Departments of France
In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government below the national level, between the administrative regions and the commune. There are 96 departments in metropolitan France and 5 overseas departments, each department is administered by an elected body called a departmental council. From 1800 to April 2015, they were called general councils, the departments were created in 1791 as a rational replacement of Ancien Régime provinces with a view to strengthen national unity, the title department is used to mean a part of a larger whole. Almost all of them were named after geographical features rather than after historical or cultural territories which could have their own loyalties. The earliest known suggestion of it is from 1764 in the writings of dArgenson and they have inspired similar divisions in many countries, some of them former French colonies. Most French departments are assigned a number, the Official Geographical Code. Some overseas departments have a three-digit number, the number is used, for example, in the postal code, and was until recently used for all vehicle registration plates.
For example, inhabitants of Loiret might refer to their department as the 45 and this reform project has since been abandoned. The first French territorial departments were proposed in 1665 by Marc-René dArgenson to serve as administrative areas purely for the Ponts et Chaussées infrastructure administration, before the French Revolution, France gained territory gradually through the annexation of a mosaic of independent entities. By the close of the Ancien Régime, it was organised into provinces, during the period of the Revolution, these were dissolved, partly in order to weaken old loyalties. Their boundaries served two purposes, Boundaries were chosen to break up Frances historical regions in an attempt to erase cultural differences, Boundaries were set so that every settlement in the country was within a days ride of the capital of the department. This was a security measure, intended to keep the national territory under close control. This measure was directly inspired by the Great Terror, during which the government had lost control of rural areas far from any centre of government.
The old nomenclature was carefully avoided in naming the new departments, most were named after an areas principal river or other physical features. Even Paris was in the department of Seine, the number of departments, initially 83, was increased to 130 by 1809 with the territorial gains of the Republic and of the First French Empire. Following Napoleons defeats in 1814-1815, the Congress of Vienna returned France to its pre-war size, in 1860, France acquired the County of Nice and Savoy, which led to the creation of three new departments. Two were added from the new Savoyard territory, while the department of Alpes-Maritimes was created from Nice, the 89 departments were given numbers based on their alphabetical order. The department of Bas-Rhin and parts of Meurthe, Moselle and Haut-Rhin were ceded to the German Empire in 1871, following Frances defeat in the Franco-Prussian War
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
Communes of France
The commune is a level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to civil townships incorporated municipalities in the United States or Gemeinden in Germany, the United Kingdom has no exact equivalent, as communes resemble districts in urban areas, but are closer to parishes in rural areas where districts are much larger. Communes are based on historical geographic communities or villages and have received significant powers of governance to manage the populations, the communes are the fourth-level administrative divisions of France. A French commune may be a city of 2.2 million inhabitants like Paris, communes typically are based on pre-existing villages and facilitate local governance. All communes have names, but not all named geographic areas or groups of people residing together are communes, a commune is a town, city, or municipality. Use of commune in English is a habit, and one that might be corrected. There is nothing in commune in French that is different from town in English.
The French word commune appeared in the 12th century, from Medieval Latin communia, as of January 2015, there were 36,681 communes in France,36,552 of them in metropolitan France and 129 of them overseas. This is a higher total than that of any other European country. The whole territory of the French Republic is divided into communes and this is unlike some other countries, such as the United States, where unincorporated areas directly governed by a county or a higher authority can be found. There are only a few exceptions, COM of Saint-Martin and it was previously a commune inside the Guadeloupe région. The commune structure was abolished when Saint-Martin became an overseas collectivity on 22 February 2007, COM of Wallis and Futuna, which still is divided according to the three traditional chiefdoms. It was previously a commune inside the Guadeloupe region, the commune structure was abolished when Saint-Barthélemy became an overseas collectivity on 22 February 2007.88 square kilometres. The median area of metropolitan Frances communes at the 1999 census was even smaller, the median area is a better measure of the area of a typical French commune.
This median area is smaller than that of most European countries. In Italy, the area of communes is 22 km2, in Belgium it is 40 km2, in Spain it is 35 km2, and in Germany. Switzerland and the Länder of Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein, and Thuringia in Germany were the places in Europe where the communes had a smaller median area than in France. The communes of Frances overseas départements such as Réunion and French Guiana are large by French standards and they usually group into the same commune several villages or towns, often with sizeable distances among them