France is a dominant nation, though not a true superpower. France’s humiliation in the War of German Reunification brought down the old government, and France is now an empire. The aftershocks have slightly reduced French prestige in the international community, but its position in Europe is almost unchanged from that of the previous century.
France’s African and interstellar holdings provide excellent markets for its manufactured goods and produce exotic imports for trade with other terrestrial nations. Despite a highly developed scientific establishment (including majority control of the ESA), French industry lags somewhat behind that of other nations in the practical application of technological advances.
FRENCH EUROPEAN DEMOGRAPHICS
- Population: 106,902,000 (88% urban, 72% rural)
- Literacy: 100%
- College Education: 89%
- Life Expectancy: 93.0 male, 97.6 female
- Largest Cities: Paris Metroplex (14,000,000), Rhine Metroplex (22,000,000), Marseilles (7,000,000)
FRENCH EUROPEAN ECONOMICS
- Industrial Capacity: 11 Rudell Units
- Mineral Production: 32%, net importer of minerals
- Power Production: 75% (70% solar, 18% atomic, 12% mineral), net importer of power
- Principal Trading Partners: Extraterrestrial colonies, Great Britain, America, Manchuria, European community
FRENCH CENTRAL AFRICAN DEMOGRAPHICS
French Central Africa consists of Biafra, Cameroon, Chad, Gabon, Katanga, Ubangi Shari, and Zaire.
- Population: 428,217,000 (73% urban, 27% rural)
- Literacy: 78%
- College Education: 41%
- Life Expectancy: 75.1 male, 78.8 female
- Largest Cities: Libreville (17,840,000), Kinshasa (11,450,000), Brazzaville (7,774,000)
FRENCH CENTRAL AFRICAN ECONOMICS
- Industrial Capacity: 12 Rudell Units
- Agricultural Output: 82%, net importer of grain
- Mineral Production: 77%, net importer of metals
- Power Production: 210%. net exporter of power (beanstalk grid) (100% solar, 0% atomic, 0% mineral)
- Principal Trading Partners: France, America, Japan
History Since Twilight
During Twilight, France extended its border to the Rhine to establish a buffer zone, and has maintained that boundary since; assistance to, and domination of, Bavaria has helped to maintain the border. At the same time, Belgium was placed under French protection (it was made a department of France in 2037) In the Flemish War of Independence, Flanders forced France to accept its independence.
French foreign policy involved France in all corners of the world, never overtly imperialistic, but never reluctant to involve itself diplomatically or militarily when French interests were involved. French policy was to make territories into departments of France. The nation of France has many departments which are not, located in Europe: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chat, Djibouti, Guinea Coast, Guyana, Katanga, New Caledonia, Senegal, and Zaire and others in central Africa. France also has off-world departments, which have their own entries.
Expansion and Empire
The rise of France and its importance in world markets gave a great advantage to African members of the French Commercial Union (FCU). Their relationship to France as former colonies gave them precedence over other African nations for investment, trade, and diplomatic and military defense. As France led the world out of Twilight, Cameroon, Chad, Zaire, and the Guinea Coast enjoyed a favored relationship with France. When France built its orbital catapults, equatorial Zaire was selected as one of two sites, producing an economic boom in the region as well as continuing industrialization. The African interior was conquered with air and road networks, African resources were exploited to support French industry and local industry as well.
In 2104, Zaire first petitioned for status as a department of France, that status was granted in 2111. Through the next half century, Cameroon, Chad, Katanga, and the Guinea Coast were also made departments By 2200, Senegal and Burkina Faso were also departments Through the 23rd century, there were more French in Africa than in France itself; more importantly, more tax revenues for the nation came from Africa than from European France Necessarily, the French world view became more hemispherical than European.
The costly French victory in the Central Asian War in 2287 produced well-grounded charges of poor support and supply for the army In 2289, the army staged a coup which threw out the 12th Republic and established a system of monopolies in vital industries. These monopolies were profitable for the contractors, but inefficient sources of supply; and with typical military thinking, the coup printed money to pay national debts The result was runaway inflation and tremendous social unrest When the armed forces could not stop or win the War of German Unification (2292 to 2293) or the Flemish War of Independence (2293), the army was forced to allow free elections.
Because political opposition had been suppressed, there were no organized political structures in existence to campaign The leading personality was Nicolas Ruffin, a leading industrialist as well as a free market advocate, he and his followers were swept into office in the elections of 2294 A combined policy of free market economics within the FCU and stringent controls of government spending produced tangible results by 2298.
Although national elections were to be held to establish a new French constitution and republic in 2298, a popular movement to dispense with republics and regain the glory of empires gained considerable support during the period of economic recovery. The balloting of 2298 included a plebiscite on the matter of establishing a French Empire, and the issue passed handily. In later 2298, Nicolas Ruffin was crowned Emperor of France and the Third French Empire was then inaugurated.
French Central Africa
Those nations at the feet of the great beanstalk are arguably those benefiting from it the least. French Central Africa can boast the most impressive city on Earth, Libreville, and sufficient commerce to link the Earth to the far-flung colonies, but its nations show the scars of long-term colonial status more than any others in Africa.
Libreville is a corporate haven. Every major business, industry, bank, and foundation has offices here, all in the modern sleek sky-needle design which has come to symbolize the beanstalk and its power Surrounding this core of ultimate business are the residential estates of managers and executives from around this world and from the distant colony worlds. The central portions of the city are a millionaire’s paradise, with accommodations and excesses at his fingertips, the benefits of wealth around every turn
But the modern cityscape and Earth’s most luxurious homes stand in stark contrast to the miles and miles of slums which surround Libreville and every other great city in the region. Without direction, without national pride, largely without education or skills, the masses of central Africa have descended upon the cities in search of lobs and progress. The helping hand of French imperialism has thus far been more than accommodating to the businesses eager to take advantage bi the elevator to the stars, but it has done almost nothing to better the condition of the poor and uneducated‘beneath it. In the terminology of the day, the French are prepared to climb to the stars, regardless of the number of African bodies they must stand on in order to do it.
Regardless, Libreville is the heart of Earth’s multiworld civilization. At the economical interface point between homeworld and colony, the city has grown to facilitate the enormous traffic in cargo, people, an-d information befalling its position. Its port is the largest on Earth, capable of handling hundreds of seagoing cargo vessels at a time. International space plane and jet aircraft ports dot the countryside around the city Africa’s rail and road nets converge on Libreville, and their traffic is the pulse beat of the continent’s commerce.
Though not actually parts of the French Empire, Biafra and Ubangi Shari are heavily influenced by it. The entirety of French Central Africa is the population base of the empire, though, as in the days of colonial status, its wealth is stripped and sent abroad through the lead city of Libreville. Other cities, such as Kinshasa, are terribly overcrowded, underdeveloped, and in constant turmoil. Their unrest is felt through the region as French police and military forces clash with dissatisfied mobs of imperial citizens. The true price of empire is in the constant street battles of Zaire, Gabon, and Cameroon.