Ancient German History for Kids
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Ancient German History

Gothic fibula
A Gothic fibula, or brooch

The Germans, and other people who lived in what is now Germany and Eastern Europe, were Indo-Europeans, originally from the area between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Sometime between 3000 BC and 2000 BC, they had migrated gradually, in many different waves, out of that area and all across Europe.
Some ended up north of Europe, in Scandinavia (modern Norway, Sweden and Denmark). These are the ancestors of modern Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes. Some went to Poland, where they developed into the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths.
Some ended up in Germany, where they are the ancestors of the modern Germans, but also of the Franks, Vandals, and Sueves.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Visigoths moved into Spain, and the Ostrogoths moved into Italy. The Franks moved into France, but soon conquered Germany as well, so that by 800 AD Charlemagne was able to establish a German Holy Roman Empire that extended over France, Germany, and much of central Italy. After Charlemagne died, his sons split his empire into three parts so they could each have some, but it was the branch of the family who got Germany who continued to call themselves the Holy Roman Emperors.

The Holy Roman Emperors continued to rule Germany, and to some extent Italy, all through the Middle Ages. At first they were very powerful, but later they lost power to the smaller German and Italian lords in each region.

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