In the 19th century Napoleon took power and established the First French Empire. His subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870. France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, and was one of the Allied Powers in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and later dissolved in the course of the Algerian War. The Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, was formed in 1958 and remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and typically retained close economic and military connections with France.
France has long been a global centre of art, science, and philosophy. It hosts Europe's third-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and leads the world in tourism, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's seventh-largest economy by nominal GDP, and ninth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, and human development.France is globally considered a great power in the world, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and is an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone. It is also a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and La Francophonie.
- Area: 210,000 square miles
- Population: 60 million
- Infant mortality: 3.2 deaths/1,000
- Life expectancy: 78 years (men); 85 years (women)
- Urbanisation: 80% of total population
- Literacy: 99%
Over 100 denominations, including various Reformed and Protestant, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Baptist and Brethren churches; also independent Evangelical churches. About one third (200,000) of Protestants profess to be Evangelical.