Place:Cotentin, Manche, France

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NameCotentin
TypeInhabited place
Located inManche, France
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The Cotentin Peninsula, also known as the Cherbourg Peninsula, is a peninsula in Normandy that forms part of the northwest coast of France. It extends north-westward into the English Channel, towards Great Britain. To its west lie the Channel Islands and to the southwest lies the Brittany Peninsula.

The peninsula lies wholly within the department of Manche, in the region of Normandy.

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History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Roman Armorica

The peninsula formed part of the Roman geographical area of Armorica. The town known today as Coutances, capital of the Unelli, a Gaulish tribe, acquired the name of Constantia in 298 during the reign of Roman emperor Constantius Chlorus. The base of the peninsula, called in Latin the pagus Constantinus, joined together with the pagus Coriovallensis centred upon Cherbourg to the north, subsequently became known as the Cotentin. Under the Carolingians it was administered by viscounts drawn successively from members of the Saint-Sauveur family, at their seat Saint-Sauveur on the Douve.

Medieval history

King Alan the Great of Brittany (d. 907) waged war successfully on the Norsemen. As the result of his conquests, the Cotentin Peninsula was included theoretically in the territory of the Duchy of Brittany, after the Treaty of Compiègne (867) with the king of the Franks. The Dukes of Brittany suffered continuing Norse invasions and Norman raids, and Brittany lost the Cotentin Peninsula (and Avranchin nearby) after only 70 years of political domination.

Meanwhile, Vikings settled on the Cotentin in the ninth and tenth centuries. There are indications of a whaling industry there dating to the ninth century, possibly introduced by Norsemen. They were followed by Anglo-Norse and Anglo-Danish people, who established themselves as farmers. The Cotentin became part of Normandy in the early tenth century. Many placenames there are derived from the Norse language. Examples include La Hague, from hagi ("meadow" or "enclosure"), and La Hougue, from haugr ("hill" or "mound"). Other names are typical: all those ending with -tot (Quettetot..) from topt "site of a house" (modern -toft), -bec (Bricquebec, Houlbec..) from bekkr "brook", "stream", etc.

In 1088 Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy, enfeoffed the Cotentin to his brother Henry, who later became king of England. Henry, as count of the Cotentin, established his first power base there and in the adjoining Avranchin, which lay to the south, beyond the River Thar.

During the Hundred Years War, King Edward III of England landed in the bay of La Hogue, and then came to the Church of Quettehou in Val de Saire. It was there that Edward III knighted his son Edward, the Black Prince. A remembrance plaque can be seen next to the altar.

Modern history

The naval Battle of La Hogue in 1692 was fought off Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue near Barfleur.

The town of Valognes was, until the French Revolution, a provincial social resort for the aristocracy, nicknamed the Versailles of Normandy. The social scene was described in the novels of Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly (himself from the Cotentin). Little now remains of the grand houses and châteaux; they were destroyed by combat there during the Battle of Normandy in World War II.

During World War II, part of the 1944 Battle of Normandy was fought in the Cotentin. The westernmost part of the D-Day landings was at Utah Beach, on the southeastern coast of the peninsula, and was followed by a campaign to occupy the peninsula and take Cherbourg.

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