Place:Toulouse, Toulouse Haute-Garonne, Midi-Pyrénées, France


Alt namesCroix-Dauradesource: Family History Library Catalog
Lalandesource: Family History Library Catalog
Montaudransource: Family History Library Catalog
Pouvourvillesource: Family History Library Catalog
Saint-Martin-du-Touchsource: Family History Library Catalog
Saint-Michel-du-Touchsource: Family History Library Catalog
Saint-Michel-Ferrerysource: Family History Library Catalog
Saint-Simonsource: Family History Library Catalog
TypeInhabited Place
Coordinates43.605278°N 1.442778°E
Located inToulouse Haute-Garonne, Midi-Pyrénées, France
source: Family History Library Catalog

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

Toulouse is the prefecture of the French department of Haute-Garonne and of the larger region of Occitania. The city is on the banks of the River Garonne, from the Mediterranean Sea, from the Atlantic Ocean and from Paris. It is the fourth-largest city in France, with 493,465 inhabitants within its municipal boundaries (2019 census), after Paris, Marseille and Lyon, ahead of Nice; its metropolitan area has a population of 1,454,158 inhabitants (2019 census).[1] Toulouse is the central city of one of the 20 French Métropoles, with one of the three strongest demographic growth (2013-2019).

Toulouse is the centre of the European aerospace industry, with the headquarters of Airbus (formerly EADS), the SPOT satellite system, ATR and the Aerospace Valley. It hosts the CNES's Toulouse Space Centre (CST) which is the largest space centre in Europe, but also, on the military side, the newly created NATO space centre of excellence and the French Space Command and Space Academy. Thales Alenia Space, ATR, SAFRAN, Liebherr-Aerospace and Airbus Defence and Space also have a significant presence in Toulouse.

The University of Toulouse is one of the oldest in Europe (founded in 1229). Toulouse is also the home of prestigious higher education schools, particularly in the field of aerospace engineering. Together with the university, they have turned Toulouse into the fourth-largest student city in France, with a university population of nearly 140,000 students.

The air route between Toulouse–Blagnac and the Parisian airports is the busiest in France, transporting 3.2 million passengers in 2019. According to the rankings of L'Express and Challenges, Toulouse is the most dynamic French city.

Founded by the Romans, the city was the capital of the Visigothic Kingdom in the 5th century and the capital of the province of Languedoc in the Late Middle Ages and early modern period (provinces were abolished during the French Revolution), making it the unofficial capital of the cultural region of Occitania (Southern France). It is now the capital of the region of Occitania, the second largest region in Metropolitan France.

Toulouse counts three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Canal du Midi (designated in 1996 and shared with other cities), and the Basilica of St. Sernin, the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe, designated in 1998 along with the former hospital Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques because of their significance to the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route. The city's unique architecture made of pinkish terracotta bricks has earned Toulouse the nickname ("The Pink City").



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

Early history

The Garonne Valley was a central point for trade between the Pyrenees, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic since at least the Iron Age. The historical name of the city, Tolosa (Τολῶσσα in Greek, and of its inhabitants, the Tolosates, first recorded in the 2nd century BC), is of unknown meaning or origin, possibly from Aquitanian or Iberian, but it has also been connected to the name of the Gaulish Volcae Tectosages.

Toulouse refounded by the Romans on the banks of the Garonne

Tolosa enters the historical period in the 2nd century BC, when it became a Roman military outpost. After the conquest of Gaul, it was developed as a Roman city in Gallia Narbonensis. Under the reign of Emperor Augustus and thanks to the Pax Romana, the Romans moved the city a few kilometres from the hills where it was an oppidum to the banks of the Garonne, which were more suitable for trade.

In the second half of the 1st century, the emperor Domitian distinguished Toulouse by placing it under the patronage of the goddess Pallas Athena, so that the Latin poets Martial, Ausonius and Sidonius Apollinaris called the city Palladia Tolosa (Palladian Toulouse), a term that was still used in the Renaissance and even today when the city is presented as propitious to the arts and sciences.[2]

Around the year 250, Toulouse was marked by the martyrdom of Saturnin, the first bishop of Toulouse. This episode illustrates the difficult beginnings of Christianity in Roman Gaul.[2]

Capital of the Visigothic kingdom

In the 5th century, Toulouse fell to the Visigothic kingdom and became one of its major cities, even serving as its capital, before it fell to the Franks under Clovis in 507 (Battle of Vouillé).[2] From that time, Toulouse was the capital of Aquitaine within the Frankish realm.

Under Frankish rule

In 721, Duke Odo of Aquitaine defeated an invading Umayyad Muslim army at the Battle of Toulouse. Many Arab chroniclers consider that Odo's victory was the real stop to Muslim expansion into Christian Europe, incursions of the following years being simple raids without real will of conquest since they did not besiege the cities (including the one that ended with Charles Martel's victory at the Battle of Tours, also called the Battle of Poitiers).[2]

The Frankish conquest of Septimania followed in the 750s, and a quasi-independent County of Toulouse emerged within the Carolingian sub-kingdom of Aquitaine by the late 8th century. The Battle of Toulouse of 844, pitting Charles the Bald against Pepin II of Aquitaine, was key in the Carolingian Civil War.[2]

County of Toulouse

In the 11th and 12th centuries, southern France was still steeped in Latin culture. Unlike the north of France, justice followed written Roman law and the nobles were highly educated. This was the time of the troubadours who wrote their poetry in Occitan (called "Provençal" at the time), then one of the most sophisticated languages in Europe. Like the other great lords of the Midi, the counts of Toulouse maintained and favoured these poets, this is how Count Raymond V employed for some time the famous Bernard de Ventadour, expert in singing courtly love.

In 1096, Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse, left with his army at the call of the Pope Urban II to join the First Crusade, of which he was one of the main leaders.[2] This exodus of its warriors and nobles, reinforced by the creation of the faraway County of Tripoli by Raymond IV at the beginning of the 12th century, weakened the city militarily as well as the ascendancy that its counts had over it. The Duke William IX of Aquitaine challenged the possession of the city on the grounds that it should have been inherited by his wife Philippa (daughter of the previous count of Toulouse, whereas Raymond IV was only his brother). More than 50 years later his granddaughter Eleanor of Aquitaine still claimed the inheritance in vain.[2]

In the 12th century the city left its Roman limits and a new district developed around the church of Saint-Sernin: the "Bourg". The church of Saint-Sernin was famous and revered for its many relics, and the chapter of its canons, which had possessions as far away as Spain, was powerful enough to free itself from the control of the bishop of Toulouse. This dissent had important local political repercussions, making the Bourg in practice a separate district from the city. In 1152, the notables of Toulouse took advantage of a weakening of the county power to obtain for their city a great autonomy, they created a municipal body of consuls, called capitouls in Toulouse, to lead the city. The Bourg, which had only a quarter of the inhabitants of Toulouse, obtained as many capitouls as the rest of the city.[2]

The fight against Catharism and its various aspects

At the beginning of the thirteenth century the County of Toulouse was caught up in another crusade that would last twenty years (1209-1229), of which it was the target this time. The reason for this was the development of Catharism in the south of France, which the Pope Innocent III wanted to eradicate by all possible means.[2]

After an initial victory of the crusaders led by Simon de Montfort who defeated the combined forces of Count Raymond VI of Toulouse and King Peter II of Aragon, the following years saw the fate of the county of Toulouse swing alternately in favour of one party or the other. Finally, a late intervention by King Louis VIII of France in 1226 tipped the balance in favour of the crusaders, resulting in the su4bmission of Count Raymond VII to the French Crown and the end of the independence of the County of Toulouse.[2]

But beyond the military crusade, this struggle took on several important aspects for the city of Toulouse:

  •  The Dominican Order was founded in Toulouse by Saint Dominic in 1215. Spanish priest Dominic de Guzmán wanted to convert the Cathars to Catholicism peacefully, by preaching and by living a poor and exemplary life. After years of criss-crossing the Lauraguais countryside between Carcassonne and Toulouse, he changed his method and decided to preach in town. In 1215 he settled in Toulouse and founded a mendicant order which, within a few decades, would cover Europe with hundreds of convents: The Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominicans.[2]
  • Under the impulse of the bishop of Toulouse, Foulques, an original and austere architectural style was born in Toulouse, designed to break with the display of luxury of the Catholic church which drove the faithful towards the Cathars: the Southern French Gothic.[2]
  • In the Treaty of Paris of 1229, Toulouse formally submitted to the crown of France. The county's sole heiress Joan was engaged to Alphonse, Count of Poitiers, a younger brother of Louis IX of France. The marriage became legal in 1241, but it remained childless and so after Joan's death, the county fell to the Crown of France by inheritance.[2]
  • Another consequence of the Treaty of Paris was the creation of the University of Toulouse, established on the Parisian model, strongly sponsored by the pope and intended as a means to dissolve the heretic movement.[2]
  • Also in 1229, the Council of Toulouse was held, which laid the foundations for the long period of Inquisition that was to eradicate Catharism in the region after the military victory of the Crusade.[2]

Kingdom of France

In 1271, Joan of Toulouse and her husband Alphonse of Poitiers died without heirs. Toulouse, which since the treaty of 1229 had been subordinate to the kingdom of France, no longer had a count and was annexed to the royal domain.[2] The installation of numerous royal officers and the development of trade and crafts, which favoured the social ascension of merchants, renewed the city's elites. In 1298, King Philip the Fair greatly facilitated the possibility of ennobling the capitouls, whose council, renewed every year, was increasingly made up of rich merchants.[2]

The first half of the 14th century was a prosperous period, despite the dismemberment in 1317 of the very large bishopric of Toulouse (which lost two thirds of its area and a large part of its income, a loss only partially compensated by its elevation to the rank of archbishopric), and the episode of the Shepherds' Crusade which brought a pogrom against Toulouse's Jewish population in 1320.[2] In 1335, Toulouse had between 35,000 and 40,000 inhabitants.[2]

In 1323 the Consistori del Gay Saber was created in Toulouse to preserve the lyric art of the troubadours by organizing a poetry contest; and Toulouse became the centre of Occitan literary culture for the following centuries. The Consistori del Gay Saber is considered to be the oldest literary society in Europe, at the origin of one of the most sophisticated treatise on grammar and rhetoric of the Middle Ages, and in 1694 it was transformed into the Royal Academy of the Floral Games (Académie des Jeux Floraux), still active today, by king Louis XIV.[2]

The 14th century also saw a significant increase in the influence of the University of Toulouse, particularly following the move of the papacy from Rome to Avignon. Many law graduates from the University of Toulouse had brilliant careers in the Avignon curia, several became cardinals and three became popes: John XXII, Innocent VI and Urban V. These powerful prelates financed the establishment of colleges in the university towns of southern France, not only Toulouse but also Montpellier, Cahors and Avignon.

But the Black Death in 1348, then the Hundred Years' War caused a major crisis that lasted until the following century.[2] Despite strong immigration, the population lost 10,000 inhabitants in 70 years. By 1405 Toulouse had only 19,000 people. In these hardships, the city was the key stronghold of the French defence in the south of France during the worst years of the Hundred Years' War, when the English troops from Aquitaine had taken Montauban and only Toulouse remained as an obstacle to their conquest of southern France. This military threat to the city and especially to the surrounding countryside was not conducive to its development, despite the strengthening of ties with the royalty that it entailed.[2]

In 1369 pope Urban V attributed to the Dominican church of the Jacobins of Toulouse the bones of the famous Dominican theologian Saint Thomas Aquinas, perhaps to honor the city that had been the cradle of the Dominican order at the beginning of the previous century.[2]

The political and economic situation improved in the 15th century. In 1443 King Charles VII established the second parliament of France after that of Paris. Reinforcing its place as an administrative and judicial center, the city grew richer, participating in the trade of Bordeaux wine with England, as well as cereals and textiles. A major source of income was the production and export of pastel, a blue dye made from woad.

Toulouse suffered several fires, but it was in 1463 that the Great Fire of Toulouse broke out, ravaging the city for fifteen days. After this dramatic event, King Louis XIII exempted the city from taxes for 100 years. The capitouls issued municipal decrees favouring the use of brick in buildings, rather than excessively flammable wood or cob.[2]

In the 16th century, and until 1562, the economy of Toulouse experienced a golden age: its Parliament made it the judicial capital of a large part of southern France, and the city became the first European centre for the trade in woad, the only blue dye then known which was very much in demand in the textile industry at the time. Its humanist milieu developed thanks to its university and parliament, which trained and attracted intellectual elites. The wealth generated by this culturally and economically dynamic environment is the source of the superb Renaissance mansions in Toulouse. In 1550 the population of the city made it the second or third largest city in France. It was estimated to have 50,000 inhabitants, a figure it would not regain until the 18th century.[2]

In 1562 the French Wars of Religion began and Toulouse became an ultra-Catholic stronghold in a predominantly Protestant region, the era of economic prosperity came to an end. The governor of Languedoc, Henri II de Montmorency, who had rebelled, was executed in 1632 in the Capitole in the presence of King Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu.[2]

In 1666 Pierre-Paul Riquet started the construction of the Canal du Midi which links Toulouse to the Mediterranean Sea, and is considered one of the greatest construction works of the 17th century. Completed in 1681, the canal stimulated the economy of Toulouse by promoting the export of cereals and the import of olive oil, wine and other goods from the Mediterranean regions.[2]

In the 18th century, Toulouse was a provincial capital that prided itself on its royal academies (the only city in France, along with Paris, to have three royal academies), but sometimes seemed far removed from the debates of ideas that agitated the Enlightenment.[2] A famous example illustrates this backwardness of Toulouse mentalities of the time: in 1762 its powerful parliament sentenced Jean Calas to death. The philosopher Voltaire then accused the Parliament of Toulouse of religious intolerance (Calas was a Protestant), gave the affair a European repercussion and succeeded in having the judgment of the parliament quashed by the King's Council, which did much damage to the reputation of the parliament. It was on this occasion that Voltaire published one of his major philosophical works: his famous Treatise on Tolerance.

With the French Revolution of 1789 and the reform or suppression of all royal institutions, Toulouse lost much of its power and influence: until then the capital of the vast province of Languedoc, with a parliament ruling over an even larger territory, the city then found itself simply at the head of the single small department of Haute-Garonne.[2]

19th century

On 10 April 1814, four days after Napoleon's surrender of the French Empire to the nations of the Sixth Coalition (a fact that the two armies involved were not yet aware of), the Battle of Toulouse pitted the Hispanic-British troops of Field Marshal Wellington against the French troops of Napoleonic Marshal Soult, who, although they managed to resist, were forced to withdraw. Toulouse was thus the scene of the last Franco-British battle on French territory.

Unlike most large French cities, there was no real industrial revolution in 19th century Toulouse. The most important industries were the gunpowder factory, to meet military needs, and the tobacco factory. In 1856 the railway arrived in Toulouse and the city was modernised: the ramparts were replaced by large boulevards, and major avenues such as the rue d'Alsace-Lorraine and the rue de Metz opened up the historic centre.

In 1875 a flood of the Garonne devastated more than 1,000 houses and killed 200 people. It also destroyed all the bridges in Toulouse, except the Pont-Neuf.

20th and 21st centuries

World War I brought to Toulouse (geographically sheltered from enemy attacks) chemical industries as well as aviation workshops (Latécoère, Dewoitine), which launched the city's aeronautical construction tradition and gave birth after the war to the famous Aéropostale, a pioneering airmail company based in Toulouse and whose epics were popularised by the novels of writers such as Joseph Kessel and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (himself an Aéropostale pilot).

In the 1920s and 1930s the rise of the Toulouse population was increased by the arrival of Italians and Spaniards fleeing the fascist regimes of their country. Then, in the early 1960s, French repatriates from Algeria swelled the city's population.[3]

In 1963, Toulouse was chosen to become one of the country's eight “balancing Metropolis”, regaining a position among the country's major cities that it had always had, but lost in the 19th century. The French state then encouraged the city's specialisation in aeronautics and space activities, sectors that had experienced strong growth in recent decades, fueling economic and population growth.[3]

On 21 September 2001, an explosion occurred at the AZF fertiliser factory, causing 31 deaths, about 30 seriously wounded and 2,500 light casualties. The blast measured 3.4 on the Richter scale and the explosion was heard away.[3]

In 2016 a territorial reform made Toulouse the regional prefecture of Occitanie, the second largest region in metropolitan France, giving it a role commensurate with its past as a provincial capital among the most important in France.[3]

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