The area of what is now France already offered space to the early man of the Paleolithic. Tools and cave paintings, as in Chauvet and Lascaux, testify to their skills. Various Western European cultures with Central European and Mediterranean influences (Mediterranean area) developed up to the Iron Age. The bearers of the Hallstatt culture and the La Tène culture were the Celts, who, from the Roman point of view, settled Gaul on the other side of the Alps. With Caesar began the Roman rule and Romanization (Gallo-Romanic). In late Roman times they became Germanic Franks settled as federates or served as mercenaries before Gaul was captured by the Great Migration in the 5th century. The Merovingians and in the 7th century the Carolingians became the determining dynasty in the Franconian Empire that was now emerging. Charlemagne renewed the Roman Empire in western Europe under Christian-Catholic auspices.
Renaissance royalty and Huguenot Wars (1483–1598)
As early as 1494/95 Charles VIII (1483-98, self-government since 1491) tried to take over the old claims of the House of Anjou to the Kingdom of Naples-Sicily for the crown of France and to enforce them on a march to Italy, but was in the Holy League (Pope Alexander VI, Emperor Maximilian I, Milan, Venice, Spain) failed. From this conquest until the middle of the 16th century, Italy became a battlefield between France and the House of Habsburg, which had been dynastically linked to Spain since 1496. France did not draw any lasting material profit from these wars: Louis XII. (1498–1515), who expanded the Italian project of his predecessor to include the claim to Milan derived from kinship relations to the Visconti, lost Naples to Spain in 1505 and had to be forced in 1512 after Pope Julius II had renewed the Holy League against him (with Spain, Venice and the Confederates), also vacate Milan, which was acquired in 1500. Francis I (1515–47) conquered Milan back through the victory at Marignano (1515). In 1519 he applied for the imperial crown without success. He was defeated by his rival, Emperor Charles V, in four wars (1521–26, 1527–29, 1536–38, 1542–44) and finally lost Milan and Northern Italy’s position of power. Captured himself in the Battle of Pavia (1525), he was forced into the peace of Cambrai (1529) also gave up suzerainty over Flanders and Artois, which he later had to reaffirm in the Peace of Crépy and combine with the renunciation of his colonial plans in North America (1544). Check aristmarketing.com to see more about France and other countries in the world.
The Italian trains had brought various cultural stimuli to France, v. a. Architecture and literature have been influenced by the Italian Renaissance since the beginning of the 16th century. In defense against the Habsburg embrace and superiority, Francis I initiated the modern non-denominational alliance policy of France (alliances with the Turks and the Protestant imperial estates). Internally, he strengthened the power of the crown by confiscating the last great feudal principalities (Bourbon and Brittany) and expanding the administration in the early absolutist sense . Concordat concluded in 1516 had a decisive influence on the occupation of the dioceses and on the use of ecclesiastical income. The church thus became a monarchical instrument of rule for almost 300 years. The son and successor of Franz I, Heinrich II. (1547–59, married to Katharina von Medici), also allied himself in the fight against Habsburg with the German Protestant imperial estates (1552, Treaty of Chambord); he occupied Metz, Toul and Verdun and in 1558 conquered Calais. In the peace of Cateau-Cambrésis (1559) he asserted these conquests, but the agreement once again confirmed the Spanish superiority; it meant the final abandonment of French policy towards Italy.
In the meantime, the Reformation, in the form of Calvinism, had spread to broad layers of the bourgeoisie and parts of the nobility. The French Protestants, the Huguenots, led by G. de Coligny and the Bourbons ruling in Navarre (especially by members of the House of Condé) also represented the aristocratic class opposition to the monarchy. The Catholic party was led by the Dukes of Guise, who sought reference to Spain, while the Huguenots v. a. were supported by England. Katharina von Medici, who after the death of Heinrich II. Had the decisive influence on the government of her three weak sons (Franz II., 1559–60, married to Maria Stuart, Karl IX. , 1560–74, and Heinrich III. , 1574–89), tried to mediate between the parties in order to save the power of the crown. With the carnage of the Bartholomew Night (1572) Coligny’s policy, which aimed at King Charles IX to win for Calvinism and the war against Spain. The civil war flared up again (Huguenot Wars). Only when the Huguenot leader Heinrich von Bourbon-Navarra, after the extinction of the House of Valois (1589) as Henry IV.
Heir to the French throne, converted to Catholicism (1593), the country was gradually pacified. The wars of religion did not finally end until 1598 with the Edict of Nantes, which guaranteed the Huguenots the legal status of a denominational minority and equal citizenship. Philip II of Spain recognized Henry IV as the rightful French king in the Treaty of Vervins (1598).
In the 16th century France participated in the general boom in the European economy, the v. a. the upper classes benefited, while the lower classes suffered from price increases.