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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.
During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people.
The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean.
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.
Gaul was then a prosperous country, of which the southernmost part was heavily subject to Greek and Roman cultural and economic influences.
Around 390 BC the Gallic chieftain Brennus and his troops made their way to Italy through the Alps, defeated the Romans in the Battle of the Allia, and besieged and ransomed Rome.In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, and saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day.