Provinces of France
The Kingdom of France was organized into provinces until March 4, 1790, when the establishment of the department system superseded provinces. The provinces of France were equivalent to the historic counties of England, they came into their final form over the course of many hundreds of years, as many dozens of semi-independent fiefs and former independent countries came to be incorporated into the French royal domain. Because of the haphazard manner in which the provinces evolved, each had its own sets of feudal traditions, taxation systems, etc. and the system represented an impediment to effective administration of the entire country from Paris. During the early years of the French Revolution, in an attempt to centralize the administration of the whole country, to remove the influence of the French nobility over the country, the entirety of the province system was abolished and replaced by the system of departments in use today. In some cases, several modern regions or departments share names with the historic provinces, their borders may cover the same territory.
The list below shows the major provinces of France at the time of their dissolution during the French Revolution. Capital cities are shown in parentheses. Bold indicates a city, the seat of a judicial and quasi-legislative body called either a parlement or a conseil souverain. In some cases, this body met in a different city from the capital. Île-de-France Berry Orléanais Normandy Languedoc Lyonnais Dauphiné Champagne Aunis Saintonge Poitou Guyenne and Gascony Burgundy Picardy Anjou Provence Angoumois Bourbonnais Marche Brittany Maine Touraine Limousin Foix Auvergne Béarn Alsace Artois Roussillon Flanders and Hainaut Franche-Comté Lorraine.
The Allier is a river in central France. It is a left tributary of the Loire, its source is in the Lozère department, east of Mende. It flows north, it joins the Loire west of the city of Nevers. It is 421 km long, has a drainage basin of 14,350 km2; the Allier flows through the following departments, along the following towns: Allier: Moulins, Varennes-sur-Allier, Vichy Ardèche - the river runs along the border between this department and Lozère Cher Haute-Loire: Brioude, Langeac Lozère: Langogne Nièvre Puy-de-Dôme: Brassac-les-Mines, Auzat-sur-Allier, Cournon-d'Auvergne The main tributaries of the Allier are: Chapeauroux Senouire Alagnon Anse Couze Pavin Dore Dolore Morge Sioule Monne Veyre The Allier is one of the rare places in southern Europe where the freshwater grayling, known in French as ombre des rivières, occurs in a natural habitat. Grayling are sensitive to pollution. In the Allier these fish are more abundant in the stretch between Brioude, they are economically important, being appreciated for food and fished for sport
Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection
Communes of France
The commune is a level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are analogous to civil townships and incorporated municipalities in the United States and Canada, Gemeinden in Germany, comuni in Italy or ayuntamiento in Spain; 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 are vested with significant powers to manage the populations and land of the geographic area covered; the communes are the fourth-level administrative divisions of France. Communes vary in size and area, from large sprawling cities with millions of inhabitants like Paris, to small hamlets with only a handful of inhabitants. Communes 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, the difference residing in the lack of administrative powers.
Except for the municipal arrondissements of its largest cities, the communes are the lowest level of administrative division in France and are governed by elected officials with extensive autonomous powers to implement national policy. A commune is city, or other municipality. "Commune" in English has a historical bias, implies an association with socialist political movements or philosophies, collectivist lifestyles, or particular history. There is nothing intrinsically different between commune in French; the French word commune appeared in the 12th century, from Medieval Latin communia, for a large gathering of people sharing a common life. 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, because French communes still reflect the division of France into villages or parishes at the time of the French Revolution. The whole territory of the French Republic is divided into communes.
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, it was 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. COM of Saint Barthélemy, it was a commune inside the Guadeloupe region. The commune structure was abolished when Saint-Barthélemy became an overseas collectivity on 22 February 2007. Furthermore, two regions without permanent habitation have no communes: TOM of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands Clipperton Island in the Pacific Ocean In metropolitan France, the average area of a commune in 2004 was 14.88 square kilometres. The median area of metropolitan France's communes at the 1999 census was smaller, at 10.73 square kilometres. 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 median area of communes is 22 km2. Switzerland and the Länder of Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia in Germany were the only places in Europe where the communes had a smaller median area than in France; the communes of France's overseas départements such as Réunion and French Guiana are large by French standards. They group into the same commune several villages or towns with sizeable distances among them. In Réunion, demographic expansion and sprawling urbanization have resulted in the administrative splitting of some communes; the median population of metropolitan France's communes at the 1999 census was 380 inhabitants. Again this is a small number, here France stands apart in Europe, with the lowest communes' median population of all the European countries; this small median population of French communes can be compared with Italy, where the median population of communes in 2001 was 2,343 inhabitants, Belgium, or Spain.
The median population given here should not hide the fact that there are pronounced differences in size between French communes. As mentioned in the introduction, a commune can be a city of 2 million inhabitants such as Paris, a town of 10,000 inhabitants, or just a hamlet of 10 inhabitants. What the median population tells us is that the vast majority of the French communes only have a few hundred inhabitants. In metropolitan France just over 50 percent of the 36,683 communes have fewer than 500 inhabitants a
Peter II, Duke of Bourbon
Peter II, Duke of Bourbon, was the son of Charles I, Duke of Bourbon, Agnes of Burgundy, a member of the House of Bourbon. He and his wife Anne of France ruled as regents during the minority of Charles VIII of France. A loyal and capable subject of the crown, Peter earned the grudging respect of Louis XI through his demonstration of the Bourbon family's "meekness and humility", he was betrothed to Marie d'Orleans, sister of Louis, Duke of Orleans. A marriage between Peter and the King's elder daughter, was arranged. Peter and Anne were married on 3 November 1473. At the time of Louis XI's death in 1483, Peter was one of the few royal servants to have remained in favour during the King's reign, it was to him that Louis, on his deathbed, granted guardianship over the new King, Charles VIII. Peter and Anne took up their duties, began to position themselves as leaders of a regency government; the King was swiftly crowned. Having assisted his wife in the governing of France, in 1488 both were able to begin building up a power-base of their own in the Bourbonnais.
Anne was Countess of Gien, Peter was Count of Clermont and La Marche, as well as Lord of Beaujeu. The new Duke and Duchess of Bourbon proceeded to add to these domains, adding Bourbon-Lancy in December 1488, trading l'Isle-en-Jordain with the Armagnacs in June 1489 for Carlades and Murat; these domains were granted to them by the King in absolute right – they would not revert to the crown, were not obligated to pass to the next heirs to the Bourbon inheritance, the Bourbon-Montpensiers – the Duke and Duchess could bequeath them to whomsoever they wished. On 10 May 1491, the pair acquired an heir of their own, a daughter, Suzanne. By 1491, the Bourbon influence over the crown was waning. Against the better judgement of Anne and Peter, Charles chose to renounce his unconsummated marriage to Margaret of Austria, instead marry Anne, Duchess of Brittany. Nor were either able to prevent Charles' disastrous Italian expeditions, although both were left in control of France on several of his absences.
Both continued to be major figures in the court for the rest of Charles VIII's reign, but restricted in power. After Charles VIII's death, the accession of Louis XII, Peter retired from court politics and devoted his few remaining years to his family, being devoted to his daughter Suzanne. Without surviving male issue, the next heir to the Bourbon Duchy was Suzanne, it was in the question of the future of Suzanne and the Bourbon territories that Peter and Anne found themselves opposing each another in his final years. With Charles VIII dead and the more cautious Louis XII on the throne, Suzanne needed a husband to support her in her inheritance, which risked being disputed by the crown and the Montpensiers; the Duke and Duchess had groomed the next Bourbon heir, Louis of Bourbon-Montpensier, as a son-in-law. Peter decided to betroth Suzanne to Charles IV, Duke of Alençon, a favourite of Louis XII, so to protect the duchy against royal encroachment and Montpensier challenges; this contract was signed on 21 March 1501 at Moulins, Charles being 11, Suzanne 9.
Before this marriage could be completed, Peter died of a fever. Following this, Anne arranged for Suzanne to marry the next Bourbon heir-male, Charles of Bourbon-Montpensier, thereby averting a succession dispute over the Bourbon inheritance with the young pair inherited jointly
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
Charles IV of France
Charles IV, called the Fair in France and the Bald in Navarre, was the fifteenth and last king of the direct line of the House of Capet, King of France and King of Navarre from 1322 to his death. Charles was the third son of Philip IV. Beginning in 1323 Charles was confronted with a peasant revolt in Flanders, in 1324 he made an unsuccessful bid to be elected Holy Roman Emperor; as Duke of Guyenne, King Edward II of England was a vassal of Charles, but he was reluctant to pay homage to another king. In retaliation, Charles conquered the Duchy of Guyenne in a conflict known as the War of Saint-Sardos. In a peace agreement, Edward II accepted to pay a fine. In exchange, Guyenne was returned with a much-reduced territory; when Charles IV died without a male heir, the senior line of the House of Capet, descended from Philip IV, became extinct. He was succeeded in Navarre by his niece Joan II and in France by his paternal first cousin Philip of Valois. However, the dispute on the succession to the French throne between the Valois monarchs descended in male line from Charles's grandfather Philip III of France, the English monarchs descended from Charles's sister Isabella, was a factor of the Hundred Years' War.
By virtue of the birthright of his mother, Joan I of Navarre, Charles claimed the title Charles I, King of Navarre. From 1314 to his accession to the throne, he held the title of Count of La Marche and was crowned King of France in 1322 at the cathedral in Reims. Unlike Philip IV and Philip V, Charles is reputed to have been a conservative, "strait-laced" king – he was "inclined to forms and stiff-necked in defence of his prerogatives", while disinclined either to manipulate them to his own ends or achieve wider reform. Charles married his first wife, Blanche of Burgundy, the daughter of Otto IV, Count of Burgundy, in 1308, but Blanche was caught up in the Tour de Nesle scandals of 1314 and imprisoned. After Charles assumed the throne he refused to release Blanche, their marriage was annulled, Blanche retreated to a nunnery, his second wife, Marie of Luxembourg, the daughter of Henry VII, the Holy Roman Emperor, died following a premature birth. Charles married again in 1325, this time to Jeanne d'Évreux: she was his first cousin, the marriage required approval from Pope John XXII.
Jeanne was crowned queen in one of the better recorded French coronation ceremonies. The ceremony represented a combination of a political statement, social event, an "expensive fashion statement"; the coronation was the first appearance of the latterly famous medieval cook, Guillaume Tirel only a junior servant. During the first half of his reign Charles relied on his uncle, Charles of Valois, for advice and to undertake key military tasks. Charles of Valois was a powerful magnate in his own right, a key advisor to Louis X, he had made a bid for the regency in 1316 championing Louis X's daughter Joan, before switching sides and backing Philip V. Charles of Valois would have been aware that if Charles died without male heirs, he and his male heirs would have a good claim to the crown. Charles came to power following a troublesome two years in the south of France, where local nobles had resisted his elder brother Philip V's plans for fiscal reform, where his brother had fallen fatally ill during his progress of the region.
Charles undertook rapid steps to assert his own control, executing the Count of L'Isle-Jourdain, a troublesome southern noble, making his own royal progress. Charles, a well educated king founded a famous library at Fontainebleau. During his six-year reign Charles' administration became unpopular, he debased the coinage to his own benefit, sold offices, increased taxation, exacted burdensome duties, confiscated estates from enemies or those he disliked. He was closely involved in Jewish issues during the period. Charles' father, Philip IV, had confiscated the estates of numerous Jews in 1306, Charles took vigorous, but unpopular, steps to call in Christian debts to these accounts. Following the 1321 leper scare, in which numerous Jews had been fined for their alleged involvement in a conspiracy to poison wells across France through local lepers, Charles worked hard to execute these fines. Charles at least acquiesced, or at worst ordered, in the expulsion of many Jews from France following the leper scare.
Charles inherited a long-running period of tension between France. Edward II, King of England, as Duke of Aquitaine, owed homage to the King of France, but he had avoided paying homage under Charles' older brother Louis X, had only paid homage to Philip V under great pressure. Once Charles took up the throne, Edward attempted to avoid payment again. One of the elements in the disputes was the border province of Agenais, part of Gascony and in turn part of Aquitaine. Tensions rose in November 1323 after the construction of a bastide, a type of fortified town, in Saint-Sardos, part of the Agenais, by a French vassal. Gascon forces destroyed the bastide, in turn Charles attacked the English-held Montpezat: the assault was unsuccessful, but in the subsequent War of Saint-Sardos Charles' trusted uncle and advisor, Charles of Valois wrested control of Aquitaine from the English. Charles's sister Isabella was married to King Edward and was sent to France in 132