République Française
  • Barry Turner
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


Gaul, the area that is now France, was conquered by Julius Caesar in the 1 st century BC and became a part of the Roman Empire. In the 3rd and 4th centuries it was overrun by Germanic tribes and in the 10th century Norsemen invaded. There was a long period of conflict with England, typified by the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453); and this was followed by rivalry with Spain in the latter part of the 15th and in the 16th century. The Reformation caused a long religious civil war between 1562 and 1598, at the end of which the Huguenot leader Henry of Navarre was converted to Catholicism and reigned as the first Bourbon king, Henry IV. The two powerful ministers of the 17th century, Cardinal Richelieu and Mazarin, successively ensured that France, and not Spain, established itself as the dominant country in Europe. Militarily, this was achieved by the treaties of Westphalia (which ended the Thirty Years’ War in 1648) and of the Pyrenees (1659).


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Further Reading

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

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  • Barry Turner

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