Bordeaux(redirected from Burdigala)
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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.