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Modern-day France replaces churches with mosques

While the Western Roman Empire collapsed, tribes began moving into its territory from across the Rhine. Many Germanic tribes now lived in the province of Gaul. One of these tribes, were the Franks.

Under their King Clovis, the Franks united the peoples living in Gaul. They conquered an area roughly matching modern-day France, and they did so over 1500 years ago. That was the start of France, making it the oldest state in Europe.

Clovis initially converted from Germanic paganism to Arian Christianity. The Arians, named after the priest Arius, differed from the Catholics in their idea of the nature of Christ. Although today this appears to be a rather minor detail, it triggered a major schism in the Church back then. Most Goths and Germanics converted to Arian Christianity, for example the Visigoths that ruled Spain.

However, Clovis converted to the Catholic faith, embracing the papacy. Moreover, Clovis based the laws for this newly founded state on the Roman law. In effect, Clovis confirmed his legitimacy by embracing the legacy of Rome. And so, France’s Catholic faith and foundation of its state are closely linked together.

France was, since its foundation, one of the greatest powers on the European continent. Germany and Italy did not become states until the 19th century, and only in 1871 did Germany show it was the new primary power.

Although Napoleon showed that France could be stopped by grand coalition, that did not stop French thirst for expansion. So, like others had done before them, France started to carve up its part of the world. It conquered most of North-Western Africa, which speaks French to this day as a result.



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