasted only fifteen years, falling soon after Qin Shi Huang's death, as its harsh legalist and authoritarian policies led to widespread rebellion.

The subsequent Han Dynasty ruled China between 206 BC and 220 AD, and created a lasting Han cultural identity among its populace that extends to the present day. The Han Dynasty expanded the empire's territory considerably with military campaigns reaching Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia and Central Asia, and also helped establish the Silk Road in Central Asia. China was for a large part of the last two millennia the world's largest economy.[42] However, in the later part of the Qing Dynasty, China's economic development began to slow and Europe's rapid development during and after the Industrial Revolution enabled it to surpass China.

After Han's collapse, another period of disunion followed, including the highly chivalric period of the Three Kingdoms. Independent Chinese states of this period such as Wu opened diplomatic relations with Japan, introducing the Chinese writing system there. In 580 AD, China was reunited under the Sui. However, the Sui Dynasty was short-lived after a failure in the Goguryeo-Sui Wars (598-614) weakened it.
10th-11th century Longquan celadon porcelain pieces from Zhejiang province, during the Song Dynasty

Under the succeeding Tang and Song dynasties, Chinese technology and culture reached its zenith. The Tang Empire was at its height of power until the middle of the 8th century, when the An Shi Rebellion destroyed the prosperity of the empire. The Song Dynasty was the first government in world history to issue paper money and the first Chinese polity to establish a permanent standing navy. Between the 10th and 11th centuries, the population of China doubled in size. This growth came about through expanded rice cultivation in central and southern China, and the production of abundant food surpluses.

Within its borders, the Northern Song Dynasty had a population of some 100 million people. The Song Dynasty was a culturally rich period for philosophy and the arts. Landscape art and portrait painting were brought to new levels of maturity and complexity after the Tang Dynasty, and social elites gathered to view art, share their own, and trade precious artworks. Philosophers such as Cheng Yi and Chu Hsi reinvigorated Confucianism with new commentary, infused Buddhist ideals, and emphasized a new organization of classic texts that brought about the core doctrine of Neo-Confucianism.
Along the River During the Qingming Festival; daily life of people from the Song period at the capital, Bianjing, today's Kaifeng.

In 1271, the Mongol leader and fifth Khagan of the Mongol Empire Kublai Khan established the Yuan Dynasty, with the last remnant of the Song Dynasty falling to the Yuan in 1279. Before the Mongol invasion, Chinese dynasties reportedly had approximately 120 million inhabitants; after the conquest was completed in 1279, the 1300 census reported roughly 60 million people.[43] A peasant named Zhu Yuanzhang overthrew the Mongols in 1368 and founded the Ming Dynasty.[44] Ming Dynasty thinkers such as Wang Yangming would further critique and expand Neo-Confucianism with ideas of individualism and innate morality that would have tremendous impact on later Japanese thought. Chosun Korea also became a nominal vassal state of Ming China and adopted much of its Neo-Confucian bureaucratic structure.

Under the Ming Dynasty, China had another golden age, with one of the strongest navies in the world, a rich and prosperous economy and a flourishing of the arts and culture. It was during this period that Zheng He led explorations throughout the world, possibly reaching America. During the early Ming Dynasty China's capital was moved from Nanjing to Beijing. In 1644 Beijing was sacked by a coalition of rebel forces led by Li Zicheng, a minor Ming official turned leader of the peasant revolt. The last Ming Chongzhen Emperor committed suicide when the city fell. The Manchu Qing Dynasty then allied with Ming Dynasty general Wu Sangui and overthrew Li's short-lived Shun Dynasty, and subsequently seized control of Beijing, which became the new capital of the Qing Dynasty.
Late dynastic rule
Main article: Qing Dynasty

The Qing Dynasty, which lasted until 1912, was the last dynasty in China. In the 19th century the Qing Dynasty adopted a defensive posture towards European imperialism, even though it engaged in imperialistic expansion into Central Asia. At this time China awoke to the significance of the rest of the world, the West in particular. As China opened up to foreign trade and missionary activity, opium produced by British India was forced onto Qing China. Two Opium Wars with Britain weakened the Emperor's control. European imperialism proved to be disastrous for China:

The Arrow War (1856-1860) [2nd Opium War] saw another disastrous defeat for China. The subsequent passing of the humiliating Treaty of Tianjin in 1856 and the Beijing Conventions of 1860 opened up more of the country to foreign penetrations and more ports for their vessels. Hong Kong was ceded over to the British. Thus, the "unequal treaties system" was established. Heavy indemnities had to be paid by China, and more territory and control were taken over by the foreigners.[45]

The weakening of the Qing regime, and the apparent humiliation of the unequal treaties in the eyes of the Chinese people had several consequences. One consequence was the Taiping Civil War, which lasted from 1851 to 1862. It was led by Hong Xiuquan, who was partly influenced by an idiosyncratic interpretation of Christianity. Hong believed himself to be the son of God and the younger brother of Jesus. Although the Qing forces were eventually victorious, the civil war was one of the bloodiest in human history, costing at least 20 million lives (more than the total number of fatalities in the World War I), with some estimates of up to two hundred million. Other costly rebellions followed the Taiping Rebellion, such as the Punti-Hakka Clan Wars (1855-67), Nien Rebellion (1851-1868), Miao Rebellion (1854-73), Panthay Rebellion (1856-1873) and the Dungan revolt (1862-1877).[46][47]
A corner tower of the Forbidden City at night; the palace was the residence for the imperial family from the reign of the Yongle Emperor of the Ming Dynasty in the 15th century until the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1912.

These rebellions resulted in an estimated loss of several million lives each and led to disastrous results for the economy and the countryside.[48][49][50] The flow of British opium hastened the empire's decline. In the 19th century, the age of colonialism was at its height and the great Chinese Diaspora began. About 35 million overseas Chinese live in Southeast Asia today.[51] The famine in 1876-79 claimed between 9 and 13 million lives in northern China.[52] From 108 BC to 1911 AD, China experienced 1,828 famines,[53] or one per year, somewhere in the empire.[54]

While China was wracked by continuous war, Meiji Japan succeeded in rapidly modernizing its military and set its sights on Korea and Manchuria. At the request of the Korean emperor, the Chinese government sent troops to aid in suppressing the Tonghak Rebellion in 1894. However, Japan also sent troops to Korea, leading to the First Sino-Japanese War, which resulted in Qing China's loss of influence in the Korean Peninsula as well as the cession of Taiwan to Japan.

Following this series of defeats, a reform plan for the empire to become a modern Meiji-style constitutional monarchy was drafted by the Guangxu Emperor in 1898, but was opposed and stopped by the Empress Dowager Cixi, who placed Emperor Guangxu under house arrest in a coup d'état. Further destruction followed the ill-fated 1900 Boxer Rebellion a

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Democratic Republic of the Congo
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with the neighbouring Republic of the Congo.

Coordinates: 2.88°S 23.656°E
Democratic Republic of the Congo
République Démocratique du Congo(French)

Repubilika ya Kongo Demokratika (Kituba)
Jamhuri ya Kidemokrasia ya Kongo (Swahili)
Republiki ya Kongó Demokratiki (Lingala)
Ditunga día Kongu wa Mungalaata (Tshiluba)

Flag Coat of Arms
Motto: Justice - Paix - Travail
(French: Justice - Peace - Work)
Anthem: "Debout Congolais"
(French:"Arise, Congolese")
Capital
(and largest city) Kinshasa
4°19′S 15°19′E
Official language(s) French
Recognised national languages Lingala, Kikongo, Swahili, Tshiluba
Demonym Congolese
Government Semi-presidential republic
- President Joseph Kabila
- Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito
Independence
- from Belgium June 30, 1960[1]
- Constitution February 18, 2006[1]
Area
- Total 2,345,409 km2 (11th)
905,355 sq mi
- Water (%) 4.3
Population
- 2011 estimate 71,712,867[1] (19th)
- Density 29.3/km2 (182nd)
75.9/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $23.117 billion[2]
- Per capita $328[2]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $13.125 billion[2]
- Per capita $186[2]
HDI (2010) increase 0.239[3] (low) (168th)
Currency Congolese franc (CDF)
Time zone WAT, CAT (UTC+1 to +2)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+1 to +2)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code CD
Internet TLD .cd
Calling code 243
a Estimate is based on regression; other PPP figures are extrapolated from the latest International Comparison Programme benchmark estimates.
Kinshasa is the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Part of the Congo River is in the background

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (French: République démocratique du Congo) is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world. With a population of over 71 million,[1] the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the eighteenth most populous nation in the world, and the fourth most populous nation in Africa, as well as the most populous officially Francophone country.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is often referred to as Congo. However, in order to distinguish it from the neighbouring Republic of the Congo to the west, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is sometimes referred to as DR Congo, DRC, or RDC (from its French abbreviation), or is called Congo-Kinshasa after the capital of Kinshasa (in contrast to Congo-Brazzaville for its neighbour). It also borders the Central African Republic and South Sudan to the north; Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi in the east; Zambia and Angola to the south; the Atlantic Ocean to the west; and is separated from Tanzania by Lake Tanganyika in the east.[1] The country has access to the ocean through a 40-kilometre (25 mi) stretch of Atlantic coastline at Muanda and the roughly 9 km wide mouth of the Congo River which opens into the Gulf of Guinea.

The Second Congo War, beginning in 1998, devastated the country, involved seven foreign armies and is sometimes referred to as the "African World War".[4] Despite the signing of peace accords in 2003, fighting continues in the east of the country. In eastern Congo, the prevalence of rape and other sexual violence is described as the worst in the world.[5] The war is the world's deadliest conflict since World War II, killing 5.4 million people since 1998.[6][7] The vast majority died from malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition.[8]

The Democratic Republic of the Congo was formerly, in chronological order, the Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo-Léopoldville, Congo-Kinshasa, and Zaire (Zaïre in French).[1] Though it is located in the Central African UN subregion, the nation is also economically and regionally affiliated with Southern Africa as a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Contents
[hide]

1 History
1.1 Early history
1.2 The African Congo Free State (1877-1908)
1.3 Belgian Congo (1908-1960)
1.4 Political crisis (1960-1965)
1.5 Zaire (1971-1997)
1.6 Rwandan/Ugandan invasions and civil wars
1.6.1 Impact of armed conflict on civilians
1.6.2 International Community Response
2 Geography
2.1 Provinces
3 Government
3.1 Corruption
4 Foreign relations and military
5 Economy
6 Demographics
6.1 Migration
6.2 Status of women
6.3 Religion
6.4 Languages
7 Health
8 Culture
9 Education
10 Flora and fauna
11 Transport
12 See also
13 References
14 Further reading
15 External links

[edit] History
Main article: History of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (October 2010)
[edit] Early history
A Katanga Cross, an obsolete form of currency
Main article: Early Congolese history

A wave of early people was identified in the Northern and North-Western parts of Central Africa during the second millennium BC. They produced food (pearl millet), maintained domestic livestock and developed a kind of arboriculture mainly based on the oil palm. From 1,550 BC to 50 BC, starting from a nucleus area in South Cameroon on both banks of the Sanaga River, the first Neolithic peopling of northern and western Central Africa can be followed south-eastwards and southwards.

In D.R. Congo, the first villages in the vicinity of Mbandaka and the Lake Tumba are known as the 'Imbonga Tradition', from around 650 BC. In Lower Congo, north of the Angolan border, it is the 'Ngovo Tradition' around 350 BC that shows the arrival of the Neolithic wave of advance.

In Kivu, across the country to the east, the 'Urewe Tradition' villages first appeared about 650 BC. The few archaeological sites known in Congo are a western extension of the 'Urewe' Culture which has been found chiefly in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Western Kenya and Tanzania. From the start of this tradition, the people knew iron smelting, as is evidenced by several iron-smelting furnaces excavated in Rwanda and Burundi.

The earliest evidence further to the west is known in Cameroon and near to the small town of Bouar in Central Africa. Though further studies are needed to establish a better chronology for the start of iron production in Central Africa, the Cameroonian data places iron smelting north of the Equatorial Forest around 650 BC to 550 BC. This technology developed independently from the previous Neolithic expansion, some 900 years later. As fieldwork done by a German team shows, the Congo River network was slowly settled by food-producing villagers going upstream in the forest. Work from a Spanish project in the Ituri area further east suggests villages reached there only around 1,150 BC.

The supposedly Bantu-speaking Neolithic and then iron-producing villagers added to and displaced the indigenous Pygmy populations (also known in the region as the "Batwa" or "Twa") into secondary parts of the country. Subsequent migrations from the Darfur and Kordofan regions of Sudan into the north-east, as well as East Africans migrating into the eastern Congo, added to the mix of ethnic groups. The Bantu-speakers imported a mixed economy made up of agriculture, small-stock raising, fishing, fruit collecting, hunting and arboriculture before 3,500 BP; iron-working techniques, possibly from West Africa, a much later addition. The villagers established the Bantu language family as the primary set of tongues for the Congolese.

The process in which the original Upemba society transitioned into the Kingdom of Luba was gradual and complex. This transition ran without interruption, with several distinct societies developing out of the Upemba culture prior to the genesis of the Luba. Each of these kingdoms became very wealthy due mainly to the region's mineral wealth, especially in ores. The civilization began to develop and implement iron and copper technology, in addition to trading in ivory and other goods. The Luba established a strong commercial demand for their metal technologies and were able to institute a long-range commercial net (the business connections extended over 1,500 kilometres (930 mi), all the way to the Indian Ocean). By the 16th century, the kingdom had an established strong central government based on chieftainship. The Eastern regions of the precolonial Congo were heavily disrupted by constant slave raiding, mainly from Arab/Zanzibari slave traders such as the infamous Tippu Tip.[9]
[edit] The African Congo Free State (1877-1908)
Main articles: Colonisation of the Congo, Congo Free State, and Belgian Congo
Force Publique soldiers in the Belgian Congo in 1918. At its peak, the FP had 19,000 African soldiers, led by 420 white officers.

European exploration and administration took place from the 1870s until the 1920s. It was first led by Sir Henry Morton Stanley, who undertook his explorations under the sponsorship of King Leopold II of Belgium. Leopold had designs on what was to become the Congo as a colony.[10] In a succession of negotiations, Leopold - professing humanitarian objectives in his capacity as chairman of the Association Internationale Africaine - played one European rival against another.

Leopold formally acquired rights to the Congo territory at the Conference of Berlin in 1885 and made the land his private property and named it the Congo Free State.[10] Leopold's regime began various infrastructure projects, such as construction of the railway that ran from the coast to the capital of Leopoldville (now Kinshasa). It took years to complete. Nearly all such projects were aimed at increasing the capital which Leopold and his associates could extract from the colony, leading to exploitation of Africans.[11]

In the Free State, colonists brutalized the local population to produce rubber, for which the spread of automobiles and development of rubber tires created a growing international market. The sale of rubber made a fortune for Leopold, who built several buildings in Brussels and Ostend to honor himself and his country. To enforce the rubber quotas, the army, the Force Publique (FP), was called in. The Force Publique made the practice of cutting off the limbs of the natives as a means of enforcing rubber quotas a matter of policy; this practice was widespread. During the period of 1885-1908, millions of Congolese died as a consequence of exploitation and disease. In some areas the population declined dramatically, it has been estimated that sleeping sickness and smallpox killed nearly half the population in the areas surrounding the lower Congo River.[12] A government commission later concluded that the population of the Congo had been "reduced by half" during this period,[13] but determining precisely how many people died is impossible as no accurate records exist.

The actions of the Free State's administration sparked international protests led by British reporter Edmund Dene Morel and British diplomat/Irish rebel Roger Casement, whose 1904 report on the Congo condemned the practice. Famous writers such as Mark Twain and Arthur Conan Doyle also protested, and Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness was set in Congo Free State.
[edit] Belgian Congo (1908-1960)

In 1908, the Belgian parliament, despite initial reluctance, bowed to international pressure (especially that from Great Britain) and took over the Free State as a Belgian colony from the king. From then on, it was called the Belgian Congo and was under the rule of the elected Belgian government. The government improved significantly and a considerable economic and social progress was achieved. The white colonial rulers had, however, generally a condescending, patronizing attitude against the indigenous peoples, which led to bitter resentment.

During World War II, the Congolese army achieved several victories against the Italians in North Africa.
[edit] Political crisis (1960-1965)
Main article: Congo Crisis


In May 1960, a growing nationalist movement, the Mouvement National Congolais or MNC Party, led by Patrice Lumumba, won the parliamentary elections. The party appointed Lumumba as Prime Minister. The parliament elected Joseph Kasavubu, of the Alliance des Bakongo (ABAKO) party as President. Other parties that emerged included the Parti Solidaire Africain (or PSA) led by Antoine Gizenga, and the Parti National du Peuple (or PNP) led by Albert Delvaux and Laurent Mbariko. (Congo 1960, dossiers du CRISP, Belgium) The Belgian Congo achieved independence on 30 June 1960 under the name République du Congo ("Republic of Congo" or "Republic of the Congo" in English). Shortly after independence, the provinces of Katanga (led by Moise Tshombe) and South Kasai engaged in secessionist struggles against the new leadership.[14] Most of the 100,000 Europeans who had remained behind after independence fled the country,[15] opening the way for Congolese to replace the European military and administrative elite.[16]
Patrice Lumumba

As the French colony of Middle Congo (Moyen Congo) also chose the name "Republic of Congo" upon achieving its independence, the two countries were more commonly known as "Congo-Léopoldville" and "Congo-Brazzaville", after their capital cities. Another way they were often distinguished during the 1960s, such as in newspaper articles, was that "Congo-Léopoldville" was called "The Congo" and "Congo-Brazzaville" was called simply "Congo."

On 5 September 1960, Kasavubu dismissed Lumumba from office. Lumumba declared Kasavubu's action "unconstitutional" and a crisis between the two leaders developed. (cf. Sécession au Katanga - J.Gerald-Libois -Brussels- CRISP) Lumumba had previously appointed Joseph Mobutu chief of staff of the new Congo army, Armée Nationale Congolaise (ANC). Taking advantage of the leadership crisis between Kasavubu and Lumumba, Mobutu garnered enough support within the army to create mutiny. With financial support from the United States and Belgium, Mobutu paid his soldiers privately. The aversion of Western powers to communism and leftist ideology influenced their decision to finance Mobutu's quest to maintain "order" in the new state by neutralizing Kasavubu and Lumumba in a coup by proxy. A constitutional referendum after Mobutu's coup of 1965 resulted in the country's official name being changed to the "Democratic Republic of the Congo."[1] In 1971 it was changed again to "Republic of Zaïre."

On 17 January 1961, Katangan forces and Belgian paratroops - supported by the United States' and Belgium's intent on copper and diamond mines in Katanga and South Kasai - kidnapped and executed Patrice Lumumba. Amidst widespread confusion and chaos, a temporary government was led by technicians (Collège des Commissaires) with Evariste Kimba. The Katanga secession was ended in January 1963 with the assistance of UN forces. Several short-lived governments, of Joseph Ileo, Cyrille Adoula, and Moise Tshombe, took over in quick succession.
[edit] Zaire (1971-1997)
Main article: Zaire

The new president Mobutu Sese Seko had the support of the United States because of his staunch opposition to Communism. Western powers appeared to believe this would make him a roadblock to Communist schemes in Africa.[citation needed]

A one-party system was established, and Mobutu declared himself head of state. He periodically held elections in which he was the only candidate. Relative peace and stability was achieved; however, Mobutu's government was guilty of severe human rights violations, political repression, a cult of personality and corruption. (Mobutu demanded every Congolese bank note printed with his image, hanging of his portrait in all public buildings, most businesses, and on billboards; and it was common for ordinary people to wear his likeness on their clothing.)

Corruption became so prevalent the term "le mal Zairois" or "Zairean Sickness" [17] was coined, reportedly by Mobutu himself.[citation needed] By 1984, Mobutu was said to have $4 billion (USD), an amount close to the country's national debt, deposited in a personal Swiss bank account. International aid, most often in the form of loans, enriched Mobutu while he allowed national infrastructure such as roads to deteriorate to as little as one-quarter of what had existed in 1960. With the embezzlement of government funds by Mobutu and his associates, Zaire became a "kleptocracy".
Bank note of Zaire

In a campaign to identify himself with African nationalism, starting on 1 June 1966, Mobutu renamed the nation's cities: Léopoldville became Kinshasa [the country was now Democratic Republic of The Congo - Kinshasa], Stanleyville became Kisangani, Elisabethville became Lubumbashi, and Coquihatville became Mbandaka. This renaming campaign was completed in the 1970s.

In 1971, Mobutu renamed the country the Republic of Zaire, its fourth name change in 11 years and its sixth overall. The Congo River was renamed the Zaire River. In 1972, Mobutu renamed himself Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga (roughly translated as The Great Unstoppable Warrior who goes from Victory to Victory, Leaving Fire in his Trail.[citation needed])

During the 1970s and 1980s, Mobutu was invited to visit the United States on several occasions, meeting with U.S. Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. In June 1989, Mobutu was the first African head of state invited for a state visit with newly elected President Bush.[18] Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, however, U.S. relations with Mobutu cooled, as he was no longer deemed necessary as a Cold War ally.

Opponents within Zaire stepped up demands for reform. This atmosphere contributed to Mobutu's declaring the Third Republic in 1990, whose constitution was supposed to pave the way for democratic reform. The reforms turned out to be largely cosmetic. Mobutu continued in power until the conflict forced him to flee Zaire in 1997. Thereafter, the nation chose to reclaim its name of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, since the name Zaire carried such strong connections to the rule of Mobutu.
[edit] Rwandan/Ugandan invasions and civil wars
Main articles: First Congo War, Second Congo War, and Kivu Conflict

By 1996, tensions from the neighbouring Rwandan Civil War and Rwandan Genocide had spilled over to Zaire. Rwandan Hutu militia forces (Interahamwe), who had fled Rwanda following the ascension of a Tutsi-led government, had been using Hutu refugees camps in eastern Zaire as a basis for incursion against Rwanda. These Hutu militia forces soon allied with the Zairian armed forces (FAZ) to launch a campaign against Congolese ethnic Tutsis in eastern Zaire.[19]

In turn, a coalition of Rwandan and Ugandan armies invaded Zaire under the cover of a small group of Tutsi militia to fight the Hutu militia, overthrow the government of Mobutu, and ultimately control the mineral resources of Zaire. They were soon joined by various Zairean politicians, who had been unsuccessfully opposing the dictatorship of Mobutu for many years, and now saw an opportunity for them in the invasion of Zaire by two of the region's strongest military forces.

This new expanded coalition of two foreign armies and some longtime opposition figures, led by Laurent-Désiré Kabila, became known as the Alliance des Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Congo-Zaïre (AFDL). They were seeking the broader goal of ousting Mobutu and controlling his country's wealth. In May 1997, Mobutu fled the country and Kabila marched into Kinshasa, naming himself president and reverting the name of the country to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Civilians waiting to cross the DRC-Rwanda border (2001). By 2008 the Second Congo War and its aftermath had killed 5.4 million people.[20]

A few months later, President Laurent-Désiré Kabila thanked all the foreign military forces that helped him to overthrow Mobutu, and asked them to return back to their countries because he was very fearful and concerned that the Rwandan military officers who were running his army were plotting a coup d'état against him in order to give the presidency to a Tutsi who would report directly to the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. This move was not well received by the Rwandan and Ugandan governments, who wanted to control their big neighbour.

Consequently, Rwandan troops in DRC retreated to Goma and launched a new militia group or rebel movement called the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie (RCD), led by Tutsis, to fight against their former ally, President Laurent-Désiré Kabila. To counterbalance the power and influence of Rwanda in DRC, the Ugandan troops instigated the creation of another rebel movement called the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), led by the Congolese warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba, son of Congolese billionaire Bemba Saolona. The two rebel movements started the second war by attacking the DRC's still fragile army in 1998, backed by Rwandan and Ugandan troops. Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia became involved militarily on the side of the government to defend a fellow SADC member.

Kabila was assassinated in 2001 and was succeeded by his son Joseph, who upon taking office called for multilateral peace talks to end the war. In Februar

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Republic of the Congo
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.
For other uses, see Congo (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 1.44°S 15.556°E
Republic of the Congo
République du Congo (French)
Repubilika ya Kongo (Kituba)
Republiki ya Kongó (Lingala)

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Unité, Travail, Progrès (French)
"Unity, Work, Progress"
Anthem: La Congolaise (French)
"The Congolese"
Capital
(and largest city) Brazzaville
4°16′S 15°17′E
Official language(s) French
Recognised regional languages Kongo/Kituba, Lingala
Demonym Congolese
Government Presidential republic
- President Denis Sassou Nguesso
Independence
- from France August 15, 1960
Area
- Total 342,000 km2 (64th)
132,047 sq mi
- Water (%) 3.3
Population
- 2009 estimate 3,686,000[1] (128th)
- Density 10.8/km2 (204th)
27.9/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $17.108 billion[2]
- Per capita $4,426[2]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $11.530 billion[2]
- Per capita $2,983[2]
HDI (2010) decrease 0.489 [3] (medium) (126th)
Currency Central African CFA franc (XAF)
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code CG
Internet TLD .cg
Calling code 242

The Republic of the Congo (French: République du Congo; Kongo: Repubilika ya Kongo; Lingala: Republiki ya Kongó), also known as Congo Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, Little Congo, or simply the Congo, is a state in Central Africa. It is bordered by Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly known as Zaire), the Angolan exclave province of Cabinda, and the Gulf of Guinea.

The region was dominated by Bantu tribes, who built trade links leading into the Congo River basin. The republic is a former French colony.[4] Upon independence in 1960, the former French region of Middle Congo became the Republic of the Congo. The People's Republic of the Congo was a Marxist-Leninist single-party state from 1970 to 1991. Multiparty elections have been held since 1992, although a democratically elected government was ousted in the 1997 Republic of the Congo Civil War.
Contents
[hide]

1 History
2 Government and politics
3 Human rights
4 Administrative divisions
5 Geography and climate
6 Economy
7 Demographics
7.1 Health
8 Culture
8.1 Education
9 See also
10 References
11 Further reading
12 External links

[edit] History
Main article: History of the Republic of the Congo

The earliest inhabitants of the region were Pygmy people, who later were largely displaced and absorbed by Bantu who found tribes during the Bantu expansions. The Bakongo are a Bantu ethnicity that also occupied parts of present-day Angola, Gabon, and Democratic Republic of the Congo, forming the basis for ethnic affinities and rivalries among those countries. Several Bantu kingdoms—notably those of the Kongo, the Loango, and the Teke—built trade links leading into the Congo River basin.[5]

The inhabitants of the Congo river delta first came into contact with Europeans in the late 15th century with Portuguese expeditions charting the African coastline. Commercial relationships were quickly established between the inland Bantu kingdoms and European merchants who traded various commodities, manufactured goods, and slaves captured from the hinterlands. For centuries, the Congo river delta was a major commercial hub for transatlantic trade. However, when direct European colonization of the African continent began in the late 19th century, the power of the Bantu societies in the region eroded.[6]

The area came under French sovereignty in the 1880s. In 1908, France organized French Equatorial Africa (AEF), comprising its colonies of Middle Congo (modern Congo), Gabon, Chad, and Oubangui-Chari (modern Central African Republic). Brazzaville was selected as the federal capital. Economic development during the first 50 years of colonial rule in Congo centered on natural resource extraction. The Conference of 1944 heralded a period of major reform in French colonial policy. Congo benefited from the postwar expansion of colonial administrative and infrastructure spending as a result of its central geographic location within AEF and the federal capital at Brazzaville.[5]

Following independence as the Congo Republic on August 15, 1960, Fulbert Youlou ruled as the country's first president until labour elements and rival political parties instigated a three-day uprising that ousted him. The Congolese military took charge of the country briefly and installed a civilian provisional government headed by Alphonse Massamba-Débat. Under the 1963 constitution, Massamba-Débat was elected President for a five-year term.[5] The regime adopted "scientific socialism" as the country's constitutional ideology.[7]

In 1965, Congo established relations with the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, North Korea and North Vietnam.[7] Massamba-Débat was unable to reconcile various institutional and ideological factions[7] and his regime ended abruptly with an August 1968 coup d'état. Marien Ngouabi, who had participated in the coup, assumed the presidency on December 31, 1968. One year later, President Ngouabi proclaimed Congo to be Africa's first "people's republic" and announced the decision of the National Revolutionary Movement to change its name to the Congolese Labour Party (PCT). On March 16, 1977, President Ngouabi was assassinated. An 11-member Military Committee of the Party (CMP) was named to head an interim government with Joachim Yhombi-Opango to serve as President of the Republic. Two years later, Yhombi-Opango was forced from power and Denis Sassou Nguesso become the new president.[5]

Sassou Nguesso aligned the country with the Eastern Bloc and signed a twenty-year friendship pact with the Soviet Union. Over the years, Sassou had to rely more on political repression and less on patronage to maintain his dictatorship.[8]

Pascal Lissouba, another socialist who followed Sassou as president, did not bring much change. He delayed economic reforms.[9]

Congo's democratic progress was derailed in 1997 when Lissouba and Sassou started to fight over power. As presidential elections scheduled for July 1997 approached, tensions between the Lissouba and Sassou camps mounted. On June 5, President Lissouba's government forces surrounded Sassou's compound in Brazzaville and Sassou ordered members of his private militia (known as "Cobras") to resist. Thus began a four-month conflict that destroyed or damaged much of Brazzaville and caused tens of thousands of civilian deaths. In early October, the Angolan socialist regime began an invasion of Congo to install Sassou to power. In mid-October, the Lissouba government fell. Soon thereafter, Sassou declared himself President.[5]

In the controversial elections in 2002, Sassou won with almost 90% of the vote cast. His two main rivals Lissouba and Bernard Kolelas were prevented from competing and the only remaining credible rival, Andre Milongo, advised his supporters to boycott the elections and then withdrew from the race.[10] A new constitution, agreed upon by referendum in January 2002, granted the president new powers, extended his term to seven years, and introduced a new bicameral assembly. International observers took issue with the organization of the presidential election and the constitutional referendum, both of which were reminiscent in their organization of Congo's era of the single-party state.[11] Following the presidential elections, fighting restarted in the Pool region between government forces and rebels led by Pastor Ntumi; a peace treaty to end the conflict was signed in April 2003.[12]

The regime held the presidential election in July 2009.[13] According to the Congolese Observatory of Human Rights, a non-governmental organization, the election was marked by "very low" turnout and "fraud and irregularities."[14] The regime announced Sassou as the winner.
[edit] Government and politics
Main article: Politics of the Republic of the Congo
See also: Foreign relations of the Republic of the Congo and Military of the Republic of the Congo

Congo-Brazzaville is a democratic regime. It is ruled by Denis Sassou Nguesso. Internationally, Sassou's socialist regime has been hit by corruption revelations despite attempts to censor them. One French investigation found over 110 bank accounts and dozens of lavish properties in France; Sassou denounced embezzlement investigations as "racist" and "colonial".[15][16][17]
[edit] Human rights
Main article: Human rights in the Republic of the Congo

As of 2008, the main media are owned by the government but many more privately-run forms of media are being created. There is one government-owned television station and around 10 small private television channels.

Many Pygmies in Congo live in precarious conditions, to which UNICEF and human-rights activists have voiced their concerns [18] On the 30th December 2010, the Congolese parliament adopted a law for the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. This law is the first of its kind in Africa, and its adoption is a historic development for indigenous peoples on the continent.[19]
[edit] Administrative divisions
Main articles: Departments of the Republic of the Congo, Communes of the Republic of the Congo, and Districts of the Republic of the Congo

The Republic of the Congo is divided into 12 départements (departements). Departments are divided into communes and/or districts.[20] These are:

Bouenza
Cuvette
Cuvette-Ouest
Kouilou
Lékoumou
Brazzaville



Likouala
Niari
Plateaux
Pool
Sangha
Pointe Noire







[edit] Geography and climate
Main article: Geography of the Republic of the Congo
Map of the Republic of the Congo
View of Livingstone Falls.
Climate diagram for Brazzaville

Congo is located in the central-western part of sub-Saharan Africa, along the Equator, lying between latitudes 4°N and 5°S, and longitudes 11° and 19°E. To the south and east of it is the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is also bounded by Gabon to the west, Cameroon and the Central African Republic to the north, and Cabinda (Angola) to the southwest. It has a short Atlantic coast.

The capital, Brazzaville, is located on the Congo River, in the south of the country, immediately across from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The southwest of the country is a coastal plain for which the primary drainage is the Kouilou-Niari River; the interior of the country consists of a central plateau between two basins to the south and north. Forests are under increasing exploitation pressure.[21]

Since the country is located on the Equator, the climate is consistent year-round, with the average day temperature being a humid 24 °C (75 °F) and nights generally between 16 °C (61 °F) and 21 °C (70 °F). The average yearly rainfall ranges from 1,100 millimetres (43 in) in south in the Niari valley to over 2,000 millimetres (79 in) in central parts of the country. The dry season is from June to August while in the majority of the country the wet season has two rainfall maxima: one in March-May and another in September-November.[22]

In 2006-07, researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society studied gorillas in heavily forested regions centered on the Ouesso district of the Sangha Region. They suggest a population on the order of 125,000 Western Lowland Gorillas, whose isolation from humans has been largely preserved by inhospitable swamps.[23]
[edit] Economy
Main article: Economy of the Republic of the Congo
Cassava is an important food crop in the Republic of Congo.

The economy is a mixture of village agriculture and handicrafts, an industrial sector based largely on petroleum,[24] support services, and a government characterized by budget problems and overstaffing. Petroleum extraction has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy. In 2008, oil sector accounted for 65% of the GDP, 85% of government revenue, and 92% of exports.[25]

In the early 1980s, rapidly rising oil revenues enabled the government to finance large-scale development projects with GDP growth averaging 5% annually, one of the highest rates in Africa. The government has mortgaged a substantial portion of its petroleum earnings, contributing to a shortage of revenues. The January 12, 1994 devaluation of Franc Zone currencies by 50% resulted in inflation of 46% in 1994, but inflation has subsided since.[26]

Economic reform efforts continued with the support of international organizations, notably the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The reform program came to a halt in June 1997 when civil war erupted. When Sassou Nguesso returned to power at the end of the war in October 1997, he publicly expressed interest in moving forward on economic reforms and privatization and in renewing cooperation with international financial institutions. However, economic progress was badly hurt by slumping oil prices and the resumption of armed conflict in December 1998, which worsened the republic's budget deficit.

The current administration presides over an uneasy internal peace and faces difficult economic problems of stimulating recovery and reducing poverty, despite record-high oil prices since 2003. Natural gas and diamonds are also recent major Congolese exports, although Congo was excluded from the Kimberley Process in 2004 amid allegations that most of its diamond exports were in fact being smuggled out of the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo; it was re-admitted to the group in 2007.[27][28]

The Republic of the Congo also has base metal, gold, iron and phosphate deposits.[29] The country is a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).[30] The Congolese government has signed an agreement to lease 200,000 hectares of land to South African farmers to reduce its dependence on imports.[31][32]
[edit] Demographics
Main article: Demographics of the Republic of the Congo
Religion in Republic of the Congo
religion percent
Roman Catholic

50.5%
Protestant

40.2%
Muslim

1.3%
Animism

2.2%
Baha'i

0.4%
Other

2.2%
Congolese woman.

The Republic of the Congo's sparse population is concentrated in the southwestern portion of the country, leaving the vast areas of tropical jungle in the north virtually uninhabited. Thus, Congo is one of the most urbanized countries in Africa, with 70% of its total population living in a few urban areas, namely in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or one of the small cities or villages lining the 534-kilometre (332 mi) railway which connects the two cities. In rural areas, industrial and commercial activity has declined rapidly in recent years, leaving rural economies dependent on the government for support and subsistence.[33]

Ethnically and linguistically the population of the Republic of the Congo is diverse—Ethnologue recognises 62 spoken languages in the country[34]—but can be grouped into three categories. The Kongo are the largest ethnic group and form roughly half of the population. The most significant subgroups of the Kongo are Laari in Brazzaville and Pool regions and Vili around Pointe-Noire and along the Atlantic coast. The second largest group are the Teke who live to the north of Brazzaville with 17% of the population. Boulangui (M'Boshi) live in northwest and in Brazzaville and form 12% of the population.[35][36]

Before the 1997 war, about 9,000 Europeans and other non-Africans lived in Congo, most of whom were French; only a fraction of this number remains.[33] Around 300 American expatriates reside in the Congo.[33] Nearly 2,000 white South African farmers have expressed interest in going to Congo.[37] Pygmies make up between 5-10% of Congo's population.[38][dubious - discuss]

The people of Republic of the Congo are largely a mix of Catholics and Protestants, who account for 50.5% and 40.2% of the population respectively. The majority of Christians in the country are Catholic, while the remaining comprises various other Christian denominations. Followers of Islam make up 1.3% of the population, and this is primarily due to an influx of foreign workers into the urban centres.[39]
[edit] Health

Public expenditure on health was at 1.2% of the GDP in 2004, whereas private expenditure was at 1.3%.[40] HIV prevalence is at several percent among 15-49 year olds.[40] Health expenditure was at US$ 30 per capita in 2004[40] A large proportion of the population is undernourished.[40] There were 20 physicians per 100,000 persons in the early 2000s.[40]
[edit] Culture
Main article: Culture of the Republic of the Congo
[edit] Education
School children in the classroom, Republic of the Congo

Public expenditure of the GDP was less in 2002-05 than in 1991.[40] Public education is theoretically free and compulsory for under-16-year olds,[41] but in practice, expenses exist.[41] Net primary enrollment rate was 44% in 2005, much less than the 79% in 1991.[40] The country has universities. Education between ages six and sixteen is compulsory. Students who complete six years of primary school and seven years of secondary school obtain a baccalaureate. At the university, students can obtain a bachelor's degree in three years and a master's after four. Marien Ngouabi University—which offers courses in medicine, law, and several other fields—is the country's only public university. Instruction at all levels is in French, and the educational system as a whole models the French system. The educational infrastructure has been seriously degraded as a result of political and economic crises. There are no seats in most classrooms, forcing children to sit on the floor. Enterprising individuals have set up private schools, but they often lack the technical knowledge and familiarity with the national curriculum to teach effectively. Families frequently enroll their children in private schools only to find they cannot make the payments.
[edit] See also
Geography image Geography portal
Africa image Africa portal
Republic of the Congo image Republic of the Congo portal

Additional, more specific, and related topics may be found at:

Outline of the Republic of the Congo
Index of Republic of the Congo-related articles
French Congo
French Equatorial Africa
List of Congolese
List of writers from the Republic of the Congo
Music of the Republic of the Congo
Public holidays in the Republic of the Congo

[edit] References

^ Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division (2009) (PDF). World Population Prospects, Table A.1. 2008 revision. United Nations. Retrieved 2009-03-12.
^ a b c d "Republic of the Congo". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 2011-04-21.
^ http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDI_2009_EN_Tables.pdf
^ "CIA - The World Factbook - Congo, Republic of the". Cia.gov. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
^ a b c d e "Background Note: Republic of the Congo". Department of State. March 2009.
^ C. R. Boxer, The Portuguese Seaborne Empire, 1415-1825
^ a b c Kevin Shillington. Encyclopedia of African history. p. 301.
^ Kevin Shillington. Encyclopedia of African history. p. 302.
^ Kevin Shillington. Encyclopedia of African history. p. 303.
^ "Congo, Republic of (Brazzaville)". Freedom House. 2006. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
^ "Congo approves new constitution". BBC. 24 January 2002. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
^ "Congo peace deal signed". BBC. 18 March 2003. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
^ "17 candidates in Congo presidential race: commission". AFP. June 13, 2009‎. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
^ Vote results expected as opposition alleges fraud. France24
^ "Congo leader son fails in gag bid". BBC. 15 August 2007.
^ "Propping Up Africa's Dictators". Foreign Policy In Focus. June 22, 2009.
^ "FACTBOX-African leaders' French assets under scrutiny". Reuters. April 29, 2009.
^ Thomas, Katie (2007-03-04). "Slaves of the Congo http://internationalreportingproject.org/stories/detail/slaves-of-the-congo/". International Reporting Project.
^ http://www.iwgia.org/sw153.asp#516_35010
^ With inconsistent figures:
The site of the Presidency of the Republic of Congo lists 11 departments, 7 communes, and 76 districts.
The 2004 Statistical directory of Congo lists 12 departments, 6 communes, and 85 districts
A list of subprefects (higher representatives of State in a district) nominated in December 2008 lists 86 districts. Search[1]
Finally, the good figures seem to come from this site: 12 departments, 7 communes, and 86 districts
^ Map: Situation de l'exploitation forestière en République du Congo
^ Samba G., Nganga D., Mpounza M. (2008). "Rainfall and temperature variations over Congo-Brazzaville between 1950 and 1998". Theoretical and Applied Climatology 91 (1-4): 85-97. doi:10.1007/s00704-007-0298-0. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
^ "'Mother Lode' Of Gorillas Found In Congo Forests : NPR". Retrieved 2008-08-15.
^ "Congo-Brazzaville". Energy Information Administration, U.S. Government. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
^ Republic of Congo World Bank
^ "Congo, Republic of". EconStats. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
^ "Kimberley Process Removes the Republic of Congo from the List of Participants". Kimberley Process. 2004-07-09. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
^ "2007 Kimberley Process Communiqué". Kimberley Proc

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Colombia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the country. For other uses and spellings, see Colombia (disambiguation) and Columbia (disambiguation).
This article may require copy editing for ordinal suffixes and numbers (This is a competitions related article. Please remember style and spelling of Ordinals). You can assist by editing it. (August 2011)
Republic of Colombia
República de Colombia (Spanish)

Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Libertad y Orden" (Spanish)
"Freedom and Order"
Anthem: ¡Oh, Gloria Inmarcesible! (Spanish)
O unfading glory!
Capital
(and largest city) Bogotá
4°39′N 74°3′W
Official language(s) Spanish1
(English is also official in San Andrés and Providence islands)
Recognised regional languages The 72 languages and dialects of ethnic groups are also official in their regions.[1]
Ethnic groups 58% Mestizo
26% White
15% Afro Colombian
1% Amerindian[2]
Demonym Colombian
Government Unitary presidential republic
- President Juan Manuel Santos
- Vice President Angelino Garzón
Independence From Spain
- Declared July 20, 1810
- Recognized August 7, 1819
- Current constitution 1991
Area
- Total 1,141,748 km2 (26th)
440,831 sq mi
- Water (%) 8.8 (17th)
Population
- August 2012 estimate 45,925,397[3] (27th)
- 2005 census 46'406.352[3]
- Density 40,74/km2 (172nd)
15.72/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $435.367 billion[4] (28th)
- Per capita $9,566[4] (83rd)
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $285.511 billion[4] (35th)
- Per capita $6,273[4]
Gini (2006) 58.5[5] (high)
HDI (2010) 0.689 decrease[6] (high) (79th)
Currency Peso (COP)
Time zone (UTC-52)
Date formats dd-mm-yyyy (CE)
Drives on the Right
ISO 3166 code CO
Internet TLD .co
Calling code +57
1 Although the Colombian Constitution specifies Spanish as the official language in all its territory, the native languages (approximately 88 dialects) are also official in the whole country.
2 The official Colombian time, (horalegal.sic.gov.co) is controlled and coordinated by the state agency Superintendency of Industry and Commerce.[7]

Colombia Listeni/kəˈlʌmbiə/, officially the Republic of Colombia (Spanish: República de Colombia, pronounced [reˈpuβlika ðe koˈlombja] ( listen)), is a constitutional republic in northwestern South America. Colombia is bordered to the east by Venezuela[8] and Brazil;[9] to the south by Ecuador and Peru;[10] to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the northwest by Panama; and to the west by the Pacific Ocean. Colombia also shares maritime borders with Venezuela, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.[11][12] With a population of over 46 million people, Colombia has the 29th largest population in the world and the second largest in South America, after Brazil. Colombia has the third largest population of any Spanish-speaking country in the world, after Mexico and Spain.

The territory of what is now Colombia was originally inhabited by indigenous people including the Muisca, Quimbaya, and Tairona. The Spanish arrived in 1499 and initiated a period of conquest and colonization creating the Viceroyalty of Peru, and then in 1717 the Viceroyalty of New Granada (comprising modern-day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, north-western Brazil and Panama), with its capital in Bogotá.[13] Independence from Spain was won in 1819 by Simón Bolívar, but by 1830 "Gran Colombia" had collapsed with the secession of Venezuela and Ecuador. What is now Colombia and Panama emerged as the Republic of New Granada. The new nation experimented with federalism as the Granadine Confederation (1858), and then the United States of Colombia (1863), before the Republic of Colombia was finally declared in 1886.[2] Panama seceded in 1903.

Colombia was the first constitutional government in South America, and the Liberal and Conservative parties, founded in 1848 and 1849 respectively, are two of the oldest surviving political parties in the Americas. However, tensions between the two have frequently erupted into violence, most notably in the Thousand Days War (1899-1902) and La Violencia, beginning in 1948. Since the 1960s, government forces, left-wing insurgents and right-wing paramilitaries have been engaged in the continent's longest-running armed conflict. Fuelled by the cocaine trade, this escalated dramatically in the 1980s. Since 2000 the violence has decreased significantly, with many paramilitary groups demobilising as part of a controversial peace process and the guerrillas losing control of much of the territory they once dominated. Meanwhile Colombia's homicide rate almost halved between 2002 and 2006. Nevertheless, 2010 saw an increase in the homicide rate compared to 2008, rising from 34 murders per 100,000 citizens to 39 in 2010.[14] According to the Maplecroft research institute, in 2010 Colombia still had the world's sixth highest risk of terrorism.[15]

Colombia is a standing middle power[16] with the fourth largest economy in Latin America. However income and wealth are unevenly distributed.[17] In 1990, the income ratio between the richest and poorest 10% was 40-to-one, climbing to 80-to-one in 2000.[18] In 2009, Colombia had a Gini coefficient of 0.587, the highest in Latin America,[19] with 46% of Colombians living below the poverty line and 17% in "extreme poverty".[20][21][22]

Colombia is very ethnically diverse, and the interaction between descendants of the original native inhabitants, Spanish colonists, Africans brought as slaves and twentieth-century immigrants from Europe and the Middle East has produced a rich cultural heritage.[23] This has also been influenced by Colombia's varied geography. The majority of the urban centres are located in the highlands of the Andes mountains, but Colombian territory also encompasses Amazon rainforest, tropical grassland and both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines. Ecologically, Colombia is one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries, and is considered the most megadiverse per square kilometer.[24]
Contents
[hide]

1 Etymology
2 Geography
2.1 Environmental issues
3 History
3.1 Pre-Colombian era
3.2 Spanish discovery, conquest, and colonization
3.3 Independence from Spain
3.4 Post-independence and republicanism
4 Government
4.1 Administrative divisions
4.2 Foreign affairs
4.3 Defense
4.4 Politics
5 Economy
5.1 Tourism
5.2 Transportation
5.3 Colombia dry canal
6 Demographics
6.1 Ethnic groups
6.2 Indigenous peoples
6.3 Immigrant groups
6.4 Impact of armed conflict on civilians
6.5 Religion
6.6 Health
7 Education
8 Culture
8.1 Popular culture
8.2 Cuisine
9 See also
10 References
11 Further reading
12 External links
13 Related information

Etymology

The word "Colombia" comes from Christopher Columbus (Spanish: Cristóbal Colón). It was conceived by the Venezuelan revolutionary Francisco de Miranda as a reference to all the New World, but especially to those under the Spanish and Portuguese rule. The name was later adopted by the Republic of Colombia of 1819, formed out of the territories of the old Viceroyalty of New Granada (modern-day Colombia, Panama, Venezuela and Ecuador).[25]

In 1835, when Venezuela and Ecuador broke away, the Cundinamarca region that remained became a new country - the Republic of New Granada. In 1858 New Granada officially changed its name to the Granadine Confederation, then in 1863 the United States of Colombia, before finally adopting its present name - the Republic of Colombia - in 1886.[25]
Geography
Main article: Geography of Colombia
See also: Natural regions of Colombia and Geology of Colombia
Sierra Nevada del Cocuy.
Shaded relief map of Colombia
Chicamocha canyon in the Department of Santander.

Colombia is bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by Panama and the Caribbean Sea; and to the west by Ecuador and the Pacific Ocean. Including its Caribbean islands, it lies between latitudes 14°N and 5°S, and longitudes 66° and 82°W

Part of the Ring of Fire, a region of the world subject to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, Colombia is dominated by the Andes mountains. Beyond the Colombian Massif (in the south-western departments of Cauca and Nariño) these are divided into three branches known as cordilleras (mountain ranges): the Cordillera Occidental, running adjacent to the Pacific coast and including the city of Cali; the Cordillera Central, running between the Cauca and Magdalena river valleys (to the west and east respectively) and including the cities of Medellín, Manizales, Pereira and Armenia; and the Cordillera Oriental, extending north east to the Guajira Peninsula and including Bogotá, Bucaramanga and Cúcuta. Peaks in the Cordillera Occidental exceed 13,000 ft (3,962 m), and in the Cordillera Central and Cordillera Oriental they reach 18,000 ft (5,486 m).[26] At 8,500 ft (2,591 m), Bogotá is the highest city of its size in the world.

East of the Andes lies the savanna of the Llanos, part of the Orinoco River basin, and, in the far south east, the jungle of the Amazon rainforest. Together these lowlands comprise over half Colombia's territory, but they contain less than 3% of the population. To the north the Caribbean coast, home to 20% of the population and the location of the major port cities of Barranquilla and Cartagena, generally consists of low-lying plains, but it also contains the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range, which includes the country's tallest peaks (Pico Cristóbal Colón and Pico Simón Bolívar), and the Guajira Desert. By contrast the narrow and discontinuous Pacific coastal lowlands, backed by the Serranía de Baudó mountains, are sparsely populated and covered in dense vegetation. The principal Pacific port is Buenaventura.

Colombian territory also includes a number of Caribbean and Pacific islands.
Environmental issues
Main article: Environmental issues in Colombia

The environmental challenges faced by Colombia are caused by both natural and human factors. Many natural hazards result from the geological instability related to Colombia's position along the Pacific Ring of Fire. Colombia has 15 major volcanoes, the eruptions of which have on occasion resulted in substantial loss of life, such as at Armero in 1985. Geological faults that have caused numerous devastating earthquakes, such as the 1999 Armenia earthquake. Heavy floods both in mountainous areas and in low-lying watersheds and coastal regions regularly cause deaths and considerable damage to property during the rainy seasons. Rainfall intensities vary with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation which occurs in unpredictable cycles, at times causing especially severe flooding.

Human induced deforestation has started to creep into the rainforests of Amazonia and the Pacific coast and has substantially changed the Andean landscape. Deforestation is also linked to the conversion of lowland tropical forests to oil palm plantations. However, compared to neighbouring countries rates of deforestation in Colombia are still relatively low.[27] In urban areas, contamination of the local environment has been caused by human produced waste, and the use of fossil fuels. Participants in the country's armed conflict have also contributed to the pollution of the environment. Illegal armed groups have deforested large areas of land to plant illegal crops, with an estimated 99,000 hectares used for the cultivation of coca in 2007,[28] while in response the government has fumigated these crops using hazardous chemicals. Insurgents have also destroyed oil pipelines creating major ecological disasters[citation needed]. Demand from rapidly expanding cities has placed increasing stress on the water supply as watersheds are affected and ground water tables fall. Nonetheless, Colombia is the fourth country in the world by magnitude of total freshwater supply, and still has large reserves of freshwater.[29]
History
Main articles: History of Colombia and Timeline of Colombian history
Villa de Leyva
Pre-Colombian era

Approximately 10,000 BC, hunter-gatherer societies existed near present-day Bogotá (at "El Abra" and "Tequendama") which traded with one another and with cultures living in the Magdalena River Valley.[30] Beginning in the first millennium BC, groups of Amerindians developed the political system of "cacicazgos" with a pyramidal structure of power headed by caciques. Within Colombia, the two cultures with the most complex cacicazgo systems were the Tayronas in the Caribbean Region, and the Muiscas in the highlands around Bogotá, both of which were of the Chibcha language family. The Muisca people are considered to have had one of the most developed political systems in South America, after the Incas.[31]
Spanish discovery, conquest, and colonization
Attack on Cartagena de Indias

Spanish explorers made the first exploration of the Caribbean littoral in 1499 led by Rodrigo de Bastidas. Christopher Columbus navigated near the Caribbean in 1502. In 1508, Vasco Núñez de Balboa started the conquest of the territory through the region of Urabá. In 1513, he was the first European to discover the Pacific Ocean, which he called Mar del Sur (or "Sea of the South") and which in fact would bring the Spaniards to Peru and Chile.

Alonso de Lugo (who had sailed with Columbus) reached the Guajira Peninsula in 1500. Santa Marta was founded in 1525, and Cartagena in 1533. Gonzalo Jiminez de Quesada led an expedition to the interior in 1535, and founded the "New City of Granada", the name soon changed to "Santa Fé." Two other notable journeys by Spaniards to the interior took place in the same period. Sebastian de Belalcazar, conqueror of Quito, traveled north and founded Cali in 1536 and Popayán in 1537; Nicolas Federman crossed the Llanos Orientales and went over the Eastern Cordillera.[32]

The territory's main population was made up of hundreds of tribes of the Chibchan and Carib, currently known as the Caribbean people, whom the Spaniards conquered through warfare and alliances, while resulting disease such as smallpox, and the conquest and ethnic cleansing itself caused a demographic reduction among the indigenous people.[33] In the 16th century, Europeans began to bring slaves from Africa.
Independence from Spain
Main article: Colombian Declaration of Independence
Francisco de Paula Santander, Simón Bolivar and other heroes of the Independence of Colombia in the Congress of Cúcuta.

Since the beginning of the periods of conquest and colonization, there were several rebel movements under Spanish rule, most of them were either crushed or remained too weak to change the overall situation. The last one which sought outright independence from Spain sprang up around 1810, following the independence of St. Domingue (present-day Haiti) in 1804, which provided a non-negligible degree of support to the eventual leaders of this rebellion: Simón Bolívar and Francisco de Paula Santander.

A movement initiated by Antonio Nariño, who opposed Spanish centralism and led the opposition against the viceroyalty, led to the independence of Cartagena in November 1811, and the formation of two independent governments which fought a civil war - a period known as La Patria Boba. The following year Nariño proclaimed the United Provinces of New Granada, headed by Camilo Torres Tenorio. Despite the successes of the rebellion, the emergence of two distinct ideological currents among the liberators (federalism and centralism) gave rise to an internal clash which contributed to the reconquest of territory by the Spanish. The viceroyalty was restored under the command of Juan de Samano, whose regime punished those who participated in the uprisings. The retribution stoked renewed rebellion, which, combined with a weakened Spain, made possible a successful rebellion led by the Venezuelan-born Simón Bolívar, who finally proclaimed independence in 1819. The pro-Spanish resistance was finally defeated in 1822 in the present territory of Colombia and in 1823 in Venezuela.

The territory of the Viceroyalty of New Granada became the Republic of Colombia organized as a union of Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela (Panama was then an integral part of Colombia). The Congress of Cucuta in 1821 adopted a constitution for the new Republic. Simón Bolívar became the first President of Colombia, and Francisco de Paula Santander was made Vice President. However, the new republic was very unstable and ended with the rupture of Venezuela in 1829, followed by Ecuador in 1830.
Post-independence and republicanism
Main articles: La Violencia, El Bogotazo, National Front (Colombia), and Colombian armed conflict (1964-present)
The Gran Colombia

Internal political and territorial divisions led to the secession of Venezuela and Quito (today's Ecuador) in 1830. The so-called "Department of Cundinamarca" adopted the name "Nueva Granada", which it kept until 1856 when it became the "Confederación Granadina" (Granadine Confederation). After a two-year civil war in 1863, the "United States of Colombia" was created, lasting until 1886, when the country finally became known as the Republic of Colombia. Internal divisions remained between the bipartisan political forces, occasionally igniting very bloody civil wars, the most significant being the Thousand Days' War (1899-1902).

This, together with the United States of America's intentions to influence the area (especially the Panama Canal construction and control) led to the separation of the Department of Panama in 1903 and the establishment of it as a nation. The United States paid Colombia $25,000,000 in 1921, seven years after completion of the canal, for redress of President Roosevelt's role in the creation of Panama, and Colombia recognized Panama under the terms of the Thomson-Urrutia Treaty. Colombia was engulfed in the Year-Long War with Peru over a territorial dispute involving the Amazonas Department and its capital Leticia.

Soon after, Colombia achieved a relative degree of political stability, which was interrupted by a bloody conflict that took place between the late 1940s and the early 1950s, a period known as La Violencia ("The Violence"). Its cause was mainly mounting tensions between the two leading political parties, which subsequently ignited after the assassination of the Liberal presidential candidate Jorge Eliécer Gaitán on 9 April 1948. This ensuing riots in Bogotá, known as El Bogotazo, spread throughout the country and claimed the lives of at least 180,000 Colombians[citation needed].

From 1953 to 1964 the violence between the two political parties decreased first when Gustavo Rojas deposed the President of Colombia in a coup d'état and negotiated with the Guerrillas, and then under the military junta of General Gabriel París Gordillo.

After Rojas' deposition the Colombian Conservative Party and Colombian Liberal Party agreed to the create the "National Front", a coalition which would jointly govern the country. Under the deal, the presidency would alternate between conservatives and liberals every 4 years for 16 years; the two parties would have parity in all other elective offices. The National Front ended "La Violencia", and National Front administrations attempted to institute far-reaching social and economic reforms in cooperation with the Alliance for Progress. In the end, the contradictions between each successive Liberal and Conservative administration made the results decidedly mixed. Despite the progress in certain sectors, many social and political problems continued, and guerrilla groups were formally created such as the FARC, ELN and M-19 to fight the government and political apparatus. Emerging in the late 1970s, powerful and violent drug cartels further developed during the 1980s and 1990s. The Medellín Cartel under Pablo Escobar and the Cali Cartel, in particular, exerted political, economic and social influence in Colombia during this period. These cartels also financed and influenced different illegal armed groups throughout the political spectrum. Some enemies of these allied with the guerrillas and created or influenced paramilitary groups.
The Colombian armed forces around the dead body of the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar.

The new Colombian Constitution of 1991, ratified after being drafted by the Constituent Assembly of Colombia, included key provisions on political, ethnic, human and gender rights. The new constitution initially prohibited the extradition of Colombian nationals, causing accusations that drug cartels had successfully lobbied for the provision; extradition resumed in 1996 after the provision was repealed. The cartels had previously promoted a violent campaign against extradition, leading to many terrorist attacks and mafia-style executions. They also tried to influence the government and political structure of Colombia through corruption, as in the case of the 8000 Process scandal.

In recent years,[when?] the country has continued to be plagued by the effects of the drug trade, guerrilla insurgencies like FARC, and paramilitary groups such as the AUC, which along with other minor factions have engaged in a bloody inte

Comoros
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the country. For the archipelago, see Comoro Islands.
Union of the Comoros
Union des Comores (French)
Udzima wa Komori (Comorian)
الاتحاد القمري
al-Ittiḥād al-Qumurī/Qamarī (Arabic)

Flag Seal
Motto: "Unité - Solidarité - Développement" (French)
"Unity - Solidarity - Development"
Anthem: Udzima wa ya Masiwa (Comorian)
"The Unity of the Great Islands"
Capital
(and largest city) Moroni
11°41′S 43°16′E
Official language(s) Comorian, Arabic, French
Demonym Comoran(s)[1]
Government Federal republic
- President Ikililou Dhoinine
- Vice President Fouad Mohadji
Mohamed Ali Soilih
Nourdine Bourhane
Independence
- from France July 6, 1975
Area
- Total 2,235 km2 (178th (incl. Mayotte))
863 sq mi
- Water (%) negligible
Population
- 2010 estimate 798,000[2] (163rd)
- Density 275/km2 (25th)
712.2/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
- Total $800 million[3]
- Per capita $1,202[3]
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
- Total $534 million[3]
- Per capita $802[3]
HDI (2007) increase 0.576 (medium) (139th)
Currency Comorian franc (KMF)
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code KM
Internet TLD .km
Calling code +269

The Comoros Listeni/ˈkɒməroʊz/ (Arabic: جزر القمر‎, Ǧuzur al-Qumur/Qamar), officially the Union of the Comoros (Comorian: Udzima wa Komori, French: Union des Comores, Arabic: الاتحاد القمري‎ al-Ittiḥād al-Qumurī/Qamarī) is an archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean, located off the eastern coast of Africa, on the northern end of the Mozambique Channel, between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar. Other countries near to the Comoros are Tanzania to the northwest and the Seychelles to the northeast. The capital is Moroni on Grande Comore.

At 1,862 km2 (719 sq mi) (excluding Mayotte),[4] the Comoros is the third-smallest African nation by area. With a population estimated at 798,000 (excluding Mayotte), it is the sixth-smallest African nation by population—although it has one of the highest population densities in Africa. Its name derives from the Arabic word قمر qamar ("moon").[5] The archipelago is notable for its diverse culture and history, as a nation formed at the crossroads of many civilizations. It is the southernmost member state of the Arab League. Though in the contested island of Mayotte the sole official language is French, the "Union of the Comoros" has three official languages: Comorian, Arabic, and French.

The country officially consists of the four islands in the volcanic Comoros archipelago: northwesternmost Grande Comore or Ngazidja, Mohéli or Mwali, Anjouan or Nzwani, and southeasternmost Mayotte or Maore, as well as many smaller islands. However, the government of the Comoros (or its predecessors, since independence) has never administered the island of Mayotte, which France administers as an overseas department. Mayotte was the only island in the archipelago that voted against independence from France in 1974; the latter has vetoed United Nations Security Council resolutions that would affirm Comorian sovereignty over the island.[6][7][8][9] In addition, a 29 March 2009 referendum on Mayotte's becoming an overseas department of France in 2011 was passed overwhelmingly by the people of Mayotte.

The Comoros is the only state to be a member of all of the following: African Union, Francophonie, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Arab League, and Indian Ocean Commission. The country has had a history marked by numerous coups d'état since independence in 1975. As of 2008 about half the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.[10]
Contents
[hide]

1 History
1.1 Precolonial inhabitation
1.2 Medieval Comoros
1.3 European contact and French colonization
1.4 Independence
2 Geography
3 Government
3.1 Military
3.2 Foreign relations
4 Economy
5 Demographics
5.1 Health
6 Media and culture
6.1 Education
7 See also
8 References
9 Further reading
10 External links

[edit] History
Main article: History of Comoros
[edit] Precolonial inhabitation
Moroni with Harbor Bay and Central Mosque, Capital of the Comoros
A large dhow with lateen sail rigs.
Vanilla plantation.

The first human inhabitants of the Comoros Islands are thought to have been African and Austronesian settlers who traveled to the islands by boat. These people arrived no later than the sixth century AD, the date of the earliest known archaeological site, found on Nzwani, although settlement beginning as early as the first century has been postulated.[11] The islands of Comoros became populated by a succession of diverse groups from the coast of Africa, the Persian Gulf, the Malay Archipelago, and Madagascar. Swahili settlers first reached the islands as a part of the greater Bantu expansion that took place in Africa throughout the first millennium.

According to a famous pre-Islamic mythology: A jinni (possibly Spirit) dropped a jewel, which formed a great circular inferno. This became the Kartala volcano which, created the island of Comoros. The early inhabitants of the islands worshiped nature and most probably the moon which they believed controlled the tides, these beliefs unified the islands.

Development of the Comoros is divided into phases, beginning with Swahili influence and settlement in the Dembeni phase (ninth to tenth centuries), during which each island maintained a single, central village.[12] From the eleventh to the fifteenth centuries, trade with the island of Madagascar and merchants from the Middle East flourished, smaller villages emerged, and existing towns expanded. The citizens and historians[citation needed] of the Comoros state that early Arab settlements date to even before their known arrival to the archipelago, and Swahili historians frequently trace genealogies back to Arab ancestors who had traveled from Yemen and the ancient kingdom of Saba' in Eden (thought to be the biblical Eden), even though people are unsure if this is fake.

In the year 933 Al-Masudi mentions Omani sailors, who call the Comoros islands "The Perfume Islands" and sing of waves that break rhythmically along broad, pearl-sand beaches, the light breezes scented with Vanilla and ylang-ylang, a component in many perfumes.

In 1154, Arab geographer al-Idrisi depicted the Comoros on a map and mentioned how its sailors sold metal tools for gold and ivory in East Africa; he considered the island more stable and individually prosperous than the busy coastal ports of Mombasa, Zanzibar, Kilwa and Kitao. In the 15th century, the Arab seafarer Ahmad ibn Majid drew the individual routes among these islands.
[edit] Medieval Comoros

According to legend, in 632, upon hearing of Islam, islanders are said to have dispatched an emissary, the navigator Qumralu, to Mecca—but by the time he arrived there, the Prophet Muhammad had died. Nonetheless, after a stay in Mecca, he returned to Qanbalu and led the gradual conversion of his islanders to Islam.

Some of the earliest accounts on the island of Comoros were derived from the works of Al-Masudi, that mentions the importance of the Comoro Islands, like other coastal areas in the region, along early Islamic trade routes and how the islands were frequently visited by Muslims including Persian and Arab merchants and sailors from Basra in search of coral, vanilla, ylang-ylang, ivory, beads, spices, gold, they also brought Islam to the people of the Zanj including Comoros. As the importance of Comoros grew along the East African coast small mosques and large mosques were constructed. Despite its distance from the coast, Comoros is situated along the Swahili Coast in East Africa. It was a major hub of trade and an important location in the sea route between Kilwa (an outlet for Zimbabwean gold) in Mozambique and Mombasa in Kenya.[13]

After the arrival of the Portuguese and the collapse of East African sultanates, the powerful Omani Sultan Saif bin Sultan began to defeat the Dutch and the Portuguese. His successor Said bin Sultan increased Omani Arab influence in region especially when nearby Zanzibar came under Omani rule, and Comorian culture, especially architecture and religion also inhibited features that were unique to the plurality of the region. Sultans on the Comoros a large community of rival rulers controlled much of the islands in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.[14]

By the time Europeans showed interest in the Comoros, the traditional Muslim, Swahili and African heritage islands began to adopt to the changes introduced by European colonization. More recent western scholarship by Thomas Spear and Randall Pouwells emphasizes black African historical predominance over the diffusionist perspective.[15]
[edit] European contact and French colonization
An 1808 map refers to the islands as "Camora".
Sultan Said Ali bin Said Omar of Grande Comore (1897)

Portuguese explorers first visited the archipelago in 1505.

By the year 1506 the Portuguese landed on the islands and began to challenge the Bajas (Bantu Muslim chiefs) and Fanis (lesser chiefs). In the years that followed the islands were sacked by the forces of Afonso de Albuquerque in the year 1514 by the Portuguese. The ruler of the Comoran Muslims barely survived after hiding in an extinct volcanic crater and despite the inadequacy of their cover, the Portuguese miraculously never found them. In the year 1648 the islands were raided by the Malagasy pirates, they sacked Iconi, a coastal trading hub near Ngazidja after defeating the weak Sultan.

In 1793, Malagasy warriors from Madagascar first started raiding the islands for slaves, and later settled and seized control in many locations. On Comoros, it was estimated in 1865 that as much as 40% of the population consisted of slaves.[16] France first established colonial rule in the Comoros in 1841. The first French colonists landed in Mayotte, and Andrian Tsouli, the Malagasy King of Mayotte, signed the Treaty of April 1841, which ceded the island to the French authorities.[17]

In 1886, Mohéli was placed under French protection by its Queen Salima Machimba. That same year, afte