~1~ Merovingian dynasty
Napoleon I ——Emperor of the French
After the fall of Roman Empire, in 486, Clovis I led his Franks into
Paris and established his Frankish kingdom – Merovingian dynasty.
His four sons divided the kingdom. By the time of Muslim invasion, the
kings has very little power. The mayors of palaces are the ones in
Chapter Two: Plots and Problems
Mary Stuart was Elizabeth’s cousin and her most dangerous rival . She
was a Catholic and many Catholics wanted Mary to be the Queen of
Mary was born in Scotland. She was the daughter of James V, King of
Scotland and Mary Guise, a French noblewoman. Mary became Queen when she
was only one week old. Since there were political problems in Scotland,
Mary went to France at the age of five. She had a happy childhood in the
luxurious French court. She married the French Dauphin Francis and
became Queen of France for a short time. In 1560 her husband, the young
King of France, died and she returned to Scotland.
Scotland was a Protestant country but the Scots accepted her as their
Queen. Mary was very beautiful, charming and fun-loving . This worried
At this time something terrible happened: Elizabeth caught smallpox , a
disease that killed many people in those days. She was dangerously ill
for many days. Elizabeth’s German doctor saved her life. Smallpox scars
remained on Elizabeth’s face all her life. She .always wore white powder
and cosmetics to hide the scars.
Parliament wanted Elizabeth to marry as soon as possible. It was
important to have an heir to the Tudor throne.
Several foreign monarchs wanted to marry Elizabeth: The Archduke of
Austria, Ivan “the Terrible” Tsar of Russia, the King of France and the
King of Spain.
Many noblemen of her court wanted to marry her too. Sir Christopher
Hatton loved her so much that he never married. However, Elizabeth spent
most of her time with Robert Dudley, her favorite companion.
Elizabeth was not interested in marriage. She feared that a foreign king
was dangerous for England. And she did not want to divide her power with
In 1566, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, said, “I really believe
the Queen will never marry.” He was right. However, Parliament insisted.
One day Elizabeth became angry and said, “I am already bound unto a
which is the kingdom of England!”
Elizabeth was afraid of a bad marriage. She had the example of h11er
mother and of her cousin, Mary Stuart. After returning to Scotland, Mary
married her cousin Lord Darnley in 1565. Soon after the marriage she
hated him. Early in 1567 Darnley was killed. Many people suspected Mary
and her lover, the Earl of Bothwell. When she married the Earl of
Bothwell, the Scots were furious and she escaped to England.
Mary was now a real danger for the Queen – she was on English soil .
Catholic nobles began plotting against Elizabeth in favor of Mary.
Elizabeth decided to imprison Mary in a remote castle. She remained
there for 19
years. Other plots against Elizabeth were discovered, but she didn’t
want to execute her cousin. In 1586 Mary was finally accused of treason
and in 1587 she was beheaded.
1769 – 1821
~2~ Carolingian dynasty
Chapter Three: Exploration and Discovery
In 1492 Christopher Columbus, an Italian navigator who sailed from
Spain, discovered the New World. Now there were new countries to
During the 1500s Spain and Portugal controlled sea travel on the
Atlantic Ocean. England and other countries wanted to discover new trade
routes to reach the Pacific Ocean. This was Elizabeth’s biggest
preoccupation and she sponsored many voyages.
Spain was the richest and most powerful country in Europe. Its empire
extended to the West Indies, Central and South America. Spain and
Portugal shared their treasures with the Pope in Rome.
The Spanish explorers took gold, silver, jewels and other riches from
the natives and transported them to Spain on their galleons Each galleon
carried immense treasure.
Many Elizabethan captains and sailors were pirates , but they were
called “privateers.” They had permission from the Queen to attack ships
and take their treasure, which they divided with her! This was a common
practice at that time.
Francis Drake, Sir John Hawkins and Thomas Cavendish were three famous
privateers. Elizabeth affectionately called Drake “my pirate.”
Hawkins became the first Englishman to trade in African slaves.
Elizabeth asked Francis Drake, an expert navigator, to sail across the
South Atlantic, attack Spanish galleons and take their treasure. She
also wanted him to find new trade routes.
Drake left Plymouth in 1577 on his ship. The Golden Hind and sailed
South. He attacked several Spanish galleons on the South American coast.
Then he sailed up the Pacific Coast and landed in northern California in
“Ambition is never content, even on the summit of greatness.”
Charles Martel, a mayor of palace, defeated the Muslims in 732, and
won himself fame. His son, Pepin the short, established
Carolingian dynasty and became the king of Franks in 751. Pepin’s
son, Charlemagne, reunited and strengthened the kingdom. He is
crowned by Pope Leo III as Roman Emperor. His son, Louis the
Pious, did a good job keeping the kingdom together. At his death,
however, the kingdom was divided into three by his three sons. The
imperial title held in the western area became future French Kingdom and
eastern future Germany.
1579. He stayed there a month and claimed California for Queen Elizabeth
today this place is called Drake’s Bay, California, near San Francisco.
In 1936 an old metal plate was found near Drake’s Bay with these words
BE IT KNOWN TO ALL MEN …
JUNE 17, 1579, BY THE GRACE OF GOD AND IN THE NAME OF
HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH OF ENGLAND .
FOREVER I TAKE POSSESSION OF THIS KINGDOM .
TO BE KNOWN UNTO ALL MEN AS NOVA ALBION.
(No one knows if this metal plate was Drake’s or not.)
Drake then sailed across the Pacific Ocean and reached the East Indies.
From there he sailed around the Cape of Good Hope and returned to
England in 1580 after three long years.
Drake became the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe . His
voyage is memorable because he navigated in very difficult and dangerous
conditions. He had no real maps.
Queen Elizabeth was extremely pleased with his results and knighted him.
She also gave him a special sword to use on England’s enemies. Drake did
not only bring back immense treasures, he also brought back new foods
and spices: pineapples, tomatoes, bananas, coconuts, peppers and
Spices were very important because they preserved food and improved its
English colonization in North America began in 1584. Sir Walter Raleigh,
a courageous soldier and explorer, was one of Elizabeth’s favorites. He
sailed to North America and set up the Virginia colony in honor of
the Virgin Queen.
Three years later 117 men, women and children arrived on Roanoke Island,
in the Virginia colony. Living conditions were very difficult and many
Indians were unfriendly. By 1590 the colony was abandoned. No one knew
what happened to the colonists .
Sir Walter Raleigh brought back potatoes and tobacco from the Virginia
colony. He introduced pipe smoking to the Elizabethan court and it soon
became popular. This was the beginning of the tobacco trade and
~3~ Capetian dynasty
During the Siege of Paris by Viking in 885, Count Odo of
Paris/King Odo and his brother King Robert (Their father being
Robert the Strong, whom the Robertians are named after.) defended
Paris for almost a year before the Charles the Fat come to rescue.
Instead of fighting, Charles allowed them to go up Reine and promised a
payment of 257kg of silver. This incident caused many criticism towards
Charles and respects for Robert and Odo.
Part Three: The War of the Eggs
I now asked the Emperor for permission to visit the capital city of
which is called Mildendo. The Emperor allowed me to go, but he told me
to be careful when I was there. He did not want me to frighten the
people. I was very happy to see the city, and particularly to see the
Emperor’s palace . I could not enter the palace, of course, because J
was too big. I could look in through the windows, however, and I was
delighted by what I saw.
I stayed in Mildendo about two weeks. One of the Emperor’s ministers
came to see me one day. He looked very worried, and he said he needed my
help. Then he told me that there was going to be a war with the country
of Blefuscu. He explained the reasons for the war.
They seemed very strange reasons to me, because they concerned the
correct way to eat eggs. In the past, the people of Lilliput and the
people of Blefuscu had agreed about this. They had both believed that
eggs should be broken at the bigger end.
One day, however, the Emperor’s grandfather had an accident while he was
opening an egg. He cut his finger. He ordered all Lilliputians to open
eggs from the smaller end in the future. The people did not like this
and many of them refused to obey the Emperor. There was a civil war in
Lilliput, and many people were killed. The Emperor’s minister explained
to me that Blefuscu supported the rebels in the civil war—many rebels
went to live in Blefuscu.
The situation was now very serious because Lilliput and Blefuscu were at
war. Thousands of people had been killed in the war of the eggs. The
government minister told me that Blefuscu was planning to attack
The Emperor wanted my help. I told the minister that I was ready to help
The Blefuscu navy was planning to invade Lilliput by sea. The distance
between the two countries is about three hundred metres by sea. All the
Blefuscu ships were ready, and they were sure they would be victorious
in the war. I told the Emperor of Lilliput that I had a plan of my own
to help him defeat the enemy. I waited until it was dark. Then I took
some rope with me, and walked into the sea that separated the two
kingdoms . The water was not deep.
While I was walking in the sea, I put on my glasses to protect my eyes
from the arrows of the enemy. I tied a piece of rope to each of the
Blefuscu ships. The Blefuscu sailors were terrified when they saw me.
They jumped into the sea, and swam away. I took the pieces of rope in my
hands, and pulled the Blefuscu navy towards Lilliput.
When the people of Lilliput saw the Blefuscu navy, they thought the
invasion had started. They were very frightened now!
Then they saw that I was pulling the ships, and they were happy. It was
a great victory for Lilliput, and the Emperor said I was a hero.
The Emperor of Lilliput asked me to go on with the war against Blefuscu,
I did not want to go on with the war, because I did not want lots of
people to be killed, The Emperor listened to what I said, but he was
very angry with me. Now he did not like me.
Some government ministers from Blefuscu came to Lilliput. I spoke to
them, and they invited me to visit their country, I thanked them for
their invitation, and I decided to ask the Emperor for permission to go
‘The Blefuscu ministers have asked me to visit their country,’ I told
‘May I go there?’
The Emperor looked at me very coldly before he replied. Then he said,
‘Of course. You’re free to go.’
I was surprised at the Emperor’s coldness towards me, because I thought
we were good friends. Soon I had an opportunity to help him once again.
One night I was woken by a great noise in the city. Many people were
shouting and calling for me. Several of the government ministers came to
and they told me there was a fire in the palace, I ran to the palace,
and I saw flames everywhere, People were trying to extinguish the flames
with buckets of water – but the fire was a big one. It seemed that the
whole palace would be destroyed.
Then I had an idea, I had drunk a large quantity of wine that evening, I
urinated over the palace, and extinguished the flames. This act saved
the palace from destruction. I was pleased at what I had done.
Then I remembered one of the most important laws of Lilliput. Urinating
in the palace grounds was a crime punished by death! I was now worried,
but the Emperor sent me a message, He said that he would order the court
to pardon me for my crime, I learnt later that the Empress hated me for
had done – she was very angry, and she decided never to return to the
Napoleon Bonaparte was born on August 15, 1769 in Ajaccio on the
Mediterranean island of Corsica. Through his military exploits and his
ruthless efficiency, Napoleon rose from obscurity to become Napoleon I,
Empereur des Francais （Emperor of the French）。 He is both a
historical figure and a legend—and it is sometimes difficult to separate
the two. The events of his life fired the imaginations of great writers,
film makers, and playwrights whose works have done much to create the
At the death of Charles, Odo and Robert were both elected as kings. So
for a while, the Robertians (or Capetians) are both the prince
and the king. Then Robert’s grandson, Hugh Capet, overtook
Carolingians and established Capetian dynasty. Hugh Capet made sure
his son was crowned before his own demise, so that the kingdom was not
split. At this point onward, monarchy power finally grew strong enough
to overcome barons.
Napoleon decided on a military career when he was a child, winning a
scholarship to a French military academy. His meteoric rise shocked not
only France but all of Europe, and his military conquests threatened the
stability of the world.
Napoleon was one of the greatest military commanders in history. He has
also been portrayed as a power hungry conqueror. Napoleon denied being
such a conqueror. He argued that he was building a federation of free
peoples in a Europe united under a liberal government. But if this was
his goal, he intended to achieve it by taking power in his own hands.
However, in the states he created, Napoleon granted constitutions,
introduced law codes, abolished feudalism, created efficient governments
and fostered education, science, literature and the arts.
Emperor Napoleon proved to be an excellent civil administrator. One of
his greatest achievements was his supervision of the revision and
collection of French law into codes. The new law codes—seven in
number—incorporated some of the freedoms gained by the people of France
during the French revolution, including religious toleration and the
abolition of serfdom. The most famous of the codes, the Code Napoleon or
Code Civil, still forms the basis of French civil law. Napoleon also
centralized France’s government by appointing prefects to administer
regions called departments, into which France was divided.
While Napoleon believed in government “for” the people, he rejected
government “by” the people. His France was a police state with a vast
network of secret police and spies. The police shut down plays
containing any hint of disagreement or criticism of the government. The
press was controlled by the state. It was impossible to express an
opinion without Napoleon’s approval.
Napoleon’s own opinion of his career is best stated in the following
～4～ Early Modern France
“I closed the gulf of anarchy and brought order out of chaos. I rewarded
merit regardless of birth or wealth, wherever I found it. I abolished
feudalism and restored equality to all regardless of religion and before
the law. I fought the decrepit monarchies of the Old Regime because the
alternative was the destruction of all this. I purified the Revolution.”
The Capetian dynasty survived well into the early modern France, despite
Black Death, varies wars including the English-French War or so
called “the Hundred Years’ War”. There were two times House changes
however. The first time was when Charles IV the fair died without a
male a heir, so the throne was passed on to his cousin Philip VI
from House of Valois. The second time was when Henry III was
assassinated by Catholic activist for his support to Protestants, which
was viewed as a heresy by the traditional Catholics. He died with male
heirs, thus the throne was passed to his cousin Henry IV the
Great or so called Good King Henry from House of Bourbon. He
led the fight against the Catholics, and was assassinated too by a
His death on 5 May 1821 brought relief to the royal houses of Europe and
it was only in 1840 that his body was allowed to return to his beloved
The last king of France was Louis XVI. When the Kingdom was passed
on to him, the state was practically bankrupted from wars. He tried to
help the financial situation by adding a new land tax, which triggered
French Revolution and in turn, his own execution and the end of
~5~ Napoleonic Period
After sometime of Chaos, a Republican government is established, but so
was the European military coalition against France. As the war broke
out, a young general stood out. He was Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1799,
he held a coup and became the first Consul of the Republic, then further
in 1804 a Emperor of First French Empire. He had won many battles in
his life, but in 1813 he was heavily outnumbered by the Allied
coalition and lost in the Six Days Campaign. He was exiled to Elba
in 1814. He tried ones more by seize over France in the Hundred
Days, but was once again defeated at the Battle of Wateloo and
~6~ Modern France
After Napoleon’s fall, France was continually switching between Republic
and Empire. Until 1958, Charles de Gaulle second time in power and
established the Fifty Republic with himself being the head of the