Place:Île-de-France (former province), France


NameÎle-de-France (former province)
Alt namesÎle-de-France
TypeFormer province
Located inFrance

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The History of Île-de-France reaches back to the Middle Ages.

The region, also known as Isle of France (as it was once written in older publications) is a historical province of France, and the one at the centre of power during most of French history. The historical province is centred on Paris, the seat of the Crown of France, but it does correspond to the present-day région Île-de-France: some parts of the historical province now are incorporated in the present-day region of Picardy, whereas other parts of the present-day région Île-de-France are taken from the historical province of Champagne.

The name Isle de France first appeared in 1387 when the term "France" began to designate territories of the Crown, replacing the pays de France ("pays" means "region/county" as well as "country"). Literally "Island of France", the name was derived from the area's situation with the rivers Seine, Marne, Oise and Beuvronne, which surround it like an island. The name may also inherit from the Frankish Lidle Franke / Lilde Franke, or, "little France". That is, because the "French"/Frankish kings were bilingual until the 12th or 13th century, the Frankish expression may have evolved when Francia ("Franko/n", "Franke", or "Franchonolant" in Frankish) no longer meant the entire Frankish Empire but the smaller West Francia, and later the—even smaller—"Pays de France". The expression "Lidle Franke" / "Lilde Franke" may have persisted until the 13th century when locals quit pronouncing the "s" in "isle"; then "Lilde France" would have been difficult to distinguish from l'Île-de-France (IPA: ).

The area around Paris was the original personal domain of the king of France, as opposed to areas ruled by feudal lords of whom he was the suzerain. This is reflected by divisions such as the Véxin Français and the Véxin Normand, the former being within the King of France's domain, the latter being within the Duke of Normandy's fief.

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