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France is a country in Europe. It has existed in one form or another for centuries, but the modern Kingdom of France dates from the 9th Century and the Treaty of Verdun. The name 'France' is derived from the Franks, the Celtic tribes that inhabited the region. France also claims several overseas dominions as part of its territory; the French Empire (Royal Prerogative) includes New Caledonia, New Britanny, French Guiana and French Africa. The North American country of Quebec is independent but has strong cultural and political ties to France.
France is a constitutional monarchy. The King of France is the Head of State and commander of the armed forces, though he has significant infuence on government policy and is generally in charge of most foreign policy. The elected French government is responsible to the National Assembly, and is headed by a Premier. Louis XX has been King since 1989; the current Premier is Segolene Royal.