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France

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the country. For other uses, see France (disambiguation).
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French Republic
République française
FlagNational Emblem (unofficial)
Motto: 
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
(Liberty, Equality, Fraternity)
Anthem: "La Marseillaise"
La Marseillaise.ogg

Location of  Metropolitan France  (dark green)– in Europe  (green & dark grey)– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Metropolitan France  (dark green)

– in Europe  (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]

Territory of the French Republic in the world1

Territory of the French Republic in the world1

Capital
(and largest city)
Paris
48°51.4′N 2°21.05′E
Official language(s)French[a]
DemonymFrench
GovernmentUnitary semi-presidentialconstitutional republic
 - PresidentFrançois Hollande
 - Prime MinisterJean-Marc Ayrault
LegislatureParliament
 - Upper houseSenate
 - Lower houseNational Assembly
Formation
 - Francia486 (Unification by Clovis
 - West Francia843 (Treaty of Verdun
 - French First Republic1792 (National Convention
 - Current constitution4 October 1958 (5th Republic
Area
 - Total[b]674,843 km2 (41st)
260,558 sq mi 
 - Metropolitan France
 IGN[c]551,695 km2 (47th)
213,010 sq mi
 Cadastre[d]543,965 km2 (47th)
210,026  sq mi
Population
 (2012 estimate)
 - Total[b]65,350,000[2] (20th)
 - Metropolitan France63,460,000[1] (22nd)
 - Density[e]116/km2 (89th)
301/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2012 estimate
 - Total$2.257 trillion[3] (9th)
 - Per capita$35,613[3] (24th)
GDP (nominal)2012 estimate
 - Total$2.712 trillion[3] (5th)
 - Per capita$42,793[3] (20th)
Gini (2008)28.9[4] 
HDI (2011)increase 0.884[5] (very high) (20th)
CurrencyEuro,[f] CFP franc[g]
  (EUR,    XPF)
Time zoneCET[h] (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST)CEST[i] (UTC+2)
Drives on theright
ISO 3166 codeFR
Internet TLD.fr[j]
Calling code33[k]
1Excluding Adélie Land in Antarctica, where sovereignty is suspended.

France (English Listeni/ˈfræns/ franss or /ˈfrɑːns/ frahnssFrench: [fʁɑ̃s] ( listen)), officially the French Republic(FrenchRépublique française [ʁepyblik fʁɑ̃sɛz]), is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islandsMetropolitan France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to theEnglish Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is often referred to asl'Hexagone ("The Hexagon") because of the geometric shape of its territory. It is the largest country in Western Europe and the third-largest in Europe as a whole, and it possesses the second-largest exclusive economic zone in the world, covering 11,035,000 km2 (4,260,000 sq mi), just behind that of the United States (11,351,000 km2 / 4,383,000 sq mi).

Over the past 500 years,[6] France has been a major power with strong culturaleconomicmilitary and politicalinfluence in Europe and around the world. During the 17th and 18th centuries, France colonised great parts ofNorth America and Southeast Asia; during the 19th and early 20th centuries, France built the second largest colonial empire of the time, including large portions of NorthWest and Central Africa, Southeast Asia, and many Caribbean and Pacific Islands.

France has its main ideals expressed in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. The French Republic is defined as indivisible, secular, democratic and social by its constitution.[7] France is one of the world's most developed countries,[8] it possesses the world's fifth largest economy measured by GDP, theninth-largest economy measured by purchasing power parity and is Europe's second largest economy bynominal GDP.[9] France is the wealthiest nation in Europe – and the fourth wealthiest in the world – in aggregate household wealth.[10] France enjoys a high standard of living as well as a high public education level, and has also one of the world's longest life expectancies.[11] France has been listed as the world's "best overall health care" provider by the World Health Organization.[12] It is the most visited country in the world, receiving 82 million foreign tourists annually.[13]

France has the world's fourth largest nominal military budget,[14] the third largest military in NATO and EU's largest army. France also possesses the third largest nuclear weapons stockpile in the world[15] – with around 300 active warheads as of 25 May 2010 – and the world's second largest diplomatic corps (second only to that of the United States).[16] France is a founding member of the United Nations, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and a member of the Francophonie, the G8G20, NATO, OECDWTO, and the Latin Union. It is also a founding and leading member state of the European Union and the largest EU state by area.[17] In 2011, France was listed 20th on the Human Development Index and 24th on theCorruption Perceptions Index (2010).

Etymology

Main article: Name of France

The name "France" comes from the Latin Francia, which means "country of the Franks".[18] There are various theories as to the origin of the name of the Franks. One is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic wordfrankon which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca.[19]Another proposed etymology is that in an ancient Germanic language, Frank means free as opposed to slave.

History

Main article: History of France

Prehistory and antiquity

Main articles: Prehistory of FranceGaul, and Roman Gaul
One of the paintings of Lascaux which represents a horse (Dordogne, approximately 18,000 BC).

The oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from approximately 1,800,000 years ago.[20] Men were then confronted by a hard and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras which modified their framework of life and led them to a nomadic life of hunters-gatherers.[20] France counts a large number of decorated caves from the upper Paleolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved: Lascaux[20] (Dordogne, approximately 18,000 BC).

At the end of the Last glacial period (10,000 BC), the climate softened[20] and from approximately 7,000 BC, this part of Western Europe entered the Neolithic era and its inhabitants became sedentary. After a strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium, initially with the work of gold, copper and bronze, and later with iron.[21] France counts numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptionally dense Carnac stones site (Morbihan, approximately 3,300 BC).

In 600 BC, Ionian Greeks, originating from Phocaea, founded the colony of Massalia (present-day Marseille), on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, making it the oldest city of France.[22][23] At the same time, some Gallic Celtic tribes penetrated some parts of the current territory of France, but this occupation spread in the rest of France only between the 5th and 3rd century BC.[24]

Gallic tribes before the Roman conquest(58 BC to 51 BC). Note that Southern Gaulwas already under Roman control (yellow) in 59 BC.
The Maison Carrée was a temple of theGallo-Roman city of Nemausus (present-day Nîmes) and is one of the best preserved vestiges of the Roman Empire.

The concept of Gaul emerged at that time; it corresponds to the territories of Celtic settlement ranging between theRhine, the Atlantic Ocean, the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea. The borders of modern France are approximately the same as those of ancient Gaul, which was inhabited by Celtic Gauls. Gaul was then a prosperous country, of which the southernmost part was heavily subject to Greek and Roman influences. However, around 390 BC, the Gallic chieftain Brennus and his troops made their way to Italy through the Alps, defeated the Romans in theBattle of the Allia, and besieged and ransomed Rome.

The Gallic invasion left Rome weakened and encouraged several subdued Italian tribes to rebel. One by one, over the course of the next 50 years, these tribes were defeated and brought back under Roman dominion. The Gauls continued to harass the region until 345 BC, when they entered into a formal peace treaty with Rome. But the Romans and the Gauls would maintain an adversarial relationship for the next several centuries and the Gauls would remain a threat in Italia.

Around 125 BC, the south of Gaul was conquered by the Romans, who called this region Provincia Romana ("Roman Province"), which over time evolved into the name Provence in French.[25] Brennus' siege of Rome was still remembered by Romans, when Julius Caesar conquered the remainder of Gaul and overcame a revolt carried out by the Gallic chieftain Vercingetorix in 52 BC.[26]

Gaul was divided by Augustus into Roman provinces, the principal ones being Gallia Narbonensis in the south, Gallia Aquitania in the south-west, Gallia Lugdunensis in the center and Gallia Belgica in the north.[27] Many cities were founded during the Gallo-Roman period, including Lugdunum (present-day Lyon), which is considered to be the capital of the Gauls.[27] These cities were built in the traditional Roman style, with a forum, a theatre, a circus, anamphitheatre and thermal baths. The Gauls mixed with Roman settlers and eventually adopted Roman speech (Latin, from which the French language evolved) and Roman culture. The Roman polytheism merged with the Gallic paganisminto the same syncretism.

Around the 3rd century AD, Roman Gaul underwent a serious crisis with its "limes" (fortified borders protecting the Empire) crossed on several occasions by Barbarians.[28] The weakness of the central imperial power, at this time, led Gallo-Roman leaders to proclaim the independence of the short-lived Gallic Empire,[28] which ended with the Battle of Châlons in 274, which saw Gaul reincorporated in the Roman Empire.

Nevertheless, the situation improved in the first half of the 4th century, which was a period of revival and prosperity for Roman Gaul.[29] In 312, the emperor Constantin I converted to Christianity. Christians, persecuted until then, multiplied across the entire Roman Empire.[30] But, from the second half of the 4th century, the Barbarian Invasions started again,[31] and Germanic tribes, such as the VandalsSuebi and Alans crossed the Rhine and settled in Gaul, Spain and other parts of the collapsing Roman Empire.[32]

At the end of the Antiquity period, ancient Gaul was divided into several Germanic kingdoms (Early Francia (North), Alamannia (North-East), Burgundia (East),Septimania (South), Visigothic Aquitania (South East)) and a remaining Gallo-Roman territory, known as the Kingdom of Syagrius (West). Simultaneously, Celtic Britons, fleeing the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britannia, settled the western part of Armorica (far West of Gaul). As a result, the Armorican peninsula was renamedBrittanyCeltic culture was revived and independent petty kingdoms arose in this region.

Etymology

Main article: Name of France

The name "France" comes from the Latin Francia, which means "country of the Franks".[18] There are various theories as to the origin of the name of the Franks. One is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic wordfrankon which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca.[19]Another proposed etymology is that in an ancient Germanic language, Frank means free as opposed to slave.

History

Main article: History of France

Prehistory and antiquity

Main articles: Prehistory of FranceGaul, and Roman Gaul
One of the paintings of Lascaux which represents a horse (Dordogne, approximately 18,000 BC).

The oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from approximately 1,800,000 years ago.[20] Men were then confronted by a hard and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras which modified their framework of life and led them to a nomadic life of hunters-gatherers.[20] France counts a large number of decorated caves from the upper Paleolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved: Lascaux[20] (Dordogne, approximately 18,000 BC).

At the end of the Last glacial period (10,000 BC), the climate softened[20] and from approximately 7,000 BC, this part of Western Europe entered the Neolithic era and its inhabitants became sedentary. After a strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium, initially with the work of gold, copper and bronze, and later with iron.[21] France counts numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptionally dense Carnac stones site (Morbihan, approximately 3,300 BC).

In 600 BC, Ionian Greeks, originating from Phocaea, founded the colony of Massalia (present-day Marseille), on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, making it the oldest city of France.[22][23] At the same time, some Gallic Celtic tribes penetrated some parts of the current territory of France, but this occupation spread in the rest of France only between the 5th and 3rd century BC.[24]

Gallic tribes before the Roman conquest(58 BC to 51 BC). Note that Southern Gaulwas already under Roman control (yellow) in 59 BC.
The Maison Carrée was a temple of theGallo-Roman city of Nemausus (present-day Nîmes) and is one of the best preserved vestiges of the Roman Empire.

The concept of Gaul emerged at that time; it corresponds to the territories of Celtic settlement ranging between theRhine, the Atlantic Ocean, the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea. The borders of modern France are approximately the same as those of ancient Gaul, which was inhabited by Celtic Gauls. Gaul was then a prosperous country, of which the southernmost part was heavily subject to Greek and Roman influences. However, around 390 BC, the Gallic chieftain Brennus and his troops made their way to Italy through the Alps, defeated the Romans in theBattle of the Allia, and besieged and ransomed Rome.

The Gallic invasion left Rome weakened and encouraged several subdued Italian tribes to rebel. One by one, over the course of the next 50 years, these tribes were defeated and brought back under Roman dominion. The Gauls continued to harass the region until 345 BC, when they entered into a formal peace treaty with Rome. But the Romans and the Gauls would maintain an adversarial relationship for the next several centuries and the Gauls would remain a threat in Italia.

Around 125 BC, the south of Gaul was conquered by the Romans, who called this region Provincia Romana ("Roman Province"), which over time evolved into the name Provence in French.[25] Brennus' siege of Rome was still remembered by Romans, when Julius Caesar conquered the remainder of Gaul and overcame a revolt carried out by the Gallic chieftain Vercingetorix in 52 BC.[26]

Gaul was divided by Augustus into Roman provinces, the principal ones being Gallia Narbonensis in the south, Gallia Aquitania in the south-west, Gallia Lugdunensis in the center and Gallia Belgica in the north.[27] Many cities were founded during the Gallo-Roman period, including Lugdunum (present-day Lyon), which is considered to be the capital of the Gauls.[27] These cities were built in the traditional Roman style, with a forum, a theatre, a circus, anamphitheatre and thermal baths. The Gauls mixed with Roman settlers and eventually adopted Roman speech (Latin, from which the French language evolved) and Roman culture. The Roman polytheism merged with the Gallic paganisminto the same syncretism.

Around the 3rd century AD, Roman Gaul underwent a serious crisis with its "limes" (fortified borders protecting the Empire) crossed on several occasions by Barbarians.[28] The weakness of the central imperial power, at this time, led Gallo-Roman leaders to proclaim the independence of the short-lived Gallic Empire,[28] which ended with the Battle of Châlons in 274, which saw Gaul reincorporated in the Roman Empire.

Nevertheless, the situation improved in the first half of the 4th century, which was a period of revival and prosperity for Roman Gaul.[29] In 312, the emperor Constantin I converted to Christianity. Christians, persecuted until then, multiplied across the entire Roman Empire.[30] But, from the second half of the 4th century, the Barbarian Invasions started again,[31] and Germanic tribes, such as the VandalsSuebi and Alans crossed the Rhine and settled in Gaul, Spain and other parts of the collapsing Roman Empire.[32]

At the end of the Antiquity period, ancient Gaul was divided into several Germanic kingdoms (Early Francia (North), Alamannia (North-East), Bur,, , , , gundia (East),Septimania (South), Visigothic Aquitania (South East)) and a remaining Gallo-Roman territory, known as the Kingdom of Syagrius (West). Simultaneously, Celtic Britons, fleeing the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britannia, settled the western part of Armorica (far West of Gaul). As a result, the Armorican peninsula was renamedBrittanyCeltic culture was revived and independent petty kingdoms arose in this region.

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