Gascony

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Gascony is a region in south-west France lying between the Pyrenees and the Garonne. Bordeaux and Bayonne are its principle urban centres. It is one of the world’s great wine producing areas, is famous for its Armagnac brandy, and for its allegiance to Rugby Union.

It takes its name from the Basque speaking Vasconnes who moved into the area from Spain from the 6th century AD. It enjoyed autonomy until the 11th century, when the ducal line died out and it was taken over by the dukes of Aquitaine.It then passed into the hands of the English crown with the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henry II of England. It was controlled by England – apart from a few intervals during the interminable wars with France – first as part of Aquitaine, then, when that duchy fell to the French, as an entity in its own right, until 1453 when it was the last major region on the continental mainland to be taken out of English hands - with as much regret by the Gascons as the English.

It was a provincial area of France until the French Revolution when it was divided between various departments.

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