The History Channel


The Eiffel Tower.

France is renowned for its engineering feats. Originally made of smaller kingdoms, the kingdom of France gain controlled of the area that makes up modern France today. During the next few centuries, France grew as a world power, constructing a series of forts that revolutionized modern fort architecture. France is most famous for the bloody French Revolution, which gave way to the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, and then finally democracy. After democracy finally came, France experienced a period of growth, which lead to one of the most renowned architectures, the Eiffel Tower.

The Cathedral of Notre Dame.

France has many famous structure, but the two most famous are the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. The cathedral was built soon after France was united as a kingdom in 1160, and was not completed until 1345, almost 200 years later. The design of the cathedral revolutionized architecture, creating the style we know as gothic. Another influence was the creation of the flying buttress, an arch that helps to displace the weight of the structure, and allows for stone structures to reach great heights. The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889, as the standing piece for the 1889 world's fair. The tower is made entirely of iron, with the parts prefabricate in the shops to allow for quick assemble at the site. The tower was built in only 22 months, with a crew of 300 iron works, an extraordinary feat of engineering.

Watch Video

View video clips from Engineering an Empire.

The Host

Learn more about the host Peter Weller.

The Empires

Learn more about each empire
and their achivements.

Buy The Series

Buy the series at