Departments of France
In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government below the national level, between the administrative regions and the commune. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, five are overseas departments, which are classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; each department is administered by an elected body called a departmental council. From 1800 to April 2015, these were called general councils; each council has a president. Their main areas of responsibility include the management of a number of social and welfare allowances, of junior high school buildings and technical staff, local roads and school and rural buses, a contribution to municipal infrastructures. Local services of the state administration are traditionally organised at departmental level, where the prefect represents the government; the departments were created in 1790 as a rational replacement of Ancien Régime provinces with a view to strengthen national unity.
All of them were named after physical geographical features, rather than after historical or cultural territories which could have their own loyalties. The division of France into departments was a project identified with the French revolutionary leader the Abbé Sieyès, although it had been discussed and written about by many politicians and thinkers; the earliest known suggestion of it is from 1764 in the writings of d'Argenson. They have inspired similar divisions in some of them former French colonies. Most French departments are assigned a two-digit number, the "Official Geographical Code", allocated by the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques. Overseas departments have a three-digit number; the number is used, for example, in the postal code, was until used for all vehicle registration plates. While residents use the numbers to refer to their own department or a neighbouring one, more distant departments are referred to by their names, as few people know the numbers of all the departments.
For example, inhabitants of Loiret might refer to their department as "the 45". In 2014, President François Hollande proposed to abolish departmental councils by 2020, which would have maintained the departments as administrative divisions, to transfer their powers to other levels of governance; this reform project has since been abandoned. The first French territorial departments were proposed in 1665 by Marc-René d'Argenson to serve as administrative areas purely for the Ponts et Chaussées infrastructure administration. Before the French Revolution, France gained territory through the annexation of a mosaic of independent entities. By the close of the Ancien Régime, it was organised into provinces. During the period of the Revolution, these were dissolved in order to weaken old loyalties; the modern departments, as all-purpose units of the government, were created on 4 March 1790 by the National Constituent Assembly to replace the provinces with what the Assembly deemed a more rational structure.
Their boundaries served two purposes: Boundaries were chosen to break up France's historical regions in an attempt to erase cultural differences and build a more homogeneous nation. Boundaries were set so that every settlement in the country was within a day's ride of the capital of a department; this was a security measure, intended to keep the entire national territory under close control. This measure was directly inspired by the Great Terror, during which the government had lost control of many rural areas far from any centre of government; the old nomenclature was avoided in naming the new departments. Most were named after other physical features. Paris was in the department of Seine. Savoy became the department of Mont-Blanc; the number of departments 83, had been increased to 130 by 1809 with the territorial gains of the Republic and of the First French Empire. Following Napoleon's defeats in 1814–1815, the Congress of Vienna returned France to its pre-war size and the number of departments was reduced to 86.
In 1860, France acquired the County of Nice and Savoy, which led to the creation of three new departments. Two were added from the new Savoyard territory, while the department of Alpes-Maritimes was created from Nice and a portion of the Var department; the 89 departments were given numbers based on the alphabetical order of their names. The department of Bas-Rhin and parts of Meurthe, Moselle and Haut-Rhin were ceded to the German Empire in 1871, following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. A small part of Haut-Rhin became known as the Territoire de Belfort; when France regained the ceded departments after World War I, the Territoire de Belfort was not re-integrated into Haut-Rhin. In 1922, it became France's 90th department; the Lorraine departments were not changed back to their original boundaries, a new Moselle department was created in the regaine
An abbey is a complex of buildings used by members of a religious order under the governance of an abbot or abbess. It provides a place for religious activities and housing of Christian monks and nuns; the concept of the abbey has developed over many centuries from the early monastic ways of religious men and women where they would live isolated from the lay community about them. Religious life in an abbey may be monastic. An abbey may be open to visitors; the layout of the church and associated buildings of an abbey follows a set plan determined by the founding religious order. Abbeys are self-sufficient while using any abundance of produce or skill to provide care to the poor and needy, refuge to the persecuted, or education to the young; some abbeys offer accommodation to people. There are many famous abbeys across Europe; the earliest known Christian monasteries were groups of huts built near the residence of a famous ascetic or other holy person. Disciples wished to be close to their holy man or woman in order to study their doctrine or imitate their way of life.
In the earliest times of Christian monasticism, ascetics would live in social isolation but near a village church. They would subsist whilst donating any excess produce to the poor. However, increasing religious fervor about the ascetic's ways and or persecution of them would drive them further away from their community and further into solitude. For instance, the cells and huts of anchorites have been found in the deserts of Egypt. In 312 AD, Anthony the Great retired to the Thebaid region of Egypt to escape the persecution of the Emperor Maximian. Anthony was the best known of the anchorites of his time due to his degree of austerity and his powers of exorcism; the deeper he withdrew into the wilderness, the more numerous his disciples became. They refused to be built their cells close to him; this became a first true monastic community. Anthony, according to Johann August Wilhelm Neander, inadvertently became the founder of a new mode of living in common, Coenobitism. At Tabennae on the Nile, in Upper Egypt, Saint Pachomius laid the foundations for the coenobitical life by arranging everything in an organized manner.
He built several monasteries, each with about 1,600 separate cells laid out in lines. These cells formed an encampment where the monks performed some of their manual tasks. There were nearby large halls such as the church, kitchen and guest house for the monk's common needs. An enclosure protecting all these buildings gave the settlement the appearance of a walled village; this layout, known as the laurae, became popular throughout Palestine. As well as the "laurae", communities known as "caenobia" developed; these were monasteries. The monks were not permitted to retire to the cells of a laurae before they had undergone a lengthy period of training. In time, this form of common life superseded that of the older laurae. In the late 300s AD, Palladius visited the Egyptian monasteries, he described three hundred members of the coenobium of Panopolis. There were seven smiths, four carpenters, twelve camel-drivers and fifteen tanners; these people were divided into subgroups, each with its own "oeconomus".
A chief steward was at the head of the monastery. The produce of the monastery was brought to Alexandria for sale; the moneys were given away as charity. Twice in the year, the superiors of several coenobia met at the chief monastery, under the presidency of an "archimandrite" in order to make their reports. Chrysostom recorded the workings of a coenobia in the vicinity of Antioch; the monks lived in separate huts. They were subject to an abbot, observed a common rule; the layout of the monastic coenobium was influenced by a number of factors. These included a need for defence, economy of space, convenience of access; the layout of buildings became orderly. Larger buildings were erected and defence was provided by strong outside walls. Within the walls, the buildings were arranged around one or more open courts surrounded by cloisters; the usual arrangement for monasteries of the Eastern world is exemplified in the plan of the convent of the Great Lavra at Mount Athos. With reference to the diagram, the convent of the Great Lavra is enclosed within a strong and lofty blank stone wall.
The area within the wall is between four acres. The longer side is about 500 feet in length. There is only one entrance, located on the north side, defended by three iron doors. Near the entrance is a large tower, a constant feature in the monasteries of the Levant. There is a small postern gate at L; the enceinte comprises two large open courts, surrounded with buildings connected with cloister galleries of wood or stone. The outer court, the larger by far, contains the granaries and storehouses, the kitchen and other offices connected with the refectory. Adjacent to the gateway is a two-storied guest-house, entered from a cloister; the inner court is surrounded by a cloister. In the centre of this court stands the katholikon or conventual church, a square building with an apse of the cruciform domical Byzantine type, approached by a domed narthex. In front of the church stands a marble fountain, covered by a dome supported on columns. Opening from the western side of the cloister, but s
Andorra the Principality of Andorra called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, is a sovereign landlocked microstate on the Iberian Peninsula, in the eastern Pyrenees, bordering France to the north and Spain to the south. Believed to have been created by Charlemagne, Andorra was ruled by the Count of Urgell until 988, when it was transferred to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Urgell, the present principality was formed by a charter in 1278, it is known as a principality as it is a diarchy headed by two Princes: the Catholic Bishop of Urgell in Catalonia and the President of France. Andorra is the sixth-smallest nation in Europe, having an area of 468 square kilometres and a population of 77,281; the Andorran people are a Romance ethnic group of Catalan descent. Andorra is the 16th-smallest country in the 11th-smallest by population, its capital, Andorra la Vella, is the highest capital city in Europe, at an elevation of 1,023 metres above sea level. The official language is Catalan. Tourism in Andorra sees an estimated 10.2 million visitors annually.
It is not a member of the European Union. It has been a member of the United Nations since 1993. In 2013, Andorra had the highest life expectancy in the world at 81 years, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study; the origin of the word Andorra is unknown. The oldest derivation of the word Andorra is from the Greek historian Polybius who describes the Andosins, an Iberian Pre-Roman tribe, as located in the valleys of Andorra and facing the Carthaginian army in its passage through the Pyrenees during the Punic Wars; the word Andosini or Andosins may derive from the Basque handia whose meaning is "big" or "giant". The Andorran toponymy shows evidence of Basque language in the area. Another theory suggests that the word Andorra may derive from the old word Anorra that contains the Basque word ur. Another theory suggests that Andorra may derive from Arabic al-durra, meaning "The forest"; when the Moors colonized the Iberian Peninsula, the valleys of the Pyrenees were covered by large tracts of forest, other regions and towns administered by Muslims, received this designation.
Other theories suggest that the term derives from the Navarro-Aragonese andurrial, which means "land covered with bushes" or "scrubland". The folk etymology holds that Charlemagne had named the region as a reference to the Biblical Canaanite valley of Endor or Andor, a name bestowed by his heir and son Louis le Debonnaire after defeating the Moors in the "wild valleys of Hell". La Balma de la Margineda, found by archaeologists at Sant Julia de Loria, was first settled in 9,500 BC as a passing place between the two sides of the Pyrenees; the seasonal camp was located for hunting and fishing by the groups of hunter-gatherers from Ariege and Segre. During the Neolithic Age, a group of people moved to the Valley of Madriu as a permanent camp in 6640 BC; the population of the valley grew cereals, raised domestic livestock, developed a commercial trade with people from the Segre and Occitania. Other archaeological deposits include the Tombs of Segudet and Feixa del Moro both dated in 4900–4300 BC as an example of the Urn culture in Andorra.
The model of small settlements began to evolve to a complex urbanism during the Bronze Age. Metallurgical items of iron, ancient coins, relicaries can be found in the ancient sanctuaries scattered around the country; the sanctuary of Roc de les Bruixes is the most important archeological complex of this age in Andorra, located in the parish of Canillo, about the rituals of funerals, ancient scripture and engraved stone murals. The inhabitants of the valleys were traditionally associated with the Iberians and located in Andorra as the Iberian tribe Andosins or Andosini during the 7th and 2nd centuries BC. Influenced by Aquitanias and Iberian languages, the locals developed some current toponyms. Early writings and documents relating to this group of people goes back to the second century BC by the Greek writer Polybius in his Histories during the Punic Wars; some of the most significant remains of this era are the Castle of the Roc d'Enclar, l'Anxiu in Les Escaldes and Roc de L'Oral in Encamp.
The presence of Roman influence is recorded from the 2nd century BC to the 5th century AD. The places found with more Roman presence are in Camp Vermell in Sant Julia de Loria, in some places in Encamp, as well as in the Roc d'Enclar. People continued trading with wine and cereals, with the Roman cities of Urgellet and all across Segre through the Via Romana Strata Ceretana. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Andorra came under the influence of the Visigoths, not remotely from the Kingdom of Toledo, but locally from the Diocese of Urgell; the Visigoths remained in the valleys for 200 years. When the Muslim Empire and its conquest of most of the Iberian Peninsula replaced the ruling Visigoths, Andorra was sheltered from these invaders by the Franks. Tradition holds that Charles the Great granted a charter to the Andorran people for a contingent of five thousand soldiers under the command of Marc Almugaver, in
Lleida is a city in the west of Catalonia, Spain. It is the capital city of the province of Lleida. Geographically, it is located in the Catalan Central Depression, it is the capital city of the Segrià comarca, as well as the largest city in the province. It had 137,387 inhabitants as of 2010, including the contiguous municipalities of Sucs. Lleida is one of the oldest towns in Catalonia, with recorded settlements dating back to the Bronze Age period; until the Roman conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, the area served as a settlement for an Iberian people, the Ilergetes. The town became a municipality, named Ilerda, under the reign of Augustus, it was reconquered in 1149, after being ruled by the Moors for many centuries, who had conquered the town in the 8th century. In 1297, the University of Lleida was founded. During the following centuries, the town was damaged by several wars such as the Reapers' War in the 17th century and the Spanish Civil War in the 20th century. Since the city has been in a constant urban and demographic growth.
In ancient times the city, named Iltrida and Ilerda, was the chief city of the Ilergetes, an Iberian tribe. Indíbil, king of the Ilergetes, Mandoni, king of the Ausetanes, defended it against the Carthaginian and Roman invasions. Under the Romans, the city was incorporated into the Roman province of Hispania Tarraconensis, was a place of considerable importance as well as geographically, it stood upon an eminence, on the right bank of the river Sicoris, the principal tributary of the Ebre, some distance above its confluence with the Cinga. Its situation induced the legates of Pompey in Spain to make it the key of their defense against Caesar, in the first year of the Civil War. Afranius and Marcus Petreius threw themselves into the place with five legions; the resources exhibited by the great general, in a contest where the formation of the district and the elements of nature seemed in league with his enemies, have been extolled. It ended by the capitulation of Afranius and Petreius, who were conquered as much by Caesar's generosity as by his strategy.
In consequence of the battle, the Latin phrase Ilerdam videas is said to have been used by people who wanted to cast bad luck on someone else. Under the Roman empire, Ilerda was a flourishing city, a municipium, it minted its own coins. It had a fine stone bridge over the Sicoris. In the time of Ausonius the city had fallen into decay, it was part of Visigothic and Muslim Hispania until it was conquered from the Moors by Count Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona in 1149. It used to be the seat of a major university, the oldest in the Crown of Aragon, until 1717, when it was moved by Philip V to the nearby town of Cervera; the University of Lleida is nowadays active again since 1991. During the Reapers' War, Lleida was occupied by the rebel forces. In 1644 the city was conquered by the Spanish under D. Felipe da Silva. Lleida served as a key defense point for Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War, fell to the Insurgents, whose air forces bombed it extensively, in 1937 and 1938; the November 2, 1937 Legion Condor attacks against Lleida became infamous since they were aimed to the school known as Liceu Escolar de Lleida.
48 children and several teachers died in it that day, 300 people were killed on the November 2 bombings altogether, the town would be bombed and sieged again in 1938, when it was conquered by Franco's forces. After some decades without any kind of population growth, it met a massive migration of Andalusians who helped the town undergo a relative demographic growth. Nowadays it is home to immigrants of 146 different nationalities. During 2007 Lleida was the year's Capital of Catalan Culture. Lleida has a temperate semi-arid climate. Winters are foggy though cooler than places on the coast while summers are hot and dry. Frosts are common during winter although snowfall can fall, averaging 1 or 2 days. Precipitation is low, with an annual average of 369 millimetres with a peak in April and May and another peak in September and October. Lleida is divided in the following districts by the Observatori Socioeconòmic de Lleida: Lleida is served by the RENFE, Spanish state railway's Madrid-Barcelona high-speed rail line, serving Barcelona, Calatayud and Madrid.
Lleida has a new airport opened in January 2010, a minor airfield located in Alfès. The town is the western terminus of the Eix Transversal Lleida-Girona, a railway covering the same distance is under planning. Lleida's only passenger railway station is Lleida Pirineus, it is served by both Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya train lines. In the future a Rodalies Lleida commuter network will connect the town with its adjacent area and the main towns of its province, improving the existing network with more train frequency and newly built infrastructure. A second railway station is Pla de la Vilanoveta in an industrial area, only used by freight trains. A future railway museum will be located in its facilities. Since 2008 the bulk of public transpo
Route nationale 20
The Route nationale 20 is a trunk road between Paris and the frontier with Spain heading south through the heart of France and passing through the Cathedral City of Orléans and Toulouse. The road forks at Col de Puymorens with one branch being the Route nationale 22 which leads to Andorra. In winter, avalanches sometimes close the road; the N20 is now being upgraded to 2x2 autoroute standard, the majority of, toll free. The upgrade is to be called the A20 autoroute; the road is part of the European route E09. Similar work has been undertaken to the N9. Paris - Étampes - Orléans - Vierzon - Châteauroux - Limoges - Brive-la-Gaillarde - Cahors - Montauban - Toulouse - Pamiers - Foix - Bourg-Madame - Spain The road starts at the south of the city centre of Paris at the Porte d'Orléans; the road heads south as the Avenue Aristide-Briand through the suburb of Bourg-la-Reine. It crosses the A86 autoroute near Orly Airport. Past the suburb of Antony and a junction with the A6 autoroute; the old road is renumbered the D217 through the town of Longjumeau.
The N20 merges again as the Route d'Orléans through Montlhéry and over the N104 and into open rolling countryside which becomes wooded. The road passes the Bois de la Butte de Couard; the road comes to the town of Étampes where there is a junction with the N191. The road heads south west parallel to the A10 autoroute; the road skirts the western edge of the large Forêt d'Orléans before entering the cathedral city of Orléans. The N20 crosses the River Loire in the City Centre over the Pont du Maréchal Joffre. Orléans is a key transport hub forming a junction with the A10 autoroute and A71 autoroute as well as the N157, N60 and N152; the road heads through the Forêt de Lamotte-Beuvron in wooded countryside and on through the Forêt de Vierzon to Vierzon which lies on the Cher River. This town is a junction with the A71 autoroute which heads to the east and the A20 autoroute, an upgrade of the N20 to autoroute standard; the old road still runs through villages and towns such as Massay and Vatan as the D320.
The road passes round the town of Châteauroux on the River Indre. The town is on the N151 and N143; the road continues south through thick forest coming to the river Creuse. The countryside becomes more hilly; the old road is numbered the D220 after Argenton-sur-Creuse and Saint-Benoît-du-Sault. The road crosses the N145 11 km west of the town of La Souterraine; the road heads through Bessines-sur-Gartempe and into the Monts d'Ambazac. The road reaches the industrial centre of Limoges which lies on the river Vienne; the town is connected by the N141, N21 and N147. The road heads south through the massif Central through traffic now being taken as the A20 autoroute with the old road now being the D420 and D920 through the village of Masseret; the old road branches east through Uzerche on the River Vézère. There is a junction with the N120 to Aurillac, it meets the A89 autoroute. The old road carries on as the D920 to the regional centre of D920 through Brive-la-Gaillarde. Here there is a junction with N89 and N80.
The road heads south and forks again as the A20 becomes the N20 starts again. There is a junction with the N140. At Souillac the road crosses the river Dordogne. After which the road rises passing the Bellevoir de lanzac; the roads are now on the plateau of the Causse de Gramat and onto the medieval town of Cahors on a loop in the river Lot. The N20 continues south heading out of the massif central and into the valley of the river Aveyron via Caussade; the road heads south west in the wide flat valley to Montauban. It comes to a junction with the N113 along the River Garonne; the A62 autoroute crosses the road. The N20 turns south running along the east bank of the river into the industrial city of Toulouse; the city of Toulouse is on the junction of the Autoroutes A62, A68, A64 and the N88 and N124. The road leaves the city centre to the south on the west bank of the River Garonne. At Pinsaguel the road crosses the river and follows the River Ariège and its valley to the south east; the countryside is a mix of open couintryside and rolling hills.
The road meets the A66 autoroute at Pamiers. South of Pamiers the road enters the foothills of the Pyrenees such as the Montagnes du Plantaurel; the road heads to Foix, now by-passed in a tunnel on the east side of the valley. The road passes Tarascon-sur-Ariège following the deep river valley; the road passes the Parc Pyrénéen de l'Art Préhistorique and south east to Ax-les-Thermes. To the south-west, there is a ski resort Les Bazerques; the road forks at the Col de Puymorens. The N22 leads in a series of hairpins to the south west and Andorra, crossing the Pas de la Casa or the alternative Túnel d'Envalira; the RN320 now crosses the pass de Puymorens, while the RN20 heads through the Tunnel du Puymorens rather than taking the pass, heads down to Bourg-Madame. The road the becomes the N-152 towards Barcelona; the N116 heads north east from Bourg Madame to Perpignan along the Tech valley
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a heraldic visual design on an escutcheon, surcoat, or tabard. The coat of arms on an escutcheon forms the central element of the full heraldic achievement which in its whole consists of shield, supporters and motto. A coat of arms is traditionally unique to an individual person, state, organization or corporation; the Roll of Arms is a collection of many coats of arms, since the early Modern Age centuries it has been a source of information for public showing and tracing the membership of a noble family, therefore its genealogy across time. The ancient Greek hoplites used individual insignia on their shields; the ancient Romans used similar insignia on their shields. Heraldic designs came into general use among western nobility in the 12th century. Systematic, heritable heraldry had developed by the beginning of the 13th century. Who had a right to use arms, by law or social convention, varied to some degree between countries. Early heraldic designs were personal. Arms become hereditary by the end of the 12th century, in England by King Richard I during the Third Crusade.
Burgher arms are used in Northern Italy in the second half of the 13th century, in the Holy Roman Empire by the mid 14th century. In the late medieval period, use of arms spread to the clergy, to towns as civic identifiers, to royally chartered organizations such as universities and trading companies; the arts of vexillology and heraldry are related. The term coat of arms itself in origin refers to the surcoat with heraldic designs worn by combattants in the knightly tournament, in Old French cote a armer; the sense is transferred to the heraldic design itself in the mid-14th century. Despite no widespread regulation, heraldry has remained consistent across Europe, where tradition alone has governed the design and use of arms; some nations, like England and Scotland, still maintain the same heraldic authorities which have traditionally granted and regulated arms for centuries and continue to do so in the present day. In England, for example, the granting of arms has been controlled by the College of Arms.
Unlike seals and other general emblems, heraldic "achievements" have a formal description called a blazon, which uses vocabulary that allows for consistency in heraldic depictions. In the present day, coats of arms are still in use by a variety of institutions and individuals: for example, many European cities and universities have guidelines on how their coats of arms may be used, protect their use as trademarks. Many societies exist that aid in the design and registration of personal arms. Heraldry has been compared to modern corporate logos; the French system of heraldry influenced the British and Western European systems. Much of the terminology and classifications are taken from it. However, with the fall of the French monarchy there is not a Fons Honorum to enforce heraldic law; the French Republics that followed have either affirmed pre-existing titles and honors or vigorously opposed noble privilege. Coats of arms are considered an intellectual property of municipal body. Assumed arms are considered valid unless they can be proved in court to copy that of an earlier holder.
In the heraldic traditions of England and Scotland, an individual, rather than a family, had a coat of arms. In those traditions coats of arms are legal property transmitted from father to son. Undifferenced arms are used only by one person at any given time. Other descendants of the original bearer could bear the ancestral arms only with some difference: a colour change or the addition of a distinguishing charge. One such charge is the label, which in British usage is now always the mark of an heir apparent or an heir presumptive; because of their importance in identification in seals on legal documents, the use of arms was regulated. This has been carried out by heralds and the study of coats of arms is therefore called "heraldry". In time, the use of arms spread from military entities to educational institutes, other establishments. In Scotland, the Lord Lyon King of Arms has criminal jurisdiction to control the use of arms. In England, Northern Ireland and Wales the use of arms is a matter of civil law and regulated by the College of Arms and the High Court of Chivalry.
In reference to a dispute over the exercise of authority over the Officers of Arms in England, Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey, Lord Privy Seal, declared on 16 June 1673 that the powers of the Earl Marshal were "to order and determine all matters touching arms, ensigns of nobility and chivalry. It was further declared that no patents of arms or any ensigns of nobility should be granted and no augmentation, alteration, or addition should be made to arms without the consent of the Earl Marshal. In Ireland the usage and granting of coats of arms was regulated by the Ulster King of Arms from the office's creation in 1552. After Irish independence in 1922 the office was still working out of Dublin Castle; the last Ulster King of Arm
County of Foix
The County of Foix was an independent medieval fief in southern France, a province of France, whose territory corresponded the eastern part of the modern département of Ariège. During the Middle Ages, the county of Foix was ruled by the counts of Foix, whose castle overlooks the town of Foix. In 1290 the counts of Foix acquired the viscountcy Béarn, which became the center of their domain, from that time on the counts of Foix resided in the county of Foix, preferring the richer and more verdant Béarn; the county of Foix was an independent fief of the kingdom of France and consisted of an agglomeration of small holdings ruled by lords, though subordinate to the counts of Foix, had some voice in the government of the county. The provincial-states of the county, which can be traced back to the 14th century, consisted of three orders and possessed considerable power and energy. In the 17th and 18th centuries Foix formed one of the thirty-three gouvernements, or military areas, of France and kept its provincial-states until the French Revolution.
In 1790 it was joined with Couserans to form the département of Ariège. The county of Foix, as it existed just before the French Revolution, had a land area of 2,466 km². At the 1999 census there were 76,809 inhabitants living on the territory of the former province of the county of Foix, which means a density of only 32 inh. per km². The largest urban areas are Pamiers, with 17,715 inhabitants in 1999, Foix, with 10,378 inhabitants in 1999; the Counts of Foix flourished from the 11th to the 15th century. They were at first feudatories of the counts of Toulouse and the counts of Barcelona, but after the latter's defeat in the Cathar Crusade they succeeded in establishing their direct vassalage to the king of France. During the 13th and 14th centuries the counts of Foix figured among the most powerful of the French feudal nobles. Living on the borders of France, having constant interaction with the kingdom of Navarre, in frequent communication with England through Gascony and Aquitaine, they were in a position favorable to an assertion of independence, acted more like the equals than the dependents of the kings of France.
The title of count of Foix was first assumed by Roger of Foix, son of Bernard Roger of Couserans, a younger son of Roger I de Cominges, Count of Carcassonne, de Couserans et de Razés, when he inherited the town of Foix and the adjoining lands, which had hitherto formed part of the county of Carcassonne. His grandson, Roger II, took part in the First Crusade in 1095 and was afterwards excommunicated by Pope Paschal II for seizing ecclesiastical property. Subsequently, he appeased the anger of the church through rich donations, when he died in 1125 he was succeeded by his son, Roger III, his son, Roger Bernard I. Roger-Bernard's only son, Raymond Roger, accompanied the French king, Philip Augustus, to Palestine in 1190 and distinguished himself at the capture of Acre, he was afterwards engaged in the Albigensian Crusade defending the Cathars, and, on being accused of heresy, his lands were given to Simon IV de Montfort. Raymond Roger came to terms with the Church and recovered his estates before his death in 1223.
He was a patron of the Provençal poets and a poet himself. He was succeeded by his son, Roger Bernard II the Great, who assisted Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse, the Albigenses in their resistance to the French kings, Louis VIII and Louis IX, was excommunicated on two occasions, died in 1241, his son, Roger IV, died in 1265 and was succeeded by his son, Roger Bernard III who, more famous as a poet than as a warrior, was taken prisoner both by Philip III of France and by Peter III of Aragon. He married Marguerite and heiress of Gaston VII, Viscount of Béarn, he inherited Béarn and Nébouzan from his father-in-law in 1290, which led to the outbreak of a long feud between the Houses of Foix and Armagnac. From 1278 the counts of Foix, their legal successors, have been Co-princes of Andorra; the quarrel was continued under Roger Bernard's son and successor, Gaston I, who became count in 1302, inheriting both Foix and Béarn. Becoming embroiled with the French king, Philip IV, in consequence of the struggle with the count of Armagnac, Gaston was imprisoned in Paris.
He regained his freedom and accompanied King Louis X on an expedition into Flanders in 1315, died on his return to France in the same year. His eldest son, Gaston II, made peace with the house of Armagnac and took part in various wars both in France and Spain, dying at Seville in 1343, when he was succeeded by his young son, Gaston III. Gaston III, called Phoebus, the Latin version of Apollo, on account of his beauty, was the most famous member of the House of Foix-Béarn. Like his father he assisted France in her struggle against England, being entrusted with the defence of the frontiers of Gascony; when the French king, John II, favored the count of Armagnac, Gaston left his service and went to fight against the pagans of Prussia. Returning to France around 1357, he delivered some noble ladies from the attacks of the adherents of the Jacquerie at Meaux, was soon at war with the count of Armagnac. During this struggle he attacked the count of Poitiers, the royal representative in Languedoc, but owing to the intervention of Pope Innocent VI he made peace with the count in 1360.
Gaston, continued to fight against the count of Armagnac, who, in 1362, was defeated and compelled to pay a ransom. This war lasted until 1377. Early in 1380, the count was appointed governor of Languedoc, but when Charles VI succeeded Charles V as king in the same year, this appointment was cancel