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Roussillon(ro͞osēyôN`), small region and former province, S France, bordering on Spain along the Pyrenees and on the Mediterranean, part of the administrative region of Occitania. It is now roughly coextensive with Pyrénées-OrientalesPyrénées-Orientales
, department (1990 pop. 367,100), S France, in Roussillon, on the Mediterranean Sea. Perpignan is the capital.
..... Click the link for more information. dept. PerpignanPerpignan
, city (1990 pop. 108,049), capital of Pyrénées-Orientales dept., S France, near the Spanish border and the Mediterranean. It is a farm trade center, handling wine, fruits, and vegetables.
..... Click the link for more information. is the historical capital. Wine, fruit, and olives are the chief products of this fertile and densely populated region, which also has a tourist industry. The area has changed hands many times, from the Romans, who arrived c.121 B.C., through the Visigoths, the Arabs, the Carolingians, the Spaniards, the counts of Barcelona, and the kings of Aragón, France, and Majorca. Louis XIII conquered it from Spain in 1642, and French possession of the Catalan-speaking region was confirmed by the Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659).
a historical region in southern France, located along the Mediterranean Sea and the Spanish border; the territory forms the present-day department of Pyrénées-Orientales.
The name “Roussillon” derives from the capital of the Sordons, a tribe that settled this region (in Latin, Ruscino). Circa 800, Roussillon was a countship in the state of Charlemagne (part of the Spanish March). In 915 the rule of the counts of Roussillon became hereditary.
In 1172, Roussillon passed by inheritance to the king of Aragon but remained under French sovereignty until 1258, when Louis IX yielded sovereign rights over Roussillon to the kings of Aragon. From 1276 to 1344 it belonged to the kingdom of Mallorca. In the 12th through 15th centuries, cities developed rapidly in Roussillon, particularly Perpignan, which became not only a major center for crafts, trade, and culture but also the capital of the kingdom of Mallorca. In 1463 the French king Louis XI annexed Roussillon, exploiting the king of Aragon’s request for help against the Catalonians, who rebelled in 1462. In 1493, under the Treaty of Barcelona, France returned Roussillon to Spain.
The long struggle between France and Spain over Roussillon ended in the 17th century. Under the provisions of the Peace of the Pyrenees in 1659, Roussillon was made part of France and became a French province. During the French Revolution, the province ceased to exist under the new system of administrative divisions. However, the Catalan language and a unique culture were preserved in the region.