France

France

Introduction

France, which is the largest nation
in Western Europe, is a presidential republic. France is a very important
nation in Europe and it continues to be involved in contemporary policy
issues. Helping the world as one of the great trading nations, France
is a very important trading partner with the United States. Not only
is France important to the United States, they are also important to countries
all over the world. Their abundance of both mineral and agricultural
resources make them a very important supplier of products all over the
world. I chose to report on France because it is an interesting county
and I wanted to learn more about it.

Geography

France is located in Western Europe
and has an area of approximately 211,000 square miles. Along with
being the capital, Paris is also the largest city in France. Spain
borders France in the south, Italy and Switzerland in the east, and Germany,

Luxembourg, and Belgium in the northeast. The French Alps are located
in the east where snow capped peaks, such as Mont. Blanc reach heights
of 15,781 feet. About one-half of Franceís total border is formed
by coastline, with the Mediterranean Sea on the Southeast and the Atlantic
and the English Channel on the west and northwest. Many rivers and
canals run through France forming a vast network, tying different regions
and cities together. The Seine is the countryís largest navigable
river. It flows northwest from eastern France through the city of

Paris, and empties into the channel at Le Harre. The Rhone River
is the largest in the country in terms of volume of discharge. Along
with its tributaries, it drains the French Alpine region. Although

France has many rivers, it only has a few lakes. One of the lakes
in France is Lake Geneva (also known as Lake Leman), but in lies mainly
in Switzerland.

France is richly endowed with an
excellent balance of both mineral and agricultural resources. The
nation produces substantial amounts of iron ore. In addition, France
has sizable deposits of antimony magnesium, pyrites, tungsten, salt, potash,
radioactive materials, lead and zinc. Coal mining has decreased significantly
since the 1960ís, as many mines have been depleted and are now closed.

Currently, the production of natural gas and sulfur is being developed.

History

France has one of the most complete records
of human history in all of Europe. Archaeologists have uncovered
artifacts that are more than 100,000 years old.

During the 16th century, Protestantism
spread across France leading to a number of religious and civil wars.

The wars between the Protestants and the Roman Catholics resulted in the
massacre of some 3,000 Protestants in Paris on the eve of St. Bartholomewís

Day in 1572. The statecraft of such royal advisers as the cardinals

Richelieu and Mazarin helped France in becoming the greatest power in Europe
during the 17th century. Unfortunately, defeats in a series of costly
foreign wars during the 18th century caused France to loose many of their
overseas territories, and brought the country near bankruptcy. In

1789 revolution toppled the King, Louis XVI, and proclaimed the rights
of man. The French Revolution took a bloody turn and ended in a weak
government of five directors. France soon fell into the hands of

Napoleon Bonaparte, who ruled from 1799-1814, first as consul, then as
emperor. Napoleonís far fetched military ventures ended in 1815 with
his downfall. A limited monarchy was restored and, with the exception
of a brief republican period (1848-52), brought about the creation of the

Third Republic.

After WWI, a resistance movement
known as Free France was organized in Britain under the leadership of General

Charles de Gaulle. Allied and Free French forces liberated France
in 1944. Parliamentary democracy was restored to France under the

Fourth Republic. Another costly war against nationalist guerrillas
in Algeria and other French colonies during the 1950ís brought an end to
the Fourth Republic. In 1958, Gaulle returned as president of the

Fifth Republic. In 1981, France elected its first Socialist president,

Francois Mitterand, who served 2 terms until 1995. Franceís current
president, elected in 1995, is Jacques Chirac.

People

One of the things that make France so
unique is the people that live there. Due to the current concerns
with making money and being successful, more people are working in France
than ever before. Great emphasis is being put on efficiency.

Some say that France has been Americanized. This is because the United

States is a world symbol of the technological society and itís consumer
products.

Since the 1940ís, the French population
has been growing at a rapid rate. The most recent estimate of Franceís
population is 58,804,944 people. This averages out