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Angoumois (Traditional province, France)

Last modified: 2003-07-05 by ivan sache
Keywords: angoumois | angouleme | lozenge |
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[Angoumois]by Palac Cyberflag

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History of Angoumois

Angoumois was originally known as the pagus engolismensium. pagus was the Latin name for a small territorial subdivision, more or less equivalent to a modern canton. This word gave in French pays (country), paysan (farmer, through paganus), paysage (landscape) and païen (pagan, also through paganus). The word pays is ambiguous in modern French, because it is used to designate a whole country (France), a regional area (Pays de Retz), and even, especially in the countryside, a city or a village! Colloquially, two people from the same village may say nous sommes pays (we are [from the same] pays).

In the IXth century, Pépin, King of Aquitaine, created the County of Angoulême, or Angoumois. There were two successive Kings of Aquitaine named Pépin: Pépin I (803-838) was a son of the Carolingian Emperor Louis le Pieux (the Pious), and struggled against his father. Pépin II (823-865), Pépin I's son, struggled against his uncle Charles le Chauve (the Bold), who had received Aquitaine by the treaty of Verdun (843).

During the Hundred Years' War, Angoumois was annexed to England, along with the south-west of France, by the treaty of Brétigny (1360). King Charles V reconquered Angoumois in 1373.

The County was then granted to a member of the royal family according to the systeme of apanage. In 1515, François, Count of Angoulême, was crowned King of France as François I, and incorporated Angoumois to the royal domain. François I succeded his cousin Louis XII after having married Louis XII's daughter, Claude of France. François I was the root of the House of Valois-Orléans-Angoulême, who ruled France until the death of Henri III in 1589.
François I' sister, Marguerite of Valois (1492-1549), a.k.a. Marguerite d'Angoulême, was a brilliant woman. She corresponded in Hebrew, Greek and Latin with Erasmus of Rotterdam, and could also speak Italian and Spanish. Most of the French humanists of her time (Marot, Rabelais, Lefèvre d'Etaples...) took benefit of her protection. She wrote several poems and comedies. Her masterpiece was a series of tales called Heptaméron, written on the model of Boccacio's Decameron. Marguerite was also Queen of Navarre and the grand-mother of King of France Henri IV.

The last Dauphin of France, Louis of Bourbon (1775-1844), son of King Charles X, wore the title of Duke d'Angoulême, since the Bourbon Kings had reestablished the system of apanage after the 1815 Restauration. He commanded the French military expedition in Spain and died in exile in Görz (Austria). His wife Marie-Thérèse of Bourbon (1778-1851), a daughter of Louis XVI, nicknamed Madame Royale, exerted a great influence on Kings Louis XVIII and Charles X.

Ivan Sache, 11 December 2002

Description of the flag

The banner of arms of Angoumois is :

Losangé d'or et de gueules (Lozengy, or and gules).

According to GASO, these arms belonged to the Counts of Angoulême before the House of Valois-OrlÈans-Angoulême ruled Angoumois.

Ivan Sache, 11 December 2002