Austria officially the Republic of Austria is a landlocked East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine federated states one of which is Vienna, Austria's capital and largest city. It has a population of nearly 9 million people. While German is the country's official language, many Austrians communicate informally in a variety of Bavarian dialects.
Austria initially emerged as a margraviate around 976 and developed into a duchy and archduchy. Austria was involved in World War I under Emperor Franz Joseph. Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy with a directly elected Federal President as head of state and a Chancellor as head of the federal government.
Major urban areas of Austria include Vienna, Graz, Linz, Salzburg and Innsbruck. Austria is consistently ranked in the top 20 richest countries in the world by GDP per capita terms. The country has achieved a high standard of living and in 2018 was ranked 20th in the world for its Human Development Index.
Vienna consistently ranks in the top internationally on quality-of-life indicators. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955 and joined the European Union in 1995. It plays host to the OSCE and OPEC and is a founding member of the OECD and Interpol. Austria also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the euro currency in 1999.