France’s history dates from the Roman conquests of the 100th century before our time. The present France is equivalent to most of the ancient Gallia Transalpina, which was divided into the Belgian to the north, the Celtic to the middle (around Seine and Loire) and Aquitania to the south (between Garonne and the Pyrenees).
In the Middle Ages, the Frankish Empire was formed under Charles the Great (French Charlemagne) in the 800s. The western part of this empire became France. See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of France. In 987 Hugo Capet became king, and the Kapetan dynasty was founded. In the 1600s, the monarchy was made unequal, and Louis 14 led the kingdom to undisputed authority during its long reign from 1643 to 1715. The French monarchy was abolished during the French Revolution, a period of great social and political upheavals in the period 1787–1799.
After the revolution, the country was ruled as a republic for a period until the French empire was declared by Napoleon Bonaparte. When Napoleon suffered defeat in the Napoleonic wars, the country went through several regime changes until a more lasting French Third Republic was established in 1870. This was abolished during World War II, when France was controlled by Germany. After the liberation in 1944, a fourth republic was established. In 1958, it was followed by the Fifth Republic.
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Provides latest population data about France. Lists by Year from 1950 to 2020. Also includes major cities by population.
France was already fertile and well-cultivated in ancient times, rivers and good roads promoted trade. The main industrial roads were arable farming and cattle breeding, to the south cultivated olive trees and wine. Gold, silver, iron and lead were obtained from the mountains.
Gallia was inhabited by a number of smaller tribes. In many places, older sections of the population seem to have passed beside the Gauls, a Celtic people. The Belgians were the ancient main people between Seine, Marne, the Rhine and the sea; they spoke a Celtic language, but were perhaps mixed with Germans. After fierce opposition, including Julius Caesar (57-51 BCE), they were Romanized. The Aquitans in the south were not Celts. The earth was owned by the nobles and the priests (druids) and was run by the living; the nobility lived by hunting and war, and from it were elected chiefs, who usually had little power. The Druids had great influence.
About 600 BCE Gallia came into contact with the Greeks who built the colony of Massalia (Marseilles), and from here Greek culture spread in the surrounding area.
Conquered by the Romans
In the 100th century BCE. conquered the south of Gallia to secure the road to Spain, and in 118 BCE. the conquered country became a province, Gallia Narbonensis, the present Provence.
In the years 58-50 BCE. Caesar placed the rest of Gallia under Rome, thus creating a priceless form of Italy against the eminent Germans. In 16-13 BCE Roman Emperor Augustus organized the conquered area, and there were only few and easily suppressed rebellions in the imperial era. The Gauls were soon Romanized, and in Gaul, Roman culture experienced a boom in the imperial era. Gallia was an independent period (258-274) during the soldier’s reign, and was captured by Emperor Aurelian. There are many monuments from Roman times, especially in Provence.
Meroving era 482–751
The Germans’ long-standing attempts to penetrate south into the Roman Empire finally succeeded around 400 AD, during the great Germanic migrations. A slow Germanization of Gallia and some other Roman provinces had then been going on for a long time. However, most of the Germanic tribes were too few to keep up.
Lasting significance was given only to the Burgundians, who founded the Burgundian kingdom. The West Goths, who on their train from Italy founded a kingdom around Tolosa, and the Franks, who, under the heads of Merovech’s family, the Merovingians, settled in northern Gaul.
The Franks eventually took over under their king Chlodvig (Frankish Clovis, Louis, French Louis), who in 486 destroyed the last remnant of Roman rule in Gallia (Syagrius ‘ kingdom around Paris).
Chlodvig and his successors also subdued the other Germanic tribes who had settled in Gallia and on Germanic grounds, the Bavarians, the Thuringians and the Alemans. Thus the great Merovingian or Frankish empire was formed; this included not only Gallia, but also Germany west of the Elbe (except the old Saxony to the northwest, which was first conquered by Charlemagne), and it was the only one of the popular immigration empires to last. In the 700s it also engulfed the kingdom of the langobards in Italy. In the following times, however, they became parts of France located outside France, that is, the German and Italian parts, separated.
As well as possible, the Germans continued the Roman rule. Everything in Chlodwig’s time, the Franks had assumed Christianity in its Roman Catholic form. The king now entered the emperor’s place; the chief warriors became officials. The Roman state domains and many private estates fell to the king. Many Roman mansions (villas) were handed over to chieftains and distinguished warriors, while many warriors received smaller pieces of land. Incidentally, the majority of the population continued to be the old Galloromanian, which gradually became mixed. The relatively few Germans eventually learned the language and married their women, and the language of Gallia therefore continued to be Roman or rather a dialect of Latin (” Roman “), while the dissolution process of Roman culture otherwise continued.
All the Germans were warriors, while the Roman population had lived in peace for centuries; therefore the Franks became a ruling class. The Germans from home were not used to urban life, while the cities of the Roman Empire had been centers of government, corporate life, spiritual and material culture. All in Roman times, however, an economic transformation of society had begun, and it now continued with increasing speed. The bulk goods became the economic unit, which provided itself with all the necessities. Urban life’s trade and industry decayed, but without ceasing altogether.
This economic development in connection with the national dissolution, which took off in the 800s and 900s, then also made the estate a political entity; the landlords exercised legal and administrative authority over their subordinates, operated the land partly with unskilled and semi-free workers, partly with landlords, and defended them against abuse and assault.
The Frankish kings considered themselves inheritors of the Roman emperor, and much of the Roman administration continued to exist well into the Merovingian era. The church maintained important links in the Roman tradition, and Roman law continued to apply to the Roman population. The economic and political independence of the goods, however, made the state’s task less and less important for society.
Decentralization and resolution
The church took over a number of previous state duties, and the state was substantially curtailed to a military and judicial organization. The result was a strong decentralization. The local officials were endowed with an extremely extensive authority, each in its own area. For example, they were to collect taxes, administer the administration of justice, and call the military officers to war. But when control, which in Roman society had kept the government running, was now slipping away, the officials gradually became tyrants within their territories. They did not pay taxes to the Treasury, nor use them for charitable purposes, but to keep servants and army men for themselves; roads, bridges, canals overdue; the warriors of military duty were not brought to the king’s army, but were used in the personal service of the count; justice became a source of money for government officials, especially after the fine system inherited from immigration had supplanted Roman’s criminal justice system.
The resolution went far further. The Count faced downward the same aversion to subordination that he himself showed the king. The result was a complete state resolution. In the centuries following the migrations, France crumbled into thousands of larger and smaller virtually independent spheres of power, with each warrior landlord gradually acquiring on his estate almost all the authority that in Roman times came to the state, the emperor and the officials. This development is partly the same as was generally associated with the lens system development, but it is particularly prominent in France because of the contradiction of ancient Roman state culture, and it is only with this state of dissolution that the slow new construction of state and social life in France becomes historically understandable.
The first Merovingian kings, and especially Chlodvig himself, still held the kingdom roughly together, as the Roman traditions and customs were still strong and alive. Under Chlodwig’s successors the kingdom was divided several times, but the royal family continued to enjoy a certain reputation. In the life of the royal family (depicted by Bishop Gregor of Tours), the barbarism and moral decay of the time is reflected. Any higher notion of state, government, and society seemed extinct, and the warrior landlords did as they pleased.
A single great-man genus, the Carolingians, took a particularly outstanding position from the 600’s as the king of the meroving king (major domus). Pipin of Herstal (dead 714) and his son Karl Martell, in effect, were in possession of the remnant of royal power that was still left, and by his warlike and political prowess won a prominent authority. Karl Martell defeated the Arabs in the battles of Poitiers and Tours in 732.
Carolingian times 751–987
Karl Martell’s son Pipin the little ruler in 751–768 and was a determined politician. He deposed with the Pope the last Merovingian shadow king and was himself hailed as king. The older Carolingians apparently stopped the dissolution of the state – not because they had a higher concept of state and government, but because of their ability and support from the Church, the chiefs instilled greater reverence, esteem and fear than the Merovingians could, and because they could lead them to great military victories that provided them with great spoils of war.
With Pepin the little preceded the Carolingian church policy, which the Pope meant help against the Lombards in Italy and for Carolingians church complicity strengthening of royal power and order. Charles the Great struck in 774 langobards, took their lands and secured the papacy to those parts of Italy which had hitherto been under Byzantium; these became the core of the later papacy (Church State). With this, a rift began between the pope and the East Roman emperor. This breach helped weaken the notion that the East Roman Empire was the continuation of the universal Roman empire.
When Karl, by his victorious battles against the pagans, had gained reputation as the great champion of Christianity, he was crowned Roman Emperor by Pope Leo 3, the first Christmas Day 800. Roman imperiality did not last permanently in the Carolingian lineage nor firmly attached to France’s kings, but this event forever destroyed the Byzantine emperors’ hope that the ancient Roman world domination could be restored.
No significant change in government and social life happened, and after the death of Karl the Great in 814, the dissolution of the Frankish Empire continued. In Verdun in 843 and later minor changes, the territory that became France, mainly by national borders, was separated from France. The first king of France became Charles the bald (843–877). But France was by no means more than a term, and some of the most capable and powerful men formed small states. In 911, the Normans were given over to Normandy, and in the east a Burgundian kingdom emerged (see Burgundy). The last Carolingians, in effect, brought only a supremacy of skin, and often had to contend with powerful chiefs about the king’s dignity.
In 987, a number of great men, encouraged by the clergy, chose one of Northern France’s most powerful great men Hugo Capet as king, and the Kapetian dynasty (“the third royal family”) was founded.
The first hijackers had power only in their own old land area of Paris and its environs. But the stability of the captains led to the succession of the succession to the Church. It was the Kapeter genus that created France as a state, but it went slowly. The first major country wins for the crown were Normandy in 1204, Languedoc in the 1220s and Champagne in 1285.
In 1328 the older Kapetian line died out. The most accomplished of the hijackers were Filip August, Louis the Holy and Philip the Beautiful. They fought with progress against the vassals, especially the English king, and also pursued an active domestic policy.
Nevertheless, the importance of kings for the formation of the French state must not be overstated. In-depth social and economic innovations that began, especially from the 1100s, were the most powerful forces. Trade increased and cities grew, and thus there was a need for greater legal security, for uniform legislation and administration over larger areas, in other words for a stronger state power. Beginning money-keeping forced an orderly financial system, and in the ever-stronger and richer bourgeoisie, the kings found natural allies against troubled nobles and vassals.
The Crusades, which essentially was a French movement, speeding up this development and it was essential that the monarchy of the 1200s in ever increasing extent used the Roman jurisconsults, bourgeois men, the so-called legistere (légistes), with insight and admiration for Roman state art, to counselors and officials. They established firm rule of the crown land and made the king’s power more independent of noble landlords, constantly under the powerful involvement of the church. The people were raised to look upon the king as the one who could and would help the common man against the arbitrariness of the great men.
This respect for the king’s power was of great importance for the later expansion of the crown country and the unification of all of France during the kingdom. Philip the Beautiful, in his fight against Pope Boniface 8, sought support from the third state, and had convened a Standing Assembly in Paris in 1302. Thus, it created an opportunity for a broader foundation for a popular kingdom, but this opportunity was not exploited. The Standing Assemblies did not become a regular and regular part of the French government, as was the case in Parliament in England.
The house Valois (1328–1589)
After the direct line of men in the captain genealogy became extinct, a new line of royal lineage, the house of Valois (the younger captains), came to the throne. The first Valois kings were not skilled enough as politicians, and on top of that was the devastating number of wars between France and England known as the Centenary War (1337-1453). For a while, it seemed that the English royal house would reign in France. The French knights were repeatedly defeated.
In 1420 a settlement was concluded, in which the Dauphin Karl 7 was excluded from the throne in favor of the English successor. This provoked an anti-English movement (one of the manifestations of this popular movement is Jeanne d’Arc’s appearance in 1429), and in about 20 years the English lost everything they had won, except Calais.
After the wars, fixed taxes and a standing army were introduced. In the period 1300–1500, the crownland grew with Dauphiné, Poitou, Guyenne, Burgundy (Duchy of Burgundy), Anjou, Provence and more. In the inner government, Ludvig 11 (the “bourgeois king”), in particular, excelled in his victorious battle against the opposition, his work for order and strong royal power and the improvement of the lower classes, citizens and peasants. Ludwig’s successors entered the battle for Italy, and during the Italian campaigns the French nobles learned to appreciate the Italian Renaissance culture, but not to submit to a strong state power.
Louis 12 and Frans 1 were determined kings who strived for unity. In 1539, it was decided in Villers-Cotterêts that French was now the only public language. This was an important step towards the formation of a strong state. In the 16th century, the struggle against the Habsburg power in Europe began, which strained the economic and military performance of the people to the extreme. Thanks to the Valois empire being Europe’s most solid, France survived repeated attacks from both Charles 5 and Philip 2 of Spain. From 1562 to 1598 there was internal conflict in the kingdom between Protestants and Catholics, which was far more devastating than the Habsburg armies. These religious wars endangered the state unit itself, and the country was in political, social and economic disintegration when the last Valois, Henry 3, was assassinated in 1589. The civil war lasted another four years, until Henry 4 of Bourbon was widely recognized as a new king.
From 1500 to 1600 the territory was expanded with Auvergne, Brittany, Metz, Toul, Verdun and Béarn.
1600s: The Great Century
In the 1600s, the medieval great man’s empire was ended. As a condition of inner order and tranquility, the royal power was rendered uniquely and respected. Henry 4 and his First Minister Maximilien de Béthune Sully embarked with earnestness and vigor; Cardinals Armand de Richelieu and Jules Mazarin continued. They limited the political power of the nobility by putting the high-ranking governors and other noble officials under constant and effective control on the part of the central government. Any disobedience to the government was punished as disobedience to the king, that is, rebellion and high treason.
After Richelieu’s death in 1642, a recent attempt by the princely and noble chiefs to regain his old positions through a series of rebellions (Fronden), but the attempt was stranded, and Louis 14 led the kingdom to undisputed authority in its long reign from 1643 to 1715. With labor and sense of order, the king contributed to this, but he was also characterized by the time-honored conception of the king’s person as the source of power and authority, and of the obviousness of the difference of standards and nobility. In his reign, the king preferably used inadmissible or inadmissible, which he adored or exalted. Thus, with their help, he removed the political power of the nobility, but the state of standing and privilege was maintained.
Louis 14 led the country into a series of wars that showed France’s wealth and power, gaining some land victories (Alsace in 1648, Flanders in 1672 and Franche-Comté in 1678). But this at the same time tainted the country, making French foreign policy despised and suspected everywhere.
The wars and the luxury of the court swallowed huge sums. Today’s greatest statesman and national economist, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, sought to curb the king’s warlike indignation and influence him to place greater emphasis on business growth. French spirit and upper-class culture became a model for other nations during this time. The great and lasting profit of the single empire, in France as elsewhere in Europe, is to have created an orderly central administration and to have seriously taken up the new tasks that the beginning capitalism of the 17th century placed on the state (colonial and trade policy, care for the communications system with more).
The centralization helped make France a European cultural superpower. Scholars from all over Europe went to Paris, and the literature reached new heights with Pierre Corneille, Jean Racine and Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (better known as Molière). Culture was seen as a tool for gaining power, and artist Charles Le Brun was the first to develop the concept of “official art”.
18th century: the Enlightenment
France had 25 million inhabitants at the end of the 18th century and was Europe’s richest country. The nobility was free of most taxes, owned large land, claimed federal fees, and had exclusive rights to the best-paid offices and to the rich dioceses and abbeys. The most powerful part of the nobility was the court part and the 400 families represented at the court in Versailles, the office and judge part. The province of the province was more numerous, but often poor. Many nobles were influenced by the ideas of the Enlightenment.
The bourgeoisie had become richer and more self-conscious in the 18th century, and that required political influence. The wealthy citizens had become state creditors and demanded control of the state budget and the abolition of stand privileges and other obstacles to free business. Literature and journalists demanded freedom of the press and freedom of expression, and a bourgeois ” intelligentsia ” had formed. The philosophers used natural law as a weapon against tradition and the stone society.
The American War of Independence had made a strong impression on both the nobility and the bourgeoisie. Most farmers owned a piece of land themselves, but that was not enough and they leased the land of nobility, the church or the crown. The farmers had to pay taxes, federal fees and tithing. In the 18th century, their position had improved due to the rise in grain prices. Through the lawyers and priests, the ideas of the philosophers penetrated into the people.
The king was theoretically monotonous, but the state apparatus was weakened by a financial crisis that demanded constantly new taxes. State finances were the most critical issue; government debt grew further during the wars, especially during the Austrian succession war (1741–1748) and the seven-year war (1756–1763), which cost France Canada and completely destroyed the possibility of a French colonial rule in India. The French participation in the American War of Independence in 1778–1783 finally led to an acute financial crisis, exacerbated by economic depression. All reform efforts were only halfway through, and support for opposition from the privileged, especially from the judiciary. The state was ahead bankruptcy, and by the demands of nobility and clergy, and with the support of the third state, Louis 16 convened a Standing Assembly in 1788, which was the first since 1614.
Although the Enlightenment was a European phenomenon, the names associated with the term were primarily French or French-speaking philosophers such as Denis Diderot, Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
The French Revolution
The French Revolution marks a period of great social and political upheavals in France during the period 1787–1799. The year 1789 marks the first important turning point of the revolution. July 14 this year mass riots broke out in Paris and the prison Bastille was stormed. This date is today marked as France’s National Day.
The revolution marked the end of the French stone community, where the highest standards (nobility and clergy) had special rights in society. A National was formed in 1789, and autocracy t was abolished. The National Assembly passed a declaration on human rights, stating that all people are born free and equal, and that all authority in society must be based on the people. The declaration inspired and characterized the later democratic development in Europe, including the Norwegian Constitution of 1814.
The Constitution of 1791 built on the constitutional monarchy. Then the kingdom was abolished and the first French republic declared in 1792. The deposed King Louis XVI was executed in January 1793. The period from the summer of 1793 to the summer of 1794 is called the “terror,” or “the terror of terror.” This phase ended after the revolution leader Maximilien Robespierre (1758-1794) was overthrown and executed (the Thermidor revolt). From 1795 until 1799, when Napoleon Bonaparte took power in the coup d’etat, the country was ruled by a group of five men called the Directorate.
Much of the reason for the revolution lay in the fact that the old hierarchies and privileges of society were no longer considered legitimate. The population increase in the 18th century had also exacerbated the problems of poverty. In the countryside, the landowner system, with its taxes and monopoly rights, was widely disliked by the farmers. It was abolished during the revolution.
The revolution marks the beginning of the history of modern France and has implications for the further political development right up to our time. The revolution also gained great importance beyond France’s borders and inspired revolts in several European countries, such as Poland and Ireland.
19th Century: The Romantic Century
The 19th century was almost a repetition of the political systems the French tried between 1789 and the storming of the Bastille, and between 1814 and the fall of Napoleon. During the century, France was a constitutional monarchy (1814-1848), a republic (1848-1852) and an empire (1852-1870).
The idea of the Great French Revolution is indelible, and three new revolutions share the 19th century: the July Revolution of 1830 and the final victory of the bourgeoisie, the February Revolution of 1848 and the introduction of the right to vote, and the Paris Commune of 1871 and the demand for a popular republic. It was only then, a hundred years after the Great Revolution, that the Republic managed to take root in the political landscape of France.
The French philosophers wanted this century to be known as the century of reason. Religion should now be replaced with science, and God with nature. The revolution that began in 1789 was therefore as much a revolution against the kingdom as a revolution against Christianity. However, secularism did not become as natural as the philosopher Antoine Condorcet predicted in 1794 in his work Sketch for a historical picture of the progress of the human spirit. The 19th century became a searchable century for meaning that science could not satisfy.
The 20th century: the century of contradictions
In France, the contradictions have always been prominent: Protestants against Catholics in the 16th and 16th centuries, and Republicans against royalists in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Dreyfus case showed towards the end of the 19th century how France could literally divide itself into two contradictory sides when moral and political principles were at stake.
In the 1900s, these contradictions were further pointed. Under the terms “right” and “left”, politics, literature, art, science, philosophy and ethics differed in two incompatible worldviews.
With two world wars, the end of the colonial period in the 1960s, a strong economic development (1945–1975) followed by a lasting economic crisis, and the development of the European Union, the 1900s is possibly the century that has changed France most in the country’s long history.
Overview of French History
An overview of French history, a chronological overview of the most important and well-known archaeological finds and historical events in the history of France, from the earliest times to the present.
|about. 20,000 (?) BCE||Cave paintings in the Ardèche|
|11 500 BCE||Cave paintings in Lascaux|
|before 4000 BCE||A number of discoveries from Paleolithic cultures|
|3500-3000 BCE||The Neolithic agricultural and livestock communities are spread throughout present-day France. Ribbon ceramic culture penetrates from the east|
|2000–1500 BCE||Copper, gold and bronze are known|
|900-500 BCE||The Hallstatt culture; many rich finds from fortifications and burial sites|
|about. 600 BCE||Greeks build Massilia (Marseille)|
|500–50 BCE||La Tène culture, an Iron Age culture with rich ornamental art|
|100 century BCE||The Romans conquer southern Gallia|
|58–50 BCE||Caesar lays the rest of the land under the Roman Empire|
|300-400’s||German Erne penetrates|
|486-511||Chlodvig founded the Merovingian kingdom|
|732||Karl Martell stops the Arab invasion at Poitiers and Tours|
|800||Charlemagne becomes emperor of a great European empire|
|843||The kingdom is divided, with France as one of the parts|
|987-1328||The competition time; feudal dissolution, but eventually the king extends his power|
|1337-1453||The centenary wars against England|
|1461-1483||A French nation-state is emerging under Louis 11|
|1515-1547||Fighting against Habsburg begins during Frans 1|
|1562||The Huguenot War begins|
|1598||The edict in Nantes ends the Huguenot War. Protestants enjoy religious freedom|
|1603||Under Henry 4, the colony of New France was founded in America with Quebec as the most important city|
|1624-1642||French hegemony in Europe is built up under Richelieu|
|1643-1715||Louis 14: France is Europe’s leading state, politically and culturally|
|1685||The edict in Nantes is abolished|
|1700s||Enlightenment (Voltaire, Montesquieu)|
|1715-1774||Gradual decay during Louis 15. The colonial field is lost to the United Kingdom|
|1789||The French Revolution begins|
|1792||The kingdom is abolished and the republic is introduced|
|1799-1814||Napoleon has power in France, from 1804 as emperor. After a series of victories, the Napoleonic wars end with defeat for France|
|1814-1815||The royal power is restored|
|1830||The Christmas Revolution. Louis Philip becomes King (“Citizenship”)|
|1848||The February Revolution leads to the introduction of the Second Republic with Louis Napoléon Bonaparte as president|
|1852-1870||The Second Empire; Bonaparte becomes Napoleon 3|
|1870-1940||The Third Republic|
|1870-1871||France suffers defeat in the Franco-German war. The parish municipality is being knocked down|
|1875||General voting rights for men are introduced|
|1889||The centenary of the revolution. The Eiffel Tower is being built|
|1904||A Franco-British agreement becomes the basis for the France-UK-Russia entente three years later|
|1914-1918||Violent fighting during the First World ste g|
|1918/1919||At the peace in Versailles after World War I, France receives Alsace-Lorriaine and mandates over a number of former German colonies|
|1924-1932||Several economic crises|
|1932||Left turn at the elections. Left-governments’ deflationary policies in the 1930s creates discontent|
|1936||The public front wins the election. Socialists join the government and several social reforms are being implemented|
|1940||The country is occupied by Germany and divided into two: part under direct German rule, part under German-friendly government in Vichy|
|1942||The Germans move into the free zone|
|1944||France is liberated. General de Gaulle becomes head of a provisional government|
|1946-1958||The Fourth Republic. Women get voting rights|
|1954||France loses Indochina, Algeria war begins.|
|1957||France participates in the creation of the EEC (EU)|
|1958||Charles de Gaulle becomes President of the Fifth Republic, which is based on a strong presidential power|
|1960||Most French colonies in Africa gain their independence|
|1962||Algeria’s independence is approved|
|1966||De Gaulle marks France’s independent foreign policy stance by withdrawing the country from military cooperation in NATO and rejecting British membership in the EEC|
|1968||Extensive unrest among workers and students. Several reforms are being implemented|
|1969||De Gaulle resigns after losing a referendum; followed by Georges Pompidou|
|1974||Upon Pompidou’s death, the Gaul lists lose the presidential post. Giscard d’Estaing becomes president|
|1970||Economic problems in industry and agriculture|
|1981||The Socialists win the presidential election and a pure majority in the National Assembly|
|1980||Foreign policy problems associated with France’s nuclear explosions in the Pacific, liberation trends in New Caledonia and France’s involvement in the Middle East. French intervention in Chad in 1983|
|1986-1988||Conservative Prime Minister and Socialist President|
|1989||The centenary of the revolution. New major buildings, including in La Defense outside Paris|
|1991||Resolution on a joint defense force with Germany|
|After 1991||France exposed to terrorism following the military coup in Algeria. Strong and heated debate on immigration policy|
|1992||France says yes to the European Union in a referendum with hardly a majority (51-49 percent)|
|1993||Disaster elections for the Socialist Party|
|1995||Jacques Chirac new Gaullist president. France faces strong criticism for resuming nuclear explosions in the Pacific. France regains its place in NATO’s military cooperation|
|1997||New period (up to 2002) with Socialist government under a Conservative president|
|Late 1990s||Major protests against cuts in public welfare services. Several key politicians are involved in widespread corruption scandals|
|2002||France introduces euro. Jacques Chirac is re-elected president|
|2003||In a referendum, the Corsicans say no to a new self-government plan. Foreign policy relationship with the United States following France’s sharp protest against the invasion of Iraq|
|2004||A disputed proposal to ban religious symbols and attire in public school is being adopted|
|2005||A majority votes in a referendum no to the EU Constitutional Treaty. Later in the year, violent riots erupt in French suburbs.|
|2007||Nicolas Sarkozy is elected new president, after a second round of the presidential election against Ségolène Royal. Sarkozy’s UMP party is victorious in the ensuing parliamentary elections. Dominique Strauss-Kahn of the French Socialist Party is elected new President of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).|
|2009||There are widespread protests against a new law on university autonomy.|
|2010||An alliance of various parties, including the Socialist Party, Europe Ecology and Front de gauche, gets the most votes during the regional elections. There are several strikes throughout the year towards a new pension reform.|
|2011||Dominique Strauss-Kahn must resign as head of the IMF after allegations of sexual abuse.|
|2012||Seven people, including three Jewish schoolchildren, are killed in a series of terror attacks in Toulouse and Montauban. Francois Hollande is elected new president after a second round of presidential elections against Nicolas Sarkozy. The Socialist Party and their allies win the parliamentary elections. Hollande announces that French forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan.|
|2013||Parliament adopts a law that makes marriage between two of the same sex legal.|
|2014||The local elections will be a defeat for the left, which will lose power in a number of cities. Later that year, Front National will become the largest party during the EU parliamentary elections.|
|2015||Islamist extremists attack satire magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket. Seventeen people are killed during the terrorist attacks. Later that year, France is hit by new terrorist attacks. Cafes, restaurants, a concert venue and the Stade de France football arena were attacked. 130 people are killed during the attacks.|
|2016||France is characterized by demonstrations and strikes against a new labor law. 86 people are killed in a terrorist attack in Noce.|
|2017||The presidential election will be a huge defeat for the traditional parties. Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen advance to the second round. Macron is elected new president.|
|2018||The Yellow West is conducting its first demonstrations. What started as protests against higher fuel prices is developing into a nationwide protest movement against the social situation in the country.|