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Saintonge(săNtôNzh`), region of W France, on the Bay of Biscay. It is now part of the Charente-Maritime dept. Cattle and sheep raising, dairying, and the manufacture of cognac from grapes grown along the Charente River are the major occupations; oysters are harvested along the coast. Known as the country of Santones, the region was conquered by the Romans and was occupied (419) by the VisigothsVisigoths
(West Goths), division of the Goths, one of the most important groups of Germans. Having settled in the region W of the Black Sea in the 3d cent. A.D., the Goths soon split into two divisions, the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths.
..... Click the link for more information. and by Clovis I (507). As a fief of AquitaineAquitaine
, Lat. Aquitania, former duchy and kingdom in SW France. Julius Caesar conquered the Aquitani, an Iberian people of SW Gaul, in 56 B.C. The province that he created occupied the territory between the Garonne River and the Pyrenees; under Roman rule it was
..... Click the link for more information. , it became part of England (1154) following the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henry of Anjou (later Henry II of England). During the Wars of Religion (1562–98), Saintonge was a Protestant stronghold, especially at the city of La RochelleRochelle, La
, city (1990 pop. 73,744), capital of Charente-Maritime dept., W France, on the Bay of Biscay. Industries include naval, aircraft, and automobile construction. La Rochelle is the principal French fishing port on the Atlantic coast. Chartered in the 12th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. . The region was incorporated (1372) into the French crown lands, and was a French province until the Revolution (1789).