History of the Republic of Aquitaine

In Roman times, the province of Gallia Aquitania originally comprised the region of Gaul between the Pyrenees Mountains and the Garonne River, but Augustus Caesar added to it the land between the Garonne and the Loire River. At this stage the province extended inland as far as the Cevennes and covered an area about one third of the size of modern France in the southwestern region.

Circa 600 C.E.

The Visigoths controlled the area in the 5th century after 500 years of Roman control.  Control passed to the Franks when they defeated the Visigoths in 507. In about 725 it was raided by the Muslim conquerors of Spain.  The Frankish leader Charles Martel crushed these invaders in 733, and Aquitaine became part of the Carolingian empire. Charles Martel was the 43rd Great Grandfather of the current leader of the Republic of Aquitaine, THOMAS II GRAND DUKE OF AQUITAINE.

Carolingian Empire with Aquitaine Circled

Control was passed to Charles Martel’s son, Pepin III (39th Great Grandfather of THOMAS II GRAND DUKE OF AQUITAINE), and then to his son, Charlemagne (38th Great Grandfather of THOMAS II GRAND DUKE OF AQUITAINE).

The people of Aquitaine were known in the whole empire for their strong spirit of independence, as well as their wealth. Indeed, the region was quite prosperous during this period. The reign of Charlemagne in general saw a great recovery of western Europe after the dark ages preceding it.

In 814 Charlemagne died, and his only surviving son was Louis, King of Aquitaine (37th Great Grandfather of THOMAS II GRAND DUKE OF AQUITAINE), who became Emperor Louis the Pious. Louis the Pious had three sons, and in 817 he arranged an early allocation of the shares in the future inheritance of the empire: Pippin was confirmed king in Aquitaine (Pippin I of Aquitaine).

Aquitaine as part of Neustria

The heirs of Charlemagne divided and re-divided their inheritance, and Aquitaine passed out of the control of Neustria, the western kingdom of Charlemagne's house.

In the 9th century the leading counts and other nobility gradually freed themselves of royal control. Bernard Plantevelue and his son, William I, whose power was based in Auvergne, called themselves dukes of Aquitaine, but their state disintegrated. William V founded a new duchy of Aquitaine based in Poitou. It reached its zenith under William VIII . When William X died (1137), his daughter Eleanor of Aquitaine (26th Great Grandmother of THOMAS II GRAND DUKE OF AQUITAINE) married Louis VII of France, whom she divorced in 1152 to marry Henry II of England. She maintained an elegant chivalric court at Poitiers. Her sons, Richard I and John (25th Great Grandfather of THOMAS II GRAND DUKE OF AQUITAINE), and their successors as kings of England were dukes of Aquitaine.

The French conquered Poitou in 1224 and other parts of Aquitaine in the next century. English victories during the Hundred Years' War enabled Edward III to reconstruct the old duchy in the 1360s, but France finally conquered the remainder of it in 1453.

Current Flag of the Republic of Aquitaine