Ludovico Sforza of Milan, seeking an ally against the Republic of Venice, encouraged Charles VIII of France to invade Italy, using the Angevin claim to the throne of Naples as a pretext. For several months, French forces moved through Italy virtually unopposed, Charles VIII made triumphant entries into Pisa on November 8,1494, Florence on November 17,1494, and Rome on December 31,1494. Upon reaching the city of Monte San Giovanni in the Kingdom of Naples, Charles VIII sent envoys to the town, the garrison killed and mutilated the envoys and sent the bodies back to the French lines. This enraged the French army so that reduced the castle in the town with blistering artillery fire on February 9,1495 and stormed the fort. This was the sack of Naples. News of the French Armys sack of Naples provoked a reaction among the city-states of Northern Italy, the League was specifically formed to resist French aggression. The League was established on 31 March after negotiations by Venice, Milan and the Holy Roman Empire.
Later on the League consisted of the Holy Roman Empire, the Duchy of Milan, the Papal States, the Republic of Florence, the Duchy of Mantua and this coalition, cut Charles army off from returning to France. After establishing a government in Naples, Charles started to march north on his return to France. However, in the town of Fornovo he met the League army. In contemporary tradition, the battle counted as a Holy League victory, because the French forces had to leave, to the Italian coalition, however, it was at best a pyrrhic victory, in that its strategic outcome and long-term consequences were unfavorable. Although the League managed to force Charles VIII off the battlefield, it suffered much higher casualties and could not prevent the opposing army crossing the Italian lands as it returned to France. As a result of Charles VIIIs expedition, the states of Italy were shown once. In fact, the individual Italian states could not field armies comparable to those of the feudal monarchies of Europe in numbers.
Thus, Charles VIII lost all that he conquered in Italy, King Charles VIII died on April 7,1498 and was succeeded to the throne of France by his cousin, Louis II, Duke of Orléans, who became Louis XII of France. Ludovico Sforza retained his throne in Milan until 1499, when Charless successor, Louis XII of France, invaded Lombardy, Louis XII justified his claim to the Duchy of Milan by right of his paternal grandfather, Louis duc dOrléans having married Valentina Visconti in 1387. Valentina Visconti was the heir to the Duchy of Milan in the Visconti dynasty, the marriage contract between Valentina Visconti and Louis, duc dOrléans, guaranteed that in failure of male heirs, she would inherit the Visconti dominions. However, when the Visconti dynasty died out in 1447, the Milanese ignored the Orleans claim to the Duchy of Milan, bitter factionalism arose under the new republic which set the stage for Francisco Sforza to seize control of Milan in 1450
Battle of Pavia
The Battle of Pavia, fought on the morning of 24 February 1525, was the decisive engagement of the Italian War of 1521–26. In the four-hour battle, the French army was split and defeated in detail, the French suffered massive casualties, including many of the chief nobles of France. Francis himself was captured by Habsburg troops and imprisoned by Charles V and forced to sign the humiliating Treaty of Madrid, the outcome of the battle cemented Habsburg ascendancy in Italy. The French, in possession of Lombardy at the start of the Italian War of 1521–26, had forced to abandon it after their defeat at the Battle of Bicocca in 1522. Charles de Lannoy now launched an invasion of Provence under the command of Fernando dAvalos, Marquess of Pescara, in mid-October 1524, Francis himself crossed the Alps and advanced on Milan at the head of an army numbering more than 40,000. Bourbon and dAvalos, their troops not yet recovered from the campaign in Provence, were in no position to offer serious resistance.
The French army moved in columns, brushing aside Imperial attempts to hold its advance. Having entered Milan and installed Louis II de la Trémoille as the governor, Francis advanced on Pavia, the main mass of French troops arrived at Pavia in the last days of October. By 2 November, Anne de Montmorency had crossed the Ticino River and invested the city from the south, inside were about 9,000 men, mainly mercenaries whom Antonio de Leyva was able to pay only by melting the church plate. A period of skirmishing and artillery bombardments followed, and several breaches had been made in the walls by mid-November, in early December, a Spanish force commanded by Ugo de Moncada landed near Genoa, intending to interfere in a conflict between pro-Valois and pro-Habsburg factions in the city. Francis dispatched a force under the Marquis of Saluzzo to intercept them. Confronted by the more numerous French and left without support by the arrival of a pro-Valois fleet commanded by Andrea Doria. Francis signed a agreement with Pope Clement VII, who pledged not to assist Charles in exchange for Franciss assistance with the conquest of Naples.
Against the advice of his commanders, Francis detached a portion of his forces under the Duke of Albany. In January 1525, Lannoy was reinforced by the arrival of Georg Frundsberg with 15,000 fresh landsknechts from Germany, by 2 February, Lannoy was only a few miles from Pavia. Francis had encamped the majority of his forces in the walled park of Mirabello outside the city walls. Skirmishing and sallies by the garrison continued through the month of February, the times given here are taken from Konstams reconstruction of the battle. On the evening of 23 February, Lannoys imperial troops, which had been encamped outside the east wall of the park, at the same time, the Imperial artillery began a bombardment of the French siege lines—which had become routine during the extended siege—in order to conceal Lannoys movement
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806. On 25 December 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as Emperor, reviving the title in Western Europe, more than three centuries after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The title was revived in 962 when Otto I was crowned emperor, fashioning himself as the successor of Charlemagne, some historians refer to the coronation of Charlemagne as the origin of the empire, while others prefer the coronation of Otto I as its beginning. Scholars generally concur, however, in relating an evolution of the institutions and principles constituting the empire, the office of Holy Roman Emperor was traditionally elective, although frequently controlled by dynasties. Emperor Francis II dissolved the empire on 6 August 1806, after the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine by Napoleon, before 1157, the realm was merely referred to as the Roman Empire.
In a decree following the 1512 Diet of Cologne, the name was changed to Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, by the end of the 18th century, the term Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation had fallen out of official use. As Roman power in Gaul declined during the 5th century, local Germanic tribes assumed control, by the middle of the 8th century, the Merovingians had been reduced to figureheads, and the Carolingians, led by Charles Martel, had become the de facto rulers. In 751, Martel’s son Pepin became King of the Franks, the Carolingians would maintain a close alliance with the Papacy. In 768 Pepin’s son Charlemagne became King of the Franks and began an expansion of the realm. He eventually incorporated the territories of present-day France, northern Italy, on Christmas Day of 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor, restoring the title in the west for the first time in over three centuries. After the death of Charles the Fat in 888, the Carolingian Empire broke apart, according to Regino of Prüm, the parts of the realm spewed forth kinglets, and each part elected a kinglet from its own bowels.
After the death of Charles the Fat, those crowned emperor by the pope controlled only territories in Italy, the last such emperor was Berengar I of Italy, who died in 924. Around 900, autonomous stem duchies reemerged in East Francia, on his deathbed, Conrad yielded the crown to his main rival, Henry the Fowler of Saxony, who was elected king at the Diet of Fritzlar in 919. Henry reached a truce with the raiding Magyars, and in 933 he won a first victory against them in the Battle of Riade, Henry died in 936, but his descendants, the Liudolfing dynasty, would continue to rule the Eastern kingdom for roughly a century. Upon Henry the Fowlers death, his son and designated successor, was elected King in Aachen in 936 and he overcame a series of revolts from an elder brother and from several dukes. After that, the managed to control the appointment of dukes. In 951, Otto came to the aid of Adelaide, the queen of Italy, defeating her enemies, marrying her. In 955, Otto won a victory over the Magyars in the Battle of Lechfeld
Habsburg Spain refers to the history of Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries, when it was ruled by kings from the House of Habsburg. The Habsburg rulers reached the zenith of their influence and power and this period of Spanish history has been referred to as the Age of Expansion. The Habsburg years were a Spanish Golden Age of cultural efflorescence, in some cases, these individual kingdoms themselves were confederations, most notably, the Crown of Aragon. Isabella and Ferdinand were bestowed the title of Most Catholic Monarchs by Pope Alexander VI in 1496, the Habsburg period is formative of the notion of Spain in the sense that was institutionalized in the 18th century. Her husband Philip I was the Habsburg son of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, shortly thereafter Joanna began to lapse into insanity, though how mentally ill she actually was the topic of some debate. In 1506, Philip I was declared jure uxoris king, but he died that year under mysterious circumstances, possibly poisoned by his father-in-law, Ferdinand II.
Since their oldest son Charles was only six, the Cortes reluctantly allowed Joannas father Ferdinand II to rule the country as the regent of Joanna, Spain was now in personal union under Ferdinand II of Aragon. He attempted to enlarge Spains sphere of influence in Italy, as ruler of Aragon, Ferdinand had been involved in the struggle against France and the Republic of Venice for control of Italy, these conflicts became the center of Ferdinands foreign policy as king. The war was less of a success than that against Venice, Ferdinand would die that year. Ferdinands death led to the ascension of young Charles to the throne as Charles I of Castile and Aragon and his Spanish inheritance included all the Spanish possessions in the New World and around the Mediterranean. Upon the death of his Habsburg father in 1506, Charles had inherited the Netherlands and Franche-Comté, in 1519, with the death of his paternal grandfather Maximilian I, Charles inherited the Habsburg territories in Germany, and was duly elected as Holy Roman Emperor that year.
At that point and King Charles was the most powerful man in Christendom, the accumulation of so much power by one man and one dynasty greatly concerned Francis I of France, who found himself surrounded by Habsburg territories. In 1521 Francis invaded the Spanish possessions in Italy and Navarre, the war was a disaster for France, which suffered defeats at Biccoca and Landriano before Francis relented and abandoned Milan to Spain once more. Charless victory at the Battle of Pavia surprised many Italians and Germans, Pope Clement VII switched sides and now joined forces with France and prominent Italian states against the Habsburg Emperor, in the War of the League of Cognac. Henry VIII of England, who bore a grudge against France than he held against the Emperor for standing in the way of his divorce. Although the Spanish army was defeated at the Battle of Ceresole, in Savoy Henry fared better. The Austrians, led by Charless younger brother Ferdinand, continued to fight the Ottomans in the east, with France defeated, Charles went to take care of an older problem, the Schmalkaldic League.
The Protestant Reformation had begun in Germany in 1517, the German Peasants War broke out in Germany in 1524 and ravaged the country until it was brutally put down in 1526, even as far away from Germany as he was, was committed to keeping order
Pescara Italian pronunciation, listen is the capital city of the Province of Pescara, in the Abruzzo region of Italy. As of 1 January 2007 it was the most populated city within Abruzzo at 123,059 residents, the surrounding area was formed into the province of Pescara. The poet Gabriele DAnnunzio, a native of Pescara, was a sponsor for the creation of the new city. The main commercial street of the city is Corso Umberto I, the rectangle that it forms with Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and Via Nicola Fabrizi encloses the main shopping district, where several of the best fashion shops are located. Corso Manthonè, the course of the old Pescara has, for many years, DAnnunzio University to the south, a business district has grown up over the years. To the immediate south of the mouth of the river is the marina, Pescara has an important international airport, called Abruzzo Airport and one of the most important and major touristic ports of Adriatic Sea and Italy, the Port of Pescara. Pescara is situated at sea level on the Adriatic coast and has developed some centuries BC onwards at the strategic position around the mouth of the Aterno-Pescara River.
The urban fabric of the city spreads over a flat T-shaped area, which occupies the valley around the river, to the northwest and the southwest, the city is expanding into the surrounding hills which were first occupied in the Neolithic period. The whole city is affected by the presence of groundwater, the level of which varies by up to a metre, the city is very close to the mountains, and you can reach the ski slopes of Passo Lanciano in just 30 minutes. Pescara has a borderline Mediterranean climate and humid climate with hot summers. Since it has only one month with less than 40 millimetres of rainfall. Not to mention, although there is a dry tendency in summer, August is wetter than the winter month of February. The average temperature is around 7 °C in the coldest month and 24.5 °C in the warmest month, the lowest temperature recorded in the city was −13 °C on 4 January 1979. The highest was registered on 30 August 2007 at 45 °C, precipitation is low and concentrated mainly in the late autumn.
Pescara is a city, but its climate is influenced by the surrounding mountains. Under northeasterly winds Pescara suffers precipitation which is weak. Also from the north east comes winter weather from Siberia that, on average, in summer the weather is mostly stable and sunny with temperatures that, thanks to the sea breeze, rarely exceed 35 degrees unless a southwesterly Libeccio is blowing. Particularly in summer, but in winter, the high humidity leads to morning and evening mist or haze, even without a significant historical importance, Pescaras origins precede the Roman conquest
War of the League of Cognac
Shocked by the defeat of the French in the Italian War of 1521, Pope Clement VII, together with the Republic of Venice, began to organize an alliance to drive Charles V from Italy. Francis, having signed the Treaty of Madrid, was released from his captivity in Madrid and returned to France, where he quickly announced his intention to assist Clement. Thus, in 1526, the League of Cognac was signed by Francis, Venice and the Sforza of Milan, Henry VIII of England, thwarted in his desire to have the treaty signed in England, refused to join. The League quickly seized Lodi, but Imperial troops marched into Lombardy, the Colonna, organized an attack on Rome, defeating the Papal forces and briefly seizing control of the city in September 1526, they were soon paid off and departed, however. Charles V now gathered a force of landsknechts under Georg Frundsberg and a Spanish army under Charles of Bourbon, the two forces combined at Piacenza and advanced on Rome. Francesco Guicciardini, now in command of the Papal armies, proved unable to resist them, and his escape allowed by the Swiss Guards last stand.
The looting of Rome, and the consequent removal of Clement from any role in the war. On 30 April 1527, Henry VIII and Francis signed the Treaty of Westminster, however, soon deserted the French for Charles. The siege collapsed as plague broke out in the French camp, killing most of the army along with Foix, following the defeat of his armies, Francis sought peace with Charles. The final Treaty of Cambrai, signed on 5 August, removed France from the war, leaving Venice, Charles, having arrived in Genoa, proceeded to Bologna to meet with the Pope. Clement absolved the participants of the sack of Rome and promised to crown Charles, the Republic of Florence alone continued to resist the Imperial forces, which were led by the Prince of Orange. Alessandro de Medici was installed as Duke of Florence, the Black Bands of Giovanni and Diplomacy During the Italian Wars. Pisa, Pisa University Press, Edizioni Plus,2005, New York, St. Martins Press,1994. MHQ, The Quarterly Journal of Military History 18, no, translated by Isola van den Hoven-Vardon.
New York, Oxford University Press,2002, garden City, New York, Doran & Co.1937. Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe, Technology, Johns Hopkins University Press,1997. Florence, The Biography of a City, New York, W. W. Norton & Company,1993. Pavia 1525, The Climax of the Italian Wars, a History of the Art of War in the Sixteenth Century
French Wars of Religion
Approximately 3,000,000 people perished as a result of violence and disease in what is accounted as the second deadliest European religious war. Unlike all other wars at the time, the French wars retained their religious character without being confounded by dynastic considerations. At the conclusion of the conflict in 1598, Huguenots were granted rights and freedoms by the Edict of Nantes. The wars weakened the authority of the monarchy, already fragile under the rule of Francis II and Charles IX, apart from previously mentioned names, the wars have been variously described as the Eight Wars of Religion, or simply the Wars of Religion. However, the Massacre of Vassy in 1562 is agreed to begin the French Wars of Religion, during this time, complex diplomatic negotiations and agreements of peace were followed by renewed conflict and power struggles. Humanism, until the late 1520s, served as a ground for the French Protestant Reformation. The spirit of the Renaissance interested Francis I and he encouraged the study of the classics by establishing royal professorships in Paris, equipping more people with the knowledge necessary to understand the classics.
Francis I had no qualms with the religious order. Through the Concordat of Bologna, Pope Leo X increased the power of the king over the church, nomination of clergy depended upon the kings choice, in France, unlike in Germany, the nobles supported the policies and the status quo of their time. The establishment of the college and the spread of the printing press served the purposes of the Reformation. The printing press made mass production of inexpensive and fueled the spread of knowledge in all disciplines. Interest in the classics soared and literature was available to a wider audience. The accessibility coupled with romanticism for the knowledge from the past that built empires, precise language and eloquence were valued among scholars and true understanding of the classics meant studying them from the originals. Theological and religious thoughts were disseminated at an unprecedented pace, ideas about the Reformation were widespread in France by 1519. John Froben, a humanist printer, published a collection of Luther’s works, in one correspondence, he reported that 600 copies of such works were being shipped to France and Spain and were sold in Paris.
The humanist perspective on understanding Scriptures had theological and ecclesiastical implications, studying Scriptures in the original flourished in the Renaissance period. This contrasted the heavy reliance of the church on the Vulgate - the Latin translation of the Bible. The Meaux Circle was formed by a group of humanists including Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples and Guillaume Briçonnet, bishop of Meaux, in the effort to reform preaching, the Meaux circle was joined by Vatable, a Hebraist and Guillaume Budé the classicist and librarian to the king
Battle of Ceresole
The Battle of Ceresole was an encounter between a French army and the combined forces of the Holy Roman Empire and Spain during the Italian War of 1542–46. Despite having inflicted casualties on the Imperial troops, the French subsequently failed to exploit their victory by taking Milan. The battle opened with several hours of skirmishing between opposing bands of arquebusiers and an artillery exchange, after which dAvalos ordered a general advance. In the center, Imperial landsknechts clashed with French and Swiss infantry, Ceresole was one of the few pitched battles during the latter half of the Italian Wars. By the winter of 1543–44, a stalemate had developed in the Piedmont between the French, under the Sieur de Boutières, and the Imperial army, under dAvalos, the two armies occupied themselves primarily with attacking each others outlying strongholds. Boutières seized San Germano Vercellese, near Vercelli, and laid siege to Ivrea, dAvalos, captured Carignano, only fifteen miles south of Turin, and proceeded to garrison and fortify it.
As the two returned to winter quarters, Francis I of France replaced Boutières with François de Vendôme, Count of Enghien. Francis sent additional troops to the Piedmont, including several hundred cavalry, some companies of French infantry from Dauphiné and Languedoc. In January 1544, Enghien laid siege to Carignano, which was defended by Imperial troops under the command of Pirro Colonna, returning to Italy, brought with him nearly a hundred volunteers from among the young noblemen of the court, including the young Gaspard de Coligny. DAvalos, having waited for the arrival a large body of landsknechts dispatched by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, set off from Asti towards Carignano. His total force included 12, 500–18,000 infantry, of which perhaps 4,000 were arquebusiers or musketeers, he was able to gather about 800–1,000 cavalry. DAvalos recognized the weakness of his cavalry, but considered it to be compensated by the experience of his infantry. Enghien, having learned of the Imperial advance, left a force at Carignano and assembled the remainder of his army at Carmagnola.
Enghien and Montluc felt that the ground would give the French cavalry a significant tactical advantage. By this point, the French army consisted of around 11, 000–13,000 infantry,600 light cavalry, and 900–1,250 heavy cavalry, Enghien and dAvalos each had about twenty pieces of artillery. Enghiens troops were positioned along the crest of a ridge that was higher in the center than on either side, the French army was divided into the traditional battle and rearward corps, corresponding to the center and right and left wings of the French line. On the far right of the French position was a body of light cavalry, consisting of three companies under Des Thermes and Mauré, with a total strength of around 450–500 men. The center of the French line was formed by thirteen companies of veteran Swiss, numbering about 4,000, under the joint command of William Frülich of Soleure and a captain named St. Julian
Ferrante I Gonzaga was an Italian condottiero, a member of the House of Gonzaga and the founder of the branch of the Gonzaga of Guastalla. He was born in Mantua, the son of Francesco II Gonzaga. At the age of sixteen he was sent to the court of Spain as a page to the future emperor Charles V and he became a Knight in the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1531. He defended Naples from the assault of the French troops under Odet of Foix, Viscount of Lautrec, for this feat Pope Clement VII, a member of the Medici who had been ousted from that city, named him papal governor of Benevento. Again for Charles V, he fought against the Turks at Tunis in 1535 and he served Charles as Viceroy of Sicily, and Forte Gonzaga was named in his honour. He accompanied the Emperor to Germany in 1543 and fought the campaign that enforced the Treaty of Crépy. He served as Governor of the Duchy of Milan, in which role he fought in the War of Parma, in 1534 Ferrante married Isabella di Capua, who brought him the fiefdoms of Molfetta and Giovinazzo.
Ferrantes villa near Milan, La Gualtiera, is now known as La Simonetta, Ferrante rebuilt it in the 1550s, commissioning the services of the Tuscan architect Domenico Giuntallodi of Prato. His son Cesare commissioned from Leone a more public monument from Leone, a bronze Triumph of Ferrante Gonzaga over Envy, like all the Gonzaga, Ferrante was a patron of tapestry-makers, a series Fructus Belli was woven for him, and a lighter series of Putti. He died in Brussels from a fall from a horse and battle fatigue received at the Battle of St. Quentin and he was buried in the sacristy of the Milan Cathedral. Ferrante was succeeded in Guastalla by his son Cesare and he was the ambassador to Henry VIII of England in 1543. In conspiracy theories, Ferrante has been alleged to be the fourteenth Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, according to the Grand Masters version found in Dossiers Secrets dHenri Lobineau
Expulsion of the Moriscos
The Expulsion of the Moriscos was decreed by King Philip III of Spain on April 9,1609. The Moriscos were descendants of Spains Muslim population that converted to Christianity by coercion or by Royal Decree in the early 16th century, between 1609 through 1614, the Crown systematically expelled Moriscos through a number of decrees affecting Spains various kingdoms, meeting varying levels of success. Dadson estimates that, out of a total Morisco population of 500,000, of those permanently expelled, the majority finally settled in the Maghreb or the Barbary coast, with between 30,000 and 90,000 ultimately returning to Spain. Those who avoided expulsion or who managed to return to Spain merged into the dominant culture, the last mass prosecution against Moriscos for crypto-Islamic practices took place in Granada in 1727, with most of those convicted receiving relatively light sentences. By the end of the 18th century, indigenous Islam and Morisco identity were considered to have been extinguished in Spain.
While some Moriscos did hold influence and power, and even had positions in the clergy, particularly in Valencia, where sectarian conflict existed, old Christian communities suspected the Moriscos of not being sincere in their Christianity. The Moors who remained Muslims were known as Mudéjar, as such the conflict between Old Christians and New Christians was an ethnically inspired one. After the suppression of the revolt, Philip ordered the dispersal of the Moriscos of Granada to other areas, Philip expected that this would break down the Morisco community and facilitate their assimilation into the rest of the Christian population. This may have happened to a degree to Granadas Moriscos, but not in Valencia or Aragon, at around the same time, Spain recognized the loss of more than half of its holdings in the Low Countries to the Protestant Dutch Republic. The ruling class already thought of Spain as the defender of Catholic Christendom, and this helped lead to a radicalization of thinking.
Some critiques of Spain from Protestant countries included insults of the Spanish as corrupted by the Muslims and crypto-Muslims amongst them, the situation further deteriorated in the early 17th century. A recession struck in 1604 as the amount of gold and treasure from Spains American holdings fell, the reduction in the standard of living led to increased tension between the Moriscos and Old Christians for precious jobs. The number of Moriscos in Spain at the time of expulsion is unknown, figures of between 300,000 and 400,000 are often cited. However, modern studies estimate between 500,000 and one million moriscos present in Spain at the beginning of the 17th century out of a population of 8.5 million. The rich and those who lived in the cities were mostly Christians, while the Moriscos occupied the outlying countryside, in the Crown of Castile, which included the Guadalquivir valley in present Andalusia the situation was considerably different. Local sympathies for Moriscos meant that Castile and Andalusia experienced only half-hearted efforts at identifying and expelling them, in the region of Valencia, which held the bulk of Aragons Morisco population, the situation was radically different to Castile.
Valencian moriscos were the majority of the landless peasantry and lived segregated to Christian populations. Economic and social rivalry was a driver of resentment towards the them
France, officially the French Republic, is a country with territory in western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The European, or metropolitan, area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, Overseas France include French Guiana on the South American continent and several island territories in the Atlantic and Indian oceans. France spans 643,801 square kilometres and had a population of almost 67 million people as of January 2017. It is a unitary republic with the capital in Paris. Other major urban centres include Marseille, Lille, Toulouse, during the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. The area was annexed in 51 BC by Rome, which held Gaul until 486, France emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages, with its victory in the Hundred Years War strengthening state-building and political centralisation. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a colonial empire was established.
The 16th century was dominated by civil wars between Catholics and Protestants. France became Europes dominant cultural and military power under Louis XIV, in the 19th century Napoleon took power and established the First French Empire, whose subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870. 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, was formed in 1958 and remains to this day. Algeria and nearly all the colonies became independent in the 1960s with minimal controversy and typically retained close economic. France has long been a centre of art, science. It hosts Europes fourth-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and receives around 83 million foreign tourists annually, France is a developed country with the worlds sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest by purchasing power parity.
In terms of household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, France remains a great power in the world, 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 member state of the European Union and the Eurozone. It is a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, originally applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name France comes from the Latin Francia, or country of the Franks