The Royal Navy is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of France; the modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century. From the middle decades of the 17th century, through the 18th century, the Royal Navy vied with the Dutch Navy and with the French Navy for maritime supremacy. From the mid 18th century, it was the world's most powerful navy until surpassed by the United States Navy during the Second World War; the Royal Navy played a key part in establishing the British Empire as the unmatched world power during the 19th and first part of the 20th centuries. Due to this historical prominence, it is common among non-Britons, to refer to it as "the Royal Navy" without qualification. Following World War I, the Royal Navy was reduced in size, although at the onset of World War II it was still the world's largest.
By the end of the war, the United States Navy had emerged as the world's largest. During the Cold War, the Royal Navy transformed into a anti-submarine force, hunting for Soviet submarines and active in the GIUK gap. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, its focus has returned to expeditionary operations around the world and remains one of the world's foremost blue-water navies. However, 21st century reductions in naval spending have led to a personnel shortage and a reduction in the number of warships; the Royal Navy maintains a fleet of technologically sophisticated ships and submarines including two aircraft carriers, two amphibious transport docks, four ballistic missile submarines, six nuclear fleet submarines, six guided missile destroyers, 13 frigates, 13 mine-countermeasure vessels and 22 patrol vessels. As of November 2018, there are 74 commissioned ships in the Royal Navy, plus 12 ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary; the RFA replenishes Royal Navy warships at sea, augments the Royal Navy's amphibious warfare capabilities through its three Bay-class landing ship vessels.
It works as a force multiplier for the Royal Navy doing patrols that frigates used to do. The total displacement of the Royal Navy is 408,750 tonnes; the Royal Navy is part of Her Majesty's Naval Service, which includes the Royal Marines. The professional head of the Naval Service is the First Sea Lord, an admiral and member of the Defence Council of the United Kingdom; the Defence Council delegates management of the Naval Service to the Admiralty Board, chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence. The Royal Navy operates three bases in the United Kingdom; as the seaborne branch of HM Armed Forces, the RN has various roles. As it stands today, the RN has stated its 6 major roles as detailed below in umbrella terms. Preventing Conflict – On a global and regional level Providing Security At Sea – To ensure the stability of international trade at sea International Partnerships – To help cement the relationship with the United Kingdom's allies Maintaining a Readiness To Fight – To protect the United Kingdom's interests across the globe Protecting the Economy – To safe guard vital trade routes to guarantee the United Kingdom's and its allies' economic prosperity at sea Providing Humanitarian Aid – To deliver a fast and effective response to global catastrophes The strength of the fleet of the Kingdom of England was an important element in the kingdom's power in the 10th century.
At one point Aethelred II had an large fleet built by a national levy of one ship for every 310 hides of land, but it is uncertain whether this was a standard or exceptional model for raising fleets. During the period of Danish rule in the 11th century, the authorities maintained a standing fleet by taxation, this continued for a time under the restored English regime of Edward the Confessor, who commanded fleets in person. English naval power declined as a result of the Norman conquest. Following the Battle of Hastings, the Norman navy that brought over William the Conqueror disappeared from records due to William receiving all of those ships from feudal obligations or because of some sort of leasing agreement which lasted only for the duration of the enterprise. More troubling, is the fact that there is no evidence that William adopted or kept the Anglo-Saxon ship mustering system, known as the scipfryd. Hardly noted after 1066, it appears that the Normans let the scipfryd languish so that by 1086, when the Doomsday Book was completed, it had ceased to exist.
According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, in 1068, Harold Godwinson's sons Godwine and Edmund conducted a ‘raiding-ship army’ which came from Ireland, raiding across the region and to the townships of Bristol and Somerset. In the following year of 1069, they returned with a bigger fleet which they sailed up the River Taw before being beaten back by a local earl near Devon. However, this made explicitly clear that the newly conquered England under Norman rule, in effect, ceded the Irish Sea to the Irish, the Vikings of Dublin, other Norwegians. Besides ceding away the Irish Sea, the Normans ceded the North Sea, a major area where Nordic peoples traveled. In 1069, this lack of naval presence in the North Sea allowed for the invasion an
Peter the Great
Peter the Great, Peter I or Peter Alexeyevich ruled the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire from 7 May 1682 until his death in 1725, jointly ruling before 1696 with his elder half-brother, Ivan V. Through a number of successful wars, he expanded the Tsardom into a much larger empire that became a major European power and laid the groundwork for the Russian navy after capturing ports at Azov and the Baltic Sea, he led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political systems with ones that were modern, scientific and based on the Enlightenment. Peter's reforms made a lasting impact on Russia, many institutions of Russian government trace their origins to his reign, he is known for founding and developing the city of Saint Petersburg, which remained the capital of Russia until 1917. The imperial title of Peter the Great was the following: By the grace of God, the most excellent and great sovereign prince Pyotr Alekseevich the ruler of all the Russias: of Moscow, of Kiev, of Vladimir, of Novgorod, Tsar of Kazan, Tsar of Astrakhan and Tsar of Siberia, sovereign of Pskov, great prince of Smolensk, Yugorsk, Vyatsky and others, sovereign and great prince of Novgorod Nizovsky lands, Chernigovsky, of Ryazan, of Rostov, Belozersky, Udorsky and the sovereign of all the northern lands, the sovereign of the Iverian lands, of the Kartlian and Georgian Kings, of the Kabardin lands, of the Circassian and Mountain princes and many other states and lands western and eastern here and there and the successor and sovereign and ruler.
Named after the apostle, described as a newborn as "with good health, his mother's black, vaguely Tatar eyes, a tuft of auburn hair", from an early age Peter's education was put in the hands of several tutors, most notably Nikita Zotov, Patrick Gordon, Paul Menesius. On 29 January 1676, Tsar Alexis died, leaving the sovereignty to Peter's elder half-brother, the weak and sickly Feodor III of Russia. Throughout this period, the government was run by Artamon Matveev, an enlightened friend of Alexis, the political head of the Naryshkin family and one of Peter's greatest childhood benefactors; this position changed when Feodor died in 1682. As Feodor did not leave any children, a dispute arose between the Miloslavsky family and Naryshkin family over who should inherit the throne. Peter's other half-brother, Ivan V of Russia, was next in line for the throne, but he was chronically ill and of infirm mind; the Boyar Duma chose the 10-year-old Peter to become Tsar with his mother as regent. This arrangement was brought before the people of Moscow, as ancient tradition demanded, was ratified.
Sophia Alekseyevna, one of Alexis' daughters from his first marriage, led a rebellion of the Streltsy in April–May 1682. In the subsequent conflict some of Peter's relatives and friends were murdered, including Matveev, Peter witnessed some of these acts of political violence; the Streltsy made it possible for Sophia, the Miloslavskys and their allies to insist that Peter and Ivan be proclaimed joint Tsars, with Ivan being acclaimed as the senior. Sophia exercised all power. For seven years, she ruled as an autocrat. A large hole was cut in the back of the dual-seated throne used by Peter. Sophia would sit behind the throne and listen as Peter conversed with nobles, while feeding him information and giving him responses to questions and problems; this throne can be seen in the Kremlin Armoury in Moscow. Peter was not concerned that others ruled in his name, he engaged in such pastimes as sailing, as well as mock battles with his toy army. Peter's mother sought to force him to adopt a more conventional approach and arranged his marriage to Eudoxia Lopukhina in 1689.
The marriage was a failure, ten years Peter forced his wife to become a nun and thus freed himself from the union. By the summer of 1689, Peter age 17, planned to take power from his half-sister Sophia, whose position had been weakened by two unsuccessful Crimean campaigns against the Crimean Khanate in an attempt to stop devastating Crimean Tatar raids into Russia's southern lands; when she learned of his designs, Sophia conspired with the leaders of the Streltsy, who continually aroused disorder and dissent. Peter, warned by the Streltsy, escaped in the middle of the night to the impenetrable monastery of Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra. Sophia was overthrown, with Peter I and Ivan V continuing to act as co-tsars. Foy de la Neuville records that Sophia requested influential members of Peter's family, notably her aunts Tatyana and Anna, to mediate with him. Peter forced Sophia to enter a convent, where she gave up her name and her position as a member of the royal family. Still, Peter could not acquire actual control over Russian affairs.
Power was instead exercised by Natalya Naryshkina. It was only. Formally, Ivan V remained a co-ruler with Peter. Peter became the sole ruler when Ivan died in 1696. Peter was 24 years old. Peter grew to be tall as an a
John I of Portugal
John I called John of Aviz, was King of Portugal from 1385 until his death in 1433. He is recognized chiefly for his role in Portugal's victory in a succession war with Castile, preserving his country's independence and establishing the Aviz dynasty on the Portuguese throne, his long reign of 48 years, the most extensive of all Portuguese monarchs, saw the beginning of Portugal's overseas expansion. John's well-remembered reign in his country earned him the epithet of Fond Memory; as part of his efforts to acquire Portuguese territories in Africa, he became the first king of Portugal to use the title "Lord of Ceuta". John was born in Lisbon as the natural son of King Peter I of Portugal by a woman named Teresa, according to the royal chronicler Fernão Lopes, was a noble Galician. In the 18th century, António Caetano de Sousa found a 16th-century document in the archives of the Torre do Tombo in which she was named as Teresa Lourenço. In 1364, by request of Nuno Freire de Andrade, a Galician Grand Master of the Order of Christ, he was created Grand Master of the Order of Aviz.
On the death without a male heir of his half-brother, King Ferdinand I, in October 1383, strenuous efforts were made to secure the succession for Beatrice, Ferdinand's only daughter. As heir presumptive, Beatrice had married king John I of Castile, but popular sentiment was against an arrangement in which Portugal would have been annexed by Castile; the 1383–1385 Portuguese interregnum followed, a period of political anarchy, when no monarch ruled the country. On 6 April 1385, the Council of the Kingdom met in Coimbra and declared John Master of Aviz, to be king of Portugal; this was followed by the liberation of all of the Minho in the course of two months as part of a war against Castile in opposition to its claims to the Portuguese throne. Soon after, the king of Castile again invaded Portugal with the purpose of conquering Lisbon and removing John I from the throne. John I of Castile was accompanied by French allied cavalry while English troops and generals took the side of John of Aviz.
John and Nuno Álvares Pereira, his constable and talented supporter, repelled the attack in the decisive Battle of Aljubarrota on 14 August 1385. John I of Castile retreated; the Castilian forces abandoned Santarém, Torres Vedras and Torres Novas, many other towns were delivered to John I by Portuguese nobles from the Castilian side. As a result, the stability of the Portuguese throne was permanently secured. On 11 February 1387, John I married Philippa of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt, who had proved to be a worthy ally; the marriage consolidated an Anglo-Portuguese Alliance. John I of Castile died in 1390 without issue from his wife Beatrice, which meant that a competing legitimate bloodline with a claim to the throne of Portugal died out. John I of Portugal was able to rule in peace and concentrate on the economic development and territorial expansion of his realm; the most significant military actions were the siege and conquest of the city of Ceuta by Portugal in 1415, the successful defence of Ceuta from a Moroccan counterattack in 1419.
These measure were intended to help seize control of navigation off the African coast and trade routes from the interior of Africa. The raids and attacks of the Reconquista in the Iberian Peninsula created captives on both sides who were either ransomed or sold as slaves; the Portuguese crown extended this practice to North Africa. After the attack on Ceuta, the king sought papal recognition of the military action as a Crusade; such a ruling would have enabled those captured to be legitimately sold as slaves. In response to John's request, Pope Martin V issued the Papal bull Sane charissimus of 4 April 1418, which confirmed to the king all of the lands he might win from the Moors. Under the auspices of Prince Henry the Navigator, voyages were organized to explore the African coast; these led to the discovery of the uninhabited islands of Madeira in 1417 and the Azores in 1427. Contemporaneous writers describe John as a man of wit, keen on concentrating power on himself, but at the same time possessed a benevolent and kind demeanor.
His youthful education as master of a religious order made him an unusually learned king for the Middle Ages. His love for knowledge and culture was passed on to his sons, who are referred to collectively by Portuguese historians as the "illustrious generation": Edward, the future king, was a poet and a writer. In 1430, John's only surviving daughter, married Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, enjoyed an refined court culture in his lands. On 2 February 1387, John I married Philippa of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, in Porto. From that marriage were born several famous princes and princesses of Portugal that became known as the "illustrious generation"; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "John I. of Portugal". Encyclopædia Britannica. 15. Cambridge University Press. P. 443. Williamson, D. 1988. Debrett's Kings and Queens of Europe Ana Echevarría Arsuaga: Catalina de Lancaster, edit. Nerea, 2002. ISBN 84-89569-79-7)
Charles VII of France
Charles VII, called the Victorious or the Well-Served, was King of France from 1422 to his death in 1461, the fifth from the House of Valois. In the midst of the Hundred Years' War, Charles VII inherited the throne of France under desperate circumstances. Forces of the Kingdom of England and the Duchy of Burgundy occupied Guyenne and northern France, including Paris, the most populous city, Reims, the city in which the French kings were traditionally crowned. In addition, his father Charles VI had disinherited him in 1420 and recognized Henry V of England and his heirs as the legitimate successors to the French crown instead. At the same time, a civil war raged in France between the Burgundian party. With his court removed to Bourges, south of the Loire River, Charles was disparagingly called the “King of Bourges”, because the area around this city was one of the few remaining regions left to him. However, his political and military position improved with the emergence of Joan of Arc as a spiritual leader in France.
Joan of Arc and other charismatic figures led French troops to lift the siege of Orléans, as well as other strategic cities on the Loire river, to crush the English at the battle of Patay. With the local English troops dispersed, the people of Reims switched allegiance and opened their gates, which enabled the coronation of Charles VII in 1429 at Reims Cathedral; this long-awaited event boosted French morale. Following the battle of Castillon in 1453, the French expelled the English from all their continental possessions except for the Pale of Calais; the last years of Charles VII were marked by conflicts with his turbulent son, the future Louis XI of France. Born at the Hôtel Saint-Pol, the royal residence in Paris, Charles was given the title of comte de Ponthieu at his birth in 1403, he was the eleventh child and fifth son of Charles VI of Isabeau of Bavaria. His four elder brothers, Charles and John had each held the title of Dauphin of France in turn. All died childless. After his accession to the title of Dauphin, Charles had to face threats to his inheritance, he was forced to flee from Paris on 29 May 1418 after the partisans of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, had entered the city the previous night.
By 1419, Charles had established a Parlement in Poitiers. On 11 July of that same year and John the Fearless attempted a reconciliation by signing, on a small bridge near Pouilly-le-Fort, not far from Melun where Charles was staying, the Treaty of Pouilly-le-Fort known under name of Paix du Ponceau, they decided that a further meeting should take place the following 10 September. On that date, they met on the bridge at Montereau; the Duke assumed that the meeting would be peaceful and diplomatic, thus he brought only a small escort with him. The Dauphin's men reacted to the Duke's arrival by killing him. Charles' level of involvement has remained uncertain to this day. Although he claimed to have been unaware of his men's intentions, this was considered unlikely by those who heard of the murder; the assassination marked the end of any attempt of a reconciliation between the two factions Armagnacs and Burgundians, thus playing into the hands of Henry V of England. Charles was required by a treaty with Philip the Good, the son of John the Fearless, to pay penance for the murder, which he never did.
At the death of his father, Charles VI, the succession was cast into doubt. The Treaty of Troyes, signed by Charles VI in 1420, mandated that the throne pass to the infant King Henry VI of England, the son of the deceased Henry V and Catherine of Valois, daughter of Charles VI. For those who did not recognize the treaty and believed the Dauphin Charles to be of legitimate birth, he was considered to be the rightful heir to the throne. For those who did not recognize his legitimacy, the rightful heir was recognized as Charles, Duke of Orléans, cousin of the Dauphin, in English captivity. Only the supporters of Henry VI and the Dauphin Charles were able to enlist sufficient military force to press for their candidates; the English in control of northern France, were able to enforce the claim of their king in the regions of France that they occupied. Northern France, including Paris, was thus ruled by an English regent, Henry V's brother, John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford, based in Normandy.
In his adolescent years, Charles was noted for his flamboyant style of leadership. At one point after becoming Dauphin, he led an army against the English dressed in the red and blue that represented his family. However, in July 1421, upon learning that Henry V was preparing from Mantes to attack with a much larger army, he withdrew from the siege of Chartres in order to avoid defeat, he went south of the Loire River under the protection of Yolande of Aragon, known as "Queen of the Four Kingdoms" and, on 22 April 1422, married her daughter, Marie of Anjou, to whom he had been engaged since December 1413 in a ceremony at the Louvre Palace. Charles, claimed the title King of Franc
Enlightened absolutism refers to the conduct and policies of European absolute monarchs during the 18th and 19th centuries who were influenced by the ideas of the Enlightenment, espousing them to enhance their power. The concept originated during the Enlightenment period in the 18th and into the early 19th centuries. An enlightened despot is a non-democratic or authoritarian leader who exercises their political power for the benefit of the people, rather than for themselves or elites. Enlightened despots distinguished themselves from ordinary despots by claiming to rule for their subjects' well-being, they may focus government priorities on healthcare, nonviolent population control, or physical infrastructure. The leader may profess a commitment to peaceful relations and/or allow some democratic decision-making, such as public referenda, but would not propose reforms that undermined their sovereignty or disrupted the social order; some people say that despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement.
Enlightened despots' beliefs about royal power were similar to those of regular despots, both believing that they were destined to rule. Enlightened rulers may have played a part in the abolition of serfdom in Europe; the enlightened despot Emperor Joseph II of Austria summarized, "Everything for the people, nothing by the people". Enlightened absolutism is the theme of an essay by Frederick the Great, who ruled Prussia from 1740 to 1786, defending this system of government; when the prominent French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire fell out of favor in France, he eagerly accepted Frederick's invitation to live at his palace. He believed. Frederick was an enthusiast of French ideas. Frederick explained: "My principal occupation is to combat ignorance and prejudice... to enlighten minds, cultivate morality, to make people as happy as it suits human nature, as the means at my disposal permit."Enlightened absolutists held that royal power emanated not from divine right but from a social contract whereby a despot was entrusted with the power to govern through a social contract in lieu of any other governments.
The monarchs of enlightened absolutism strengthened their authority by improving the lives of their subjects. This philosophy implied that the sovereign knew that the interests of his or her subjects better than they themselves did; the monarch taking responsibility for the subjects precluded their political participation. The difference between an absolutist and an enlightened absolutist is based on a broad analysis of the degree to which they embraced the Age of Enlightenment. Historians debate the actual implementation of enlightened absolutism, they distinguish between the "enlightenment" of the ruler versus that of his or her regime. For example, Frederick the Great was tutored in the ideas of the French Enlightenment in his youth, maintained those ideas in his private life as an adult, but in many ways was unable or unwilling to effect enlightened reforms in practice. Other rulers such as the Marquis of Pombal, prime minister of Portugal, used the ideas and practices of the Enlightenment not only to achieve reforms but to enhance autocracy, crush opposition, suppress criticism, advance colonial economic exploitation, consolidate personal control and profit.
The concept of enlightened absolutism was formally described by the German historian Wilhelm Roscher in 1847 and remains controversial among scholars. Centralized control necessitated centralized systematic information on the nation. A major renovation was the collection and interpretation of numerical and statistical data, ranging from trade statistics, harvest reports, death notices to population censuses. Starting in the 1760s, officials in France and Germany began to rely on quantitative data for systematic planning regarding long-term economic growth, it combined the utilitarian agenda of "enlightened absolutism" with the new ideas being developed in economics. In Germany and France, the trend was strong in Cameralism and Physiocracy. Governmental responses to the Age of Enlightenment varied widely. In several nations with powerful rulers, called "enlightened despots" by historians, leaders of the Enlightenment were welcomed at Court and helped design laws and programs to reform the system to build stronger national states.
Government responses to the Age of Enlightenment varied widely. In France the government was hostile, the philosophes fought against its censorship; the British government ignored the Enlightenment's leaders. However in several nations with powerful rulers--called "enlightened despots" by historians--leaders of the Enlightenment were welcomed at Court and helped design laws and programs to reform the system to build stronger national states. Frederick the Great--who ruled Prussia 1740-1786, was an enthusiast for French ideas. Voltaire, imprisoned and maltreated by the French government, was eager to accept Frederick's invitation to live at his palace. Frederick explained, "My principal occupation is to combat ignorance and prejudice... to enlighten minds, cultivate morality, to make people as happy as it suits human nature, as the means at my disposal permit. He wrote an essay on "Benevolent Despotism" defending this system of government. Tsarina Catherine II of Russia sponsored the Russian Enlightenment.
She incorporated many ideas of Enlightenment philosophers Montesquieu, in her Nakaz, intended to revise Russian law. However in
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
The Reconquista is a name used in English to describe the period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula of about 780 years between the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in 711 and the fall of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada to the expanding Christian kingdoms in 1492. The completed conquest of Granada was the context of the Spanish voyages of discovery and conquest, the Americas—the "New World"—ushered in the era of the Spanish and Portuguese colonial empires. Traditional historiography has marked the beginning of the Reconquista with the Battle of Covadonga, the first known victory in Iberia by Christian military forces since the 711 military invasion of Iberia by combined Arab-Berber forces. In that small battle, a group led by the nobleman Pelagius defeated a Muslim patrol in the mountains of northern Iberia and established the independent Christian Kingdom of Asturias. In the late 10th century, the Umayyad vizier Almanzor waged military campaigns for 30 years to subjugate the northern Christian kingdoms.
His armies composed of Slavic and African Mamluks, ravaged the north sacking the great shrine of Santiago de Compostela. When the government of Córdoba disintegrated in the early 11th century, a series of petty successor states known as taifas emerged; the northern kingdoms struck deep into Al-Andalus. After a Muslim resurgence in the 12th century the great Moorish strongholds in the south fell to Christian forces in the 13th century—Córdoba in 1236 and Seville in 1248—leaving only the Muslim enclave of Granada as a tributary state in the south. After 1491, the entire peninsula was controlled by Christian rulers; the conquest was followed by the Alhambra Decree which expelled Jews who would not convert to Christianity from Castile and Aragon, a series of edicts which forced the conversions of the Muslims in Spain, although a significant part of them was expelled from the Iberian Peninsula. The concept of Reconquista, consolidated in Spanish historiography in the second half of the 19th century, was associated with the development of a Spanish national identity, emphasizing nationalistic and romantic, colonialist, aspects.
Since the 19th century traditional historiography has stressed the existence of the Reconquista, a continuous phenomenon by which the Christian Iberian kingdoms opposed and conquered the Muslim kingdoms, understood as a common enemy who had militarily seized territory from native Iberian Christians. The concept of a Christian reconquest of the peninsula first emerged, in tenuous form, at the end of the 9th century. A landmark was set by the Christian Chronica Prophetica, a document stressing the Christian and Muslim cultural and religious divide in Iberia and the necessity to drive the Muslims out. Both Christian and Muslim rulers fought amongst themselves. Alliances between Muslims and Christians were not uncommon. Blurring distinctions further were the mercenaries from both sides who fought for whoever paid the most; the period is seen today to have had long episodes of relative religious tolerance. The Crusades, which started late in the 11th century, bred the religious ideology of a Christian reconquest, confronted at that time with a staunch Muslim Jihad ideology in Al-Andalus by the Almoravids, to an greater degree by the Almohads.
In fact, previous documents from the 10th and 11th centuries are mute on any idea of "reconquest". Propaganda accounts of Muslim-Christian hostility came into being to support that idea, most notably the Chanson de Roland, a fictitious 11th-century French version of the Battle of Roncevaux Pass dealing with the Iberian Saracens, taught as historical fact in the French educational system since 1880; the modern idea of Reconquista is inextricably linked to the foundational myths of Spanish nationalism in the 19th century, consolidated by the mid-20th century during Franco's National-Catholic dictatorship, based on a strong underlying Castilian ideological element. The idea of a "liberation war" of reconquest against the Muslims, depicted as foreigners, suited well the anti-Republican rebels during the Spanish Civil War who agitated for the banner of a Spanish fatherland threatened by regional nationalisms and communism, their rebellious pursuit was thus a crusade for the restoration of the Church's unity, where Franco stood for both Pelagius of Asturias and El Cid.
The Reconquista has become a rallying call for right and far-right parties in Spain to expel from office incumbent progressive or peripheral nationalist options, as well as their values, in different political contexts as of 2018. Some contemporary authors consider it proved that the process of Christian state-building in Iberia was indeed defined by the reclamation of lands, lost to the Moors in generations past. In this way, state-building might be characterised—at least in ideological, if not practical, terms—as a process by which Iberian states were being'rebuilt'.. In turn, other recent historians dispute the whole concept of Reconquista as a concept created a posteriori in the service of political goals. A few historians point out that Spain and Portugal did not exist as nations, therefore the heirs of the Christian Visigothic Kingdom were not technically reconquering them, as the name suggests. One of the first Spanish intellectuals to question the idea of a "reconquest" that lasted for eight centuries was José Ortega y Gasset, writing in the first half of the 20th century.
However, the term is still in use