My German ancestors are believed to have come from the northwestern region of Germany possibly around the city of Hamburg. The city of Hamburg was a major port in the early 1900s and was home to shipping to Africa, East Asia, South America and India. After the devastation of World War 1 on the country, Hamburg lost many of its trade routes and its thriving economy slowed with the rest of Germany. This made the former highly popular trade port now a port to the new world. It is believed that my ancestors came from this area around the time that the war had ended. I believe they came to the United States in hopes of freedom and a new way of life. The climate in Hamburg is very mild, in its warmest months of June, July, and August the average temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit, while in the coldest months of December, January, and February the average is 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Hamburg is located in the southernmost part of the Jutland peninsula on the Albe River.
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Although in their pure form hunting and gathering, as well as horticulture and pastoralism are not subsistent strategies of today in the German culture, ideas from each are used in a more modern fashion when it comes to the countries use of agriculture. Though agriculture is not the largest subsistence strategy (approximately 5% of laborers work in agricultural) there is said to be as much as 53% of land in Germany used for agricultural purposes. There is approximately 15% of pastoral land used for cattle, pigs, poultry and some sheep. Much of the dairy land is found in the southern region of Germany, pigs and cattle are often grazing land in the mountain regions. To produce the food, milk, and wool these domesticated animals provide there are many technologies used today which were not originally part of pastoralism. These many types of technologies used in domesticating animals include: a type of fencing or housing to keep the animals closely confined (coops for chickens), machines to help produce and milk the cows, automatic feeding systems are sometimes used to feed the animals, round bailer for hay, food bins or silos to store foods such as grain and hay, artificial insemination kits are used to increase the quality of conception and increase the conception rate, shearing tools are used to get the wool off of the sheep, dogs are also often used to heard the sheep. The division of labor in domesticating these animals has shifted over time from labor intensive and human powered, to more of a technologically driven system that includes machinery and other powered equipment. Human labor is still needed but not in the capacity as it was in previous years, human skill is also a main part of the division of labor. A shearer is needed to clean the sheep of its wool, veterinarians to give shots and help keep the animals healthy, as well as trained individuals who know how to properly run and set the powered equipment.
Horticultural products that are produced in Germany are dependent on the region of the country where they are grown, as the terrains vary. In the northern region and parts of eastern Germany you will find products such as sugar beets and cereals (grain maize and corn-cob mix) which make up approximately 56% of the arable land. 17% of this arable land is inhabited by forage crops, mostly in regions where population is scarce. Industrial crops such as oilseeds, hops, tobacco, herbs, and spice plants are produced on approximately 15% of this arable land. Approximately 12% of the arable land is fallow or produces root crops such as carrots and yams. Vegetables and fruits such as grapes used to make wine compile around 1% of the arable land and are found in the hills of the many coastal river cities that are very common in Germany; most of which lie on the Rhine and the Mecca rivers. There are many agricultural technologies used to get the most out of these crops with as little help from the human hand as possible. Large machines such as combines, tractors, crop planters and plows allow for the use of a few human hands and provide the ability to harvest many acres.Â Irrigation systems are used to help the crops grow and are often set up in fields like overhanging sprinkler systems, fertilizer is used to keep the soil rich and is modernly used in liquid form and is generally held in a tank that is attached to either a tractor or crop planter, seeders which are used to plant the crops, there is also other tillage and harvesting equipment available for use. The division of labor is separated by physical laborers who rely on human power to do things such as picking rocks and setting up irrigation systems to trained workers who operate the heavy machinery. Most of the farms where this takes place are family owned and run on less than 150 acres. More than 75% of the land used to domesticate crops and animals in Germany is found in the western region, this land allows for the country to supply themselves with almost 80% of their annual food requirements.
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Germany is one of Europe's top industrial powers and is also Europe's leading exporter of vehicles, chemicals and machinery. Its strongest industrial areas are vehicles, chemicals, machinery, machine tools, steel, iron, coal, and a certain beverage - beer. Top companies in the German car industry include BMW, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes, and Volkswagen. These companies help Germany stay near the top of the world's automotive industry. The manufacturing of these cars is done in assembly and production factories where the use of machinery, robotics, as well as human skill and labor are the main divisions of technology and the assembly line is the most common form of production. The division of labor in the automotive industry includes highly educated and skilled workers who work in the assembly plants as the engineers and managers. There is also wage laborers, most of which work directly on the line producing parts that help put your car together from its engine components, to axles, to body molding. Other wage laborers include those who adhere windshields, install windows, tires and other pieces that when put together make up your German automobile.
The electronic revolution is very prevalent in Germany and much like the United States and the rest of the world is leaning towards the use of information technology to gather information of many different subjects. These information technologies include things such as banking where you can set up direct deposit with your employer as well as keep track of your personal financial account information and tourism which allows you to make travel plans without the use of an agent. Other information technologies include transportation, education, gas pumps, and the largest of all communication by way of the cellular phone. Cell phones allow people to communicate from any location at any time of the day, they are also now often used as mobile computers which only increases their convenience. For these mobile communication devices to work properly technologies include computer hardware and software to manage the different cell phone accounts, as well as towers and satellites to provide a signal and frequency for these phones to be efficiently used. The division of labor includes IT people, who create and maintain web sites and computer programming, physical laborers who are used to set up the towers and do other necessary field work, as well as managers who run the day to day retail operations and sales people who sell the phones and provide information to accepting people a companies.
The German political system is a centralized system which means people yield their sovereignty to this centralized government by following rules and laws that have been laid out for the citizens to follow. Germanys Basic Law or Constitution divides the power of government into three branches. They have a bicameral parliamentary legislature which includes the federal council also known as the Bundesrat, which holds 69 members, all of which are nominated by the state and the Bundestag (federal assembly) which has over 600 members who are elected by popular vote to a four year term. The executive branch is made up of the President (chief of state) and Chancellor (head of government). The president is elected to a five year term by the federal assembly and an equal number of delegates from each state parliament, while the Chancellor is elected to a four year term by the federal assembly. The Federal Constitutional Court is elected equally by both the Bundestag and Bundesrat and make up their judicial branch of government. Germany uses negative reciprocity when it comes to their informal economic and personal way of exchanging goods and services. This means that the person who is providing the good or service is profiting from the transaction more so than the receiver or buyer. Economic exchange comes in the form of market exchange where there is a surplus of goods that are sold for a profit and is based on the levels of supply and demand.
Germany is formally based on the economic system of capitalism, which promotes economic growth. Capitalism is when goods, services, labor, and resources are sold off for a profit at market where benefits go to both the purchaser and supplier, even though the supplier is profiting the most. The breakdown of economic sectors in Germany include 72% tertiary or service, approximately 27% secondary or manufacturing , while only approximately 1% is primary or the extraction of raw materials. The GDP per capita fell from $35,900 in 2008 to $34,200 in 2009, while the unemployment rate rose from 7.8& in 2008 to 8.2% in 2009, showing that the economy was and still is feeling the ill effects of the global economic situation.
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There are many different religions practiced freely in Germany under the basic law and they all practice monotheism which concludes they all believe in one supreme higher being. The number one religion is Christianity with approximately 67 percent who are mainly located in southern and eastern Germany. The number two religion is Islam at around 4 percent, most of whom are immigrants from Turkey. The rest of the religious sector is made up of mostly Buddhism and Judaism. There is also a strong population of Germans who believe there is no god and practice Atheism. Though most of the people in Germany do not attend church on a regular basis most still recognize religious ceremonies such as holidays, baptisms, marriages, and funerals. Some religious holidays include Good Friday, Easter Monday, Fronleichnam (60 days after Easter), and Weihnachten (German name for Christmas). Though religion is practiced freely there are laws in place that tax members of their respective churches to help fund any and all church related expenses. This tax can either be collected by the community the church is in or the state. If you are not part of a church that collects these taxes then you simply do not have to pay the church tax.
Marriage in Germany is typical to that of the United States as people are free to choose who they marry which is known as love match, while the type of marriage practiced is a monogamist one, meaning there is only one spouse. Their post-marital residence is neolocal, this is when the newlyweds get their own home outside of the bride or grooms residence. Descent in Germany is unilineal, meaning that kinship can be traced through either the mother's or father's line. Germans refer to kin basically the same way that we do in the United States though distant relatives such as second cousins or great uncles have no specific distinction. Kinship is important to the German people and is shown most during holidays, family gatherings, and other important parts in a person's life. The middle class is the most prevalent social class at approximately 54 percent of the population, though there has been much noted to the fact that this class is and has been getting smaller over the past years. Ethnic groups in Germany consist mainly of Germans at around 92 percent, while 2.4 percent are of Turkish descent, while the other category consists mainly of Greek, Italian, Russian, Polish, and Spanish at approximately 6 percent. Though women in Germany do have equal rights they are still strongly leaned upon for childrearing practices as well as day to day household duties.
Watching the video "Romantic Germany" as well as interviewing someone who actually lived in Germany really helped me to better understand the culture in which they live. Most large cities as well as tourist destinations are located on one of the major waterways that flow through this country. Outside, in the hills of these cities is where you will find many family owned vineyards as well as smaller pastoralist farms that house animals such as cattle and sheep. Lake Constance, the biggest lake in Germany is one of the most popular recreational and tourist destinations in Europe. It is located on the Rhine in the northern region of the Alps and is surrounded by neighboring countries Switzerland and Austria, there are also many densely populated cities along the coast of this lake and you will most likely find livestock grazing in the hills of these cities.
One of the country's most famous and recognizable festivals is Oktoberfest the world's largest fair held every year in Munich which consists of some 6 million participants in its 16 - 18 day entirety. The festival is known for its great food, music, carnival rides, and beer drinking. The main sport in Germany is soccer and you will always have an opportunity to participate as the country is home to over 1,000 club teams. Other popular sports in Germany include bobsleighing, luge, and skeleton partly because they are the only country in the world to have four tracks for each sport. Other popular recreational activities include biking and hiking through the countryside. Germany's most famous professional athletes include Boris Becker and Steffi Graf, both of which are former grand slam winning tennis players along with former formula one world champion Michael Schumacher . Bernard Langer is a one-time masters golf champion and former world number one golfer. Currently the most popular German athlete performing in an American sports league is former MVP and power forward for the Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki.