France is a European country that has been independent since the fall of Rome. Originally called Gaul, Clovis, the King of the Franks, brought France into the fold of Christian Europe by converting to Catholicism. French royal power reached its zenith under Louis XIV, however this caused problems later. Due to the budgetary problems caused by Louis XIV and the general incompetence of Louis XVI, the French monarchy was overthrown in the French Revolution. The First Republic did not last, however. Napoleon Bonaparte seized power in a coup d'état, and proclaimed himself emperor. Napoleon pushed France to its greatest ever territory, briefly dominated all of Europe. However he fell after a series of military defeats, culminating with the Battle of Waterloo. A brief restoration of the monarchy was followed by a Second Republic, and then a Second Empire led by Napoleon III. However this did not last, and the country became a republic for good following the Franco Prussian War. France hosted much of the military campaigns in both the first and second world wars. Today it is one of the modern Great Powers.
France has had a long series of conflicts with England. The Hundred Years War grouped a century of on again off again fighting between them. They would also clash in the Napoleonic Wars. France supported the rebels in the American Revolution, and guaranteed the rebel victory at Yorktown. However this led to the financial problems that spelled the end of the Bourbon Dynasty. France was also on the allied side of both World War I and World War II. Many famous battles have taken place in its territory, such as Normandy and the Battle of the Somme