The Kingdom of France (French: Royaume de France) is a sovereign state comprising territory in western Europe and several overseas territories. The French Kingdom is one of the most powerful states in Europe, a great power since the Late Middle Ages and the Hundred Years' War. It was also an early colonial power, with significant possessions in North America. France borders From northeast to southwest, Spanish Netherlands, Holy Roman Empire, Switzerland, Kingdom of Sardinia (under Habsburg Spain), and Spain. The papal territory of Avignon is an enclave.
France in the early modern era was increasingly centralised, the French language began to displace other languages from official use, and the monarch expanded his absolute power, albeit in an administrative system (the Ancien Régime) complicated by historic and regional irregularities in taxation, legal, judicial, and ecclesiastic divisions, and local prerogatives. Religiously France became divided between the Catholic majority and a Protestant minority, the Huguenots. After a series of civil wars, the Wars of Religion (1562–1598), tolerance was granted to the Huguenots in the Edict of Nantes.
The French colonial empire in the Americas comprised New France (including Canada and Louisiana), French West Indies (including Saint-Domingue, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, Tobago and other islands) and French Guyana.