FranceIntroductionFrance, which is the largest nationin Western Europe, is a presidential republic.
France is a very importantnation in Europe and it continues to be involved in contemporary policyissues. Helping the world as one of the great trading nations, Franceis a very important trading partner with the United States. Not onlyis France important to the United States, they are also important to countriesall over the world. Their abundance of both mineral and agriculturalresources make them a very important supplier of products all over theworld. I chose to report on France because it is an interesting countyand I wanted to learn more about it.GeographyFrance is located in Western Europeand has an area of approximately 211,000 square miles. Along withbeing the capital, Paris is also the largest city in France. Spainborders France in the south, Italy and Switzerland in the east, and Germany,Luxembourg, and Belgium in the northeast.
The French Alps are locatedin the east where snow capped peaks, such as Mont. Blanc reach heightsof 15,781 feet. About one-half of Frances total border is formedby coastline, with the Mediterranean Sea on the Southeast and the Atlanticand the English Channel on the west and northwest. Many rivers andcanals run through France forming a vast network, tying different regionsand cities together. The Seine is the countrys largest navigableriver.
It flows northwest from eastern France through the city ofParis, and empties into the channel at Le Harre. The Rhone Riveris the largest in the country in terms of volume of discharge. Alongwith its tributaries, it drains the French Alpine region. AlthoughFrance has many rivers, it only has a few lakes. One of the lakesin France is Lake Geneva (also known as Lake Leman), but in lies mainlyin Switzerland.France is richly endowed with anexcellent balance of both mineral and agricultural resources. Thenation produces substantial amounts of iron ore.
In addition, Francehas sizable deposits of antimony magnesium, pyrites, tungsten, salt, potash,radioactive materials, lead and zinc. Coal mining has decreased significantlysince the 1960s, as many mines have been depleted and are now closed.Currently, the production of natural gas and sulfur is being developed.HistoryFrance has one of the most complete recordsof human history in all of Europe. Archaeologists have uncoveredartifacts that are more than 100,000 years old.During the 16th century, Protestantismspread across France leading to a number of religious and civil wars.The wars between the Protestants and the Roman Catholics resulted in themassacre of some 3,000 Protestants in Paris on the eve of St. BartholomewsDay in 1572.
The statecraft of such royal advisers as the cardinalsRichelieu and Mazarin helped France in becoming the greatest power in Europeduring the 17th century. Unfortunately, defeats in a series of costlyforeign wars during the 18th century caused France to loose many of theiroverseas territories, and brought the country near bankruptcy. In1789 revolution toppled the King, Louis XVI, and proclaimed the rightsof man. The French Revolution took a bloody turn and ended in a weakgovernment of five directors. France soon fell into the hands ofNapoleon Bonaparte, who ruled from 1799-1814, first as consul, then asemperor. Napoleons far fetched military ventures ended in 1815 withhis downfall. A limited monarchy was restored and, with the exceptionof a brief republican period (1848-52), brought about the creation of theThird Republic.
After WWI, a resistance movementknown as Free France was organized in Britain under the leadership of GeneralCharles de Gaulle. Allied and Free French forces liberated Francein 1944. Parliamentary democracy was restored to France under theFourth Republic. Another costly war against nationalist guerrillasin Algeria and other French colonies during the 1950s brought an end tothe Fourth Republic. In 1958, Gaulle returned as president of theFifth Republic.
In 1981, France elected its first Socialist president,Francois Mitterand, who served 2 terms until 1995. Frances currentpresident, elected in 1995, is Jacques Chirac.PeopleOne of the things that make France sounique is the people that live there. Due to the current concernswith making money and being successful, more people are working in Francethan ever before.
Great emphasis is being put on efficiency.Some say that France has been Americanized. This is because the UnitedStates is a world symbol of the technological society and its consumerproducts.Since the 1940s, the French populationhas been growing at a rapid rate. The most recent estimate of Francespopulation is 58,804,944 people.
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