Alternative History
For the previous Ancien régime see Kingdom of France.

French Republic
République française
Timeline: Cromwell the Great
OTL equivalent: France
Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité
(French: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity)
La Marseillaise
(and largest city)
Other cities Nancy, Lille, Reims, Rennes, Le Mans, Dijon, Strasbourg, Lyons, Nice, Marseilles, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Limoges, Clermont-Ferrand, Nantes, Brest, Algiers, Oran and Bône
Official languages French
Regional languages Arabic, Berber, Indian languages (Hindi–Urdu, Tamil, Odia, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Konkani and Sanskrit)
Religion Secular state
Roman Catholic[1], Islam (Sunni), Protestants, Judaism, Non-Religious, Deism (Cult of Reason) and Atheism
Demonym French
Government Unitary executive presidential republic
 -  President Pauline de La Fayette
 -  Prime Minister Hector Lagrange
Legislature Congress
 -  Upper house Senate
 -  Lower house National Assembly
 -  Proclamation republic 5 October 1790 / 14 vndémiaire of Year I 
Currency French franc (subunit 1/100 centime)
Time zone Heure normale de France (HNF)[2] / GMT 0 / HNF 0
Date formats dd mm of year yyyy (French Republican Calendar)
Drives on the right
Membership international or regional organizations Congress System (member) and Fraternity of Nations (member with 2 votes)

Article 1. - La République française est une et indivisible.
Article 2. - L'universalité des citoyens français est le souverain.
(First two articles of the French Constitution)

France, officially the French Republic (French: République française), is a state in Western Europe with several overseas colonies, territories and islands located in Africa, Asia and Australia and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. The territories outside Metropolitan France are part of the French Overseas Territories.


The history of France is mostly the account of its political regimes from the failed constitutional monarchy to the various republican regimes it had. It is also the history of its rivalry with the Commonwealth.

The National Assembly and the fall of Constitutional Monarchy 1788-1790

End of monarchy - Proclamation Republic - European Revolutionary Wars

Louis XVII (Reign 1773-1790)
By the Grace of God and by the constitutional law of the State, King of the French and Emperor of India (Constitution of 1789)

Besides the economic and political turmoil in the least expected place of all, French Guiana, the last major conflict of the monarchy started in 1789. Since its colonization, it has been an unstable situation due to the interests and actions of the Dutch to capture it. An undeclared state of war existence being fought between French and Dutch privateers. However, a rash reaction from the governor of Guiana against Dutch and foreign merchant ships threw the Dutch navy to blockade Cayenne for compensation. The response was to send part of the French navy in the Antilles to clear Cayenne. A state war was declared by the King seeking to quell republican reforms on advice of royalists.

However the failed naval confrontation left more debt and demands for reform of a fleet to rival the British and Dutch ones.

Besides the failure of the constitutional monarchy the National Assembly is best remembered for the abolition of feudalism, the equality of law and the end of the privileges of the nobles. This period also marked the beginning of changes in social and cultural mores. The first registered use of citizen (citoyen and citoyenne) as an unofficial and common form of address between people and not referring to bourgeois or city dwellers comes in 1788 from an announcement in Vichy of a harvest festival.

The National Convention and Terror 1790-1796 (Years I-VII)

The National Convention (Terror - Jacobins) - Execution of Louis XVII - Constitution of the Year II - European Revolutionary Wars.

French republican cockade.

Coat of Arms of the Republic (1710-1809).

The National Convention, the first French assembly elected by a suffrage without distinctions of class, declared on its first session that by the will of the people it held constituent, legislative and executive powers. In the session of 5 October 1790 it unanimously declared France a republic. The next immediate business was the trial of Louis XVII and the draft of a new constitution.

The National Convention is mostly remembered, besides the Terror and the heroic defense of the Republic by voting for the adoption of the republican calendar, the metric system, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen of the Year II and universal male suffrage.

For both legislative and administrative the Convention used committees, with powers more or less widely extended and regulated by successive laws. The most famous of these committees included the Committee of Public Safety and the Committee of General Security. Later under the Constitution of Year II the head of state and government was the President of the Executive, elected every 12 months by the National Convention. The Executive was a 24-member council, besides the President, appointed by the Convention every 12 months in staged and separate elections from the one of its President. Its main role was to coordinate the sessions of the Convention and its committees. The President of the Executive signed the laws and decrees into effect, and had the first voice after the President of the Convention.

The Directory 1796-1801 (Years VII-XII)

End of Terror - Directorial Constitution - European Revolutionary Wars.

The Directorial Constitution of Year VII (1796) sought to remedy the worst of the terror and excess of power from either the legislative or executive and also the dangers from Jacobin extremism and royalist restoration. For that purpose the new constitution established a separation of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary. The executive had no had no voice in legislation or taxation, nor did any of its members sit in the legislature either house. To assure that the executive would have some independence, each would be elected by one portion of the legislature, and they could not be removed by the legislature unless they violated the law.

The Directorial Constitution established a five-man Directory that functioned as the executive chosen by the legislature in a complicated process and one Director, chosen by lot, was replaced each year. Ministers for the various departments of State aided the Directors. These ministers did not form a council or cabinet and had no general powers of government. A bicameral legislature with Council of Five Hundred and a Council of Ancients with two hundred fifty members. Elections were by means of cantonal and departmental electoral assemblies. The members of the legislature had a term of three years, with one-third of the members renewed every year. The Ancients could not initiate new laws, but could veto those proposed by the Council of Five Hundred.

The judicial system was reformed, and judges were given short terms of office[3]. They were elected, and could be re-elected, to assure their independence from the other branches of government.

Under the new Constitution to be eligible to vote in the elections for the Councils, voters were required to meet certain minimum property and residency standards. In towns with over six thousand population, they had to own or rent a property with a revenue equal to the standard income for at least one hundred fifty or two hundred days of work, and to have lived in their residence for at least a year.

Exposition des produits de l'industrie française de l'année X[4] was the first industrial exposition in the World being the first exhibitions a propagandistic showcase of French technology and industrial production.

The immediate goals of the Directory were to continue the War and secure a victory and peace, solve the economic crisis that was continual under the Directory despite its efforts to control inflation, secure revenues and solvency of french currency. But this caused a new crisis; prices and wages fell, and economic activity slowed to a standstill. Despite a series of military triumphs and diplomatic approaches from Britain to arrange a permanent peace. Also the middle and moderate curse of the Directory did not fully solve the constant political crisis.

The Directory is best remembered for its military victories in Italy and Germany and the initial plans to use the scientific and technological advances in the nascent Industrial Revolution and warfare. These plans would fully bloom in the Consulate.

The Grand Electorship 1801-1809 (Years XII-XX)

Grand Elector Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès (1801-1809)

The Coup of Brumaire of Year XII[5] saw the dismissal of the Directory and the installation of a provisory executive triumvirate under Emmanuel Sieyès supported by the Army. Once again attacking the effectiveness of the previous regime in this case also marred by wide scale corruption, the electoral manipulation in order to purge its rivals and the constant economical crisis. The new authorities promised only order and triumph. That is to say economic and social order and victory in the Revolutionary Wars that had become an escape valve for internal dissent and military rivals.

This time a constitutional commission drafted a new Grand Elector ship constitution and had it approved in plebiscite. The new constitution provides for a strong executive and limitation of participation of citizens in government. The Grand Elector (Grand Electeur) is to be named for life by the Senate, which is composed of life members recruited through coaptation (based on lists submitted by the Legislative Corps, the Tribunate and the Council of State). The Senate could revoke the Grand Elector's position if he was found to have acted against the country's best interest. The Grand Electorship marked the change from collective executive to a unipersonal one, breaking the previous constitutional arrangements since the installation of the National Assembly of a collective executive.

Legislative power belongs to the Legislative Corps (composed of members taken from the National List) but could only act when submitted a project by the Council of State (the government) or by the Tribunat (representing the people). The executive power was held by the Ministers from the Government Council of Foreign Affairs (army, navy, diplomacy, etc...) and the Government Council of Internal Affairs (administration, roadworks, religion, etc...).

Elections were done by means of electoral assemblies as usual since the revolution. Voters and electors were required to be over 25 years, read and write, certain minimum property and residency standards.

Consulate and Pax Gallica 1809-1840 (Years XX-LI)

First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte (1809-1826)

The Coup of Floreal of Year XIX[6] organized by Napoleon Bonaparte[7] and several republican officers and troop did away with the increasingly unpopular Grand Electorship. On installing the provisional government it called for a constituent assembly to draft and vote a new constitution that was later approved by plebiscite. To make clear its republican credentials it proceeded to open elections to all citizens over 21 years of age, in effect universal male suffrage. It rescinded of electoral assemblies but established one year of permanent residency, property qualifications, able to read and write, and as conditions to be and to be registered in the electoral rolls.

The Constituent Assembly established the Consulate, a moderation of the strong executive of the Grand Electorship (but more effective than Directory). Its chief characteristics were:

  • The executive was formed by three consuls appointed for ten years and indefinitely re-eligible. The First Consul promulgates the laws, appoints and dismisses the members of the Council of State, ministers, ambassadors and other foreign agents, officers of the army and navy, members of the local administrations, and the commissioners of the government before the tribunals. He appoints all criminal and civil judges other than the justices of the peace and the judges of cassation, without power to remove them. Second and Third Consuls have a consultative voice and have the powers delegated to them by the First Consul or the legislative.
  • A fully elected bicameral legislative: a Senate of 80 men over the age of 40, and Legislative Body (Corps législatif) of 300 men or tribunes. The senators and tribunes are elected directly by means of specific electoral districts. The legislative votes the laws and national budget. The consuls are elected by the Senate from a list of three candidates drawn up by the Legislative Body.
  • And as return to normalcy the proclamation to continue with the liberties, the more moderate gains of the Revolution and Peace.

One of the first actions of the new regime was to seek peace by diplomacy with the foreign enemies of the Revolution. A truce and the Congress of Vienna (1810) marked the end of the Revolutionary Wars. Both war exhaustion and inability for either side to break the gridlock pushed all sides to negotiate peace and establish a status quo. France kept some of its territorial war gains, the main sister republics (Rhenania-Confederation of the Rhine and Italian Republic) under its influence and established an alliance of convenience with Britannia in order to keep under check the rise of Russia and Prussia in Eastern Europe.

First Consul Bonaparte along with his fellow vice-consuls inaugurated a period of economic recovery after a long period of warfare with half of Europe and Britannia. National finances, in turmoil were balanced and reorganized, a new taxation code and currency reform were the main achievements. A balanced budget and extensive plan of public works were the main concerns of the Consulate in its first years. Colonial expansion was retaken, specifically in recovering French India from the yoke of the Bourbon viceroy and competing with Britannia in Australia.

Politically, under First Consul Bonaparte and later espoused by his successors, stability, public order and national glory were the main goals. A pragmatic middle of the road approach to govern was followed and were the guidelines of the ruling Moderate Reformists, later Moderate Republicans (1809-1846).

The Reform of Times 1840-... (Year LI-...)

Year L marks more or less the beginning of the Réforme des temps (Reform of Times) in its political and social dimensions and the Belle Époque for its cultural and artistic dimensions.

The Spirit of 1838 opened up for political reforms under First Consul François Arago. The Senate and the Legislative Body assembled as constituent assembly proceeded to extensively reform the constitution.

The Constitution of Year L (July 1840) established a more democratic political structure. All executive, legislative and local governments became fully elected and non elected membership abolished. Political and human rights as proclaimed during the French Revolution became fully recognized and enforce, the judiciary was guaranteed independence from political power.

The Constitution of Year L established a joint executive with the separation of the roles of Head of State (President) and Head of Government (President of the Council). The latter unofficially used for the chief of the ministers since 1829. The constitution established a more democratic political structure. All executive, legislative and local governments became fully elected and non elected membership abolished.

France started to fully integrated its colonies, territories and allies into its economic system. The French Indian territories and allied states were developed in a major provider of goods and market of manufactured goods, becoming along Britannia one of the two major colonial-imperial nations. The economic exploitation of oil, rubber and minerals of African territories would get a serious push in this period.

Heads of State and Government

Palais des Tuileries, Paris. Official presidential residence and offices. Previously the First Consul's residence and offices (1811-1826)

The political system according to the Constitution of Year L (July 1840) of France consists of an executive branch, a legislative branch, and a judicial branch. Executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic and the Government. The Government consists of the Prime Minister and ministers.

The president of France is the head of state and head of executive of France, as well as the commander-in-chief of the French Armed Forces. The president is elected for a six year mandate with unlimited reelection by an electoral college, the electors of the Republic. :For more details: see President of France

The Prime Minister (President of the Council) is appointed by the President, and is responsible to the National Assembly. The government, including the Prime Minister, can be revoked by the National Assembly, through a "censure motion"; this ensures that the Prime Minister is always supported by a majority of the lower house.

The legislative branch is the Congress, a bicameral body. The Congress consists of the National Assembly and the Senate. The first is composed of directly elected deputies and the senators named by the electors of the Republic. Congress passes statutes and votes on the budget; it controls the action of the executive through formal questioning on the floor of the houses of Congress and by establishing commissions of inquiry.

The judiciary is organized in the Court of Cassation (cour de cassation) is the highest level of appeal in civil and criminal cases and the Council of State (Conseil d'État) that acts both as legal adviser of the executive branch and as the supreme court for administrative justice. Below the Court of Cassation and Council of State the judiciary is organized in civil, criminal and administrative courts.

France is a unitary state. However, its administrative subdivisions— departments and communes—have various legal functions, and the national government is limited from intruding into their normal operations.

Heads of State and Government
  • King of France and Emperor of India (Constitution of 1789)
    • Louis XVII 1788-1790.
  • President of Executive, elected every 12 months by the National Convention 1790-1796
  • Directory (a five member executive) 1796-1801
  • Grand Elector Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès 1801-1809
  • Consulate - First Consul
    • Napoleon Bonaparte 1809-1826
    • Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord 1826-1826
    • Lazare Carnot 1826-1829
    • Jean Bernadotte 1829-1839
    • François Arago 1839-1840
  • President of the Republic
    • Achille Murat 1840-1846
    • Odilon Barrot 1846-1852
    • Claude-Frédéric Bastiat 1852-1858
    • Pauline de La Fayette 1858-1862
    • ...

Society and Culture

Contemporary French society has been shaped by the Revolution in an after and before. In the Old Regime of the Kingdom of France, it was an unequal and hierarchical society divided between the privileges of the nobility, craftsmen, artisans, merchants, and the disposed serfs and peasants within the framework of feudalism. Political power had its apex in the King and his administration and functionaries that oscillated between Absolutism Enlighten despotism.

The decrees of 1792 and 1794 established the basis of the decimal hour and the Hour of Paris (Heure de Paris) as the standard time of reference. In 1810 under the Consulate it was established as the national and official time for France and the Hour of Paris was renamed the Normal Hour of France (Heure normale de France, HNF).

The Republican Calendar is officially use in France and its colonies since 24 October 1792. The French Republican Calendar is adopted and also extended proleptically to its epoch of 22 September 1790. The epoch marking is the Year I of the Republic (22 September 1790).

The National Holidays (Fêtes nationales) can be classified in a) national holidays of obligatory observance, b) civic days, c) moral days observed by the Cult of Reason, and e) National Days celebrated for cultural reasons due to religious observance or cultural customs.

National Holidays (Fêtes nationales) Date Note
Début de l'ère républicaine / Fête de la République / Jour de l'An ou Nouvel An 1 vendémiaire Calendar mark French New Year (Beginning of the republican era)
Fondation de la République 14 vendémiaire Civic day. Proclamation of the Republic
Fête des morts 10 brumaire National day celebrated for cultural reasons (Halloween)
Toussaint 11 brumaire National day celebrated for cultural reasons (All Saints' Day)
Fête aux bienfaiteurs de l'humanité 21 brumaire Moral day (birth of Voltaire)
Fête anniversaire de rétablissement de la Culte de la Raison 25 brumaire Moral and Civic day. Date of the first Laws of Brumaire of year VII, 1797 that established the Cult of Reason. One of the two major days and festivities.
Fête de la Tolérance 15 frimaire Moral day
Noël / Nativité / Journée de la famille 5 nivôse National Holiday celebrated for cultural reasons (Chrismas Day)
New Year Day in Gregorian Calendar 12 nivôse Marked in calendar (unofficial holiday)
Fête aux bonnes moeurs 15 nivôse Moral day
Épiphanie / Journée de l'enfance 17 nivôse National Holiday celebrated for cultural reasons (Epiphany)
Fête de la Paix (Old date) 30 nivôse Old civic day. Celebrated until 1810
Fête de la Souveraineté de peuple 30 Ventôse Civic day (Elections usually held in this date)
Carnaval Movable between 2 germinal and 6 floreal Movable between March 22 and April 25 (unofficial holiday)
Milieu de l'année 1 germinal Calendar mark of half year (unofficial holiday)
Fête de la jeunesse 10 germinal Moral day
Pasques (fête) Movable between 1 germinal and 6 floreal (26 March and 25 April National Holiday celebrated for cultural reasons (Easter)
Fête des époux 10 floréal Moral day
Fête des travailleurs (Fête de mai) 12 floréal National Day Celebrated for cultural reasons
Fête nationale de Jeanne d'Arc 19 floréal Civic day (liberation of Orleans 8 may 1429)
Fête de la Reconnaissance 10 pradial Moral day
Fête de la Raison / Fête de l'Être suprême / Fête de Culte de l'Être suprême 20 prairial an II (8 June 1794) Moral day. One of the two major days and festivities of the Cult of Reason
Journée de la Paix (New date) 21 pradial (9 June 1810) Civic day. Established in 1810 as new date. Celebrates the Treaty of Vienna
Fête en l'honneur des grands hommes et femmes de la patrie 30 pradial Civic day
Fête de l'Agriculture 10 messidor, at harvest time. Depending on the region Civi day was a former moral day
Fête de la Constitution de l'année L 19 messidor Civic day
Fête nationale française / Fête de la fédération, l'anniversaire de la prise de la Bastille 26 messidor (14 July 1791) National Holiday
Fête de la Liberté 9 et 10 thermidor Moral day
Assomption 28 thermidor National Day celebrated for cultural reasons (Assumption of Mary)
Fête des vieillards 10 fructidor Moral day
Fête de la Justice et de clémence 18 fructidor Moral day
Les jours complémentaires 5 days / 6 days in leap years National Holiday. The Complementary days

The main national french newspapers are Journal de Paris, Le Républicain, La Bouche, Gazette nationale, Le nouvelle Courier, Le Moniteur universel, and La Presse. There are also varouis regional and local newspapers and magazines.


The Huguenot cross, the most recognizable and popular symbol of the French evangelical reformed faith (Huguenots).

Before the Revolution the majority of the people were members and adherents of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless, minorities of French Protestants (mostly Huguenots and German Lutherans in Alsace) and Jews still lived in France at the beginning of the Revolution.

As the largest landowner in the country, the Catholic Church controlled properties which provided massive revenues from its tenants; the Church also had an enormous income from the collection of tithes. Since the Church kept the registry of births, deaths, and marriages and was the only institution that provided hospitals and education in some parts of the country, it influenced all citizens.

Criticism coming from the Enlightenment and the new political situation of the Revolution launched a series of measures in order to abolish the influence of the Church. The first measures were the abolition of the privileges and tithes gathered by the clergy.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of the Year II proclaimed freedom of religion across France. In 1789 the National Assembly passed the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. It created the so called by later authors, the Gallican Constitutional Church. Its main provisions established a national Catholic Church, banned monastic vows, rearranged dioceses according to the new administrative division and stated that officials of the church could not provide commitment to anything outside of France, specifically the Pope. Also the Church land was confiscated. Laws also abolished and disbanded the monastic orders and seized their property. Lastly it made bishops and priests elected locally and declared loyalty to the Constitution and Laws. Authority of the Pope over the appointment of clergy was reduced to the right to be informed of election results.

The Civil Constitution of the Clergy divided priests into Jurors (those accepting it) and Non-Jurors or refractory priests (those that reject it). The latter were stripped of their appointments and forbidden to hold mass and give religious sacraments. The Non-Jurors were exiled and the majority settled in Royalists Louisiana.

The Eye of Province. Masonic and Deist symbol.

The more radical revolutionaries also promoted de-Christianization of society. Actions such as the Republican Calendar that replaced the Christian calendar and Civic Festivals were scheduled.

Contemporary symbol used by the Cult of Reason.

Atheism was frowned on as amoral, decadent and aristocratic and contrary to the spiritual and moral renewal of a republican society. However, for the most radical, the goal was to establish a new Civic Religion in place of Catholicism. Various forms of Deism, promoted and propagated by the more radical elements, appeared and were erratically promoted by local authorities. The most important ones were the Cult of Reason, the Cult of the Supreme Being and Theophilanthropists. All these Deist cults were influenced by British Deism and the Freemasonry. Festivals were organized by these Cults. However, as part of the divisions and infighting among republicans, many participants were denounced as anti-revolutionaries depending on whose side they were on.

Under the Directory the Cult of Reason (French: Culte de la Raison) was promoted as an official policy. Its creed and philosophical tenets were more clearly defined, places of gathering and ceremonies created, authorities established for its direction and manuals published. All other Deist cults were required to join it or be declared illegal. Under the Grand Electorship the Cult of Reason became a normal part of society and everyday life and it took its definitive form. The Cult of Reason spread among the sister republics, Netherlands, the American republics and Louisiana. In the Commonwealth it was a brief novelty and later practiced by the more educated and skeptical members of the National Churches.

Under First Consul Bonaparte a pragmatic approach was followed towards ending the French Catholic Schism and carrying out the separation of Church and State under the Constitution of Year XIX (1809). The Concordat of 1811 reestablished the Catholic Church and ended the State sponsored Gallican Constitutional Church.

Also between 1809-1811 several Organic Laws grated state recognition to the Calvinists (Huguenots, organized in the Protestant Reformed Church), evangelical Protestants (Église de la Confession d'Augsbourg de France), Judaism (Consistoire central israélite de France) and Muslims (Haut conseil islamique). The Ministry of Public Worship and Religious Affairs (1809 to date) supervises all religious worship in France and its territories and oversees the constitutional separation of the Churches and the State.


The main political groups are:

  • Conservatives, rally of conservatives of all sorts. Internally it was at odds internally between Royalist Louisiana and those willing to come to terms with the Republic. Mostly dissolved when it broke into the Party of Order and Reformists.
  • Party of Order. Regrouping of Conservatism and Dynastic Left that rejected Bourbon restoration and Royalist Louisiana. Later became a Reformist.
  • Reformism. Merger of several groups and personalities that rejected Conservatism and the part of the right-wing of Bonapartism.
  • National Liberalism, previously called moderate republicanism. Chiefly associated with Bonapartism and the policies of the Napoleonic Consulate. In time it became the Center party of the Consulate.
  • Republicans. The old left-wing of the Revolution and anti-Bonapartist Girondists. Most of its members would go to several liberal and left-wing groups.
  • Liberal Republicanism. The group is moderate, anti-clerical and mainly in favor of economic liberalism and disdainful of State intervention.
  • Democratic Socialist. The left-wing of the moderate republicanism from whom they split from.
  • Republican Solidarity (Solidarité Républicaine). One of the major left-wing parties that revindicates revolutionary Jacobinism.


The French economy is tied to the following major events and trends: the Revolution, the European Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Consulate, the competition with the Commonwealth and its other neighbors in regards to industrial development and economic growth.

The French Revolution abolished many of the constraints on the economy that had emerged during the old regime. The Revolution made a major land reform with the sale of lands of the nobility and the Church creating a class of small landowners. and the investment of land and increased production. It also provided for the removal of the restraints of Mercantilism and Feudalism and made a general turnover to a more Capitalist economy.

The European Revolutionary Wars and the constant conflicts with the Commonwealth and neighbors stimulated production at the cost of investment and growth. the production of armaments and other military supplies, fortifications, and the general channeling of the society toward the establishment and maintenance of massed armies, temporarily increased economic activity after several years of revolution.

The Napoleonic Consulate started with the modernization of the unsteady financial system and the post War economic recovery. The creation of the Bank of France, the rationalization of the tax and customs, improved and modern economic legislation enable an accumulation and movement of financial capital both in State and private hands.The State fostered the study of engineering, technical innovation and the modernization of roads and laying down of railroad tracks that improved the The state provided for a protected internal market by a systematic exclusion of all imports from Britain, the Netherlands and Flanders.

The French colonial empire, the second largest colonial empire in the world only behind the British Empire, provided an outlet for manufactured goods, investment in exchange of supplying raw materials. The main source of investments and high profits is India, one of France’s most precious holdings.

Administrative Division

The territories of France are administratively divided in departments (political chief Prefect), districts (later arrondissement, under the direction of a subprefect), cantons and communes.

The Governor-generalships are the basic autonomous or non autonomous administrative divisions of the colonies. These are also divided in departments, arrondissements, cantons and communes.

The former self-governing provincial states (Etats) were established as a means to give local autonomy to selected colonies and help in the war effort. However, they were rapidly done away with when Haiti and Louisiana became independent against the rule of the metropolis.

The French departments are

Metropolitan France
  1. Ain (Bourg)
  2. Aisne (Laon)
  3. Allier (Moulins)
  4. Alpes-Maritimes (Nice)
  5. Ardèche (Privas)
  6. Ardennes (Mézières)
  7. Ariège (Foix)
  8. Aube (Troyes)
  9. Aude (Carcassonne)
  10. Aveyron (Rodez)
  11. Bas-Rhin (Strasbourg)
  12. Basses-Alpes (Digne)
  13. Basses-Pyrénées (Pau)
  14. Bouches-du-Rhône (Marseille)
  15. Calvados (Caen)
  16. Cantal (Aurillac)
  17. Charente (Angoulême)
  18. Charente-Inférieure (Saintes)
  19. Cher (Bourges)
  20. Corrèze (Tulle)
  21. Côte-d'Or (Dijon)
  22. Côtes-du-Nord (Saint-Brieuc)
  23. Creuse (Guéret)
  24. Deux-Sèvres (Niort)
  25. Dordogne (Périgueux)
  26. Doubs (Besançon)
  27. Drôme (Valence)
  28. Eure (Évreux)
  29. Eure-et-Loir (Chartres)
  30. Finistère (Quimper)
  31. Gard (Nîmes)
  32. Gers (Auch)
  33. Gironde (Bordeaux)
  34. Haute-Garonne (Toulouse)
  35. Haute-Loire (Le Puy)
  36. Haute-Marne (Chaumont)
  37. Hautes-Alpes (Gap)
  38. Haute-Saône (Vesoul)
  39. Hautes-Pyrénées (Tarbes)
  40. Haute-Vienne (Limoges)
  41. Haut-Rhin (Colmar)
  42. Hérault (Montpellier)
  43. Ille-et-Vilaine (Rennes)
  44. Indre (Châteauroux)
  45. Indre-et-Loire (Tours)
  46. Isère (Grenoble)
  47. Jura (Lons-le-Saunier)
  48. Landes (Mont-de-Marsan)
  49. Loire (Montbrison)
  50. Loire-Inférieure (Nantes)
  51. Loiret (Orléans)
  52. Loir-et-Cher (Blois)
  53. Lot (Cahors)
  54. Lot-et-Garonne (Agen)
  55. Lozère (Mende)
  56. Maine-et-Loire (Angers)
  57. Manche (Saint-Lô)
  58. Marne (Châlons-sur-Marne)
  59. Mayenne (Laval)
  60. Meurthe (Nancy)
  61. Meuse (Bar-sur-Ornain)
  62. Morbihan (Vannes)
  63. Moselle (Metz)
  64. Nièvre (Nevers)
  65. Nord (Lille)
  66. Oise (Beauvais)
  67. Orne (Alençon)
  68. Pas-de-Calais (Arras)
  69. Puy-de-Dôme (Clermont)
  70. Pyrénées-Orientales (Perpignan)
  71. Rhône (Lyon)
  72. Saône-et-Loire (Mâcon)
  73. Sarthe (Le Mans)
  74. Seine (Paris)
  75. Seine-et-Marne (Melun)
  76. Seine-et-Oise (Versailles)
  77. Seine-Inférieure (Rouen)
  78. Somme (Amiens)
  79. Tarn (Albi)
  80. Tarn-et-Garonne (Montauban)
  81. Var (Draguignan)
  82. Vaucluse (Avignon)
  83. Vendée (Napoléonville)
  84. Vienne (Poitiers)
  85. Vosges (Épinal)
  86. Yonne (Auxerre)
  1. Alger
  2. Constantine
  3. Oran
  4. Territoires du Sud
French Antilles (or French West Indies)
  1. Guadeloupe (Basse-Terre) Includes island of Marie-Galante
  2. Martinique (Fort-de-France)
  3. Grenade
  4. Dominique (Roseau)
  5. Tobago (Scarborough)
  6. Sainte-Lucie (Castries)
  7. Saint-Vincent-et-les-Grenadines (Barrouallie)
  8. Saint-Christophe-et-Niévès (Basseterre) Includes Saint Barthélemy
  9. Sainte-Croix (Sainte-Croix)
Equinoctial France
  1. Guyane (Cayenne)
Overseas Indian Ocean
  1. Île de Réunion
  2. Île de France

Colonies and territories of France

The colonies and territories of France consists of the following entities:

  1. Colonies, semi-autonomous governor-generalship and Overseas regions
  2. former provincial states ((1790-1796)
  3. French Territory of India and its provinces (1827 to date)
  4. Associated states (1825 to date)
  5. Protectorates
  6. Territories and settlements under direct rule
  7. Treaty Polity, ad hoc arrangement between the Commonwealth, France and the Netherlands for Aotearoa

In the Americas

  • French West Indies (including Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Martin, Saint-Barthélemy, La Grenade, St. Croix, St. Vincent, Saint-Christopher, Tobago and other smaller islands) until it was departmentalized
  • French Guyana. Initially a department later administered as semi-autonomous Governor-generalship
  • Louisiana. Given self-government as Provincial State (1790-1791) later became the independent Royalist Louisiana (1791-18338) and finally proclaimed itself an independent republic.
  • Saint-Domingue. Given self government as Provincial State. Later it proclaimed itself an independent in 1796 as the Republic of Haiti

In the Indian Ocean

  • Île de Réunion
  • Île de France

India after the Carnatic Wars[8]. Under royalist rule from 1792 to 1825.

  • French Carnatic Coast (capital Pondichéry)
  • French Malabar-Kerala Territory (Capital Mahe)
  • French Northern Circars (Capital Yanaon)

French Territories of India (Governor-Generalship of India, from 1825 to date).

  • Province of Carnatic Coast (capital: Pondichéry)
  • Province of Malabar-Kerala Territory (Mahe)
  • Province of Circars (Yanaon)
  • Province of Orissa (Puri)

Associated states and protectorates after the Carnatic Wars and post 1825:

  • Border Kingdom of Mysore (associated state)
  • Border Kingdom of Travancore (associated state)
  • Kingdom of Coorg (protectorate)
  • Border State of Hyderabad (protectorate)
  • Deccan Protectorates

In Africa

  • Dakar, former Cap-Vert and Gorée a colony
  • Rivières du Sud a coastal settlement
  • Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire) a coastal settlement
  • Gabon. Became an independent free state.
  • Namib
  • Sofala. Former Portuguese colony (part of Mozambique) occupied by France

In Australasia and Oceania

  • Cygnia (French colony 1779 to date). Administered as a an autonomous overseas regions
  • Nouvelle Brabant (former Dutch colony, seized by France 1804 to date) Administered as an autonomous Governor-generalship
  • Baudin (Separated from Cygnia 1821 to date) autonomous Governor-generalship
  • Nullarbor (Administered by Cygnia, later Colony 1830 to date)
  • Australian Desert. Claimed by France 1830 to date
  • Border Aotearoa (Treaty Polity recognized by the Commonwealth, France and Netherlands)
  • New Caledonia or Kanaky (disputed by France and Britain, later assigned to France). Administered as a non-autonomous Governor-generalship.
  • Kingdom of Tahiti, protectorate later merged into French Polynesia
  • Kingdom of Bora-Bora, protectorate later merged into French Polynesia
  • Kingdom of Raiatea, protectorate later merged into French Polynesia
  • Kingdom of Huahine, protectorate later merged into French Polynesia
  • French Polynesia, colony

  1. Constitutional Church (1789-1811)
  2. The Heure normale de France, like its successor Heure de Paris, is a decimal time system (day=10 hours, 1 hour=100 minutes). National hour of France since 1810.
  3. two years for justices of the peace, five for judges of department tribunals
  4. Exhibition of Products of French Industry of the Year X (1799)
  5. November 1801
  6. April 1809
  7. Napoleon Bonaparte (Ajaccio, August 1769- Paris, June 1826)
  8. According to the Clive-Dupleix Agreement (France and Britain) of 1761