The first written records for the history of France appeared in the Iron Age. What is now France made up the bulk of the region known to the Romans as Gaul. Roman writers noted the presence of three main ethno-linguistic groups in the area: the Gauls, the Aquitani, and the Belgae. The Gauls, the largest and best attested group, were Celtic people speaking what is known as the Gaulish language. Over the course of the 1st millennium BC the Greeks, Romans and Carthaginians established colonies on the Mediterranean coast and the offshore islands. The Roman Republicannexed southern Gaul as the provinceof Gallia Narbonensis in the late 2nd century BC, and Roman forces under Julius Caesar conquered the rest of Gaul in the Gallic Wars of 58–51 BC. Afterwards a Gallo-Roman cultureemerged and Gaul was increasingly integrated into the Roman Empire.

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