Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature 
Copyright StatementThese files are public domain. Bibliography InformationMcClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'France'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/f/france.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
The Nuttall Encyclopedia 
The land of the French; a nation standing in the front rank among the powers of Europe. It occupies a geographical position of peculiar advantage in the western portion of it, having a southern foreshore on the Mediterranean and a western and northern seaboard washed by the Atlantic and the English Channel, possessing altogether a coast-line, rather undeveloped however, of upwards of 2000 m., while to the E. it abuts upon Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. It is divided into 87 departments, including Corsica. It is mainly composed of lowland and plateau, but has the Cévennes in the S., while the Pyrenees and Alps (with the Vosges and Ardennes farther N.) lie on its southern and eastern boundaries. Rivers abound and form, with the splendid railway, canal, and telegraph systems, an unrivalled means of internal communication; but there are singularly few lakes. It enjoys on the whole a fine climate, which favours the vineyards in the centre (the finest in the world), the olive groves in the S., and the wheat and beetroot region in the N. The mineral wealth is inconsiderable, and what of coal and iron there is lies widely apart. Her manufactures, which include silk, wine, and woollen goods, are of the best, and in fine artistic work she is without an equal. The colonies are together larger in area than the mother-country, and include Algeria, Madagascar, and Cochin China. The French are a people of keen intelligence, of bright, impulsive, and vivacious nature; urbane, cultured, and pleasure-loving in the cities, thrifty and industrious in the country; few races have given so rich a bequest to the literature and art of the world. Roman Catholicism is the dominant form of religion, but Protestantism and the Jewish religion are also State supported, as also Mohammedanism in Algiers. Free compulsory education is in vogue. The Government is a Republic, and there are two chambers—a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies. Originally occupied by Celts, the country, then called Gallia, was conquered by the Romans between 58 and 51 B.C., who occupied it till the 4th century, when it was overrun by the Teutons, including the Franks, who became dominant; and about 870 the country, under Charles the Bald, became known as France. The unsettling effects of the great cataclysm of 1789 have been apparent in the series of political changes which have swept across the country this century; within that time it has been thrice a monarchy, thrice an empire, and thrice a republic.