Austria (nation)

Austria covers an area that had Early Paleolithic settlements and an Iron Age culture by 1000 BCE. Illyrians inhabited it, then the Celts invaded ca. 400 BCE, and the Romans invaded ca. 200 BCE. Germanic tribes arrived ca. 180 CE, and Bavarians and Avars settled here from the 6th century. The area was the Eastern Mark of Charlemagne. Hapsburg rule began in 1278 and lasted until 1918, during which time it was part of the large Austro-Hungarian Empire. After World War I Austria was reduced to the German-speaking areas of the former empire. . Nazi Germany annexed it in 1938, and from 1945 to 1955 it was occupied by the Allies. Since then it has become a member of the United Nations and, in 1995, of the European Union. The official language is German. Its position at the middle of Europe makes it a center of commerce, transportation, and culture.