When Was Germany Founded?

Germany was founded in 843 A.D. when Charlemagne's empire was divided by the Treaty of Verdun and given to his grandsons. Louis the German ruled the Germany portion, giving it its name. The other two grandsons ruled France and a portion of land between Germany and France called Lotharingia.

Germany, the new country, had trouble establishing its borders. On the outside, Hungarians and Norsemen invaded, and on the inside, five different tribes divided the country into five duchies. These duchies were Franconia, Lorraine, Bavaria, Saxony and Swabia. Furthermore, France and Germany both vied for control of Lotharingia.

By 911, Luis the German's line had died out, and the dukes of the country's five duchies elected a new ruler from among their number. One of these rulers, Otto the Great, expanded Germany's borders in 955 by conquering the Hungarians and taking their land, the East March, which is present-day Austria. He also became the first Holy Roman Emperor and was given northern Italy.

Germany's borders expanded in the 12th century to the Baltic Sea, the Wends and western Pomerania. Meanwhile, the native Prussians were converted to Christianity. In the 1500s, Charles V ruled not only Germany but also Hapsburg, Spain, Italy and Burgundian lands.

However, war resulted in a major decline of imperial power and authority and gave rise to Prussia. This small country eventually expanded and took over many German lands and territory, leaving Germany a shell of its former self. Napoleon conquered the German states in the 1700s and broke them up. Eventually the German states were reunited into the German Empire. The country was briefly broken up into East and West Germany, but they were reunited in 1990.