France

Article

May 17, 2022

France, officially the French Republic (French: République française), is a country in Western Europe and the third largest European country by area. France is located between the Channel, the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Biscay (to the west), Belgium and Luxembourg (to the north), Germany, Switzerland and Italy (to the east) and Spain, Andorra, the Mediterranean and Monaco ( in the south). The island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea also belongs to France, as well as many overseas territories. France lays claim to part of Antarctica: Adélieland. Including overseas territories, the country has an area of ​​674,843 km² and a population of approximately 67.06 million inhabitants (January 2020). France, also called l'Hexagone because of its hexagonal shape, is the largest country in the European Union by area and the second largest country in terms of population, after Germany. The capital is Paris, which is also the largest city in the country. Since the Treaty of Verdun in 843, France, which owes its name to the Franks, has had some continuity in its history as an administrative and cultural unit. France is therefore the oldest existing geopolitical factor in the European balance of power. The national borders have been reasonably fixed since the Treaty of Nijmegen in 1678 and largely coincide with natural borders. France forms a decentralized unitary state and a democratic semi-presidential republic. The country is a member of major and important international organizations such as the European Union (one of the six founding members of the EU), the United Nations, the Security Council (permanent, with veto power), NATO, the G8, the OECD and the WTO . France was one of the initiators of the Economic and Monetary Union, which in 2002 led to the introduction of the euro as legal tender in many Member States of the European Union, including France. In 1960, France became the fourth nuclear power after the United States, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom. France is one of the 30 most developed countries in the world.

History

France's cultural identity took shape around 50 BC. an impulse that would prove of lasting significance with the conquest of Celtic Gaul by Roman armies commanded by Julius Caesar. The Latin language and culture, as well as Catholic Christianity that spread through Rome, survived the fall of the Roman Empire, although a Frankish Empire dominated by Germans emerged. France has had some administrative continuity since the division of this empire in 843 and the emergence of West Francia, with Paris as the center of power; making it the oldest geopolitical entity in Europe. Since the early Middle Ages, due to the size of its territory and its population, France has always been an important factor in the European balance of power. With the Treaty of Nijmegen in 1678, the national borders roughly took the shape they have again since 1945 and largely coincide with natural borders. In the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries, France was the largest power on the European continent. The French Revolution in 1789 transformed France from an absolute monarchy into a republic whose principles were perceived as threatening by other European powers. They then tried to suppress the revolution by military means. Under Napoleon's rule, the tide turned and many aspects of the Revolution were exported; this was accompanied by spectacular conquests, which, however, were completely lost again between 1812 and 1815. Since about 1300 France has developed more explicitly than other Western European countries into a centralist nation state, which came to full maturity in the 19th century. Today, the 92 departments into which the metropolitan area is divided have very little autonomy from the government in Paris. From the Early Modern T