Early modern France
The Kingdom of France in the early modern period, from the Renaissance to the Revolution, was a monarchy ruled by the House of Bourbon. This corresponds to the so-called Ancien Régime; the territory of France during this period increased until it included the extent of the modern country, it included the territories of the first French colonial empire overseas. The period is dominated by the figure of the "Sun King", Louis XIV, who managed to eliminate the remnants of medieval feudalism and established a centralized state under an absolute monarch, a system that would endure until the French Revolution and beyond. In the mid 15th century, France was smaller than it is today, numerous border provinces were autonomous or foreign-held. In addition, certain provinces within France were ostensibly personal fiefdoms of noble families; the late 15th, 16th and 17th centuries would see France undergo a massive territorial expansion and an attempt to better integrate its provinces into an administrative whole.
During this period, France expanded to nearly its modern territorial extent through the acquisition of Picardy, Anjou, Provence, Franche-Comté, French Flanders, Roussillon, the Duchy of Lorraine and Corsica. French acquisitions from 1461–1789: under Louis XI – Provence, Dauphiné under Henry II – Calais, Trois-Évêchés under Henry IV – County of Foix under Louis XIII – Béarn and Navarre under Louis XIV Treaty of Westphalia – Alsace Treaty of the Pyrenees – Artois, Northern Catalonia Treaty of Nijmegen – Franche-Comté, Flanders under Louis XV – Lorraine, Corsica Only the Duchy of Savoy, the city of Nice and some other small papal and foreign possessions would be acquired later.. France embarked on exploration and mercantile exchanges with the Americas, the Indian Ocean, the Far East, a few African trading posts. Although Paris was the capital of France, the Valois kings abandoned the city as their primary residence, preferring instead various châteaux of the Loire Valley and Parisian countryside.
Henry IV made Paris his primary residence, but Louis XIV once again withdrew from the city in the last decades of his reign and Versailles became the primary seat of the French monarchy for much of the following century. The administrative and legal system in France in this period is called the Ancien Régime; the Black Death had killed an estimated one-third of the population of France from its appearance in 1348. The concurrent Hundred Years' War slowed recovery, it would be the early 16th century. With an estimated population of 11 million in 1400, 20 million in the 17th century, 28 million in 1789, until 1795 France was the most populated country in Europe and the third most populous country in the world, behind only China and India; these demographic changes led to a massive increase in urban populations, although on the whole France remained a profoundly rural country. Paris was one of the most populated cities in Europe. Other major French cities include Lyon, Bordeaux and Marseille; these centuries saw several periods of epidemics and crop failures due to climatic change.
Between 1693 and 1694, France lost 6% of its population. In the harsh winter of 1709, France lost 3.5% of its population. In the past 300 years, no period has been so proportionally deadly for the French, both World Wars included. Linguistically, the differences in France were extreme. Before the Renaissance, the language spoken in the north of France was a collection of different dialects called Oïl languages whereas the written and administrative language remained Latin. By the 16th century, there had developed a standardised form of French which would be the basis of the standardised "modern" French of the 17th and 18th century which in turn became the lingua franca of the European continent. In 1790, only half of the population spoke or understood standard French; the southern half of the country continued to speak Occitan languages, other inhabitants spoke Breton, Basque and Franco-Provençal. In the north of France, regional dialects of the various langues d'oïl continued to be spoken in rural communities.
During the French revolution, the teaching of French was promoted in all the schools. Th
French Fifth Republic
The Fifth Republic, France's current republican system of government, was established by Charles de Gaulle under the Constitution of the Fifth Republic on 4 October 1958. The Fifth Republic emerged from the collapse of the Fourth Republic, replacing the former parliamentary republic with a semi-presidential, or dual-executive, system that split powers between a Prime Minister as head of government and a President as head of state. De Gaulle, the first French President elected under the Fifth Republic in December 1958, believed in a strong head of state, which he described as embodying l'esprit de la nation; the Fifth Republic is France's third-longest political regime, after the hereditary and feudal monarchies of the Ancien Régime and the parliamentary Third Republic. The trigger for the collapse of the French Fourth Republic was the Algiers crisis of 1958. France was still a colonial power, although conflict and revolt had begun the process of decolonization. French West Africa, French Indochina, French Algeria still sent representatives to the French parliament under systems of limited suffrage in the French Union.
Algeria in particular, despite being the colony with the largest French population, saw rising pressure for separation from the Metropole. The situation was complicated by those in Algeria, such as European settlers and many native Jews, who wanted to stay part of France; the Algerian War was not just a separatist movement. Further complications came when a section of the French Army rebelled and backed the "Algérie française" movement to defeat separation. Charles de Gaulle, who had retired from politics a decade before, placed himself in the midst of the crisis, calling on the nation to suspend the government and create a new constitutional system. De Gaulle was carried to power by the inability of the parliament to choose a government, popular protest, the last parliament of the Fourth Republic voting for their dissolution and the convening of a constitutional convention; the Fourth Republic suffered from a lack of political consensus, a weak executive, governments forming and falling in quick succession since 1946.
With no party or coalition able to sustain a parliamentary majority, Prime Ministers found themselves unable to risk their political position with unpopular reforms. De Gaulle and his supporters proposed a system of strong presidents elected for seven-year terms; the President, under the proposed constitution, would have executive powers to run the country in consultation with a prime minister whom he would appoint. On 1 June 1958, Charles de Gaulle was appointed head of the government; these plans were approved by more than 80% of those who voted in the referendum of 28 September 1958. The new constitution was signed into law on 4 October 1958. Since each new constitution established a new republic, France moved from the Fourth to the Fifth Republic; the new constitution contained transitional clauses extending the period of rule by decree until the new institutions were operating. René Coty remained President of the Republic. On 21 December 1958, Charles de Gaulle was elected President of France by an electoral college.
The provisional constitutional commission, acting in lieu of the Constitutional Council, proclaimed the results of the election on 9 January 1959. The new president began his office on that date; the 1958 constitution replaced the French Union with the French Community, which allowed fourteen member territories to assert their independence. 1960 became known as the "Year of Africa" because of this wave of newly independent states. Algeria became independent on 5 July 1962; the president was elected by an electoral college, but in 1962 de Gaulle proposed that the president be directly elected by the citizens, held a referendum on the change. Although the method and intent of de Gaulle in that referendum were contested by most political groups except for the Gaullists, the change was approved by the French electorate; the Constitutional Council declined to rule on the constitutionality of the referendum. The president is now elected every five years, changed from seven by a constitutional referendum in 2000, to reduce the probability of cohabitation due to former differences in the length of terms for the National Assembly and Presidency.
The President is elected in one or two rounds of voting: if one candidate gets a majority of votes in the first round that person is president-elect. Two major changes balances. Traditionally, France operated according to parliamentary supremacy: no authority was empowered to rule on whether statutes passed by Parliament respected the constitutional rights of the citizens. In 1971, the Constitutional Council, arguing that the preamble of the Constitution referenced the rights defined in the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the preamble of the 1946 Constitution, concluded that statutes must respect these rights and declared unconstitutional a statute because it violated freedom of association. However, only the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the President of each house of Parliament could ask for a constitutional rev
Strasbourg is the capital and largest city of the Grand Est region of France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located at the border with Germany in the historic region of Alsace, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin department. In 2016, the city proper had 279,284 inhabitants and both the Eurométropole de Strasbourg and the Arrondissement of Strasbourg had 491,409 inhabitants. Strasbourg's metropolitan area had a population of 785,839 in 2015, making it the ninth largest metro area in France and home to 13% of the Grand Est region's inhabitants; the transnational Eurodistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau had a population of 915,000 inhabitants in 2014. Strasbourg is one of the de facto capitals of the European Union, as it is the seat of several European institutions, such as the Council of Europe and the Eurocorps, as well as the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman of the European Union; the city is the seat of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine and the International Institute of Human Rights.
Strasbourg's historic city centre, the Grande Île, was classified a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988, the first time such an honour was placed on an entire city centre. Strasbourg is immersed in Franco-German culture and although violently disputed throughout history, has been a cultural bridge between France and Germany for centuries through the University of Strasbourg the second largest in France, the coexistence of Catholic and Protestant culture, it is home to the largest Islamic place of worship in France, the Strasbourg Grand Mosque. Economically, Strasbourg is an important centre of manufacturing and engineering, as well as a hub of road and river transportation; the port of Strasbourg is the second largest on the Rhine after Germany. Before the 5th century, the city was known as Argantorati, a Celtic Gaulish name Latinized first as Argentorate, as Argentoratum; that Gaulish name is a compound of -rati, the Gaulish word for fortified enclosures, cognate to the Old Irish ráth, arganto-, the Gaulish word for silver, but any precious metal gold, suggesting either a fortified enclosure located by a river gold mining site, or hoarding gold mined in the nearby rivers.
After the 5th century, the city became known by a different name Gallicized as Strasbourg. That name is of Germanic origin and means "Town of roads"; the modern Stras- is cognate to the German Straße and English street, all of which are derived from Latin strata, while -bourg is cognate to the German Burg and English borough, all of which are derived from Proto-Germanic *burgz. Gregory of Tours was the first to mention the name change: in the tenth book of his History of the Franks written shortly after 590 he said that Egidius, Bishop of Reims, accused of plotting against King Childebert II of Austrasia in favor of his uncle King Chilperic I of Neustria, was tried by a synod of Austrasian bishops in Metz in November 590, found guilty and removed from the priesthood taken "ad Argentoratensem urbem, quam nunc Strateburgum vocant", where he was exiled. Strasbourg is situated at the eastern border of France with Germany; this border is formed by the Rhine, which forms the eastern border of the modern city, facing across the river to the German town Kehl.
The historic core of Strasbourg however lies on the Grande Île in the river Ill, which here flows parallel to, 4 kilometres from, the Rhine. The natural courses of the two rivers join some distance downstream of Strasbourg, although several artificial waterways now connect them within the city; the city lies in the Upper Rhine Plain, at between 132 metres and 151 metres above sea level, with the upland areas of the Vosges Mountains some 20 km to the west and the Black Forest 25 km to the east. This section of the Rhine valley is a major axis of north–south travel, with river traffic on the Rhine itself, major roads and railways paralleling it on both banks; the city is some 397 kilometres east of Paris. The mouth of the Rhine lies 450 kilometres to the north, or 650 kilometres as the river flows, whilst the head of navigation in Basel is some 100 kilometres to the south, or 150 kilometres by river. In spite of its position far inland, Strasbourg's climate is classified as oceanic, but a "semicontinental" climate with some degree of maritime influence in relation to the mild patterns of Western and Southern France.
The city has warm sunny summers and cool, overcast winters. Precipitation is elevated from mid-spring to the end of summer, but remains constant throughout the year, totaling 631.4 mm annually. On average, snow falls 30 days per year; the highest temperature recorded was 38.5 °C in August 2003, during the 2003 European heat wave. The lowest temperature eve
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
Nero Claudius Drusus
Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus, born Decimus Claudius Drusus called Drusus Claudius Nero, Drusus I, Nero Drusus, or Drusus the Elder was a Roman politician and military commander. He was a patrician Claudian on his legal father's side but his maternal grandmother was from a plebeian family, he was the legal stepson of her second husband, the Emperor Augustus. He was brother of the Emperor Tiberius, father to both the Emperor Claudius and general Germanicus, paternal grandfather of the Emperor Caligula, maternal great-grandfather of the Emperor Nero, he launched the first major Roman campaigns across the Rhine and began the conquest of Germania, becoming the first Roman general to reach the Weser and Elbe rivers. In 12 BC, Drusus led a successful campaign into Germania; that year he led a naval expedition against Germanic tribes along the North Sea coast, conquering the Batavi and the Frisii, defeating the Chauci near the mouth of the Weser. In 11 BC, he conquered the Marsi, extending Roman control to the Upper Weser.
In 10 BC, he launched a campaign against the resurgent Sicambri, subjugating both. The following year, while serving as consul, he conquered the Mattiaci and defeated the Marcomanni and the Cherusci, the latter near the Elbe. However, Drusus died that year, depriving Rome of one of its best generals. Drusus was the youngest son of Livia Drusilla from her marriage to Tiberius Claudius Nero, declared his father before the couple divorced. Drusus was born between mid-March and mid-April 38 BC, three months after Livia married Augustus on 17 January. Gerhard Radke has proposed the date of March 28 as his most birthday, while Lindsay Powell interprets Ovid's Fasti as indicating a date of 13 January. Rumors arose that Augustus was the child's real father, although this has never been authoritatively proven. Claudius, encouraged the rumor during his reign as emperor to create an impression of more direct lineage from Augustus. According to Suetonius, Drusus was given Decimus as his praenomen, the first of a Roman male's conventional three names in Roman naming practice at the time.
Nero was a traditional cognomen of the Claudii, whereas Drusus was given to a branch of the gens Livia. Using a cognomen such as Nero as a first name was unusual, as was the prominence given to his maternal lineage in adopting Drusus as his cognomen. Drusus was raised in Claudius Nero's house with his brother, the future emperor Tiberius, until his legal father's death; the two brothers developed a famously close relationship. Tiberius named his eldest son after his brother, Drusus did although eldest sons were named after their father or grandfather. Drusus married Antonia Minor, the daughter of Mark Antony and Augustus' sister, Octavia Minor, gained a reputation of being faithful to her, their children were Germanicus, Claudius, a daughter named Livilla, at least two others who did not survive infancy. After Drusus' death, Antonia never remarried. Three emperors were direct descendants of Drusus: his son Claudius, his grandson Caligula, his great-grandson Nero. Augustus bestowed many honors on his stepsons.
In 19 BC, Drusus was granted the ability to hold all public offices five years before the minimum age. When Tiberius left Italy during his term as praetor in 16 BC, Drusus legislated in his place, he became quaestor the following year. Drusus repelled them, gaining honors, but was unable to smash their forces, required reinforcement from Tiberius; the brothers defeated the local Alpine tribes. Drusus arrived in Gaul in late 15 BCE to serve as legatus Augusti pro praetore of the three Gaulish provinces, his contribution to the ongoing building and urban development in Gaul can be seen in the establishment of the pes Drusianus, or ‘Drusian foot’, of about 33.3 cm, in use in Samarobriva and among the Tungri. From 14 to 13 BCE, Augustus himself was active in Gaul, whether in Lugdunum or along the Rhine frontier; as governor of Gaul, Drusus made his headquarters at Lugdunum, where he decided to establish the concilium Galliarum or ‘council of the Gaulish provinces’ sometime between 14 and 12 BCE. This council would elect from its members a priest to celebrate games and venerate Rome and Augustus as deities every 1 August at the altar of the three Gauls that Drusus established at Condate in 10 BCE.
Drusus' son Tiberius—the future emperor Claudius—was born in Lugdunum on the same day that this altar was inaugurated. Starting in 14 BCE, Drusus built a string of military bases along the Rhine—fifty according to Florus—and established an alliance with the Batavi in preparation for military action in Germania Libera, he is to have had seven legions under his command. In spring of 12 BCE, he embarked an expeditionary force consisting of the Legiones I Germanica and V Alaudae, by ship from the vicinity of modern Nijmegen, making use of one or more canals he had built for the purpose. Drusus sailed to the mouth of the Ems and penetrated into the territory of the Chauci in present-day Lower Saxony; the Chauci concluded a treaty acknowledging Roman supremacy, would remain allies of Rome for years to come. As they continued to ascend the Ems, the Romans were attacked by the Bructeri in boats. Drusus' forces defeated the Bructeri, but, as it was now late in the campaign season, turned back for their winter quarters in Gaul, taking advantage of their new alliance
The Alans were an Iranian nomadic pastoral people of antiquity. The name Alan is an Iranian dialectical form of Aryan. Related to the Massagetae, the Alans have been connected by modern historians with the Central Asian Yancai and Aorsi of Chinese and Roman sources, respectively. Having migrated westwards and become dominant among the Sarmatians on the Pontic Steppe, they are mentioned by Roman sources in the 1st century AD. At the time, they had settled the region north of the Black Sea and raided the Parthian Empire and the Caucasian provinces of the Roman Empire. From 215–250 AD, their power on the Pontic Steppe was broken by the Goths. Upon the Hunnic defeat of the Goths on the Pontic Steppe around 375 AD, many of the Alans migrated westwards along with various Germanic tribes, they crossed the Rhine in 406 AD along with the Vandals and Suebi, settling in Valence. Around 409 AD, they joined the Vandals and Suebi in the crossing of the Pyrenees into the Iberian Peninsula, settling in Lusitania and Carthaginensis.
The Iberian Alans were soundly defeated by the Visigoths in 418 AD and subsequently surrendered their authority to the Hasdingi Vandals. In 428 AD, the Vandals and Alans crossed the Strait of Gibraltar into North Africa, where they founded a powerful kingdom which lasted until its conquest by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century AD; the Alans who remained under Hunnic rule founded a powerful kingdom in the North Caucasus in the Middle Ages, which ended with the Mongol invasions in the 13th century AD. These Alans are said to be the ancestors of the modern Ossetians; the Alans spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian. The various forms of Alan – Greek: Ἀλανοί Alanoi; this word was preserved in the modern Ossetian language in the form of Allon. These and other variants of Aryan were common self-designations of the Indo-Iranians, the common ancestors of the Indo-Aryans and Iranian peoples to whom the Alans belonged.
Rarer spellings include Halani. The Alans were known over the course of their history by another group of related names including the variations Asi, As, Os, it is this name, the root of the modern Ossetian. The first mentions of names that historians link with the Alani appear at the same time in texts from the Mediterranean, Middle East and China. In the 1st century AD, the Alans migrated westwards from Central Asia, achieving a dominant position among the Sarmatians living between the Don River and the Caspian Sea; the Alans are mentioned in the Vologeses inscription which reads that Vologeses I, the Parthian king between around 51 and 78 AD, in the 11th year of his reign, battled Kuluk, king of the Alani. The 1st century AD. Josephus reports in the Jewish Wars how Alans living near the Sea of Azov crossed the Iron Gates for plunder and defeated the armies of Pacorus, king of Media, Tiridates, King of Armenia, two brothers of Vologeses I: 4. Now there was a nation of the Alans, which we have mentioned somewhere as being Scythians, living around Tanais and Lake Maeotis.
This nation about this time laid a design of falling upon Media, the parts beyond it, in order to plunder them. This king gave; these Alans therefore plundered the country without opposition, with great ease, proceeded as far as Armenia, laying waste all before them. Now, Tiridates was king of that country, who met them and fought them but was lucky not to have been taken alive in the battle. So the Alans, being still more provoked by this sight, laid waste the country, drove a great multitude of the men, a great quantity of the other booty from both kingdoms, along with them, retreated back to their own country; the fact that the Alans invaded Parthia through Hyrcania shows that at the time many Alans were still based north-east of the Caspian Sea. By the early 2nd century AD the Alans were in firm control of Kuban; these lands had earlier been occupied by the Aorsi and the Siraces, whom the Alans absorbed, dispersed and/or destroyed, since they were no longer mentioned in contemporaneous accounts.
It is that the Alans' influence stretched further westwards, encompassing most of the Sarmatian world, which by possessed a homogenous culture. In 135 AD, the Alans made a huge raid into Asia Minor via the Caucasus, ravaging Armenia, they were driven back by Arrian, the governor of Cappadocia, who wrote a detailed report (Ektaxis kata Alanoon or'War Ag
Prehistory of France
Prehistoric France is the period in the human occupation of the geographical area covered by present-day France which extended through prehistory and ended in the Iron Age with the Celtic "La Tène culture". Stone tools indicate. Stone tools discovered at Lézignan-la-Cèbe in 2009 indicate that early humans were present in France at least 1.57 million years ago. France includes Olduwan and Acheulean sites from early or non-modern Hominini species, most notably Homo erectus and Homo heidelbergensis. Tooth Arago 149 - 560,000 years. Tautavel Man, is a proposed subspecies of the hominid Homo erectus, the 450,000-year-old fossil remains of whom were discovered in the Arago cave in Tautavel; the Grotte du Vallonnet near Menton contained simple stone tools dating to 1 million to 1.05 million years BC. Cave sites were exploited for habitation, but the hunter-gatherers of the Palaeolithic era possibly built shelters such as those identified in connection with Acheulean tools at Grotte du Lazaret and Terra Amata near Nice in France.
Excavations at Terra Amata found traces of the earliest known domestication of fire in Europe, from 400,000 BC. The Neanderthals are thought to have arrived there around 300,000 BC, but seem to have died out by about by 30,000 BC unable to compete with modern humans during a period of cold weather. Numerous Neanderthal, or "Mousterian", artifacts have been found from this period, some using the "Levallois technique", a distinctive type of flint knapping developed by hominids during the Lower Palaeolithic but most associated with the Neanderthal industries of the Middle Palaeolithic. Recent findings suggest that Neandertals and modern humans may have interbred. Evidence of cannibalism among Neanderthals found in Neanderthal settlements Moula-Guercy and Les Pradelles; the earliest modern humans – Cro-Magnons – were present in Europe by 43,000 years ago during a long interglacial period of mild climate, when Europe was warm, food was plentiful. When they arrived in Europe, they brought with them sculpture, painting, body ornamentation and the painstaking decoration of utilitarian objects.
Some of the oldest works of art in the world, such as the cave paintings at Lascaux in southern France, are datable to shortly after this migration. European Palaeolithic cultures are divided into several chronological subgroups: Aurignacian – responsible for Venus figurines, cave paintings at the Chauvet Cave. Périgordian – use of this term is debated. Châtelperronian – culture derived from the earlier, Mousterian industry as it made use of Levallois cores and represents the period when Neanderthals and modern humans occupied Europe together. Gravettian – responsible for Venus figurines, cave paintings at the Cosquer Cave. Solutrean Magdalenian – thought to be responsible for the cave paintings at Pech Merle, the Trois-Frères cave and the Rouffignac Cave known as The Cave of the hundred mammoths, it possesses the most extensive cave system of the Périgord in France with more than 8 kilometers of underground passageways. Experts sometimes refer to the "Franco-Cantabrian region" to describe this densely populated region of southern France and northern Spain in the late Palaeolithic.
From the Paleolithic to the Mesolithic, the Magdalenian culture evolved. In South-West France and Spain, one finds the Azilian culture of the Late Glacial Maximum which co-existed with similar early Mesolithic European cultures such as the Tjongerian of North-Western, the Ahrensburgian of Northern and the Swiderian of North-Eastern Europe, all succeeding the Federmesser complex; the Azilian culture was followed by the Sauveterrian in Southern France and Switzerland, the Tardenoisian in Northern France, the Maglemosian in Northern Europe. Archeologists are unsure. If Gravettian or Epipaleolithic immigrants to Europe were indeed Indo-European populations speaking non-Indo-European languages are obvious candidates for previous Paleolithic remnants; the Vascons of the Pyrenees present the strongest case, since their language is related to none other in the world, the Basque population has a unique genetic profile. The disappearance of the Doggerland affected the surrounding territories; the Doggerland population had to go as far as northern France and eastern Ireland to escape from the floods.
The Neolithic period lasted in northern Europe for 3,000 years. It is characterised by the so-called Neolithic Revolution, a transitional period that included the adoption of agriculture, the development of tools and pottery, the growth of larger, more complex settlements. There was an expansion of peoples from southwest Asia into Europe; some archaeologists believe that this expansion, marking the eclipse of Mesolithic culture, coincided with the introduction of Indo-European speakers, wherea