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However France is really the first nation-state; when one looks at borders, demographics, and language.

That's correct in my view. The assimilation process started at the end of the 100 Years War, with the absolutist kings applying it already when pushing their borders West towards the Rhine. Still, it wasn't finished until WWI... or maybe not until the loss of Algeria (which was legally part of Metropolitan France).

The French revolution was pretty homogenous.

Nope, that's quite far from the truth.

The French Revolution was primarily a Paris thing, but France was so centralised that that was enough. There was a pretty nasty civil war Southwest of Paris: the Vendée uprising. The educational and official language measures of the French Revolution did much to create a French cultural unity at the same time it triggered other nationalisms in resistance (especially Pangermanism) when applied Europe-wide under Napoleon. Even then, the Italian/French/local identities in Provence, Savoy and the upper Po basin didn't sort themselves out for a century. (Or more, if you watch Fernandel's border guard identity crisis comedy in La legge è legge.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu May 21st, 2009 at 05:21:53 AM EST
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