The oldest traces of human life homo in what is now France date from approximately 1. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium, initially working gold, copper and bronze, and later iron. The concept of Gaul emerged at that time; it corresponds to the territories of Celtic settlement ranging between the Rhinethe Atlantic Oceanthe Pyrenees and the Mediterranean. The borders of modern France are roughly the same as those of ancient Gaul, which was inhabited by Celtic Gauls.
French territorial evolution from to The French nobility played a prominent role in most Crusades in order to restore Christian access to the Holy Land. French knights made up the bulk of the steady flow of reinforcements throughout the two-hundred-year span of the Crusades, in such a fashion that the Arabs uniformly referred to the crusaders as Franj caring little whether they really came from France.
The latter, in particular, held numerous properties throughout France and by the 13th century were the principal bankers for the French crown, until Philip IV annihilated the order in The Albigensian Crusade was launched in to eliminate the heretical Cathars in the southwestern area of modern-day France.
In the end, the Cathars were exterminated and the autonomous County of Toulouse was annexed into the crown lands of France. Meanwhile, the royal authority became more and more assertive, centred on a hierarchically conceived society distinguishing nobilityclergy, and commoners.
Charles IV the Fair Tourism and the disneyland resort paris tourism essay without an heir in During the reign of Philip of Valoisthe French monarchy reached the height of its medieval power. With charismatic leaders, such as Joan of Arc and La Hirestrong French counterattacks won back English continental territories.
Like the rest of Europe, France was struck by the Black Death; half of the 17 million population of France died. French explorers, such as Jacques Cartier or Samuel de Champlainclaimed lands in the Americas for France, paving the way for the expansion of the First French colonial empire.
The rise of Protestantism in Europe led France to a civil war known as the French Wars of Religionwhere, in the most notorious incident, thousands of Huguenots were murdered in the St.
Under Louis XIIIthe energetic Cardinal Richelieu promoted the centralisation of the state and reinforced the royal power by disarming domestic power holders in the s. He systematically destroyed castles of defiant lords and denounced the use of private violence duelingcarrying weapons, and maintaining private army.
By the end of s, Richelieu established "the royal monopoly of force" as the doctrine.
This rebellion was driven by the great feudal lords and sovereign courts as a reaction to the rise of royal absolute power in France.
The monarchy reached its peak during the 17th century and the reign of Louis XIV. Remembered for his numerous wars, he made France the leading European power.
France became the most populous country in Europe and had tremendous influence over European politics, economy, and culture. French became the most-used language in diplomacy, science, literature and international affairs, and remained so until the 20th century. Its European territory kept growing, however, with notable acquisitions such as Lorraine and Corsica Much of the Enlightenment occurred in French intellectual circles, and major scientific breakthroughs and inventions, such as the discovery of oxygen and the first hot air balloon carrying passengerswere achieved by French scientists.
The Enlightenment philosophy, in which reason is advocated as the primary source for legitimacy and authorityundermined the power of and support for the monarchy and helped pave the way for the French Revolution. As it came to an impasse, the representatives of the Third Estate formed into a National Assemblysignalling the outbreak of the French Revolution.
In early Augustthe National Constituent Assembly abolished the privileges of the nobility such as personal serfdom and exclusive hunting rights. Through the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen 27 August France established fundamental rights for men.
The Declaration affirms "the natural and imprescriptible rights of man" to "liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression". Freedom of speech and press were declared, and arbitrary arrests outlawed.
It called for the destruction of aristocratic privileges and proclaimed freedom and equal rights for all men, as well as access to public office based on talent rather than birth. In Novemberthe Assembly decided to nationalize and sell all property of the Roman Catholic Church which had been the largest landowner in the country.
In Julya Civil Constitution of the Clergy reorganised the French Catholic Church, cancelling the authority of the Church to levy taxes, et cetera. This fueled much discontent in parts of France, which would contribute to the civil war breaking out some years later.
While King Louis XVI still enjoyed popularity among the population, his disastrous flight to Varennes June seemed to justify rumours he had tied his hopes of political salvation to the prospects of foreign invasion.
His credibility was so deeply undermined that the abolition of the monarchy and establishment of a republic became an increasing possibility.Travel experiences and recommendations tailored to your travel interests from the experts at USA TODAY Travel.
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