Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana
Natchitoches Parish is a parish located in the U. S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 39,566; the parish seat is Natchitoches. The parish was formed in 1805; the Natchitoches, LA Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Natchitoches Parish. This is the heart of the Cane River Louisiana Creole community, free people of color of mixed-race descent who settled here in the antebellum period, their descendants continue to be Catholic and many are still French speaking. The Cane River National Heritage Area includes the parish. Among the numerous significant historic sites in the parish is the St. Augustine Parish Church, a destination on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail, founded in 2008. Including extensive outbuildings at Magnolia and Oakland plantations, the Cane River Creole National Historical Park interprets the history and culture of the Louisiana Creoles, it is on the Heritage Trail. Natchitoches Parish was created by the act of April 10, 1805 that divided the Territory of Orleans into twelve parishes, including Orleans, Iberville and Natchitoches.
The parish boundaries were much larger than now defined, but were reduced as new parishes were organized following population increases in the state. The parishes of Caddo, Bossier, Webster, DeSoto, Jackson, Red River and Grant were formed from Natchitoches' enormous territory. Natchitoches Parish has had fifteen border revisions, making it second only to Ouachita parish in number of boundary revisions. During the antebellum period, numerous large cotton plantations were developed in this area, worked by enslaved African Americans; the parish population was majority enslaved by the time of the Civil War. There was a large mixed-race population of free Creoles of color. Among the institutions they founded was the St. Augustine Parish Church, built in 1829, it is a destination on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail. In May 1861 free men of color in the area known as Isle Brevelle began to organize two militia companies. Other free men of color of Campti and that area enlisted in the Confederate Army in the war, it is believed were accepted into a predominately white company because of their longstanding acceptance in the community.
Many of the free people of color were related to longtime white families in the parish, who acknowledged them. After the war, during Reconstruction and after, there was white violence against freedmen and their sympathizers blacks in the aftermath of emancipation and establishing a free labor system. Most planters continued to rely on cotton as a commodity crop, although the market declined, adding to area problems. In the late 19th century, a timber industry developed in some areas. Since the late 20th century, the parish has developed considerable heritage tourism, it attracts people for fishing and other sports, including spring training on Cane River Lake by several university teams. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 1,299 square miles, of which 1,252 square miles is land and 47 square miles is water, it is the fourth-largest parish by land area in Louisiana. The primary groundwater resources of Natchitoches Parish, from near surface to deepest, include the Red River alluvial, upland terrace and Carrizo-Wilcox aquifers.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 39,566 people residing in the parish. 54.3% were White, 41.4% Black or African American, 1.0% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.9% of some other race and 2.1% of two or more races. 1.9% were Hispanic or Latino. As of the census of 2000, there were 39,080 people, 14,263 households, 9,499 families residing in the parish; the population density was 31 people per square mile. There were 16,890 housing units at an average density of 14 per square mile; the racial makeup of the parish was 57.85% White, 38.43% Black or African American, 1.08% Native American, 0.44% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.92% from other races, 1.27% from two or more races. 1.45% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. There were 14,263 households out of which 33.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.30% were married couples living together, 17.70% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.40% were non-families. 27.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.90% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older.
The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.14. In the parish the population was spread out with 26.00% under the age of 18, 17.90% from 18 to 24, 24.30% from 25 to 44, 19.70% from 45 to 64, 12.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 90.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.80 males. The median income for a household in the parish was $25,722, the median income for a family was $32,816. Males had a median income of $29,388 versus $19,234 for females; the per capita income for the parish was $13,743. About 20.90% of families and 26.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.70% of those under age 18 and 19.00% of those age 65 or over. Until the late 20th century, Natchitoches Parish was reliably Democratic in most competitive elections, but the party affiliations have changed and, like much of the rest of the South, have a distinct ethnic and demographic character. Since African Americans achieved certain gains under civil rights legislation and have been enabled to vote again since the late 1960s, they have supported the Democratic Party.
Most white conservatives have left that
Louisiana Historical Association
The Louisiana Historical Association is an organization of professional historians and interested laypersons dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of the history of the U. S. state of Louisiana, with particular emphasis at the inception on territorial and the American Civil War periods. Since its founding on April 11, 1889, the association now reaches into the history of the late 19th and 20th centuries. LHA publishes the state historical quarterly journal, Louisiana History, with editing and printing handled through the University of Louisiana at Lafayette; the association publishes several books related to state history, including The Dictionary of Louisiana Biography. LHA was established in New Orleans envisioned as a depository for Confederate military documents and American Civil War relics; the association headquarters at the Howard Memorial Library at Lee Circle was dedicated on January 8, 1891, in honor of Major General Andrew Jackson's defeat of the British on January 8, 1815.
Many prominent Confederates supported the association, including the widows of General Braxton Bragg and President Jefferson Davis. Although the association emphasized the Civil War period, other phases of Louisiana history were not ignored. An official seal was adopted on. Efforts were made to gather materials from the colonial and antebellum past. Incorporated under state law, the LHA's stated purpose is defined as the collection of "such books, papers, flags, plans, paintings, engravings and other pictorial representations, manuscripts" pertaining to the territorial and Confederate history of Louisiana; the state granted LHA the right to compile and publish or to commission books and other documents and to apply for copyrights and patents. LHA permitted membership only of "white persons of good moral character," including Confederate veterans or non-veterans who had lived in the state for at least five years; the organization outgrew the limited space of Howard Library. Therefore, the architects Thomas Sully and Albert Toledano, who formed a partnership in 1882, were commissioned to design a Romanesque building to be connected to the library.
The new brick one-story building with basement, known as Memorial Hall, was surrounded by a high terrace. Its retaining wall and steps were of Long Meadow brownstone; the interior was finished in polished cypress. Display cases were arranged against the walls in the main hall, equipped to serve as both a meeting place and a museum. On December 6, 1889, Jefferson Davis died in New Orleans and was entombed there in the Army of Northern Virginia's tomb in Metairie Cemetery. In 1893, Mrs. Davis decided to have his remains placed permanently in Richmond, where his presidency had been based, his copper casket was removed from its vault in the tomb, placed in a brass-trimmed oak coffin, transported under military escort to LHA's Memorial Hall, where it lay in state until the next evening. A steady stream of mourners passed by the Davis casket, including Governor Murphy J. Foster, Sr. Davis' remains were loaded aboard the Louisville and Nashville Railroad for the trip to Richmond. In March 1958, Edwin Adams Davis, head of the history department at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge called a meeting of professional historians and other interested persons to organize a new, statewide historical society.
This meeting was set at the Baptist-affiliated Louisiana College in Pineville in Rapides Parish. LHA contacted Davis and suggested a reinvigoration of the LHA, rather than the formation of a new association. At the Pineville meeting, thirty-five new members were added. On June 6, 1958, a general meeting of the LHA convened at Memorial Hall on the LSU campus, appropriate amendments to the charter were adopted. By this act, the Louisiana Historical Association was reorganized and a new slate of officers was elected. Edwin Davis, author of a textbook on Louisiana history, became president, with Kenneth Trist Urquhart, as vice-president, John C. L. Andreassen, a book collaborator with Davis, secretary-treasurer. Since reorganization in 1958: Edwin Adams Davis -—1958 Kenneth Trist Urquhart -—1959 John S. Kyser -—1960 Garnie W. McGinty -—1962 Walter M. Lowrey -—1963 Charles L. Dufour -—1964 Joe Gray Taylor -—1967 John D. Winters -—1968 Charles P. Roland —1969 Morgan D. Peoples -—1975 John L. Loos -—1976 Joy Juanita Jackson -—1977 Hubert D. Humphreys -—1978 William Y. Thompson -—1980 Donald Rawson -—1982 Michael L. Kurtz -—1984 (Southeastern Louisiana University Samuel Wilson, Jr. -—1986 Billy Hawkins Gilley -—1988 Mark T. Carleton -—1992 Stephen Webre -—1997 Philip Charles Cook -—2006 Light Townsend Cummins -—2013 Confederate Memorial Hall North Louisiana Historical Association First circular and catalogue of the Louisiana Hi
Lauterbourg is a commune and Bas-Rhin department in the Grand Est administrative region in north-eastern France. Situated on the German border and not far from the German city of Karlsruhe, it is the easternmost commune in Metropolitan France; the German town across the border is Neulauterburg. Lauterbourg lies near the rivers Rhine; the commune contains several small lakes in the flat land directly on the west of the Rhine, with which they connect. The commune is the confluence of more than one ecotone: an ecotone between river and agrisystem and one between agrisystem and the forest, whose northern edge coincides with the German frontier; the commune is set on the alluvial land fronting the Rhine, but the foothills of the north Vosges Mountains, where the Lauter has its source, are not far away. In anthropological and cultural terms, Lauterbourg is at the meeting point between the two German territories of Baden-Württemberg and Rheinland-Pfalz. On the other hand, it is adjacent to a major river and land route which for centuries has been a focus of commercial and cultural currents, but of major military currents in times of war.
Lauterbourg is connected by a railway line with Strasbourg to the south and Wörth am Rhein to the north. The town has had its own railway station since 1876, since the reversion of Alsace to French control it has been connected to both the French and German rail networks; the lines have never been electrified, in recent decades the trains have been diesel powered. Close by, to the west, is the northern end of the A35 Autoroute, the principal north-south highway in Alsace which links to Strasbourg and, beyond that and Basel. A linking autobahn to the north has not been constructed, but there is a narrow road running north through Germany towards the Autobahn network, linking to nearby cities such as Ludwigshafen and Karlsruhe. Spring and Autumn are pleasant in Lauterbourg. Summers are warm with the occasional afternoon thunderstorm. Winter can be cold. Lauterbourg is one of the coldest low lying places in France and can experience cold east winds most Winters. Lauterbourg is the site of a Roman era fortification named Tribuni, abandoned in AD 405.
The area was settled by the Franks in the 6th century. Lauterbourg fell to Lotharingia in 843, was incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire in 962. Adelheid, the wife of Otto I, founded a monastery in Seltz, a short distance to the south of Lauterbourg. Lauterbourg was given to the bishopric of Speyer by Henry IV. Lauterbourg developed into a town, the seat of a bailiwick incorporating 20 villages, in the 13th century. In the Wars of Religion of the 17th c, 1648, ber Oct The Peace of Westphalia, of the European settlements of 164ood the nature of t8, brought an end to the thirty years between Spain and the Dutch and the German portion of the Thirty Years War. Peace plans were formed in the towns of Munster and Osnabruck, 1648; the certain treaty signed on October 24,he 1648, understood the nature of the Holy Roman emperor France and Sweden. In the early 18th century, Lauter, as developed into a French fortification of the Lauter-line, defined as the border of France in the Congress of Vienna of 1815.
On 13 August 13, 1793, a battle of the War of the First Coalition took place in the Bienwald. After the Franco-Prussian War of 1871, Lauterbourg passed to the German Empire. Lauterbourg was now attached to a railway line. After World War I, the town passed to the French Third Republic. In the 1930s, Lauterbourg was in an uncomfortable position between the Siegfried-lines, its population was evacuated upon the outbreak of World War II. In May 1940, the lower town was destroyed completely. Part of its population returned to Lauterbourg in 1942. There was an attempt at taking Lauterbourg on 15 December 1944 by the US 79th Infantry Division, who were forced to hold out against Operation Nordwind until the German offensive was stopped on 25 January 1945. Lauterbourg was taken by the French 1st Army and U. S. VI Corps on 19 March 1945 after assaulting the Siegfried Line fortifications in the Bienwald during a week of heavy combat. Osnabruck; the town was rebuilt after the war. Lauterbourg now has a metal works, a chemical factory and a fertilizer factory.
Other significant businesses include a car delivery firm, whose activities include transferring cars between the railway depot and the harbour, a large gravel works. The harbour on the Rhine provides employment; the harbour is exclusively devoted to goods transport, including the delivery of raw materials by river tanker for the chemical and fertilizer factories and the transportation of bridge sections and other smaller sub-assemblies for the metal business. In the 2006/2007 season, ASL Lauterbourg, the local rugby football team, won the Alsace championship league. Château épiscopal de Lauterbourg Leopold Caspari, businessman from Natchitoches and a member of both houses of the Louisiana State Legislature between 1884 and 1914, was born in Lauterbourg in 1830. Georges Holderith and leading education inspector was born in Lauterbourg in 1912. Antoine Levy French rabbi and teacher of German, was known as the first rabbi of the Jewish Choral Temple in Bucharest, Romania. Mayer Halff Prominent Jewish merchant and rancher in San Antonio, was born in Lauterbourg.
Pierre Joseph Étienne Finck, French mathematician. Communes of the Bas-Rhin department INSEE commune file Official website
Louisiana State Legislature
The Louisiana State Legislature is the state legislature of the U. S. state of Louisiana. It is a bicameral body, comprising the lower house, the Louisiana House of Representatives with 105 representatives, the upper house, the Louisiana Senate with 39 senators. Members of both houses are elected from single-member constituencies; the State Legislature meets in the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge. Members of both houses of the legislature serve a four-year term, with a term limit of three terms. Term limits were passed by state voters in a constitutional referendum in 1995 and were subsequently added as Article III, §4, of the Louisiana Constitution; the year 2007 saw. The term limits are consecutive rather than a lifetime; the officers of each house of the Legislature are elected at the beginning of each term to serve for four-year terms. The Louisiana House of Representatives elects from among its members a speaker and speaker pro tempore. Although the procedure is not mandated constitutionally, the speaker of the House is traditionally recommended by the governor of Louisiana to the body.
The current speaker, Taylor Barras, a Republican, presides over the House. The House elects its chief clerical officer, the clerk of the House, not an elected member; the Louisiana Senate elects its presiding officer, the President of the Senate, from among its membership, though the position is traditionally recommended by the governor. The current President is John Alario; each house provides for the election of its officers. The Lieutenant Governor presided over the Louisiana Senate from 1853 until the adoption of the Louisiana constitution of 1974. Today, the Lieutenant Governor exercises, he serves as governor in the event of a vacancy in the office, if the Governor is unable to act as governor, or is out of the state. Since the Lieutenant Governor no longer serves as president of the Senate, he has been made an ex-officio member of each committee and commission on which the Governor serves. Additionally, the Lieutenant Governor serves as head of the Louisiana Department of Culture and Tourism.
In even-numbered years, a state legislature convenes at noon on the last Monday in March to extend for no longer than 60 legislative days during a period of 85 days. In odd-numbered years, a limited jurisdiction session convenes at noon on the last Monday in April for no longer than 45 legislative days during a period of 60 days; the legislature may convene for extraordinary sessions and for veto sessions. The legislature is required to meet in an organizational session, which cannot exceed three days, on the date its members take office. A special session may be called by the Governor or may be convened by the presiding officers of both houses upon a written petition of a majority of the elected members of each house. A special session is limited to the number of days stated in the proclamation, not to exceed 30 days; the power to legislate in a special session is limited to the objects enumerated in the proclamation. In order to constitute a quorum, both houses require a majority of members present.
A smaller number may compel the attendance of absent members. Each house is required to keep a journal of its proceedings and have it published after the close of each session. Members of both houses of the State Legislature are free from arrest, except for felony, during their attendance at sessions and committee meetings of their house and while going to and from them. No member shall be questioned elsewhere for any speech in either house; the Governor of Louisiana carries the power of the line-item veto. However, the legislature has the constitutional power to override a gubernatorial veto by a vote of two-thirds from each house. Louisiana House of Representatives Louisiana State Senate List of Louisiana state legislatures Government of Louisiana American Legislative Exchange Council members Louisiana State Legislature Louisiana House of Representatives Louisiana State Senate
The July Monarchy was a liberal constitutional monarchy in France under Louis Philippe I, starting with the July Revolution of 1830 and ending with the Revolution of 1848. It marks the end of the Bourbon Restoration, it began with the overthrow of the conservative government of Charles X, the last king of the House of Bourbon. Louis Philippe, a member of the more liberal Orléans branch of the House of Bourbon, proclaimed himself as Roi des Français rather than "King of France", emphasizing the popular origins of his reign; the king promised to follow the "juste milieu", or the middle-of-the-road, avoiding the extremes of either the conservative supporters of Charles X and radicals on the left. The July Monarchy was dominated by numerous former Napoleonic officials, it followed conservative policies under the influence of François Guizot. The king promoted friendship with Great Britain and sponsored colonial expansion, notably the conquest of Algeria. By 1848, a year in which many European states had a revolution, the king's popularity had collapsed, he was overthrown.
Louis Phillipe was pushed to the throne by an alliance between the people of Paris. However, at the end of his reign, the so-called "Citizen King" was overthrown by similar citizen uprisings and use of barricades during the February Revolution of 1848; this resulted in the proclamation of the Second Republic. After Louis-Philippe's ousting and subsequent exile to Britain, the liberal Orleanist faction continued to support a return of the House of Orléans to the throne, but the July Monarchy proved to be the last Bourbon-Orleans monarchy of France. The Legitimists withdrew from politics to their castles, leaving the way open for the struggle between the Orleanists and the Republicans; the July Monarchy is seen as a period during which the haute bourgeoisie was dominant, marked the shift from the counter-revolutionary Legitimists to the Orleanists. They were willing to make some compromises with the changes brought by the 1789 Revolution. For instance, Louis-Philippe was crowned "King of the French", instead of "King of France": this marked his acceptance of popular sovereignty.
Louis-Philippe, who had flirted with liberalism in his youth, rejected much of the pomp and circumstance of the Bourbons and surrounded himself with merchants and bankers. The July Monarchy, ruled during a time of turmoil. A large group of Legitimists on the right demanded the restoration of the Bourbons to the throne. On the left and Socialism, remained a powerful force. Late in his reign Louis-Philippe became rigid and dogmatic and his President of the Council, François Guizot, had become unpopular, but the king refused to remove him; the situation escalated until the Revolutions of 1848 resulted in the fall of the monarchy and the establishment of the Second Republic. However, during the first few years of his reign, Louis-Philippe was taking action to develop legitimate, broad-based reform; the government found its source of legitimacy within the Charter of 1830, written by reform-minded members of Chamber of Deputies and committed to a platform of religious equality among Catholics and Protestants.
Louis-Phillipe and his ministers adhered to policies that seemed to promote the central tenets of the constitution. However, the majority of these policies were veiled attempts to shore up the power and influence of the government and the bourgeoisie, rather than legitimate attempts to promote equality and empowerment for a broad constituency of the French population. Thus, though the July Monarchy seemed to move toward reform, this movement was illusory. During the years of the July Monarchy, enfranchisement doubled, from 94,000 under Charles X to more than 200,000 men by 1848. But, this number still represented only one percent of population and a small number of those men of eligible age; as the qualifications for voting was related to payment of a certain level of taxes, only the wealthiest men gained this privilege. The extended franchise tended to favor the wealthy merchant bourgeoisie more than any other group. Beyond resulting in the election of more bourgeoisie to the Chamber of Deputies, this electoral expansion meant that the bourgeoisie could politically challenge the nobility on legislative matters.
Thus, while appearing to honor his pledge to increase suffrage, Louis-Philippe acted to empower his supporters and increase his hold over the French Parliament. The election of only the wealthiest men tended to undermine any possibility for growth of a radical faction in Parliament, served conservative ends; the reformed Charter of 1830 limited the power of the king—stripping him of his ability to propose and decree legislation, as well as limiting his executive authority. However, Louis believed in a kind of monarchy in which the king was more than a figurehead for an elected Parliament, as such, he was involved in legislative affairs. One of his first acts in creating his government was to appoint the conservative Casimir Perier as the premier of his cabinet. Perier, a banker, was instrumental in shutting down many of the Republican secret societies and labor unions that had formed during the early years of the regime. In addition, he oversaw the dism
Nashville is the capital and most populous city of the U. S. state of Tennessee. The city is located on the Cumberland River; the city's population ranks 24th in the U. S. According to 2017 estimates from the U. S. Census Bureau, the total consolidated city-county population stood at 691,243; the "balance" population, which excludes semi-independent municipalities within Davidson County, was 667,560 in 2017. Located in northern Middle Tennessee, Nashville is the main core of the largest metropolitan area in Tennessee; the 2017 population of the entire 14-county Nashville metropolitan area was 1,903,045. The 2017 population of the Nashville—Davidson–Murfreesboro–Columbia combined statistical area, a larger trade area, was 2,027,489. Named for Francis Nash, a general of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, the city was founded in 1779; the city grew due to its strategic location as a port and railroad center. Nashville seceded with Tennessee during the American Civil War and in 1862 became the first state capital to fall to Union troops.
After the war the city developed a manufacturing base. Since 1963, Nashville has had a consolidated city-county government, which includes six smaller municipalities in a two-tier system; the city is governed by a mayor, a vice-mayor, a 40-member metropolitan council. Reflecting the city's position in state government, Nashville is home to the Tennessee Supreme Court's courthouse for Middle Tennessee. Nashville is a center for the music, publishing, private prison and transportation industries, is home to numerous colleges and universities such as Tennessee State University, Vanderbilt University, Belmont University, Fisk University, Lipscomb University. Entities with headquarters in the city include Asurion, Bridgestone Americas, Captain D's, CoreCivic, Dollar General, Hospital Corporation of America, LifeWay Christian Resources, Logan's Roadhouse, Ryman Hospitality Properties; the town of Nashville was founded by James Robertson, John Donelson, a party of Overmountain Men in 1779, near the original Cumberland settlement of Fort Nashborough.
It was named for the American Revolutionary War hero. Nashville grew because of its strategic location, accessibility as a port on the Cumberland River, a tributary of the Ohio River. By 1800, the city had 345 residents, including 136 enslaved African Americans and 14 free African-American residents. In 1806, Nashville was incorporated as a city and became the county seat of Davidson County, Tennessee. In 1843, the city was named as the permanent capital of the state of Tennessee; the city government of Nashville owned 24 slaves by 1831, 60 prior to the war. They were "put to work to build the first successful water system and maintain the streets." The cholera outbreak that struck Nashville in 1849–1850 took the life of former U. S. President James K. Polk. There were 311 deaths from cholera in 1849 and an estimated 316 to about 500 in 1850. By 1860, when the first rumblings of secession began to be heard across the South, antebellum Nashville was a prosperous city; the city's significance as a shipping port made it a desirable prize as a means of controlling important river and railroad transportation routes.
In February 1862, Nashville became the first state capital to fall to Union troops. The state was occupied by Union troops for the duration of the war; the Battle of Nashville was a significant Union victory and the most decisive tactical victory gained by either side in the war. Afterward, the Confederates conducted a war of attrition, making guerrilla raids and engaging in small skirmishes, with the Confederate forces in the Deep South constantly in retreat. In 1868, a few years after the Civil War, the Nashville chapter of the Ku Klux Klan was founded by Confederate veteran John W. Morton. Chapters of this secret insurgent group formed throughout the South. In 1873 Nashville suffered another cholera epidemic, as did towns throughout Sumner County along railroad routes and the Cumberland River. Meanwhile, the city had reclaimed its important shipping and trading position and developed a solid manufacturing base; the post–Civil War years of the late 19th century brought new prosperity to Nashville and Davidson County.
These healthy economic times left the city with a legacy of grand classical-style buildings, including the Parthenon in Centennial Park, near downtown. On April 30, 1892, Ephraim Grizzard, an African-American man, was lynched in a spectacle murder in front of a white mob of 10,000 in Nashville, his lynching was described by journalist Ida B. Wells as: "A naked, bloody example of the blood-thirstiness of the nineteenth century civilization of the Athens of the South." From 1877 to 1950, a total of six lynchings of blacks were conducted in Davidson County, most in the county seat of Nashville near the turn of the century. By the turn of the century, Nashville had become the cradle of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, as the first chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was founded here and the Confederate Veteran magazine was published here. Most "guardians of the Lost Cause" lived near Centennial Park. At the same time, Jefferson Street became the historic center of the African-American community.
It remained so until the federal government s
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