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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

—  Region of France  —

Country France
Prefecture Bordeaux
 - President Alain Rousset (PS)
 - Total 41,308 km2 (15,949.1 sq mi)
Population (2008)INSEE
 - Total 3,150,890
 Density 76.3/km2 (197.6/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
GDP/ Nominal € 85.9 billion (2007)
NUTS Region FR61

Aquitaine (Occitan: Aquitània; Basque: Akitania), archaic Guyenne/Guienne (Occitan: Guiana), is one of the 26 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. In the Middle Ages it was a kingdom and later a duchy, with boundaries considerably larger than the modern ones. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, Lot et Garonne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes and Gironde.




Ancient Age

There are traces of human settlement by prehistoric peoples, especially in the Périgord, but the earliest attested inhabitants in the south-west were the Aquitani, who were not proper Celtic people, but more akin to the Iberians (see Gallia Aquitania). The original Aquitania (named after the inhabitants) comprised at the time of Caesar's conquest of Gaul the area bounded by the Garonne River, the Pyrenees and the ocean. The name may stem from Latin 'aqua', maybe derived from the town "Aquae Augustae", "Aquae Tarbellicae" or just "Aquis" (Dax, Akize in modern Basque) or as a more general geographical feature.

Under Augustus' Roman rule, since 27 BC the province of Aquitania was further stretched to the north till the River Loire, so including proper Gaul tribes along with old Aquitani south of the Garonne (cf. Novempopulania and Gascony) within the same region. In 392, the Roman imperial provinces were restructured and Aquitania Prima, Aquitania Secunda and Aquitania Tertia (or Novempopulania) were established in south-western Gaul.

Early Middle Ages

Accounts on Aquitania during the Early Middle Ages are blur, lacking accuracy, but there was much unrest. The Visigoths were called into Gaul as foederati, but eventually established themselves as the de-facto rulers in south-west Gaul as central Roman rule collapsed. The Visigoths established their capital in Toulouse, but their actual tenure on Aquitaine was feeble. Furthermore, in 507 they were expelled souther to Hispania after their defeat in the Battle of Vouillé by the Franks, who became the new rulers in the area.

However, the Franks were likewise at pains to control their south-western marches, i.e. the Novempopulania, in turn setting up a Duchy as of 602 AC to hold a grip on the area, appointing a duke in charge. These dukes were in fact quite detached from central Frank overlordship, sometimes governing as independent rulers with strong ties to their kinsmen Vascons south of the Pyrenees.

At this point, when the name Aquitania applied to the region between river Garonne and Loire, a united Vascon-Aquitanian realm reached its heyday especially under Odo the Great's rule, becoming independent, a status that seemed to settle hadn't it been for the attack carried out by the Muslims troops who had just invaded the Visigothic Hispania. After successfully fending them off in Toulouse in 719, he was defeated close to Bordeaux, with the hosts under Abd-al-Raḥmân al-Ghafiqi command ransacking the lands south of the Garonne. In such circumstances, Odo was required to pledge allegiance to the Frankish Charles Martel in exchange for help against the Muslim forces, which he did, after which the Vascon-Aquitanian self-rule came to an end.

In 781, Charlemagne decided to proclaim his son Louis King of Aquitaine within the Carolingian Empire, ruling over a realm comprising the Duchy of Aquitaine and the Duchy of Vasconia (Et 3 Calend Augusti habuit concilium magnum in Aquis, et constituit duos filius sans reges Pippinum et Clotarium, Pippinum super Aquitaniam et Wasconiam). He suppressed various Vascon uprisings, even venturing into the lands of Pamplona past the Pyrenees after ravaging the Gascony, with a view to imposing his authority in the Vasconia south of Pyrenees too. According to his biography, he achieved everything he wanted and after staying overnight in Pamplona, on his way back his army was attacked in Roncesvaux in 812, but didn't suffer defeat thanks to the precautions he had taken.

Seguin (Sihiminus, Semen...), count of Bordeaux and Duke of Vasconia, seemed to have attempted a detachment from the Frankish central authority on Charlemagne's death. The new emperor Louis the Pious reacted by removing him from his capacity, which stirred the Vascons into rebellion. The king in turn sent his troops over to the territory, submitting them in two campaigns and even killing the duke, while his family crossed the Pyrenees and kept raising against the Frankish power. In 824, the 3rd Battle of Roncesvaux took place, where counts Aeblus and Aznar, Frankish vassals from the Duchy of Vasconia sent by the new King of Aquitaine Pepin, were captured by the joint forces of Iñigo Arista and the Banu Qasi.

Before Pepin's death, emperor Louis had appointed a new king in 832, his son Charles the Bald, while the Aquitanian lords elected king Pepin II. This contest for the head of the kingdom led to a constant period of war among Charles, loyal to his father and the Carolingian power, and Pepin II, who relied more on the support of Vascon and Aquitanian lords.

The title "Duke of Aquitaine" was held by the counts of Poitiers from the 10th to the 12th century.

It passed to France in 1137 when the duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine married Louis VII of France, but their marriage was annulled in 1152 and when Eleanor's new husband became Henry II of England in 1154, the area became an English possession.

Links between Aquitaine and England were strengthened, with large quantities of wine produced in southwestern France being exported to London, Southampton, and other English ports.

Aquitaine remained English until the end of the Hundred Years’ War in 1453, when it was annexed by France. From the 13th century until the French Revolution, Aquitaine was usually known as Guyenne.

The region served as a stronghold for the Protestant Huguenots during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, who suffered persecution at the hands of the Catholic church. The Huguenots called upon the English crown for assistance against the Catholic Cardinal Richelieu.


Aquitaine consists of 3,150,890 inhabitants equivalent to 6% of the total French population.


The region is home to many successful sports teams. In particular worth mentioning are:

Rugby Union is particularly popular in the region. Clubs include:

Bull-fighting is also popular in the region.

Major Surfing championships regularly take place on Aquitaine's coast.

See also


External links

Coordinates: 44°35′N 0°00′E / 44.583°N 0°E / 44.583; 0

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Map of Aquitaine
Map of Aquitaine

Aquitaine [1] (also known as "Guyenne" or "Guienne") is an extensive region of south-west France with a long coastline along the Atlantic Ocean (Bay of Biscay) and a mountainous border with Spain along the Pyrenees Mountains. The French part of Basque Country lies at the south-west end of Aquitaine.

Part of Aquitaine is the region of Les Landes or Landes which is well-known for its beaches, sand dunes and pine forests.



Get around

Visit the numerous historical towns, villages and castles

  • Bazas
  • Cadillac
  • Saint Emillion
  • Uzeste
  • Roquetaillade Castle, [2]. This natural defensive site has always been inhabited by humans since the stone age. Today you will find two castles inside a protective wall. The first castle dating from the XIth century has lots many of its original fortifications. The second castle was built in 1306 with the permission of JKing Edward the 1st, and is still lived in by the same family since.  edit

150 miles of continuous sandy beach between the Gironde and the Pyrenees host a lot of important beach resorts.

It is also an ideal region for family-friendly Naturist areas.


If you are an individual you can also take daily excursions departing from Bordeaux and that head towards all the major sights of the region: Small villages of the region, Saint Emilion, the Dordogne, Biarritz, Medoc wine tasting... The excursions take place on board 8 seater fully equipped minivans and are taken care of by professional driver guides. Languages include English and German. Visit the website Ophorus [3] Tel: +33 561 575 139. The company is also specialised in Pyrenees ski transfers as well as Canal du Midi transfers departing from Toulouse and heading towards all major resorts.


-Noisettines du Medoc : A confectionnery made in Medoc since 1981 in the north of Aquitaine. It is based on high quality hazelnuts, gauged and unshelled.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

AQUITAINE, the name of an ancient province in France, the extent of which has varied considerably from time to time. About the time of Julius Caesar the name Aquitania was given to that part of Gaul lying between the Pyrenees and the Garonne, and its inhabitants were a race, or races, distinct from the Celts. The name Aquitania is probably a form of Auscetani, which in its turn is a lengthened form of Ausces, and is thus cognate with the words Basque and Wasconia, i.e. Gascony. Although many of the tribes of Aquitania submitted to Julius Caesar, it was not until about 28 B.C. that the district was brought under the Roman yoke. In keeping with the Roman policy of denationalization, the term Aquitania was extended, and under Augustus it included the whole of Gaul south and west of the Loire and the Allier, and thus ceased to possess ethnographical importance. In the 3rd century A.D. this larger Aquitania was divided into three parts: Aquitania Prima, the eastern part of the district between the Loire and the Garonne; Aquitania Secunda, the western part of the same district; and Aquitania Tertia, 'or ' Novempopulana, the region between the Garonne and the Pyrenees, or the original Aquitania. The seats of government were respectively Bourges, Bordeaux and Eauze; the province contained twenty-six cities, and was in the diocese of Vienne. Like the rest of Gaul, Aquitania absorbed a large measure of Roman civilization, and this continued to distinguish the district down to a late period. In the 5th century the Visigoths established themselves in Aquitania Secunda, and also in parts of Aquitania Prima and Novempopulana, but after the defeat of their king Alaric II. by the Franks under Clovis in 507, they were supplanted by their conquerors. Clovis and his successors extended their authority nominally to the Pyrenees, but, as Guizot has remarked, "the conquest of Aquitania by Clovis left it almost as alien to the people and king of Franks as it had formerly been." Subsequently during the Merovingian period it was contended for by the feeble rulers of the various Frankish kingdoms, and was frequently partitioned among them; but the Aquitanians had little difficulty in effectually resisting this authority, although they did not establish themselves as a separate kingdom. About 628, indeed, they gathered around Charibert, or Haribert, a brother of the Frankish king, Dagobert I., in the hope of national independence; but after his death in 630 they returned to their former condition. But this effort, although a failure, brought about a certain measure of concord between the two principal races inhabiting the district, and so prepared 1 According to H. Nissen, Ital. Landeskunde (Berlin, 1902), ii. 665, a road ran from here to Minturnae; but no traces of it are to be seen.

the way for the stubborn resistance which, subsequently, the Aquitanians were able to offer to the Franks.

The first line of dukes began about 660 with one Felix, who, like his successor, Lupus, probably owned allegiance to the Frankish kings, and whose seat of government was Toulouse. About the end of the 7th century an adventurer named Odo, or Eudes, made himself master of this region. Attacked by the Saracens he inflicted on them a crushing defeat, but when they reappeared, he was obliged to invoke the aid of Charles Martel, who, as the price of his support, claimed and received the homage of his ally. Odo was succeeded by his son Hunald, who after carrying on a war against the Franks under Pippin the Short, retired to a convent, leaving both the kingdom and the conflict to Waifer, or Guaifer. For some years Waifer strenuously carried on an unequal struggle with the Franks, but he was assassinated in 768, and with him perished the national independence, although not the national individuality, of the Aquitanians. In 781 Charlemagne bestowed Aquitaine upon his young son, Louis, and as Louis was generally described as a king, Aquitaine is referred to during the Carolingian period as a kingdom, and not as a duchy. When Louis succeeded Charlemagne as emperor in 814, he granted Aquitaine to his son Pippin, on whose death in 838 the Aquitanians chose his son Pippin II. (d. 865) as their king. The emperor Louis I., however, opposed this arrangement and gave the kingdom to his youngest son Charles, afterwards the emperor Charles the Bald. Now followed a time of confusion and conflict which resulted eventually in the success of Charles, although from 845 to 852 Pippin was in possession of the kingdom. In 852 Pippin was imprisoned by Charles the Bald, who soon afterwards gave to the Aquitanians his own son Charles as their king. On the death of the younger Charles in 866, his brother Louis the Stammerer succeeded to the kingdom, and when, in 877, Louis became king of the Franks, Aquitaine was united to the Frankish crown.

A new period now begins in the history of Aquitaine. By a treaty made in 845 between Charles the Bald and Pippin II. the kingdom had been diminished by the loss of Poitou, Saintonge and Angournois, which had been given to Rainulf I., count of Poitiers. Somewhat earlier than this date the title of duke of the Aquitanians had been revived, and this was now borne by Rainulf, although it was also claimed by the counts of Toulouse. The new duchy of Aquitaine, comprising the three districts already mentioned, remained in the hands of Rainulf's successors, in spite of some trouble with their Frankish overlords, until 893 when Count Rainulf II. was poisoned by order of King Charles III. the Simple. Charles then bestowed the duchy upon William the Pious, count of Auvergne, the founder of the abbey of Cluny, who was succeeded in 918 by his nephew, Count William II., who died in 926. A succession of dukes followed, one of whom, William IV., fought against Hugh Capet, king of France, and another of whom, William V., called the Great, was able considerably to strengthen and extend his authority, although he failed in his attempt to secure the Lombard crown. William's duchy almost reached the limits of the Roman Aquitania Prima and Secunda, but did not stretch south of the Garonne, a district which was in the possession of the Gascons. William died in 1030, and the names of William VI. (d. 1038), Odo or Eudes (d. 1039),who joinedGascony to his duchy, William VII. and William VIII. bring us down to William IX. (d. 1127), who succeeded in 1087, and made himself famous as a crusader and a troubadour. William X. (d. 1137) married his daughter Eleanor to Louis VII., king of France, and Aquitaine went as her dowry. When Eleanor was divorced from Louis and was married in 1152 to Henry II. of England the duchy passed to her new husband, who, having suppressed a revolt there, gave it to his son Richard. When Richard died in 1199, it reverted to Eleanor, and on her death five years later, was united to the English crown and henceforward followed the fortunes of the English possessions in France. Aquitaine as it came to the English kings stretched as of old from the Loire to the Pyrenees, but its extent was curtailed on the south-east by the wide lands of the counts of Toulouse. The name Guienne, a corruption of Aquitaine, seems to have come into use about the 10th century, and the subsequent history of Aquitaine is merged in that of Gascony and Guienne.

See E. Desjardins, Geographie historique et administrative de la Gaule romaine (Paris, 1876, 93); A. Luchaire, Les Origines linguistiques de l'Aquitaine (Paris, 1877); A. Longnon, Giographie de la Gaule au VP siecle (Paris, 1876); A. Perroud, Les Origines du premier duche d'Aquitaine (Paris, 1881); and E. Mabille, Le Royaume d'Aquitaine et ses marches sous les Carlovingiens (Paris, 1870).

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


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Proper noun

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  1. A région of France.


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