France

Introduction
France, which is the largest nation in Western Europe, is a presidential republic. France is a very important nation in Europe and it continues to be involved in contemporary policy issues. Helping the world as one of the great trading nations, France is a very important trading partner with the United States. Not only is France important to the United States, they are also important to countries all over the world. Their abundance of both mineral and agricultural resources make them a very important supplier of products all over the world. I chose to report on France because it is an interesting county and I wanted to learn more about it.
Geography
France is located in Western Europe and has an area of approximately 211,000 square miles. Along with being the capital, Paris is also the largest city in France. Spain borders France in the south, Italy and Switzerland in the east, and Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium in the northeast. The French Alps are located in the east where snow capped peaks, such as Mont. Blanc reach heights of 15,781 feet. About one-half of France’s total border is formed by coastline, with the Mediterranean Sea on the Southeast and the Atlantic and the English Channel on the west and northwest. Many rivers and canals run through France forming a vast network, tying different regions and cities together. The Seine is the country’s largest navigable river. It flows northwest from eastern France through the city of Paris, and empties into the channel at Le Harre. The Rhone River is the largest in the country in terms of volume of discharge. Along with its tributaries, it drains the French Alpine region. Although France has many rivers, it only has a few lakes. One of the lakes in France is Lake Geneva (also known as Lake Leman), but in lies mainly in Switzerland.
France is richly endowed with an excellent balance of both mineral and agricultural resources. The nation produces substantial amounts of iron ore. In addition, France has sizable deposits of antimony magnesium, pyrites, tungsten, salt, potash, radioactive materials, lead and zinc. Coal mining has decreased significantly since the 1960’s, as many mines have been depleted and are now closed. Currently, the production of natural gas and sulfur is being developed.


History
France has one of the most complete records of human history in all of Europe. Archaeologists have uncovered artifacts that are more than 100,000 years old.
During the 16th century, Protestantism spread across France leading to a number of religious and civil wars. The wars between the Protestants and the Roman Catholics resulted in the massacre of some 3,000 Protestants in Paris on the eve of St. Bartholomew’s Day in 1572. The statecraft of such royal advisers as the cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin helped France in becoming the greatest power in Europe during the 17th century. Unfortunately, defeats in a series of costly foreign wars during the 18th century caused France to loose many of their overseas territories, and brought the country near bankruptcy. In 1789 revolution toppled the King, Louis XVI, and proclaimed the rights of man. The French Revolution took a bloody turn and ended in a weak government of five directors. France soon fell into the hands of Napoleon Bonaparte, who ruled from 1799-1814, first as consul, then as emperor. Napoleon’s far fetched military ventures ended in 1815 with his downfall. A limited monarchy was restored and, with the exception of a brief republican period (1848-52), brought about the creation of the Third Republic.
After WWI, a resistance movement known as Free France was organized in Britain under the leadership of General Charles de Gaulle. Allied and Free French forces liberated France in 1944. Parliamentary democracy was restored to France under the Fourth Republic. Another costly war against nationalist guerrillas in Algeria and other French colonies during the 1950’s brought an end to the Fourth Republic. In 1958, Gaulle returned as president of the Fifth Republic. In 1981, France elected its first Socialist president, Francois Mitterand, who served 2 terms until 1995. France’s current president, elected in 1995, is Jacques Chirac.

People
One of the things that make France so unique is the people that live there. Due to the current concerns with making money and being successful, more people are working in France than ever