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. 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.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Offers three letter and two letter abbreviations for the country of France. Also covers country profile such as geography, society and economy.
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 French beef.
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 national rule.
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 there.
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.
According to COUNTRYAAH, the population of France in 2000 was 59,014,985, ranking number 20 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.420% yearly, and the population density was 107.7789 people per km2.