Germans (Eka. Germans; German: Deutsche) are a Germanic ethnic group living predominantly in Central Europe and sharing a common Germanic origin, culture and history. German is the common mother tongue of the vast majority of Germans.
About 100 million people speak German as their mother tongue. There are about 80 million more people of German descent, mostly in the United States, Brazil (mostly in the southern part of the country), Argentina, Canada, South Africa, the former Soviet Union (mostly in Russia and Kazakhstan) and France. Thus, the total number of Germans is between 100 and 150 million, depending on the applied criteria (native German speakers, ethnic Germans with one origin, partly German origin, etc.). Since the outbreak of the Protestant Reformation in the Holy Roman Empire, German society has been characterized by Catholic-Protestant divisions. and may or may not self-identify as ethnic Germans.
The Slovene exonym němec, němci originates from the Old Slavic word němьcь (plural němьci; from the adjective němъ - “silent”, and the suffix -ьць). It literally means "dumb", but it got the meaning "those who don't talk like us" from. "Foreigners".
According to another theory, the name Germans may come from the Rhine basin, from the Germanic Nemeti tribe mentioned by Caesar and Tacitus. This etymology is doubtful for phonological (Nemeti could not become Slavic German) and geographical (Nemeti inhabited an area far from any Slavic-speaking area) reasons.
The German term Deutschland, originally diutisciu land ("German lands"), is derived from the name Deutsch (see Dutsch), which originates from the Old High German word diutisc, meaning "folk" or belonging to the people (diot or diota). The term was originally used to distinguish the language of the common people from Latin and its Romance successors.
The Germans belong to the Germanic group of peoples and were formed as an ethnic group in the Middle Ages. From the multiethnic Holy Roman Empire, later called the Holy Roman Empire of the German people, Westphalia