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History

Ancient history and settlement.

French royal power reached its peak with the reign of Louis XIV (1642 – 1715), known as the Sun King, and French culture dominated Europe.

Royal power collapsed fairly quickly after Louis XIV and within a century France experienced the French Revolution, which began in 1789, overthrew Louis XVI and established a republic. France now found itself fighting wars and exporting its world-changing events across Europe.

The French Revolution was soon usurped by a general called Napoleon, and the ensuing Napoleonic Wars saw France first militarily dominate Europe, then be defeated.

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Geography

Ancient history and settlement.

France, the second largest country in Europe, is partially covered central, north and west by a relatively flat plain that’s punctuated by some time-worn low rolling hills and mountains.

Rugged cliffs front its coastline along the English Channel. Corsica, a mountainous island and the country’s largest island, is located 160 km (99 miles) southeast of Nice.

Mountains dominate eastern, south central and southern France, including the snowcapped Alps that stretch along its border with Italy, then on into Switzerland and across southern Europe.

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