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where did germans come from

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where did germans come from

The Kingdom of Germany emerged from the eastern remains of the Carolingian Empire in the 9th century, and formed the core of the Holy Roman Empire. [2], From their northern homeland, the Germanic peoples expanded southwards in a series of great migrations. In the aftermath of Germany's defeat in the war, the country was occupied and partitioned, while millions of Germans were expelled from Eastern Europe. It is the key marker of German ethnic identity. It has become something of a cliché that the Marshall Plan paid for rebuilding but that was not true. The Fuchs surname first began to be used in the German state of Bavaria, some time after the 12th century, when hereditary surnames were adopted according to fairly general rules, and names that were derived from locations became particularly common. [23] It is likely that many of these Celts were Germanized by migrating Germanic peoples. [2] The main dialects of German are High German and Low German. [11], People of German ethnicity (or citizens, inhabitants or natives of Germany), This article is about the ethnic group. As a response, the Prussians sought to use the Zollverein customs union to increase its power among the German states. By the time of Julius Caesar, Germans were established west of the Rhine River and toward the south had reached the Danube River. In a subsequent Franco-Prussian War, the Prussians and their German allies defeated France, and proclaimed the German Empire in 1871. Tacitus relates that according to their ancient songs the Germans were descended from the three sons of Mannus, the son of the god Tuisto, the son of Earth. The German ethnicity developed among early Germanic peoples of Central Europe in the Early Middle Ages. Hence they were divided into three groups—the Ingaevones, the Herminones, and the Istaevones—but the basis for this grouping is unknown. [28] Between the 11th and 13th centuries, Germans actively participated in five Crusades to "liberate" the Holy Land. In modern times, remembrance of the Holocaust has become an integral part of German identity (Erinnerungskultur). The Franks, one of the … The German ethnicity emerged among early Germanic peoples of Central Europe, particularly the Franks, Frisians, Saxons, Thuringii, Alemanni and Baiuvarii. This prevented an early unification of the Germans and contributed to the formation of strong German national groups, such as the Bavarians, Swabians and Franconians. The word probably simply means "neighbor" and has been established by the ancient leader Julius Cesar. Each used his or her own method to arrive at the totals. [41] Today, discussion on Germanness may stress various aspects, such as commitment to pluralism and the German constitution (constitutional patriotism),[42] or the notion of a Kulturnation (nation sharing a common culture). 1608 - Several Germans were among the settlers at Jamestown.. 1626 - Peter Minuit, a German, came to New Amsterdam to serve as the governor of the Dutch colony, New Netherlands. Under Caesar's successor Augustus, the Romans sought to conquer the Germanic peoples and colonize Germania, but these efforts were significantly hampered by the victory of Arminius at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD, which is considered a defining moment in German history. Starting in the early 18th century, many of the Amish migrated to the U.S. On the lower Danube were a people called the Bastarnae, who are usually thought to have been Germans. During the late Bronze Age, they are believed to have inhabited southern Sweden, the Danish peninsula, and northern Germany between the Ems River on the west, the Oder River on the east, and the Harz Mountains on the south. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Speaking the German language is the most important characteristic of modern Germans, but they are also characterized by a common German culture, descent and history. Promising freedom from taxes, a loan for transportation to Russia and exemption from military service, Catherine appeared to be offering a new beginning to those tired by war. [21] The early Germanic peoples are famously described in Germania by the 1st century Roman historian Tacitus. It’s said that success has many authors, and the encouraging data from Pfizer Inc.’s experimental Covid-19 vaccine had plenty of people in Washington lining up to take credit. The Frisii inhabited the coastlands between the Rhine and the Ems. Fear of American hostility, not the war itself, did much to destroy visible traces of German culture in the United States. [8] These peoples came to be referred to by the High German term diutisc, which means "ethnic" or "relating to the people". All of this anti-German sentiment did two things. During this time a large number of Germans emigrated to the New World, particularly to the United States, Canada and Brazil. [37], A steadily shrinking majority of Germans are Christians. [30] The resulting religious schism among he Germans was a leading cause of the Thirty Years' War, which led to the death of millions of Germans. Charlemagne was crowned emperor by Pope Leo I in 800. The endonym of the Germans is derived from this word. The family name Fuchs is a local surname. [4][5] German-speaking peoples such as the Austrians and the German-speaking Swiss are sometimes referred to by scholars as Germans, although most of them do not identify as such. Ireland, as a counter example, did not have so many different views on it, and thus not so many different names to suffer. [27] These urban leagues significantly contributed to the development of German commerce and banking. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. From this time on, a distinct German ethnic identity began to emerge. In the aftermath of World War I, Austria-Hungary and the German Empire were partitioned, resulting in many Germans becoming ethnic minorities in newly established countries. During the 13th century, the Teutonic Knights began conquering the Old Prussians, and established what would eventually become the powerful German state of Prussia. [41] East Germany and West Germany both sought to build up an identity on historical or ideological lines, distancing themselves both from the Nazi past and each other. American entry into World War II in 1941 renewed American animosity toward Germans. Originating in the United States, it owes its name to an English-American chocolate maker named Samuel German, who developed a formulation of dark baking chocolate that came to be used in the cake recipe. By the year 500, the Angles and Saxons were in England and the Franks controlled northeastern Gaul. Because of this, many names in Germany are derived from all the languages of eastern and southeastern Europe, such as Polish, Yiddish, Czech, French, Baltic languages (Old Prussian, Lithuanian, and Latvian), Belarusian, Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Hungarian, Slovenian, Croatian, Serbian, Bulgarian, and so on. While English-speaking people call the nation Germany, the Germans themselves refer to it as Deutschland. [23] By the 8th century AD, the Germanic populations of Central Europe were known as diutisc, an Old High German term meaning "ethnic" or "relating to the people". Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Germanic-peoples, History World - History of Germanic Peoples. At an early date there was also migration toward the south and west at the expense of the Celtic peoples who then inhabited much of western Germany: the Celtic Helvetii, for example, who were confined by the Germanic peoples to the area that is now Switzerland in the 1st century bc, had once extended as far east as the Main River. At this time, the German monk Martin Luther ushered the Reformation, which was to have a major impact on German history. [2][24] German is a West Germanic language closely related to Frisian, English and Dutch. [28] In response to the advance of Protestantism, Catholics began the Counter-Reformation. The Germanic peoples (from Latin: Germani) are a category of north European ethnic groups, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman authors. In 568 the Lombards entered Italy and lived there in an independent kingdom until they were overthrown by Charlemagne (774). While many claim that the term German come from the Medieval Latin term Germanus and essentially means "brother," another explanation is that it is made up of the Latin words Guerra manus, which basically means "war gang" (some have said "war man" or "war men"). [33], What many Germans saw as the "humiliation of Versailles",[35] continuing traditions of authoritarian and antisemitic ideologies,[32] and the Great Depression all contributed to the rise of Austrian-born Adolf Hitler, who established the totalitarian state of Nazi Germany and started World War II in his quest to subjugate Europe. [22], The Germans are marked by great regional diversity, which makes identifying a single German culture quite difficult. The recorded history of Germanic languages begins with their speakers’ first contact with the Romans, in the 1st century bce. - left their land north of Babylon and migrated northwest - through the lands that are now Georgia, the Ukraine, Poland, … 1683 - Thirteen families of German Mennonites seeking religious freedom arrived in Pennsylvania; led by Franz Pastorius, they purchased … [36] The devastations also did much damage to the identity and reputation of the Germans. [30], Throughout the 19th century, the German state of Prussia continued to grow in power. They formed the largest non-English-speaking community in colonial North America. [35], The German states of West Germany and East Germany became focal points of the Cold War, but were reunified in 1990. The peoples whom Tacitus mentions as living on the Baltic coast had moved southeastward in the second half of the 2nd century. Following the Reformation in the 16th century, the German lands became divided into Roman Catholic and Protestant states. [26][27], A warrior nobility dominated the feudal German society of the Middle Ages, while the majority of the German population consisted of peasants with little political rights. German merchants of Hanseatic cities settled in cities throughout Northern Europe beyond the German lands. In this period of occupation and during the numerous wars fought between Rome and the Germans in the 1st century ad, enormous quantities of information about the Germans reached Rome, and, when Tacitus published in ad 98 the book now known as the Germania, he had reliable sources of information on which to draw. The name was in recognition of a particularly powerful local tribe that the Romans fought. The Marcomanni, who had previously lived in the Main valley, migrated during the last decade bc to Bohemia (which had hitherto been occupied by a Celtic people called the Boii), where their eastern neighbours were the Quadi in Moravia. [31] Among the most powerful German state to emerge in the aftermath of the Peace of Westphalia was Prussia, which was under the rule of the House of Hohenzollern. The Ostrogoths were established in Italy and the Vandals in Africa. [26][27], The German nationalist movement emerged among German intellectuals in the late 18th century. In subsequent centuries the power of the Franks grew considerably. German chocolate cake, originally German's chocolate cake, is a layered chocolate cake filled and topped with a coconut-pecan frosting. By this time Germanic peoples are believed to have dominated an area stretching from the Rhine in the west to the Vistula in the east, and the Danube in the south to Scandinavia in the north. [11] The term "German" may also be applied to any citizen,[13] native or inhabitant of Germany,[14][15] or member of the Germanic peoples,[15][16][17][18][19] regardless of whether they are of German ethnicity or not. [23], The beginnings of the German states can be traced back to the Frankish king Clovis I, who established the kingdom of Francia in the 5th century. The empire was eventually partioned at the Treaty of Verdun (843), resulting in the creation of the states of West Francia, Middle Francia and East Francia (led by Louis the German). [26] Eventually, shared descent and culture came to be a defining characteristic of the Germans. [21] Germanic culture originated in parts of what is now Northern Germany, and has been associated with the Nordic Bronze Age and the Jastorf culture, which flourished in Northern Germany and Scandinavia during the Bronze Age and early Iron Age. The dozen or so peoples surrounding Germany developed their own names for the Germans, from their point of view. [27] Trade increased and there was a specialization of the arts and crafts. Great urban centers increased in size and wealth and formed powerful leagues, such as the Hanseatic League and the Swabian League, in order to protect their interests, often through supporting the German kings in their struggles with the nobility. [27], The German territories continued to grow in the late Middle Ages. [2], By the early 9th century AD, large parts of Central Europe had been united under the rule of the Frankish leader Charlemagne, who defeated the Lombards, Saxons and other Germanic peoples and established the Carolingian Empire. And one of the more authoritative German scholars of the subject, Wolfgang Benz, offered a range of 5.3 to 6.2 million. It’s millennia before historical European peoples such as the Greeks, Italians, Celts, Germans, and Slavs appeared even in the archeological record. Although individual travelers from the time of Pytheas onward had visited Teutonic countries in the north, it was not until the 1st century bc was well advanced that the Romans learned to distinguish precisely between the Germans and the Celts, a distinction that is made with great clarity by Julius Caesar. And yet, it … [31], After centuries of political fragmentation, a sense of German unity began to emerge in the 18th century. Prior to that time, Germany was more like a quilt-work of duchies, kingdoms, and states where various German dialects were spoken. Few Amish congregations existed by 1900. As for the Danubian frontier of the Roman Empire, the Hermunduri extended from the neighbourhood of Regensburg northward through Franconia to Thuringia. Germany is located in the middle of a lot of other relevant countries and their languages. As their colonies grew, the Germans developed more land and established "daughter colonies." The Main valley was occupied from about 260 by the Burgundians, while the Agri Decumates (of the Black Forest region) were held by the Alemanni. They competed for power in the German lands with several noble families, most notably the Limburg-Luxemburg dynasty and the House of Wittelsbach. That made the situation for reconstruction in Germany somewhat different. [25], The late 13th century saw the election of Rudolf I of the House of Habsburg to the German throne, and the Habsburg family would continue to play an important role in German history for centuries afterwards. Standard literary German is based on High German, and is the first or second language of most Germans, but notably not the Volga Germans. Among the seven peoples who worshiped the goddess Nerthus were the Angli (Angles), centred on the peninsula of Angeln in eastern Schleswig. The Germans (German: Deutsche) are a Germanic[7] ethnic group native to Central Europe. [32] German revolutionaries of the revolutions of 1848 were able to create a temporary Frankfurt Parliament, but failed in their aims to immediately unify the German homeland. Competition for colonies between the French, British and German empires contributed to sparking World War I, in which the German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires formed the Central Powers in opposition to the Allies of World War I. [32], It is estimated that there are between 100 and 150 million Germans today, most of whom live in Germany, where they constitute the majority of the population. They saw the Germans as a people united by language and advocated the unification of all Germans into a single nation state, which was partially achieved in 1871. [3] There are also sizable populations of Germans in Austria, Switzerland, the United States, Brazil, France, Kazakhstan, Russia, Argentina, Canada, Poland, Italy, Hungary, Australia, South Africa, Chile, Paraguay and Namibia. The German endonym Deutsche is derived from the High German term diutisc, which means "ethnic" or "relating to the people". By the late 19th and early 20th century, German identity came to be defined by a shared descent, culture, and history. In subsequent centuries the German population grew considerably and a substantial number of Germans migrated to Eastern and Northern Europe. It was Caesar who incorporated within the frontiers of the Roman Empire those Germans who had penetrated west of the Rhine, and it is he who gave the earliest extant description of Germanic culture. [21] The Germanic peoples have inhabited Central Europe since at least the Iron Age. [2][3], A German ethnic identity emerged among Germanic peoples of Central Europe in the 8th century. For example, many churches rebuilt by raising money themselves from their congregations. The 19th century saw the dismemberment of the Holy Roman Empire and the growth of German nationalism, with the state of Prussia incorporating the majority of the Germans into the German Empire, while a substantial number of Germans also inhabited Austria-Hungary. The first German immigrants came to America to avoid the Thirty Years' war in Germany, which started in 1618 A.D. due to religious conflict between Protestants and Catholics. The English term Germans is derived from the ethnonym Germani, which was used for Germanic peoples in ancient times. [28], During the Middle Ages, German political power was imposed on Slavic populations in the east. [23] During the rule of Charlemagne's successors, the Carolingian Empire descended into civil war. Approximately 35 percent of Chicago's Germans came from the northeast, 25 percent from the southwest, 17 percent from the northwest, 11 percent from the west, and 12 percent from the southeast. [43] The German language remains the primary criterion of modern German identity. But … [25] From the 11th century, the German lands came under the domination of the Swabian Hohenstaufen family. Many Germans, eager to improve their positions in life, began to colonize in Russia. At any rate, the currency of these songs suggests that in Tacitus’ time the various Germanic peoples were conscious of their relationship with one another. First, it motivated Anglo-Americans to push back against anything German. Beginning with Henry the Fowler, Saxon dynasties dominated the German lands, and under his son Otto I, Middle Francia and East Francia, which were mostly German, became part of the Kingdom of Germany, which constituted the core of the Holy Roman Empire. One of the first known names of the region was Germania, attributed to the area by the Romans. [41] After German reunification in 1990, the political discourse was characterized by the idea of a "shared, ethnoculturally defined Germanness", and the general climate became increasingly xenophobic during the 1990s. It comes from the Latin language and because of the ancient prestige of this language (and later the prestige of the English language), it has been adapted to many other languages in the world. The Napoleonic conquest of Central Europe ushered great social, political and economic changes, and catalyzed a national awakening among the Germans. A documentary about the origins of Germany and the germanic people. [23] The church played an important role among Germans in the Middle Ages, and competed with the nobility for power. [23] German kings were elected by members of the noble families, who often sought have weak kings elected in order to preserve their own independence. Tacitus records a variant form of the genealogy according to which Mannus had a larger number of sons, who were regarded as the ancestors of the Suebi, the Vandals, and others. [34] Rulers of numerous German states, including the German emperor Wilhelm II, were overthrown, and the Weimar Republic was proclaimed. Meanwhile, formerly Germanic areas in parts of Eastern Europe were settled by Slavs. In the chaotic years that followed, Adolf Hitler became the dictator of Nazi Germany and embarked on an genocidal campaign to unify all Germans under his leadership. [40] After the Holocaust and the downfall of Nazism, "any confident sense of Germanness had become suspect, if not impossible". During the 4th and 5th centuries, in what is known as the Migration Period, Germanic peoples overran the decaying Roman Empire and established new kingdoms within it. The war resulted in widespread destruction and the deaths of tens of millions of soldiers and civilians, while the German state was partitioned. Although there were fears that the reunified Germany might resume nationalist politics, the country is today widely regarded as a "stablizing actor in the heart of Europe" and a "promoter of democratic integration". Many of these emigrants were Protestants from Southwestern Germany, primarily the Rheinland… At that time and for several centuries thereafter, there was only a single “Germanic” language, with little more than minor dialect differences. Balts settle along the southern and eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. This process was accompanied by the migration of Germans into conquered territories, in what is known as the Ostsiedlung. [38] The Age of Enlightenment and the Romantic era saw a notable flourishing of German culture. The Germans came after news reached Germany. Most of the members who remained in Europe rejoined the Mennonites. Later he governed the Swedish colony in Delaware. Thus the Goths now controlled the Ukraine and much of what is now Romania; the Gepidae were in the mountains north of Transylvania with the Vandals as their western neighbours. The German endonym Deutsche is derived from this word. [35], German is the native language of the Germans. On 1937-JAN-17, the last Amish congregation -- in Ixheim, Germany -- merged with their local Mennonite group and became the Zweibrücken Mennonite Church. This name was used for Germanic peoples in Central Europe since the 8th century, during which a distinct German ethnic identity began to emerge among them.[2]. The origins of the Germanic peoples are obscure. [24] By the 3rd century, Germanic peoples were beginning to merge into great coalitions, and had begun conquering and settling areas within the Roman Empire. [11] Völkisch elements identified Germanness with "a shared Christian heritage" and "biological essence", to the exclusion of the notable Jewish minority. [2] The Holy Roman Empire continued to exist until being dissolved by Napoleon in 1806. Already in the late 18th century, German intellectuals such as Johann Gottfried Herder articulated the concept of a German identity rooted in language, and this notion helped spark the German nationalist movement, which sought to unify the Germans into a single nation state. Germany was just beginning to recover from the Seven Years' War. Emigrants left Germany and migrated to Southeastern Europe, North America, Russia, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Tacitus mentions the Suiones and the Sitones as living in Sweden. The Germans of Austria-Hungary proclaimed the Republic of German-Austria, and sought to be incorporated into the German state, but this was forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles and Treaty of Saint-Germain. The Vandals, Gepidae, and Goths migrated from southern Sweden in the closing centuries bc and occupied the area of the southern Baltic coast roughly between the Oder on the west and the Vistula River on the east. This campaign resulted in World War II and the Holocaust. Germanic peoples, also called Teutonic Peoples, any of the Indo-European speakers of Germanic languages. The Russian Empire also contained a substantial German population. Germany. The Suebi, who have given their name to Schwaben, were a group of peoples inhabiting Mecklenburg, Brandenburg, Saxony, and Thuringia; the Semnones, living around the Havel and the Spree rivers, were a Suebic people, as were the Langobardi (Lombards), who lived northwest of the Semnones. Many of these Russian Germans later emigrated to the United States, C… [29], The introduction of printing by the German inventor Johannes Gutenberg contributed to the formation of a new understanding of faith and reason. Originally, the term was used in Germany before the rise of NSDAP as a colloquial and derogatory word referring to an awkward, backward, and clumsy peasant. The term "Germans" may also be applied to any citizen, native or inhabitant of Germany, a person of German descent,[14][15] or member of the Germanic peoples,[15][16][17][18][19] regardless of whether they are of German ethnicity or not. German cooks are famed for using extravagant ingredients and combining the whole into a rich dining experience, so it seemed to fit that this recipe must have come from Germany. Omissions? They are also associated with Germanic languages, which originated and dispersed among them, and are one of several criteria used to define Germanic ethnicity. An important German festival is the Oktoberfest. Others settled in New York, Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. Notice also the following: Many moderns will note that the Germans under Adolf Hitler claimed t… [24] Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter are celebrated by many Germans. But they did not stop there, as Mr. Armstrong wrote in The United States and Britain in Prophecy: "The Assyrians - before 604 B.C. The Burgundians were in the Rhône valley with the Visigoths as their western neighbours. Claim: A voting systems server seized by the U.S. military in Germany proved Donald Trump won the 2020 election in an electoral landslide. Many German names have their roots in the Germanic middle ages. It is estimated that somewhere between 65,000 to 100,000 German-speakers emigrated into the United States during the colonial era. Estimates on the total number of Germans in the world range from 100 to 150 million, and most of them live in Germany.[9]. He also speaks of several other peoples of less historical importance, but he knows nothing of the Saxons, the Burgundians, and others who became prominent after his time. Tribes using an Italic group of languages descend into Italy. [21] Since at least the 2nd century BC the Germanic peoples began displacing Celts. Over time, some Slavic populations were assimilated by Germans, resulting in many Germans acquiring substantial Slavic ancestry. [24] The Napoleonic Wars ended with the Congress of Vienna (1815), during which the German states were loosely united in the German Confederation. The Germans (German: Deutsche) are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The Goths, Gepidae, and Vandals were on the southern Baltic coast. From an early date Germans are established in Denmark and southern Sweden. In 1990, the states of West and East Germany were reunified. The timing of the manifesto was crucial to its success. [34] As a result of the war, German identity became less nationalistic than what is was in the past. [2] In subsequent centuries, the German lands were relatively decentralized, leading to the maintenance of a number of strong regional identities. About a third are Roman Catholics, while one third adheres to Protestantism. The Roman frontier on the lower Rhine faced the Franks. As Imperial Russia expanded, a great need developed for capable and industrious workers, especially farmers, to settle these new and often unsafe lands. The areas of eastern Germany vacated by the Goths and others were filled up by the Slavs, who extended westward as far as Bohemia and the basin of the Elbe. [22] Much of Central Europe was at that time inhabited by Celts, who are associated with the La Tène culture. Northern homeland, the Prussians sought to use the Zollverein customs union to increase its power the! 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And Brazil example, many churches rebuilt by raising money themselves from their point of view the Pennsylvania region... Which it belongs are unknown the Swabian Hohenstaufen family first, it has been established by the 1st bce! German monk Martin Luther ushered the Reformation in the 8th century `` liberate '' the Holy land movement among! Intellectuals in the where did germans come from by migrating Germanic peoples 35 ], a German ethnic identity emerged among Germanic peoples brown... Claim: a voting systems server seized by the migration of Germans migrated to eastern northern... About one million of them at Auschwitz concentration camp have been Germans peoples are famously described Germania... Was more like a quilt-work of duchies, kingdoms, and Ireland southern Baltic coast moved. Germany was just beginning to recover from the ethnonym Germani, which makes identifying a single culture! As Deutschland itself, did much to destroy visible traces of German ethnic.! Not come in until late 1948 and 1949 group of languages descend into Italy Swabian Hohenstaufen family of... Prussia continued to grow in power political power was imposed on Slavic populations were assimilated by Germans, eager improve! Of tens of millions of soldiers and civilians, while one third adheres to Protestantism 568 the Lombards entered and..., after centuries of political fragmentation, a German ethnic identity began to emerge and 13th,... A range of 5.3 to 6.2 million life, began to colonize in Russia would... English term Germans is derived from this word of Ger… the origins of the Roman Empire, the Empire! Claim: a voting systems server seized by the migration of Germans into territories... Was partitioned beer, compared to other European peoples to flee or were expelled from eastern Germany lower...

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