Timeline and History Overview
- 600 - The colony of Massalia is founded by the Ancient Greeks. This would later become the city of Marseille, the oldest city in France.
- 400 - Celtic tribes begin to settle in the region.
- 122 - Southeastern France (called Provence) is taken over by the Roman Republic.
- 52 - Julius Caesar conquers Gaul (most of modern day France).
- 260 - The Gallic Empire is founded by Postumus. It would fall to the Roman Empire in 274.
- 300 - The Franks begin to settle the region.
- 400s- Other tribes enter the area and take over different areas including the Visigoths, Vandals, and the Burgundians.
- 476 - The collapse of the Western Roman Empire.
- 509 - Clovis I becomes the first King of the Franks uniting all the Frankish tribes under one rule.
- 732 - The Franks defeat the Arabs at the Battle of Tours.
- 768 - Charlemagne becomes King of the Franks. He will greatly expand the Frankish Empire.
- 800 - Charlemagne is crowned the Holy Roman Emperor. He implements reforms including the first public schools and a monetary standard.
- 843 - The Frankish Empire is divided between Charlemagne's sons creating regions that would later become the kingdoms of France and Germany.
- 1066 - Duke William of Normandy conquers England.
- 1163 - Construction begins on the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It would not be finished until 1345.
- 1337 - The start of the Hundred Years' War with the English.
- 1348 - The Black Death plague spreads through France killing a large percentage of the population.
- 1415 - The English defeat the French at the Battle of Agincourt.
- 1429 - Peasant girl Joan of Arc leads the French to victory over the English at the Siege of Orleans.
- 1431 - The English burn Joan of Arc to death at the stake.
- 1453 - The Hundred Years' War comes to an end when the French defeat the English at the Battle of Castillon.
- 1500s - A time of peace and prosperity for France.
- 1608 - French explorer Samuel de Champlain founds Quebec City in the New World.
- 1618 - The start of the Thirty Years' War.
- 1643 - Louis XIV becomes King of France. He will rule for 72 years and become known as Louis the Great and the Sun King.
- 1756 - The start of the Seven Years' War. It would end in 1763 with France losing New France to Great Britain.
- 1778 - France becomes involved in the American War of Independence helping the colonies gain their independence from the United Kingdom.
- 1789 - The French Revolution begins with the storming of the Bastille.
- 1792 - The Louvre museum is established.
- 1793 - King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette are executed by guillotine.
- 1799 - Napoleon takes power overthrowing the French Directory.
- 1804 - Napoleon is crowned Emperor of France.
- 1811 - The French Empire under Napoleon controls much of Europe.
- 1815 - Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo and sent into exile.
- 1830 - The July Revolution occurs.
- 1871 - The Paris Commune is declared.
- 1874 - Impressionist artists hold their first independent art exhibition in Paris.
- 1889 - The Eiffel Tower is built in Paris for the World's Fair.
- 1900 - Paris, France hosts the second modern day Summer Olympics.
- 1907 - France enters into the Triple Entente, an alliance with Russia and the United Kingdom.
- 1914 - World War I begins. France is invaded by Germany.
- 1916 - The Battle of the Somme is fought against Germany.
- 1919 - World War I comes to an end with the Treaty of Versailles.
- 1939 - World War II begins.
- 1940 - Germany invades France.
- 1944 - Allied forces invade at Normandy pushing back the German Army.
- 1945 - The Germany army surrenders and World War II comes to an end in Europe.
- 1959 - Charles de Gaulle is elected the President of France.
- 1981 - Francois Mitterrand is elected president.
- 1992 - France signs the Maastricht Treaty creating the European Union.
- 1998 - France wins the World Cup soccer championship.
- 2002 - The Euro replaces the French Franc as the official currency of France.
Charlemagne is Crowned
Louis XIV the Sun King
The Storming of the Bastille
Napoleon is Defeated in Russia
The land that today makes up the country of France has been settled for thousands of years. In 600 BC, a portion of the Greek Empire settled in Southern France and founded the city that is today Marseille, the oldest city in France. At the same time, Celtic Gauls were becoming prominent in other areas of France. The Gauls would sack the city of Rome in 390 BC. Later, the Romans would conquer Gaul and the area would become a productive part of the Roman Empire until the 4th century.
The Eiffel Tower
In the 4th century, the Franks, which is where the name France comes from, began to take power. In 768 Charlemagne united the Franks and began to expand the kingdom. He was named the Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope and is today considered the founder of both the French and German monarchies. The French monarchy would continue to be a great power in Europe for the next 1000 years.
In 1792, the French Republic was proclaimed by the French Revolution. This didn't last long, however, as Napoleon grabbed power and made himself Emperor. He then proceeded to conquer most of Europe. Napoleon was later defeated and in 1870 the Third Republic was declared.
France suffered greatly in both World War I and World War II. During World War II France was defeated and occupied by the Germans. Allied forces liberated the country in 1944 after four years of German rule. A new constitution was set up by Charles de Gaulle and the Fourth Republic was formed.
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