Accueil / Destinations / A short history of Bordeaux town.

A short history of Bordeaux town.

Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in southwest France.

The estimated population is 250,082. The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 seventh-largest urban area in France. capital of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture of the Gironde department.

Between 30,000 and 20,000 years ago the area of Bordeaux was inhabited by the Neanderthal, whose remains have been found at a famous cave known as Pair-non-Pair, near Bourg sur Gironde, just north of Bordeaux & Lascaux where you can see the cave drawings.

Approx. 300 BC it was the settlement of a Celtic tribe, the Bituriges Vivisci, who named the town Burdigala, probably of Aquitainian origin. The biturges ruled the canals & levied taxes for users & became wealthy as a result.

Roman rule ~ 60 BC, its importance lying in the commerce of tin and lead towards Rome. Later it became capital of Roman Aquitaine, flourishing especially during the Severan dynasty (third century).

In 276 it was sacked by the Vandals. Further ravage was brought by the same Vandals in 409, the Visigoths in 414 and the Franks in 498, beginning a period of obscurity for the city. 12th to the 15th century, Bordeaux regained importance following the marriage of Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine with the French-speaking Count Henri Plantagenet, born in Le Mans, who became, within months of their wedding, King Henry II of England.

The city flourished, primarily due to wine trade, and the cathedral of St. André was built.

It was also the capital of an independent state under Edward, the Black Prince (1362–1372), but in the end, after the Battle of Castillon (1453) it was annexed by France which extended its territory.

The Château Trompette (Trumpet Castle) and the Fort du Hâ, built by Charles VII of France, were the symbols of the new domination, which however deprived the city of its richness by halting the wine commerce with England.

In 1462, Bordeaux obtained a parliament, but regained importance only in the 16th century when it became the center of the distribution of sugar and slaves from the West Indies along with the traditional wine.

The 18th century was the golden age of Bordeaux. Many downtown buildings (about 5,000), including those on the quays, are from this period. Victor Hugo found the town so beautiful he once said: "take Versailles, add Antwerp, and you have Bordeaux".

Baron Haussmann, a long-time prefect of Bordeaux, used Bordeaux's 18th century big-scale rebuilding as a model when he was asked by Emperor Napoleon III to transform a then still quasi-medieval Paris into a "modern" capital that would make France proud.

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