Angela Merkel was born on July 17, 1954, in Hamburg, West Germany. She is the oldest of Horst, a Lutheran pastor, and Herlind Kasner's three children. Merkel was grew up in the small town of Templin in East Germany. Because she lived in the German Democratic Republic, she was part of the socialist-led Free German Youth movement. At a young age, she showed her leadership skills when she became a district board representative and secretary of Agitprop, the agitation and propaganda campaign of the youth movement. Merkel later studied physics from 1973 to 1978 at the University of Leipzig and earned her doctorate in 1978.
First Female Chancellor
Angela Merkel joined the Christian Democratic Union political party in 1990. Soon after, she was appointed to Helmut Kohl's cabinet as minister for women and youth. She was chosen party leader in 2000, but lost the CDU candidacy for chancellor in 2002. She was declared Germany's first female chancellor in the 2005 election. Merkel is also the first women to lead Germany since it became a modern nation-state in 1871.