Gaul was a historical region of Western Europe during the Iron Age, inhabited by Celtic tribes, encompassing present day France, Belgium, most of Switzerland, parts of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the west bank of the Rhine. It covered an area of 494,000 km2. According to the testimony of Julius Caesar, Gaul was divided into three parts: Gallia Celtica and Aquitania. Archaeologically, the Gauls were bearers of the La Tène culture, which extended across all of Gaul, as well as east to Raetia, Noricum and southwestern Germania during the 5th to 1st centuries BC. During the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, Gaul fell under Roman rule: Gallia Cisalpina was conquered in 203 BC and Gallia Narbonensis in 123 BC. Gaul was invaded after 120 BC by the Cimbri and the Teutons, who were in turn defeated by the Romans by 103 BC. Julius Caesar subdued the remaining parts of Gaul in his campaigns of 58 to 51 BC. Roman control of Gaul lasted for five centuries, until the last Roman rump state, the Domain of Soissons, fell to the Franks in AD 486.
While the Celtic Gauls had lost their original identities and language during Late Antiquity, becoming amalgamated into a Gallo-Roman culture, Gallia remained the conventional name of the territory throughout the Early Middle Ages, until it acquired a new identity as the Capetian Kingdom of France in the high medieval period. Gallia remains a name of France in modern modern Latin; the Greek and Latin names Galatia and Gallia are derived from a Celtic ethnic term or clan Gal-to-. The Galli of Gallia Celtica were reported to refer to themselves as Celtae by Caesar. Hellenistic folk etymology connected the name of the Galatians to the "milk-white" skin of the Gauls. Modern researchers say it is related to Welsh gallu, Cornish galloes, "capacity, power", thus meaning "powerful people"; the English Gaul is from French Gaule and is unrelated to Latin Gallia, despite superficial similarity. The name Gaul is derived from the Old Frankish *Walholant "Land of the Foreigners/Romans", in which *Walho- is reflex of Proto-Germanic *walhaz, "foreigner, Romanized person", an exonym applied by Germanic speakers to Celts and Latin-speaking people indiscriminately, making it cognate with the names Wales and Wallachia.
The Germanic w- is rendered as gu- / g- in French, the historic diphthong au is the regular outcome of al before a following consonant. French Gaule or Gaulle cannot be derived from Latin Gallia, since g would become j before a, the diphthong au would be unexplained. Proto-Germanic *walha is derived from the name of the Volcae. Unrelated, in spite of superficial similarity, is the name Gael; the Irish word gall did mean "a Gaul", i.e. an inhabitant of Gaul, but its meaning was widened to "foreigner", to describe the Vikings, still the Normans. The dichotomic words gael and gall are sometimes used together for contrast, for instance in the 12th-century book Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib; as adjectives, English has the two variants: Gallic. The two adjectives are used synonymously, as "pertaining to Gaul or the Gauls", although the Celtic language or languages spoken in Gaul is predominantly known as Gaulish. There is little written information concerning the peoples that inhabited the regions of Gaul, save what can be gleaned from coins.
Therefore, the early history of the Gauls is predominantly a work in archaeology and the relationships between their material culture, genetic relationships and linguistic divisions coincide. Before the rapid spread of the La Tène culture in the 5th to 4th centuries BC, the territory of eastern and southern France participated in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture out of which the early iron-working Hallstatt culture would develop. By 500 BC, there is strong Hallstatt influence throughout most of France. Out of this Hallstatt background, during the 7th and 6th century representing an early form of Continental Celtic culture, the La Tène culture arises under Mediterranean influence from the Greek and Etruscan civilizations, spread out in a number of early centers along the Seine, the Middle Rhine and the upper Elbe. By the late 5th century BC, La Tène influence spreads across the entire territory of Gaul; the La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age in France, Italy, southwest Germany, Moravia and Hungary.
Farther north extended the contemporary pre-Roman Iron Age culture of northern Germany and Scandinavia. The major source of materials on the Celts of Gaul was Poseidonios of Apamea, whose writings were quoted by Timagenes, Julius Caesar, the Sicilian Greek Diodorus Siculus, the Greek geographer Strabo. In the 4th and early 3rd century BC, Gallic clan confederations expanded far beyond the territory of what would become Roman Gaul, into Pannonia, northern Italy and Asia Minor. By the 2nd century BC, the Romans descr
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house of French origin, a branch of the Capetian dynasty. Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Spanish Bourbon dynasty held thrones in Spain, Naples and Parma. Spain and Luxembourg have monarchs of the House of Bourbon; the royal Bourbons originated in 1272, when the youngest son of King Louis IX married the heiress of the lordship of Bourbon. The house continued for three centuries as a cadet branch, serving as nobles under the Direct Capetian and Valois kings; the senior line of the House of Bourbon became extinct in the male line in 1527 with the death of Charles III, Duke of Bourbon. This made the junior Bourbon-Vendome branch the genealogically senior branch of the House of Bourbon. In 1589, at the death of Henry III of France, the House of Valois became extinct in the male line. Under the Salic law, the Head of the House of Bourbon, as the senior representative of the senior-surviving branch of the Capetian dynasty, became King of France as Henry IV.
Bourbon monarchs united to France the small kingdom of Navarre, which Henry's father had acquired by marriage in 1555, ruling both until the 1792 overthrow of the monarchy during the French Revolution. Restored in 1814 and definitively in 1815 after the fall of the First French Empire, the senior line of the Bourbons was overthrown in the July Revolution of 1830. A cadet Bourbon branch, the House of Orléans ruled for 18 years, until it too was overthrown; the Princes de Condé were a cadet branch of the Bourbons descended from an uncle of Henry IV, the Princes de Conti were a cadet line of the Condé branch. Both houses were prominent French noble families well known for their participation in French affairs during exile in the French Revolution, until their respective extinctions in 1830 and 1814. In 1700, at the death of Charles II of Spain, the Spanish Habsburgs became extinct in the male line. Under the will of the childless Charles II, the second grandson of Louis XIV of France was named as his successor, to preclude the union of the thrones of France and Spain.
The prince Duke of Anjou, became Philip V of Spain. Permanent separation of the French and Spanish thrones was secured when France and Spain ratified Philip's renunciation, for himself and his descendants, of the French throne in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1714, similar arrangements kept the Spanish throne separate from those of the Two Sicilies and Parma; the Spanish House of Bourbon has been overthrown and restored several times, reigning 1700–1808, 1813–1868, 1875–1931, since 1975. Bourbons ruled in Naples from 1734 to 1806 and in Sicily from 1734 to 1816, in a unified Kingdom of the Two Sicilies from 1816 to 1860, they ruled in Parma from 1731 to 1735, 1748–1802 and 1847–1859. Charlotte, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg married a cadet of the Parmese line and thus her successors, who have ruled Luxembourg since her abdication in 1964, have been members of the House of Bourbon. Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil, regent for her father, Pedro II of the Empire of Brazil, married a cadet of the Orléans line and thus their descendants, known as the Orléans-Braganza, were in the line of succession to the Brazilian throne and expected to ascend its throne had the monarchy not been abolished by a coup in 1889.
All legitimate, living members of the House of Bourbon, including its cadet branches, are direct agnatic descendants of Henry IV through his son Louis XIII of France. The pre-Capetian House of Bourbon was a noble family, dating at least from the beginning of the 13th century, when the estate of Bourbon was ruled by the Sire de Bourbon, a vassal of the King of France; the term House of Bourbon is sometimes used to refer to this first house and the House of Bourbon-Dampierre, the second family to rule the seigneury. In 1272, Count of Clermont and youngest son of King Louis IX of France, married Beatrix of Bourbon, heiress to the lordship of Bourbon and member of the House of Bourbon-Dampierre, their son Louis was made Duke of Bourbon in 1327. His descendant, the Constable of France Charles de Bourbon, was the last of the senior Bourbon line when he died in 1527; because he chose to fight under the banner of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and lived in exile from France, his title was discontinued after his death.
The remaining line of Bourbons henceforth descended from James I, Count of La Marche, the younger son of Louis I, Duke of Bourbon. With the death of his grandson James II, Count of La Marche in 1438, the senior line of the Count of La Marche became extinct. All future Bourbons would descend from James II's younger brother, who became the Count of Vendôme through his mother's inheritance. In 1525, at the death of Charles IV, Duke of Alençon, all of the princes of the blood royal were Bourbons. In 1514, Count of Vendôme had his title raised to Duke of Vendôme, his son Antoine became King of Navarre, on the northern side of the Pyrenees, by marriage in 1555. Two of Antoine's younger brothers were Cardinal Archbishop Charles de Bourbon and the French and Huguenot general Louis de Bourbon, 1st Prince of Condé. Louis' male-line descendants, the Princes de Condé, survived until 1830. In 1589, the House of Valois died out and Antoine's son Henry III of Navarre became Henry IV of France. Family from India's claim to be a branch and their claim to The "Throne of France" Bourbons of India, claim to be descendants of Charles III, Duke of Bourbon, of the first House of Bourbon-Montpensier.
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The July Monarchy was a liberal constitutional monarchy in France under Louis Philippe I, starting with the July Revolution of 1830 and ending with the Revolution of 1848. It marks the end of the Bourbon Restoration, it began with the overthrow of the conservative government of Charles X, the last king of the House of Bourbon. Louis Philippe, a member of the more liberal Orléans branch of the House of Bourbon, proclaimed himself as Roi des Français rather than "King of France", emphasizing the popular origins of his reign; the king promised to follow the "juste milieu", or the middle-of-the-road, avoiding the extremes of either the conservative supporters of Charles X and radicals on the left. The July Monarchy was dominated by numerous former Napoleonic officials, it followed conservative policies under the influence of François Guizot. The king promoted friendship with Great Britain and sponsored colonial expansion, notably the conquest of Algeria. By 1848, a year in which many European states had a revolution, the king's popularity had collapsed, he was overthrown.
Louis Phillipe was pushed to the throne by an alliance between the people of Paris. However, at the end of his reign, the so-called "Citizen King" was overthrown by similar citizen uprisings and use of barricades during the February Revolution of 1848; this resulted in the proclamation of the Second Republic. After Louis-Philippe's ousting and subsequent exile to Britain, the liberal Orleanist faction continued to support a return of the House of Orléans to the throne, but the July Monarchy proved to be the last Bourbon-Orleans monarchy of France. The Legitimists withdrew from politics to their castles, leaving the way open for the struggle between the Orleanists and the Republicans; the July Monarchy is seen as a period during which the haute bourgeoisie was dominant, marked the shift from the counter-revolutionary Legitimists to the Orleanists. They were willing to make some compromises with the changes brought by the 1789 Revolution. For instance, Louis-Philippe was crowned "King of the French", instead of "King of France": this marked his acceptance of popular sovereignty.
Louis-Philippe, who had flirted with liberalism in his youth, rejected much of the pomp and circumstance of the Bourbons and surrounded himself with merchants and bankers. The July Monarchy, ruled during a time of turmoil. A large group of Legitimists on the right demanded the restoration of the Bourbons to the throne. On the left and Socialism, remained a powerful force. Late in his reign Louis-Philippe became rigid and dogmatic and his President of the Council, François Guizot, had become unpopular, but the king refused to remove him; the situation escalated until the Revolutions of 1848 resulted in the fall of the monarchy and the establishment of the Second Republic. However, during the first few years of his reign, Louis-Philippe was taking action to develop legitimate, broad-based reform; the government found its source of legitimacy within the Charter of 1830, written by reform-minded members of Chamber of Deputies and committed to a platform of religious equality among Catholics and Protestants.
Louis-Phillipe and his ministers adhered to policies that seemed to promote the central tenets of the constitution. However, the majority of these policies were veiled attempts to shore up the power and influence of the government and the bourgeoisie, rather than legitimate attempts to promote equality and empowerment for a broad constituency of the French population. Thus, though the July Monarchy seemed to move toward reform, this movement was illusory. During the years of the July Monarchy, enfranchisement doubled, from 94,000 under Charles X to more than 200,000 men by 1848. But, this number still represented only one percent of population and a small number of those men of eligible age; as the qualifications for voting was related to payment of a certain level of taxes, only the wealthiest men gained this privilege. The extended franchise tended to favor the wealthy merchant bourgeoisie more than any other group. Beyond resulting in the election of more bourgeoisie to the Chamber of Deputies, this electoral expansion meant that the bourgeoisie could politically challenge the nobility on legislative matters.
Thus, while appearing to honor his pledge to increase suffrage, Louis-Philippe acted to empower his supporters and increase his hold over the French Parliament. The election of only the wealthiest men tended to undermine any possibility for growth of a radical faction in Parliament, served conservative ends; the reformed Charter of 1830 limited the power of the king—stripping him of his ability to propose and decree legislation, as well as limiting his executive authority. However, Louis believed in a kind of monarchy in which the king was more than a figurehead for an elected Parliament, as such, he was involved in legislative affairs. One of his first acts in creating his government was to appoint the conservative Casimir Perier as the premier of his cabinet. Perier, a banker, was instrumental in shutting down many of the Republican secret societies and labor unions that had formed during the early years of the regime. In addition, he oversaw the dism
Vichy France is the common name of the French State headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain during World War II. Evacuated from Paris to Vichy in the unoccupied "Free Zone" in the southern part of metropolitan France which included French Algeria, it remained responsible for the civil administration of France as well as the French colonial empire. From 1940 to 1942, while the Vichy regime was the nominal government of all of France except for Alsace-Lorraine, the German and Italian militarily occupied northern and south-eastern France. While Paris remained the de jure capital of France, the government chose to relocate to the town of Vichy, 360 km to the south in the zone libre, which thus became the de facto capital of the French State. Following the Allied landings in French North Africa in November 1942, southern France was militarily occupied by Germany and Italy to protect the Mediterranean coastline. Petain's government remained in Vichy as the nominal government of France, albeit one, obliged by circumstances to collaborate with Germany from November 1942 onwards.
The government at Vichy remained there until late 1944, when it lost its de facto authority due to the Allied invasion of France and the government was compelled to relocate to the Sigmaringen enclave in Germany, where it continued to exist on paper until the end of hostilities in Europe. After being appointed Premier by President Albert Lebrun, Marshal Pétain's cabinet agreed to end the war and signed an Armistice with Germany on 22 June 1940. On 10 July, the French Third Republic was dissolved, Pétain established an authoritarian regime when the National Assembly granted him full powers; the Vichy government reversed many liberal policies and began tight supervision of the economy, calling for "National Regeneration", with central planning a key feature. Labour unions came under tight government control. Conservative Catholics became clerical input in schools resumed. Paris lost its avant-garde status in European culture; the media were controlled and stressed virulent anti-Semitism, after June 1941, anti-Bolshevism.
The French State maintained nominal sovereignty over the whole of French territory, but had effective full sovereignty only in the unoccupied southern zone libre. It had only civil authority in the northern zones under military occupation; the occupation was to be a provisional state of affairs, pending the conclusion of the war, which at the time appeared imminent. The occupation presented certain advantages, such as keeping the French Navy and French colonial empire under French control, avoiding full occupation of the country by Germany, thus maintaining a degree of French independence and neutrality. Despite heavy pressure, the French government at Vichy never joined the Axis alliance, remained formally at war with Germany. Germany kept two million French soldiers prisoner, carrying out forced labour, they were hostages to ensure that Vichy would reduce its military forces and pay a heavy tribute in gold and supplies to Germany. French police were ordered to round up Jews and other "undesirables" such as communists and political refugees.
Much of the French public supported the government, despite its undemocratic nature and its difficult position vis-à-vis the Germans seeing it as necessary to maintain a degree of French autonomy and territorial integrity. In November 1942, the zone libre was occupied by Axis forces, leading to the disbandment of the remaining army and the sinking of France's remaining fleet and ending any semblance of independence, with Germany now supervising all French officials. Most of the overseas French colonies were under Vichy control, but with the Allied invasion of North Africa it lost one colony after another to Charles de Gaulle's Allied-oriented Free France. Public opinion in some quarters turned against the French government and the occupying German forces over time, when it became clear that Germany was losing the war, resistance to them increased. Following the Allied invasion of France in June 1944 and the liberation of France that year, the Free French Provisional government of the French Republic was installed by the Allies as France's government, led by de Gaulle.
Under a "national unanimity" cabinet uniting the many factions of the French Resistance, the GPRF re-established a provisional French Republic, thus restoring continuity with the Third Republic. Most of the legal French government's leaders at Vichy fled or were subject to show trials by the GPRF, a number were executed for "treason" in a series of purges. Thousands of collaborators were summarily executed by local communists and the Resistance in so-called "savage purges"; the last of the French state exiles were captured in the Sigmaringen enclave by de Gaulle's French 1st Armoured Division in April 1945. Pétain, who had voluntarily made his way back to France via Switzerland, was put on trial for treason by the new Provisional government, received a death sentence, but this was commuted to life imprisonment by de Gaulle. Only four senior Vichy officials were tried for crimes against humanity, although many more had participated in the deportation of Jews for internment in Nazi concentration camps, abuses of prisoners, severe acts against members of the Resistance.
In 1940, Marshal Pétain was known as the victor of the battle of Verdun. As the last premier of the Third Republic, being a reactionary by inclination, he blamed the Third Republic's democracy for France's sudden defeat by Germany, he set up a paternalistic, authoritarian regime that collaborated with Ger
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
Timeline of French history
This is a timeline of French history, comprising important legal changes and political events in France and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of France. See the list of Frankish kings, French monarchs, presidents of the French Republic and list of years in France. History of French foreign relations History of France Category:Timelines of cities in France H-France free daily email discussions and book reviews. France Profile: Timeline, BBC News "French History Timeline". Archived from the original on March 2009 – via University of North Carolina in Greensboro
Free France and its Free French Forces were the government-in-exile led by Charles de Gaulle during the Second World War and its military forces, that continued to fight against the Axis powers as one of the Allies after the fall of France. Set up in London in June 1940, it supported the Resistance in occupied France. Charles de Gaulle, a French government minister who rejected the armistice concluded by Marshal Philippe Pétain and who had escaped to Britain, exhorted the French to resist in his BBC broadcast "Appeal of 18 June", which had a stirring effect on morale throughout France and its colonies, although relatively few French forces responded to de Gaulle's call for resistance. On 27 October 1940, the Empire Defense Council was constituted to organise the rule of the territories in central Africa and Oceania that had heeded the 18 June call, it was replaced on 24 September 1941 by the French National Committee. On 13 July 1942, "Free France" was renamed France combattante, to mark that the struggle against the Axis was conducted both externally by the FFF and internally by the French Forces of the Interior.
After the reconquest of North Africa, this was in turn formally merged with de Gaulle's rival general Henri Giraud's command in Algiers to form the French Committee of National Liberation. Exile ended with the liberation of Paris by the 2nd Armoured Free French Division and Resistance forces on 25 August 1944, ushering in the Provisional Government of the French Republic, it ruled France until the end of the war and afterwards to 1946, when the Fourth Republic was established, thus ending the series of interim regimes that had succeeded the Third Republic after its fall in 1940. The Free French fought Axis and Vichy regime troops and served on battlefronts everywhere from the Middle East to Indochina and North Africa; the Free French Navy operated as an auxiliary force to the Royal Navy and, in the North Atlantic, to the Royal Canadian Navy. Free French units served in the Royal Air Force, Soviet Air Force, British SAS, before larger commands were established directly under the control of the government-in-exile.
From colonial outposts in Africa and the Pacific, Free France took over more and more Vichy possessions, until after the Allied landings in North Africa in November 1942 Vichy only ruled over the zone libre in southern France and a few possessions in the West Indies. The French Army of Africa switched allegiance to Free France, this caused the Axis to occupy Vichy in reaction. On August 1, 1943, L'Armée d'Afrique was formally united with the Free French Forces to form L'Armée française de la Liberation. By mid-1944, the forces of this army numbered more than 400,000, they participated in the Normandy landings and the invasion of southern France leading the drive on Paris. Soon they were fighting in Alsace, the Alps and Brittany, by the end of the war in Europe, they were 1,300,000 strong—the fourth-largest Allied army in Europe—and took part in the Allied advance through France and invasion of Germany; the Free French government re-established a provisional republic after the liberation, preparing the ground for the Fourth Republic in 1946.
An individual became "Free French" by enlisting in the military units organised by the CFN or by employment by the civilian arm of the Committee. On 1 August 1943 after the merger of CFN and representatives of the former Vichy regime in North Africa to form the CFLN earlier in June, the FFF and the Armée d'Afrique were merged to form the French Liberation Army, Armée française de la Libération, all subsequent enlistments were in this combined force. In many sources, Free French describes any French individual or unit that fought against Axis forces after the June 1940 armistice. Postwar, to settle disputes over the Free French heritage, the French government issued an official definition of the term. Under this "ministerial instruction of July 1953", only those who served with the Allies after the Franco-German armistice in 1940 and before 1 August 1943 may be called "Free French". On 10 May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded France and the Low Countries defeating the Dutch and Belgians, while armoured units attacking through the Ardennes cut off the Franco-British strike force in Belgium.
By the end of May, the British and French northern armies were trapped in a series of pockets, including Dunkirk, Boulogne, Saint-Valery-en-Caux and Lille. The Dunkirk evacuation was only made possible by the resistance of these troops the French army divisions at Lille. From 27 May to 4 June, over 200,000 members of the British Expeditionary Force and 140,000 French troops were evacuated from Dunkirk. Neither side viewed this as the end of the battle. After being evacuated from Dunkirk, Alanbrooke landed in Cherbourg on 2 June to reform the BEF, along with the 1st Canadian Division, the only remaining armoured unit in Britain. Contrary to what is assumed, French morale was higher in June than May and they repulsed an attack in the south by Fascist Italy. A defensive line was re-established along the Somme but much of the armour was lost in Northern France.