French invasion of Russia
The French invasion of Russia, known in Russia as the Patriotic War of 1812 and in France as the Russian Campaign, began on 24 June 1812 when Napoleon's Grande Armée crossed the Neman River in an attempt to engage and defeat the Russian army. Napoleon hoped to compel Tsar Alexander I of Russia to cease trading with British merchants through proxies in an effort to pressure the United Kingdom to sue for peace; the official political aim of the campaign was to liberate Poland from the threat of Russia. Napoleon named the campaign the Second Polish War to gain favor with the Poles and provide a political pretext for his actions. At the start of the invasion, the Grande Armée numbered 680,000 soldiers, it was the largest army known to have been assembled in the history of warfare up to that point. Through a series of long marches Napoleon pushed the army through Western Russia in an attempt to engage and destroy the Russian army, winning a number of minor engagements and a major battle at Smolensk in August.
Napoleon hoped the battle would win the war for him, but the Russian army slipped away and continued the retreat, leaving Smolensk to burn. As the Russian army fell back, scorched-earth tactics were employed, resulting in villages and crops being destroyed and forcing the French to rely on a supply system, incapable of feeding their large army in the field. On 7 September, the French caught up with the Russian army which had dug itself in on hillsides before a small town called Borodino, seventy miles west of Moscow; the battle that followed was the bloodiest single-day action of the Napoleonic Wars, with 72,000 casualties, a narrow French victory. The Russian army withdrew the following day, leaving the French again without the decisive victory Napoleon sought. A week Napoleon entered Moscow, which the Russians had abandoned and burned; the loss of Moscow did not compel Alexander I to enter into negotiations, Napoleon stayed on in Moscow for a month, waiting for a peace offer that never came.
On 19 October and his army left Moscow and marched southwest toward Kaluga, where Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov was encamped with the Russian army. After an inconclusive battle at Maloyaroslavets, Napoleon began to retreat back to the Polish border. In the following weeks, the Grande Armée suffered from the onset of the Russian Winter. Lack of food and fodder for the horses, hypothermia from the bitter cold and persistent attacks upon isolated troops from Russian peasants and Cossacks led to great losses in men, a breakdown of discipline and cohesion in the army. More fighting at Vyazma and Krasnoi resulted in further losses for the French; when the remnants of Napoleon's main army crossed the Berezina River in late November, only 27,000 soldiers remained. Following the crossing of the Berezina, Napoleon left the army after much urging from his advisors and with the unanimous approval of his Marshals, he returned to Paris to protect his position as Emperor and to raise more forces to resist the advancing Russians.
The campaign ended after nearly six months on 14 December 1812, with the last French troops leaving Russian soil. The campaign was a turning point in the Napoleonic Wars, it was the greatest and bloodiest of the Napoleonic campaigns, involving more than 1.5 million soldiers, with over 500,000 French and 400,000 Russian casualties. The reputation of Napoleon was shaken, French hegemony in Europe was weakened; the Grande Armée, made up of French and allied invasion forces, was reduced to a fraction of its initial strength. These events triggered a major shift in European politics. France's ally Prussia, soon followed by Austria, broke their imposed alliance with France and switched sides; this triggered the War of the Sixth Coalition. Although the Napoleonic Empire seemed to be at its height in 1810 and 1811, it had in fact declined somewhat from its apogee in 1806–1809. Although most of Western and Central Europe lay under his control—either directly or indirectly through various protectorates and countries defeated by his empire and under treaties favorable for France—Napoleon had embroiled his armies in the costly and drawn-out Peninsular War in Spain and Portugal.
France's economy, army morale, political support at home had noticeably declined. But most Napoleon himself was not in the same physical and mental state as in years past, he had become overweight and prone to various maladies. Despite his troubles in Spain, with the exception of British expeditionary forces to that country, no European power dared move against him; the Treaty of Schönbrunn, which ended the 1809 war between Austria and France, had a clause removing Western Galicia from Austria and annexing it to the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. Russia viewed this as against its interests and as a potential launching-point for an invasion of Russia. In 1811 Russian staff developed a plan of offensive war, assuming a Russian assault on Warsaw and on Danzig. In an attempt to gain increased support from Polish nationalists and patriots, Napoleon in his own words termed this war the Second Polish War. Napoleon's "first" Polish war, the War of the Fourth Coalition to liberate Poland, he saw as such because one of the official declared goals of this war was the resurrection of the Polish state on territories of the former Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Tsar Alexander found Russia in an economic bind as his country had little in the way of manufacturing, yet was rich in raw materials and relied on trade with Na
The Hundred Days marked the period between Napoleon's return from exile on the island of Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815. This period saw the War of the Seventh Coalition, includes the Waterloo Campaign, the Neapolitan War as well as several other minor campaigns; the phrase les Cent Jours was first used by the prefect of Paris, comte de Chabrol, in his speech welcoming the king back to Paris on 8 July. Napoleon returned. On 13 March, seven days before Napoleon reached Paris, the powers at the Congress of Vienna declared him an outlaw, on 25 March Austria, Prussia and the United Kingdom, members of the Seventh Coalition, bound themselves to put 150,000 men each into the field to end his rule; this set the stage for the last conflict in the Napoleonic Wars, the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, the second restoration of the French kingdom, the permanent exile of Napoleon to the distant island of Saint Helena, where he died in May 1821.
The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars pitted France against various coalitions of other European nations nearly continuously from 1792 onward. The overthrow and subsequent public execution of Louis XVI in France had disturbed other European leaders, who vowed to crush the French Republic. Rather than leading to France's defeat, the wars allowed the revolutionary regime to expand beyond its borders and create client republics; the success of the French forces made a hero out of Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1799, Napoleon staged a successful coup d'état and became First Consul of the new French Consulate. Five years he crowned himself Emperor Napoleon I; the rise of Napoleon troubled the other European powers as much as the earlier revolutionary regime had. Despite the formation of new coalitions against him, Napoleon's forces continued to conquer much of Europe; the tide of war began to turn after a disastrous French invasion of Russia in 1812 that resulted in the loss of much of Napoleon's army.
The following year, during the War of the Sixth Coalition, Coalition forces defeated the French in the Battle of Leipzig. Following its victory at Leipzig, the Coalition vowed to depose Napoleon. In the last week of February 1814, Prussian Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher advanced on Paris. After multiple attacks and reinforcements on both sides, Blücher won the Battle of Laon in early March 1814; the Battle of Reims went to Napoleon, but this victory was followed by successive defeats from overwhelming odds. Coalition forces entered Paris after the Battle of Montmartre on 30 March 1814. On 6 April 1814, Napoleon abdicated his throne, leading to the accession of Louis XVIII and the first Bourbon Restoration a month later; the defeated Napoleon was exiled to the island of Elba off the coast of Tuscany, while the victorious Coalition sought to redraw the map of Europe at the Congress of Vienna. Napoleon spent only nine months and 21 days in uneasy retirement on Elba, watching events in France with great interest as the Congress of Vienna gathered.
He had been escorted to Elba by Sir Neil Campbell, who remained in residence there while performing other duties in Italy, but was not Napoleon's jailer. As he foresaw, the shrinkage of the great Empire into the realm of old France caused intense dissatisfaction among the French, a feeling fed by stories of the tactless way in which the Bourbon princes treated veterans of the Grande Armée and the returning royalist nobility treated the people at large. Threatening was the general situation in Europe, stressed and exhausted during the previous decades of near constant warfare; the conflicting demands of major powers were for a time so exorbitant as to bring the Powers at the Congress of Vienna to the verge of war with each other. Thus every scrap of news reaching remote Elba looked favourable to Napoleon to retake power as he reasoned the news of his return would cause a popular rising as he approached, he reasoned that the return of French prisoners from Russia, Germany and Spain would furnish him with a trained and patriotic army far larger than that which had won renown in the years before 1814.
So threatening were the symptoms that the royalists at Paris and the plenipotentiaries at Vienna talked of deporting him to the Azores or to Saint Helena, while others hinted at assassination. At the Congress of Vienna the various participating nations had different and conflicting goals. Tsar Alexander of Russia had expected to absorb much of Poland and to leave a Polish puppet state, the Duchy of Warsaw, as a buffer against further invasion from Europe; the renewed Prussian state demanded all of the Kingdom of Saxony. Austria wanted to allow neither of these things, while it expected to regain control of northern Italy. Castlereagh, of the United Kingdom, supported France and Austria and was at variance with his own Parliament; this caused a war to break out, when the Tsar pointed out to Castlereagh that Russia had 450,000 men near Poland and Saxony and he was welcome to try to remove them. Indeed, Alexander stated "I shall be the King of Poland and the King of Prussia will be the King of Saxony".
Castlereagh approached King Frederick William III of Prussia to offer him British and Austrian support for Prussia's annexation of Saxony in return for Prussia's support of an independent Poland. The Prussian king repeated this offer in public, offending Alexander so that he chal
Hœnheim is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Grand Est in north-eastern France. "D'or aux trois corbeaux de sable posés deux et un". The three black crows come from the legend of the monk Benedict of Nursia, father of the monastic rule of the Benedictines. Saint Benedict lived withdrawn in a cave and shared his food with a crow, which came each day to visit him. A jealous priest sent poisoned bread to him, he gave it to the crow while saying to him to throw it in a place inaccessible to men. The crow was a symbol of obligingness and fidelity. Hœnheim lies 5 km north of Strasbourg; the neighboring communes of Hœnheim are: Souffelweyersheim, Reichstett, an enclave of Bischheim, an enclave of Schiltigheim. Hœnheim is located on the Rhine-Marne canal; the historic center is on a ridge and overlooking the "Ried" of Ill. This historical center gave the name to Hœnheim, the first mentions indicate the spelling Hohenheim, in other words residence on the hill. Vestiges and reports raised on the ground attest the existence of a small group of dwellings near Hoenheim from the Neolithic age.
The first mention of the name Hoenheim goes back to the year 742. At the end of the 9th century, the village of Hœnheim was the property of the Benedictine monastery of Honau, created by the brother of Saint Odile. Under the Holy Roman Empire, Hœnheim became the property of the diocese of Strasbourg, which allotted its land to knights or religious communities. Around the mid-14th century, the diocese made a gift of the Fief of Hœnheim to knights. 1350 sees the first written mention of the Chapel of John the Baptist. During the Hundred Years' War, Hœnheim, like many villages, had to undergo the passage of the "Écorcheurs" who tried, without success, to take Strasbourg. While passing through the hands of various noble families, the Fief returned to the Uttenheim of Ramstein family in 1457. In the 16th century, the lords of Uttenheim, dismayed by the escapades of the clergy of this time, joined the Reformation and with them the inhabitants of Hoenheim. At the time of the Thirty Years' War, like Bischheim, was a victim of the exactions of the two sides.
In 1649, at the time of the treaty of Westphalia, putting an end to the war, Alsace returned to France and subsequent Catholicism. In 1676 the last lord of Uttenheim died without an heir; the quarrel of succession ended in 1681 with the victory of the family Rathamhausen of Stein over the canons of the great chapter of Strasbourg. In 1689, the elder branch of Rathamhausen dies out and the Fief of Hœnheim returns to the great chapter of Strasbourg. On May 21, 1691, the bishop of Strasbourg gave the Fief to the knight-lord of Chamlay, maréchal général des logis des camps et des armées de France. In 1719 the marshal of Chamlay died without leaving an heir; the bishop of Strasbourg, Cardinal of Rohan, gave the Fief to the Klinglin family which had the full confidence of the royal and local authorities. After the French Revolution, Hoenheim was attached to the new district of Strasbourg during the formation of the Departments. In the same year, at the suggestion of Schiltigheim, the "Ried" public pasture common to Souffelweyersheim, Bischheim and Schiltigheim was divided.
This division led, amongst other things, to the creation of the enclave of Bischheim and the enclave of Schiltigheim in the centre of Hoenheim's territory. October 2, 1791, all the goods of the Klinglin family and of the church were confiscated and sold to the inhabitants. In 1792, the Émigré, joined forces with the Austro-Prussians begin the hostilities to regain the power in France. From October to December 1793, engagements between the troops of the French Republic and the Austro-Prussians took place around the Hoenheim - Griesheim-on-Souffel - Dingsheim line, until the Austro-Prussians troops were pushed back out of Alsace by January 1794. In 1793, the commune of Hoenheim was attached to the canton of Hausbergen. February 17, 1800, Hoenheim was attached to the new district of Strasbourg. In 1813, Napoleon's Russian campaign finished in catastrophe, he managed, with difficulty, to return to France. In January 1814, the French troops were kept in Strasbourg by the attacks of the Cossacks who settled in Hoenheim and Schiltigheim.
Following Napoleon's return and defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, the General Jean Rapp, having wind of intentions to annex Alsace and under the orders of Louis XVIII continued to fight on the Souffel, just north of Hoenheim. The battle of Souffelweyersheim-Hoenheim took place on June 28 and 29, 1815. With the victory of Coalition troops, Strasbourg was taken on July 9. In 1852 two new transportation routes passed by the territory of Hoenheim; the first is the Marne -- Rhine Canal. The second is the Paris-Strasbourg railway line; the Franco-Prussian War from 1870-1871 began on July 19, 1870. On August 7, the day after the battle of Froeschwiller-Woerth, the German troops arrived in Hoenheim; the troops settled in Reichstett, a few kilometres north of Hoenheim, began the siege of Strasbourg on August 12. With the treaty of Frankfurt in May 1871, France was required to give up the three departments of the Alsace-Moselle. Between 1871 and 1919, Hoenheim is attached to the "Kreises Strassburg". Railway workshops opened in 1875 with 10 ha located in Hoenheim.
These workshops were located on the new railway line connecting Strasbou
The Canal de la Marne au Rhin is a canal in north-eastern France. It connects the river Marne and the Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne in Vitry-le-François with the port of Strasbourg on the Rhine; the original objective of the canal was to connect Paris and the north of France with Alsace and Lorraine, the Rhine, Germany. The 313 km long canal was the longest in France when it opened in 1853; the canal is suited for small barges, with a maximum size of 38.50 metres in length and 5.05 metres in width. It has 154 locks, including two in the Moselle River. There are four tunnels; the Saint-Louis-Arzviller inclined plane is located between Arzviller and Saint-Louis and its construction replaced 17 locks. In 1979, a 23 kilometres section along the Moselle valley was closed following completion of the Moselle canalisation works between Frouard and Neuves-Maisons; the route is now made up as follows: Canal de la Marne au Rhin, western section, connecting with the Canal de la Meuse at Troussey, with a branch to Houdelaincourt, the navigable river Moselle from Toul to Pompey and the Frouard branch from Pompey to Frouard, the eastern section, from Frouard to Strasbourg.
The western section, 131.4 km has 97 locks, 70 rising to the summit level and 27 down to the Moselle at Toul. The Moselle section has three locks of high-capacity Rhine dimensions on the river and one on the Frouard branch, an additional Freycinet size lock connecting to the original canal in Frouard; the eastern section, 159 km, has 56 locks, 21 rising to the summit level crossing the Vosges watershed and 35 down to Strasbourg. Its course crosses the following départements and towns: Marne: Vitry-le-François Meuse: Bar-le-Duc, Ligny-en-Barrois, Void-Vacon Meurthe-et-Moselle: Toul, Nancy Moselle: Gondrexange, Sarrebourg Bas-Rhin: Saverne, Strasbourg List of canals in France Canal de la Marne au Rhin with maps and detailed information on places and moorings on the canal, by the author of Inland Waterways of France, ImrayNavigation details for 80 French rivers and canals
La Wantzenau is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Grand Est in north-eastern France. The town is located 12 km northeast of Strasbourg, it is the last village along the Ill river. The village limits touch the border with Germany, although the closest bridge across the Rhine is in Gambsheim, 10 km north of the village, it is one of the villages of greater Strasbourg. The village centre and the developed area, Le Golf, are on the north side of the river Ill with the neighbourhood of Le Woerthel on the south side; the terrain around the village is flat and marshy. In fact the ending "au" in the name denotes in Alsatian a town, subject to seasonal flooding; the town was founded in the 8th century as a fishing outpost of Honau, a nearby monastery founded by Irish monks on an island in the Rhine river. The name does not appear in any records until 1331 as "Wanzenowe", it was granted status as a parish by the bishop-prince of Strasbourg in 1468. During the Thirty Years' War, in the early 17th century, the town was wiped out by Swedish troops.
It was badly damaged during both World Wars. There are many signs of the town's experience with war. Rue Albert Zimmer is named for a soldier who became a local hero fighting with General Leclerc in World War II, only to be killed in fighting near Strasbourg in 1944; the town is dotted with bunkers and blockhouses from the Maginot Line in the La Wantzenau forest. There is a German-made bunker visible in the house on the corner of the rue Leh and the rue du Moulin. Today, the town has preserved many 18th century half-timbered Alsatian-style houses; the town has graded a promenade along the Ill river. It is connected to a network of bicycle lanes including the "Piste des Forts" which circles greater Strasbourg, a path through the La Wantzenau forest through La Robertsau and into downtown Strasbourg. La Wantzenau is well known in the region for the high number of fine restaurants including Le Relais de la Poste, Les Semailles and Le Moulin de la Wantzenau, the last vestiges of a now closed cooking school in the town.
The town is twinned with Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche in Haute-Vienne because the population of La Wantzenau was evacuated there at the start of the war with Germany in 1939. La Wantzenau is a bedroom community of Strasbourg, it combines the advantages of village life with individual houses while still being part of the CUS with train and bus transportation to the centre of Strasbourg. 73% of the working population works outside of the village. The centre of the town has several commercial establishments including a grocery store, two bakeries and two tobacconists. There are several public buildings including a post office, the town hall, the Foyer Culturel, the Jean-Claude Klein sports complex, a football stadium, two pre-schools, a primary school, a junior highschool. Population: 5462 Population: 4394 Communes of the Bas-Rhin department INSEE commune file
William I of Württemberg
William I was King of Württemberg from 30 October 1816 until his death. Upon William's accession, Württemberg was suffering crop failures and famine in the "Year Without a Summer", in 1816. After taking office, he initiated sweeping reforms, resulting in the approval of the Estates of Württemberg to a constitution on September 25, 1819. In his 48-year reign, the kingdom moved from one, created from different denominational principalities and a heterogeneous agricultural country, into a constitutional state with a common identity and a well-organised management. In addition to his successful domestic policy, he pursued throughout his reign an ambition focused on German and European foreign policy. Alongside the great powers of Prussia and Austria, he imagined a third major German power in the form of Bavaria, Hanover and Württemberg. Although this plan never succeeded, it ensured a consistent and targeted policy during his reign. William was the only German monarch, forced to recognise the Frankfurt Constitution of 1848.
After the failure of the March Revolution of 1848, he pursued restorative policies that counteracted his liberal image from before the revolution. He is buried in the Württemberg Mausoleum. Born at Lüben on 27 September 1781, Frederick William was the son of Duke Frederick William Charles of Württemberg and his wife, Duchess Augusta of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel; the relationship between his mother and father was one of discord. His father had entered the Prussian military in 1774 moved shortly after William's birth to the service of the Russian Empress, Catherine the Great, who appointed him Governor-General of Eastern Finland. Although William's mother gave birth in 1783 to his sister Catharina Frederica later that year to Sophia Dorothea, Paul in 1785, the relationship between the parents continued to deteriorate. Augusta sought sanctuary from her abusive marriage and asked the Empress for protection in 1786. Catherine forced Friedrich and his children to leave Russia and placed Augusta in the custody of a former royal huntsman, Reinhold Wilhelm von Pohlmann, by whom she became pregnant.
She died in 1788 in agony from a miscarriage, due to Pohlmann refusing to seek medical attention in order to conceal the illegitimate pregnancy. In 1790, Friedrich and his two sons moved to Ludwigsburg Palace, he made sure that his sons' educators were from Württemberg and their education, at the behest of their father, was regulated and strict. Charles Eugene, Duke of Württemberg died on 24 October 1793, he had ruled for 56 years and as he had no legitimate offspring, the duchy passed to his brothers, Louis Eugene in 1793 two years to Frederick II Eugene, Frederick William's grandfather. Frederick William's father thus became Hereditary Prince in 1795 Duke on 23 December 1797. In 1797, Duke Frederick's father married Charlotte, Princess Royal, the daughter of King George III of Great Britain, they began to look for a wife for Frederick William and potential brides included the Holy Roman Emperor's sister, Archduchess Maria Amalia, the Grand Duchesses Alexandra Pavlovna and Maria Pavlovna. Duke Frederick's relationship with his son deteriorated.
Frederick William rebelled against his upbringing and his father. In 1799, Frederick William's escape plans were discovered and his father had him temporarily arrested. After his release, Frederick William began studying at the University of Tübingen. After the War of the Second Coalition erupted and France marched under Napoleon in the spring of 1800, Frederick William, who had joined as a volunteer in the Austrian army, participated in the Battle of Hohenlinden in December 1800. In 1803 he attained the rank of Imperial Major General. Contemporaries have credited him with profound military knowledge and bravery. After returning to Württemberg in 1801, Frederick William and his brother Paul began liaisons with the daughters of the landscape architect, Konradin von Abel. Frederick William fell in love with four years his senior. At that time there were clashes between Duke Frederick and the Estates of Württemberg on domestic and foreign policy issues. Konradin von Abel represented the foreign policy interests of the estates and was supported by Frederick William, who moved against the interests of his father's policies.
In 1803 Frederick William fled Württemberg to Paris, Vienna and Saarburg. In Saarburg, Therese gave birth to twins. Now Elector of Württemberg, Frederick wanted to bring his son back to Württemberg. Frederick William went in October to Paris. Elector Frederick prevented the planned marriage of his son with Therese von Abel through diplomatic interventions, though separating the two did not happen until the autumn of 1804. During his time in Paris, Frederick William received financial support from the Landstände and from Napoleon. On September 11, 1805, Frederick William left Paris and returned to Stuttgart, where in November he met his father for the first time in a few years, his return was due to the change in the political climate. The United Kingdom, at war with Napoleon since 1803, formed an alliance with Russia and Austria. Napoleon had Württemberg's neighbours of Baden and Bavaria on his side, so Württemberg was forced, after some hesitation, to yield to French pressure and enter into an alliance with Napoleon.
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