The Alps ; French: Alpes; German: Alpen ; Italian: Alpi ; Romansh: Alps;) are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe,[note 1] stretching approximately 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) across eight Alpine countries: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia, and Switzerland. The mountains were formed over tens of millions of years as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. Extreme shortening caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. Mont Blanc spans the French–Italian border, and at 4,810 m (15,781 ft) is the highest mountain in the Alps. The Alpine region area contains about a hundred peaks higher than 4000 metres (just over 13,000 feet).
The altitude and size of the range affects the climate in Europe; in the mountains precipitation levels vary greatly and climatic conditions consist of distinct zones. Wildlife such as ibex live in the higher peaks to elevations of 3,400 m (11,155 ft), and plants such as Edelweiss grow in rocky areas in lower elevations as well as in higher elevations. Evidence of human habitation in the Alps goes back to the Palaeolithic era. A mummified man, determined to be 5,000 years old, was discovered on a glacier at the Austrian–Italian border in 1991.
By the 6th century BC, the Celtic La Tène culture was well established. Hannibal famously crossed the Alps with a herd of elephants, and the Romans had settlements in the region. In 1800 Napoleon crossed one of the mountain passes with an army of 40,000. The 18th and 19th centuries saw an influx of naturalists, writers, and artists, in particular the Romantics, followed by the golden age of alpinism as mountaineers began to ascend the peaks. In World War II, Adolf Hitler kept a base of operation in the Bavarian Alps throughout the war.
The Alpine region has a strong cultural identity. The traditional culture of farming, cheesemaking, and woodworking still exists in Alpine villages, although the tourist industry began to grow early in the 20th century and expanded greatly after World War II to become the dominant industry by the end of the century. The Winter Olympic Games have been hosted in the Swiss, French, Italian, Austrian and German Alps. At present, the region is home to 14 million people and has 120 million annual visitors.
Etymology and toponymy
The English word Alps derives from the Latin Alpes (through French). Maurus Servius Honoratus, an ancient commentator of Virgil, says in his commentary (A. X 13) that all high mountains are called Alpes by Celts. The term may be common to Italo-Celtic, because the Celtic languages have terms for high mountains derived from alp.
This may be consistent with the theory that in Greek Alpes is a name of non-Indo-European origin (which is common for prominent mountains and mountain ranges in the Mediterranean region). According to the Old English Dictionary, the Latin Alpes might possibly derive from a pre-Indo-European word *alb "hill"; "Albania" is a related derivation. Albania, a name not native to the region known as the country of Albania, has been used as a name for a number of mountainous areas across Europe. In Roman times, "Albania" was a name for the eastern Caucasus, while in the English languages "Albania" (or "Albany") was occasionally used as a name for Scotland.
In modern languages the term alp, alm, albe or alpe refers to a grazing pastures in the alpine regions below the glaciers, not the peaks. An alp refers to a high mountain pasture where cows are taken to be grazed during the summer months and where hay barns can be found, and the term "the Alps", referring to the mountains, is a misnomer. The term for the mountain peaks varies by nation and language: words such as Horn, Kogel, Kopf, Gipfel, Spitze, Stock, and Berg are used in German speaking regions; Mont, Pic, Tête, Pointe, Dent, Roche, and Aiguille in French speaking regions; and Monte, Picco, Corno, Punta, Pizzo, or Cima in Italian speaking regions.
The Alps are a crescent shaped geographic feature of central Europe that ranges in a 800 km (500 mi) arc from east to west and is 200 km (120 mi) in width. The mean height of the mountain peaks is 2.5 km (1.6 mi). The range stretches from the Mediterranean Sea north above the Po basin, extending through France from Grenoble, and stretching eastward through mid and southern Switzerland. The range continues onward toward Vienna,Austria, and east to the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia. To the south it dips into northern Italy and to the north extends to the southern border of Bavaria in Germany. In areas like Chiasso, Switzerland, and Allgäu, Bavaria, the demarcation between the mountain range and the flatlands are clear; in other places such as Geneva, the demarcation is less clear. The countries with the greatest alpine territory are Switzerland, France, Austria and Italy.
The highest portion of the range is divided by the glacial trough of the Rhone valley, with the Pennine Alps from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa on the southern side, and the Bernese Alps on the northern. The peaks in the easterly portion of the range, in Austria and Slovenia, are smaller than those in the central and western portions.
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The Andes or Andean Mountains (Spanish: Cordillera de los Andes) are the longest continental mountain range in the world. They are a continuous range of highlands along the western edge of South America. This range is about 7,000 km (4,300 mi) long, about 200 to 700 km (120 to 430 mi) wide (widest between 18° south and 20° south latitude), and of an average height of about 4,000 m (13,000 ft). The Andes extend from north to south through seven South American countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. Along their length, the Andes are split into several ranges, which are separated by intermediate depressions. The Andes are the location of several high plateaus – some of which host major cities, such as Quito, Bogotá, Arequipa, Medellín, Sucre, Mérida and La Paz. The Altiplano plateau is the world's second-highest after the Tibetan plateau. These ranges are in turn grouped into three major divisions based on climate: the Tropical Andes, the Dry Andes, and the Wet Andes. The Andes are the world's highest mountain range outside of Asia. The highest mountain outside Asia, Mount Aconcagua, rises to an elevation of about 6,961 m (22,838 ft) above sea level. The peak of Chimborazo in the Ecuadorean Andes is farther from the Earth's center than any other location on the Earth's surface, due to the equatorial bulge resulting from the Earth's rotation. The world's highest volcanoes are in the Andes, including Ojos del Salado on the Chile-Argentina border, which rises to 6,893 m (22,615 ft). The Andes are also part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges (cordillera) that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, South America and Antarctica. Etymology The etymology of the word Andes has been debated. The majority consensus is that it derives from the Quechua word anti, which means "east" as in Antisuyu (Quechua for "east region"), one of the four regions of the Inca Empire. Geography Aerial view of Valle Carbajal in the Fuegian Andes The Andes can be divided into three sections: The Southern Andes (south of Llullaillaco) in Argentina and Chile; The Central Andes in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia The Northern Andes (north of the Nudo de Pasto) in Venezuela and Colombia, which consist of three parallel ranges, the western, central, and eastern (the cordillera occidental, central, and oriental). In the northern part of the Andes, the isolated Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range is often considered to be part of the Andes. The term cordillera comes from the Spanish word "cordel", meaning "rope". The Andes range is about 200 km (124 mi) wide throughout its length, except in the Bolivian flexure where it is about 640 kilometres (398 mi) wide. The Leeward Antilles islands Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, which lie in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Venezuela, were thought to represent the submerged peaks of the extreme northern edge of the Andes range, but ongoing geological studies indicate that such a simplification does not do justice to the complex tectonic boundary between the South American and Caribbean plates. Geology Geology of the Andes The Andes Orogenies Pampean orogeny Famatinian orogeny Gondwanide orogeny Andean orogeny Fold-thrust belts Central Andean | Patagonian Batholiths Peruvian Coastal | North Patagonian | South Patagonian Subducted structures Antarctic Plate | Carnegie Ridge | Chile Rise | Farallon Plate (formerly) | Juan Fernández Ridge | Nazca Plate | Nazca Ridge Faults Gastre | Liquiñe-Ofqui | Magallanes-Fagnano Andean Volcanic Belt Northern Zone| Peruvian flat-slab | Central Zone | Pampean flat-slab | Southern Zone | Patagonian Gap | Austral Zone Paleogeographic terminology Arequipa-Antofalla | Chilenia | Chiloé Block | Cuyania | Iapetus Ocean | Madre de Dios Terrane | Mejillonia | Pampia This box: view talk edit The Andes are a Mesozoic–Tertiary orogenic belt of mountains along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a zone of volcanic activity that encompasses the Pacific rim of the Americas as well as the Asia-Pacific region. The Andes are the result of plate tectonics processes, caused by the subduction of oceanic crust beneath the South American plate. The main cause of the rise of the Andes is the compression of the western rim of the South American Plate due to the subduction of the Nazca Plate and the Antarctic Plate. To the east, the Andes range is bounded by several sedimentary basins, such as Orinoco, Amazon Basin, Madre de Dios and Gran Chaco, that separate the Andes from the ancient cratons in eastern South America. In the south, the Andes share a long boundary with the former Patagonia Terrane. To the west, the Andes end at the Pacific Ocean, although the Peru-Chile trench can be considered their ultimate western limit. From a geographical approach, the Andes are considered to have their western boundaries marked by the appearance of coastal lowlands and a less rugged topography. The Andes Mountains also contain large quantities of iron ore located in many mountains within the range. The Andean orogen has a series of bends or oroclines. The Bolivian Orocline is a seaward concave bending in the coast of South America and the Andes Mountains at about 18° S. At this point the orientation of the Andes turns from Northwest in Peru to South in Chile and Argentina. The Andean segment north and south of the orocline have been rotated 15° to 20° counter clockwise and clockwise respectively. The Bolivian Orocline area overlaps with the area of maximum width of the Altiplano Plateau and according to Isacks (1988) the orocline is related to crustal shortening. The specific point at 18° S where the coastline bends is known as the "Arica Elbow". Further south lies the Maipo Orocline or Maipo Transition Zone located between 30° S and 38°S in the with a break in trend at 33° S.[clarification needed] Near the southern tip of the Andes lies the Patagonian orocline. Orogeny Main article: Andean orogeny The western rim of the South American Plate has been the place of several pre-Andean orogenies since at least the late Proterozoic and early Paleozoic, when several terranes and microcontinents collided and amalgamated with the ancient cratons of eastern South America, by then the South American part of Gondwana. The formation of the modern Andes began with the events of the Triassic when Pangaea began to break up and several rifts developed. It continued through the Jurassic Period. It was during the Cretaceous Period that the Andes began to take their present form, by the uplifting, faulting and folding of sedimentary and metamorphic rocks of the ancient cratons to the east. The rise of the Andes has not been constant and different regions have had different degrees of tectonic stress, uplift, and erosion. Tectonic forces above the subduction zone along the entire west coast of South America where the Nazca Plate and a part of the Antarctic Plate are sliding beneath the South American Plate continue to produce an ongoing orogenic event resulting in minor to major earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to this day. In the extreme south a major transform fault separates Tierra del Fuego from the small Scotia Plate. Across the 1,000 km (620 mi) wide Drake Passage lie the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula south of the Scotia Plate which appear to be a continuation of the Andes chain. The regions immediately east of the Andes experience a series of changes resulting from the Andean orogeny. Parts of the Sunsás Orogen in Amazonian craton disappeared from the surface of earth being overridden by the Andes. The Sierras de Córdoba, where the effects of the ancient Pampean orogeny can be observed, owe their modern uplift and relief to the Andean orogeny in the Tertiary. Further south in southern Patagonia the onset of the Andean orogeny caused the Magallanes Basin to evolve from being an extensional back-arc basin in the Mesozoic to being a compressional foreland basin in the Cenozoic.
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Ukraine is a sovereign state in Eastern Europe, bordered by Russia to the east and northeast, Belarus to the northwest, Poland and Slovakia to the west, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively. Ukraine is currently in territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula which Russia annexed in 2014 but which Ukraine and most of the international community recognise as Ukrainian. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world. It has a population of about 44.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. The territory of modern Ukraine has been inhabited since 32,000 BC. During the Middle Ages, the area was a key centre of East Slavic culture, with the powerful state of Kievan Rus' forming the basis of Ukrainian identity. Following its fragmentation in the 13th century, the territory was contested, ruled and divided by a variety of powers, including Lithuania, Poland, the Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. A Cossack republic emerged and prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries, but its territory was eventually split between Poland and the Russian Empire, and later merged fully into Russia. Two brief periods of independence occurred during the 20th century, once near the end of World War I and another during World War II. However, both occasions would ultimately see Ukraine's territories consolidated into a Soviet republic, a situation that persisted until 1991, when Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in the aftermath of its dissolution at the end of the Cold War. Before its independence, Ukraine was typically referred to in English as "The Ukraine", but sources since then have moved to drop "the" from the name of Ukraine in all uses. Following independence, Ukraine declared itself a neutral state. Nonetheless it formed a limited military partnership with the Russian Federation and other CIS countries and a partnership with NATO in 1994. In the 2000s, the government began leaning towards NATO, and a deeper cooperation with the alliance was set by the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan signed in 2002. It was later agreed that the question of joining NATO should be answered by a national referendum at some point in the future. Former President Viktor Yanukovych considered the current level of co-operation between Ukraine and NATO sufficient, and was against Ukraine joining NATO. In 2013, protests against the government of President Yanukovych broke out in downtown Kiev after the government had decided to suspend the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement and seek closer economic ties with Russia. After this began a several-months-long wave of demonstrations and protests known as the Euromaidan, which later escalated into the 2014 Ukrainian revolution that led to the overthrow of President Yanukovych and his cabinet and the establishment of a new government. These events formed the background for the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014, and the War in Donbass in April 2014, which continue. On 1 January 2016, Ukraine applied the economic part of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the European Union. Ukraine has long been a global breadbasket because of its extensive, fertile farmlands and is one of the world's largest grain exporters. The diversified economy of Ukraine includes a large heavy industry sector, particularly in aerospace and industrial equipment. Ukraine is a unitary republic under a semi-presidential system with separate powers: legislative, executive and judicial branches. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Taking into account reserves and paramilitary personnel, Ukraine maintains the second-largest military in Europe after that of Russia. The country is home to 42.5 million people (excluding Crimea), 77.8 percent of whom are Ukrainians "by ethnicity", followed by a sizeable minority of Russians (17.3 percent) as well as Romanians/Moldovans, Belarusians, Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians and Hungarians. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodoxy, which has strongly influenced Ukrainian architecture, literature and music. Etymology Main article: Name of Ukraine There are different hypotheses as to the etymology of the name Ukraine. According to the older and most widespread hypothesis, it means "borderland", while more recently some linguistic studies claim a different meaning: "homeland" or "region, country". "The Ukraine" was once the usual form in English, but since the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, "the Ukraine" has become much less common in the English-speaking world, and style-guides largely recommend not using the definite article. "The Ukraine" now implies disregard for the country's sovereignty, according to U.S. ambassador William Taylor. History Main article: History of Ukraine Early history Gold Scythian pectoral, or neckpiece, from a royal kurgan in Pokrov, dated to the 4th century BC Neanderthal settlement in Ukraine is seen in the Molodova archaeological sites (43,000–45,000 BC) which include a mammoth bone dwelling. The territory is also considered to be the likely location for the human domestication of the horse. Modern human settlement in Ukraine and its vicinity dates back to 32,000 BC, with evidence of the Gravettian culture in the Crimean Mountains. By 4,500 BC, the Neolithic Cucuteni-Trypillian Culture flourished in a wide area that included parts of modern Ukraine including Trypillia and the entire Dnieper-Dniester region. During the Iron Age, the land was inhabited by Cimmerians, Scythians, and Sarmatians. Between 700 BC and 200 BC it was part of the Scythian Kingdom, or Scythia. Beginning in the sixth century BC, colonies of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and the Byzantine Empire, such as Tyras, Olbia and Chersonesus, were founded on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea. These colonies thrived well into the 6th century AD. The Goths stayed in the area but came under the sway of the Huns from the 370s AD. In the 7th century AD, the territory of eastern Ukraine was the centre of Old Great Bulgaria. At the end of the century, the majority of Bulgar tribes migrated in different directions, and the Khazars took over much of the land.
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England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain (which lies in the North Atlantic) in its centre and south; and includes over 100 smaller islands such as the Isles of Scilly, and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, and since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world. The English language, the Anglican Church, and English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, and the country's parliamentary system of government has been widely adopted by other nations. The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain mostly comprises low hills and plains, especially in central and southern England. However, there are uplands in the north (for example, the mountainous Lake District, and the Pennines) and in the southwest (for example, Dartmoor and the Cotswolds). The capital is London, which is the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union.[nb 1] England's population of over 53 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom, largely concentrated around London, the South East, and conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, and Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century. The Kingdom of England—which after 1535 included Wales—ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland through another Act of Union to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Toponymy See also: Toponymy of England The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles". The Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Angeln peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea. The earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late ninth century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was then used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", and it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was then part of the English kingdom of Northumbria. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years later the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used. The etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars; it has been suggested that it derives from the shape of the Angeln peninsula, an angular shape. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe that was less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England (Sasunn); similarly, the Welsh name for the English language is "Saesneg". An alternative name for England is Albion. The name Albion originally referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus, specifically the 4th century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth. In it are two very large islands called Britannia; these are Albion and Ierne". But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written later in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins. It either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover (the only part of Britain visible from the European mainland) or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, that is attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former presumably served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England, Lloegr, and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend. History Main article: History of England Prehistory and antiquity Main article: Prehistoric Britain Sun shining through row of upright standing stones with other stones horizontally on the top. Stonehenge, a Neolithic monument The earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximately 780,000 years ago. The oldest proto-human bones discovered in England date from 500,000 years ago. Modern humans are known to have inhabited the area during the Upper Paleolithic period, though permanent settlements were only established within the last 6,000 years. After the last ice age only large mammals such as mammoths, bison and woolly rhinoceros remained. Roughly 11,000 years ago, when the ice sheets began to recede, humans repopulated the area; genetic research suggests they came from the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula. The sea level was lower than now and Britain was connected by land bridge to Ireland and Eurasia. As the seas rose, it was separated from Ireland 10,000 years ago and from Eurasia two millennia later. The Beaker culture arrived around 2,500 BC, introducing drinking and food vessels constructed from clay, as well as vessels used as reduction pots to smelt copper ores. It was during this time that major Neolithic monuments such as Stonehenge and Avebury were constructed. By heating together tin and copper, which were in abundance in the area, the Beaker culture people made bronze, and later iron from iron ores. The development of iron smelting allowed the construction of better ploughs, advancing agriculture (for instance, with Celtic fields), as well as the production of more effective weapons. Painting of woman, with outstretched arm, in white dress with red cloak and helmet, with other human figures to her right and below her to the left. Boudica led an uprising against the Roman Empire During the Iron Age, Celtic culture, deriving from the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, arrived from Central Europe. Brythonic was the spoken language during this time. Society was tribal; according to Ptolemy's Geographia there were around 20 tribes in the area. Earlier divisions are unknown because the Britons were not literate. Like other regions on the edge of the Empire, Britain had long enjoyed trading links with the Romans. Julius Caesar of the Roman Republic attempted to invade twice in 55 BC; although largely unsuccessful, he managed to set up a client king from the Trinovantes. The Romans invaded Britain in 43 AD during the reign of Emperor Claudius, subsequently conquering much of Britain, and the area was incorporated into the Roman Empire as Britannia province. The best-known of the native tribes who attempted to resist were the Catuvellauni led by Caratacus. Later, an uprising led by Boudica, Queen of the Iceni, ended with Boudica's suicide following her defeat at the Battle of Watling Street. This era saw a Greco-Roman culture prevail with the introduction of Roman law, Roman architecture, aqueducts, sewers, many agricultural items and silk. In the 3rd century, Emperor Septimius Severus died at Eboracum (now York), where Constantine was subsequently proclaimed emperor. There is debate about when Christianity was first introduced; it was no later than the 4th century, probably much earlier. According to Bede, missionaries were sent from Rome by Eleutherius at the request of the chieftain Lucius of Britain in 180 AD, to settle differences as to Eastern and Western ceremonials, which were disturbing the church. There are traditions linked to Glastonbury claiming an introduction through Joseph of Arimathea, while others claim through Lucius of Britain. By 410, during the Decline of the Roman Empire, Britain was left exposed by the end of Roman rule in Britain and the withdrawal of Roman army units, to defend the frontiers in continental Europe and partake in civil wars. Celtic Christian monastic and missionary movements flourished: Patrick (5th-century Ireland) and in the 6th century Brendan (Clonfert), Comgall (Bangor), David (Wales), Aiden (Lindisfarne) and Columba (Iona). This period of Christianity was influenced by ancient Celtic culture in its sensibilities, polity, practices and theology. Local "congregations" were centred in the monastic community and monastic leaders were more like chieftains, as peers, rather than in the more hierarchical system of the Roman-dominated church.
Apple is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and online services. The company's hardware products include the iPhone smartphone, the iPad tablet computer, the Mac personal computer, the iPod portable media player, the Apple smartwatch, and the Apple TV digital media player. Apple's consumer software includes the macOS and iOS operating systems, the iTunes media player, the Safari web browser, and the iLife and iWork creativity and productivity suites. Its online services include the iTunes Store, the iOS App Store and Mac App Store, Apple Music, and iCloud. Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in April 1976 to develop and sell personal computers. It was incorporated as Apple Computer, Inc. in January 1977, and was renamed as Apple Inc. in January 2007 to reflect its shifted focus toward consumer electronics. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) joined the Dow Jones Industrial Average in March 2015. Apple is the world's largest information technology company by revenue, the world's largest technology company by total assets, and the world's second-largest mobile phone manufacturer. In November 2014, Apple became the first U.S. company to be valued at over US$700 billion in addition to being the largest publicly traded corporation in the world by market capitalization. The company employs 115,000 full-time employees as of July 2015 and maintains 478 retail stores in seventeen countries as of March 2016. It operates the online Apple Store and iTunes Store, the latter of which is the world's largest music retailer. Consumers use more than one billion Apple products worldwide as of March 2016. Apple's worldwide annual revenue totaled $233 billion for the fiscal year ending in September 2015. This revenue accounts for approximately 1.25% of the total United States GDP. The company enjoys a high level of brand loyalty and, according to Interbrand's annual Best Global Brands report, has been the world's most valuable brand for 4 years in a row, with a valuation in 2016 of $178.1 billion. The corporation receives significant criticism regarding the labor practices of its contractors and its environmental and business practices, including the origins of source materials. Apple was established on April 1, 1976, by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne to sell the Apple I personal computer kit. The Apple I kits were computers single-handedly designed and hand-built by Wozniak and first shown to the public at the Homebrew Computer Club. The Apple I was sold as a motherboard (with CPU, RAM, and basic textual-video chips), which was less than what is now considered a complete personal computer. The Apple I went on sale in July 1976 and was market-priced at $666.66 ($2,806 in 2017 dollars, adjusted for inflation). Apple was incorporated January 3, 1977, without Wayne, who sold his share of the company back to Jobs and Wozniak for $800. Multimillionaire Mike Markkula provided essential business expertise and funding of $250,000 during the incorporation of Apple. During the first five years of operations revenues grew exponentially, doubling about every four months. Between September 1977 and September 1980 yearly sales grew from $775,000 to $118m, an average annual growth rate of 533%. The Apple II, also invented by Wozniak, was introduced on April 16, 1977, at the first West Coast Computer Faire. It differed from its major rivals, the TRS-80 and Commodore PET, because of its character cell-based color graphics and open architecture. While early Apple II models used ordinary cassette tapes as storage devices, they were superseded by the introduction of a 5 1/4 inch floppy disk drive and interface called the Disk II. The Apple II was chosen to be the desktop platform for the first "killer app" of the business world: VisiCalc, a spreadsheet program. VisiCalc created a business market for the Apple II and gave home users an additional reason to buy an Apple II: compatibility with the office. Before VisiCalc, Apple had been a distant third place competitor to Commodore and Tandy. By the end of the 1970s, Apple had a staff of computer designers and a production line. The company introduced the Apple III in May 1980 in an attempt to compete with IBM and Microsoft in the business and corporate computing market. Jobs and several Apple employees, including Jef Raskin, visited Xerox PARC in December 1979 to see the Xerox Alto. Xerox granted Apple engineers three days of access to the PARC facilities in return for the option to buy 100,000 shares (800,000 split-adjusted shares) of Apple at the pre-IPO price of $10 a share. Jobs was immediately convinced that all future computers would use a graphical user interface (GUI), and development of a GUI began for the Apple Lisa. In 1982, however, he was pushed from the Lisa team due to infighting. Jobs took over Jef Raskin's low-cost-computer project, the Macintosh. A race broke out between the Lisa team and the Macintosh team over which product would ship first. Lisa won the race in 1983 and became the first personal computer sold to the public with a GUI, but was a commercial failure due to its high price tag and limited software titles. On December 12, 1980, Apple went public at $22 per share, generating more capital than any IPO since Ford Motor Company in 1956 and instantly creating more millionaires (about 300) than any company in history.