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France
Overview
Background
Although ultimately a victor in World Wars I and II, France suffered extensive losses in its empire, wealth, manpower, and rank as a dominant nation-state. Nevertheless, France today is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. Since 1958, it has constructed a presidential democracy resistant to the instabilities experienced in earlier parliamentary democracies. In recent years, its reconciliation and cooperation with Germany have proved central to the economic integration of Europe, including the introduction of the euro in January 2002. At present, France is at the forefront of European states seeking to exploit the momentum of monetary union to advance the creation of a more unified and capable European defense and security apparatus.
Natural resources
coal, iron ore, bauxite, zinc, potash, timber, fish
Land use
arable land: 33.3%
permanent crops: 2.11%
other: 64.59% (1998 est.)
Population
60,180,529 (July 2003 est.)
Ethnic groups
Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities
Religions
Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%
Languages
French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)
Literacy
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (1980 est.)
Capital
Paris
Government type
republic
Independence
486 (unified by Clovis)
National holiday
Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)
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