|World Europe France History of France|
History of France
About the 6th century BC the lands now known as France were colonized by
the Gauls.The Romans finally conquered Gaul in 58 BC and found a
territory reaching from the Mediterranean to the North Sea, from the
Pyrenees and the Atlantic to the Rhine and the Alps. The population of
possibly 10 million possessed neither native roots nor unified rule. .Several
centuries earlier, the Celts had surged from their Danube region
homeland into the valleys of the Rhine and Rhone and as far as today's
Belgium, England, and Ireland. The newcomers mingled with the native
Ligurians of the Alps, Iberians of the Pyrenees, and numerous folk
elsewhere who were often of Phoenician, Greek, or Roman stock. During
the 8th cent. A.D. the Franks, who had been converted to Christianity,
became their great king, Charlemagne. Charlemagne waged innumerable wars
and brought most of western Europe into his Empire, he gained all Europe
from the Pyrenees to the Vistula river. His rule encompassed more than
Gaul or the Frankish kingdom, but it left a strong imprint upon France
nevertheless. It also foreshadowed the feudal system, which was already
being born. After his death in 8i¢, it was broken up. Repeated
invasions by the North men compelled France to give them Normandy. Through the growth of feudalisms a noble, Hugh Capet, was able to
seize the throne in 987 from the Frankish kings.
The late 19th cent. was a time of comparative peace and of colonial expansion, ending with the First World War and Germany's invasion of France. Between 1918 and 1939 France's progress was hampered by political and financial instability. During the Second World War, the Germans in 194o again invaded France, and they occupied the country until the end of ig¢¢, in spite of the Free French movement, organized by Charles de Gaulle, who later became President.
During the 50s, political insecurity and the Algerians' fight for independence drained France's energy. She is only now recovering from the consequences of three invasions by the Germans and twenty-two years of Plan.
Under the present constitution, the President is both Head of State and Chief Executive since 1962 he has been elected by popular vote. He and his Ministers are responsible to Parliament.
|2007 travel guides|