France Economy, Population, History and Maps

Although there are archaeological remains that date back to the beginning of human presence in the Paleolithic era (100,000 years), France’s origin as a country can be traced back to 1200 BC. C., year in which the occupation of the territory between the English channel and the Alps and the Atlantic ocean and the Rhine river by the Gauls began (people of Celtic origin), that was baptized of Gaul. In 121 a. The Romans initiated the conquest of Gaul, being concluded between 58 and 50 a. By the emperor Julius Caesar.

With the decline of the Roman Empire, Gaul began to be occupied in the 5th century by the Germanic peoples, of which the Salaries, who around the 6th century, dominated most of Gaul, stand out. Charlemagne assumed the regency of Gaul in the 8th century, initiating a series of conquests that extended his dominance towards the east and south, and when Charlemagne attributed his name to the empire he had built (Rome, 25 December of the year 800), this was the greatest European power of the time, a status that contributed to the excellent relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, which is due to the support and effort that Charlemagne gave to create a papal state (774).

With the death of Charlemagne (814), the empire was divided into kingdoms, the westernmost being named Francia Occidentalis, a territory that in 1328 included most of France today, except Flanders, Brittany, Burgundy and Aquitaine . This year, with King Philip VI, the Valois dynasty began, which consolidated itself as a royal family during and after the Hundred Years War (1337-1453) between France and England, a country that lost its French possessions except the port city of Calais, in northeastern France; at the end of the 15th century, with the conquest of Brittany and Burgundy, French territory approached its current configuration.

The 16th century was marked by countless civil wars of a religious nature, provoked by the expansion of Protestantism, and only with the accession to the throne of Henry IV of Burgundy (a Protestant who would eventually convert to Christianity) in 1589 was it possible to put an end to the conflict. With internal instability resolved, France quickly became a strong European and overseas power during the 17th century, thanks to royal advisers such as Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarino.

This situation allowed the monarchy to harden, especially with the reign of Louis XIV, self-styled Rei-Sol, who was responsible for the institution of the absolutist monarchy. However, popular discontent in the face of the serious economic crisis (caused by successive overseas military defeats) and the excessive privileges of the clergy and nobility led, in 1789, the representatives of the people in the Courts called by Louis XVI to proclaim the constitution of the Assembly National, the first step towards constitutional monarchy. However, Louis XVI was not willing to collaborate with this political reform, provoking a violent reaction on the part of the population, whose climax was registered with the seizure of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. However, the weakness of successive governments paved the way for Napoleon, first as consul (1799-1804), then as emperor (1804-14). The failure of his expansionist ambitions provoked his overthrow and restored the monarchy, which remained in force until the French defeat in the Franco-German War in 1871 (from 1848 to 1852 the Second Republic was reestablished under the presidency of Luís Napoleão Bonaparte, who was became emperor of France in 1852).

After the strengthening of the Third Republic through the 1879 elections, France did not find stability until 1899, with the rise to power of a coalition between the Radical Party and the Moderate Party, allowing for a period of economic and social development that would be interrupted with World War I, which won. This victory, achieved with enormous human and material sacrifices, nevertheless brought many dividends through compensation paid by Germany. And it would be these damages to be the basis for Germany’s resurgence as a threatening power, thanks to the growing nationalism in German society. In 1939 World War II began and in 1940 Germany invaded France, removing President Albert Lebrun and instituting the Vichy collaborationist regime under the leadership of Philippe Pétain.

In the 1950s, two scenarios stand out: the country’s rapid economic development, whose growth rate simultaneously equaled that recorded by Germany and exceeded the European average; and the proliferation of independence movements in the different French colonies, many of which led to situations of open war between France and those movements. This last situation would be the basis of the internal political instability verified at the end of the 50’s, due to the action, namely, of the Algerian extremist groups. This instability allowed the political reappearance of Charles de Gaulle, who, under his halo as a great hero of the Second World War, assumed himself before the French as the only one capable of putting an end to the current situation, which favored the acceptance of his concepts about the executive functioning of the country.

When in 1962, after the end of the colonial wars, party leaders began planning to restore the National Assembly to the powers granted in 1959, Charles de Gaulle decided to carry out his own constitutional review, which included the election by universal suffrage of the president of the República, which was approved in a referendum held on November 28, 1962, followed by the reelection of Charles de Gaulle in 1965, in which he had as opponent François Mitterrand. However, despite political and financial consolidation, both internally and externally, in May 1968 Charles de Gaulle was confronted with serious social disturbances, in a first phase, of student origin, developing for trade union movements, which disturbed the whole of France and, finally, led to the dissolution of the National Assembly by Gaulle’s decision. The consequent early elections gave the Gaullists a huge victory. For France democracy and rights, please check intershippingrates.

However, de Gaulle decided to put in a referendum a series of constitutional amendments and, implicitly, his prestige, ending up defeated and, consequently, leaving office. In spite of everything, the presidential system imposed by Charles de Gaulle has remained since then. The Gaullists remained in power with the election of Georges Pompidou, but in 1974 they lost in favor of the conservative candidate, Giscard d’Estaing, elections from which the socialist candidate, François Mitterrand, was also defeated. This party leader would eventually win the 1981 elections, thanks to the reforms proposed to the electorate: the nationalization of a large sector of the economy (including private banks and large industries), administrative decentralization in favor of local and regional executives and the increase in social benefits (pensions, reforms, etc.), among others. These reforms were implemented after the socialist victory for the National Assembly (which had been dissolved by Mitterrand).

Although these measures were beneficial in the early years, the international crisis prevented the complete success of this reform program, undermining the popularity of the socialists, which would lead to Jacques Chirac’s victory in the 1986 legislative elections.

France then faced the possibility of a political crisis stemming from the cohabitation between a socialist president and a right-wing prime minister, but this did not happen thanks to the executive freedom that Mitterrand granted Chirac, opting for absolute respect for the constitutional role granted to the president. This strategy would give Miterrand victory in the 1988 elections, in which he defeated Jacques Chirac, whose popularity had declined in the previous two years because of his policy of reversing the socialist reforms of the beginning of the decade.

Mitterrand’s second term of office had as major concern France’s political and economic role within the European Community, especially in view of the strengthening of the EC planned for 1992. This explains the policy of approximation carried out by France to Germany, in what became known as “Paris-Bonn Hub”. The course of this mandate proved to be painful for the French president, not only because of the doubts raised about his possible collaboration with the Vichy Government (1940-44), but also because of his prolonged illness, which would lead to his death early 1996.

A series of corruption scandals involving members of the Socialist Government underpinned France’s political upheaval, culminating in Jacques Chirac’s victory in the 1995 presidential election.

In the French presidential elections of June 2002, Jacques Chirac was elected with more than 80% of votes, although Le Pen, a candidate from the extreme right, had reached the second round. In the 2004 French regional elections, the left defeated Jacques Chirac’s center-right, although these elections did not affect the composition of the French parliament elected in 2002.

  • Offers a full list of airports in the country of France, sorted by city location and acronyms.
  • Provides most commonly used abbreviations and initials containing the country name of France. Listed by popularity. – Maps of France

Discover the city, country, and historical maps of France in Europe. View the maps of Paris, Marseille, as well as departments and overseas territories of France.

Website: – France Map

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France – ABC Maps

Browse a collection of maps for this European country, and click to larger image for viewing and printing.


France – Altapedia Atlas

Provides both political and topographical maps for the country. Includes links to details on the geography.


France – Map

Peruse a well-rendered political map of France and easily pinpoint the locations of towns and cities throughout the country. Links to fact files.


France – Large Map

Well-rendered, political map of France shows roadways, water ways, neighboring countries and land features.


France – Map Collection

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France – Merriam-Webster Atlas

View a detailed map of this European country, plus diagrams, country facts, a historical summary and a flag icon.


Hotel Map –

Check out a selection of maps covering various regions of France and peruse a clickable map for instant details for accommodations.


Strasbourg – Strasbourg Online

Street map allows users to zoom on a specific area or to search by district. Includes links to accommodations and local points of interest.