The English Channel, called simply the Channel, is the body of water that separates southern England from northern France, and links the southern part of the North Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. It is about 560 km long and varies in width from 240 km at its widest to 33.3 km in the Strait of Dover and it is the smallest of the shallow seas around the continental shelf of Europe, covering an area of some 75,000 km2. The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the English Channel as follows, a line joining Isle Vierge to Lands End. The southwestern limit of the North Sea, the IHO defines the southwestern limit of the North Sea as a line joining the Walde Lighthouse and Leathercoat Point. The Walde Lighthouse is 6 km east of Calais, and Leathercoat Point is at the end of St Margarets Bay. The Strait of Dover, at the Channels eastern end, is its narrowest point and it is relatively shallow, with an average depth of about 120 m at its widest part, reducing to a depth of about 45 m between Dover and Calais.
Eastwards from there the adjoining North Sea reduces to about 26 m in the Broad Fourteens where it lies over the watershed of the land bridge between East Anglia and the Low Countries. It reaches a depth of 180 m in the submerged valley of Hurds Deep,48 km west-northwest of Guernsey. The eastern region along the French coast between Cherbourg and the mouth of the Seine river at Le Havre is frequently referred to as the Bay of the Seine. There are several islands in the Channel, the most notable being the Isle of Wight off the English coast. The coastline, particularly on the French shore, is indented, several small islands close to the coastline, including Chausey. The Cotentin Peninsula in France juts out into the Channel, whilst on the English side there is a parallel channel known as the Solent between the Isle of Wight and the mainland. The Celtic Sea is to the west of the Channel, the time difference of about six hours between high water at the eastern and western limits of the Channel is indicative of the tidal range being amplified further by resonance.
It was never defined as a border and the names were more or less descriptive. It was not considered as the property of a nation, before the development of the modern nations, British scholars very often referred to it as Gaulish and the French one as British or English. The name English Channel has been used since the early 18th century. In modern Dutch, however, it is known as Het Kanaal, later, it has been known as the British Channel or the British Sea having been called the Oceanus Britannicus by the 2nd-century geographer Ptolemy. The same name is used on an Italian map of about 1450, the Anglo-Saxon texts often call it Sūð-sǣ as opposed to Norð-sǣ
Republic of Ireland
Ireland, known as the Republic of Ireland, is a sovereign state in north-western Europe occupying about five-sixths of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the part of the island. The state shares its land border with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. It is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, Saint Georges Channel to the south-east, and it is a unitary, parliamentary republic. The head of government is the Taoiseach, who is elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President, the state was created as the Irish Free State in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It was officially declared a republic in 1949, following the Republic of Ireland Act 1948, Ireland became a member of the United Nations in December 1955. It joined the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union, after joining the EEC, Ireland enacted a series of liberal economic policies that resulted in rapid economic growth.
The country achieved considerable prosperity between the years of 1995 and 2007, which known as the Celtic Tiger period. This was halted by a financial crisis that began in 2008. However, as the Irish economy was the fastest growing in the EU in 2015, Ireland is again quickly ascending league tables comparing wealth and prosperity internationally. For example, in 2015, Ireland was ranked as the joint sixth most developed country in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index and it performs well in several national performance metrics, including freedom of the press, economic freedom and civil liberties. Ireland is a member of the European Union and is a member of the Council of Europe. The 1922 state, comprising 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland, was styled, the Constitution of Ireland, adopted in 1937, provides that the name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland. Section 2 of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 states, It is hereby declared that the description of the State shall be the Republic of Ireland.
The 1948 Act does not name the state as Republic of Ireland, because to have done so would have put it in conflict with the Constitution. The government of the United Kingdom used the name Eire, from 1949, Republic of Ireland, for the state, as well as Ireland, Éire or the Republic of Ireland, the state is referred to as the Republic, Southern Ireland or the South. In an Irish republican context it is referred to as the Free State or the 26 Counties. From the Act of Union on 1 January 1801, until 6 December 1922, during the Great Famine, from 1845 to 1849, the islands population of over 8 million fell by 30%
Hartland Point is a 325 ft high rocky outcrop of land on the north-western tip of the Devon coast in England. It is three miles north-west of the village of Hartland, the point marks the western limit of the Bristol Channel with the Atlantic Ocean continuing to the west. This location was known to the Romans as the promontory of Hercules, Trinity House, the lighthouse authority for England and Wales, has a lighthouse on the tip of the peninsula. The Hartland Point Lighthouse was built in 1874 under the direction of Sir James Douglass, the Grade II-listed tower is 18 metres tall with the lamp being 37 metres above mean sea level. The light can be seen up to 25 miles away from the coast and it was blessed by Frederick Temple, Bishop of Exeter, who became Archbishop of Canterbury. The tower was automated in 1984 and is now controlled from Trinity House Operations Centre at Harwich in Essex, prior to automation, the lighthouse was built with accommodation for four keepers and their families. The keepers dwellings have since been demolished to make room for a helipad to be constructed and this was necessary due to the precarious nature of the access road which is liable to frequent rock falls and landslips.
Vehicular access is now very difficult and the gates tend to remain locked, the large concrete structures immediately to the south of the lighthouse provided the keepers with fresh water. HM Coastguard maintains a station on the top of the point near the lighthouse. The South West Coast Path was formerly an aid to the Coastguard who needed to be able to travel from station to station on foot while being able to keep an eye on the sea to spot for smugglers. The path stays close to the edge of the cliffs on its journey through Hartland Point and it is a way to explore the point, its landmarks. The UKs Ministry of Defence has a station installed on the point. This is used for air traffic control of military and civilian aircraft. The unusual white-dome-topped structure can be seen from distances of up to 10 miles from the point, on 31 December 1982 the Panama-registered, Dutch-owned MS Johanna was driven aground on rocks less than 400 m from the lighthouse. The cargo ship was carrying wheat from the Netherlands up the Bristol Channel towards Cardiff, four of the crew were rescued by a helicopter from RAF Chivenor.
Three officers were taken off in the day by the RNLI lifeboat from Clovelly, the decaying remains of the hull can still be seen
The Irish Sea, separates the islands of Ireland and Great Britain. It is connected to the Celtic Sea in the south by St Georges Channel, anglesey is the largest island within the Irish Sea, followed by the Isle of Man. The sea is occasionally, but rarely, referred to as the Manx Sea, the sea is of significant economic importance to regional trade and transport, and power generation in the form of wind power and nuclear power plants. Annual traffic between Great Britain and Ireland amounts to over 12 million passengers and 17 million tonnes of traded goods, the Irish Sea has undergone a series of dramatic changes over the last 20,000 years as the last glacial period ended and was replaced by warmer conditions. At the height of the glaciation the central part of the sea was probably a long freshwater lake. As the ice retreated 10,000 years ago the lake reconnected to the sea, becoming brackish, the International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Irish Sea as follows, On the North.
The Southern limit of the Scottish Seas, a line joining St. Davids Head to Carnsore Point. It is connected to the North Atlantic at both its northern and southern ends, to the north, the connection is through the North Channel between Scotland and Northern Ireland and the Malin Sea. The southern end is linked to the Atlantic through the St Georges Channel between south eastern Ireland and Pembrokeshire in Wales, and the Celtic Sea. The Irish Sea is composed of a channel about 300 km long and 30–50 km wide on its western side. The western channels depth ranges from 80 metres up to 275 m in the Beauforts Dyke in the North Channel, the main embayments – Cardigan Bay in the south and the waters to the east of the Isle of Man – are less than 50 m deep. The Sea has a water volume of 2,430 km3, 80% of which is to the west of the Isle of Man. The largest sandbanks are the Bahama and King William Banks to the east and north of the Isle of Man, the Irish Sea, at its greatest width, is 200 km and narrows to 75 km.
Unlike Great Britain, Ireland has no tunnel or bridge connection to continental Europe, thus the vast majority of heavy goods trade is done by sea. The Port of Liverpool handles 32 million tonnes of cargo and 734 thousand passengers a year, Holyhead port handles most of the passenger traffic from Dublin and Dún Laoghaire ports, as well as 3.3 million tonnes of freight. Ports in the Republic handle 3,600,000 travellers crossing the sea each year and this has been steadily dropping for a number of years, probably as a result of low cost airlines. There is a connection between Liverpool and Belfast via the Isle of Man or direct from Birkenhead, the worlds largest car ferry, Ulysses, is operated by Irish Ferries on the Dublin Port–Holyhead route, Stena Line operates between Britain and Ireland. The Port of Barrow-in-Furness, despite being one of Britains largest shipbuilding centres, a ferry crossing used to run between Swansea and Cork, but given the geographical limits defined above, this route crosses the Celtic Sea rather than the Irish Sea
Cetacea are a widely distributed and diverse clade of aquatic mammals that today consists of the whales and porpoises. Most species live in the sea, some in rivers, the name is derived from the Latin cetus whale and Greek ketos huge fish. The extinct ancestors of modern whales are the Archaeoceti, while cetaceans were historically thought to have descended from mesonychids, molecular evidence supports them as a relative of Artiodactyls. Cetaceans belong to the order Cetartiodactyla and their closest living relatives are hippopotamuses and other hoofed mammals, having diverged about 50 million years ago. Cetaceans range in size from the 1 m and 50 kg Mauis dolphin to the 29.9 m and 190,000 kg blue whale and they have streamlined bodies and two limbs that are modified into flippers. Dolphins are able to very tight turns while swimming at high speeds. The hindlimbs of cetaceans are internal, and are thought to be vestigial, baleen whales have short hairs on their mouth, unlike the toothed whales.
Cetaceans have well-developed senses—their eyesight and hearing are adapted for both air and water, and baleen whales have a system in their vibrissae. They have a layer of fat, or blubber, under the skin to maintain body heat in cold water, Some species are well adapted for diving to great depths. Although cetaceans are widespread, most species prefer the waters of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. They spend their lives in the water, having to mate, give birth, molt or escape predators, like killer whales. This has drastically affected their anatomy to be able to do so and they feed largely on fish and marine invertebrates, but a few, like the killer whale, feed on large mammals and birds, such as penguins and seals. Some baleen whales are specialised for feeding on benthic creatures, male cetaceans typically mate with more than one female, although the degree of polygyny varies with the species. Cetaceans are not shown to have pair bonds, male cetacean strategies for reproductive success vary between herding females, defending potential mates from other males, or whale song which attracts mates.
Calves are typically born in the fall and winter months, cetaceans produce a number of vocalizations, notably the clicks and whistles of dolphins, the moaning songs of the humpback whale. The meat and oil of cetaceans have traditionally used by indigenous peoples of the Arctic. Cetaceans have been depicted in cultures worldwide. Dolphins are commonly kept in captivity and are sometimes trained to perform tricks and tasks
The history of pre-Celtic Europe remains very uncertain. According to one theory, the root of the Celtic languages, the Proto-Celtic language, arose in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of Central Europe. Thus this area is called the Celtic homeland. The earliest undisputed examples of a Celtic language are the Lepontic inscriptions beginning in the 6th century BC. Continental Celtic languages are attested almost exclusively through inscriptions and place-names, Insular Celtic languages are attested beginning around the 4th century in Ogham inscriptions, although it was clearly being spoken much earlier. Celtic literary tradition begins with Old Irish texts around the 8th century, coherent texts of Early Irish literature, such as the Táin Bó Cúailnge, survive in 12th century recensions. Between the 5th and 8th centuries, the Celtic-speaking communities in these Atlantic regions emerged as a cohesive cultural entity. They had a linguistic and artistic heritage that distinguished them from the culture of the surrounding polities.
By the 6th century, the Continental Celtic languages were no longer in wide use, Insular Celtic culture diversified into that of the Gaels and the Celtic Britons of the medieval and modern periods. A modern Celtic identity was constructed as part of the Romanticist Celtic Revival in Great Britain, today, Scottish Gaelic and Breton are still spoken in parts of their historical territories, and Cornish and Manx are undergoing a revival. The first recorded use of the name of Celts – as Κελτοί – to refer to a group was by Hecataeus of Miletus, the Greek geographer, in 517 BC. In the fifth century BC Herodotus referred to Keltoi living around the head of the Danube, the etymology of the term Keltoi is unclear. Possible roots include Indo-European *kʲel ‘to hide’, IE *kʲel ‘to heat’ or *kel ‘to impel’, several authors have supposed it to be Celtic in origin, while others view it as a name coined by Greeks. Linguist Patrizia De Bernardo Stempel falls in the group. Yet he reports Celtic peoples in Iberia, and uses the ethnic names Celtiberi and Celtici for peoples there, as distinct from Lusitani, pliny the Elder cited the use of Celtici in Lusitania as a tribal surname, which epigraphic findings have confirmed.
Latin Gallus might stem from a Celtic ethnic or tribal name originally and its root may be the Proto-Celtic *galno, meaning “power, strength”, hence Old Irish gal “boldness, ferocity” and Welsh gallu “to be able, power”. The tribal names of Gallaeci and the Greek Γαλάται most probably have the same origin, the suffix -atai might be an Ancient Greek inflection. Proto-Germanic *walha is derived ultimately from the name of the Volcae and this means that English Gaul, despite its superficial similarity, is not actually derived from Latin Gallia, though it does refer to the same ancient region
A sea is a large body of salt water that is surrounded in whole or in part by land. More broadly, the sea is the system of Earths salty. The sea moderates Earths climate and has important roles in the cycle, carbon cycle. Although the sea has been traveled and explored since prehistory, the scientific study of the sea—oceanography—dates broadly to the British Challenger expedition of the 1870s. Owing to the present state of continental drift, the Northern Hemisphere is now equally divided between land and sea but the South is overwhelmingly oceanic. Salinity in the ocean is generally in a narrow band around 3. 5% by mass, although this can vary in more landlocked waters, near the mouths of large rivers. About 85% of the solids in the sea are sodium chloride. Deep-sea currents are produced by differences in salinity and temperature, surface currents are formed by the friction of waves produced by the wind and by tides, the changes in local sea level produced by the gravity of the Moon and Sun.
The direction of all of these is governed by surface and submarine land masses, former changes in sea levels have left continental shelves, shallow areas in the sea close to land. The most diverse areas surround great tropical coral reefs, whaling in the deep sea was once common but whales dwindling numbers prompted international conservation efforts and finally a moratorium on most commercial hunting. Life may have started there and aquatic microbial mats are generally credited with the oxygenation of Earths atmosphere, the sea is an essential aspect of human trade, mineral extraction, and power generation. It is the scene of activities including swimming, surfing. However, population growth, industrialization, and intensive farming have all contributed to marine pollution. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is being absorbed in increasing amounts, lowering its pH in a known as ocean acidification. The shared nature of the sea has made overfishing an increasing problem, both senses of sea date to Old English, the larger sense has required a definite article since Early Middle English.
Seas are generally larger than lakes and contain salt water, while the defining elements of size and being bounded are generally used, there is no formally accepted technical definition of sea among oceanographers. In international law, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea states that all the ocean is the sea. Earth is the known planet with seas of liquid water on its surface, although Mars possesses ice caps
Isles of Scilly
The Isles of Scilly are an archipelago off the south western tip of the Cornish peninsula of Great Britain. It is the southernmost location in England and the United Kingdom, the population of all the islands at the 2011 census was 2,203. Scilly forms part of the county of Cornwall, and some services are combined with those of Cornwall. However, since 1890, the islands have had a local authority. Since the passing of the Isles of Scilly Order 1930, this authority has had the status of a county council, the adjective Scillonian is sometimes used for people or things related to the archipelago. The Duchy of Cornwall owns most of the land on the islands. Tourism is a part of the local economy, along with agriculture — particularly the production of cut flowers. Scilly has been inhabited since the Stone Age, and until the early 20th century its history had been one of subsistence living and fishing continue, but the main industry now is tourism. The islands may correspond to the Cassiterides visited by the Phoenicians, the archipelago itself does not contain much tin—it may be that the islands were used as a staging post.
It is likely that until recent times the islands were much larger. The word Ennor is a contraction of the Old Cornish En Noer, remains of a prehistoric farm have been found on Nornour, which is now a small rocky skerry far too small for farming. There once was an Iron Age Britain community here that extended into Roman times and this community was likely formed by immigrants from Brittany, probably the Veneti who were active in the tin trade that originated in mining activity in Cornwall and Devon. At certain low tides the sea becomes shallow enough for people to walk between some of the islands and this is possibly one of the sources for stories of drowned lands, e. g. Lyonesse. Ancient field walls are visible below the tide line off some of the islands. Some of the Cornish language place names appear to reflect past shorelines. The whole of southern England has been sinking in opposition to post-glacial rebound in Scotland, this has caused the rias on the southern Cornish coast, e. g. River Fal.
Scilly has been identified as the place of exile of two heretical 4th century bishops and Tiberianus, who were followers of Priscillian, in 995, Olaf Tryggvason became King Olaf I of Norway. 960, Olaf had raided various European cities and fought in several wars, in 986 he met a Christian seer on the Isles of Scilly
Minke whale /ˈmɪnki/, or lesser rorqual, is a name given to two species of marine mammal belonging to a clade within the suborder of baleen whales. The minke whale was given its designation by Lacepède in 1804. The name is a translation of Norwegian minkehval, possibly after a Norwegian whaler named Meincke. Most modern classifications split the minke whale into two species, Common minke whale or northern minke whale and Antarctic minke whale or southern minke whale. Taxonomists further categorize the common minke whale into two or three subspecies, the North Atlantic minke whale, the North Pacific minke whale and dwarf minke whale. All minke whales are part of the rorquals, a family that includes the whale, the fin whale, the Brydes whale, the sei whale. The junior synonyms for B. acutorostrata are B. davidsoni, B. minimia, there is one synonym for B. bonaerensis - B. huttoni. On at least one occasion, an Antarctic minke whale has been confirmed migrating to the Arctic, in addition, at least two wild hybrids between a common minke whale and an Antarctic minke whale have been confirmed.
The minke whales are the second smallest baleen whale, only the right whale is smaller. Upon reaching sexual maturity, males measure an average of 6.9 m and females 8 m in length, reported maximum lengths vary from 9.1 to 10.7 m for females and 8.8 to 9.8 m for males. Both sexes typically weigh 4–5 t at sexual maturity, and the weight may be as much as 10 t. The minke whale is a black/gray/purple color, Common minke whales are distinguished from other whales by a white band on each flipper. The body is black or dark-gray above and white underneath. Minke whales have between 240 and 360 baleen plates on each side of their mouths, most of the length of the back, including dorsal fin and blowholes, appears at once when the whale surfaces to breathe. Minke whales typically live for 30–50 years, in some cases they may live for up to 60 years, the brains of minke whales have around 12.8 billion neocortical neurons and 98.2 billion neocortical glia. The whale breathes three to five times at intervals before deep-diving for two to 20 minutes.
Deep dives are preceded by a pronounced arching of the back, the maximum swimming speed of minkes has been estimated at 38 km/h. The gestation period for minke whales is 10 months, and calves measure 2.4 to 2.8 m at birth, the newborns nurse for five to 10 months
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and it had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2. Wales has over 1,680 miles of coastline and is mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon. The country lies within the temperate zone and has a changeable. Welsh national identity emerged among the Celtic Britons after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, Llywelyn ap Gruffudds death in 1282 marked the completion of Edward I of Englands conquest of Wales, though Owain Glyndŵr briefly restored independence to Wales in the early 15th century. The whole of Wales was annexed by England and incorporated within the English legal system under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542, distinctive Welsh politics developed in the 19th century. Welsh Liberalism, exemplified in the early 20th century by Lloyd George, was displaced by the growth of socialism, Welsh national feeling grew over the century, Plaid Cymru was formed in 1925 and the Welsh Language Society in 1962.
Established under the Government of Wales Act 1998, the National Assembly for Wales holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, two-thirds of the population live in south Wales, mainly in and around Cardiff and Newport, and in the nearby valleys. Now that the countrys traditional extractive and heavy industries have gone or are in decline, Wales economy depends on the sector and service industries. Wales 2010 gross value added was £45.5 billion, over 560,000 Welsh language speakers live in Wales, and the language is spoken by a majority of the population in parts of the north and west. From the late 19th century onwards, Wales acquired its popular image as the land of song, Rugby union is seen as a symbol of Welsh identity and an expression of national consciousness. The Old English-speaking Anglo-Saxons came to use the term Wælisc when referring to the Celtic Britons in particular, the modern names for some Continental European lands and peoples have a similar etymology. The modern Welsh name for themselves is Cymry, and Cymru is the Welsh name for Wales and these words are descended from the Brythonic word combrogi, meaning fellow-countrymen.
The use of the word Cymry as a self-designation derives from the location in the post-Roman Era of the Welsh people in modern Wales as well as in northern England and southern Scotland. It emphasised that the Welsh in modern Wales and in the Hen Ogledd were one people, in particular, the term was not applied to the Cornish or the Breton peoples, who are of similar heritage and language to the Welsh. The word came into use as a self-description probably before the 7th century and it is attested in a praise poem to Cadwallon ap Cadfan c. 633. Thereafter Cymry prevailed as a reference to the Welsh, until c.1560 the word was spelt Kymry or Cymry, regardless of whether it referred to the people or their homeland. The Latinised forms of names, Cambrian and Cambria, survive as lesser-used alternative names for Wales, Welsh
Brittany is a cultural region in the north-west of France. Brittany has referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain. It is bordered by the English Channel to the north, the Celtic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and its land area is 34,023 km². Since reorganisation in 1956, the administrative region of Brittany comprises only four of the five Breton departments. The remaining area of old Brittany, the Loire-Atlantique department around Nantes, at the 2010 census, the population of historic Brittany was estimated to be 4,475,295. Of these, 71% lived in the region of Brittany, while 29% lived in the Loire-Atlantique department, in 2012, the largest metropolitan areas were Nantes and Brest. Brittany is the homeland of the Breton people and is recognised by the Celtic League as one of the six Celtic nations. A nationalist movement seeks greater autonomy within the French Republic, the word Brittany, along with its French and Gallo equivalents Bretagne and Bertaèyn, derive from the Latin Britannia, which means Britons land.
This word had been used by the Romans since the 1st century to refer to Great Britain and this word derives from a Greek word, Πρεττανικη or Βρεττανίαι, used by Pytheas, an explorer from Massalia who visited the British Islands around 320 BC. This term probably comes from a Gallic word, which close to the sea. Another name, was used until the 12th century and it possibly means wide and flat or to expand and it gave the Welsh name for Brittany, Llydaw. Later, authors like Geoffrey of Monmouth used the terms Britannia minor, breton-speaking people may pronounce the word Breizh in two different ways, according to their region of origin. Breton can be divided into two dialects, the KLT and the dialect of Vannes. KLT speakers pronounce it and would write it Breiz, while the Vannetais speakers pronounce it, the official spelling is a compromise between both variants, with a z and an h together. In 1941, efforts to unify the dialects led to the creation of the so-called Breton zh, on its side, Gallo language has never had a widely accepted writing system and several ones coexist.
For instance, the name of the region in that language can be written Bertaèyn in ELG script, or Bertègn in MOGA, Brittany has been inhabited by humans since the Lower Paleolithic. This population was scarce and very similar to the other Neanderthals found in the whole of Western Europe and their only original feature was a distinct culture, called Colombanian. One of the oldest hearths in the world has found in Plouhinec
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