Germany, which dominates Central Europe politically and economically, was formed in 1871 from a merger of a number of German states, some that had been in a variety of confederations over many years. With great mineral wealth and good agricultural land, there have nevertheless been periods of great poverty in Germany because of the many wars in the region. The Wars of Religion and the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48) devastated the area that became Germany. There was further fighting in many regions during the War of Spanish Succession, War of Austrian Succession, Seven Years’ War, French Revolution, and Napoleonic Wars. During the 19th century, there were more conflicts with the 1848 revolutions, Austro-Prussian War (1866), and Franco-Prussian War (1870–71). By the end of that last ...

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