Franks , an ancient Germanic people. They are believed to have originated in Pomerania on the southern Baltic coast. In the third century A.D., they migrated westward, forming two branches—those settling along the Rhine came to be called the Ripuarian Franks (from ripa, Latin for “river-bank”) and those settling near the coast of the North Sea, along the IJssel River, came to be known as the Salic (or Salian) Franks (either from sal , “sea,” or from Sala, as the IJssel was then known).

In the early sixth century, the Franks were united under the Salic chieftain Clovis. He established a Frankish kingdom in Gaul, the area that is now France. It is from the Franks that the name France is derived. The Frankish kingdom expanded rapidly until it dominated western Europe. In the ninth century, it was divided into three parts, two of which eventually developed into France and Germany.

For details of Frankish history,