The people of Etruria - Etruscans - created a complex culture centered around city-states which rose up during the 9th century BCE. By about 650 BCE they were the dominant culture in Italy and their influence was spread throughout the entire peninsula.
Rome, which was developing around this time, was strongly influenced by the Etruscans, with a series of Etruscan kings ruling Rome until 509 BCE when the last Etruscan king Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was removed from power and the Roman Republic was established. Culturally the Etruscans are credited with influencing Rome's architecture and ritual practice; it was under the Etruscan kings that important structures such as the Capitolium, Cloaca Maxima and Via Sacra were built.
The Etruscan civilization was responsible for much of the Greek culture imported into early Republican Rome, including the twelve Olympian gods, the growing of olives and grapes, the Latin alphabet (adapted from the Greek alphabet), and architecture like the arch, sewerage and drainage systems.
Note that the classical name Etruria was revived in the early 19th century, and applied to the Kingdom of Etruria, an ephemeral creation of Napoleon I of France in Tuscany which existed from 1801 to 1807.
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