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Aquitaine
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Aquitaine

Région Aquitaine

Details
Information
Capital:Bordeaux
Population
 - Totale
 - Density

2 908 359 (1999)
70 /km²
Area41 308 km²
Arrondissements18
Cantons235
Communes2 296
President of the
regional council
Alain Rousset
Départements
Dordogne (24)
Gironde (33)
Landes (40)
Lot-et-Garonne (47)
Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64)
Location

Aquitaine (or "Guyenne" or "Guienne") now forms a région in south-western France along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Geography
3 Demographics
4 See also
5 External link

History

In Roman times, the province of Aquitania originally comprised the region of Gaul between the Pyrenees Mountains and the Garonne River, but Augustus Caesar added to it the land between the Garonne and the Loire River. At this stage the province extended inland as far as the Cevennes and covered an area about one third of the size of modern France. Aquitaine was quite thoroughly Romanized in its culture, unlike northern Gaul.

The 4th century AD saw the Roman province of Aquitaine divided into three separate provinces:

In the 5th century, as Roman rule collapsed, the Visigoths filled the power vacuum, until they were driven out in 507 CE by the Franks, with a mixed army of mercenaries and federates, who included Burgundians. When Clothaire II died in 629, he divided the kingdom of the Franks and gave Aquitaine to his son Charibert, who set up his capital at Toulouse and strengthened his claims by marrying Gisela, the heiress of the Novempopulana; however, Frankish control was never very secure; they were primitive by comparison and had only the most rudimentary sense of urban life and the res publica. Aquitaine put up little resistance to the Moors in the 8th century, but Charles Martel drove them out, and Aquitaine passed into the Carolingian Empire.

The heirs of Charlemagne divided and redivided their inheritance, and Aquitaine passed out of the control of Neustria, the western kingdom of Charlemagne's house, and in the 9th century the leading local counts gradually freed themselves of the vestiges of royal control. Bernard Plantevelue (ruling 868-86) and his son, William I (ruling 886-918), whose power base was in Auvergne, called themselves dukes of Aquitaine for a time. William V (ruling 995-1030) refounded a new duchy of Aquitaine, that was based in Poitou, and this power center survived. Aquitaine contained Poitiers, Auvergne, and Toulouse. In 1052 the duchy of Gascony (French: Gascogne) became part of "Aquitania", by personal union of duke William VIII. Aquitaine achieved a high literate court culture of courteoisie that peaked under William VIII (ruled 1058-86). Duke William IX, the troubadour was a poet himself, and Poitiers became a center of the musical poetry of the troubadours. When William X died (1137), his daughter Eleanor of Aquitaine, the greatest heiress of France, married her guardian, Louis VII of France and followed him on crusade, then had the childless marriage annulled in 1152 to marry his greatest rival Henry II of England. She maintained an elegant chivalric court at Poitiers. Her sons, Richard I and John, and their successors as kings of England were dukes of Aquitaine (later known as Guienne).

Fighting during the Hundred Years War enabled Edward III of England to reconstruct the old duchy in the 1360s, but France finally conquered the remainder of it in 1453. After that the history of Aquitaine became part of the history of France.

See also: Dukes of Aquitaine family tree, Rulers of Auvergne

Geography

Area: 41,400 km2 (7.6 % of France's total area)

Major cities in Aquitaine include Bordeaux, Mont-de-Marsan, Pau, and Perigueux.

Demographics

Population: 2,908,300 (4.97% of the total French population) (1999)

See also

External link


Regions of France
Alsace | Aquitaine | Auvergne | Lower Normandy | Burgundy | Brittany | Centre | Champagne-Ardenne | Corsica | Franche-Comté | Upper Normandy | Île-de-France | Languedoc-Roussillon | Limousin | Lorraine | Midi-Pyrénées | Nord-Pas-de-Calais | Loire Region | Picardy | Poitou-Charentes | Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur | Rhône-Alpes
Overseas Departments
Guadeloupe | Martinique | French Guiana | Réunion