Château de Castel Novel
Château de Chambord
Château de Chenonceau
Château de Fontainebleau
Château de Hautefort
Château de Loose
Collonges la Rouge
Vaux le Vicomte
Image/s: circa 1998 - 2006 Accesses: 987
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The borders of modern France are approximately the same as those of ancient Gaul. Gaul was conquered by Julius Caesar in the 1st century BC. Christianity first appeared in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and became firmly established by the 4th and 5th centuries. France's existence as a separate entity began with the Treaty of Verdun in 843 when Charlemagne's empire was divided into East Francia, Middle Francia and Western Francia. Western Francia approximated the area occupied by modern France. The Carolingian dynasty ruled France until 987, when Hugh Capet, Duke of France and Count of Paris, was crowned King of France. His descendants progressively unified the country through a series of wars and dynastic inheritance. In 1209 the Cathars and the independence of southern France were eliminated. The monarchy reached its height during the 17th century and the reign of Louis XIV. Much of the Enlightenment occurred in French intellectual circles. The monarchy ruled France until the French Revolution in 1789. Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were executed in 1793, along with thousands of other French citizens during the Reign of Terror. After a series of short-lived governments, Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of the Republic in 1799, making himself First Consul, and later Emperor of what is now known as the First Empire (1804–1814). Following Napoleon's final defeat in 1815, the French monarchy was re-established, but with constitutional limitations. In 1830, a civil uprising established the July Monarchy, which lasted until 1848. The short-lived second Republic ended in 1852 when Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte proclaimed the Second Empire. Louis-Napoleon was unseated following defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 and his regime was replaced by the Third Republic.
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