Brookes’ Universal Gazetteer, page 309
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became effectually subdued to Roman control,
and in five years more, by awarding honorary
distinctions to the principal cities, and distri-
buting bribes to the leading chiefs, the whole
country became reconciled to the Roman gov-
ernment. It was afterwards divided into 17 mili-
tary divisions.

As the power of the Romans declined, Transal-
pine Gaul again became exposed to the inroad of
the different tribes on the N. E. In the year
406, a tribe of Burgundians from the banks of the
Vistula crossed the Rhine and took possession of
that part of the country, afterwards named Bur-
gundy, and in 420 another tribe from Franconia,
under the command of Pharamond entered from
the N. E. From 450 to 452 it was ravaged by the
Huns under Attila, who on laying siege to Or-
leans was brought to battle by Meroveus, who
defeated Attila with a loss of 200,000 men. In
482 Clovis, a Franconian and descendant of Me-
roveus, possessed himself of all the places in
Transalpine Gaul, previously held by the Ro-
mans, and in 492 marrying Clotilda, daughter of
Chilperic, king of the Burgundians, became king
of the whole country now called France. Clotilda
at the time of her marriage had embraced Chris-
tianity, and in 496 Clovis initiated himself in its
mysteries through the means of St. Remi, and
was baptized at Rheims on Christmas eve of that
year: hence the custom of the coronation at
Rheims of the kings of France through a period
of more than 1,390 years. Clovis was the first of
a race of 17 kings who reigned over France in
regular succession, denominated the
Mtracingiax
race, in reference to their descent from Meroveus.
In 732 France was ravaged by the Saracens un-
der the command of Abdalrahman, when Eudes,
duke of Aquitain, implored the assistance of
Charles Martel, duke of Austrasia who brought
Abdalrahman to battle between Tours and Poiters,
and defeated him, as history informs us, with the
loss of 375,000 men, Abdalrahman himself being
slain on the field of battle. In 737 the crown of
France devolved to Charles Martel, whose manly
spirit, however, disdained regal parade. He ruled
France for four years under the title of duke ; he
died in 741, and was succeeded by an imbecile
named Childeric, whose authority in 752 was
superseded by Pepin, and this person became the
first of a race of 13 kings denominated
Carlovin-
glujts.
Pepin died in 763, and was succeeded by
Charlrmugae the renowned, crowned emperor of
the Rourxns. or of the West, at Rome, in 800.
On the Crnth of Louis V. in 986, after a reign of
one yresE- the crown of France descended to
Charles. an uncle of Louis, but in consequence
oft his haring vassalated himself to the emperor
Othn
III be was precluded from its accession,
and the crown was conferred by election on Hugh
Capet, wh? be-rsne the first of another race of
14 kings termed the
Capetian. Charles IV. the
fast of the Capets in regular succession dying in
1334.
witumi mile issue, the crown devolved on
Philip of r
h.’o>- who was the first of 7 kings of
that race. In Hie it devolved on the duke of
Orleans, who became Lreiis XII. and was the
first of another rare of 6 kings. On the death of
Henry III. in 15i>. tbe succession was again
broken, when the crown devolved on Henry of
Bourbon, in whose line it continued until the de-
capitation of Louis XVI. on the 21st ot January,
1793.

For some centuries antecedent to this period,
France had been divided into 32 provinces of very
unequal extent, each with a distinct local admin
istration. The period of their formation does not
appear. At the time the Romans first entered
France, it was divided into four great parts, viz.
Narbonensis, comprising the S. E., Aquitain the
S. W., Celtica the interior, and Gallia Belgica
the N. The division into 17 provinces took place
under Augustus, the first emperor of Rome, and
some of the Roman names continued as late as
the 13th century, John, king of England, in the
preamble to Magna Charta, being styled duke of
Normandy and Aquitain. Austrasia, over which
Charles Martel presided in the 8th century, ap-
pears to have comprised part of the N. E. of
France, and what now forms part of the Prussian
Provinces of the Rhine. Subsequent to the pe-
riod of the accession of Clovis in 481, the country
appears to have been exposed to a continuity of 1
internal dissensions; and when these had subsi-
ded, the vain glory which France acquired under
Charlemagne, increased the jealousy of the neigh-
bouring powers, and excited external broils. In
912 the N. W. coast was invaded by a northern
tribe called Normans who retained possession of
that part of the country afterwards called Nor
mandy; and in 1060, William the duke of this
province, invaded, conquered, and became king
of England. This event subsequently led to
violent contests between England and France.
Louis VII., in 1137, embarked in the crusading
mania of that period, and in 1334 on Charles IV.,
the last of the Capets, dying without male issue,
Edward III. of England, set up his claim to the
French crown. The battles of Cressy and
Poitiers in 1346 and 1355 resulted from this pre-
tension. At the battle of Poitiers, John, king of
France was taken prisoner, but afterwards ran-
somed for 3,009,000 crowns of gold, equal to
£1,500,000. A respite from external war followed
this negociation, but internal broils again ensued,
and in 1415 Henry V. king of England, availed
himself of prevailing dissensions to renew the
claim of Edward to the French crown, and on
the 25th of October of that year, the French
forces experienced a decisive defeat at Agincourt.
Henry followed up his victory hy the capture of
several of the most important towns in Normandy,
and in 1420 the succession to the crown was
ceded to him by treaty. In 1422 he assumed the
regency of France; but he dying at Vienne on
the 30th of August of that year, his brother suc-
ceeded him in the regency during the minority
of his son Henry VI. who was crowned king of
France at Paris, on the 7th of December 1431.
The English influence had, however, previously
experienced a considerable check, by the singular
and daring exploits of Jeanne of Arc, celebrated
as the maid of Orleans, and by 1451, Calais was
the only place in France held by the English.
Her kings, however, retained the title of king of
France until the peace of Amiens, in 1801-2.
After having succeeded in driving the English
from the French territory, France embroiled her-
self in the contentions of her northern and east-
ern neighbours; but a general peace pervaded
all Europe during the latter part of the 16th cen-
tury, by the treaty of Cambray in 1559. The rest-
less spirit of the French government during the
reigns of Francis II., Charles IX., and Henry III.,
the three last kings of the Orleans race, directed
their wantonness and cruelty against their own
protestant subjects. This persecution was allay
ed for a time by Henry IV. the first of the Bour-
bons, who ascended "the throne in 1589, under





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Brookes' Universal Gazetteer of the World (1850)


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