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
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne in the Gironde department in Southwestern France. The municipality of Bordeaux proper has a population of 252,040. Together with its suburbs and satellite towns, Bordeaux is the centre of the Bordeaux Métropole. With 1,195,335 in the metropolitan area, it is the sixth-largest in France, after Paris, Lyon and Lille, it is the capital of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture of the Gironde department. Its inhabitants are called "Bordelais" or "Bordelaises"; the term "Bordelais" may refer to the city and its surrounding region. Being at the center of a major wine-growing and wine-producing region, Bordeaux remains a prominent powerhouse and exercises significant influence on the world wine industry although no wine production is conducted within the city limits, it is home to the world's main wine fair and the wine economy in the metro area takes in 14.5 billion euros each year. Bordeaux wine has been produced in the region since the 8th century.
The historic part of the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble" of the 18th century. After Paris, Bordeaux has the highest number of preserved historical buildings of any city in France. In historical times, around 567 BC it was the settlement of a Celtic tribe, the Bituriges Vivisci, who named the town Burdigala of Aquitanian origin; the name Bourde is still the name of a river south of the city. In 107 BC, the Battle of Burdigala was fought by the Romans who were defending the Allobroges, a Gallic tribe allied to Rome, the Tigurini led by Divico; the Romans were defeated and their commander, the consul Lucius Cassius Longinus, was killed in the action. The city fell under Roman rule around its importance lying in the commerce of tin and lead, it became capital of Roman Aquitaine, flourishing during the Severan dynasty. In 276 it was sacked by the Vandals. Further ravage was brought by the same Vandals in 409, the Visigoths in 414, the Franks in 498, beginning a period of obscurity for the city.
In the late 6th century, the city re-emerged as the seat of a county and an archdiocese within the Merovingian kingdom of the Franks, but royal Frankish power was never strong. The city started to play a regional role as a major urban center on the fringes of the newly founded Frankish Duchy of Vasconia. Around 585, Gallactorius is fighting the Basque people; the city was plundered by the troops of Abd er Rahman in 732 after they stormed the fortified city and overwhelmed the Aquitanian garrison. Duke Eudes mustered a force ready to engage the Umayyads outside Bordeaux taking them on in the Battle of the River Garonne somewhere near the river Dordogne; the battle had a high death toll. Although Eudes was defeated here, he saved part of his troops and kept his grip on Aquitaine after the Battle of Poitiers. In 735, the Aquitanian duke Hunald led a rebellion after his father Eudes's death, at which Charles responded by sending an expedition that captured and plundered Bordeaux again, but did not retain it for long.
The following year, the Frankish commander descended again to Aquitaine, but clashed in battle with the Aquitanians and left to take on hostile Burgundian authorities and magnates. In 745, Aquitaine faced yet another expedition by Charles's sons Pepin and Carloman, against Hunald, the Aquitanian princeps strong in Bordeaux. Hunald was defeated, his son Waifer replaced him, confirmed Bordeaux as the capital city. During the last stage of the war against Aquitaine, it was one of Waifer's last important strongholds to fall to King Pepin the Short's troops. Next to Bordeaux, Charlemagne built the fortress of Fronsac on a hill across the border with the Basques, where Basque commanders came over to vow loyalty to him. In 778, Seguin was appointed count of Bordeaux undermining the power of the Duke Lupo, leading to the Battle of Roncevaux Pass that year. In 814, Seguin was made Duke of Vasconia, but he was deposed in 816 for failing to suppress or sympathise with a Basque rebellion. Under the Carolingians, sometimes the Counts of Bordeaux held the title concomitantly with that of Duke of Vasconia.
They were meant to keep the Basques in check and defend the mouth of the Garonne from the Vikings when the latter appeared c. 844 in the region of Bordeaux. In Autumn 845, count Seguin II marched on the Vikings, who were assaulting Bordeaux and Saintes, but he was captured and executed. No bishops were mentioned during part of the 9th in Bordeaux. From the 12th to the 15th century, Bordeaux regained importance following the marriage of Duchess Eléonore of Aquitaine with the French-speaking Count Henri Plantagenet, born in Le Mans, who became, within months of their wedding, King Henry II of England; the city flourished due to the wine trade, the cathedral of St. André was built, it was the capital of an independent state under Edward, the Black Prince, but in the end, after the Battle of Castillon, it was annexed by France which extended its territory. The Château Trompette and the Fort du Hâ, built by Charles VII of France, were the symbols of the new domination, which however deprived the city of its wealth by halting the wine commerce with England.
In 1462, Bordeaux obtained a parliament, but regained importance only in the 16th century when it became the centre of the distribution of sugar and slaves from the West Indies along with the traditional wine. Bordeaux adhered to the Fronde
The Garonne is a river in southwest France and northern Spain, with a length of 602 kilometres. It flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Bordeaux; the name derives from Garumna, a Latinized version of the Aquitanian name meaning "stony river". The Garonne's headwaters are to be found in the Aran Valley in the Spanish Pyrenees, though three different locations have been proposed as the true source: the Uelh deth Garona at Plan de Beret, the Ratera-Saboredo cirque 42°36′26″N 0°57′56″E), or the slopes of Pic Aneto; the Uelh deth Garona at 1,862 metres above sea level has been traditionally considered as the source of the Garonne. From this point a brook runs for 2.5 kilometres until the bed of the main upper Garonne valley. The river runs for another 38 kilometres until the French border at Pont de Rei, 40.5 kilometres in total. The Ratera-Saboredo cirque is the head of the upper Garonne valley, its upper lake at 2,600 metres above sea level is the origin of the Ruda-Garona river, running for 16 kilometres until the confluence with the Beret-Garona brook, another 38 kilometres until the French border at Pont del Rei, 54 kilometres in total.
At the confluence, the Ruda-Garona carries 2.6 cubic metres per second of water. The Ratera-Saboredo cirque has been pointed by many researchers as the origin of the Garonne; the third thesis holds that the river rises on the slopes of Pic Aneto at 2,300 metres above sea level and flows by way of a sinkhole known as the Forau de Aigualluts through the limestone of the Tuca Blanca de Pomèro and a resurgence in the Val dera Artiga above the Aran Valley in the Spanish Pyrenees. This underground route was suggested by the geologist Ramond de Carbonnières in 1787, but there was no confirmation until 1931, when caver Norbert Casteret poured fluorescein dye into the flow and noted its emergence a few hours 4 kilometres away at Uelhs deth Joèu in the Artiga de Lin on the other side of the mountain. From Aigualluts to the confluence with the main river at the bed of the upper Garonne valley at 800 metres above sea level, the Joèu has run for 12.4 kilometres, carrying 2.16 cubic metres per second of water, while the main river is carrying 17.7 cubic metres per second.
Despite the lack of universal agreement upon definition for determining a stream's source, the United States Geological Survey, the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution agree that a stream's source should be considered as the most distant point in the drainage basin from which water runs. The Ratera-Saboredo cirque is the "most distant point in the drainage basin from which water runs", the source of the Garonne, according to the United States Geological Survey, the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution convention upon determining a stream's source; the Garonne follows the Aran Valley northwards into France, flowing via Toulouse and Agen towards Bordeaux, where it meets the Gironde estuary. The Gironde flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Along its course, the Garonne is joined by three other major rivers: the Ariège, the Tarn, the Lot. Just after Bordeaux, the Garonne meets the Dordogne at the Bec d'Ambès, forming the Gironde estuary, which after 100 kilometres empties into the Atlantic Ocean.
Other tributaries include the Gers. The Garonne is one of the few rivers in the world. Surfers and jet skiers could ride the tidal bore at least as far as the village of Cambes, 120 kilometres or 75 miles from the Atlantic, further upstream to Cadillac, although the tidal bore appears and disappears in response to changes in the channel bathymetry. In 2010 and 2012, some detailed field studies were conducted in the Garonne's Arcins channel between Arcins Island and the right bank close to Lastrene township. A striking feature of the field data sets was the large and rapid fluctuations in turbulent velocities and turbulent stresses during the tidal bore and flood flow; the European sea sturgeon known as the Atlantic sturgeon or common sturgeon, is now a Critically Endangered species status. This species of sturgeon that can reach a length of 6 m and weigh 400 kg and can reach an age of 100 year Previously found on most coasts of Europe, it has now become so rare that they ONLY breed in the Garonne river basin in France.
Conservation projects are under way to save this fish from extinction with species reintroduction from aquaculture with the first releases being made in 1995. Aran Valley: Vielha, Bossòst Haute-Garonne: Saint-Gaudens, Toulouse Tarn-et-Garonne: Castelsarrasin Lot-et-Garonne: Agen, Aiguillon Gironde: Langon, Bordeaux Following the flow of the river: The Garonne plays an important role in inland shipping; the river not only allows seagoing vessels to reach the port of Bordeaux but forms part of the Canal des Deux Mers, linking the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. From the ocean, ships pass through the Gironde estuary up to the mouth of the Garonne. Ships continue on the tidal river Garonne up to the Pont de Pierre in Bordeaux. Inland vessels continue upstream to Castets-en-Dor
A suspension bridge is a type of bridge in which the deck is hung below suspension cables on vertical suspenders. The first modern examples of this type of bridge were built in the early 1800s. Simple suspension bridges, which lack vertical suspenders, have a long history in many mountainous parts of the world; this type of bridge has cables suspended between towers, plus vertical suspender cables that carry the weight of the deck below, upon which traffic crosses. This arrangement allows the deck to arc upward for additional clearance. Like other suspension bridge types, this type is constructed without falsework; the suspension cables must be anchored at each end of the bridge, since any load applied to the bridge is transformed into a tension in these main cables. The main cables continue beyond the pillars to deck-level supports, further continue to connections with anchors in the ground; the roadway is supported by called hangers. In some circumstances, the towers may sit on a bluff or canyon edge where the road may proceed directly to the main span, otherwise the bridge will have two smaller spans, running between either pair of pillars and the highway, which may be supported by suspender cables or may use a truss bridge to make this connection.
In the latter case there will be little arc in the outboard main cables. The earliest suspension bridges were ropes slung across a chasm, with a deck at the same level or hung below the ropes such that the rope had a catenary shape; the Tibetan saint and bridge-builder Thangtong Gyalpo originated the use of iron chains in his version of simple suspension bridges. In 1433, Gyalpo built eight bridges in eastern Bhutan; the last surviving chain-linked bridge of Gyalpo's was the Thangtong Gyalpo Bridge in Duksum en route to Trashi Yangtse, washed away in 2004. Gyalpo's iron chain bridges did not include a suspended deck bridge, the standard on all modern suspension bridges today. Instead, both the railing and the walking layer of Gyalpo's bridges used wires; the stress points. Before the use of iron chains it is thought that Gyalpo used ropes from twisted willows or yak skins, he may have used bound cloth. The first iron chain suspension bridge in the Western world was the Jacob's Creek Bridge in Westmoreland County, designed by inventor James Finley.
Finley's bridge was the first to incorporate all of the necessary components of a modern suspension bridge, including a suspended deck which hung by trusses. Finley patented his design in 1808, published it in the Philadelphia journal, The Port Folio, in 1810. Early British chain bridges included the Dryburgh Abbey Bridge and 137 m Union Bridge, with spans increasing to 176 m with the Menai Bridge, "the first important modern suspension bridge"; the first chain bridge on the German speaking territories was the Chain Bridge in Nuremberg. The Clifton Suspension Bridge is one of the longest of the parabolic arc chain type; the current Marlow suspension bridge was designed by William Tierney Clark and was built between 1829 and 1832, replacing a wooden bridge further downstream which collapsed in 1828. It is the only suspension bridge across the non-tidal Thames; the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, spanning the River Danube in Budapest, was designed by William Clark and it is a larger scale version of Marlow bridge.
An interesting variation is Thornewill and Warham's Ferry Bridge in Burton-on-Trent, where the chains are not attached to abutments as is usual, but instead are attached to the main girders, which are thus in compression. Here, the chains are made from flat wrought iron plates, eight inches wide by an inch and a half thick, rivetted together; the first wire-cable suspension bridge was the Spider Bridge at Falls of Schuylkill, a modest and temporary footbridge built following the collapse of James Finley's nearby Chain Bridge at Falls of Schuylkill. The footbridge's span was 124 m. Development of wire-cable suspension bridges dates to the temporary simple suspension bridge at Annonay built by Marc Seguin and his brothers in 1822, it spanned only 18 m. The first permanent wire cable suspension bridge was Guillaume Henri Dufour's Saint Antoine Bridge in Geneva of 1823, with two 40 m spans; the first with cables assembled in mid-air in the modern method was Joseph Chaley's Grand Pont Suspendu in Fribourg, in 1834.
In the United States, the first major wire-cable suspension bridge was the Wire Bridge at Fairmount in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Designed by Charles Ellet, Jr. and completed in 1842, it had a span of 109 m. Ellet's Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge was abandoned before completion, it was used as scaffolding for John A. Roebling's double decker railroad and carriage bridge; the Otto Beit Bridge was the first modern suspension bridge outside the United States built with parallel wire cables. The main forces in a suspension bridge of any type are tension in the cables and compression in the pillars. Since all the force on the pillars is vertically downwards and they are stabilized by the main cables, the pillars can be made quite slender, as on the Severn Bridge, on the Wales-England border. In a suspended deck bridge, cables suspended via towers hold up the road deck; the weight is transferred by the cables to the towers, which in turn transfer the weight to the ground. Assuming a negligible weight as compared to the weight of the deck and vehicles being supported, the main cables of a suspension bridge will form a parabola (very similar