We are only scratching at the surface of clues of our early wanderings before we started writing. Even what we wrote was just a story based on what we knew at the time. The story of the Italian Nation only started with it's unification in 1861. In classical times it had been inhabited by Phoenicians, Greeks, Etruscans, Celts and others. When Western Rome fell to the Germanic tribes of the North, various kingdoms and city states rose up dominating the trade routes with Asia and the near East. The exchange of ideas leading the area to be a centre of the Renaissance, similar to the role Timbuktu played in the golden age of Mali. Bloody wars between city states and alternate trade routes diminished the shine. Fragmented, it fell to conquest and domination by other European powers till the rise of Italian Nationalism in the C19th. In 1957, Italy was one of the six founding members of the European Economic Community which became the European Union in 1993.