France is the largest state in the European Union by area and the third largest in Europe behind Russia and Ukraine. France has been a major power for many centuries with strong economic, cultural, military and political influence. During the 17th and 18th centuries, France colonized great parts of North America; during the 19th and early 20th centuries, France built the second largest empire of the time, including large portions of North, West and Central Africa, Southeast Asia, and many Pacific islands.
After the French Revolution unseated the monarch of France in the last decade of the 18th century, France has gone through a series of governmental systems and constitutions. At present, it is under the government of the Fifth Republic.
Prior to, and during, the Thirty Years' War, the Kingdom of France had undergone religious conflicts between the Catholics and Protestant Huguenots. The most recent conflict came in 1628 under the reign of Louis XIII, when Cardinal Richelieu forced Protestants to disband their army and surrender fortresses.
During the early phase of the Thirty Years' War, Richelieu was interested in checking the power of the Habsburg dynasty. In 1631, France entered into an agreement with Gustavus Adolphus, by which France agreed to support the Swedes with 1,000,000 livres each year in return for a Swedish promise to maintain an army in Germany against the Habsburgs, the Holy Roman Empire and Spain, France's primary rival. But this alliance ended a year later when the American town of Grantville appeared in Germany. Gustavus Adolphus entered into a new alliance with the newly established New United States and reneged on his deal with Cardinal Richelieu.
Richelieu realized the presence of the modern American town threatened the balance of power in Europe, as well as threatening the status quo. He made an arrangement with Albrecht von Wallenstein, in which Wallenstein would attack Grantville. However, the Croat cavalry Wallenstein used for this attack was decisively defeated.
In 1633, France joined with England, Spain, and Denmark to form the so-called League of Ostend and attacked the Dutch fleet at Dunkirk, igniting the Ostend War. French military and naval forces, along with their Danish allies, besieged Luebeck and attempted to seize Wismar in order to cut Gustavus off from the Baltic Sea lines of communications (SLOCs) in an attempt to starve him out and cut him off from Sweden.
Also, under Richelieu's influence, many people, such as Henri, Vicomte Turenne, who had become major military leaders in the original timeline were elevated in the military ranks; and military research and development was undertaken. One result of this was the development of a successful breech-loading rifle, "the Cardinal". However, this was met with vehement disdain from the older military establishment. In 1634, the French suffered a series of major defeats when the USE Navy broke the League blockade of Luebeck. This forced the French Army to abandon the city and and attempt to retreat back to France on foot. However, the army was shattered at the Battle of Ahrensbök. Between these losses and Denmark's defeat by the USE, France was deeply shaken. This led to widespread dissatisfaction and unrest, especially among the nobility and the urban patrician class. This weakened the position of Cardinal Richelieu vis-a-vis his opponents, especially Gaston, Duke of Orléans.
Ultimately, France made peace with the USE after Richelieu and others finally realized that they could not contain the spreading influence of the USE and the Americans. Despite the peace, France still remained turbulent from the aftermath of the Ostend War. Richelieu attempted to prevent Duke Gaston's growing influence from supplanting his brother on the French throne by arranging, with the knowledge of King Louis, an affair between Queen Anne and Jules Mazarin in order to produce an heir. However, this provoked Gaston to orchestrate the attack which caused his brother's death.
France in Trail of GloryEdit
In 1814, the United Kingdom was simultaneously in combat with Napoleon's Empire of France and the United States. However, it was clear that France was on the verge of defeat by the time of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in March, 1814. By April, Napoleon had abdicated, and Britain now turned its complete attention to the U.S. Many veterans of the war with France brought their expertise to bear in 1814-1815.