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a regional group of the French, inhabiting Provence.
Until the 16th century the inhabitants of all of southern France were called Provençals. The Provençal ethnic group related to northern France also formed in this area during the ninth century. A rich literature was created in the Provençal language during the 11 th through 13th centuries. With the eradication of the Albigensian heresy in the 13th century, the culture of the Provençals was dealt a heavy blow. As a common French culture formed during the 16th through 18th centuries, the Provençal and northern French ethnic groups merged, and French became the dominant language of southern France. In the mid-19th century, Provence became the center of a movement to revive the Provençal language and literature. The Provencals retain a sense of regional identity and certain distinct ethnic traits.