Sample France - History (Grades 6-7) Worksheet
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France - History
By Ekaterina Zhdanova-Redman

1     Although humans have inhabited the land now known as France for almost 100,000 years, the country of France didn't begin formation until around 200-100 B.C., when the neighboring Roman Empire began making raids on what was then called Gaul and the Celtic natives of the land. As a result of these Gallic Wars, Roman emperor Julius Caesar conquered the entirety of Gaul for the Roman Empire by 51 B.C. The Celts that lived in Gaul took on Roman customs and even a form of Latin, the official language of the Romans. The Celts of Gaul lived under Roman rule until the third century AD.
2     It was then that the Roman defenses began falling to German invaders from the west, including Visigoths, Burgundians, and Franks who crossed the Rhine River and took over land in Gaul. At the end of Roman rule, a Frank named Clovis became king of Gaul in 486. Gaul ultimately took the name France from its new ruler. Under Clovis' rule, much of France was Christianized. Clovis was the first king of what became known as the Merovingian Dynasty.
3     An advisor to a later Merovingian king, Pepin the Herstal, led the country away from its king in the late 600s. Although he didn't take the title of king, Pepin the Herstal and his son, Charles Martel, unofficially ruled the country. In 751, Martel's son, Pepin the Short, overthrew the Merovingian king and named himself king of France, beginning the Carolingian Dynasty.
4     Pepin the Short's son, Charlemagne, expanded France's borders--efforts that were ultimately undone by the weak rulers who followed him. Upon Charlemagne's death, the lands conquered during Charlemagne's rule were divided into three parts at the treaty of Verdun in 843. One of those parts resembled modern-day France.
5     As the Carolingian kings grew weaker, a new king named Hugh Capet was elected in 987, beginning the Capetian Dynasty. During the years that followed, rulers across Europe, including France, began looking for areas outside Europe to conquer. Thus began the Holy Crusades--efforts to conquer and Christianize foreign lands and peoples. By the 15th Century, France had begun a hundred-year war with Britain, inspired by then-king Philip VI and Joan of Arc, a young girl that claimed visions of saints and convinced French rulers to give her charge of an army division. Although Joan was successful in struggles against the British invaders, she is more readily known by her execution; her British captors burned her alive.

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