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> Brittany, A Brief History
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 04-Jun-2004, 12:03 AM
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This info was found at:
http://www.pvf.dircon.co.uk/index.html

A Quick History of Brittany
Prehistory

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.



Conquest

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.



The Britons

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.



Brittany

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.



Gastronomy

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.
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 28-Sep-2004, 09:40 AM
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Here is a timeline of Breton History. It was found at:
http://www.brittany-guide.com/welcome.html?menu.htm&0

A BRIEF HISTORY OF BRITTANY
Compiled By Judy Drew

ANCIENT AMOR

B.C
Peninsula inhabited by little known people who erect Megaliths

600
Arrival of the Celts who call the peninsula AMOR (the country of the sea)

56
Caesar destroys the fleet of the Veneti tribe, conquers Amor and for the next 4 centuries, Roman civilization does its work

A.D.

Barbarian invasion returns the province to near savagery

460
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

799
Charlemagne subjugates Brittany

.
THE DUCHY OF BRITTANY

826
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.

851
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

919
Norseman invade. The area is subject to violent robbery, rape and pillage.

939
King Alain Barb-Tort drives out the Normans

952
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

1066
William the Conqueror invades England

1215
The Mangna Carta is signed

1337
Start of the Hundred year war, ending in 1453

1341
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

1364
Charles of Blois defeated and killed at Auray. Brittany is ruined once again by war.

.
THE MONTFORTS

1364
to
1468
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

1483
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

1491
Anne of Brittany marries Charles VIII but remains Duchess and sovereign of Brittany

1499
Charles VIII dies and Anne returns to the Duchy

1499
Louis XII repudiates his wife and marries Anne of Brittany, who remains Duchess of Brittany, which remains separate from France

1514
Anne of Brittany dies and is succeeded by her daughter Claude of France. She marries Francois of Angoulmême, later Francois I of France

1532
Claude cedes her Duchy to Francois I who has this permanent reunion of Brittany and France ratified at the Parliament of Vannes

.
FRENCH BRITTANY


1588
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

1598
Henry IV ends religious strife by issuing the Edit of Nantes.

1675
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.

1711
The Revolution draws near. The Rennes Parliament and its Public Prosecutor, La Chalotais oppose Governor Aiguillon.

1773
Birth of Surcouf the Breton Pirate

.
.

1793
Thousands drowned in the River Loire near Nantes by Carrier. Nantes had many Royalists. Carrier was guillotined for his brutality in December 1793

1793
to
1804
The Laws against Priests and the punitive Mass Levies give rise to the Chouannerie revolt of Breton Royalists.

1795
The landing at Quiberon of Royalist exiles is defeated

1804
Cadoudal who tried to revive the Chouannerie is executed.

1832
The Duchess of Berry attempts to organise a revolt which fails.

1909
Strikes & riots with the cannery workers at Concarneau

1914
to
1918
The First World War. Brittany pays a heavy price as denoted on every village war memorial

.
MODERN BRITTANY

1927
Le Brix an aviator from Morbihan, accompanied by Costes are the first to fly around the world.


1942
Anglo-Canadian commandos raid the submarine base at St Nazaire

1944
to
1945
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.

1951
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

1962
The fist transatlantic transmission by satellite of a television signal from the station at Pleumeur-Bodou

1966
The Rance tidal power station and the Arreé Mountains nuclear power stations are opened.

1967
The Torrey Canyon, an oil tanker runs aground off the English coast and contaminates the Brittany beaches.

1970
The creation of the Armorique National Park

1975
Oil exploration in the Iroise Sea of the Finistere coast.

1985
Brittany introduces bi-lingual road signs in French & Breton languages

1994
The Law Courts at Rennes, the home of the Breton Parliament are burned to the ground by rioting French fishermen
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TheCarolinaScotsman 
Posted: 06-Oct-2004, 03:39 PM
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QUOTE (WizardofOwls @ 28-Sep-2004, 10:40 AM)
British Celts who are driven from Britain by the Angels and the Saxons.

I know the Saxons probably thought heaven was on their side, but isn't this carrying things a little far? rolleyes.gif Just kidding bro, but I do like a good typo. biggrin.gif


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celtica 
Posted: 06-Oct-2004, 04:03 PM
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biggrin.gif biggrin.gif biggrin.gif

I didn't even notice, but I love the idea that part of my ancestors are angels tongue.gif


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Que restera-t-il de notre sang mêlé au sel, sans trace dans les mémoires ? Une ultime navigation, trompeuse. Et des souvenirs, illuminés d'embruns. Mais condamnés au silence de la mer... Loïc Finaz.
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MacAibhistin 
Posted: 06-Oct-2004, 06:33 PM
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Thanks for posting this brief history, Alan. I found it very informative as Brittany is often the little Celtic hinterland we rarely hear about.

I wonder what distinctively Celtic traits/customs are still found in the day to day life in Brittany.

Rory
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dundee 
Posted: 07-Oct-2004, 01:19 PM
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OHHHHH shame on me... shame on me..... i thought this thread was about "brittany spears" sad.gif so now i gets a history lesson and didnt even know it...... very sneaky very sneaky indeed! laugh.gif


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jim

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"If I say something that can be interpreted in two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, I meant it the other way."

often in error, never in doubt.

if guns kill people then my pencil mis-spells words
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isnt what ya thought ya wanted
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stoirmeil 
Posted: 11-Jun-2005, 10:46 AM
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Thanks for this, WizardofOwls. Though my heart's in the highlands (go figure) my genetic claim to celt-ness is Breton. I like to tell people that Asterix was a great-great-gaffer of mine. biggrin.gif
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 11-Jun-2005, 07:44 PM
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Glad I could help! But I can't claim any credit for it. All I did was find it and post it here! smile.gif Glad you enjoyed it!

My heart is in Scotland, but since I've become Moderator for Brittany, I've found I have a growing fondness for it too! Shucks, what am I talking about? I love ALL of the Celtic lands! If offered a trip to visit any two, the first would be Soctland, but I'd miss the boat for trying to decide on the second one! biggrin.gif
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