France Human Geography
Thanks to the favorable environmental conditions, the French territory has attracted man since the most remote times. In the upper Paleolithic it hosted brilliant civilizations of hunters, whose presence is testified among other things by the wall paintings of the Dordogne; in the Neolithic dense agricultural settlements flourished in the clearings of the ancient Atlantic forest, in many areas including the Paris Basin. Due to its position of convergence within Europe, the cultural contributions that France received in those epochs were different, coming from both the Mediterranean and Central European areas. Only with the Celts, which invaded the entire territory, there was a first cultural homogenization, materialized in terms of territorial organization with the Roman conquest. The Romans created the first urban centers, small settlement units (cités) and large connecting roads, which remained as essential infrastructures of the French territory in all subsequent eras. The Germanic invasions did not remove the fabric already built, although the name of the country will remain linked to the Franks. From the synthesis of the Gallo-Roman elements with the Germanic ones, France will acquire its definitive characteristics, which will be expressed, as well as on the political and cultural level, in the great agricultural development that took place after the Carolingian period. This progress led to the significant demographic development which took place between the century. 11th and 13th centuries, an era to which the origin of many settlements is connected, which arose around monasteries and castles in the center of the new clearing areas and which still characterize the French landscape today. The growth of the cities took place rather late and involved the best favored centers from the commercial point of view, such as Paris, already then the hub of communications in northern France, Lyon. and port cities. The subsequent developments of the country will have as promoters precisely these same cities, to whose bourgeoisie those great movements that have characterized the modern history of France are linked.
The prosperity achieved by the country between the century. XVII and XVIII caused a new and larger demographic increase: at the beginning of the century. XVIII the population was 20 million residents, a century later, at the census of 1801, it turned out to be 28 million. In the second half of the century. XIX the country began to lose that demographic vitality that had marked the political and economic apex of the previous centuries. According to 800zipcodes, the birth rate began to decrease and the parallel reduction in the mortality rate caused an initial aging of the population. This was at the origin of the first substantial immigration from abroad, from Italy above all. There The war of 1914-18 had serious consequences, extremely weakening the French population, who lost 1.3 million young people on the battle fronts. The recession of the 1930s, which coincided with a demographic deficit of 0.8%, led to the new massive immigration of over 3 million foreigners, still mostly Italians. On the eve of the Second World War France hosted 42 million residents, of which one tenth were born abroad (mainly in Italy, Poland, Spain, Belgium). Since the post-war years, after a brief recovery in the birth rate, the demographic increase seems to have settled on values slightly below the European average. If in the first decades following the World War the demographic growth was largely supported by the return of many French from the former colonies and by the immigration of foreign workers, in the following years it is due to the natural movement characterized by the prevalence of the birth rate over the mortality. Also in the context of demographic dynamics, the increase in the average duration of life and the reduction in the infant mortality rate to minimum values (3.8 ‰ in 2018) should be noted. L’ Burgundy, the Massif Central and Aquitaine, as well as the western departments and the French Riviera where, however, the immigration of the active population should contribute in part to lowering the average age. In fact, despite the measures adopted by the French government in the 1970s, following the international economic crisis, to reduce immigration and encourage the return of foreign workers to their country of origin, the foreign presence in France is already high according to estimates. officers (more than 4.5 million people in 2018), while the precise consistency of the flow of illegal immigration escapes. Among the foreign residents there are many Maghrebians (Tunisians, Moroccans and Algerians), as well as Portuguese, Turkish, Italian, English and Spanish and the country’s legislation is also liberal as regards the right of naturalization.