midicanalThe Languedoc : A Chronology by Rusty Tunnard

The Languedoc : A Chronology by Christopher (Rusty) Tunnard

The Languedoc : A Chronology

This chronology outlines important events in the history of southern France. Some dates, especially those of the early invasions, are approximate. Following the chronology are essays on the Languedoc itself and on two important historical events shaped the Languedoc, the Albigensian heresy and the wine wars of the early twentieth century.
600-150 B.C. Occupation by Iberian Celts and Greeks.
150 B.C. till
200 A.D.
Roman period. Establishment of the province of Gallia Narbonnensis, centered in Narbonne. Important settlements in Tolosa (Toulouse) and Carcaso (Carcassonne)
c.250 Conversion to Christianity started by St. Sernin in Toulouse.
300-750 Successive invasions by Vandals, Visigoths, and Arabs.
750-850 Unification of France by the Francs under Charlemagne.
850 Division of empire after Charlemagne's death. Founding of Raymond dynasty, of the counts of Toulouse and the rulers of the Languedoc until the thirteenth century.
1209 Start of Albigensian Crusade with the sack of Béziers.
1229 Treaty of Meaux officially ends the Albigensian Crusade although the Inquisition and heretic resistance continue for thirty years. Most of Languedoc annexed by the king of France, Louis IX (St. Louis).
1337 Hundred Years' War begins. Successive invasions by English until 1453.
1348 Population decimated by Black Death.
1550-1560 Beginning of wars of religion between Protestants and Catholics. Persecutions continue for two hundred years.
1659 Under the Treaty of the Pyrénées, the border with Spain is moved south to its present location, the natural frontier of the Pyénées Mountains.
1666-1681 Building of the Canal Royale du Languedoc (the Midi Canal).
1789 French Revolution begins.
1840-1860 Railroad built. Decline of commercial traffic on the Midi Canal. Inspired by the well-known writer Prosper Mérimee, the Historic Monuments Commission begins protecting and preserving medieval architecture of southern France. Viollet-le-Duc begins restoration of Carcassonne.
1860-1910 Phylloxera parasite, falling prices, and increasing imports start years of unrest in the agricultural community culminating in the wine riots of 1907.
1910-present Northern France prospers from industrial growth, but the Languedoc remains for the most part agrarian and poor with big unemployment. A promising sign for the future is that high-technology research centers in Toulouse and Montpellier are attracting new companies, but, as has almost always been their lot, the people of the Languedoc must depend on decisions made in Paris to provide the trade and fiscal policies necessary to sustain further growth.


Footnote The Languedoc is still the poorest region of France and the North/ South divide still exists, foreigners being more welcome than Parisians even though there is no really open hostility, a tension and resentment can be sensed.
After the problems of Phylloxera and the vines the region enjoyed an all too brief period of wealth as it remained largely untouched, It was during this period that the fine architecture of Béziers and the surrounding towns was built.

© 2012 Malcolm Beeson

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