Civilizations: France

The modern cultural identity of France has developed through internal strife, foreign conflicts, and the immense influence of the early Frankish powers dating back to 3rd century AD.

The term "France," however, actually stems directly from the Franks who lived in Charlemagne's Frankish lands up until the late Middle Ages when the Kingdom of France came into being.

France was arguably one of the most powerful nations in the Middle Ages, however, in the late 1340s, France was hit hard by the bubonic plague. The Black Death spread rapidly through the France, and by the late 13th century, nearly one-third of the French people had died of the plaque. In addition to the devastation caused by the Black Death, the 100 Year's War broke out in 1337 AD, furthering the decline of the French population.

It was not until the 17th century that France regained its superpower status and began to greatly influence the world once more. By 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte had completely reformed France's government, and he crowned himself the new emperor of France.

The empire that was established by Napoleon had forever left its mark on French, bringing Europe to its knees, imposing the Continental System, and molding France into a powerful state which lasted into the 19th century.

In 1914, the First World War transpired, dividing Europe in two. France entered alliances with Both Russia and Britain in a futile struggle to stop the German powerhouse. France did not fare well during World War I, much of north-eastern France was devastated by the Germans advance, yet the French stood their ground, and in 1918, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, the First World War was brought to an end.

Despite the end of World War I, peace was not to last in France. By 1939, World War II broke out, the French, relying on the heavily fortified Maginot Line thought themselves impervious to attack from the German army, however, the German High Command simply ordered their troops to go around the Maginot Line. France was taken with little resistance, however, the Free French army continued to operate throughout WWII, hindering German operations in France and attacking the occupying army at every chance given to them. Paris was liberated in June 6, 1944, and the French Resistance fighters marched proudly into the city, after years of fighting their oppressors, with the help of their allies, they had finally triumphed over adversity.

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