History of Bordeaux

The History of Bordeaux Seems to Be Quite Enchanting and Eventful

Bordeaux, a beautiful city in the south western region of France, has a very interesting and eventful history. To learn more about the city's history and its enchanting wine, read on.
Bordeaux is located on the western coast of France and is a rather busy port city. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region in France, and is also the seventh largest metropolitan city in France. According to the latest census, the population of Bordeaux is about 1,010,000. The famous and renowned Bordeaux wine is produced in this city. Some older parts of the city are even listed on the UNESCO world heritage list.

Early History

The history of Bordeaux begins in the Paleolithic ages. It has been estimated that the region of Bordeaux was inhabited by the Neanderthal man about 20,000 to 30,000 years ago. The remains of the Neanderthal man have been discovered in the caves in this region. One of the caves, where some prominent remains were found, known as Pair-non-Pair, is located near a commune by the name Bourg sur Gironde, which lies to the northern side of Bordeaux.

Celtic Times
During the BC era, in 300 BC, the region of Bordeaux was dominated by the settlements of the Celtic tribes. Bituriges Vivisci was one of the most prominent tribes in this region. Bordeaux was probably named after the river Bourde that lies to the south of this city. The city was of great importance to the Roman economy as the trade of metal, especially lead and tin, flourished in this region. In the coming years, Bordeaux was made the capital of Roman Aquitania or the Gallia Aquitania, which was a Roman province in the southern parts of present day France. The economical and political importance of the city increased during the rule of the Severan Imperial Dynasty in the 3rd century AD due to the presence of the land and sea trade routes.

In the year 276 AD, Bordeaux was plundered by the Vandals of Eastern Germany. In the coming years the city saw even more turmoil as the Vandals again raided the city in 409 AD, the Visigoths plundered it in 414 AD, and Franks plundered it in 498 AD.

Early A.D.s
In the 6th century AD, the city regained its importance and prestige as it was made an archdiocese under the rule of the Merovingian Dynasty of France. During this period, the city again prospered and thrived as before. Bordeaux came to be known as a major center of commerce in the southern regions of France. Sadly, it was again plundered in 732 AD, this time by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, the leader of Andalusia Muslims.

The commercial activity in the city greatly improved between the 12th and the 15th centuries. The wine production and trade in this region was recognized in Europe as well, eventually boosting the trade. The cathedral of St. Andre was also built during this era. It was also the capital of Edward the Black Prince from 1362 to 1372. After the Battle of Castillon in 1453, it was merged into France. Charles VII built the Trumpet Castle and the Fort du Hâ.

Towards Modern History

In 1462 AD, the Parliament of Bordeaux was founded. In the same decade, it also became a major trade center for sugar and slaves that arrived from Africa and the New World. In 1653, during the Fronde civil war in France, the city was annexed by Louis XIV, when his troops entered Bordeaux.

The city, however, flourished even more during the 18th century, and the architecture of the buildings was used for the modernization of Paris during the rule of Napoleon III. He entrusted the task to Baron Haussmann, the then-Prefect of Bordeaux. During the Second World War, it was also the capital of the French government when the German invasion of Paris was anticipated.

The famed author, Victor Hugo, has aptly described Bordeaux by commenting, "Take Versailles, add Antwerp, and you have Bordeaux". Indeed this historic city is worth a visit, even if it is just to taste its delightful French wine.
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