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    France , or officially the French Republic - the largest country in Europe overseas . In terms of area ( 551 sq. km.) It is more than twice as much as the UK and Germany. France to include several small islands in the Mediterranean Sea and the Bay of Biscay. The population is 53mln . people. France has an " overseas departments and territories ": Guiana ( French ) , the islands of Guadeloupe , Martinique , Reunion , New Caledonia , French Polynesia.
    France occupies the extreme western part of the European continent. It may be called the Atlantic and Mediterranean , and Rhineside perineyskoy . Maritime borders of the country have bόlshuyu extent than land . In the north of France, England, separated from the rather narrow straits of the English Channel and the Pas- de - Calais. In the west it is washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Bay of Biscay . And in the south - the Mediterranean Sea. Many parts of the coast , especially in Brittany and Provence , heavily indented , have many bays, suitable for mooring .
    Much of the land borders of France passes through the high mountains or other natural boundaries : the southwest Pyrenees separate France from Spain, in the south- east border of Italy and Switzerland is on the Alps and the Jura . Franco - West German border for a considerable distance is the Rhine. In the north of France unchanged merge imperceptibly with the lowlands of Belgium.
    Convenience land and sea links , the position at the crossroads of international routes has long been strengthened economic position of France , contributed to the development of its economy , the growth of cultural and trade relations with other countries. Over the centuries, France has played an important role in the global economy and in international relations . However, such a geographical position and was one of the reasons that France provided many times in the center of imperialist contradictions. During the XIX - XX centuries . territory of the country more than once turned into an arena of combat. In the past century, especially severe consequences for France was the neighborhood with militaristic Germany.
    France is known as a talented and hard-working mill people , were written many glorious pages in the history of mankind's struggle for freedom and democracy , who made a great contribution to the world of science, culture and art.
    Modern France is one of the most industrially developed capitalist countries. The size of the gross national product and the volume of industrial production, it is one of the leading places.

    The climate and topography

    One of the lowlands of France - Garonskaya or Aquitaine , located in the tectonic trough in the south- west of the country between the French Massif Central and the Pyrenees . The surface of the plain cut through the valley of the Garonne River , where the most fertile lands of south- western France . The southern part is occupied by the elevations of Aquitaine Armagnac and LANNEMEZAN representing a system of giant cones caused by mountain streams in the Pyrenees. Most flat character has Western Lowland - Landes . This area is composed of sand lying on impermeable rocks , and so the first was heavily waterlogged . Now she drained and planted with pine. Landes separated from the sea of sand dunes strip width of 4-6 km and a height of 90 meters Seashore straightforward , devoid of coves. Convenient for the reception of ships. But here are the best sandy beaches of the country. Since sedimentary rocks are associated lowlands of Aquitaine in France, the largest oil deposits ( Parentis -en- Born) and gas ( Lac ) .
    Aquitaine basin in the south- east connects to other lowland already lying on the shore of the Mediterranean - the plain of Languedoc . The coastal zone isolates here and spit lagoons , lakes and swamps. For a long time it was deserted coast . Here shortage of fresh water, rampant malaria. But in the 60's they started to drain swamps , build roads , canals , aqueducts . Large tourist complexes , which revived the local economy.
    In the center and north- west and north- east of France are ancient Hercynian massifs formed over 200 million years ago. The most extensive of them - the central French array occupies roughly about 1 \ 6 of the country. Geologically, it is the most ancient region of France , composed mostly of crystalline rocks . His raised to 1,700 m south- east region - the Cevennes mountains - steeply to the valley of the Rhone valley and Languedoc. The wavy surface of the Massif Central is bright traces of former volcanic activity, which manifested itself with particular strength in its central part , Auvergne. There are numerous giant cones of extinct volcanoes , craters , often transformed into lakes , vast lava . About the past volcanism similar to mineral springs , Vichy , Mont - Dore , La Boerboel and other extinct volcanoes Sancy (1886 m) and Cantal (1858 m) - the highest point of the Massif Central . The volcanic area is fertile soils developed on igneous rocks. The southern part of the Massif Central is composed of thick layers of limestone, forming a plateau Kos .
    To the east of the river. Rhone ridges piled the French Alps , in the south- west, on the border with Spain, towering wall of the Pyrenees.
    Alps - Europe's highest mountains Abroad : Their average height is 3.5-4 thousand meters especially daunting northern ridges of mountains - the Savoy Alps , capped by a dazzling sun shining on the snow white caps and glaciers. On the border with Italy is the highest point in Western Europe - Mont Blanc mountain , which rises 4807 meters from the Mont Blanc glaciers descend powerful area of ​​2 million square meters. km .
    The climate in most parts of France formed under the constant influence of the air masses moving in from the Atlantic , and, in general , is characterized as a sea , moderately warm and humid. Particularly mild and humid climate is Brittany. Here, the average summer temperature is 17 ~ in winter ~ 7 .


    From ancient geological structures associated with many minerals. Coal deposits are located in the foothills and intermountain basins of the Hercynian mountains in the north of France, in Lorraine and in the Massif Central . Total reserves of coal in the country are small : they are estimated at 2.3 billion tons, and coal is dominated by low-quality , low coking coal and anthracite . In the Massif Central in the other Hercynian highlands are found in most major capitalist Europe uranium ore , there is a small amount of mined antimony, gold and other base metals .
    In the formations of Jurassic limestone plateau to the west of Lorraine found in capitalist Europe 's largest iron ore deposits . Lorraine ores are not rich : they contain only 30-33 % iron and a lot of phosphorus , but their powerful layers , deposited in shallow and ores containing natural fluxes . Nearby , to the east of Nancy, known deposits of rock salt.
    The western part of the French Alps ( Prealps ) is composed of sedimentary rocks , mainly limestone , eastern , higher - crystalline rocks . The centuries-old activity of ice, snow and meltwater led to a strong compartmentalization of the Alps.
    Pyrenees ( France belong only to their northern slopes ) are significantly lower than the Alps (~ 2500m). Especially majestic huge glacial cirque de Gavarnie with almost vertical walls height of 400-500 m, where cascading waterfalls that give birth p . Po. In our time in the Pyrenees glaciers almost neostalos .
    Massive mountain ranges of the Alps and the Pyrenees have large supplies of water , their vast subalpine and alpine meadows are used as pastures , forests provide raw materials for the wood processing industry. Here - the centers of international tourism and mountaineering.
    Nedra France generally contain significant reserves of minerals , particularly iron ore , bauxite, potash and rock salt , but fuel resources are limited.

    Rivers and reservoirs

    Rivers of France have large reserves of hydropower . Half of the stocks of "white coal " falls on the Rhone and its mountain tributaries of the river on the fifth of the Massif Central . Largest hydropower France concedes in capitalist Europe, only Norway and Spain. The enormous energy reserves comprise the sea ebbs and flows , reaching the coast of France , such as Brittany , 12-16 m in height .
    In France, many rivers , but few lakes. Most of the rivers belong to the basin of the Atlantic Ocean.
    A few lakes of glacial origin in France mainly . The largest of them - it Bourget (45 square kilometers ) and Annecy ( 28kv.km ) in the Alps , deep and vast Lake Geneva in the piedmont trough serving as the border between France and Switzerland.
    France as a whole is quite rich in water resources . The entire surface of the country's annual rainfall of 528 cubic meters. km precipitation and annual runoff is 139 cubic meters. km . The explored reserves of underground water resources are estimated at 93 cubic meters. km . However, different parts of the country differently supplied with water . So , Mediterranean France is a clear shortage of water resources, which negatively affects the economy of the area.

    Soil, forests , agriculture

    A variety of geological structure, topography and climate of the country has given rise to diversity of soil and vegetation . Quite fruitful soil of France , except in those areas where they are formed by crystalline rocks and sands. For most of the lowlands is characterized by brown forest soil , the area is also significant humus calcareous soils developed on limestone , and in the north -west - brown podzolic soils. Special fertility differ brown forest soils of the North- French lowlands developed on loess-like loams. In the mountains, more brown mountain - forest soils .
    The natural environment in France is very much altered by human activity , almost everywhere dominated cultural landscapes .
    The forests that once covered almost the entire country , now occupy ¼ square, despite the increased after the Second World War, forest planting on vacant lots . Most large tracts of natural forest preserved in the mountains - the Vosges , Jura , Northern Alps .
    High-altitude vegetation belts pronounced in the Alps and Pyrenees, the lower slopes of the mountains about 800 m busy with oak and chestnut forests. At an altitude of 1800-2300 m fir forest , spruce , pine species are replaced by sub-alpine plants : thickets of dwarf pines, small flowering shrubs rododrendrona bright , juicy tall- meadows.
    Fauna of France strongly impoverished in the last hundred years. This is due to the direct destruction of animals and man, and the deterioration of the conditions of their existence due to human activities , especially deforestation . Yet the fauna of France remained better than in other major Western European countries.
    The country has five national parks , the largest of them is the " Vanoise ' at the Savoy (60 ha).
    Agriculture, as in all capitalist countries , has taken the form of agrarian business . In France, a lot of fertile land, which in turn allows France is one of the most economically developed states (France is member of the " Big Eight "). France is famous for its vineyards and , accordingly, its wines .
    Economy as a whole is also well developed .
    A crucial role in the economy and politics of France are playing dozens of monopolies that are closely related to each other and with foreign capital.


    Policy monopolies , the intervention of foreign capital into the economy of France reinforce the uneven development of individual industries. In some industries, heavy industry , particularly in the power generation, chemical, petrochemical , electrical engineering , manufacturing, supported in particular by the military orders is increasing. At the same time, production of steel is reduced, and in some industries producing consumer goods , such as textiles, stagnates .
    In France, many industry giants , such as "Reno" - car . In the 80s there was a huge trade deficit . Companies functioned only 75-85 %.
    In France, the high level of energy, but its consumption is small, and it has to import more than ½ of energy. The country produces only 1 million tons of oil. The main part of it must be imported , and mostly from the Middle East.
    The largest refineries are located in ports , at the mouth of the Seine between Rouen and Le Havre and near Marseille .
    In France, developed coal mining, but he has a very poor quality , it is bad coke and processed.
    Almost all the settlements of the country are electrified. Per inhabitant 4 million kWh of electricity per year.
    One-third of electricity produce 1.5 million power plant . The largest of them are based on the zone and in the upper river . Isere.
    France has the world's most powerful power plant that uses the energy of tides. It produces about 600 million kWh of electricity per year.


    France is a country of relatively homogeneous ethnically . Nearly nine tenths of its population and French . The official language , French, belongs to the Romance group of the Indo-European languages. Only marginal areas inhabited by ethnic groups, different language and culture. In the northeast live in Alsace Alsatians ( 1.3 million). The western regions of Brittany peninsula inhabited by Bretons (1 million). In the north of France, near the border with Belgium Flemish live (100 thousand). Inhabit the island of Corsica Corsican (300 thousand), and, finally, in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the west settled Basques (130 thousand), and the east - Catalans (200 thousand). Pyrenees ridge separates the region of their settlement into two unequal parts , the majority of these people live in Spain.
    The national question in France was never acutely .
    In France, the predominant religion of Catholicism . For Catholics is 84 % of the French , though this number v7hodyat and those who broke with religion , but with the birth baptized in the Catholic rite. About 2 % of the French Protestants , the rest of the faithful of the population belong to different sects.
    In France, the rapidly growing number of atheists. Today, only ¼ of the French to attend Sunday mass.
    France is the 4th largest population in Europe after Abroad : Germany, Italy and the UK. As in all developed countries, in France more deaths than births , especially after the crisis of the 30s , but after the Second World War, the birth rate from 1946 to 1975 increased sharply by 13 million people. However, the current demographic situation again alarming : in the early '60s to 1000 people registered for the year 18 babies, now the figure has dropped to 10-12 .
    According to the level of mortality (10-11 per 1000 inhabitants per year) France is not much different from the other capitalist countries of Europe. The average life expectancy for men 69 years of age. And for women , 76 years of age. In a country of 1.1 million men less than women , and this leads to same-sex marriages.

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