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Seeing itself as an inclusive nation with universal values, France has always valued and strongly advocated assimilation. However, the success of such assimilation has recently been called into question. There is increasing dissatisfaction with, and within, growing ethno-cultural enclaves communautarisme. The French riots in some troubled and impoverished suburbs les quartiers sensibles were an example of such tensions. However they should not be interpreted as ethnic conflicts as appeared before in other countries like the USA and the UK but as social conflicts born out of socioeconomic problems endangering proper integration.
French people are the descendants of Gauls and Romans, western European Celtic and Italic peoples, as well as Bretons , Aquitanians , Ligurians , and Germanic people arriving at the beginning of the Frankish Empire such as the Franks , the Visigoths , the Suebi , the Saxons , the Allemanni and the Burgundians , and later Germanic groups such as the Vikings known as Normans , who settled in Normandy and to a lesser extent in Brittany in the 9th century.
The name "France" etymologically derives from the word Francia , the territory of the Franks. In the pre-Roman era, all of Gaul an area of Western Europe that encompassed all of what is known today as France, Belgium, part of Germany and Switzerland, and Northern Italy was inhabited by a variety of peoples who were known collectively as the Gaulish tribes. Their ancestors were Celts who came from Central Europe in the 7th century BCE and even before, according to new research  , and dominated native peoples including the Ligures , and Aquitanic people among them, the Basques in Aquitaine.
Some, particularly in the northern and eastern areas, may have had Germanic admixture the Belgae ; many of these peoples had already spoken Celtic Gaulish by the time of the Roman conquest. Gaul was militarily conquered in 58—51 BCE by the Roman legions under the command of General Julius Caesar except the south-east which had already been conquered about one century earlier. Over the next six centuries, the two cultures intermingled, creating a hybridized Gallo-Roman culture. In the late Roman era, in addition to colonists from elsewhere in the Empire and Gaulish natives, Gallia also became home to some in-migrating populations of Germanic and Scythian origin, such as Alans.
The Gaulish language is thought to have survived into the 6th century in France, despite considerable Romanization of the local material culture. The Vulgar Latin in the region of Gallia took on a distinctly local character, some of which is attested in graffiti  , which evolved into the Gallo-Romance dialects which include French and its closest relatives.
With the decline of the Roman Empire in Western Europe, a federation of Germanic peoples entered the picture: The Franks were Germanic pagans who began to settle in northern Gaul as laeti , already during the Roman era. They continued to filter across the Rhine River from present-day Netherlands and Germany between the third to the 7th century. At the beginning, they served in the Roman army and reached high commands. Another Germanic people immigrated massively to Alsace: They were competitors of the Franks; that's why, in Renaissance times, it became the French word for "German": By the early 6th century the Franks, led by the Merovingian king Clovis I and his sons, had consolidated their hold on much of modern-day France, the country to which they gave their name.
The other major Germanic people to arrive in France after the Burgundians and the Visigoths were the Norsemen or Northmen , which was shortened to Norman in France , Viking raiders from modern Denmark and Norway , who settled with Anglo-Scandinavians and Anglo-Saxons from the Danelaw definitely in the northern region known today as Normandy in the 9th and 10th century, and which was given in fiefdom of the kingdom of France by king Charles III. The Vikings eventually intermarried with the local people, converting to Christianity in the process.
It was the Normans who, two centuries later, would go on to conquer England and Southern Italy. Eventually, though, the largely autonomous duchy of Normandy was incorporated back into the royal domain i. In the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem , founded in , at most Franks predominantly French -speaking Western Christians ruled over , Muslims, Jews, and native Eastern Christians.
In the roughly years after the Norman invasions France had a fairly settled population. However, significant emigration of mainly Roman Catholic French populations led to the settlement of the Province of Acadia , Canada New France and Louisiana , all at the time French possessions, as well as colonies in the West Indies , Mascarene islands and Africa. Most of these originally settled in the Cape Colony , but have since been quickly absorbed into the Afrikaner population. Encouraging settlement was difficult, and while some immigration did occur, by New France only had a population of some 65, By there were 8 villages populated by French colonists.
It replaced the ancient kingdom of France, ruled by the divine right of kings. Hobsbawm highlighted the role of conscription , invented by Napoleon, and of the s public instruction laws, which allowed mixing of the various groups of France into a nationalist mold which created the French citizen and his consciousness of membership to a common nation, while the various regional languages of France were progressively eradicated.
The Franco-Prussian War , which led to the short-lived Paris Commune of , was instrumental in bolstering patriotic feelings; until World War I — , French politicians never completely lost sight of the disputed Alsace-Lorraine region which played a major role in the definition of the French nation and therefore of the French people. Successive waves of immigrants during the 19th and 20th centuries were rapidly assimilated into French culture.
France's population dynamics began to change in the middle of the 19th century, as France joined the Industrial Revolution. The pace of industrial growth attracted millions of European immigrants over the next century, with especially large numbers arriving from Poland , Belgium , Portugal , Italy , and Spain.
In the period from to , many immigrants came from Czechoslovakia , Hungary , Russia , Scandinavia and Yugoslavia. Small but significant numbers of Frenchmen in the North and Northeast regions have relatives in Germany and Great Britain. Hence, by , Jews of North African origin comprised the majority of the Jewish population of France.
As these new immigrants were already culturally French they needed little time to adjust to French society. French law made it easy for thousands of settlers colons in French , national French from former colonies of North and East Africa , India and Indochina to live in mainland France. It is estimated that 20, settlers were living in Saigon in , and there were 68, European settlers living in Madagascar in In the s, a second wave of immigration came to France, which was needed for reconstruction purposes and for cheaper labour after the devastation brought on by World War II.
French entrepreneurs went to Maghreb countries looking for cheap labour, thus encouraging work-immigration to France. Their settlement was officialized with Jacques Chirac 's family regrouping act of regroupement familial. Since then, immigration has become more varied, although France stopped being a major immigration country compared to other European countries. The large impact of North African and Arab immigration is the greatest and has brought racial , socio-cultural and religious questions to a country seen as homogenously European, French and Christian for thousands of years.
Most French people speak the French language as their mother tongue , but certain languages like Norman , Occitan , Auvergnat , Corsican , Euskara , French Flemish and Breton remain spoken in certain regions see Language policy in France. There have also been periods of history when a majority of French people had other first languages local languages such as Occitan , Catalan , Alsatian , West Flemish , Lorraine Franconian , Gallo , Picard or Ch'timi and Arpitan.
Today, many immigrants speak another tongue at home.
Abroad, the French language is spoken in many different countries — in particular the former French colonies. Nevertheless, speaking French is distinct from being a French citizen. Thus, francophonie , or the speaking of French, must not be confused with French citizenship or ethnicity. For example, French speakers in Switzerland are not "French citizens". Native English-speaking Blacks on the island of Saint-Martin hold French nationality even though they do not speak French as a first language, while their neighbouring French-speaking Haitian immigrants who also speak a French-creole remain foreigners.
The adjective "French" can be used to mean either "French citizen" or "French-speaker", and usage varies depending on the context, with the former being common in France. The latter meaning is often used in Canada, when discussing matters internal to Canada. The modern ethnic French are the descendants of Romans , Celts , Iberians , Ligurians and Greeks in southern France,   mixed with Germanic peoples arriving at the end of the Roman Empire such as the Franks and the Burgundians ,    and some Vikings who mixed with the Normans and settled mostly in Normandy in the 9th century.
According to Dominique Schnapper , "The classical conception of the nation is that of an entity which, opposed to the ethnic group, affirms itself as an open community, the will to live together expressing itself by the acceptation of the rules of a unified public domain which transcends all particularisms". However, despite its occasional nativist usage, the Gaulish identity has also been embraced by French of non-native origins as well: It has been noted that the French view of having Gallic origins has evolved over history.
Before the French Revolution, it divided social classes, with the peasants identifying with the native Gauls while the aristocracy identified with the Franks. Myriam Krepps of the University of Nebraska-Omaha argues that the view of "a unified territory one land since the beginning of civilization and a unified people" which de-emphasized "all disparities and the succession of waves of invaders" was first imprinted on the masses by the unified history curriculum of French textbooks in the late s.
Since the beginning of the Third Republic — , the state has not categorized people according to their alleged ethnic origins. Hence, in contrast to the United States Census , French people are not asked to define their ethnic appartenance, whichever it may be. The usage of ethnic and racial categorization is avoided to prevent any case of discrimination; the same regulations apply to religious membership data that cannot be compiled under the French Census. This classic French republican non- essentialist conception of nationality is officialized by the French Constitution , according to which "French" is a nationality , and not a specific ethnicity.
France has been influenced by the many different human migrations that wide-crossed Europe over time. Prehistoric and Neolithic population movements could have influenced the genetic diversity of this country. The five main haplogroups are R1 The high frequency of this haplogroup is typical in all West European populations. Haplogroups I and G are also characteristic markers for many different West European populations. Only adults with French surnames were analyzed by the study.
Provence , a province of southern France was colonized by Ancient Greeks who founded the cities of Marseilles and Nice. There was also some evidence for limited Greek influence in Corsica. French nationality has not meant automatic citizenship.
Some categories of French people have been excluded, throughout the years, from full citizenship:. France was one of the first countries to implement denaturalization laws. Philosopher Giorgio Agamben has pointed out this fact that the French law which permitted denaturalization with regard to naturalized citizens of "enemy" origins was one of the first example of such legislation, which Nazi Germany later implemented with the Nuremberg Laws.
Furthermore, some authors who have insisted on the "crisis of the nation-state" allege that nationality and citizenship are becoming separate concepts. They show as example " international ", " supranational citizenship" or " world citizenship " membership to international nongovernmental organizations such as Amnesty International or Greenpeace. This would indicate a path toward a " postnational citizenship". Beside this, modern citizenship is linked to civic participation also called positive freedom , which implies voting, demonstrations , petitions , activism , etc.
Therefore, social exclusion may lead to deprivation of citizenship. In France, the conception of citizenship teeters between universalism and multiculturalism , especially in recent years. French citizenship has been defined for a long time by three factors: Political integration which includes but is not limited to racial integration is based on voluntary policies which aims at creating a common identity, and the interiorization by each individual of a common cultural and historic legacy.
Since in France, the state preceded the nation, voluntary policies have taken an important place in the creation of this common cultural identity. On the other hand, the interiorization of a common legacy is a slow process, which B. Villalba compares to acculturation.
According to him, "integration is therefore the result of a double will: Villalba thus shows that any democratic nation characterize itself by its project of transcending all forms of particular memberships whether biological - or seen as such,  ethnic, historic, economic, social, religious or cultural.
The citizen thus emancipates himself from the particularisms of identity which characterize himself to attain a more "universal" dimension. He is a citizen, before being a member of a community or of a social class . Therefore, according to Villalba, "a democratic nation is, by definition, multicultural as it gathers various populations, which differs by their regional origins Auvergnats, Bretons, Corsicans or Lorrains Ernest Renan described this republican conception in his famous 11 March conference at the Sorbonne , Qu'est-ce qu'une nation?
A nation-state is not composed of a single homogeneous ethnic group a community , but of a variety of individuals willing to live together. Renan's non-essentialist definition, which forms the basis of the French Republic, is diametrically opposed to the German ethnic conception of a nation, first formulated by Fichte. The German conception is usually qualified in France as an "exclusive" view of nationality, as it includes only the members of the corresponding ethnic group, while the Republican conception thinks itself as universalist , following the Enlightenment 's ideals officialized by the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
While Ernest Renan's arguments were also concerned by the debate about the disputed Alsace-Lorraine region, he said that not only one referendum had to be made in order to ask the opinions of the Alsatian people, but also a "daily referendum" should be made concerning all those citizens wanting to live in the French nation-state. Henceforth, contrary to the German definition of a nation based on objective criteria, such as race or ethnic group , which may be defined by the existence of a common language , among other criteria, the people of France is defined as all the people living in the French nation-state and willing to do so, i.
This definition of the French nation-state contradicts the common opinion , which holds that the concept of the French people identifies with one particular ethnic group. This contradiction explains the seeming paradox encountered when attempting to identify a "French ethnic group ": This universalist conception of citizenship and of the nation has influenced the French model of colonization.
While the British empire preferred an indirect rule system, which did not mix the colonized people with the colonists, the French Republic theoretically chose an integration system and considered parts of its colonial empire as France itself and its population as French people.
This ideal also led to the ironic sentence which opened up history textbooks in France as in its colonies: Following a treaty between France and Brazil signed in July , the Oyapock River Bridge over the Oyapock River was built and completed in , becoming the first land crossing ever between French Guiana and the rest of the world there exists no other bridge crossing the Oyapock River, and no bridge crossing the Maroni River marking the border with Suriname, although there is a ferry crossing to Albina, Suriname.
The bridge was officially opened on March 18, However, since the Brazilian government is yet to complete its border posts, only passenger vehicles will be allowed through the bridge for the time being. Population figures are those recorded in the census. The military there is currently 1, strong, expected to increase enrollment in — At Easter , Guianans eat a traditional dish called Awara broth.
The French Guiana Honor Division is the main football club tournament. It was first published in France in , describing his escape from a penal colony there. Becoming an instant bestseller, it was translated into English from the original French by June P. Wilson and Walter B. Michaels for a edition, and by author Patrick O'Brian. Soon afterward the book was adapted for a Hollywood film of the same name.
Since its publication there has been controversy over its accuracy. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with Guyana or French Guinea. Overseas region and department in France. Overseas region and department. History of French Guiana. French colonization of the Americas and Portuguese conquest of French Guiana. Geography of French Guiana. Economy of French Guiana.
Demographics of French Guiana. Politics of French Guiana. Transport in French Guiana. This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. Retrieved 14 September Retrieved 9 May France and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History. The Politics of South American Boundaries. Archived from the original on 31 May Retrieved April 4, In a referendum in January , French Guiana voted firmly against autonomy.
Retrieved April 3, Retrieved 15 May Retrieved 3 January Retrieved 4 March Retrieved 27 January Retrieved 22 September Archived from the original on 7 October Retrieved 7 October Welcome to the Jungle. French Guiana at Wikipedia's sister projects. Places adjacent to French Guiana.
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