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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

Redirecting to Aquitaine

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

GUIENNE, an old French province which corresponded roughly to the Aquitania Secunda of the Romans and the archbishopric of Bordeaux. In the 12th century it formed with Gascony the duchy of Aquitaine, which passed under the dominion of the kings of England by the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henry II.; but in the 13th, through the conquests of Philip Augustus, Louis VIII. and Louis IX., it was confined within the narrower limits fixed by the treaty of Paris (1259). It is at this point that Guienne becomes distinct from Aquitaine. It then comprised the Bordelais (the old countship of Bordeaux), the Bazadais, part of Perigord, Limousin, Quercy and Rouergue, the Agenais ceded by Philip III. (the Bold) to Edward I. (1279), and (still united with Gascony) formed a duchy extending from the Charente to the Pyrenees. This duchy was held on the terms of homage to the French kings, an onerous obligation; and both in 1296 and 1324 it was confiscated by the kings of France on the ground that there had been a failure in the feudal duties. At the treaty of Bretigny (1360) Edward III. acquired the full sovereignty of the duchy of Guienne, together with Aunis, Saintonge, Angoumois and Poitou. The victories of du Guesclin and Gaston Phoebus, count of Foix, restored the duchy soon after to its 13th-century limits. In 1451 it was conquered and finally united to the French crown by Charles VII. In 1469 Louis XI. gave it in exchange for Champagne and Brie to his brother Charles, duke of Berry, after whose death in 1472 it was again united to the royal dominion. Guienne then formed a government which from the 17th century onwards was united with Gascony. The government of Guienne and Gascony, with its capital at Bordeaux, lasted till the end of the ancien regime. Under the Revolution the departments formed from Guienne proper were those of Gironde, Lot-et-Garonne, Dordogne, Lot, Aveyron and the chief part of Tarn-et-Garonne.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun




  1. (obsolete) Aquitaine.



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