In Abrahamic religions, Noah was the tenth and last of the pre-Flood Patriarchs. The story of Noah's Ark is told in the Bible's Genesis flood narrative; the biblical account is followed by the story of the Curse of Ham. In addition to the Book of Genesis, Noah is mentioned in the Old Testament in the First Book of Chronicles, the books of Tobit, Sirach, Ezekiel, 2 Esdras, 4 Maccabees. Noah was the subject of much elaboration in the literature of Abrahamic religions, including the Quran; the primary account of Noah in the Bible is in the Book of Genesis. Noah was the tenth of the Pre-Flood Patriarchs, his father was Lamech and his mother is not named in the biblical accounts. When Noah was five hundred years old, he became the father of Shem and Japheth; the Genesis flood narrative makes up chapters 6–9 in the Book of Genesis, in the Bible. The narrative, one of many flood myths found in human cultures, indicates that God intended to return the Earth to its pre-Creation state of watery chaos by flooding the Earth because of humanity's misdeeds and remake it using the microcosm of Noah's ark.
Thus, the flood was no ordinary overflow but a reversal of Creation. The narrative discusses the evil of mankind that moved God to destroy the world by the way of the flood, the preparation of the ark for certain animals and his family, God's guarantee for the continued existence of life under the promise that he would never send another flood. After the flood, Noah offered burnt offerings to God, who said: "I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake. "And God blessed Noah and his sons, said unto them, Be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth". They were told that all fowls, land animals, fishes would be afraid of them. Furthermore, as well as green plants, every moving thing would be their food with the exception that the blood was not to be eaten. Man's life blood would be required from man. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man". A rainbow, called "my bow", was given as the sign of a covenant "between me and you and every living creature that with you, for perpetual generations", called the Noahic covenant or the rainbow covenant.
Noah died 350 years after the flood, at the age of 950, the last of the long-lived Antediluvian patriarchs. The maximum human lifespan, as depicted by the Bible diminishes thereafter, from 1,000 years to the 120 years of Moses. After the flood, the Bible says that Noah became a husbandman and he planted a vineyard, he drank wine made from this vineyard, got drunk. Noah's son Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his brothers, which led to Ham's son Canaan being cursed by Noah; as early as the Classical era, commentators on Genesis 9:20–21 have excused Noah's excessive drinking because he was considered to be the first wine drinker. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, a Church Father, wrote in the 4th century that Noah's behavior is defensible: as the first human to taste wine, he would not know its effects: "Through ignorance and inexperience of the proper amount to drink, fell into a drunken stupor". Philo, a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher excused Noah by noting that one can drink in two different manners: to drink wine in excess, a peculiar sin to the vicious evil man or to partake of wine as the wise man, Noah being the latter.
In Jewish tradition and rabbinic literature on Noah, rabbis blame Satan for the intoxicating properties of the wine. In the field of psychological biblical criticism, J. H. Ellens and W. G. Rollins address the narrative of Genesis 9:18–27 that narrates the unconventional behavior that occurs between Noah and Ham; because of its brevity and textual inconsistencies, it has been suggested that this narrative is a "splinter from a more substantial tale". A fuller account would explain what Ham had done to his father, or why Noah directed a curse at Canaan for Ham's misdeed, or how Noah came to know what occurred; the narrator relates two facts: Noah became drunken and "he was uncovered within his tent", Ham "saw the nakedness of his father, told his two brethren without". Thus, these passages revolve around sexuality and the exposure of genitalia as compared with other Hebrew Bible texts, such as Habakkuk 2:15 and Lamentations 4:21. Other commentaries mention that seeing someone's nakedness could mean having sex with that person as seen in Leviticus 18:7-8 and Leviticus 20:11.
Genesis 10 sets forth the descendants of Shem and Japheth, from whom the nations branched out over the earth after the flood. Among Japheth’s descendants were the maritime nations. Ham’s son Cush had a son named Nimrod, who became the first man of might on earth, a mighty hunter, king in Babylon and the land of Shinar. From there Asshur built Nineveh. Canaan’s descendants – Sidon, the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, the Arvadites, the Zemarites, the Hamathites – spread out from Sidon as far as Gerar, near Gaza, as far as Sodom and Gomorrah. Among Shem’s descendants was Eber; these genealogies differ structurally from those set out in Genesis 5 and 11. It has a segmented or treelike structure, going from one father to many offs
The United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter, it is the successor of the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation. UNESCO has 11 associate members. Most of its field offices are "cluster" offices covering three or more countries. UNESCO pursues its objectives through five major programs: education, natural sciences, social/human sciences and communication/information. Projects sponsored by UNESCO include literacy and teacher-training programs, international science programs, the promotion of independent media and freedom of the press and cultural history projects, the promotion of cultural diversity, translations of world literature, international cooperation agreements to secure the world's cultural and natural heritage and to preserve human rights, attempts to bridge the worldwide digital divide.
It is a member of the United Nations Development Group. UNESCO's aim is "to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture and information". Other priorities of the organization include attaining quality Education For All and lifelong learning, addressing emerging social and ethical challenges, fostering cultural diversity, a culture of peace and building inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication; the broad goals and objectives of the international community—as set out in the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals —underpin all UNESCO strategies and activities. UNESCO and its mandate for international cooperation can be traced back to a League of Nations resolution on 21 September 1921, to elect a Commission to study feasibility; this new body, the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation was indeed created in 1922.
On 18 December 1925, the International Bureau of Education began work as a non-governmental organization in the service of international educational development. However, the onset of World War II interrupted the work of these predecessor organizations. After the signing of the Atlantic Charter and the Declaration of the United Nations, the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education began meetings in London which continued from 16 November 1942 to 5 December 1945. On 30 October 1943, the necessity for an international organization was expressed in the Moscow Declaration, agreed upon by China, the United Kingdom, the United States and the USSR; this was followed by the Dumbarton Oaks Conference proposals of 9 October 1944. Upon the proposal of CAME and in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on International Organization, held in San Francisco in April–June 1945, a United Nations Conference for the establishment of an educational and cultural organization was convened in London 1–16 November 1945 with 44 governments represented.
The idea of UNESCO was developed by Rab Butler, the Minister of Education for the United Kingdom, who had a great deal of influence in its development. At the ECO/CONF, the Constitution of UNESCO was introduced and signed by 37 countries, a Preparatory Commission was established; the Preparatory Commission operated between 16 November 1945, 4 November 1946—the date when UNESCO's Constitution came into force with the deposit of the twentieth ratification by a member state. The first General Conference took place from 19 November to 10 December 1946, elected Dr. Julian Huxley to Director-General; the Constitution was amended in November 1954 when the General Conference resolved that members of the Executive Board would be representatives of the governments of the States of which they are nationals and would not, as before, act in their personal capacity. This change in governance distinguished UNESCO from its predecessor, the ICIC, in how member states would work together in the organization's fields of competence.
As member states worked together over time to realize UNESCO's mandate and historical factors have shaped the organization's operations in particular during the Cold War, the decolonization process, the dissolution of the USSR. Among the major achievements of the organization is its work against racism, for example through influential statements on race starting with a declaration of anthropologists and other scientists in 1950 and concluding with the 1978 Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice. In 1956, the Republic of South Africa withdrew from UNESCO saying that some of the organization's publications amounted to "interference" in the country's "racial problems." South Africa rejoined the organization in 1994 under the leadership of Nelson Mandela. UNESCO's early work in the field of education included the pilot project on fundamental education in the Marbial Valley, started in 1947; this project was followed by expert missions to other countries, for example, a mission to Afghanistan in 1949.
In 1948, UNESCO recommended that Member States should make free primary education compulsory and universal. In 1990, the World Conference on Education for All, in Jomtien, launched a global movement to provide basic education for a
A barrel vault known as a tunnel vault or a wagon vault, is an architectural element formed by the extrusion of a single curve along a given distance. The curves are circular in shape, lending a semi-cylindrical appearance to the total design; the barrel vault is the simplest form of a vault: a series of arches placed side by side. It is a form of barrel roof; as with all arch-based constructions, there is an outward thrust generated against the walls underneath a barrel vault. There are several mechanisms for absorbing this thrust. One is to make the walls exceedingly thick and strong - this is a primitive and sometimes unacceptable method. A more elegant method is to build two or more vaults parallel to each other; this method was most used in construction of churches, where several vaulted naves ran parallel down the length of the building. However, the outer walls of the outermost vault would still have to be quite strong or reinforced by buttressing; the third and most elegant mechanism to resist the lateral thrust was to create an intersection of two barrel vaults at right angles, thus forming a groin vault.
Barrel vaults are known from Ancient Egypt, were used extensively in Roman architecture. They were used to replace the Cloaca Maxima with a system of underground sewers. Other early barrel vault designs occur in northern Europe, Turkey and other regions. In medieval Europe, the barrel vault was an important element of stone construction in monasteries, tower houses and other structures; this form of design is observed in cellars, long hallways and great halls. Barrel vaulting was known and utilized by early civilizations, including Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. However, it was not a popular or common method of construction within these civilizations; the Persians and the Romans were the first to make significant architectural use of them. The technique evolved out of necessity to roof buildings with masonry elements such as bricks or stone blocks in areas where timber and wood were scarce; the earliest known example of a vault is a tunnel vault found under the Sumerian ziggurat at Nippur in Babylonia, ascribed to about 4000 BC, built of burnt bricks amalgamated with clay mortar.
The earliest tunnel vaults in Egypt are found at Requagnah and Denderah, from around 3500 BC in the predynastic era. These were built with sun-dried brick in three rings over passages descending to tombs: in these cases, as the span of the vault was only two metres. In these early instances, the barrel vault was chiefly used for underground structures such as drains and sewers, though several buildings of the great Late Egyptian mortuary palace-temple of Ramesseum were vaulted in this way. Recent archaeological evidence discovered at the Morgantina site shows that the aboveground barrel vault was known and used in Hellenistic Sicily in 3rd Century BC, indicating that the technique was known to Ancient Greeks. Ancient Romans most inherited their knowledge of barrel vaulting from Etruscans and the Near East. Persians and Romans were the first to use this building method extensively on large-scale projects and were the first to use scaffolding to aid them in construction of vaults spanning over widths greater than anything seen before.
However, Roman builders began to prefer the use of groin vault. After the fall of the Roman empire, few buildings large enough to require much in the way of vaulting were built for several centuries. In the early Romanesque period, a return to stone barrel vaults was seen for the first great cathedrals. One of the largest and most famous churches enclosed from above by a vast barrel vault was the church of Cluny Abbey, built between the 11th and 12th centuries. In 13th and 14th Century, with the advance of the new Gothic style, barrel vaulting became extinct in constructions of great Gothic cathedrals. However, with the coming of the Renaissance and the Baroque style, revived interest in art and architecture of antiquity, barrel vaulting was re-introduced on a grandiose scale, employed in the construction of many famous buildings and churches, such as Basilica di Sant'Andrea di Mantova by Leone Battista Alberti, San Giorgio Maggiore by Andrea Palladio, most glorious of all, St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, where a huge barrel vault spans the 27 m -wide nave.
With a barrel vault design the vectors of pressure result in a downward force on the crown while the lower portions of the arches realise a lateral force pushing outwards. As an outcome this form of design is subject to failure unless the sides are anchored or buttressed to heavy building elements or substantial earthwork sidings. For example, at Muchalls Castle in Scotland adjacent walls to the barrel vaulted chambers are up to 4,6 meters thick, adding the buttressing strength needed to secure the curved design; the inherent difficulty of adequately lighting barrel vaulted structures has been acknowledged. The intrinsic engineering issue is the need to avoid fenestration punctures in stonework barrel vaults; such openings could compromise the integrity of the en
The Seine is a 777-kilometre-long river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Source-Seine, 30 kilometres northwest of Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre, it is navigable by ocean-going vessels as far as Rouen, 120 kilometres from the sea. Over 60 percent of its length, as far as Burgundy, is negotiable by commercial riverboats, nearly its whole length is available for recreational boating. There are 37 bridges within dozens more spanning the river outside the city. Examples in Paris include the Pont Alexandre III and Pont Neuf, the latter of which dates back to 1607. Outside the city, examples include the Pont de Normandie, one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world, which links Le Havre to Honfleur; the Seine rises in the commune of Source-Seine, about 30 kilometres northwest of Dijon. The source has been owned by the city of Paris since 1864. A number of associated small ditches or depressions provide the source waters, with an artificial grotto laid out to highlight and contain a deemed main source.
The grotto includes a statue of a nymph, a dog, a dragon. On the same site are the buried remains of a Gallo-Roman temple. Small statues of the dea Sequana "Seine goddess" and other ex voti found at the same place are now exhibited in the Dijon archaeological museum; the Seine can artificially be divided into five parts: the Petite Seine "Small Seine" from the sources to Montereau-Fault-Yonne the Haute Seine "Upper Seine" from Montereau-Fault-Yonne to Paris the Traversée de Paris "the Paris waterway" the Basse Seine "Lower Seine" from Paris to Rouen the Seine maritime "Maritime Seine" from Rouen to the English channel. The Seine is dredged and ocean-going vessels can dock at Rouen, 120 kilometres from the sea. Commercial craft can use the river from 516 kilometres to its mouth. At Paris, there are 37 bridges; the river is only 24 metres above sea level 446 kilometres from its mouth, making it slow flowing and thus navigable. The Seine Maritime, 123 kilometres from the English Channel at Le Havre to Rouen, is the only portion of the Seine used by ocean-going craft.
The tidal section of the Seine Maritime is followed by a canalized section with four large multiple locks until the mouth of the Oise at Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. Smaller locks at Bougival and at Suresnes lift the vessels to the level of the river in Paris, where the junction with the Canal Saint-Martin is located; the distance from the mouth of the Oise is 72 km. The Haute Seine, from Paris to Montereau-Fault-Yonne, has 8 locks. At Charenton-le-Pont is the mouth of the Marne. Upstream from Paris seven locks ensure navigation to Saint Mammès, where the Loing mouth is situated. Through an eighth lock the river Yonne is reached at Montereau-Fault-Yonne. From the mouth of the Yonne, larger ships can continue upstream to Nogent-sur-Seine. From there on, the river is navigable only by small craft to Marcilly-sur-Seine. At Marcilly-sur-Seine the ancient Canal de la Haute-Seine used to allow vessels to continue all the way to Troyes; this canal has been abandoned since 1957. The average depth of the Seine today at Paris is about 9.5 metres.
Until locks were installed to raise the level in the 1800s, the river was much shallower within the city most of the time, consisted of a small channel of continuous flow bordered by sandy banks. Today the depth is controlled and the entire width of the river between the built-up banks on either side is filled with water; the average flow of the river is low, only a few cubic metres per second, but much higher flows are possible during periods of heavy runoff. Special reservoirs upstream help to maintain a constant level for the river through the city, but during periods of extreme runoff significant increases in river level may occur. A severe period of high water in January 1910 resulted in extensive flooding throughout the city; the Seine again rose to threatening levels in 1924, 1955, 1982, 1999–2000, June 2016, January 2018. After a first-level flood alert in 2003, about 100,000 works of art were moved out of Paris, the largest relocation of art since World War II. Much of the art in Paris is kept in underground storage rooms.
A 2002 report by the French government stated the worst-case Seine flood scenario would cost 10 billion euros and cut telephone service for a million Parisians, leaving 200,000 without electricity and 100,000 without gas. In January 2018 the Seine again flooded. An official warning was issued on January 24 that heavy rainfall was to cause the river to flood. By January 27, the river was rising; the Deputy Mayor of Paris, Colombe Brossel, warned that the heavy rain was caused by climate change, that "We have to understand that climatic change is not a word, it's a reality." The basin area is 78,910 square kilometres, 2 percent of, forest and 78 percent cultivated land. In addition to Paris, three other cities with a population over 100,000 are in the Seine watershed: Le Havre at the estuary, Rouen in the Seine valley and Reims at the northern limit—with an annual urban growth rate of 0.2 percent. The population density is 201 per square kilometer. Periodically
The nave is the central part of a church, stretching from the main entrance or rear wall, to the transepts, or in a church without transepts, to the chancel. When a church contains side aisles, as in a basilica-type building, the strict definition of the term "nave" is restricted to the central aisle. In a broader, more colloquial sense, the nave includes all areas available for the lay worshippers, including the side-aisles and transepts. Either way, the nave is distinct from the area reserved for clergy; the nave extends from the entry—which may have a separate vestibule —to the chancel and may be flanked by lower side-aisles separated from the nave by an arcade. If the aisles are high and of a width comparable to the central nave, the structure is sometimes said to have three naves, it provides the central approach to the high altar. The term nave is from navis, the Latin word for ship, an early Christian symbol of the Church as a whole, with a possible connection to the "ship of St. Peter" or the Ark of Noah.
The term may have been suggested by the keel shape of the vaulting of a church. In many Scandinavian and Baltic countries a model ship is found hanging in the nave of a church, in some languages the same word means both'nave' and'ship', as for instance Danish skib, Swedish skepp or Spanish; the earliest churches were built when builders were familiar with the form of the Roman basilica, a public building for business transactions. It had a wide central area, with aisles separated by columns, with windows near the ceiling. Old St. Peter's Basilica in Rome is an early church, it was built in the 4th century on the orders of Roman emperor Constantine I, replaced in the 16th century. The nave, the main body of the building, is the section set apart for the laity, while the chancel is reserved for the clergy. In medieval churches the nave was separated from the chancel by the rood screen. Medieval naves were divided into the repetition of form giving an effect of great length. During the Renaissance, in place of dramatic effects there were more balanced proportions.
Longest nave in Denmark: Aarhus Cathedral, 93 m Longest nave in England: St Albans Cathedral, St Albans, 85 m Longest nave in Ireland: St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, 91 m, externally Longest nave in France: Bourges Cathedral, 91 m, including choir where a crossing would be if there were transepts Longest nave in Germany: Cologne cathedral, 58 m, including two bays between the towers Longest nave in Italy: St Peter's Basilica in Rome, 91 m, in four bays Longest nave in Spain: Seville, 60 m, in five bays Longest nave in the United States: Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York City, United States, 70 m Highest vaulted nave: Beauvais Cathedral, France, 48 m, but only one bay of the nave was built. Highest completed nave: Rome, St. Peter's, Italy, 46 m Abbey, with architectural discussion and groundplans Cathedral architecture Cathedral diagram List of highest church naves
The Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Amiens, or Amiens Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic church. The cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of Amiens, it is situated on a slight ridge overlooking the River Somme in Amiens, the administrative capital of the Picardy region of France, some 120 kilometres north of Paris. Medieval cathedral builders were trying to maximize the internal dimensions in order to reach for the heavens and bring in more light. In that regard, the Amiens cathedral is the tallest complete cathedral in France, its stone-vaulted nave reaching an internal height of 42.30 metres. It has the greatest interior volume of any French cathedral, estimated at 200,000 cubic metres; the cathedral was built between 1220 and c. 1270 and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. Although it has lost most of its original stained glass, Amiens Cathedral is renowned for the quality and quantity of early 13th-century Gothic sculpture in the main west façade and the south transept portal, a large quantity of polychrome sculpture from periods inside the building.
The lack of documentation concerning the construction of the Gothic cathedral may be in part the result of fires that destroyed the chapter archives in 1218 and again in 1258—a fire that damaged the cathedral itself. Bishop Evrard de Fouilly initiated work on the cathedral in 1220. Robert de Luzarches was the architect until 1228, was followed by Thomas de Cormont until 1258, his son, Renaud de Cormont, acted as the architect until 1288. The chronicle of Corbie gives a completion date for the cathedral of 1266. Finishing works continued, however, its floors are covered with a number such as the bent cross. The labyrinth was installed in 1288; the cathedral contains the alleged head of John the Baptist, a relic brought from Constantinople by Wallon de Sarton as he was returning from the Fourth Crusade. The construction of the cathedral at this period can be seen as resulting from a coming together of necessity and opportunity; the destruction of earlier buildings by fire, failed attempts at rebuilding forced the rapid construction of a building that has a good deal of artistic unity.
The long and peaceful reign of Louis IX of France brought prosperity to the region, based on thriving agriculture and a booming cloth trade, that made the investment possible. The great cathedrals of Reims and Chartres are contemporary; the original design of the flying buttresses around the choir had them placed too high to counteract the force of the ceiling arch pushing outwards resulting in excessive lateral forces being placed on the vertical columns. The structure was only saved when, centuries masons placed a second row of more robust flying buttresses that connected lower down on the outer wall; this fix failed to counteract similar issues with the lower wall which began to develop large cracks around the late Middle Ages. This was solved by another patch by the master mason, Pierre Tarisel, that consisted of a wrought iron bar chain being installed around the mezzanine level to resist the forces pushing the stone columns outward; the chain was installed red hot to act as a cinch. The west front of the cathedral, built in a single campaign from 1220 to 1236, shows an unusual degree of artistic unity: its lower tier with three vast deep porches is capped with the gallery of twenty-two over lifesize kings, which stretches across the entire façade beneath the rose window.
Above the rose window there is an open arcade, the galerie des sonneurs. Flanking the nave, the two towers were built without close regard to the former design, the south tower being finished in 1366, the north one, reaching higher, in 1406; the western portals of the cathedral are famous for their elaborate sculpture, featuring a gallery of locally-important saints and large eschatological scenes. Statues of saints in the portal of the cathedral have been identified as including the locally venerated Saints Victoricus and Gentian, Saint Domitius, Saint Ulphia, Saint Fermin; the spire over the central crossing was added between 1529 and 1533. The surface area is 7,700 square meters. During the process of laser cleaning in the 1990s, it was discovered that the western façade of the cathedral was painted in multiple colours. A technique was perfected to determine the exact make-up of the colours as they were applied in the 13th century. In conjunction with the laboratories of EDF and the expertise of the Society Skertzo, elaborate lighting techniques were developed to project these colours directly on the façade with precision, recreating the polychromatic appearance of the 13th century.
When projected on the statues around the portals, the result is a stunning display that brings the figures to life. The projected colors are faint to photograph, but a good quality DSLR camera provides excellent results, as shown below; the full effect of the colour may be best appreciated by direct viewing, with musical accompaniment, which can be done at the Son et lumière shows which are held on Summer evenings, during the Christmas Fair, over the New Year. Cathedral exterior gallery Amiens cathedral contains the largest medieval interior in Western Europe, supported by 126 pillars. Both the nave and the chancel are vast but light, with considerable amounts of stained glass surviving, despite the depredations of war; the ambulatory surrounding the choir is richly decorated with polychrome sculpture and flanked by numerous chapels. One of the most sumptuous is the Drapers' chapel; the cloth industry was the most dynamic component of
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona