Angela Dorothea Kasner was born on July 17, 1954, in the port city of Hamburg.
She was born to a Lutheran clergyman and a school teacher.
Married in 1977, Merkel kept the name of her first husband after her divorce five years later.
She excelled in maths and Russian, which helped her maintain the dialogue with other veteran leaders.
Merkel, 67, smashed the glass ceiling and became the first female Chancellor of Germany in 2005.
The EU’s and G7’s most senior leader, Merkel started as a contemporary of George W Bush and Tony Blair.
She was called ‘the leader of the free world’ as authoritarian populists were on the march.
Known as the ‘climate chancellor’ for pushing renewables, also faced a mass movement of young activists.
During the refugee crisis in Syria, Merkel kept doors open for the asylum seekers.
In November 2018, she stepped down as leader of the Christian Democratic Union.
Merkel later announced that she wouldn’t seek another term as chancellor in 2021.
At the end of her 16 years in office, she declared herself a feminist and spoke frequently on women’s rights.
A shrewd politician, Merkel is often referred to as ‘Mutti’ which means Mommy.
The last days of her tenure have been marred by the dramatic return to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan.