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This is a tricky question because Germany's history is very complicated.

What counts as "united"? Most of Germany was conquered by Charlemagne in the late 700s. His empire was split up after he died, but the Germany part of it eventually became the nucleus of the "Holy Roman Empire", which would last from the mid-900s until 1805.

But the Holy Roman Empire (HRE) was not a monolithic entity. Some emperors were very powerful and HRE under their rule was virtually united- but most emperors were not. Various subsections of the empire were practically their own countries, depending on how powerful the local ruler was. By the 1600s, the emperor had almost no power and the empire was basically 400 tiny countries. Larger ones like Prussia, Austria, Bavaria, and Saxony did pretty much anything they wanted.

The HRE officially came to an end in 1805 when Napoleon defeated it; the last emperor, who also happened to rule Austria, simply changed Austria to the Austrian Empire and made himself its first emperor. Napoleon created a "Confederation of the Rhine" which controlled most of Germany- one could say it was largely "united". After Napoleon was defeated, the Confederation was broken up, and Germany was reorganized into a smaller group of countries. The larger countries I mentioned earlier were remade into kingdoms, and these kings tended to dominate the smaller countries.

Eventually the Kingdom of Prussia maneuvered into position to become the ruling state of all of Germany. After beating France in a short war in 1870-71, the King of Prussia became the Emperor of Germany, and Germany was officially, fully united for the first time, assuming none of the above counts. Germany has been a united country ever since, except for from 1949 to 1990, when a large chunk was split off and became the Soviet-style Dictatorship of East Germany.

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Q: How many times was Germany united in its history?
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