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Toulouse(to͞olo͞oz`), city (1990 pop. 365,933), capital of Haute-Garonne dept., S France, on the Garonne River. France's fastest growing region, it is one of France's great cultural and commercial centers. It is also the center of Europe's aerospace industry, with research, production, and training facilities. Hydropower from the Pyrenees and natural gas from Lacq helped Toulouse become a manufacturing and high technology center.
Originally part of Roman Gaul, Toulouse became an episcopal see in the 4th cent. It was the capital of the Visigoths from 419 until the conquest by Clovis I in 508 and was capital of the Carolingian kingdom 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. from 781 until 843. In 843, Toulouse and the surrounding area became a separate county. Toulouse was an artistic and literary center of medieval Europe. In the late 12th cent. the counts of Toulouse were suzerains of practically the entire region of Languedoc; their vassals included the lords of FoixFoix
, town (1990 pop. 10,466), capital of Ariège dept., S France, on the Ariège River at the foot of the Pyrenees. It is an administrative and tourist center with some small industry.
..... Click the link for more information. , QuercyQuercy
, region and former county, SW France, now divided between Lot and Tarn-et-Garonne depts. Cahors is the chief city. It consists of arid limestone plateaus (causses), cut by fertile valleys of the Lot, Dordogne, and Aveyron rivers.
..... Click the link for more information. , and RouergueRouergue
, region of S France, in the S Massif Central, coextensive with the present Aveyron dept. Rodez, the historic capital, and Millau are the chief towns. One of the most mountainous areas of France, it is traversed by the Aveyron, Tarn, and other rivers, which form many
..... Click the link for more information. . Ruling with great wisdom and tolerance (particularly toward the Jews, many of whom settled in Languedoc), the counts held a brilliant court that attracted the best troubadourstroubadours
, aristocratic poet-musicians of S France (Provence) who flourished from the end of the 11th cent. through the 13th cent. Many troubadours were noblemen and crusader knights; some were kings, e.g.
..... Click the link for more information. and was the center of southern French literature.
Although rival dynastic claims to Aquitaine brought recurrent warfare with England, the region itself was barely affected. However, between 1208 and 1229 the area was laid waste when northern lords, under the guise of stamping out the Albigensian heresy (see under AlbigensesAlbigenses
[Lat.,=people of Albi, one of their centers], religious sect of S France in the Middle Ages. Beliefs and Practices
Officially known as heretics, they were actually Cathari, Provençal adherents of a doctrine similar to the Manichaean dualistic
..... Click the link for more information. ), plundered Toulouse. The counts fell from power, and in 1271 the county passed to the French crown and from that time on formed much of Languedoc prov. After the annexation, the province retained much autonomy in government until the French Revolution. After the suppression of Albigensianism, Toulouse experienced a cultural rebirth.
The Univ. of Toulouse was established in 1230 and the Académie des Jeaux Floraux c.1323. Among the many outstanding buildings are the Romanesque Basilica of St. Sernin (11th–12th cent.), the Cathedral of St. Étienne (12th–15th cent.), the capitole [town hall] (18th cent.), several excellent museums, including one in the Assézat mansion (16th cent.) and an air and space museum, and an old quarter left almost intact since the 18th cent.
a feudal county in southern France that existed from the mid-ninth to the 13th century. The capital was the city of Toulouse.
Claimed by the English and French kings and the Papal States, the county of Toulouse was constantly at pains to defend its independence. Nevertheless, many of its towns prospered, including Toulouse, Narbonne, and Nimes, which engaged in extensive trade in the Mediterranean. In the 12th and 13th centuries the county extended its protection to the Albigenses. In 1229, however, as a result of the Albigensian Crusades, a considerable part of Toulouse was attached to the domain of the French king. The rest of the county was annexed in 1271.
a city and river port in southern France, situated on the Garonne River at the point where the Canal du Midi commences. Administrative center of the department of Haute-Garonne. Population (1968), 371,000; including suburbs, 440,000. Toulouse is a transportation and industrial center, deriving its energy from a hydroelectric power plant in the Pyrenees and from the gas field at Lacq. Its industries manufacture aircraft, munitions, chemicals, clothing, and footwear; other local products include foodstuffs and tobacco. The city, which has a university, founded in the 13th century, is also a national center for space research.
In antiquity, Toulouse was a Celtic settlement. In the fifth and early sixth centuries A.D., it served as the capital of the Visigoth kingdom; it later became the capital of the county of Toulouse, which existed from the ninth to the 13th century. The city emerged as an important trade and handicraft center in the 11th century. From the 15th to the mid-16th century it exported dye for wool fabrics to Spain, England, and the Netherlands. At Toulouse, in 1814, the Duke of Wellington defeated the forces of Marshal Soult. In 1871 a commune was proclaimed there, patterned after the Paris Commune; it lasted only for a few days. During World War II the city was occupied by fascist German troops; it was liberated by forces of the Resistance in August 1944.
Toulouse abounds in architectural landmarks. Prominent among them is the five-naved Basilica of St. Sernin, most of which was constructed between 1096 and 1250; it stands as one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture. Other important local churches dating from the medieval period are the Cathedral of St. Etienne, a Romanesque and Gothic structure begun in the 12th century and completed in the 16th century, and the Gothic church of the Jacobins, built between 1260 and 1315. These vie in architectural magnificence with the numerous Renaissance churches and palaces—among the latter the Hotel de Bernuy (1504–34, architects L. Privat and others)—as well as several baroque buildings and complexes. An outstanding example of the classical style is the town hall (1750–53, architect G. Cammas). Representative of the city’s modern architecture is the faubourg (incorporated suburb) of Le Mirail (1960’s, architect G. Candilis).
Among the cultural institutions of Toulouse is the Musée des Augustins, containing many specimens of French painting and sculpture.