Family History Long Version and Coat of Arms Display.
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Name Origin of Both Surnames in Your Family Genealogy.
Coat of Arms Wood Plaque Engraved on Marble Background
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Coat of Arms Wood Plaque Engraved on Black Background
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Single Coat of arms and Family Crest.
Coat of Arms & Long Surname History Wood Plaque
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Family Name with Origin of Surname.

The History of France is one that affected the way the world developed in many areas. French heritage is something that is most people with a surname related to this area of the world is shown with pride. France has helped with culture, inventions, and political development to just name a few contributions. The Tree Maker wanted to make sure that our visitors with a French heritage will know a little about France and some of the events that helped it grow thought the last 2000 years. The writings are just covering a few of the highlights of the history of France.

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History of France and its French Heritage

Display your French coat of arms or your French heritage

History of France and its French Heritage: France, or Gaul, as the Romans called it, was inhabited during the earliest years in which we have any knowledge of it by a number of independent tribes, who appear to have been mainly Celtic in race. In the latter half of the seventh century B.C., the Romans conquered a portion of the southeast, and under Julius Caesar the conquest of all Gaul was completed between 58 and 51 B.C. During the Roman occupation, the country became completely romanized in language, civilization and religion, and many flourishing towns sprang up; but in the decline of the Roman Empire various German tribes began to make settlements in the country, especially the Visigoths, the Burgundians and the Franks. It is from these last that the country took its name. Toward the close of the fifth century, Clovis, chief of the Salian Franks, completely overthrew Roman dominion and made himself master, not only of almost all France, but also of considerable territory east of the Rhine. The dynasty, which he founded, is known as the Merovingian.

On the death of Closiv in 511, his kingdom was divided among his four sons. A large part of the history of the Franks under the Merovingian kings is the history of the contests between Neustria and Austrasia, the two most important of the states into which the Empire was divided. Pippin of Heristal, mayor of the palace of the Austrasian king, conquered Neustria and thus brought all France under the same sway. He was the real ruler, although there was still a nominal king, as there was during the time of Pippin's son, Charles Martel. Pippin the Short, first mayor of the palace under the last of the Merovingian kings, was himself raised to the throne in 751, and was succeeded by his son, Charles the Great {Charlemagne}, whose empire was German.

On the death of Charlemagne's son, Louis the Pious, the empire was divided among his sons by the Treaty of Verdun {843}, Charles the Bald receiving that part which most nearly corresponds to modern France. It is at this time, therefore, that the separate history of France may be said to begin.

Charles the Fat, King of Germany, succeeded in 884 in making himself ruler of the Frankish territory also, but he was deposed after three years. After the brief usurpation of Odo, Count of Paris, Charles III, the brother of Louis III, was recognized as king. His authority was little more than nominal, as France was divided into a number of great fiefs, the holders of which were practically independent. This circumstance made it impossible for Charles to offer any adequate resistance to the Norman pirates, who he was obliged to buy off by surrendering to them the territory, which took from them the name of Normandy. On the death of Louis V, in 987, Hugh Capet, the son of the most powerful of the great vassals, was raised to the throne, founding the Capetian Dynasty.

The first great task of the Capetian kings was to re-conquer the royal prerogatives from the great vassals. Louis the Fat, who came to the throne in 1108, was the first really strong ruler of the line. In his struggles with the nobles he was greatly helped by the fact that the latter had been much weakened by the Crusades and also by the increased power of the towns, which allied with the king.

With the death of Charles IV, in 1328, the first branch of the Capetian kings became extinct, and Philip, of the House of Valois, a cousin of Charles IV, came to the throne, according to the Salic law.

The claim of Edward III of England to the throne of France led to a series of wars between the two countries, which lasted for over one hundred years. Under Charles VII, France regained from England all the territory of France except Calais. The shrewdness and unscrupulousness of Louis XI {1461 - 1483} completed the subjugation of the great barons and laid the foundation of absolute monarchy. Maine, Anjou, and Province were left to him by the will of the last count, and a large part of the possessions of the Duke of Burgundy came to his hands shortly after the death of Charles the Bold of Burgundy. Louis's son and successor, Charles VIII {1483 - 1498}, united Brittany to the Crown by his marriage with Anne of Brittany.

Charles was the last king of the direct line of Valois and was succeeded by Louis XII, of the House of Valois-Orleans. On his death the crown passed to another branch of the House of Valois, the Valois-Angouleme branch, in the person of Francis I {1515 - 1547}. Francis continued the attempts at conquest in Italy and thus came into conflict with Charles V of Germany, who claimed Milan. The results were disastrous for Francis. On his death, his son, Henry II {1547 - 1559}, came to the throne, and continued the struggle with Austria. His reign is noteworthy because during it began the persecution of the Huguenots. Francis II, the husband of Mary Queen of Scots, succeeded his father, Henry, but reigned little more than a year "{1559 - 1560}. During his reign and the reigns of his brothers, Charles IX and Henry III, intrigue and corruption gave to women a dangerous influence at court and in public affairs. During the reign of Charles IX, who was entirely under the influence of his mother, Catharine de' Medici, the struggle between Huguenots and Catholics came to a climax in the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew's Day. These religious wars were terminated only when Henry IV of Navarre {1589 - 1610}, the leader of the Huguenots, who became king on the death of Henry III, became a Catholic.

During the minority of Henry's son, Louis XIII, the policy of France was somewhat wavering, until the Prime Minister, Richelieu, gave it a steady direction. He continued the policy of the former kings who had labored for the humiliation of Austria and relentlessly oppressed the Huguenots. Louis XIII died in 1643, the year after Richelieu, and was succeeded by his son Louis XIV. Mazarin, during the years of Louis's minority, carried out the policy of Richelieu, and Louis XIV, when he took the rule into his own hand, proved to be of strong will and steady purpose. The close of this reign in 1715 found the finances in disorder, an enormous national debt imposed upon the country, and industries depressed. Louis XV, the great-grandson of Louis XIV, succeeded him at the age of five years. During his minority, the regent, the Duke of Orleans, squandered the revenues, and when Louis himself assumed the authority matters grew worse.

With the reign of Louis XVI began the period of reaction against oppression. The king himself was honest and well meaning, but the whole administration was corrupt, and the court, the nobility, and the clergy formed a privileged class, united to oppress the people. The taxation, which was necessarily heavy, fell upon the peasantry only. The good intentions of Louis were neutralized by a total lack of energy and firmness, and he was unable to appreciate the fact that his few concessions could not materially improve a situation, which called for the most thoroughgoing reforms. The great difficulty of his government was the hopeless condition of the public finances. Finding ordinary measures unavailing, Necker called for the congregation of the States-General, which had not met since 1614. This body met in May 1789. In 1799 Napoleon was made first consul, and for the next sixteen years he dominated the history of France.

Louis XVIII, who was placed on the throne of France on Napoleon's first abdication in 1814 and was restored in 1815 after the Hundred Days, at first governed with the support of a moderate liberal party. The reactionary spirit of the aristocrats and returned émigrés soon, however, dominated political affairs. Louis died in 1824 and his brother Charles succeeded him. The oppressive policies of the former reign were still more prominent under the new ruler, and finally, in 1830, the Ministry published ordinances suppressing the liberty of the press and creating a new system of elections. The result was the insurrection of July 1830, by which Charles X was overthrown and Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans, was proclaimed king. The new administration proved popular with no party, and in February 1848, another revolution drove Louis Philippe into exile. A republic was proclaimed, and in December 1848, Louis Napoleon, nephew of the Great napoleon, was elected President for four years. Three years later he established himself as President fro a further term of ten years, and in 1852 he was able to have himself declared emperor, as Napoleon III.

In 1870 the uneasiness of Napoleon and the French at the steady growth of Prussian power reached a climax when the Spanish crown was offered to a prince of the House of Hohenzollern. The result of this episode was the Franco-German War, which ended in the complete defeat of the French and the capture of Paris in 1871. The Third Republic was proclaimed. Louis Thiers was the first President of the Third Republic {1871 - 1873}, and Albert Lebrun was the last {1932 - 1940}.

The period following World War I brought significant changes in the political life of France and in the field of foreign relations. The growing movement by other nations for revision of he Treaty of Versailles caused France to feel less secure and was responsible for increased expenditures for armaments and for the construction of the great Maginot Line extending across the frontier opposite Germany.

Unstable economic and financial conditions encouraged the growth of radicalism, and in 1936 a Popular Front government under Premier Leon Blum instituted important reforms. In April 1938, however, a more conservative government under Edouard Daladier replaced it. In September, Daladier attended the Four-Power Munich Conference that allowed Adolph Hitler to annex the Sudeten region in Czechoslovakia; but on September 3, 1939, after Hitler's invasion of Poland, they declared war on Germany.

France and Great Britain were pledged not to make a separate peace, but on June 17, 1940, France surrendered. By armistice terms, it yielded 125,000 square miles to occupation by Germany, surrendered its arms, ordered home its navy {fourth largest in the world} and commanded its colonial armies to lay down their arms. On July 3, the British seized the bulk of the French fleet, to prevent the Germans from using it against them. Consequently, the government of unoccupied France, at Vichy, severed diplomatic relations with Great Britain.

The government which moved to Vichy in 1940 had Marshal Petain and Pierre Laval as its most prominent leaders. Under it, France was shaped more and more to the Nazi pattern. General Charles de Gaulle set up a Free French {later Fighting French} movement abroad, with headquarters in London. In 1942, the French colonial empire joined the United Nations. Resistance in France grew continuously stronger, fanned by labor conscription and deportation to Germany, the stripping of the country of foodstuffs, raw materials, goods and art treasures to send to Germany, and the methods of oppression used by the Nazi Gestapo. Actual fighting of the war and Allied bombing attacks during German control left between four and six million homeless.

On June 6, 1944, the Allies invaded France. On August 30, a provisional government was announced, with General de Gaulle as President; it lasted until November 1945. After Germany's surrender, French troops were sent to occupy a zone in western Germany covering 21558 square miles and including the rich, industrialized Saar region. The Fourth Republic came into being when the nation approved a new constitution in 1946, but the political history of the postwar years was stormy. France was drained of money, goods, and energy by the long war, and the country's economy was disrupted. The war in Indo-China put a heavy burden on the nation. No Premier was able to stay in office very long. The questions of German rearmament and Germany's position in the European defense system alarmed the French people. Among the men who held the premiership were Paul Rramadier, Robert Schuman, Rene Pleven, Georges Bidault, Joseph Laniel, and Pierre Mendes-France. Vincent Auriol was President of France from 1947 to 1953. Rene Coty followed him in 1954.

Of course much has changed since then and the nation of France is a thriving country proud of its heritage. France is a place that you would be proud to display your French genealogy, family coat of arms or surname history.




Display your French Heritage or Family History from France

Show your French heritage by using our family tree chart to display your family names or a coat of arms. Some of the history of France will be display on our genealogy charts when we use your surname origin as shown in the picture above. We can customize each chart to display other information if needed. From the full names of your direct lines to the birth year and death year of each person. Free pedigree chart if needed.

Customized Charts With Names

9-Generation Fan Chart Plain

9-Generation Fan Chart with 2 Surname History

9-Generation Fan Chart with Coat of Arms and Surname History

9-Generation Fan Chart with 2 Coats of Arms

7-Generation Bow-Tie Chart

6-Generation Chart

6-Generation Chart 2

5-Generation Chart

5-Generation Couples Chart

4-Generation Couples Chart

Cousin's Chart

Blank Charts With No Names

9-Generation Fan Chart Plain

9-Generation Fan Chart with 2 Surname History

9-Generation Fan Chart with Coat of Arms and Surname History

9-Generation Fan Chart with 2 Coats of Arms

7-Generation Bow-Tie Chart

6-Generation Chart

6-Generation Chart 2

5-Generation Chart

5-Generation Couples Chart

4-Generation Couples Chart


Showing your French heritage is a great idea and many of our visitors will go to great lengths to do just that. France has an abundance of history that goes hand in hand with the surname history. Many of our customers will use their last name to research the origin of their direct lines or lineage. Feel free to take a look around out genealogy site and see what we have to offer. Also let us know if you have any gift ideas that we should have listed on our website that are related with France and its history.




Family Crest - Alphabetic Surname Listings
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Coat of Arms - Alphabetic Surname Listings
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The Tree Maker ask that you please read the "Frequently Asked Questions" section before ordering. It covers a number of subjects in detail. Most of the questions are in regards to customization to family tree charts, family coat of arms, family crest symbol, Design Your Own Coat of Arms Symbol, surname history, family rings, and last name meaning, but the first few apply to everyone. This will help avoid any problems that could arise about your order. Free pedigree chart if needed. These family tree products make great birthday gifts, Christmas presents, or a Wedding and Anniversary gift.