Mary Joe Fernández
Mary Joe Fernández Godsick is an American former professional tennis player. She doubles. Fernández was the runner-up in three Grand Slam singles tournaments and won two Grand Slam women's doubles titles and three Olympic medals: two golds and one bronze. Mary Joe Fernández first came to the tennis world's attention as an outstanding junior player who won four straight Orange Bowl junior titles. In 1985, aged 14 years and eight days, she became the youngest player to win a main draw match at the US Open when she defeated Sara Gomer in the first round, she turned professional in 1986. She won, her first top-level singles title came in 1990 at the Tokyo Indoor championships. She reached her first Grand Slam singles final in 1990 at the Australian Open, where she was defeated by Steffi Graf, she finished. In 1991, Fernández teamed with Patty Fendick to win the women's doubles title at the Australian Open, she was back in the Australian Open singles final in this time losing to Monica Seles. Fernández was selected to represent the United States at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, winning a gold medal in women's doubles and a bronze medal in singles.
In the quarterfinals of the 1993 French Open, she staged a dramatic comeback against Gabriela Sabatini after Sabatini took a 6–1, 5–1 lead. But Fernández raised the level of her game and saved five match points in the second set before winning a tiebreak. In the third set, Mary Joe got rid of Sabatini by hitting a down the line winner, ending the three-hour, 36-minute marathon by a final score of 1–6, 7–6, 10–8, she faced second seeded Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the semifinals and defeated Arantxa 6–2, 6–2, ending a three-match losing streak against the Spaniard. Her opponent in the final was top seeded Steffi Graf. Fernández took the opening set 6–4, but Graf rallied to win by a final score of 4–6, 6–2, 6–4. Fernández won her second Grand Slam doubles title in 1996 at the French Open, partnering with Lindsay Davenport; the pair went on to capture the year-end WTA Tour Championships doubles title that year. Fernández was a late replacement for Chanda Rubin on the United States team for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
She won a second straight women's doubles gold medal, again in partnership with Gigi Fernández. She was entered in the singles competition, reached the semifinals, where she was defeated for the bronze medal by Jana Novotná; that year, Fernández was a member of the U. S. team that won the Fed Cup. Fernández won her final tour singles title in 1997 at the German Open in Berlin, her final doubles title came that year in Madrid. She retired from the tour in 2000, having won seven singles titles, 17 WTA doubles titles, two ITF women's doubles titles. In 2003, Dr. Wade Exum, the United States Olympic Committee's director of drug control administration from 1991 to 2000, gave copies of documents to Sports Illustrated which revealed that some 100 American athletes who failed drug tests and should have been prevented from competing in the Olympics were cleared to compete. Among those athletes was Fernández. Since retiring from the tour, Mary Joe Fernández has served as a tennis commentator for ESPN and joined CBS Sports as an analyst for the 2005 US Open.
She coached the US Fed Cup team from 2008 through 2016 and served as the woman's coach for the 2012 U. S. Olympic tennis team in London. Fernández was born in the Dominican Republic, her father José is from Spain, her mother Silvia Pino is from Cuba. She completed her high school education at the Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in Miami, Florida. On April 8, 2000, Fernández married Anthony Lewisohn Godsick, a sports agent with International Management Group, they have two children. She has homes in Cleveland and Key Biscayne, Florida. Mary Joe Fernández lost in the semifinals to Steffi Graf 4–6, 2–6. In 1992, there was no bronze medal play-off match, both beaten semifinal players received bronze medals. NH = tournament not held. A = did not participate in the tournament. SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played. Mary Joe Fernández at the Women's Tennis Association Mary Joe Fernández at the International Tennis Federation Mary Joe Fernández at the Fed Cup Mary-Joe Fernandez ESPN Bio
The Championships, Wimbledon
The Championships, Wimbledon known as Wimbledon, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, is regarded by many as the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, since 1877 and is played on outdoor grass courts. Wimbledon is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the others being the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open. Since the Australian Open shifted to hardcourt in 1988, Wimbledon is the only major still played on grass; the tournament traditionally took place over two weeks in late June and early July, starting on the last Monday in June and culminating with the Ladies' and Gentlemen's Singles Finals, scheduled for the Saturday and Sunday at the end of the second week. However recent changes to the tennis calendar have seen the event moved back by a week to begin in early July. Five major events are held each year, with additional junior and invitational competitions taking place. Wimbledon traditions include a strict dress code for Royal patronage.
Strawberries and cream is traditionally consumed at the tournament. In 2017, fans consumed 10,000 litres of cream; the tournament is notable for the absence of sponsor advertising around the courts, except the advertisements of Rolex. In 2009, Wimbledon's Centre Court was fitted with a retractable roof to lessen the loss of playing time due to rain; the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club is a private club founded on 23 July 1868 as "The All England Croquet Club". Its first ground was at Nursery Road off Worple Road, Wimbledon. In 1876, lawn tennis, a game devised by Major Walter Clopton Wingfield a year or so earlier as an outdoor version of court tennis and given the name Sphairistikè, was added to the activities of the club. In spring 1877, the club was renamed "The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club" and signalled its change of name by instituting the first Lawn Tennis Championship. A new code of laws, replacing the code administered by the Marylebone Cricket Club, was drawn up for the event.
Today's rules are similar except for details such as the height of the net and posts and the distance of the service line from the net. The inaugural 1877 Wimbledon Championship started on 9 July 1877 and the Gentlemen's Singles was the only event held, it was won by Spencer Gore, an old Harrovian rackets player, from a field of 22. About 200 spectators paid one shilling each to watch the final; the lawns at the ground were arranged so that the principal court was in the middle with the others arranged around it, hence the title "Centre Court". The name was retained when the Club moved in 1922 to the present site in Church Road, although no longer a true description of its location. However, in 1980 four new courts were brought into commission on the north side of the ground, which meant the Centre Court was once more described; the opening of the new No. 1 Court in 1997 emphasised the description. By 1882, activity at the club was exclusively confined to lawn tennis and that year the word "croquet" was dropped from the title.
However, for sentimental reasons it was restored in 1899. In 1884, the club added Gentlemen's Doubles competitions. Ladies' Doubles and Mixed Doubles events were added in 1913; until 1922, the reigning champion had to play only in the final, against whomever had won through to challenge him/her. As with the other three Major or Grand Slam events, Wimbledon was contested by top-ranked amateur players; this changed with the advent of the open era in 1968. No British man won the singles event at Wimbledon between Fred Perry in 1936 and Andy Murray in 2013, while no British woman has won since Virginia Wade in 1977, although Annabel Croft and Laura Robson won the Girls' Championship in 1984 and 2008 respectively; the Championship was first televised in 1937. Though properly called "The Championships, Wimbledon", depending on sources the event is known as "The All England Lawn Tennis Championships", "The Wimbledon Championships" or "Wimbledon". From 1912 to 1924, the tournament was recognized by the International Lawn Tennis Federation as the "World Grass Court Championships".
Wimbledon is considered the world's premier tennis tournament and the priority of the Club is to maintain its leadership. To that end a long-term plan was unveiled in 1993, intended to improve the quality of the event for spectators, players and neighbours. Stage one of the plan was completed for the 1997 championships and involved building the new No. 1 Court in Aorangi Park, a broadcast centre, two extra grass courts and a tunnel under the hill linking Church Road and Somerset Road. Stage two involved the removal of the old No. 1 Court complex to make way for the new Millennium Building, providing extensive facilities for players, press and members, the extension of the West Stand of the Centre Court with 728 extra seats. Stage three has been completed with the construction of an entrance building, club staff housing, museum and ticket office. A new retractable roof was built in time for the 2009 championships, marking the first time that rain did not stop play for a lengthy time on Centre Court.
The Club tested the new roof at an event called A Centre Court Celebration on Sunday, 17 May 2009, which featured exhibition matches involving Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, Kim Clijsters and Tim Henman. The first Championship match to take place under the roof was the completion of the fourth round women's singles match between Dinara Safina and Amélie Mauresmo; the first match to be played in its entirety under the new roof took place between Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka on 29 June 2009. Murray was involve
US Open (tennis)
The United States Open Tennis Championships is a hard court tennis tournament. The tournament is the modern version of one of the oldest tennis championships in the world, the U. S. National Championship, for which men's singles was first played in 1881. Since 1987, the US Open has been chronologically the fourth and final Grand Slam tournament of the year; the other three, in chronological order, are the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon. The US Open starts on the last Monday of August and continues for two weeks, with the middle weekend coinciding with the U. S. Labor Day holiday; the tournament consists of five primary championships: men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles, mixed doubles. The tournament includes events for senior and wheelchair players. Since 1978, the tournament has been played on acrylic hard courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, New York City; the US Open is owned and organized by the United States Tennis Association, a non-profit organization, the chairperson of the US Open is Katrina Adams.
Revenue from ticket sales and television contracts are used to develop tennis in the United States. The US Open is the only Grand Slam tournament that employs tiebreakers in every set of a singles match. For the other three Grand Slam events, there are special scoring methods for a match that reaches 6–6 in the last possible set: in the French Open, the decisive set continues until a player takes a two-game lead, in Australia, an extended tiebreaker to 10 points is played, at Wimbledon, a tiebreaker is played only if the game score reaches 12–12; as with the US Open, those events use tiebreakers to decide the other sets. The US Open is the only Grand Slam tournament with 16 qualifiers in the women's singles draw; the tournament was first held in August 1881 on grass courts at the Newport Casino in Newport, Rhode Island. That year, only clubs that were members of the United States National Lawn Tennis Association were permitted to enter. Richard Sears won the men's singles at this tournament, the first of his seven consecutive singles titles.
From 1884 through 1911, the tournament used a challenge system whereby the defending champion automatically qualified for the next year's final, where he would play the winner of the all-comers tournament. In 1915, the national championship was relocated to the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, New York City; the effort to relocate it to New York City began as early as 1911 when a group of tennis players, headed by New Yorker Karl Behr, started working on it. In the first years of the U. S. National Championship, only men competed and the tournament was known as the U. S. National Singles Championships for Men. In 1887, six years after the men's nationals were first held, the first U. S. Women's National Singles Championship was held at the Philadelphia Cricket Club; the winner was 17-year-old Philadelphian Ellen Hansell. This was followed by the introduction of the U. S. Women's National Doubles Championship in 1899 and the U. S. Mixed Doubles Championship in 1892; the women's tournament used a challenge system from 1888 through 1918, except in 1917.
Between 1890 and 1906, sectional tournaments were held in the east and the west of the country to determine the best two doubles teams, which competed in a play-off for the right to compete against the defending champions in the challenge round. In early 1915, a group of about 100 tennis players signed a petition in favor of moving the tournament, they argued that most tennis clubs and fans were located in the New York City area and that it would therefore be beneficial for the development of the sport to host the national championship there. This view was opposed by another group of players that included eight former national singles champions; this contentious issue was brought to a vote at the annual USNLTA meeting on February 5, 1915, with 128 votes in favor of and 119 against relocation. From 1921 through 1923, the tournament was played at the Germantown Cricket Club in Philadelphia, it returned to the West Side Tennis Club in 1924 following completion of the 14,000-seat Forest Hills Stadium.
Although many regarded it as a major championship, the International Lawn Tennis Federation designated it as one of the world's major tournaments commencing in 1924. At the 1922 U. S. National Championships, the draw seeded players for the first time to prevent the leading players from playing each other in the early rounds; the open era began in 1968 when professional tennis players were allowed to compete for the first time at the Grand Slam tournament held at the West Side Tennis Club. The previous U. S. National Championships had been limited to amateur players. Except for mixed doubles, all events at the 1968 national tournament were open to professionals; that year, 96 men and 63 women entered, prize money totaled US$100,000. In 1970, the US Open became the first Grand Slam tournament to use a tiebreaker to decide a set that reached a 6–6 score in games. From 1970 through 1974, the US Open used a best-of-nine-point sudden-death tiebreaker before moving to the International Tennis Federation's best-of-twelve points system.
In 1973, the US Open became the first Grand Slam tournament to award equal prize money to men and women, with that year's singles champions, John Newcombe and Margaret Court, receiving US$25,000 each. Beginning in 1975, the tournament was played on clay courts instead of grass, floodlights allowed matches to be played at night. In 1978, the tournament moved from the West Side Tennis Club to the larger and newly constructed USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, three miles to the north; the tournam
The French Open called Roland-Garros, is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks between late May and early June at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, France. The venue is named after the French aviator Roland Garros, it is the premier clay court tennis championship event in the world and the second of four annual Grand Slam tournaments, the other three being the Australian Open and the US Open. The French Open is the only Grand Slam event held on clay, it is the zenith of the spring clay court season; because of the seven rounds needed for a championship, the slow-playing surface and the best-of-five-set men's singles matches, the event is considered to be the most physically demanding tennis tournament in the world. Named in French Championnats Internationaux de France de tennis and Tournoi de Roland-Garros, the tournament is referred to in English as the "French Open" and alternatively as "Roland Garros", the designation used by the tournament itself in all languages. French spelling rules dictate that in the name of a place or event named after a person, the elements of the name are joined together with a hyphen.
Therefore, the names of the stadium and the tournament are hyphenated as Roland-Garros. In 1891 the Championnat de France, referred to in English as the French Championships, began, they were only open to tennis players. The first winner was a Briton—H. Briggs—who was a Paris resident; the first women's singles tournament, with four entries, was held in 1897. The mixed doubles event was added in 1902 and the women's doubles in 1907; this "French club members only" tournament was played until 1924, using four different venues during that period: Île de Puteaux, in Puteaux, played on sand laid out on a bed of rubble. The Racing Club de France, played on clay. For one year, 1909, it was played at the Société Athlétique de la Villa Primrose in Bordeaux, on clay. Tennis Club de Paris, at Auteuil, played on clay. Another tournament, the World Hard Court Championships, is sometimes considered the precursor to the French Open as it was open to international competitors, it was held on clay courts at Stade Français in Saint-Cloud from 1912 to 1914 after World War I, was contested there again in 1920, 1921 and 1923, with the 1922 tournament held at Brussels, Belgium.
Winners of this tournament included world No. 1's such as Tony Wilding from New Zealand and Bill Tilden from the US. In 1924 there was no World Hard Court Championships due to tennis being played at the Paris Olympic Games. In 1925, the French Championships became open to all amateurs internationally and was designated a major championship by the ILTF, it was held at the Stade Français on clay courts. In 1926 the Racing Club de France hosted the event in Paris, site of the previous French Championship on clay. After the Mousquetaires or Philadelphia Four won the Davis Cup on American soil in 1927, the French decided to defend the cup in 1928 at a new tennis stadium at Porte d'Auteuil; the Stade de France had offered the tennis authorities three hectares of land with the condition that the new stadium must be named after the World War I pilot, Roland Garros. The new Stade de Roland Garros, its Center Court hosted that Davis Cup challenge. In 1928, the French Internationals were moved there, the event has been held there since.
During World War II the tournament was held from 1941 through 1945 on the same grounds but these editions are not recognized by the French governing body, Fédération Française de Tennis. In 1946 and 1947, the French Championships were held after Wimbledon, making it the third Grand Slam event of the year. In 1968, the French Championships became the first Grand Slam tournament to go open, allowing both amateurs and professionals to compete. Since 1981, new prizes have been presented: the Prix Citron and the Prix Bourgeon. In another novelty, since 2006 the tournament has begun on a Sunday, featuring 12 singles matches played on the three main courts. Additionally, on the eve of the tournament's opening, the traditional Benny Berthet exhibition day takes place, where the profits go to different charity associations. In March 2007, it was announced that the event would provide equal prize money for both men and women in all rounds for the first time. In 2010, it was announced that the French Open was considering a move away from Roland Garros as part of a continuing rejuvenation of the tournament.
Plans to renovate and expand Roland Garros have put aside any such consideration, the tournament remains in its long time home. Clay courts slow down the ball and produce a high bounce when compared to grass courts or hard courts. For this reason, clay courts take away some of the advantages of big servers and serve-and-volleyers, which makes it hard for these types of players to dominate on the surface. For example, Pete Sampras, known for his huge serve and who won 14 Grand Slam titles, never won the French Open – his best result was reaching the semi-finals in 1996. Other notable players who have won multiple Grand Slam events but have never won the French Open i
Natasha Zvereva, or Zverava, is a former professional tennis player from Belarus. She was the first major athlete in the Soviet Union to demand publicly that she should be able to keep her tournament earnings; the team of Zvereva and Gigi Fernández won more women's doubles titles and Grand Slam women's doubles championships than any other team since that of Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver. On 12 July 2010, Zvereva was inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame alongside Fernández. Zvereva used a baseline, counter-punching style centered around topspin and her double-handed backhand, she had great hands, used a variety of spins, was willing to rush the net and volley. Though Zvereva's talent was never in doubt, she suffered from lapses in concentration during matches and in her confidence as a singles player; as a junior, Zvereva won the Wimbledon girls' singles title in 1986, defeating Leila Meskhi in the final 2–6, 6–2, 9–7. Zvereva won the US Open girls singles championship in 1987, beating Sandra Birch in the final 6–0, 6–3.
After turning pro, Zvereva won four WTA Tour singles titles and 80 WTA Tour doubles titles, 18 of them n Grand Slam tournaments: five at Wimbledon, four at the US Open, five at the French Open, four at the Australian Open. She won those Grand Slam doubles titles with four different partners: Gigi Fernández, Martina Hingis, Pam Shriver, Larisa Savchenko Neiland, she achieved non-calendar year Grand Slams twice: in 1992-93 with Fernández and in 1996-97 with Fernández and Hingis. In addition to her Grand Slam doubles titles, Zvereva teamed with Meskhi to win a bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Although Zvereva was a accomplished doubles player, considered by some to be one of the best doubles players of all time, she had limited success in singles. In 1988, at only the age of 17, she made her sole Grand Slam singles final at the French Open beating Martina Navratilova en route. In a publicized final, she lost to Steffi Graf 0–6, 0–6 in only 34 minutes– the shortest and most one-side Grand Slam final ever.
Zvereva is one of the few players to have beaten both Graf and Monica Seles, both former world number ones, in the same Grand Slam singles tournament. Ten years at Wimbledon in 1998, Zvereva defeated the fourth seeded Graf in the third round 6–4, 7–5 and the sixth seeded Seles in a quarterfinal 7–6, 6–2; this was notable because it was Zvereva's sole win over Graf in 21 career singles matches. She lost in the semifinals to Nathalie Tauziat, to be her second best career Grand Slam singles result. Starting with the French Open in 1987 and extending through Wimbledon in 2000, Zvereva played in 51 of the 54 Grand Slam singles tournaments held, reaching the quarterfinals or better eight times. In addition to her Grand Slam women's doubles titles, Zvereva twice won the mixed-doubles title at the Australian Open, she partnered with Jim Pugh to win the title in 1990, with Rick Leach in 1995. Zvereva retired from professional tennis in 2003, her last appearance in a Grand Slam tournament was in Wimbledon 2002, where she lost in the first round to Marlene Weingärtner 6–4, 3–6, 2–6.
She played in the invitational doubles event in 2007. Meskhi and Zvereva lost in the semifinals to Gigi Fernández and Mary Joe Fernández 4–6, 5–7. In 1992, there was no bronze medal play-off match, both beaten semifinal pairs received bronze medals. SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played. Natasha Zvereva at the Women's Tennis Association Natasha Zvereva at the International Tennis Federation Natasha Zvereva at the Fed Cup
West Germany the Federal Republic of Germany, referred to by historians as the Bonn Republic, was a country in Central Europe that existed from 1949 to 1990, when the western portion of Germany was part of the Western bloc during the Cold War. It was created during the Allied occupation of Germany in 1949 after World War II, established from eleven states formed in the three Allied zones of occupation held by the United States, the United Kingdom and France, its capital was the city of Bonn. At the onset of the Cold War, Europe was divided among the Eastern blocs. Germany was de facto divided into two countries and two special territories, the Saarland and divided Berlin; the Federal Republic of Germany claimed an exclusive mandate for all of Germany, considering itself to be the democratically reorganised continuation of the 1871–1945 German Empire. It took the line. Though the GDR did hold regular elections, these were not fair. From the West German perspective, the GDR was therefore illegitimate.
Three southwestern states of West Germany merged to form Baden-Württemberg in 1952, the Saarland joined the Federal Republic of Germany in 1957. In addition to the resulting ten states, West Berlin was considered an unofficial de facto 11th state. While not part of the Federal Republic of Germany, as Berlin was under the control of the Allied Control Council, West Berlin politically-aligned itself with West Germany and was represented in its federal institutions; the foundation for the influential position held by Germany today was laid during the Wirtschaftswunder of the 1950s when West Germany rose from the enormous destruction wrought by World War II to become the world's third-largest economy. The first chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who remained in office until 1963, had worked for a full alignment with NATO rather than neutrality, he not only secured a membership in NATO but was a proponent of agreements that developed into the present-day European Union. When the G6 was established in 1975, there was no question whether the Federal Republic of Germany would be a member as well.
Following the collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989, symbolised by the opening of the Berlin Wall, there was a rapid move towards German reunification. East Germany voted to dissolve itself and accede to the Federal Republic in 1990, its five post-war states were reconstituted along with the reunited Berlin, which ended its special status and formed an additional Land. They formally joined the Federal Republic on 3 October 1990, raising the number of states from 10 to 16, ending the division of Germany; the reunion did not result in a brand-new country. The expanded Federal Republic retained West Germany's political culture and continued its existing memberships in international organisations, as well as its Western foreign policy alignment and affiliation to Western alliances like UN, NATO, OECD and the European Union; the official name of West Germany, adopted in 1949 and unchanged since is Bundesrepublik Deutschland. In East Germany, the terms Westdeutschland or westdeutsche Bundesrepublik were preferred during the 1950s and 1960s.
This changed once under its 1968 constitution, when the idea of a single German nation was abandoned by East Germany, as a result West Germans and West Berliners were considered foreigners. In the early 1970s, starting in the East German Neues Deutschland, the initialism "BRD" for the "Federal Republic of Germany" began to prevail in East German usage. In 1973, official East German sources adopted it as a standard expression and other Eastern Bloc nations soon followed suit. In reaction to this move, in 1965 the West German Federal Minister of All-German Affairs Erich Mende issued the Directives for the appellation of Germany, recommending avoiding the initialism. On 31 May 1974, the heads of West German federal and state governments recommended always using the full name in official publications. From on West German sources avoided the abbreviated form, with the exception of left-leaning organizations which embraced it. In November 1979 the federal government informed the Bundestag that the West German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF had agreed to refuse to use the initialism.
The ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code of West Germany was "DE", which has remained the country code of Germany after reunification. ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 are the most used country codes, the "DE" code is notably used as country identifier extending the postal code and as the Internet's country code top-level domain.de. Accordingly the less used ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 country code of West Germany was "DEU", which has remained the country code of reunified Germany; the now deleted codes for East Germany, on the other hand, was "DD" in ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 and "DDR" in ISO 3166-1 alpha-3. The colloquial term "West Germany" or its equivalent was used in many languages. "Westdeutschland" was a widespread colloquial form used in German-speaking countries without political overtones. On 4–11 February 1945 leaders from the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union held the Yalta Conference where future arrangements as regards post-war Europe and strategy against Japan in the Pacific were negotiated.
The conference agreed that post-war Germany would be divided into four occupation zones: a French Zone in the far west.
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