Angela Merkel is the first woman to hold the office of Chancellor of Germany. She is also the first female leader of her political party, the Christian Democratic Union. In May 2015 Forbes named Angela Merkel the most powerful woman in the world.
Angela Merkel was born Angela Dorothea Kasner in Hamburg on July 17th 1954, but grew up in the former East Germany. Her family moved there in 1954 shortly after she was born. Her father, who was a Lutheran minister had been appointed as pastor in the town of Quitzow near Perleberg about 80km north of Berlin in what was then East Germany.
At school Angela Merkel was a prize winning student. She excelled at languages, became fluent in Russian and won trip to Moscow. Following second level education she studied Physics at the University of Leipzig from 1973 to 1978. After graduation she studied and worked at the Academy of Sciences in Berlin-Adlershof. She was awarded a doctorate in 1990 for her thesis on quantum chemistry.
Following the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification Angela Merkel was elected to the Bundestag for the constituency of Stralsund – Nordvorpommern – Rügen in north eastern Germany. She has been re-elected to serve that constituency at every election since 1990. During the following years she was appointed to various ministries by the then Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Helmut Kohl was defeated in the general election of 1998 and Angela Merkel was appointed secretary general of the CDU (Christian Democratic Union of Germany). In 2000 she became leader of the CDU when she defeated Wolfgang Schäuble to become the first female leader of a political party in Germany.
Following the 2005 general election Angela Merkel became the first female Chancellor of Germany. She was re-elected Chancellor in 2009 and again in 2013. During her time as Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel has had a consistently high rating in opinion polls. She is the recipient of numerous awards both in Germany and internationally.
Angela Merkel became the first female leader of a German political party in the year 2000 On This Day.