, A Brief History
Posted: 04-Jun-2004, 12:03 AM
Wanderer and Vagabond
Group: Celtic Nation
Realm: Wytheville, Virginia
| This info was found at:
A Quick History of Brittany
Armorica was first populated in Paleolithic times (8000 BC) when stags and mammoths were hunted by small groups of hunter-gatherers.Gradually, between 3000 and 1800 BC a Megalithic civilisation developed, based on farming and agriculture. Scattered tribes lived in fortified camps, and it was they who developed the skill of raising huge stones to stand vertically. They also had a quite sophisticated system of burial rites. Menhirs up to a hundred tons in weight can still be seen, with cairns up to 80 yards long.
Gradually this way of life changed under the influence of communication and seafaring along and from the Loire valley.
The Bronze Age
This was a prosperous period for Armorica, which developed a highly sophisticated civilisation, trading with Scandinavia and Germany to the north, and with the Iberian peninsula to the south. Double-headed axes and fine swords attest to the skills of the bronze age craftsmen.
The Celts arrived in Armorica and built the first cities. They had a highly organised society, were skilled in metalworking and produced beautiful artifacts in gold and silver.
The Romans came to Armorica in the course of their conquest of Gaul, but were fiercely resisted by the Veneti, who were skilful sailors. However, after a decisive Roman maritime victory, the two peoples settled down together quite amicably, and farming and trade flourished. As usual, the Romans built a complex system of roads, marked out with milestones.
As Roman influence rapidly declined around 350 AD, hordes of barbarians swept into and across Gaul. Soon Armorica's economy lay in ruins. A wave of Celts from Britain, seeking refuge from invading Saxons, sought shelter in Armorica. They brought with them the Christian religion and built churches and monasteries.
The Breton nobleman, Nominoë, was given charge of the province by the Frankish king Louis the Pious. However, after Louis' death Nominoë fought for independence, and soundly defeated the Frankish forces of Charles the Bold in 845. He extended the boundaries of Brittany by seizing Nantes and Rennes. His successors maintained their inheritance and even extended it, despite jealousy and treachery among the ruling families.
The Middle Ages
Despite continued rivalry, the Dukes of Brittany managed to maintain their independence from the French crown. In 1364, after a long struggle known as the War of Succession between Jean de Montfort and Charles de Blois (eventually killed at Auray) the French king Charles V recognised Jean de Montfort as Duke Jean IV of Brittany, and the years that followed, until 1442, are reckoned as something of a golden age in Breton history.
Anne of Brittany
One of the most famous figures in Breton history, Anne succeeded to the Dukedom as an eleven year old child. She was married by proxy to the Hapsburg Archduke, Maximilian, but with her city of Rennes under siege from the young French king, Charles VIII, she agreed to abandon her former marriage and become Charles' wife. When he died seven years later, she married his successor, Louis XII, in 1499 at Nantes.
All her life she worked tirelessly for the sake of her duchy of Brittany. She was a patron of the arts and a deeply religious woman. Her daughter, Claude, married the future king of France, François I, and thus brought the Duchy to the French crown. However, Brittany retained many local privileges and had its own parliament.
Rennes, nearer to Paris than Nantes, eventually became the regional capital, and a long period of Breton prosperity began.
The French Revolution and after
At first the townsfolk of Rennes enbraced the ideas of the Revolution, and there was open conflict when the Breton Parliament assembled in 1789. However, 90% of the population were peasants, and they feared the new power of the bourgeois and reacted strongly against the oaths of allegiance to the Revolution that the clergy were obliged to swear. In 1793, after the first obligatory conscription by lottery, the Vendée rose up against the new republic and were soon joined by all the provinces of Brittany.
The Revolution, and then the Empire, soon drained what was left of Brittany's prosperity, and the peasants and working classes were reduced to penury. As the nineteenth century progressed, a strong move for independence arose and there were strikes and violent clashes across the province in 1884. Until quite recently there have been serious moves for independence from France (and judging by the political graffiti we have seen in Pontivy, there are still prisoners in jail who committed violent acts for the sake of independence) though the French government has made important concessions (eg all roads in Brittany are toll-free) and the strength of feeling seems to have waned.
FROM relative prosperity at the end of the 17th century, the Brittany countryside fell gradually into poverty. Porridge and buckwheat pancakes became the staple diet, together with clear soup poured over a thick slice of bread, and chestnuts wherever they grew.
But once or twice a year, at "pig-sticking" time or threshing, the whole village would gather together for a big cooking session ? pork and cabbage hot-pot, or fricassees. These kig ha farz, as they were called, were made by filling a cauldron with mixed vegetables and pork, other meats being added in the course of time as stock-rearing became established. The same frugality was found along the coast, though here the harvest of the sea made up for a lack of meat.
The basic dish was often a stew of limpets which the women would gather along the shore while waiting for their fishermen-husbands to bring home a share of the catch to cook into a cotriade, or mixed fish soup. The establishment of the potato soon led to its inclusion in many favourite dishes.
Local cuisine today is a blend of all these influences, drawing inspiration from the rural flavours of the old basic Breton produce: buckwheat and oats, butter, cider and pork. Some forgotten ingredients such as chestnuts are being reinstated and traditional recipes rediscovered, often enriched with early vegetables and new farmhouse specialities.
Pancakes and crêpes are universally recognised and head the list of Breton specialities, and there are thousands of crêperies throughout the region.
Slàn agus beannachd,
Allen R. Alderman
'S i Alba tìr mo chridhe. 'S i Gàidhlig cànan m' anama.
Scotland is the land of my heart. Gaelic is the language of my soul.
Posted: 28-Sep-2004, 09:40 AM
Wanderer and Vagabond
Group: Celtic Nation
Realm: Wytheville, Virginia
| Here is a timeline of Breton History. It was found at:
A BRIEF HISTORY OF BRITTANY
Compiled By Judy Drew
Peninsula inhabited by little known people who erect Megaliths
Arrival of the Celts who call the peninsula AMOR (the country of the sea)
Caesar destroys the fleet of the Veneti tribe, conquers Amor and for the next 4 centuries, Roman civilization does its work
Barbarian invasion returns the province to near savagery
Immigration of the British Celts who are driven from Britain by the Angels and the Saxons. Over the next 2 centuries, the Celts convert the area to Christianity and rename the peninsula LITTLE BRITAIN
Charlemagne subjugates Brittany
THE DUCHY OF BRITTANY
Louis the Pious creates Nominoe of Vannes Duke of Brittany.
Nomino brings all Brittany under his authority and defeats Charles the Bold near Redon, ending Frankish suzerainty. He founds independent Duke Dynasty which lasts for over a century.
Erispoe (son of Nominoe) takes the title King of Brittany. He is assassinated by his cousin Salomon who reigns from 857. He extends Brittany to include Anjou and Cotentin. Salomon was assassinated in 874
Norseman invade. The area is subject to violent robbery, rape and pillage.
King Alain Barb-Tort drives out the Normans
King Alain Barb-Tort dies. Local nobles defy his successors and the peninsula returns to disorder and poverty which lasts nearly into the 14th century
William the Conqueror invades England
The Mangna Carta is signed
Start of the Hundred year war, ending in 1453
The War of Succession begins on the death of Duke Jean de Monfort III. Jean ne de Penthiévre, wife of Charles of Blois, supported by the French fights her brother Jean de Monfort, ally of the English for the Duchy
Charles of Blois defeated and killed at Auray. Brittany is ruined once again by war.
The house of Montfort restores Brittany and there follows a brilliant period. The arts flourish and the Dukes pay homage to France in theory only. They are regarded as sovereigns. Constable de Richemont, the companion in arms to Joan of Arc, succeeds his brother as Duke of Brittany
Duke Francois II who has entered into the coalition against the regent of France is defeated at St Aubin du Cormieu and dies. His daughter Anne of Brittany succeeders him.
BRITTANY REUNITES WITH FRANCE
Anne of Brittany marries Charles VIII but remains Duchess and sovereign of Brittany
Charles VIII dies and Anne returns to the Duchy
Louis XII repudiates his wife and marries Anne of Brittany, who remains Duchess of Brittany, which remains separate from France
Anne of Brittany dies and is succeeded by her daughter Claude of France. She marries Francois of Angoulmême, later Francois I of France
Claude cedes her Duchy to Francois I who has this permanent reunion of Brittany and France ratified at the Parliament of Vannes
Brittany rebels against its Governor, The Duke of Mercoer, who attempting to profit from the League tries to seize the province. Bandits like the famous La Fontenelle ravage the country
Henry IV ends religious strife by issuing the Edit of Nantes.
Stamped Paper Revolt. Colbert decreed all legal transactions should take place on stamped paper. The revolt was suppressed with great violence. Pont L'Abbe suffered greatly, its castle was pillaged.
The Revolution draws near. The Rennes Parliament and its Public Prosecutor, La Chalotais oppose Governor Aiguillon.
Birth of Surcouf the Breton Pirate
Thousands drowned in the River Loire near Nantes by Carrier. Nantes had many Royalists. Carrier was guillotined for his brutality in December 1793
The Laws against Priests and the punitive Mass Levies give rise to the Chouannerie revolt of Breton Royalists.
The landing at Quiberon of Royalist exiles is defeated
Cadoudal who tried to revive the Chouannerie is executed.
The Duchess of Berry attempts to organise a revolt which fails.
Strikes & riots with the cannery workers at Concarneau
The First World War. Brittany pays a heavy price as denoted on every village war memorial
Le Brix an aviator from Morbihan, accompanied by Costes are the first to fly around the world.
Anglo-Canadian commandos raid the submarine base at St Nazaire
The end of the second world war and the German occupation. A trail of devastation is left across Brittany, with Brest, Lorient & St Nazaire almost razed to the ground.
The organisation of the Comité d' Etudes et de Liasons des Interests Bretons (CELIB) is formed to safeguard the Breton interests. This is the first step to the rejuvenation of the Breton economy
The fist transatlantic transmission by satellite of a television signal from the station at Pleumeur-Bodou
The Rance tidal power station and the Arreé Mountains nuclear power stations are opened.
The Torrey Canyon, an oil tanker runs aground off the English coast and contaminates the Brittany beaches.
The creation of the Armorique National Park
Oil exploration in the Iroise Sea of the Finistere coast.
Brittany introduces bi-lingual road signs in French & Breton languages
The Law Courts at Rennes, the home of the Breton Parliament are burned to the ground by rioting French fishermen
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