Fance is today the largest country in Western Europe, in part because Louis XIV extnded th border to the Rhine. Germany was potentially the largest country, but the Holuy Roman Empire never managed to colalese into a unified nation state until the late-19th century, but because of two dangerously flawed leaders, was reduced in size by two horrendous world wars which put the very existnce of France in question. Three other countries are roughly the samne size (Englnd, Italy, and Spain.) Fir much of history, Frabce's great enemy was England. Spain was a rival, but Spain is more arid which significantly limiited its power when through much of history, agriculture was the source of welth. In modern times it has been the frontier with Germany that became the central pivot on which history turned. And unlike the southern border with Spain, there was no great barrier. France has a diverse landscape. There are beautiful beaches along the southeast coast--the internationlly aclaimed French Riviera. There are towering mountains in the east and south. The snow-capped Alps are the best known. Europe’s highest peak, Monte Blanc, is found here -- 4,810 meters. Wide, fertile plains dominate most of the north and west, mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills. This makes France the agricultural breadbasket of Western Europe--a vital factor in medieval history. Then there is the sprawling, forested plateau of the Massif Central. A range of ancient mountains and extinct volcanoes seoarates Framce from Spain--the Pyrenees. This barrier unlike the German border helped to retard French-Spanish wars. There are four coasts (the North Sea, the English Channel, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea).
The important rivers include the Seine River, Loire River, Meuse River, Rhone River. Most French Rivers flow west into the Atlantic. The Rhine is an important border, but as history has shown not an insurmountable one, in part because it is only the French-German border for part of its flow. And the Rhone flows south creating a huge valley in easten France, emptying unlike othr French rivers into the Mediateannean.
Navigate the hukdren in History Website:
[Return to the Main European history page]
[Introduction] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Climatology] [Clothing] [Disease and Health] [Economics] [Freedom] [Geography] [History] [Human Nature] [Ideology] [Law]
[Nationalism] [Presidents] [Religion] [Royalty] [Science] [Social Class]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Children in History Home]
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing French pages:
[Return to the Main French page]
[French choirs] [French school uniforms] [French school smocks] [French royalty] [French sailor suits]
[French scout uniforms] [Difficult French images] [French art] [French Movies] [French ethnics]