1) The Gauls :
Often presented as the ancestors of the French, which is not quite true, the Gauls are not one people but more than 500 tribes! In all, they are between 5 and 20 million people. These tribes are not united, speak different languages, have their own cultures... For example, Vercingetorix is a chief of the tribe of the Arvernians. The Gauls, however, have a common origin: the Celts, who settled in the lands of what we call Gaul in the 4th century BC.
2) The Franks :
France owes its name to the Franks. The origin of the latter is not well known, but it is said to be a grouping of Germanic peoples. They reigned over what they called the Kingdom of the Franks as early as the 5th century. This includes, among others, most of present-day France and Belgium. The Franks were the first kings of these territories, along with the Merovingian (V-VIIIth c.) and Carolingian (VIII-Xth c.) dynasties.
3) The Empire of Charlemagne :
Charlemagne is king of the Franks but also emperor of the West from 800. The French consider him an illustrious French character, while the Germans think he is German. A priori, both countries are right.
4) Women and the French crown :
The second Salic law, written in the 14th century, forbids women to reign or even allow their sons to inherit the French crown. Neighbouring kingdoms, such as those of England or Spain, will however have queens. The kingdom of France forbade this not out of misogyny but out of nationalism. Indeed, the daughters of kings often married other kings . Thus, one of their sons could end up at the head of two kingdoms. When the second Salic law was drafted, there was a terrible quarrel of succession between the English and French ruling dynasties, which was the cause of the 100 Years War! This law was written to prevent an Englishman from becoming King of France
5) Francis I, the Kingdom of France and the French :
French becomes the official language of the Kingdom of France in 1539, with the ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts, thanks to Francis I. Until then, the official texts were written in Latin. However, until the beginning of the 20th century most French people did not speak French! They had their own languages, more or less attached to regions, until schooling became compulsory, with instruction in French, from 1870 onwards.
6) The kings of France are sacred :
The peculiarity of the kings of France is to be sacred, in addition to being crowned. Philip II Augustus is the tenth king of France to be crowned in Rheims (1179) and all his successors will also be crowned in this city. All except Henry IV who is crowned in Chartres (1594), as Reims is held by his enemies at that time, in a context of civil wars
7) Louis XIV is the king who reigned the longest in France :
Louis XIV reigned for 72 years! He became king in 1643 when he was only 5 years old. His mother, Anne of Austria, was regent alongside the Prime Minister, Cardinal Mazarin, until 1651. Louis XIV was crowned three years later, in 1654, when he was not yet 16 years old. It was then necessary to be at least 15 years old to be crowned. In 1715, at the age of 76, and after 72 years of reign, he died.
8) The Académie Française :
The French Academy was created in 1634 and became official in 1635 thanks to or because of Cardinal de Richelieu. Its role is to standardize the French language. Until then, it was possible to write a word in several ways in the same text. The Académie Française then set the spelling and grammatical rules.
9) The French Revolution lasted 10 years :
It lasted from 1789 to 1799. The storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 - the current French national holiday - is a very anecdotal victory: the prison was almost empty! Above all, Louis XVI remained King of France until September 1791, then was King of the French from September 1791 to September 1792. He was executed in January 1793, three and a half years after the start of the French Revolution. The French Revolution went through several phases, some of which were more violent than others. It ended with the Consulate and Napoleon's rise to power in November 1799
10) There are kings after the French Revolution :
France had three kings and three emperors during the 19th century. Here they are :
- Napoleon I: Emperor from 1804 to 1814, then from March 20 to June 22, 1815.
- Louis XVIII: King from 1814 to 20 March 1815, then from 8 July 1815 to 1824.
- Napoleon II: Emperor from 22 June to 7 July 1815, when he was only four years old.
- Charles X: King from 1824 to 1830.
- Louis-Philippe I: King from 1830 to 1848.
- Napoleon III: Emperor from 1852 to 1870