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The French colonial empire constituted the overseas colonies, protectorates and mandate territories that came under French rule from the 16th century onward. A distinction is generally made between the "first colonial empire", that existed until 1814, by which time most of it had been lost, and the "second colonial empire", which began with the conquest of Algiers in 1830. The second empire came to an end after the loss of bitter wars in Vietnam (1955) and Algeria (1962) and peaceful decolonization elsewhere after 1960.
Competing with Spain, Portugal, the Dutch United Provinces and later England, France began to establish colonies in North America, the Caribbean and India in the 17th century. A series of wars with Great Britain and other European major powers during the 18th century and early 19th century resulted in France losing nearly all of its conquests. France rebuilt a new empire mostly after 1850, concentrating chiefly in Africa as well as Indochina and the South Pacific. Republicans, at first hostile to empire, only became supportive when Germany started to build her own colonial empire. As it developed, the new empire took on roles of trade with France, especially supplying raw materials and purchasing manufactured items as well as lending prestige to the motherland and spreading French civilization and language and the Catholic religion. It also provided manpower in the World Wars.
It became a moral mission to lift the world up to French standards by bringing Christianity and French culture. In 1884, the leading proponent of colonialism, Jules Ferry, declared; "The higher races have a right over the lower races, they have a duty to civilize the inferior races." Full citizenship rights – assimilation – were offered, although in reality "assimilation was always receding [and] the colonial populations treated like subjects not citizens." France sent small numbers of settlers to its empire, contrary to Great Britain and previously Spain and Portugal, with the only notable exception of Algeria, where the French settlers nonetheless always remained a small minority.
At its apex, it was one of the largest empires in history. Including metropolitan France, the total amount of land under French sovereignty reached 11,500,000 km2 (4,400,000 sq mi) in 1920, with a population of 110 million people in 1939. In World War II, Charles de Gaulle and the Free French used the overseas colonies as bases from which they fought to liberate France. Historian Tony Chafer argues: "In an effort to restore its world-power status after the humiliation of defeat and occupation, France was eager to maintain its overseas empire at the end of the Second World War." However, after 1945 anti-colonial movements began to challenge European authority. The French constitution of October 27, 1946 (Fourth Republic), established the French Union which endured until 1958. Newer remnants of the colonial empire were integrated into France as overseas departments and territories within the French Republic. These now total altogether 119,394 km² (46,098 sq. miles), which amounts to only 1% of the pre-1939 French colonial empire's area, with 2.7 million people living in them in 2013. By the 1970s, says Robert Aldrich, the last "vestiges of empire held little interest for the French." He argues, "Except for the traumatic decolonization of Algeria, however, what is remarkable is how few long-lasting effects on France the giving up of empire entailed."
I have a very nice Mas 49/56 in the plentiful .308 ammo. I am just thinning the herd so i'm not interested in any trades. This rifle is in very good condition with a few minor scrapes on the furniture. It comes with a second magazine, strap, bayonet and a grenade launcher night sight. Would like...
Purchased as 7.5 French caliber. Very good furniture and finish. Sweet shooter. Re-barrel 20", tuned to .308 Win, and re-phosphatizing completed by Montana Rifleman before they made just barrels.
Action tightened up and polished, have original parts. Includes a titanium and original firing...
I ended up with some oddball rounds and I cant figure out what they are.
I found a pretty detailed page showing different rounds... problem is I found the same headstamp for two different rounds.
First, just the standard ball round showed this...
WWII German officers pistol captured in France. It’s in decent condition but shows it’s age. Some pitting on the slide, wear on handles. It can still be fired, barrel is in great shape.
It has Nazi markings and all matching original parts.
I've got a line on one. I saw Joe Montegna on "Gun Stories, I think it was, do a thing on the French Mas. I'm intrigued. It's a cool/different looking rifle, ammo isn't crazy expensive either. What's not to like? What's TO like? Who has and shoots one?
I just want to give everyone a heads up about a new book that is coming out. Ian McCollum of the YouTube channel Forgotten Weapons has written a new book about the history of French military rifles, Chassepot to FAMAS: French Military Rifles, 1866 – 2016.
The book can be ordered online...
First is a very good condition Vietnam surplus French Foreign Legion MAS-49/56 which has been converted from original 7.5 to 7.62 Nato. Comes with original issued Bayonet and sheath, sling, 2 10 round magazines and the rifle grenade launcher night sight adapter. I have owned it for about 2 years...
sante fe sporter 7.5 French, with 60 rnds of Syrian ammo, and 3 boxes of reloads and a bag of brass, Bore is ok, Just freshly parkerized the rifle. 200$ for the package or open to trades on 7.62x39, 6.5 grendel wolf, 9mm, Ak mags, or parts kits.
I have an excellent condition French Foreign Legion MAS49/56 from the Vietnam War. This is a vey unique rifle, especially with the magazine release being on the magazine. This rifle is one of few that were selected and converted from their original 7.5MM cartridge too 7.62X51MM Nato and the 7.5...