Over millions of visitors from different parts of the world flocked to France to see its beauty. But most of us, more than anything, want to know what France is.
Is it a continent?
France is a country. It is not a continent.
It belongs to the European continent. As a continent, Europe is a large mass situated in the Northern Hemisphere and Eastern Hemisphere of the globe.
Islands and countries are comprising Europe. France is part of it.
So, yes. France is not a continent. It is a beautiful country located on the western edge of Europe.
France has the Bay of Biscay in the west and the English Channel in the northwest. Its neighboring countries are Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. In the south, the Mediterranean Sea surrounds the country with Monaco, Spain, and Andorra.
France is a complex country. It has Metropolitan France, overseas France, an island in the Atlantic, and Indian. It even has islands in the Pacific Ocean and a section of Antarctica.
So, France is more than just about Paris, Coco Chanel, and French cuisine. It is a country rooted in complex geography, and yes, colorful history.
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What was France called before?
The name France evolved throughout its history. Before it is famously known as France today, it derived different titles and meanings. Let’s find out how ‘France’ came to be.
The country was Gaul before. The Romans gave the name to the entire area where the Celtics used to live. It is during the popularity of Julius Caesar that Gaul became famous.
During that time where land grabbing and territorial expansion were the norms, the Gaul is a vast land. It covered the part of Belgium, Luxembourg, and parts of the Netherlands, and Switzerland. The Gaul stretched from the River Rhine up to the Alps.
At present, European cultural elites who use the Latin language still refer to France as Gaul.
Frank’s King ruled France a long time ago. King Clovis I, Charles Martel, and Pepin the Short. It is a territory composed of France and Germany and referred to as the Kingdom of Franks or Francia. The Said Kingdom became more popular as Francia.
Today, Francia evolved to be called France.
When did France become a country?
France is a republican country.
The country endured a series of wars, upheavals, and invasions before becoming a republic. It is a country that emerged from the fragmentation of the Carolingian empire.
It was the time when Hugh Capet became King of West Francia in 987. As he consolidated power and expanded territory, a nation was born, France.
After this, it evolved from various wars and geographical invasions. The nation fought with the English, the Hundred Years War, and even the Hapsburg.
France was associated with the Avignon Papacy and part of the wars of religion after the Reformation. It involved religious disputes against Catholics and Protestants.
France became more popular during the reign of Louis XIV or the sun king. During his time, France culturally dominated a big part of Europe.
His reign lasted for almost 72 years. It is long years of rule of any monarch in Europe. During his leadership, France transformed significantly. It was a strong nation in Europe in wealth, a central location, and a strong army.
Yet, his reign collapsed due to extravagance and discontent among the masses. The famous French Revolution in 1789 overthrew him. It is a transformation period in France, as it became a republic.
After the French Revolution, the republic militarily dominated Europe by Napoleon Bonaparte. It was the first time France rule militarily but still defeated.
Since then, France endured instability, especially from two German invasions. The country returned to a democratic republic after its liberation from Germany.
The country is in the Fifth Republic since 1959.
Is France a powerful country?
France can vastly influence the international community. In terms of agriculture, it is the top producer in Europe. It is also the world’s leading industrial powers.
Yet, of course, I will not bore you with figures and numbers. But let me tell you how influential and powerful France in terms of the following:
France is an economic powerhouse. It is one of the world leaders in energy, construction, telecommunications, automobile, pharmaceutics.
A lot of big brands in energy production came from France. It includes Total, Alstom, and Areva. In constructions, you can hear French brands like Vinci and Bouygues. In telecommunications, Alcatel-Lucent will surely ring a bell. Sanofi-Aventis is also a big pharmaceutics brand. Capgemini World Health Report says that France is in line with the UK in the number of millionaires. Eurostat, on one side, reported that French has the highest hourly productivity pay. It remains to be one of the world’s most productive nations.
France is considered Europe’s biggest granary. The country is self-sufficient even before other European countries. Even Julius Caesar believed that Gaul has vast fertile soils. In his Commentaries on the Gallic Wars, the German attempted to conquer Gaul because of its topography.
In recent years, France received 130 billion euros in investment from EU agriculture. It means that the EU considered France as agriculturally significant in the organization.
France is a founding member of the European Union. It hugely influences European affairs. One instant is the country’s refusal of the 2005 proposal for a European Constitution. It paved the way for the amendment of the said proposal into the Lisbon Treaty.
Even in Africa, fourteen countries use CFA Franc as their artificial currency. The said currency is convertible to Euro. It gives France an edge to leverage the macroeconomic policy of these 14 African states.
In the UN, France has a veto right and has a permanent seat at the Security Council. It has a French leader in the International Monetary Fund, making us think that France is real power.
Yes, its military capability spells power. Among the EU countries, France has the most extensive military capabilities. It has nuclear attack submarines, aircraft carriers, ballistic missiles, and more. It is also an exporter of weapons in the world.
It has forces outside its territory. It is in the United Arab Emirates, the French Caribbean, South Pacific, Africa. Having French in different locations, it extensively powerful.
Paris Fashion Week is a big event, not only in France but also in the whole world. The cultural influence of France when it comes to fashion is viral. The revolutionary Coco Chanel made a timeless fashion brand. The country leads the fashion world next to Milan, London, and New York.
The French language, on the other side, is being spoken among 220 million people all over the globe. I mean, who wouldn’t want to learn the language?
The use of the French language is wide.
And you cannot underestimate its tourism industry. It is the world’s top famous since the 1990s. At present, it is still at the top of the most traveled country around the globe.
When was France most powerful?
France is one of the world leaders today. Yet, in the olden times, there are periods in its history that it became a powerful empire in the world. Some significant leaders and personalities made France at the top of the map.
Here are the famous leaders of France that made the country powerful among other nations.
During the reign of Louis XIV, France was subject to great successes. He brought France to its peak of absolute power and made the nation the dominant empire in Europe.
The predecessors of Louis XIV already established the framework that made France powerful. It was his leadership that France already consolidated its vast power in Europe. It was the dominant power in Europe and out-powered the Hapsburg coalition of Spain.
France became a piece of administrative machinery and dominated the continent extensively. It possessed colonies in different locations around the globe. It was also during his time the French culture and art were at the peak.
Napoleon Bonaparte is one of the strongest French military leaders. He led France into surmountable heights by launching campaigns across Europe. He is known for his military ambitions that brought rise and fall to the French military.
As the crowned emperor, Napoleon won early military victories that extended French influence. The greatness of France was across Western Europe. In fact, in 1812, it maintained a military presence in Germany, Italy, and Spain. It even influenced the Duchy of Warsaw, Prussia, Russia, and Austria.
He was an absolute monarch who made an imprint on France. His legacy includes the Napoleonic Code, French judicial system, military academies, and more.
Despite the devastating defeat of Napoleon and the French military, he was able to leave a mark on France. It became an imperial power wherein his ideas spread throughout the globe.
Even in its period of weakness and defeat of Napoleon, France was still a colonial empire. France has colonies in North America, the Caribbean, and even India. It has territories in Southeast Asia and Africa, as well. The influence France has is throughout the world.
Side by side Great Britain, France was a powerful country then and a global leader now.
Which country is the most powerful in the EU?
Well, no county can hold sole power in the EU. The EU is composed of different institutions that consolidate policies and decisions.
It includes the European Council, the EU Parliament, and the EU Commission. These are interconnected and arrive in consolidated legislation for the EU members.
Yet, Germany remains to be in the headlines. It is a dominant force in Europe and the continent’s fourth-largest economy. It is the most populous member of the EU. Germany can send more members of parliament than any other.
Germany is both an economic and political power in the European Union. It is selling more and more abroad than it imports. Meaning, more finances are coming in than coming out. It also meant that it has a high export surplus, making it a strong economy in the continent.
At present, Germany continues to be the most powerful country in the European Union. France, on the other side, remains to be at the top.
In the aspect of military power, France ranks first. It still has a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council and has a veto vote.
France is an influential country. Even if it is not ranked number one, the kind of impact it can make in the international organization is crucial. I mean, a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council next to the US, the UK, Russia, and China is something.
These countries dominate the world and can change the current global pattern. France can influence the world arena.