Frenchmen, a person who is born in France who speaks French.


In the pre-Roman era, all of Gaul (an area of Western Europe that encompassed all of what is known today as France, Belgium, part of Germany and Switzerland, and Northern Italy) was inhabited by a variety of peoples who were known collectively as the Gaulish tribes. Their ancestors were Celtic immigrants who came from Central Europe in the 7th century BCE (and even before, according to new researchs), and dominated native peoples (which can't be clearly identified except the Ligures in Provence, the Iberians at the eastern bottom of the Pyrenees and Aquitanic people (among them, the Basques) in Aquitaine.

Gaul was military conquered in 58-51 BCE by the Roman legions under the command of General Julius Caesar (except the south-east which had already been conquered about one century earlier and which became the only place with Roman settlements). The area then became part of the Roman Empire. Over the next five centuries the two cultures intermingled, creating a hybridized Gallo-Roman culture. The Gaulish language came to be supplanted by Vulgar Latin, which would later split into dialects that would develop into the French language. Today, the last redoubt of Celtic culture and language in France can be found in the northwestern region of Brittany, although this is not the result of a survival of Gaulish language but of a 5th century A.D. migration of Brythonic speaking Celts from Britain.

With the decline of the Roman Empire in Western Europe, a federation of Germanic peoples entered the picture: the Franks, from which the word "French" derives. The Franks were Germanic pagans who began to settle in northern Gaul as laeti, already during the Roman era. They continued to filter across the Rhine River from present-day Netherlands and Germany between the third to the 7th century. At the beginning, they served in the Roman army and reached high commands. Their language is still spoken as a kind of Dutch (Flemish - Low Frankish) in northern France and Frankish (Central Franconian) in German speaking Lorraine. Another Germanic people immigrated massively to Alsace: the Alamans, which explains the Alemannic German spoken there. They were competitors of the Franks, that's why it became the word for German in French: Allemand.

By the early sixth century the Franks, led by the Merovingian king Clovis I and his sons, had consolidated their hold on much of modern-day France, the country to which they gave their name. The other major Germanic people to arrive in France (after the Franks and the Visigoths) were the Norsemen or Northmen, (which was shortened to Norman in France), Viking raiders from modern Denmark and Norway, who settled with Anglo-Scandinavians and Anglo-Saxons from the Danelaw in the northern region known today as Normandy but also in western France in the 9th and 10th century. The Vikings eventually intermarried with the local people, converting to Christianity in the process. It was the Normans who, two centuries later, would go on to conquer England.

Eventually, though, the independent duchy of Normandy was incorporated back into the French kingdom in the Middle Ages. In the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, founded in 1099, at most 120 000 Franks (predominantly French-speaking Western Christians) ruled over 350,000 Muslims, Jews, and native Eastern Christians. In the roughly 900 years after the Norman invasions France had a fairly settled population. Unlike elsewhere in Europe, France experienced relatively low levels of emigration to the Americas, with the exception of the Huguenots. However, significant emigration of mainly Roman Catholic French populations led to the settlement of the provinces of Acadia, Canada and Louisiana, all (at the time) French possessions, as well as colonies in the West Indies, Mascarene islands and Africa.

On December 31, 1687 a community of French Huguenots settled in South Africa. Most of these originally settled in the Cape Colony, but have since been quickly absorbed into the Afrikaner population. After Champlain's founding of Quebec City in 1608, it became the capital of New France. Encouraging settlement was difficult, and while some immigration did occur, by 1763 New France only had a population of some 65,000. From 1713 to 1787, 30,000 colonists immigrated from France to the St. Domingue. In 1805, when the French were forced out of St. Domingue (Haiti) 35,000 French settlers were given lands in Cuba.

By the beginning of the 17th century, some 20% of the total male population of Catalonia was made up of French immigrants. For the most part, the French were assimilated with relative ease into Catalan society.

In the 1700s and early 1800s, a small migration of French emigrated by official invitation of the Habsburgs to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now the nations of Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Serbia and Romania. Some of them, coming from French-speaking communes in Lorraine and another wave are French Swiss Walsers from the Valais canton in Switzerland, they maintained for some generations the French language, and a specific ethnic identity, later labelled as Banat French, Français du Banat. By 1788 there were 8 villages populated by French colonists.

The French nation-state appeared following the 1789 French Revolution and Napoleon's empire. It replaced the ancient kingdom of France, ruled by the divine right of kings.

Hobsbawm highlighted the role of conscription, invented by Napoleon, and of the 1880s public instruction laws, which allowed mixing of the various groups of France into a nationalist mold which created the French citizen and his consciousness of membership to a common nation, while the various regional languages of France were progressively eradicated.

The 1870 Franco-Prussian War, which led to the short-lived Paris Commune of 1871, was instrumental in bolstering patriotic feelings; until World War I (1914–1918), French politicians never completely lost sight of the disputed Alsace-Lorraine region, which played a major role in the definition of the French nation, and therefore of the French people. During the Dreyfus Affair, anti-semitism became apparent. Charles Maurras, a royalist intellectual member of the far-right anti-parliamentarist Action Française party, invented the neologism of the anti-France, which was one of the first attempts at contesting the republican definition of the French people as composed of all French citizens regardless of their ethnic origins or religious beliefs. Charles Maurras' expression of the anti-France opposed the Catholic French people to four "confederate states" incarning the Other: Jews, Freemasons, Protestants and, last but not least, the métèques ("metics").

Ethnic BackgroundEdit

France is made up of three main ethnic groups Celtic, Latin and Teutonic or Frankish. France had the largest population in Europe from 1945 until the end of 1960s. Now its population is estimated at 64,102,140 inhabitants. The French people comprises all French citizens, including the French overseas departments and territories. In the twentieth cenury France had a high rate of immigration, mainly from Southern Europe, the Maghreb, Africa and Asia.

Roles in SocietyEdit

These days French people place a lot of importance on their appearance of. It seems that the fashion has influenced them all. They look at others and like to be looked at! It's just as well since most restaurants and entertainment venues are clean and well decorated. The French like their fashion and good cuisine.

French people are in general very courteous and they are direct too. They are accustomed to speaking their minds and being direct and to the point. If you sometime get annoyed by this, you will later realize that French people are friendly and polite if you get to know them a little better.

Famous French PeopleEdit

There are many famous French people, and here is a list of some of them: Claude Monet, Victor Hugo, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Jeanne d'Arc, Napoléon Bonaparte, Louis Braille, Louis Pasteur, Gustave Eiffel, Jean Cocteau, Gustave Flaubert, Jean Paul Sartre, Voltaire, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Blaise Pascal, François Jacob, Blaise Pascal, Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, Jean Reno, Jean Rochefort, Pierre Cardin and more.