Many English speakers don't know much about French history....here is a snapshot of some key milestones prior to 1328.
1.Prehistoric activity in Early France as is evidenced by caves paintings at Lascaux and Gargas.
2. The Celts settle France (Gaul). City of Paris founded by Parsii tribe. Other cities founded by the Celts are Bordeaux and Toulouse.
3. Greeks found the port of Marseilles.
4. Gauls sack Rome in the 4th century BC
5. Caesar launches his Gallic Wars. Gauls defeated Romans at Gergovia but Caesar wins at Alesia and captures Gaulish chieftain Vercingetorix. Gaul is assimilated into the Roman Sphere of Influence.
6.Romans Latinise the Gauls. Growth of Paris (known as Lutetia by the Romans)
7. Cities founded by the Romans include Lyon and Narbonne.
8. Germanic (Franks) tribes invade France in the 5th century. Clovis defeats the Romans at the Battle of Soissons (later a World War One site).
9. Paris established as capital by Clovis I in 508AD
10. Clovis I introduces Christianity to France. He is the First King of the Franks.
11. Merovingian dynasty founded by Sailian Franks.
12. Clovis battles his Burgundian rivals in the early 6th century.
13. Merovingians rule France between 481-751CE.
14. Charles Martel defeats the Muslims at the Battle of Tours in 732 saving Christian France from Islam.
15. Pippin the Short establishes the Carolingian dynasty in 751AD.
16. Carolingian dynasty reaches the zenith of its power under Charlemagne.
17. Charlemagne defeated the Lombards, the Avars and the Saxons. He extended the frontier of his kingdom as far south as Barcelona and succeeds in uniting the Franks.
18. Golden age of learning under Charlemagne.
19. Charlemagne is crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 800AD (by Pope Leo III)
20. Louis I the Pious, Charlemagne’s son inherits kingdom. After Louis’s death the kingdom is divided after a series of military clashes and the Treaty of Verdun between Louis the German, Charles the Bald and Lothair.
21. Carolingian power declines under Viking attacks.
22. Vikings under Rollo establish kingdom of Normandy.
23. Carolingian dynasty ends in 987 AD.
24. Hugh Capet – The Duke of Franks becomes king of the Franks in 987 AD. His kingdom does not extend much beyond Paris. This does mark thebeginning of Capetian dynasty.
25. Abbey of Cluny becomes more influential in France Religious and Political circles.
26. French knights lead the successful First Crusade.
27. Louis VI extends Royal power at the expense of popularity, He is assisted by the talented politician Abbot Sugar (forerunner to Richelieu)
28. Sugar arranges for the marriage between Louis VII and Eleanor of Aquitaine – more consolidation of Royal power.
29. Louis VII involves France in the disastrous Second Crusade.
30. Much of France is under control of the Plantagenet dynasty, which controls the English, thrown (through Henry II and his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine – she had split with Louis VII by then of course).
31. Reign of Philip II Augustus. France enters diplomatic period. Philip involves France in the Third Crusade and wins back territory from the English king John.
32. Louis IX (later St. Louis) defeats rivals and begins French expansion in Europe. Gothic architecture and biblical gain significance during his reign. Louis regains territory from English King Henry III but also involves France in the failed Seventh and Eight crusades. Louis, himself died in the eighth crusade.
33. Charles IV the Fair dies in 1328. He is the last Capetian ruler.