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Velay (in occitan Velai) is a region of the Massif Central. For a long time Velay was tied to the province of Languedoc. Since the French Revolution it has been the majot part of the Haute-Loire département.
Velay is located southwest of the Massif Central, between the Allier valley to the west and the hillside of the Rhône river to the east. It is a low mountainous region, the highest point being Mount Nezenc (1754 m)
Gaul colonization appears to have been minor, however the political and military domination of the Celts probably set the structure and the cohesiveness of the region. During the Roman conquest Velay is the land of the Gallic Vellavi. The adminsitrative capital was for a time Roession (Ruessium, « well-located»), now Saint-Paulien, but Le Puy-en-Velay always was the town around which the Vellavi country was organized.
After its integration into the Kingdom of France, Velay became part of the Languedoc province and to the Beaucaire principality. The region was represented in the Languedoc assemblies but has its own parliament for its own affairs: the States of Velay. The political life of Velay was marked by constant political strife between the bishop and the nobility.
The perid of the Religious Wars was particularly troubled and violent. The town of Le Puy remained in the catholic camp, while the surrounding lands joined the Reformation.
Altogether the French Revolution was not popular with the Vellave population who were very attached to their religious values. The population would remain hostile to the Republic for a long time.