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Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a landlocked country of roughly 8.3 million people in Central Europe. It borders Germany and the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The territory of Austria covers 83,872 square kilometres (32,383 square miles), and is influenced by a temperate and alpine climate. Austria's terrain is highly mountainous due to the presence of the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 metres (1,640 feet), and its highest point is 3,797 metres (12,457 feet). The majority of the population speaks German, which is also the country's official language. Other local official languages are Croatian, Hungarian and Slovene.
The origins of Austria date back to the time of the Roman Empire when a Celtic kingdom was conquered by the Romans in approximately 15 b.C., and later became Noricum, a Roman province, in the mid 1st century a.D. — an area which mostly encloses today's Austria. In 788 a.D., the Frankish king Charlemagne conquered the area, and introduced Christianity. Under the native Habsburg dynasty, Austria became one of the great powers of Europe. In 1867, the Austrian Empire was reformed into Austria-Hungary. The Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed in 1918 with the end of World War I. After establishing the First Austrian Republic in 1919 Austria was de facto annexed into Greater Germany by the Nazi regime in the so-called Anschluss in 1938. This lasted until the end of World War II in 1945, after which Austria was occupied by the Allies. In 1955, the Austrian State Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign State, ending the occupation. In the same year, the Austrian Parliament created the Declaration of Neutrality which declared that the country would become permanently neutral.
Today, Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal States. The capital — and with a population exceeding 1.6 million, Austria's largest city — is Vienna (Wien). Austria is one of the richest countries in the world. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, joined the European Union in 1995, and is a founder of the OECD. Austria also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the European currency, the Euro, in 1999.