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History of France

  • The first inhabitants of France were the Neanderthals. Evidence of these early Homo sapiens was discovered in the late 19th century. The Celtics Gauls lived in the region from about 1,500 to 500 B.C.

  • Julius Caesar and his Roman Empire controlled France from around 55 BC when Lyon was the second largest city in the Empire. France remained under Roman rule until the 5th century. Between the 5th and 10th centuries the Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties ruled France.

  • William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, won several key battles and took the throne of England in 1066. Later, the Hundred Years' War ravaged France, from 1337-1453, as the English invaded. Joan of Arc attempted to expel the English, and was later burned in Rouen, in 1431, for heresy.

  • The history of France was forever changed during the Revolution in the 18th century after the storming of the Bastille when the French Royal family rule (Louis XVI with his wife Marie Antoinette at the time) was overthrown. Unrest followed, until Napoleon Bonaparte came to power, and united the French, becoming the most distinguished emperor and milatary leader in French history.

  • The history of Paris dates back to Roman times, as the Gauls and the Romans feuded for control of the area around Paris until Julius Caesar came to power and defeated the Gauls. During the middles ages Paris was prospering as a mercantile centre. Construction of Notre Dame began in the 12th century, the Louvre was constructed as a fortress and the Latin quarter began to develop as an intellectual centre in the 13th century. The history of Paris was largely influenced by the history of France until the French Revolution. Much of the layout of Paris today is influenced by Napoleon's nephew who engaged Haussmann who then created the many boulevards and parks etc that still exist today.


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