Obies is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. Communes of the Nord department INSEE commune file
Aix-en-Pévèle is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. It is 20 km southeast of Lille. Communes of the Nord department INSEE commune file
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
Battle of Denain
The Battle of Denain was fought on 24 July 1712, as part of the War of the Spanish Succession. It resulted in a French victory under Marshal Villars against Dutch and Austrian forces under Prince Eugene of Savoy; the War of Spanish Succession had raged since 1701. After over a decade of war, France was in a dark period, both militarily; the early victories of Marshal Villars at the Battle of Friedlingen and the Battle of Höchstadt were followed by numerous defeats to the Allied forces, most notably the armies under Prince Eugene of Savoy and the Duke of Marlborough. In 1708, after the rout of Oudenaarde, nearly all the strongholds of northern France were under the control of the Austro-British coalition. There was an economic crisis leading to famine and high mortality in the populace; the command of the French northern army went to Marshal Villars in 1709, who wasted no time in seeing to its reorganization. When the Allied campaign led by Prince Eugene and the Duke of Marlborough engaged the French at Malplaquet, Villars was wounded and the French retreated from the field, but the Allies suffered twice as many casualties and their campaign soon sputtered out.
France's precarious position had been stabilized, the Allies were unable to achieve their goal of forcing harsh terms on the Bourbons, the war continued. In May 1712, Villars prepared to take the offensive; the French gathered an army of 200,000 men on the northern border. The Allied northern army was positioned along the Scarpe between Douai and Marchiennes, occupying the communes of Denain and Landrecies; the successful but controversial Marlborough had been relieved of his command and the British forces were now under the leadership of the Duke of Ormonde, under secret orders not to fight alongside the Allies under the Prince of Savoy. In June, Prince Eugene captured Le Quesnoy; the Duke of Ormonde withdrew his forces during the siege, leading to a rift between the British and the rest of the Allies. After a detailed examination of the enemy dispositions, Villars decided in the greatest secrecy to attack Denain. Elements of the French cavalry were sent to seize the various bridges crossing the river Selle which ran through le Cateau to join the Scheldt opposite Denain.
During the evening a French detachment took up positions around a mill at Haspres, blocking the river crossing there. That night the French infantry began to march towards Prince Eugene's forces at Landrecies. In response to this threat, Prince Eugene reinforced Landrecies, weakening the Allied right wing holding Denain. At dawn, Villars swung the line of advance of his army and aimed it in three columns at Denain. At five o'clock in the morning and his principal lieutenants drew up their plan of attack at Avesnes-le-Sec. 24,000 French infantry would attack the 10,500 strong Dutch garrison of Denain. At seven o’clock the French infantrymen reached Neuville-sur-Escaut and were ordered to seize the bridges across the Scheldt. At eight o’clock, the Allies were surprised to discover the large French presence in the area; the Earl of Albermarle, at the head of the Dutch garrison in and around Denain, warned Prince Eugene, but the Prince of Savoy was not concerned at the time. By one in the afternoon the attack had developed to the point of an assault on the palisade at Denain.
The French sappers took Denain at the point of the bayonet. Many defenders were killed and the remaining Dutch infantry attempted to escape across the mill bridge, but it collapsed during the retreat and hundreds of Allied troops drowned. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Prince Eugene attempted to force his way across the Scheldt at Prouvy to help Albemarle. Under the command of the Prince de Tingry, French regiments held the bridge at Prouvy against repeated Austrian attacks; this left the Prince of Savoy's army blocked on the left flank by the Scheldt and the Allies could not counterattack to retake Denain. There and his staff were taken prisoner, together with some 4,100 troops; the Allies suffered 6,500 losses borne by the Dutch, while French casualties were 2,100. The battle was not recognised to be as decisive as it turned out to be. However, with the loss of Denain the Allied position began to unravel, over the next few months the French recovered most of the towns they had lost in the region in previous years.
The loss of Le Quesnoy alone cost the Allies 3,000 wounded. Chandler, David G. Marlborough as Military Commander. Spellmount Ltd. ISBN 1-86227-195-X Clodfelter, M.. Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Encyclopedia of Casualty and Other Figures, 1492-2015. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. ISBN 978-0786474707. Lynn, John A.. The Wars of Louis XIV: 1667–1714. London: Longman. ISBN 0-582-05629-2. Chase Maenius; the Art of War: Paintings of Heroes and History. 2014. ISBN 978-1320309554 Celebration of the tricentenary in Denain, July 2012
Germinal is the thirteenth novel in Émile Zola's twenty-volume series Les Rougon-Macquart. Considered Zola's masterpiece and one of the most significant novels in the French tradition, the novel – an uncompromisingly harsh and realistic story of a coalminers' strike in northern France in the 1860s – has been published and translated in over one hundred countries and has additionally inspired five film adaptations and two television productions. Germinal was written between April 1884 and January 1885, it was first serialized between November 1884 and February 1885 in the periodical Gil Blas in March 1885 published as a book. The title refers to the name of a month of a spring month. Germen is a Latin word which means "seed"; as the final lines of the novel read: Des hommes poussaient, une armée noire, qui germait lentement dans les sillons, grandissant pour les récoltes du siècle futur, et dont la germination allait faire bientôt éclater la terre. Men were springing forth, a black avenging army, germinating in the furrows, growing towards the harvests of the next century, their germination would soon overturn the earth.
The novel's central character is Étienne Lantier seen in L'Assommoir, to have been the central character in Zola's "murder on the trains" thriller La Bête humaine before the overwhelmingly positive reaction to Germinal persuaded him otherwise. The young migrant worker arrives at the forbidding coal mining town of Montsou in the bleak area of the far north of France to earn a living as a miner. Sacked from his previous job on the railways for assaulting a superior, Étienne befriends the veteran miner Maheu, who finds him somewhere to stay and gets him a job pushing the carts down the pit. Étienne is portrayed as a hard-working idealist but a naïve youth. Zola keeps his theorizing in the background and Étienne's motivations are much more natural as a result, he embraces socialist principles, reading large amounts of working class movement literature and fraternizing with Souvarine, a Russian anarchist and political émigré who has come to Montsou to seek a living in the pits. Étienne's simplistic understanding of socialist politics and their rousing effect on him are reminiscent of the rebel Silvère in the first novel in the cycle, La Fortune des Rougon.
While this is going on, Étienne falls for Maheu's daughter Catherine employed pushing carts in the mines, he is drawn into the relationship between her and her brutish lover Chaval, a prototype for the character of Buteau in Zola's novel La Terre. The complex tangle of the miners' lives is played out against a backdrop of severe poverty and oppression, as their working and living conditions continue to worsen throughout the novel. While the anarchist Souvarine preaches violent action, the miners and their families hold back, their poverty becoming more disastrous, until they are sparked into a ferocious riot, the violence of, described in explicit terms by Zola, as well as providing some of the novelist's best and most evocative crowd scenes; the rioters are confronted by police and the army that repress the revolt in a violent and unforgettable episode. Disillusioned, the miners go blaming Étienne for the failure of the strike; the ensuing drama and the long wait for rescue are among some of Zola's best scenes, the novel draws to a dramatic close.
Étienne is rescued and fired but he goes on to live in Paris with Pluchart. The title, Germinal, is drawn from the springtime seventh month of the French Revolutionary Calendar and is meant to evoke imagery of germination, new growth and fertility. Accordingly, Zola ends the novel on a note of hope and one that has provided inspiration to socialist and reformist causes of all kinds throughout the years since its first publication: "Beneath the blazing of the sun, in that morning of new growth, the countryside rang with song, as its belly swelled with a black and avenging army of men, germinating in its furrows, growing upwards in readiness for harvests to come, until one day soon their ripening would burst open the earth itself." By the time of his death, the novel had come to be recognized as his undisputed masterpiece. At his funeral crowds of workers gathered, cheering the cortège with shouts of "Germinal! Germinal!". Since the book has come to symbolize working class causes and to this day retains a special place in French mining-town folklore.
Zola was always proud of Germinal and was always keen to defend its accuracy against accusations of hyperbole and exaggeration or of slander against the working classes. His research had been thorough the parts involving lengthy observational visits to northern French mining towns in 1884, such as witnessing the after-effects of a crippling miners' strike first-hand at Anzin or going down a working coal pit at Denain; the mine scenes are vivid and haunting as a result. A sensation upon original publication, it is now by far the best-selling of Zola's novels, both in
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. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, five are overseas departments, which are classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; each department is administered by an elected body called a departmental council. From 1800 to April 2015, these were called general councils; each council has a president. Their main areas of responsibility include the management of a number of social and welfare allowances, of junior high school buildings and technical staff, local roads and school and rural buses, a contribution to municipal infrastructures. Local services of the state administration are traditionally organised at departmental level, where the prefect represents the government; the departments were created in 1790 as a rational replacement of Ancien Régime provinces with a view to strengthen national unity.
All of them were named after physical geographical features, rather than after historical or cultural territories which could have their own loyalties. The division of France into departments was a project identified with the French revolutionary leader the Abbé Sieyès, although it had been discussed and written about by many politicians and thinkers; the earliest known suggestion of it is from 1764 in the writings of d'Argenson. They have inspired similar divisions in some of them former French colonies. Most French departments are assigned a two-digit number, the "Official Geographical Code", allocated by the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques. Overseas departments have a three-digit number; the number is used, for example, in the postal code, was until used for all vehicle registration plates. While residents use the numbers to refer to their own department or a neighbouring one, more distant departments are referred to by their names, as few people know the numbers of all the departments.
For example, inhabitants of Loiret might refer to their department as "the 45". In 2014, President François Hollande proposed to abolish departmental councils by 2020, which would have maintained the departments as administrative divisions, to transfer their powers to other levels of governance; this reform project has since been abandoned. The first French territorial departments were proposed in 1665 by Marc-René d'Argenson to serve as administrative areas purely for the Ponts et Chaussées infrastructure administration. Before the French Revolution, France gained territory 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 in order to weaken old loyalties; the modern departments, as all-purpose units of the government, were created on 4 March 1790 by the National Constituent Assembly to replace the provinces with what the Assembly deemed a more rational structure.
Their boundaries served two purposes: Boundaries were chosen to break up France's historical regions in an attempt to erase cultural differences and build a more homogeneous nation. Boundaries were set so that every settlement in the country was within a day's ride of the capital of a department; this was a security measure, intended to keep the entire national territory under close control. This measure was directly inspired by the Great Terror, during which the government had lost control of many rural areas far from any centre of government; the old nomenclature was avoided in naming the new departments. Most were named after other physical features. Paris was in the department of Seine. Savoy became the department of Mont-Blanc; the number of departments 83, had been increased to 130 by 1809 with the territorial gains of the Republic and of the First French Empire. Following Napoleon's defeats in 1814–1815, the Congress of Vienna returned France to its pre-war size and the number of departments was reduced to 86.
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 and a portion of the Var department; the 89 departments were given numbers based on the alphabetical order of their names. The department of Bas-Rhin and parts of Meurthe, Moselle and Haut-Rhin were ceded to the German Empire in 1871, following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. A small part of Haut-Rhin became known as the Territoire de Belfort; when France regained the ceded departments after World War I, the Territoire de Belfort was not re-integrated into Haut-Rhin. In 1922, it became France's 90th department; the Lorraine departments were not changed back to their original boundaries, a new Moselle department was created in the regaine
Semousies is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. The churchyard contains three Commonwealth war graves from the First World War. Communes of the Nord department