Sum up the facts about British Commonwealth, using


Your own knowledge of history and the information of the

Text.

UNIT 4

GERMANY. GENERAL HISTORICAL SURVEY

Germany lies in the heart of Europe – south of the Scandinavian

countries, west of the Slavic ones, north and east of the Roman

nations. It is a country that has varied greatly in size during

the long existence of the German people. Germany borders on

Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg,

Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark. It is washed by

the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. The navigable rivers are the

Rhine, Elbe, Weser, Oder-Neisse, Danube and Main.

The official name of the country is the Federal Republic of

Germany, its capital is Berlin. Bonnis the seat of the government.

The official language is German; the native population is German(

s). The total area of the country is 356,910 square kilometers.

The main cities and towns are Cologne, Dresden, Frankfurt, Hamburg,

Leipzig, Munich.

Germany can be divided into three principal regions – the

northern lowlands, the central highlands, and the southern alpine

region. A damp maritime climate prevails along the North Sea and

Baltic coast, but farther inland and toward the south it becomes

more typically continental.

Historically Germany had covered a long way from a dispersement

of territory in its early periods to a united republic

nowadays.

In southern Germany the dissolution of the Hohenstaufen

duchy of Swabia gave territorial predominance to the Habsburgs,

whose original possessions were Alsace, Breisgau, the Voralberg,

and Tirol. The margraves of Baden were occupied by the forces of

comparatively small nobles and cities of Swabia. Bavaria was

granted to the house of Wittelsbach in 1180.

In central Germany the dynasty of the Wettin, the margraves

of Meissen thrust steadily eastward and received the electorate of

Saxony in 1423; in the west they obtained Thuringia in 1263. The

landgraves of Hesse, however, challenged the claims of the Wettins

and the archbishops of Mainz. East and south of Hesse, the

Rhine-Main region was a land of great ecclesiastic princes: the

mentioned archbishops of Mainz, Trier and Cologne; the bishops

of Speyer, Worms, Würzburg, and Bamberg; and the wealthy

abbots of Fulda and Lorsch. The area contains four electorates and

was therefore of crucial political importance.

In northern Germany the dukes of Brunswick dissipated their

strength by frequent divisions of their territory among heirs. Farther

east the powerful duchy of Saxons was split by partition between

the Wittenberg and Lauenburg branches; the strength of the

duchy was in the military and commercial qualities of its predominantly

free population. But their expansion into the Slav lands

beyond the Elbe diminished the involvement in the internal politics

of the Reich.

In eastern Germany the duchy of Mecklenburg was drawn

deeply into Scandinavian affairs and in 1363 provided Sweden

with a new royal dynasty in the person of Albert of Mecklenburg.

The electorate of Brandenburg was dominated by a disorderly

and rapacious nobility, and later on it was granted to Frederick,

the burgrave of Nürnberg. The kingdom of Bohemia remained the

durable territorial core of the Luxembourg dominions, and its silver

mines at Kuttenberg, under German supervision, vastly increased

crown revenues. The Slav population resented increasingly

the economic and cultural influence of the German minority,

thus creating disturbing antagonisms to the monarchy.

The principalities of that time were often ragged in outline

and territorially dispersed because of inheritance, grant, partition,

and conquest. In this crucial struggle the great secular potentates

impaired their own strength by persisting in the Germanic custom

of dividing their territory among their sons instead of transmitting

it intact to the eldest. By 1378 the Bavarian lands of the Wittenbachs

were shared between their three grandsons of Louis IV. In

1379 the wide possessions of the Habsburgs were partitioned by

family agreement between Albert III and his younger brother Leopold.

The ecclesiastic princes, vowed to celibacy and elected by

their cathedral chapters, could not hand on their lands to their descendants.

Still, their policies and aspirations were not much different

from those the secular princes, and most of them managed

to install their relatives in rich canonries and prebends.

Vocabulary notes:

dissolution – тут роз’єднання;

duchy – герцогство, князівство;

elector – курфюрст; an electorate – курфюрство;

to dissipate – витрачати, втрачати, марнувати;

ессlesiastical – церковний, духовний;

secular – мирський, світський;

рartition – розділення, поділ;

internal – внутрішній;

disorder – тут гультяйство, марнотратство;

rapacious – жадібний, ненаситний;

durable – тривалий;



potentate – володар, повелитель;

canonries, prebends – церковні причти (причет – терито-

рія, підпорядкована керівнику певної адміністративно-цер-

ковної одиниці);

dispersement – роздроблення;

to vow – давати обітницю;

to hand on – передавати;

descendant – нащадок; тут наступник.

Practical tasks:

Read the following statements and decide whether they

are true or false:

1. German Republic is a country that has the constant size

during the long existence of the German people.

2. The seat of the republican government is Berlin.

3. The margraves of Baden were occupied by the forces of

comparatively small nobles and cities of Swabia.

4. The strength of the Brunswick duchy was in the military

and commercial qualities of its predominantly free population.

5. The Bohemian Slav population resented the economic and

cultural influence of the German minority, and created disturbing

antagonisms to the monarchy.

6. Sweden received a new royal dynasty in the person of Albert

of Mecklenburg, the German elector.

7. By 1378 the Bavarian lands were shared between their

three grandsons of Albert III.

8. The ecclesiastic princes, vowed to celibacy and elected by

their cathedral chapters, handed on their lands to their descendants.

9. Most of the ecclesiastic princes managed to install their

relatives in rich canonries and prebends, thus preserving large

landowner’s status for the church.

2. Fill in the missing words from the box below:

potentates, dispersement, official, vowed, partitioned,

borders on, install, principal, dissolution

1. Germany .... Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland,

France, Luxembourg, Belgium, The Netherlands and Denmark.

2. The _____ name of the country is The Federal Republic

of Germany, its capital is Berlin.

3. Germany can be divided into three _____ regions – the

northern lowlands, the central highlands, and the southern alpine

region.

4. Historically Germany had covered a long way from a _____

of territory in its early periods to a united republic nowadays.

5. In southern Germany the ________ of the Hohenstaufen

duchy of Swabia gave territorial predominance to the Habsburgs.

6. In 1379 the wide possessions of the Habsburgs were

______ by family agreement between Albert III and his younger

brother Leopold.

7. The great secular ______ impaired their own strength by

persisting in the Germanic custom of dividing their territory

among their sons instead of transmitting it intact to the eldest.

8. The ecclesiastic princes, _______ to celibacy and elected

by their cathedral chapters, could not hand on their lands to their

descendants.

9. The policies and aspirations of ecclesiastic princes were

not much different from those of the secular princes, and most of

them managed to ______ their relatives in rich canonries and

prebends.

Compose a chronological table according to the facts

and dates given:

Bavaria was granted to the Wittelsbachs









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