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Bordeaux(bôrdō`), city (1990 pop. 213,274), capital of Gironde dept., SW France, on the Garonne River. Bordeaux is a major economic and cultural center, and a busy port accessible to oceangoing ships from the Atlantic through the Gironde River. Although Bordeaux has important shipyards and industries (machines, chemicals, and airplanes), its principal source of wealth is the wine trade. Bordeaux wine is the generic name of the wine produced in the Bordelais region, which is dotted with châteaux that give their names to many vineyards. Known as Burdigala by the Romans, Bordeaux was the capital of the province of Aquitania and a prosperous commercial city. It became an archepiscopal see in the 4th cent. Bordeaux's importance declined under Visigothic and Frankish rule (c.5th cent.), but was revived when the city became (11th cent.) the seat of the dukes 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. . Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was born there, precipitated through her successive marriages to Louis VII of France and Henry II of England the long struggle between the two nations. As a result of these wars Bordeaux came under English rule, which lasted from 1154 to 1453. The city's commercial importance dates from this period. Reconquered by France, Bordeaux became capital of the province of Guienne. Louis XI established the powerful parlementparlement
, in French history, the chief judicial body under the ancien régime. The parlement consisted of a number of separate chambers: the central pleading chamber, called the Grand-Chambre; the Chambre des Requêtes
..... Click the link for more information. of Bordeaux and granted great privileges to the university founded (1441) by Pope Eugene IV. The intellectual reputation of Bordeaux was made by Montaigne and Montesquieu, who were born nearby and who were both magistrates in the city. Bordeaux reached the height of its prosperity in the 18th cent. Its relations with England were always close; many English firms exporting wine and spirits established themselves in the city. Bordeaux was the center of the GirondistsGirondists
, political group of moderate republicans in the French Revolution, so called because the central members were deputies of the Gironde dept. Girondist leaders advocated continental war.
..... Click the link for more information. in the French Revolution and the site of the National Assembly of 1871 that established the Third Republic. In 1914 and again in 1940, at the onset of the World Wars, the city was the temporary seat of the French government. The Place des Quinconces, with its statues of Montaigne and Montesquieu, dominates the center of the city. Other points of interest are the Gothic Cathedral of St. André, several art museums, and some elegant 18th-century buildings designed by Victor Louis and Jacques Gabriel. An engineering school and a research center studying mass-media communications are also in Bordeaux.
a city in southwestern France on the Garonne River, 97 km from the Bay of Biscay of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the administrative center of the department of Gironde and was formerly the old capital of the province of Guyenne. As of 1968 its population was 267,000 (with the suburbs, the population was over 500,000).
Bordeaux is an industrial and transport center of national significance. It is a major railroad junction and port, accessible to oceangoing ships and occupying sixth place among French ports in freight turnover (over 7 million tons in 1968). France’s foreign trade with Africa and Latin America passes primarily through Bordeaux’s main port and its outer harbors, such as Pauillac and Verdón, which are located closer to the mouth of the Garonne. Major imported commodities are petroleum, coal, phosphates, vegetable oil, raw sugar, and coffee and cacao beans; major exports are petroleum products, wooden supports for mine roofs, cloth, wines, and canned fruit and fish. The major industries of Bordeaux and its suburbs, including Pauillac and Bec d’Ambés, are petroleum refining, ship and aircraft construction, machine construction, metallurgy, chemicals (especially fertilizer production), textiles, wood processing, and food processing (sugar, chocolate, oils, and fruit and fish canning). Bordeaux has preserved its fame as the capital of French wine making and the wine trade. The University of Bordeaux was founded in 1441.
Architectural monuments in Bordeaux include the remains of a Roman amphitheater (third century); the Romanesque-Gothic Church of St. Seurin (11th—13th century), Church of Ste. Croix (12th-13th century), and Cathedral of St. Andre (mid-12th century to early 13th); the Gothic churches of Ste. Éulalie (12th-14th century) and St. Michel (14th-16th century); and the fortress gates of Cailhau (1494). The fan-shaped network of streets leading to the Place de la Bourse that was formed in the Middle Ages was supplemented in the 18th century by a regular network of streets and squares as a result of the construction projects of J. and J. A. Gabriel, V. Louis, and others. These 18th-century projects determined Bordeaux’s present-day appearance, with its esplanades and classical buildings, including the Grand Theatre (1773–80), town halls (1773–84), and numerous mansions. In the 20th century Bordeaux has grown at the expense of its suburbs. In 1922–26 a residential complex, whose architect was Le Corbusier, was built at Pessac.
Bordeaux is one of the more important centers of French political history. In ancient times it was the Celtic settlement of Burdigala. After the Roman conquest of Gaul in the first century B.C. it was the major city of Aquitania. In the sixth century it became part of the Frankish state. After 1154 it was under English rule until its reannexation to France in 1453. Bordeaux, one of the major artisan and commercial centers of southern France, was the site of many important popular revolts (1548, 1635, 1650). During the French Revolution, it was the base of support for the Girondists. During the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), in World War I (1914), and in World War II (June 1940), the city was the seat of the French government. Fascist German troops occupied Bordeaux in the autumn of 1940, and the city was liberated by French partisans in August 1944.