Gascony

Gascony (/ˈɡæskəni/; French: Gascogne [ɡaskɔɲ]; Gascon: Gasconha [ɡasˈkuɲɔ]; Basque: Gaskoinia) is an area of southwest France that was part of the "Province of Guyenne and Gascony" prior to the French Revolution. The region is vaguely defined, and the distinction between Guyenne and Gascony is unclear; by some they are seen to overlap, while others consider Gascony a part of Guyenne. Most definitions put Gascony east and south of Bordeaux.

It is currently divided between the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine (departments of Landes, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, southwestern Gironde, and southern Lot-et-Garonne) and the region of Occitanie (departments of Gers, Hautes-Pyrénées, southwestern Tarn-et-Garonne, and western Haute-Garonne).

Gascony was historically inhabited by Basque-related people who appear to have spoken a language similar to Basque. The name Gascony comes from the same root as the word Basque (see Wasconia below). From medieval times until today, the Gascon language has been spoken, although it is classified as a regional variant of the Occitan language.

Gascony is the land of d'Artagnan, who inspired Alexandre Dumas's character d'Artagnan in The Three Musketeers, as well as the land of Cyrano de Bergerac, who inspired the play of the same name by Edmond Rostand. It is also home to Henry III of Navarre, who later became king of France as Henry IV.

MapOfGascony
A map of Gascony, showing a wide definition of the region. Other definitions may encompass a smaller area.
Flag of Gascogne
Flag of Gascony (based on the coat of arms)
Gascogne drapeau
Historic Gascony flag

History

Gasc2
Typical view of the hilly countryside of Gascony, with the Pyrenees mountains in the far distance

Aquitania

In pre-Roman times, the inhabitants of Gascony were the Aquitanians (Latin: Aquitani), who spoke a non-Indo-European language related to modern Basque.

The Aquitanians inhabited a territory limited to the north and east by the Garonne River, to the south by the Pyrenees mountain range, and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean. The Romans called this territory Aquitania, either from the Latin word aqua (meaning "water"), in reference to the many rivers flowing from the Pyrenees through the area, or from the name of the Aquitanian Ausci tribe, in which case Aquitania would mean "land of the Ausci".

In the 50s BC, Aquitania was conquered by lieutenants of Julius Caesar and became part of the Roman Empire.

Later, in 27 BC, during the reign of Emperor Augustus, the province of Gallia Aquitania was created. Gallia Aquitania was far larger than the original Aquitania, as it extended north of the Garonne River, in fact all the way north to the Loire River, thus including the Celtic Gauls that inhabited the regions between the Garonne and the Loire rivers.

Novempopulana

In 297, as Emperor Diocletian reformed the administrative structures of the Roman Empire, Aquitania was split into three provinces. The territory south of the Garonne River, corresponding to the original Aquitania, was made a province called Novempopulania (that is, "land of the nine tribes"), while the part of Gallia Aquitania north of the Garonne became the province of Aquitanica I and the province of Aquitanica II. The territory of Novempopulania corresponded quite well to what we call now Gascony.

The Aquitania Novempopulana or Novempopulania suffered like the rest of the Western Roman Empire from the invasions of Germanic tribes, most notably the Vandals in 407–409. In 416–418, Novempopulania was delivered to the Visigoths as their federate settlement lands and became part of the Visigoth kingdom of Toulouse, while other than the region of the Garonne river their actual grip on the area may have been rather loose.

The Visigoths were defeated by the Franks in 507, and fled into Spain and Septimania. Novempopulania then became part of the Frankish Kingdom like the rest of southern France. However, Novempopulania was far away from the home base of the Franks in northern France, and was only very loosely controlled by the Franks. During all the troubled and historically obscure period, starting from early 5th-century accounts, the bagaudae are often cited, social uprisings against tax exaction and feudalization, largely associated to Vasconic unrest.

Wasconia

Vasconia wide 740 3 - 80
The Duchy was meant to hold sway over the Basques (Vascones)

Old historical literature sometimes claims the Basques took control of the whole of Novempopulania in the Early Middle Ages, founding its claims on the testimony of Gregory of Tours, on the etymological link between the words "Basque" and "Gascon" – both derived from "Vascones" or "Wasconia", the latter being used to name the whole of Novempopulania.

Modern historians reject this hypothesis, which is sustained by no archeological evidence. For Juan José Larrea, and Pierre Bonnassie, "a Vascon expansionism in Aquitany is not proved and is not necessary to understand the historical evolution of this region".[1] This Basque-related culture and race is, whatever the origin, attested in (mainly Carolingian) Medieval documents, while their exact boundaries remain unclear ("Wascones, qui trans Garonnam et circa Pirineum montem habitant", as stated in the Royal Frankish Annals, for one).[2]

The word Vasconia evolved into Wasconia, and then into Gasconia (w often evolved into g under the influence of Romance languages; cf. warranty and guarantee, warden and guardian, wile and guile, William and Guillaume). The gradual abandonment of the Basque-related Aquitanian language in favor of a local Vulgar Latin was not reversed. The replacing local Vulgar Latin evolved into Gascon. It was heavily influenced by the original Aquitanian language (for example, Latin f became h; cf. Latin fortia, French force, Spanish fuerza, Occitan fòrça, but Gascon hòrça). Interestingly, the Basques from the French side of the Basque Country traditionally call anyone who does not speak Basque a "Gascon".

Meanwhile, Viking raiders conquered several Gascon towns, among them Bayonne in 842–844. Their attacks in Gascony may have helped the political disintegration of the Duchy until their defeat against William II Sánchez of Gascony in 982. In turn, the weakened ethnic polity known as Duchy of Wasconia/Wascones, unable to get round the general spread of feudalization, gave way to a myriad of counties founded by Gascon lords.

Angevin Empire

His 1152 marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine allowed the future Henry II to gain control of his new wife's possessions of Aquitaine and Gascony. This addition to his already plentiful holdings made Henry the most powerful vassal in France.[3]

Hommage of Edward I to Philippe le Bel
Homage of Edward I (kneeling) to Philip IV (seated)

In 1248, Simon de Montfort was appointed Governor in the unsettled Duchy of Gascony. Bitter complaints were excited by de Montfort's rigour in suppressing the excesses of both the seigneurs of the nobility and the contending factions in the great communes. Henry III yielded to the outcry and instituted a formal inquiry into Simon's administration. Simon was formally acquitted of the charges, but in August 1252 he was nevertheless dismissed. Henry then himself went to Gascony, pursuing a policy of conciliation; he arranged the marriage between Edward, his 14-year-old son, and Eleanor of Castile, daughter of Alfonso X. Alfonso renounced all claims to Gascony and assisted the Plantagenets against rebels such as Gaston de Bearn, who had taken control of the Pyrenees.[4]

In December 1259, Louis IX of France ceded to Henry land north and east of Gascony.[5] In return, Henry renounced his claim to many of the territories that had been lost by King John.

In May 1286, King Edward I paid homage before the new king, Philip IV of France, for the lands in Gascony. However, in May 1295, Philip "confiscated" the lands. Between 1295 and 1298, Edward sent three expeditionary forces to recover Gascony, but Philip was able to retain most of the territory until the Treaty of Paris in 1303.[6]

In 1324 when Edward II of England, in his capacity as Duke of Aquitaine, failed to pay homage to the French king after a dispute, Charles IV declared the duchy forfeit at the end of June 1324, and military action by the French followed. Edward sent his wife Isabella, who was sister to the French king, to negotiate a settlement. The Queen departed for France on 9 March 1325, and in September was joined by her son, the heir to the throne, Prince Edward (later Edward III of England). Isabella's negotiations were successful, and it was agreed that the young Prince Edward would perform homage in the king's place, which he did on 24 September and so the duchy was returned to the English crown.[7]

When France's Charles IV died in 1328 leaving only daughters, his nearest male relative was Edward III of England, the son of Isabella, the sister of the dead king; but the question arose whether she could legally transmit the inheritance of the throne of France to her son even though she herself, as a woman, could not inherit the throne. The assemblies of the French barons and prelates and the University of Paris decided that males who derive their right to inheritance through their mother should be excluded. Thus the nearest heir through male ancestry was Charles IV's first cousin, Philip, Count of Valois, and it was decided that he should be crowned Philip VI of France. Philip believed that Edward III was in breach of his obligations as vassal, so in May 1337 he met with his Great Council in Paris. It was agreed that Gascony should be taken back into Philip's hands, thus precipitating the Hundred Years War between England and France.[8][9] At the end of the Hundred Years' War, after Gascony had changed hands several times, the English were finally defeated at the Battle of Castillon on 17 July 1453; Gascony remained French from then on.[10]

Geography

The most important towns are:

Economy

The main economic activities are:

  • forestry
  • agriculture
  • stock raising
  • fruit and vegetables
  • fishing
  • wine and brandy
  • tourism
  • gas and oil
  • chemicals
  • aerospace industry
  • wood products and packaging
  • food processing
  • metallurgy
  • renewable energy
  • Catholic pilgrimages in Lourdes

References

  1. ^ Juan José Larrea, Pierre Bonnassie: La Navarre du IVe au XIIe siècle: peuplement et société, page 123-129, De Boeck Université, 1998
  2. ^ "The Development of Southern French and Catalan Society, 718–1050". THE LIBRARY OF IBERIAN RESOURCES ONLINE. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  3. ^ Harvey, The Plantagenets, p.47
  4. ^ p276 Chronicle of Britain ISBN 1-872031-35-8
  5. ^ p280 Chronicle of Britain ISBN 1-872031-35-8
  6. ^ p297 Chronicle of Britain ISBN 1-872031-35-8
  7. ^ Chris Given-Wilson, ed. (2010). Fourteenth Century England VI: 6. London: Boydell Press. pp. 34–36. ISBN 978-1-8438-3530-1.
  8. ^ Previte-Orton, C.W (1978). The shorter Cambridge Medieval History 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 872. ISBN 978-0-521-20963-2.
  9. ^ Sumption, Jonathan (1991). The Hundred Years War I: Trial by Battle. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-8122-1655-4.
  10. ^ Wagner, John A (2006). Encyclopedia of the Hundred Years War. Westport CT: Greenwood Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-313-32736-0.

External links

Coordinates: 43°58′37″N 0°10′34″W / 43.977°N 0.176°W

Basset Bleu de Gascogne

The Basset Bleu de Gascogne (French pronunciation: ​[bɑsɛ blø də ɡasˈkɔɲ]), also known as the Blue Gascony Basset, is a long-backed, short legged breed of dog of the hound type. The breed originated in the Middle Ages, descended from the Grand Bleu de Gascogne. It nearly became extinct around the early 19th century; its salvation was attributed to one Alain Bourbon. A French native breed, it is rare outside its homeland. It is recognized internationally by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, in the UK by The Kennel Club, and by the United Kennel Club in the United States. The "bleu" of its name is a reference to its coat which has a ticked appearance.

Battle of Bergerac

The Battle of Bergerac was fought between Anglo-Gascon and French forces at the town of Bergerac in Gascony, in August 1345 during the Hundred Years' War. In early 1345 Edward III of England decided to launch a major attack on the French from the north, while sending smaller forces to Brittany and Gascony, the latter being both economically important to the English war effort and the proximate cause of the war. The French focused on the threat to northern France, leaving comparatively small forces in the south west.

Henry of Grosmont, Earl of Derby arrived in Gascony in August, and breaking with the previous policy of cautious advance, struck directly for the largest French concentration at Bergerac. He took French forces under Bertrand I of l'Isle-Jourdain and Henri de Montigny by surprise and defeated them. The French suffered heavy casualties and the loss of the town, a significant strategic set-back. Along with the Battle of Auberoche later in the year, it marked a change in the military balance of power in the region. It was the first of a series of victories which would lead to Henry of Derby being called "one of the best warriors in the world" by a contemporary chronicler.

Bay of Biscay

The Bay of Biscay (; French: Golfe de Gascogne, Spanish: Golfo de Vizcaya, Occitan: Golf de Gasconha, Breton: Pleg-mor Gwaskogn, Basque: Bizkaiko Golkoa) is a gulf of the northeast Atlantic Ocean located south of the Celtic Sea. It lies along the western coast of France from Point Penmarc'h to the Spanish border, and the northern coast of Spain west to Cape Ortegal.

The south area of the Bay of Biscay washes over the northern coast of Spain and is known as the Cantabrian Sea.

The average depth is 1,744 metres (5,722 ft) and the greatest depth is 4,735 metres (15,535 ft).

Braque Francais

The Braques français are hunting dogs, from a very old type of gun dog used for pointing the location of game birds for a hunter. There are two breeds of Braque français, both from the south of France, the Braque français, type Gascogne (French Pointing Dog - Gascogne type, larger size) and the Braque français, type Pyrénées (French Pointing Dog - Pyrenean type, smaller size) They are popular hunting dogs in France, but are seldom seen elsewhere.

Colombard

Colombard (also known as French Colombard in North America) is a white French wine grape variety that is the offspring of Chenin blanc and Gouais blanc. This makes the grape the sibling of the Armagnac Meslier-Saint-François and the nearly extinct Cognac grape Balzac blanc.In France it was traditionally grown in the Charentes and Gascony for distilling into Cognac and Armagnac respectively. Today it is still among the permitted white grape varieties in Bordeaux wine, and in Gascony for Vins de Pays Côtes de Gascogne and the white Floc de Gascogne. aperitif drink.

Old vine grapes are crushed by some northern Californian producers and made into a fruity white wine of interesting character in both dry and sweet versions. This grape is mainly grown in California to provide backbone, due to its natural acidic character, for white "jug wine" blends.

It is also widely grown in South Africa where it is known as Colombar, the wine gives lovely flavours of Guava, and to a lesser extent in Australia and Israel.

Duchy of Gascony

The Duchy of Gascony or Duchy of Vasconia (Basque: Baskoniako dukerria; Occitan: ducat de Gasconha; French: duché de Gascogne, duché de Vasconie) was a duchy in present southwestern France and northeastern Spain, part corresponding to the modern region of Gascony after 824. The Duchy of Gascony, then known as Wasconia, was originally a Frankish march formed to hold sway over the Basques (Vascones). However, the Duchy went through different periods, from its early years with its distinctively Basque element to the merger in personal union with the Duchy of Aquitaine to the later period as a dependency of the Plantagenet kings of England.

In the Hundred Years' War, Charles V of France conquered most of Gascony by 1380, and under Charles VII of France it was incorporated into the kingdom of France in its entirety in 1453. The corresponding portion within Spain became part of the Basque Kingdom of Navarre.

García II Sánchez of Gascony

García II Sánchez (Basque: Gartzia Antso, French: Garsie-Sanche le Tors or le Courbé, Gascon: Gassia Sans, Latin: Garsia Sancius Corvum, died circa 930), called the Bent, was the duke of Gascony from sometime before 887 to his death.

He was probably a son of Sancho Sánchez or of Sancho Mitarra, though older sources give a genealogy with a Spanish origin.His ancestry is, in the end, unknown. He may have been a cousin of Arnold, who some sources claim acted as regent during his minority following his father’s death in 864 (if his father was Sánchez). Other sources place Arnold as Sancho’s successor and date his death to that same year. Whatever the case, García was in power by 887.

In that year, he appeared in a charter issued by the grandees of Aquitaine assembled at Bourges to decide on a course of action in the twilight of the reign of Charles the Fat. In 904, he was using the title comes et marchio in limitibus oceani: "count and margrave to the limits of the ocean." García was the first of a line of dukes which ruled Gascony until 1032 and incorporated the county of Bordeaux into its demesne. García’s daughter Andregoto married one Raymond, who fathered William the Good, Count of Bordeaux. García divided his domain between his three sons by Amuna:

Sancho IV inherited a rump duchy of Gascony with the ducal title

William inherited the county of Fézensac (including Armagnac)

Arnold inherited the county of Astarac

Andregoto, mother of William the Good, Count of Bordeaux

Garsinda, married Raymond III Pons, Count of Toulouse

Acibella, married Galindo II Aznárez, Count of Aragon

Gascon campaign of 1345

Between August and November 1345 Henry, Earl of Derby, conducted the energetic Gascon campaign of 1345 in Gascony, an English-controlled territory in south west France. The campaign was part of the Hundred Years' War, and Derby, commanding an Anglo-Gascon force, oversaw the first successful land campaign of the war. He twice defeated large French armies in battle, taking many noble and knightly prisoners. They were ransomed by their captors, greatly enriching Derby and his soldiers in the process. Following this campaign, morale and prestige swung England's way in the border region between English-occupied Gascony and French-ruled territory, providing an influx of taxes and recruits for the English armies. As a result, France's ability to raise tax money and troops from the region was much reduced.

Ralph, Earl of Stafford, sailed for Gascony in February 1345 with an advance force and, following conventional practice, laid siege to two French strongholds. Derby arrived in August and immediately concentrated available Anglo-Gascon forces and headed directly for the largest French force, which was gathering at Bergerac, 60 miles (97 km) east of Bordeaux. Bergerac had good river supply links to Bordeaux and would provide a suitable forward base from which to carry the war to the French. He decisively defeated the French there, before moving to besiege the provincial capital of Périgueux. By this time the French had diverted their main effort to the south west, under the overall command of John, Duke of Normandy, the son and heir of the French king. Unable to take Périgueux, and threatened by John's much larger force, Derby left garrisons blockading it and withdrew. One garrison, at Auberoche, was besieged by the French. Derby advanced with a small force, launched a surprise attack against the much larger French army and won another decisive victory.

The French army started to disintegrate: men were unpaid, even unfed; there was a lack of fodder for the horses; desertion was rife; and troops were selling their equipment. John lost heart on hearing of the defeat at Auberoche. The French abandoned all of their ongoing sieges of other Anglo-Gascon garrisons and retreated to Angouleme, where John disbanded his army, possibly because the French had run out of money. Derby moved back to the Garonne valley, captured the strong and well garrisoned town of La Réole, all of the French outposts downstream of it, and other strong French positions in the area. In November Derby paid off his army and overwintered in La Réole. Various small Anglo-Gascon groups maintained the pressure on the French, capturing several significant fortified places between December 1345 and March 1346.

Griffon Bleu de Gascogne

The Griffon Bleu de Gascogne (FCI No.32) Is a breed of dog of the scenthound type, originating in France, and is a versatile hunting dog, used on small and large game, in packs or individually. The Griffon Bleu de Gascogne has a speckled, rough coat.

Guyenne

Guyenne or Guienne (French: [ɡɥijɛn]; Occitan: Guiana [ˈɡjanɔ]) was an old French province which corresponded roughly to the Roman province of Aquitania Secunda and the archdiocese of Bordeaux.

The name "Guyenne" comes from Aguyenne, a popular transformation of Aquitania. In the 12th century it formed, along 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. In the 13th century, through the conquests of Philip II, Louis VIII and Louis IX, it was confined within the narrower limits fixed by the treaty of Paris (1259). It was at this point that Guyenne became distinct from Aquitaine. It then comprised the Bordelais (the old countship of Bordeaux), the Bazadais, part of Périgord, Limousin, Quercy and Rouergue and the Agenais ceded by Philip III to Edward I in 1279. Still united with Gascony, it formed a duchy extending from the Charentes to the Pyrenees. This duchy was held as a fief on the terms of homage to the French kings 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 Brétigny (1360), King Edward III of England acquired the full sovereignty of the duchy of Guyenne, together with Aunis, Saintonge, Angoumois and Poitou. The victories of Bertrand du Guesclin and Gaston III, 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 (1446–1472), after whose death in 1472, it was again united to the royal dominion.

Guyenne then formed a government (gouvernement général) which from the 17th century onwards was united with Gascony. The government of Guyenne and Gascony (Guienne et Gascogne), with its capital at Bordeaux, lasted until the end of the Ancien Régime (1792). Under the French Revolution, the departments formed from Guyenne proper were those of Gironde, Lot-et-Garonne, Dordogne, Lot, Aveyron and the chief part of Tarn-et-Garonne.

Hundred Years' War

The Hundred Years' War was a series of conflicts waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Plantagenet, rulers of the Kingdom of England, against the French House of Valois, over the right to rule the Kingdom of France. Each side drew many allies into the war. It was one of the most notable conflicts of the Middle Ages, in which five generations of kings from two rival dynasties fought for the throne of the largest kingdom in Western Europe. The war marked both the height of chivalry and its subsequent decline, and the development of strong national identities in both countries.

Tensions between the crowns of France and England can be traced back to the origins of the English royal family itself, which was French (Norman, and later, Angevin) in origin. For this reason, English monarchs had historically held not only the English Crown, but also titles and lands within France, the possession of which made them vassals to the kings of France. The status of the English King's French fiefs was a major source of conflict between the two monarchies throughout the Middle Ages. French monarchs systematically sought to check the growth of English power, stripping away lands as the opportunity arose, particularly whenever England was at war with Scotland, an ally of France. Over the centuries, English holdings in France had varied in size, at some points dwarfing even the French royal domain; by 1337, however, only Gascony was left to the English.

In 1316, a principle was established denying women succession to the French throne (later retroactively attributed to the ancient Salic law). In 1328, Charles IV of France died without sons or brothers. His closest male relative was his nephew Edward III of England, whose mother, Isabella of France, was sister of the deceased King. Isabella claimed the throne of France for her son, but the French rejected it, maintaining that Isabella could not transmit a right she did not possess. Furthermore, political sentiment favoured a Frenchman for the crown rather than a foreign prince. The throne passed instead to Philip, Count of Valois, a patrilineal cousin of Charles IV, who would become Philip VI of France, the first king of the House of Valois. The English had not expected their claim to meet with success, and did not press the matter when it was denied. However, disagreements between Philip and Edward induced the former to confiscate the latter's lands in France, and in turn prompted Edward III to reassert his claim to the French throne.

Several overwhelming English victories in the war—especially at Crécy, Poitiers, and Agincourt—raised the prospects of an ultimate English triumph, and convinced the English to continue pouring money and manpower into the war over many decades. However, the greater resources of the French monarchy prevented the English kings from ever completing the conquest of France. Starting in 1429, decisive French victories at Orléans, Patay, Formigny, and Castillon concluded the war in favour of the House of Valois, with England permanently losing most of its possessions on the continent.

Historians commonly divide the war into three phases separated by truces: the Edwardian War (1337–1360), the Caroline War (1369–1389), and the Lancastrian War (1415–1453). Local conflicts in neighbouring areas, which were contemporarily related to the war, including the War of the Breton Succession (1341–1365), the Castilian Civil War (1366–1369), the War of the Two Peters (1356–1369) in Aragon, and the 1383–85 crisis in Portugal, were availed by the parties to advance their agendas. Later historians adopted the term "Hundred Years' War" as a historiographical periodisation to encompass all of these events, thus constructing the longest military conflict in European history.

The war owes its historical significance to multiple factors. By its end, feudal armies had been largely replaced by professional troops, and aristocratic dominance had yielded to a democratisation of the manpower and weapons of armies. Although primarily a dynastic conflict, the war gave impetus to ideas of French and English nationalism. The wider introduction of weapons and tactics supplanted the feudal armies where heavy cavalry had dominated, and artillery became important. The war precipitated the creation of the first standing armies in Western Europe since the time of the Western Roman Empire, thus helping to change their role in warfare. With respect to the belligerents, in France, civil wars, deadly epidemics, famines, and bandit free-companies of mercenaries reduced the population drastically. In England, political forces over time came to oppose the costly venture. The dissatisfaction of English nobles, resulting from the loss of their continental landholdings, as well as the general shock at losing a war in which investment had been so great, became factors leading to the Wars of the Roses (1455–1487).

I cadetti di Guascogna

I cadetti di Guascogna ((in English) The Cadets of Gascony) is a 1950 Italian comedy film directed by Mario Mattoli.

Landes forest

The Landes forest (La forêt des Landes in French) or the Landes of Gascony (las Lanas de Gasconha in the Gascon language), in the historic Gascony natural region of southwestern France now known as Aquitaine, is the largest man-made woodland in Western Europe. The French word, landes and Gascon lanas, mean 'moors' or 'heaths'.

Midi-Pyrénées

Midi-Pyrénées (French: [midi piʁene] (listen); Occitan: Miègjorn-Pirenèus or Mieidia-Pirenèus; Spanish: Mediodía-Pirineos) is a former administrative region of France. Since 1 January 2016, it has been part of the new region Occitanie. It was the largest region of Metropolitan France by area, larger than the Netherlands or Denmark.

Midi-Pyrénées has no historical or geographical unity. It is one of the regions of France created in the late 20th century to serve as a hinterland and zone of influence for its capital, Toulouse, one of a handful of so-called "balancing metropolises" (métropoles d'équilibre). Another example of this is the region of Rhône-Alpes which was created as the region for Lyon.

Odo of Gascony

Odo (French: Eudes or Odon, Latin: Odonis; c. 1010 – 10 March 1039/1040) was Duke of Gascony from 1032 and then Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Poitou from 1038.

He was a member of the House of Poitiers, the second son of William V of Aquitaine, the eldest by his second wife Brisca, daughter of William II of Gascony.The Chronicle of Saint-Maixent and Adhemar of Chabannes are the chief sources for his reign. He was subscribing donation charters to Saint-Cyprien with his father and mother and his brother Theobald, who died young, before 1018. He inherited Gascony in 1032 after the death of his uncle Sancho VI. In 1033, Odo took possession of the County of Bordeaux, traditional seat of the Gascon dukes.

At the death of his half-brother William VI in 1038, he succeeded as Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Poitou. However, he was killed while asserting his rights in Poitou against his stepmother Agnes and his half-brother William VII. He died in battle at Mauzé defending his recently acquired title there. He was buried in the abbey of Saint-Pierre at Maillezais beside his father and brother.

Sancho VI William of Gascony

Sancho VI William (Basque: Antso Gilen, French: Sanche Guillaume, Gascon: Sans Guilhem, Spanish: Sancho Guillén) (died 4 October 1032) was the Duke of Gascony from 1009 to his death. His reign is most notable for the renewal of Gascons ties with Spain.

Sancho was a son of William II Sánchez and Urraca of Navarre and relative of Sancho III of Navarre and he spent a portion of his life at the court of that king in Pamplona. He also took part in the Reconquista. It is possible he even submitted Gascony to the suzerainty of Navarre. In 1010, he appeared together with Sancho, Robert II of France, and William V of Aquitaine at Saint-Jean d'Angély. He certainly never paid homage to the king of France.

In 1027, he met William V at Blaye and they jointly selected Geoffrey, a Frank, as Archbishop of Bordeaux, which had become the Gascon capital during Sancho's reign. He had given his sister Brisca in marriage to the widower duke William and when he died without successors in 1032, the Aquitainian duke's children by this second marriage inherited Gascony.

Seneschal of Gascony

The Seneschal of Gascony was an officer carrying out and managing the domestic affairs of the lord of the Duchy of Gascony. During the course of the twelfth century, the seneschalship, also became an office of military command. After 1360, the officer was the Seneschal of Aquitaine. There was an office above the seneschalcy, the Lieutenancy of the Duchy of Aquitaine, but it was filled only intermittently (in times of emergency).

The seneschal managed the household, coordinating between the receivers of various landholdings and the chamber, treasury, and the chancellory or chapel. The seneschals of Gascony, like those appointed in Normandy, Poitou, and Anjou had custody of demesne fortresses, the regional treasuries, and presidency of the highest court of regional custom. Detailed records of the Gascon Exchequers during the reign of Henry III of England indicate that there most likely was a functioning exchequer.

Viscounts of Béarn

The viscounts of Béarn (Basque: Bearno, Gascon: Bearn or Biarn) were the rulers of the viscounty of Béarn, located in the Pyrenees mountains and in the plain at their feet, in southwest France. Along with the three Basque provinces of Soule, Lower Navarre, and Labourd, as well as small parts of Gascony, it forms the current département of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64).

Béarn is bordered by Basque provinces Soule and Lower Navarre to the west, by Gascony (Landes and Armagnac) to the north, by Bigorre to the east, and by Spain (Aragon) to the south.

William VIII, Duke of Aquitaine

William VIII (c. 1025 – 25 September 1086), born Guy-Geoffrey (Gui-Geoffroi), was duke of Gascony (1052–1086), and then duke of Aquitaine and count of Poitiers (as William VI) between 1058 and 1086, succeeding his brother William VII (Pierre-Guillaume).

Guy-Geoffroy was the youngest son of William V of Aquitaine by his third wife Agnes of Burgundy. He was the brother-in-law of Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor who had married his sister, Agnes de Poitou.

He became Duke of Gascony in 1052 during his older brother William VII's rule. Gascony had come to Aquitanian rule through William V's marriage to Prisca (a.k.a. Brisce) of Gascony, the sister of Duke Sans VI Guilhem of Gascony.

William VIII was one of the leaders of the allied army called to help Ramiro I of Aragon in the Siege of Barbastro (1064). This expedition was the first campaign organized by the papacy, namely Pope Alexander II, against a Muslim occupied city in the Emirate of Zaragoza, and the precursor of the later Crusades movement. Aragon and its allies conquered the city, killed its inhabitants and collected an important booty.

However, Aragon lost the city again in the following years. During William VIII's rule, the alliance with the southern kingdoms of modern Spain was a political priority as shown by the marriage of all his daughters to Iberian kings.

He married three times and had at least five children. After he divorced his first two wives, the first due to infertility, he married a third time to a much younger woman who was also his cousin Robert I of Burgundy's daughter. This marriage produced a son, but William VIII had to visit Rome in the early 1070s to persuade the pope to recognize his children from his third marriage as legitimate.

First wife: Garsende of Périgord, daughter of Count Aldabert II of Périgord (divorced November 1058), no children. She became a nun at Saintes.

Second wife: Matoeda (divorced May 1068)Agnes (1052–1078), married Alfonso VI of CastileThird wife: Hildegarde of Burgundy (daughter of duke Robert I of Burgundy)Agnes (died 1097), married Peter I of Aragon

William IX of Aquitaine, his heir

Beatrice? married firstly to Alfonso VI of Leon and Castile and secondly to Elias I, Count of Maine.

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