This article is about modern ethnic Germans. It is german for children 3 years to be confused with the ancient Germanic tribes.
Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe, who share a common German ancestry, culture and history. The English term Germans has historically referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages. Of approximately 100 million native speakers of German in the world, roughly 80 million consider themselves Germans. Used as a noun, ein diutscher in the sense of “a German” emerges in Middle High German, attested from the second half of the 12th century. The Old French term alemans is taken from the name of the Alamanni. It was loaned into Middle English as almains in the early 14th century.
Old Norse, Finnish, and Estonian names for the Germans were taken from that of the Saxons. The English term Germans is only attested from the mid-16th century, based on the classical Latin term Germani used by Julius Caesar and later Tacitus. It gradually replaced Dutch and Almains, the latter becoming mostly obsolete by the early 18th century. The Germans are a Germanic people, who as an ethnicity emerged during the Middle Ages. Originally part of the Holy Roman Empire, around 300 independent German states emerged during its decline after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 ending the Thirty Years War. The concept of a German ethnicity is linked to Germanic tribes of antiquity in central Europe.
The early Germans originated on the North German Plain as well as southern Scandinavia. Conflict between the Germanic tribes and the forces of Rome under Julius Caesar forced major Germanic tribes to retreat to the east bank of the Rhine. The first major public figure to speak of a German people in general, was the Roman figure Tacitus in his work Germania around 100 AD. Germany, they encountered Celts to the south, and Balts and Slavs towards the east. The migration-period peoples who later coalesced into a “German” ethnicity were the Germanic tribes of the Saxons, Franci, Thuringii, Alamanni and Bavarii. A German ethnicity emerged in the course of the Middle Ages, ultimately as a result of the formation of the Kingdom of Germany within East Francia and later the Holy Roman Empire, beginning in the 9th century. After Christianization, the Roman Catholic Church and local rulers led German expansion and settlement in areas inhabited by Slavs and Balts, known as Ostsiedlung.
At the same time, naval innovations led to a German domination of trade in the Baltic Sea and parts of Eastern Europe through the Hanseatic League. Along the trade routes, Hanseatic trade stations became centers of the German culture. By the Middle Ages, large numbers of Jews lived in the Holy Roman Empire and had assimilated into German culture, including many Jews who had previously assimilated into French culture and had spoken a mixed Judeo-French language. From the late 15th century, the Holy Roman Empire came to be known as the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation. The Napoleonic Wars were the cause of the final dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, and ultimately the cause for the quest for a German nation state in 19th-century German nationalism. 18 January 1871: The proclamation of the German Empire in the Hall of Mirrors of the Palace of Versailles. German nationalism became the sole focus of the German Question which was the question of how Germany was going to be best unified into a nation-state.