Jacques Chirac became president of France with a majority 53 to 47 vote in a close May 1995 presidential election. Chirac had little time to celebrate, however. Chirac faced the daunting tasks of fixing France’s waning economy and addressing widening social inequality. At the time, France’s economy was limping along with unemployment at 12.3% - higher than any other leading industrialised nation.
Le Chambon-sur-Lignon was a community located in south central France. With a history of being a refuge for persecuted Protestant Huguenots in 17th century, it was primarily a Presbyterian town.
The plateau of Larzac is a limestone karst plateau located in the southern Massif Central area of France, extending between Millau (Aveyron region) and Lodeve (Herault region). The area is mainly agricultural and the economy relied mostly on sheep breeding and production of ewes’ milk for Roquefort cheese. Sheep farms dominated the landscape, and the land is rocky, arid, and windswept, with thin and relatively infertile soil. The French army established a military camp on the plateau of Larzac in Aveyron in June 1902, where it served as a garrison and training center.
At the beginning of April 1961, after nearly seven years of war in Algeria as France tried to maintain its control there, French President Charles de Gaulle announced that he would begin negotiations with the Algerian nationalists and soon relinquish control of the colony. At the time France had approximately 500,000 soldiers stationed in Algeria and very few remaining at home. Several of the generals in Algeria, however, did not want to concede to the Algerian nationalists.