France: Country and Foreign Investment
History, Population, Language and Culture
The borders of modern-day France are approximately the same as those of ancient Gaul, covering an area between the Rhine, Atlantic Ocean, Pyrenees and Mediterranean Sea. The area was settled by Gallic Celtic tribes between the 5th and 3rd centuries, who would go on to form an adversarial relationship with the Roman Republic over a number of centuries.
The south of Gaul was annexed by the Romans in 125 BC, with the remainder of the territory being conquered following Vercingetorix's defeat to Julius Caesar in the Gallic Wars of 58-51 BC. Roman control of the area would last for more than half a millennium, until the Germanic Franks defeated the Gallo-Romans at the Battle of Soissons (486 AD).
The Frankish Empire would lead to the modern name for the Kingdom of France, and reached its zenith during the reign of Charlemagne. The empire would be divided amongst Charlemagne's grandsons in 843, with East Francia forming the basis of the Holy Roman Empire and modern Germany, and West Francia forming the basis of the modern France.
The Black Death and the Hundred Years' War kept France economically and politically weak during Medieval period, but France would go on to become a global superpower during the Ancien Régime, particularly during the rule of Louis XIV, "The Sun King". The country then experienced a revolution in 1789 which deposed the monarchy, and the reign of Napoleon after a successful coup in 1799.
Modern France has a population of 67 million people. The current Constitution establishes the country as secular and democratic, and it upholds the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen - a fundamental document from the French Revolution, and one of the world's earliest human rights documents.
The French language is the only official language of France and, as a result of France's colonial activity, it is spoken by between 200 million and 500 million across the Americas, Africa, Polynesia, South-East Asia, and the Caribbean. French is the second most studied foreign language in the world.