Ancient France | History, Facts, Culture & Economy

The first written records of French history arose during the Iron Age. So, the majority of what is now France was popular to the Romans as Gaul. So, Greek writers honored the presence of three major groups in the area: the Gauls, the Aquitani, and the Belgae. Then, the Gauls, the biggest and best group, were Celtic people who spoke the Gaulish language.

So, all round the first period of 1000 years BC, the Greeks, Romans and Carthaginians found the MED coast and the outlying islands. So, in the late 2nd century BC, the Roman Republic acquired southern Gaul as the province of Gallia Narbonensis, and in the Gallic Wars of 58–51 BC, Roman Legions led by Julius Caesar captured the rest of Gaul. Following that, a Gallo-Roman civilization developed, and Gaul became progressively incorporated into the Roman Empire.

You cannot ignore the effect of French history while learning about French culture, architecture, and even politics! The French way of life, as well as the French government, bear certain traces of key historical events. In this article, we are talking about this topic. So, keep reading to know more about it.

Ancient France name

France is located in a beautiful country with many natural resources. Then, a land where people from many tribes and civilisations have passed and mixed. So, the Celts, who originated in central Europe, made it the center of their colonization after 1,000 B.C.

Ancient France the beginnings: Gaul

As a result, the majority of the Celtic region currently known as France was known as Gaul in ancient times. To be more precise, Transalpine Gaul, to differentiate it from northern Italy, or Cisalpine Gaul. So, the Romans gave the name Gaul to this territory. Then, also, many would say that the most renowned Gaul is Vercingétorix, the hero of an incredibly popular comic book series by Goscinny and Uderzo. Also, Gaul was far larger than current France. Belgium, Luxembourg, sections of Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands were all covered. Also, Gaul was occupied by various warring tribes of Celtic and Iberian race by the first century B.C., each with their own well-developed civilization.

Ancient France provence is a Roman province

The Roman presence had already established itself in the south by this time. Then, around 600 B.C, Greek colonists settled in Provence and created the famous harbor city of Massilia (Marseille). So, in 125 B.C, the city requested military assistance from the Romans against its neighbors. When the Romans arrived, they just chose to remain! The province was known as “Provincia Nostra” (Our Province). Later, the name was changed to Provence. So, the Romans set up some of France’s most spectacular ancient structures and cities.

Ancient France Veni, Vidi, Vici, Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar’s forces quickly seized the rest of the region, taking advantage of the Gallic tribes’ differences. So, in truth, he came to Gaul at the request of the Celts to fight with them against the Germans. Caesar was an ally and a liberator, but he just used the Gauls to strengthen Roman dominance. It was not without incident, however, as a Gallic chieftain staged a revolt against the Romans in 53 B.C. What is his name? Vercingétorix.

In 52 B.C., Julius Caesar defeated him in the siege of Alesia (in modern-day Burgundy) and carried him as a prisoner to Rome, where he was dragged behind Caesar’s chariot in a triumphant procession. Oh, and to be executed at some point.

The Gallo-Romans and Gauls Romanization

The laws, language, architecture, engineering methods, and traditions of Rome were absorbed (and accepted) by the Gauls. So, the Roman occupation is responsible for France’s current status as a “Latin” country. So, the Christian church was also established in the nation during Roman times, however the early Christians were persecuted and martyred. Lyon was the Roman capital and trading center, and Roman power in Gaul lasted more than 400 years.

The Fall of the Roman Empire in Gaul

The Western Roman Empire “in fact” ended on September 4, 476, when the military first odoacer deposed Romulus augustulus and declared himself great ruler of Italy. So, in the third hundred A.D man without any true knowledge of the art of living ones making attack began to come out of in Gaul, and when Germans, visigoths, vandals, persons from Burgundy, and even asian huns came after, took the place of one another, the area was made waste.

The Franks were the ones making the attack with the least numbers. making first from an area stretching from present-day Nassau to the ruhr and apeldoorn in Holland on the right Bank of the rhine. This is on the edges of the Roman empire. Yes, it appears that France is in debt to current-day Germany. To cut a long story short, the Franks just overcame all the ones making an attack on Gaul.

The Frankish kingdom

And it so happened that the Germanic tribe of the Franks landed in Gaul in the fifth century. Clovis, one of their commanders, became king of a Frankish tribe in 481 A.D. Six years later, in 493, he made a considerably more significant step when he married the Burgundian Clotilda, Gaul’s lone Catholic princess.

Ancient France history

The first person discovered in France was Homo Erectus, who lived roughly 950,000 years ago. Humans known as Cro-Magnons lived in France during the latest ice age. So, they lived in caves and hunted animals like mammoths and reindeer. So, they had to be creative to survive in such a harsh environment, and they also created art. Then, the Cro-Magnons are famous for the cave drawings they created. So, they also sculpted ivory figures.

The hunter-gatherer lifestyle came to an end in France with the end of the ice age. Then, although the agricultural revolution began in the Middle East, cultivation began in France around 6,000 BC. However, the transition from hunting and gathering food to farming occurred on a regular basis. It took millennia. For a long time, hunting was an essential source of sustenance. Nonetheless, by 4,500 BC, stone age farmers had developed a civilized civilization. So, they erected magnificent stone graves as well as menhirs (standing stones).

The first farmers in France utilized stone implements, but metal was created in France around 2,000 BC. So, then, in 900 BC, a group known as the Celts or Gauls arrived in France. So, they brought swords and iron implements to France. Then, the nobility ruled over Celtic civilization. Farmers and artisans were placed under them. Celtic artisans were skilled in the use of iron, bronze, and gold. Furthermore, trade flourished in Gaul, and the Gauls established villages known as hill forts, which might be considered the earliest French towns.

The Greeks built Marseilles in 600 BC, and Gaul became increasingly involved with the MED world. So, the Gauls, on the other hand, were utterly divided. So, they were divided into around 60 tribes, making it easier for the Romans to overcome them.

Ancient France gaul

Gaul (Latin: Gallia) was a Western European territory initially described by the Romans. It was populated by Celtic and Aquitani tribes and included modern-day France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the majority of Switzerland, and sections of Northern Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany, mainly the Rhine Valley. It had a total area of 494,000 km2 (191,000 sq mi). Julius Caesar split Gaul into three parts: Gallia Celtica, Belgica, and Aquitania. During the 5th to 1st century BC, the Gauls were the carriers of the La Tène civilisation, which expanded across all of Gaul as well as east to Raetia, Noricum, Pannonia, and southwestern Germania. Also, gaul was conquered by the Romans in the second and first centuries BC: Gallia Cisalpina fell in 204 BC, while Gallia Narbonensis fell in 123 BC.

The Cimbri and Teutons invaded Gaul after 120 BC, but were vanquished by the Romans by 103 BC. So, in his operations from 58 to 51 BC, Julius Caesar eventually conquered the remaining areas of Gaul.

The final Roman rump state, the Domain of Soissons, fell to the Franks in AD 486, ending five centuries of Roman dominance over Gaul. While the Celtic Gauls had lost their original identities and languages during Late Antiquity, becoming absorbed into a Gallo-Roman culture, Gallia remained the territory’s conventional name throughout the Early Middle Ages, until it acquired a new identity as the Capetian Kingdom of France in the high medieval period. Gallia is still a French name in contemporary Greek and Latin.

Ancient France culture

France has played an important role in European culture for most of its history. With the rise of colonialism and global trade, France had access to a global market, and French artistic, gastronomic, and sartorial tastes affected high and popular cultures everywhere. Today, French habits, fashions, and philosophies remain an influential export as well as a source of immense national pride, even as French intellectuals worry that the advent of globalism has resulted in the “rapid erosion of our national memory,” in the words of historian Pierre Nora.

French culture is descended from an old civilisation made up of a complicated blend of Celtic, Greco-Roman, and Germanic elements. So, there are several monuments, particularly from the Roman period, such as the amphitheater at Arles, the arènes (“arenas”) near Paris, and the aqueduct at Pont du Gard. So, there are several monuments, particularly from the Roman period, such as the amphitheater at Arles, the arènes (“arenas”) near Paris, and the aqueduct at Pont du Gard.

Ancient France economy

France underwent an economic growth between 1834 and 1846 of the July Monarchy, which might be viewed, with considerable variations depending on fields of activity, as the start of the industrial revolution. So, the number of coke-fired blast furnaces increased from 41 in 1840 to 107 in 1847. Heavy industrial concentration accelerated in Schneider, Wendel, and other plants; mechanization advanced in the spinning mills of the north, Alsace, and Rouen. Chemical discoveries are increasingly finding practical uses. Then, national revenues climbed by 4% every year, double the growth rate from 1825 to 1935.

Despite this, France was only just starting the industrial period. So, the majority of textile work was still done by hand in cottage industries. Then, also, many “Catalan” charcoal furnaces still existed in 1848.

Iron metallurgy was mostly practiced in small settlements. So, the early stages of railway development were hampered by speculation and the trepidation of capital holders. So, the thousand eight hundred kilometers of railroads were distributed in separate portions by 1848, but there was no such thing as a network.

Despite the expansion of banks, credit facilities were far inadequate to meet the requirements of a new economy. So, the circulation of Bank of France notes grew from 286 million in 1831 to 311 million in 1847, albeit in a far lesser proportion than the volume of manufacture. So, the majority of French people, particularly small savers, still favored gold or land as safe assets over paper money.


The agriculture industry dominated both the economy and the population. Then, agriculture largely performed its historic duty of ensuring subsistence to an increasing population using conventional ways. Structure, techniques, and implements became stagnant, allowing for only minor improvements in production. So, in the 1840s, France, “a huge factory of grain,” had only limited access to an agricultural market.

The economic crisis that preceded the 1848 revolution began as a classic agricultural crisis, similar to those that before it in 1830 and 1789: low cereals’ harvest raised the price of bread, the necessary aliment, and hence those of alternative items. Bread’s high price quickly rebounded on the immediate consumption sectors, construction, and, most notably, textiles, spreading widespread unemployment throughout cities and the countryside.

Ancient France facts

Also Known As French Republic • République Française
Head Of Government Prime minister: Élisabeth Borne
Capital Paris
Population (2022 est.) 65,823,000
Currency Exchange Rate 1 USD equals 0.936 euro
Head Of State President: Emmanuel Macron
Form Of Government republic with two legislative houses (Parliament; Senate [348], National Assembly [577])
Official Language French
Official Religion none
Official Name République Française (French Republic)
Total Area (Sq Km) 543,941
Total Area (Sq Mi) 210,017
Monetary Unit euro (€)
Population Rank (2021) 22
Population Projection 2030 68,379,000
Density: Persons Per Sq Mi (2022) 313.4
Density: Persons Per Sq Km (2022) 121
Urban-Rural Population Urban: (2018) 80.4% • Rural: (2018) 19.6%
Life Expectancy At Birth Male: (2020) 79.1 years • Female: (2020) 85.1 years
Literacy: Percentage Of Population Age 15 And Over Literate Male: (2000–2004) 99% • Female: (2000–2004) 99%
Gni (U.S.$ ’000,000) (2019) 2,844,112
Gni Per Capita (U.S.$) (2019) 42,290

Other facts

  • France was formerly part of the Celtic realm famous as Gaul. ‘France’ means ‘land of the Franks,’ referring to the DE people that invaded the area in the fifth century.
  • A disagreement about English control in France sparked the Hundred Year War 1337-1453.
  • The losses during the century of war were enormous, and in addition to the fighting, there was the Black Death. It is expected that the population of about 20 million people would decrease by at least 40%.
  • So, the rebels had great aims, their plans rapidly went out of hand, ushering in the Reign of Terror, or La Terreur in French.
  • People set up the French First Republic during the Reign of Terror. But just 12 years later, its leader proclaimed himself king of France. Fast forward around 20 years, and France is led by the House of Bourbon. Then, the French people are once again fed up with the monarchy.
  • Then, agents and troops surrounded the French rulers.Cardinal Richelieu, well known outside of France as the villain in The Three Musketeers, was one of the most famous agents. He was France’s elder agent early in the 17th era, swelling the monarch’s power and saping the honor.
  • The strike of the Bastille, which began the French riot (1789-94), resulted in the heads of Louis XVI and Marie being severed, as were the heads of tens of thousands of others during the riot.
  • The head of one of the main persons to blame for the machine for cutting off heads, Robespierre, was eventually cut, making a division as well.

Ancient France time period

10 000 BC: Paleolithic age

5000 – 2500 BC: Neolithic age

51 BC – 486 AD: Gaule

52 BC: The Battle of Alesia

Ancient France 486-1031

First, 486 – 751: Merovingiens period

Then, 481 – 511: Clovis, the first king of the Franks

Then, 629 – 638: Dagobert I

Also, 721 – 737: Thierry IV

Then, 751 – 987: Carolingiens period

Then, 751 – 768: King Pepin le Bref

Also, 768 – 814: Charlemagne,

Then, 843 – 877: Charles II

Then, 877 – 879: Louis II

Also, 879 – 882: Louis III

Then, 898 – 923: Charles III

Then, 936 – 954: Louis IV

Also, 996 – 987: Louis V

Then, 987: Capetiens period

Then, 987 – 996: Hugues I

Also, 996 – 1031: Robert II le Pieux

Ancient France 1031-1515

Then, 1031 – 1060: Henri I

Then, 1060 – 1108: Philippe I

Also, 1096: Construction of the Basilica Vézelay

Then, 1108 – 1137: Louis VI

Then, 1130: Construction of the Abbey of Fontenay

Also, 1137 – 1180: Louis VII

Then, 1180 – 1223: Philippe II

Then, 1223 – 1226: Louis VIII

Also, 1226 – 1270: Louis IX

Then, 1270 – 1285: Philippe le Hardi III

Then, 1285 – 1314: Philippe le Bel IV

Also, 1309: The Pope moves to Avignon

Then, 1314 – 1316: Louis IX

Then, 1316: Jean I ( died after only four days )

Also, 1316 – 1322: Philippe V

Then, 1322 – 1328: Charles IV

Then, 1328: Valois Period

Also, 1346: The Battle of Crecy

Then, 1350 – 1364: Jean II le bon

Then, 1364 – 1380: Charles V

Also, 1380 – 1422: Charles VI

Then, 1422 – 1461: Charles VII

Then, 1431: Jeanne d’Arc is burnt to death in the city of Reims

Also, 1461 – 1483: Louis XI

Then, 1486: End of the Middle Ages

Then, 1483 – 1498: Charles VIII

Also, 1483 – 1595: Renaissance period

Also, 1498 – 1515: Louis XII

Ancient France 1539-1799

1539: King Francois I declares French as the official language of France

1534: Jacques Cartier begins to explore what is now Canada

1559 – 1560: Francois II, end of the war with Italy

1562 – 1598: The War of Religions, events and timeline

1589 – 1610: Henry IV (murdered by Ravaillac)

1610 – 1643: Louis XIII

1643 – 1715: Louis XIV Roi Soleil, the longest reign of a French king

1661: Louis XIV begins the construction of Versailles

1715 – 1774: Louis XV

1769: The birth of Napoléon Bonaparte August 15th at Ajaccio, Corsica

1774 – 1792: Louis XVI

1778: The American Colonies and France signed a military treaty on 6th February.

1783: The Treaty of Paris is signed to end the American Revolutionary War

1789: The French Revolution, Prise de la Bastille the 14th of July, The declaration of “Droits de l’homme” 26th August, The wealth of church is given to the nation 2nd November

1792: 1st Republic

1793: Louis XVI is guillotined 21st January

1793: Marie Antoinette executed the 16th of October

1795: France adopts the metric system

1796: Napoleon named as general of the army of Italy

1799: Creation of the Bank of France

Ancient France 1799-1899

1809: Napoleon takes Moscow

1809: Louis Braille is born on January 4th

1810: Chopin is born

1814 – 1824: Louis XVIII

1814: The Restoration, where the monarchy regains powers.

1816: Napoleon defeated at the Battle of Waterloo

1821: Death of Napoleon I on the island of Saint Helene

1822: Louis Pasteur is born December 27th in the town of Dole

1824 – 1830: Charles X

1830: Les Trois Glorieuses, 3 days of the Parisian revolution.

1830 – 1848: Louis-Philippe I, declared king of the French and King of France.

1840 – 1917: Auguste Rodin, the sculptor

1841 – 1919: Auguste Renoir born in Limoges

1844: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

1848: The 2nd Republic

1849: Chopin dies in Paris

1852 – 1870: 2nd Empire Napoleon III ( he dies in England in 1873)

1858: The vision of Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes

1862: Victor Hugo writes “Les Miserables”, Debussy is born near Paris

1870: The Battle of Sedan, Napoleon III surrenders to Prussian and France loses the Alsace and Lorraine regions

1871: The 3rd Republic

1880: Offenbach dies in Paris

1887 – 1894: Sadi Carnot

1894: The affair Dreyfus, accused of treason

1889: World Expo at Paris with the Eiffel Tower

1895: Louis Pasteur September 28th

1898: J’accuse by Emile Zola

1899: Renault begin to construct automobiles

Ancient France 1905-2017

1905: The law separates the state from the church

1906 – 1913: Clemenceau

1914 – 1918: World War I

1926: Death Claude Monet

1936: Holiday pay begins

1936-1945: Second World War, Petain 1940 – 1944, D-Day June 6, 1944

1938: Jean-Paul Sartre publishes La Nausée

1942: Albert Camus publishes L’Etranger

1944 – 1946: Charles De Gaulle

1944: April 21st, France finally gives women the right to vote.

1946 – 1947: Léon Blum

1947: The 4th Republic

1947-1954: Vincent Henrauriol

1954-1959: René Coty

1957: France joins the EEC

1959: The 5th Republic

1959-1969: Charles de Gaulle is president of France

1960: Albert Camus dies

1962: End of the war in Algeria

1968: May student riots

1969 – 1974: President Pompidou

1969: The first flight of the Anglo-French built supersonic aircraft “Concorde”

1970: Death of Charles De Gaulle

1972: Maurice Chevalier dies on the 1st of January

1974: Valéry Giscard d’Estaing elected President

1981: François Mitterrand elected President

1981: France abolishes the Death penalty.

1988: François Mitterrand re-elected President

1991: Edith Cresson, the first woman French Prime Minister

1992: The French singer-composer Michel Berger dies

1995: Jacques Chirac elected President

1996: François Mitterrand dies, 8th January

2002: Jacques Chirac re-elected President

2007: Nicolas Sarkozy elected as the 6th President of the 5th French Republic

2012: Francois Hollande elected as the 7th President of the 5th French Republic

2017: 7th May, Emmanuel Macron elected as the 8th President of the 5th French Republic.

Some frequently asked questions

Are Gauls French?

Although the Gauls are usually the common ancestor of native-born French people, and terminology like “Gaul” and “Gallic” are frequently connected with the French, the Gauls were not the only ones who contributed to modern-day French culture.

What did Gauls look like?

Ammianus Marcellinus, a 4th-century Roman historian, described the Gauls as tall, fair-skinned, light-haired, and light-eyed. “Almost all Gauls are tall and have fair skin, with reddish hair”. Their fierce gaze makes them do frightening things; they are ready to argue and very truculent.

Who was the first king of France?

Hugh Capet is France’s first king, yet it took him and his ancestors fighting and expanding, fighting and surviving, to begin to transform a little kingdom into big France.

Who named Paris?

The city is called after the Parisii tribe, who lived in the area beginning in the mid-third century BC. So, the Parisii traded with a variety of river cities. So, in 52 BC, the Romans conquered the Paris basin and established the city of “Lutetia Parisiorum,” or Lutetia for short.

What do the French call France?

The term derives from Francia, the empire of the Franks, one of the tribes descended from the modern-day French.

What is the real meaning of the word “France”?

France was formerly part of the Celtic realm famous as Gaul. ‘France’ means ‘land of the Franks,’ referring to the DE people that invaded the area in the fifth century.