Germanic tribes date back to the first century, and Germany officially started in 962 with the crowning of German King Otto I as the Holy Roman Emperor. Nine centuries later, the German Confederation -- a loose league of 39 sovereign states -- was formed (1815). Unification came in 1871, and the Federal Republic of Germany was formed in 1949 following World War II. Reunification of East and West Germany came in 1990.
Today, Germany is the most populous member of the European Union and a leading economic and political power with a rich cultural heritage including arts and music, literature, and science and technology.