French is spoken as a first language by around 70 million people in at least 46 territories. It is derived from Latin, the language of ancient Rome, and by the seventeenth century French was the dominant language of Europe in politics and culture. It also moved further afield, to the Caribbean, and with European settlers in Canada, where it remains a major language, most notably in the province of Quebec. There was also a large French empire in Africa in the nineteenth century, and hence is still used there as an official language in some countries, and by an educated elite.
France has established an organisation known as La Francophonie, a community of French-speaking nations.