France. The first year of the new millennium was not a
good year for France. Storm delays, airplane crashes,
gasoline wars and mad cow sickness have put things on a
positive note, such as France winning the European Football
Championship, taxes being lowered and unemployment finally
falling below the ten percent mark.
The 20th century ended with a natural disaster of a kind
rarely seen in the country. According to
COUNTRYAAH, huge forest areas were leveled
with the ground. In northern France alone, 140 million cubic
meters of forest felled - twice as much as a normal Swedish
annual harvest. The clean-up work after the devastating
storm continued for most of 2000.
At the turn of the year, France took over the Presidency
of the European Union, the EU, and it became France's job to
pilot the fifteen member states right in the IGC that would
prepare the EU for enlargement.
Barely the French government had begun to warm up in the
president's attire before the first disaster occurred. On
August 25, a Concorde plane crashed after its start in
Paris. The plane was filled with German tourists on their
way to New York. 113 people died in the first crash since
Concorde began flying 25 years ago.
A few weeks later, crisis came second when the
dissatisfaction with higher gasoline prices developed into a
national chaos. Longer blocks blocked oil depots and
refineries and hindered the distribution of gasoline. The
French were forced to go to the neighboring countries to
refuel. And at the borders, the queues at the gas stations
were kilometers long. The government met with the protesting
population and reduced the tax by a few pennies per liter.
A month after the petrol war, the horror of the mad cow
disease broke out. The scandal burst in October when a
northern French breeder drove a group of cows to slaughter.
One cow had clear disease symptoms and was examined by a
veterinarian, who found that the cow was suffering from BSE,
or mad cow disease. It was discovered that the same farmer
slaughtered several BSE infected cows. The meat had then
been sold to French consumers, who unknowingly ate the
infected meat. The scandal led to a total ban on bone meal
and animal fats in animal feed in France.
But the ban came well late. The consumption of meat fell
by almost 50%, and several countries stopped their import of
A glimmer of light in 2000 was the tax cut that many
French people were waiting for. After three years of strong
economic growth, the French government considered that it
could afford to reduce taxes by approximately SEK 153
billion in three years. Both high and low income earners
receive reduced taxes, the government promised.
The architect of the tax reform was Laurent Fabius, new
finance minister since March. More jobs and fewer taxes are
his motto, and that's exactly what he managed to accomplish
during his first nine months as finance minister. In 2000,
new jobs were created at a rate that France had not seen in
ten years. At the end of the year, unemployment was below
10%. So 2000 ended better than it began.
During the first century BC was the Île de la Cité capital of the Parisians,
a Gallic tribe. After Caesar's conquest 58–51 BC spread the settlement in the
city (Latin Lutetia Parisiorum ) to the left Seine beach, where
extensive Roman building remains have been found.
At the end of the 400s, Paris was conquered by the Franks and became an
important center for the meroving wings for the following centuries. Paris did
not, however, have any capital function, as the kings mostly resided on their
land. The same was true of the Carolingians, under whom Paris was ruled by
counties. One of these, Odo, resisted a Viking siege 885–886 and became 888 king
of the West Frankish kingdom. When his family, later referred to as the
Capetian, in 987, ascended the French throne, Paris became the center of
As the kings of the 12th and 13th centuries gained control of increasingly
large parts of France, Paris became more important. The city was ruled by a
royal official, prévôt de Paris, but when Paris also became an
important trading and craft city, in the 13th century, an assembly emerged free
from the royal power during a prévôt des marchands ('mayor of the
merchant'). The city attracted immigrants from both France and abroad, to which
the university actively contributed from the 13th century. The many religious
institutions also created new buildings. While the university dominated on the
left bank, Île de la Cité was dominated by the Notre Dame Cathedral of the
church and the right bank of the merchants. In 1183, the halls began to be built
In the 1350s, in the surge of dying after the death of the military and
military defeat in the centenary war, the citizens revolted under Étienne Marcel
and demanded constitutional reforms, and also in 1382 and 1413 the residents
rose. However, the bourgeois lost the battle and thus much of their
self-government. In 1422 the English took power in Paris, but in 1436 the city
was taken back by Charles VII. The kings preferred to reside in a castle in the
Loire Valley, and first Frans I (king 1515-47) made Paris a permanent royal
residence and allowed a new royal palace to be opened in the Louvre. Before the
death of Paris, Paris had about 90,000 residents, but after that the number
dropped drastically. By the end of the 15th century it had risen to about
200,000 and increased to over 300,000 during the 16th century. During the
Huguenot War, Paris was a Catholic stronghold, and Henry IV. could only enter
the city after converting.
During the 1600s, the city expanded to the south, where the Luxembourg Palace
was built and suburbs, the Faubourgs, began to be built. Paris became
the cultural capital of Europe at that time, and France's superpower also gave
the city a leading political role. However, large sections of the population
lived in overcrowded slums. Paris's growth continued during the 17th and 18th
centuries, and by the turn of the 1800s half a million people lived in the city.
Paris played a leading role during the French Revolution with its many dramatic
events, e. g. the storming of the Bastille July 14, 1789. During Napoleon I, the
decoration of Paris continued, among other things. with the triumphal arch at
Place de l'Étoile.
In 1811, Paris was divided into 12 districts, arrondissements, and
the population grew faster: in 1817 the city had 714,000 residents, in 1846 a
million and in 1896 2. 5 million. In conjunction with the July Revolution of
1830 and the February Revolution of 1848, barricade battles took place in Paris.
Industrialization resulted in, among other things, that railway stations began
to be built and gas lights introduced. The differences between the rich and the
working quarters became significant. Under Napoleon IIIParis's appearance was
changed by drawing large boulevards through the city, bridges were built, green
areas were created and Hallarna et al. marketplaces were expanded. Paris
received more hospitals and better communications. In 1860, the city was divided
into 20 arrondissements. During March-May 1871, Paris was ruled by the Paris
municipality. Then followed an economic boom, manifested in world exhibitions in
1878, 1889 (with the Eiffel Tower) and 1900.
During the interwar period, large suburbs grew up around the city. Paris was
declared an open city on June 13, 1940. During the German occupation of 1940–44,
the French resistance movement had its center in Paris, which was liberated on
August 25, 1944. Hitler had ordered that Paris be destroyed rather than fall
into the hands of the Allies, but this orders were not obeyed. In May 1968,
Paris was shaken by student unrest.