The Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo is a Roman Catholic church in Toledo, Spain. It is the seat of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Toledo; the cathedral of Toledo is one of the three 13th-century High Gothic cathedrals in Spain and is considered, in the opinion of some authorities, to be the magnum opus of the Gothic style in Spain. It was begun in 1226 under the rule of Ferdinand III and the last Gothic contributions were made in the 15th century when, in 1493, the vaults of the central nave were finished during the time of the Catholic Monarchs, it was modeled after the Bourges Cathedral, although its five naves plan is a consequence of the constructors' intention to cover all of the sacred space of the former city mosque with the cathedral, of the former sahn with the cloister. It combines some characteristics of the Mudéjar style in the cloister, with the presence of multifoiled arches in the triforium; the spectacular incorporation of light and the structural achievements of the ambulatory vaults are some of its more remarkable aspects.
It is built with white limestone near Toledo. It is popularly known as Dives Toletana. For many years, an unwritten popular tradition has held that there was a church from the era of the first Archbishop Eugene located in the same place as the present cathedral; this church was consecrated for a second time in the year 587, after having undergone some alterations, as testified by a 16th-century inscription preserved on a pillar in the rear of the nave of the church which states: In the name of the Lord the Church of Saint Mary was consecrated as Catholic, the first day of the ides of April, in the joyful first year of the reign of our most glorious king Flavius Reccared, Era 625. The city had been the episcopal seat of Visigothic Spain; the numerous Councils of Toledo attest to its important ecclesiastical past. The abjuration of Arianism on the part of Reccared occurred there; the Muslim invasion did not eliminate the Christian presence and the bishopric remained established in the church of Saint Mary of Alfizén.
The Visigothic church was torn down and the main mosque of the city of Toledo was erected in its place. Some investigators point out that the prayer hall of the mosque corresponds with the layout of the five naves of the current cathedral. Using certain archeological data it is possible to discern an Islamic column mounted inside the chapel of Saint Lucy; the city of Toledo was reconquered by Alfonso VI, King of León and Castile, in 1085. One of the points of the Muslim capitulation that made possible the transfer of the city without bloodshed was the king's promise to conserve and respect their institutions of higher learning, as well as the customs and religion of the Muslim population which had coexisted with the larger Mozarabic population; the preservation of the main mosque was integral to this compromise. Shortly thereafter, the king had to depart on matters of state, leaving the city in charge of his wife Constance and the abbot of the monastery of Sahagún, Bernard of Sedirac, elevated to the rank of archbishop of Toledo.
These two, in mutual accord and taking advantage of the absence of the king, undertook an unfortunate action which, as told by the priest Mariana in his General History of Spain provoked a Muslim uprising and consequent ruin of the conquered city. On 25 October 1087, the archbishop in cooperation with Queen Constance sent an armed contingent to seize the mosque by force, they proceeded to install a provisional altar and hung a bell in the minaret, following Christian custom to'cast out the filthiness of the law of Mohammed'. The priest Mariana writes that king Alfonso VI was so irritated by these events that neither the archbishop nor the queen were able to prevent him from ordering the execution of all the active participants. Legend tells that the local Muslim populace itself helped restore peace, with its chief negotiator, faqih Abu Walid, requesting the king to show mercy, imploring his fellow townsmen to accept the Christian usurpation as legitimate. In gratitude for this gesture, the Cathedral Chapter dedicated a homage to Walid and ordered his effigy to be placed on one of the pillars in the main chapel, in this way perpetuating his memory.
Thus the conversion of the Toledan mosque was upheld and it remained consecrated as a Christian cathedral. The building plans of the former mosque have not been preserved nor is the appearance of the structure known, but taking into account the preserved vestiges of mosques in other Spanish cities, it may be supposed that it was a columnary building, with horseshoe arcades on top of columns in revision of earlier Roman and Visigothic construction, it is possible that it appeared much like the Church of the Savior of Toledo a mosque. King Alfonso VI made important donations to the new church. On 18 December 1086, the cathedral was placed under the advocacy of María and it was granted villas, hamlets and one third of the revenues of all the rest of the churches of the city; the first royal privilege, preserved is a prayer in Latin, beginning: Ego Disponente Deo Adefonsus, Esperie imperator, condeco
A coronation is the act of placement or bestowal of a crown upon a monarch's head. The term also refers not only to the physical crowning but to the whole ceremony wherein the act of crowning occurs, along with the presentation of other items of regalia, marking the formal investiture of a monarch with regal power. Aside from the crowning, a coronation ceremony may comprise many other rituals such as the taking of special vows by the monarch, the investing and presentation of regalia to the monarch, acts of homage by the new ruler's subjects and the performance of other ritual deeds of special significance to the particular nation. Western-style coronations have included anointing the monarch with holy oil, or chrism as it is called; the monarch's consort may be crowned, either with the monarch or as a separate event. Once a vital ritual among the world's monarchies, coronations have changed over time for a variety of socio-political and religious factors. In the past, concepts of royalty and deity were inexorably linked.
In some ancient cultures, rulers were considered to be divine or divine: the Egyptian pharaoh was believed to be the son of Ra, the sun god, while in Japan, the emperor was believed to be a descendant of Amaterasu, the sun goddess. Rome promulgated the practice of emperor worship. Coronations were once a direct visual expression of these alleged connections, but recent centuries have seen the lessening of such beliefs. Coronations are still observed in the United Kingdom and several Asian and African countries. In Europe, most monarchs are required to take a simple oath in the presence of the country's legislature. Besides a coronation, a monarch's accession may be marked in many ways: some nations may retain a religious dimension to their accession rituals while others have adopted simpler inauguration ceremonies, or no ceremony at all; some cultures use bathing or cleansing rites, the drinking of a sacred beverage, or other religious practices to achieve a comparable effect. Such acts symbolise the granting of divine favour to the monarch within the relevant spiritual-religious paradigm of the country.
Coronation in common parlance today may in a broader sense, refer to any formal ceremony in relation to the accession of a monarch, whether or not an actual crown is bestowed, such ceremonies may otherwise be referred to as investitures, inaugurations, or enthronements. The date of the act of ascension, however precedes the date of the ceremony of coronation. For example, the Coronation of Elizabeth II took place on 2 June 1953 sixteen months after her accession to the throne on 6 February 1952 on the death of her father George VI; the coronation ceremonies in medieval Christendom, both Western and Eastern, are influenced by the practice of the Roman Emperors as it developed during Late Antiquity, indirectly influenced by Biblical accounts of kings being crowned and anointed. The European coronation ceremonies best known in the form they have taken in Great Britain, descend from rites created in Byzantium, Visigothic Spain, Carolingian France and the Holy Roman Empire and brought to their apogee during the Medieval era.
In non-Christian states, coronation rites evolved from a variety of sources related to the religious beliefs of that particular nation. Buddhism, for instance, influenced the coronation rituals of Thailand and Bhutan, while Hindu elements played a significant role in Nepalese rites; the ceremonies used in modern Egypt, Malaysia and Iran were shaped by Islam, while Tonga's ritual combines ancient Polynesian influences with more modern Anglican ones. Coronations, in one form or another, have existed since ancient times. Egyptian records show coronation scenes, such as that of Seti I in 1290 BC. Judeo-Christian scriptures testify to particular rites associated with the conferring of kingship, the most detailed accounts of which are found in II Kings 11:12 and II Chronicles 23:11; the corona radiata, the "radiant crown" known best on the Statue of Liberty, worn by the Helios, the Colossus of Rhodes, was worn by Roman emperors as part of the cult of Sol Invictus, part of the imperial cult as it developed during the 3rd century.
The origin of the crown is thus religious, comparable to the significance of a halo, marking the sacral nature of kingship, expressing that either the king is himself divine, or ruling by divine right. The precursor to the crown was the browband called the diadem, worn by the Achaemenid rulers, was adopted by Constantine I, was worn by all subsequent rulers of the Roman Empire. Following the assumption of the diadem by Constantine and Byzantine emperors continued to wear it as the supreme symbol of their authority. Although no specific coronation ceremony was observed at first, one evolved over the following century; the emperor Julian was hoisted upon a shield and crowned with a gold necklace provided by one of his standard-bearers. Emperors were crowned and acclaimed in a similar manner, until the momentous decision was taken to permit the Patriarch of Constantinople to physically place the crown on the emperor's head. Historians debate when this first took place, but the precedent was established by the reign of Leo II, crowned by the Patriarch Acacius in 473.
This ritual in
Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas
The Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas is a monastery of Cistercian nuns located 1.5 km west of the city of Burgos in Spain. The word huelgas, which refers to "labour strikes" in modern Spanish, refers in this case to land, left fallow; the monastery has been the site of many weddings of royal families, both foreign and Spanish, including that of Edward I of England to Eleanor of Castile in 1254, for example. The defensive tower of the Abbey is the birthplace of King Peter of Castile. On 2 January 1187, Pope Clement III issued a papal bull authorising the founding of a monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary. In June of the same year, Alfonso VIII of Castile, at the behest of his wife, Eleanor of England, daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine granted the foundational charter stipulating that the monastery was to be governed by the Cistercian Order; until the 16th century, it enjoyed many royal privileges granted to it by the king, including exemption from taxes, the lordship of many villages and territories, the possession of many of the royal families' valued personal items, most of them religious.
It is claimed that, until the Council of Trent, the abbess was able to hear confession and give absolution, like a priest. In 1199, the founders formally delivered the monastery to the nuns and added a clause pursuant to which the monastery was to be the burial place of the royal family. Constance, the youngest daughter of Alfonso, joined the Cistercians there, she was the first known as the Lady of Las Huelgas. This position was held as well by other women from the royal family, including her niece Constance and her grand-niece Berengaria, maintained the close connection between the community and their royal patrons. Queen Eleanor and Queen Berengaria were both documented as supporting and being involved with the abbey. While members of the royal family were secular leaders of the monastery, abbesses such as Sancha Garcia were spiritual authorities. Alfonso VIII, himself to be buried at Las Huelgas, along with his wife, created the affiliated Royal Hospital, with all its dependencies, subject to the Abbess.
The hospital was founded to care for the poor pilgrims along the Camino de Santiago. Donations made to sustain the hospital noted the key role that Eleanor played in its founding and maintenance, she made many donations in honor of her deceased son Ferdinand. A community of lay brothers developed to help the nuns in their care of the hospital's patients, who became known as the Brothers Hospitallers of Burgos. There were never more than a dozen of them, but they formed an independent religious Order in 1474; the Brothers survived as an Order until 1587, when their Order was suppressed and they were again placed under the authority of the abbess. The Abbess of the monastery was, by the favor of the king, invested with royal prerogatives, exercised an unlimited secular authority over more than fifty villages. Like secular lords, she held her own courts, in civil and criminal cases, like bishops, she granted Dimissorial Letters for ordination, issued licenses authorizing priests within the territory of her abbatial jurisdiction to hear confessions, to preach, to engage in pastoral care.
She was privileged to confirm the Abbesses of other monasteries, to impose censures, to convoke synods. At a General Chapter of the Cistercians held in 1189, she was made Abbess General of the Order for the Kingdom of León and Castile, with the privilege of convoking annually a general chapter at Burgos; the Abbess of Las Huelgas retained her ancient prerogatives up to the time of the Council of Trent, in the 16th century. The monastic community, which at present numbers 36, is part of the Spanish Congregation of St. Bernard, a reform movement of Cistercian nuns, which arose during the 16th and 17th centuries. Due to this, they are commonly referred to as "Bernadines"; the nuns of this Congregation would follow a more exact observance of the Rule of St. Benedict than other Cistercian houses, with frequent and lengthy fasts, celebrating the Divine Office about 2:00 A. M; the nuns support themselves through the decoration of porcelain items, making rosaries and providing laundry services for local hotels.
This abbey has founded a daughter house in Peru, the Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity, located in the agricultural Lurín District, on the outskirts of the Lima Metropolitan Area. The monastery has about ten professed nuns, several candidates in various stages of formation, they support themselves by making cakes and jams, for which they use the produce of their own gardens. The monastery is open to the public. Visits are administered not by the monastic community, but by the Spanish heritage organisation Patrimonio Nacional, which maintains the property as a Spanish royal site; the monastery houses the Museo de Ricas Telas, a showcase of medieval textiles taken from the many royal tombs in the convent. On display is the tapestry that covered the tent of the Almohad caliph Al Nasir, known to the Christians as Miramamolin; this tapestry was seized by the victorious Christians at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa on July 16, 1212. When Sancho VII of Navarre's men drove through an enchained circle of African slaves guarding Miramamolin's tent, the caliph fled with great haste, leaving this tapestry along with several other prizes of war behind for the exultant Spanish.
Las Huelgas preserves the Codex Las Huelgas. It contains monophonic and polyphonic music, assumed to have been performed by the nuns; some of the music is not found in any other source. Henry I of Castile Eleanor of England, Queen of Castile Alfonso VIII of Castile Berenga
Charles V of France
Charles V, called "the Wise", was King of France from 1364 to his death, the third from the House of Valois. His reign marked a high point for France during the Hundred Years' War, with his armies recovering much of the territory held by the English, reversed the military losses of his predecessors. In 1349, as a young prince, Charles received from his grandfather King Philip VI the province of Dauphiné to rule; this allowed him to bear the title "Dauphin" until his coronation, which led to the integration of the Dauphiné into the crown lands of France. After 1350, all heirs apparent of France bore the title of Dauphin until their accession. Charles became regent of France when his father John II was captured by the English at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356. To pay for the defense of the kingdom, Charles raised taxes; as a result, he faced hostility from the nobility, led by Charles the Bad, King of Navarre. Charles overcame all of these rebellions, but in order to liberate his father, he had to conclude the Treaty of Brétigny in 1360, in which he abandoned large portions of south-western France to Edward III of England and agreed to pay a huge ransom.
Charles became king in 1364. With the help of talented advisers, his skillful management of the kingdom allowed him to replenish the royal treasury and to restore the prestige of the House of Valois, he established the first permanent army paid with regular wages, which liberated the French populace from the companies of routiers who plundered the country when not employed. Led by Bertrand du Guesclin, the French Army was able to turn the tide of the Hundred Years' War to Charles' advantage, by the end of Charles' reign, they had reconquered all the territories ceded to the English in 1360. Furthermore, the French Navy, led by Jean de Vienne, managed to attack the English coast for the first time since the beginning of the Hundred Years' War. Charles V died in 1380, he was succeeded by his son Charles VI, whose disastrous reign allowed the English to regain control of large parts of France. Charles was born at the Château de Vincennes outside of Paris, the son of Prince John and Princess Bonne of France.
He was educated at court with other boys of his age with whom he would remain close throughout his life: his uncle Philip, Duke of Orléans, his three brothers Louis and Philip, Louis of Bourbon and Robert of Bar, Godfrey of Brabant, Louis I, Count of Étampes, Louis of Évreux, brother of Charles the Bad and Charles of Artois, Charles of Alençon, Philip of Rouvres. The future king was intelligent but physically weak, with pale skin and a thin, ill-proportioned body; this made a sharp contrast to his father, tall and sandy-haired. Humbert II, Dauphin of Viennois, ruined due to his inability to raise taxes after a crusade in the middle east, childless after the death of his only son, decided to sell the Dauphiné, a fief of the Holy Roman Empire. Neither the pope nor the emperor wanted to buy and the transaction was concluded with Charles’ grandfather, the reigning King Philip VI. Under the Treaty of Romans, the Dauphiné of Viennois was to be held by a son of the future king John the Good. So it was the eldest son of the latter, who became the first Dauphin.
At the age of twelve, he was vested power while in Grenoble. A few days after his arrival, the people of Grenoble were invited to the Place Notre-Dame, where a platform was erected. Young Charles took his place next to Bishop John of Chissé and received the oath of allegiance of the people. In exchange, he publicly promised to respect the community charter and confirmed the liberties and franchises of Humbert II, which were summed up in a solemn statute before he signed his abdication and granted a last amnesty to all prisoners, except those facing the penalty of death. On April 8, 1350 at Tain-l'Hermitage, the Dauphin married his cousin Joanna of Bourbon at the age of 12; the prior approval of the pope was obtained for this consanguineous marriage. The marriage was delayed by the death of his mother Bonne of Luxembourg and his grandmother Joan the Lame, swept away by the plague; the dauphin himself had been ill from August to December 1349. Gatherings were limited to slow the spread of the plague raging in Europe, so the marriage took place in private.
The control of Dauphiné was valuable to the Kingdom of France, because it occupied the Rhône Valley, a major trade route between the Mediterranean and northern Europe since ancient times, putting them in direct contact with Avignon, a papal territory and diplomatic center of medieval Europe. Despite his young age, the dauphin applied to be recognized by his subjects, interceding to stop a war raging between two vassal families, gaining experience, useful to him. Charles was recalled to Paris at the death of his grandfather Philip VI and participated in the coronation of his father John the Good on 26 September 1350 in Reims; the legitimacy of John the Good, that of the Valois in general, was not unanimous. His father, Philip VI, had lost all credibility with the disasters of Crécy, the ravages of the plague, the monetary changes needed to support the royal finances; the royal clan had to cope with opposition from all sides in the kingdom. The first of these was led by Charles II of Navarre, called "the Bad", whose mother Joan II of Navarre had renounced the crown of France for that
Galicia is an autonomous community of Spain and historic nationality under Spanish law. Located in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula, it comprises the provinces of A Coruña, Lugo and Pontevedra, being bordered by Portugal to the south, the Spanish autonomous communities of Castile and León and Asturias to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Cantabrian Sea to the north, it had a population of 2,718,525 in 2016 and has a total area of 29,574 km2. Galicia has over 1,660 km of coastline, including its offshore islands and islets, among them Cíes Islands, Ons, Sálvora, and—the largest and most populated—A Illa de Arousa; the area now called Galicia was first inhabited by humans during the Middle Paleolithic period, it takes its name from the Gallaeci, the Celtic people living north of the Douro River during the last millennium BC, in a region coincidental with that of the Iron Age local Castro culture. Galicia was incorporated into the Roman Empire at the end of the Cantabrian Wars in 19 BC, was made a Roman province in the 3rd century AD.
In 410, the Germanic Suebi established a kingdom with its capital in Braga. In 711, the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate invaded the Iberian Peninsula conquering the Visigoth kingdom of Hispania by 718, but soon Galicia was incorporated into the Christian kingdom of Asturias by 740. During the Middle Ages, the kingdom of Galicia was ruled by its own kings, but most of the time it was leagued to the kingdom of Leon and to that of Castile, while maintaining its own legal and customary practices and culture. From the 13th century on, the kings of Castile, as kings of Galicia, appointed an Adiantado-mór, whose attributions passed to the Governor and Captain General of the Kingdom of Galiza from the last years of the 15th century; the Governor presided the Real Audiencia do Reino de Galicia, a royal tribunal and government body. From the 16th century, the representation and voice of the kingdom was held by an assembly of deputies and representatives of the cities of the kingdom, the Cortes or Junta of the Kingdom of Galicia.
This institution was forcibly discontinued in 1833 when the kingdom was divided into four administrative provinces with no legal mutual links. During the 19th and 20th centuries, demand grew for self-government and for the recognition of the culture of Galicia; this resulted in the Statute of Autonomy of 1936, soon frustrated by Franco's coup d'etat and subsequent long dictatorship. After democracy was restored the legislature passed the Statute of Autonomy of 1981, approved in referendum and in force, providing Galicia with self-government; the interior of Galicia is characterized by a hilly landscape. The coastal areas are an alternate series of rías and cliffs; the climate of Galicia is temperate and rainy, with markedly drier summers. Its topographic and climatic conditions have made animal husbandry and farming the primary source of Galicia's wealth for most of its history, allowing for a relative high density of population. With the exception of shipbuilding and food processing, Galicia was based on a farming and fishing economy until after the mid-20th century, when it began to industrialize.
In 2012, the gross domestic product at purchasing power parity was €56,000 million, with a nominal GDP per capita of €20,700. The population is concentrated in two main areas: from Ferrol to A Coruña in the northern coast, in the Rías Baixas region in the southwest, including the cities of Vigo and the interior city of Santiago de Compostela. There are smaller populations around the interior cities of Ourense; the political capital is Santiago de Compostela, in the province of A Coruña. Vigo, in the province of Pontevedra, is the most populous municipality, with 292,817, while A Coruña is the most populous city, with 215,227. Two languages are official and used today in Galicia: Galician and Spanish. Galician is a Romance language related to Portuguese, with which it shares Galician-Portuguese medieval literature, Spanish, sometimes referred to as Castilian, used throughout the country. Spanish is spoken fluently by all in Galicia, in 2013 it was reported that 51% of the Galician population used more Galician on a day-to-day, 48% used more Spanish.
The name Galicia derives from the Latin toponym Callaecia Gallaecia, related to the name of an ancient Celtic tribe that resided north of the Douro river, the Gallaeci or Callaeci in Latin, or Καλλαϊκoί in Greek. These Callaeci were the first tribe in the area to help the Lusitanians against the invading Romans; the Romans applied their name to all the other tribes in the northwest who spoke the same language and lived the same life. The etymology of the name has been studied since the 7th century by authors such as Isidore of Seville, who wrote that "Galicians are called so, because of their fair skin, as the Gauls", relating the name to the Greek word for milk. In the 21st century, some scholars have derived the name of the ancient Callaeci either from Proto-Indo-European *kal-n-eH2'hill', through a local relational suffix -aik-, so meaning'the hill'. In any case, being per se a derivation of the ethnic name Kallaikói, means'the land of the Galicians'; the most recent proposal comes from linguist Francesco Benozzo afte
Eleanor de Guzmán
Eleanor de Guzman born Leonor Núñez de Guzmán y Ponce de León and on, Vda. De de Velasco was a Castilian noblewoman and long-term mistress to Alfonso XI of Castile, she was the mother of King Henry II of Castile. Eleanor was the daughter of nobleman Pedro Núñez de Guzmán and his wife, Beatriz Ponce de León, a great-granddaughter of King Alfonso IX of León, her parents married Eleanor off as a young girl to Juan de Velasco. Eleanor's husband died at twenty years old. Soon thereafter, in Seville she met King Alfonso XI, he was so impressed by her beauty. He preferred Eleanor to his wife Maria of Portugal, daughter of Alfonso IV of Portugal, whom he married in 1328. After Maria's son and heir, the future Peter of Castile, was born in 1334, Alfonso left Maria and lived with Eleanor instead; the humiliated queen resented her unfaithful husband and asked him to cease his public displays of preference for his mistress. The king ignored his wife's pleas, gave Eleanor Huelva and Medina-Sidonia in addition to other holdings.
He established Eleanor's household in Seville where she was allowed to hear political matters. The court was troubled by Alfonso's behavior and as a result, the Pope intervened by forcing Portugal to invade Castile; the King died on 27 March 1350 and was succeeded by his heir Peter and his wife Maria who served as regent. Maria had not forgotten the myriad slights that she had endured because of her husband's love for his mistress. Thirsting for revenge, Maria imprisoned Eleanor, ordered the execution of her rival in 1351 in the Arab castle of Abderrahman III of Talavera de la Reina. Eleanor's death only exacerbated the rift within the royal family. Eleanor's son Henry and Maria's son Peter continued to fight one another for control of Castile. Henry won and was crowned King of Castile. Eleonor, as Léonor, is the title character of Donizetti's French-language opera La favorite. Pedro Alfonso, 1st Lord of Aguilar de Campoo Juana Alfonso, 1st Lady of Trastámara Sancho Alfonso, 1st Lord of Ledesma Henry II of Castile Fadrique Alfonso, Master of the Order of Santiago and 1st Lord of Haro Fernando Alfonso, 2nd Lord of Ledesma Tello Alfonso, 1st Lord of Aguilar de Campoo Juan Alfonso, 1st Lord of Badajoz and Jerez de la Frontera Sancho Alfonso, 1st Count of Alburquerque Pedro Alfonso Eleanor was a common ancestor to the Catholic Monarchs.
Three of Eleanor's sons, Henry II of Castile, Fadrique Alfonso and Sancho Alfonso, 1st Count of Alburquerque were ancestors of Ferdinand II of Aragon. In addition, Isabella I of Castile, wife of Ferdinand II of Aragon was descended from both Eleanor and Maria, as follows: Henry II of Castile's grandson, Henry III of Castile, married Peter of Castile's granddaughter, Catherine of Lancaster. Fuente, María Jesús. Reinas medievales en los reinos hipánicos. ISBN 84-9734-102-3
La Rochelle is a city in western France and a seaport on the Bay of Biscay, a part of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Charente-Maritime department; the city is connected to the Île de Ré by a 2.9-kilometre bridge completed on 19 May 1988. Its harbour opens into the Pertuis d'Antioche; the area of La Rochelle was occupied in antiquity by the Gallic tribe of the Santones, who gave their name to the nearby region of Saintonge and the city of Saintes. The Romans subsequently occupied the area, where they developed salt production along the coast as well as wine production, re-exported throughout the Empire. Roman villas have been found at Saint-Éloi and at Les Minimes, as well as salt evaporation ponds dating from the same period. La Rochelle became an important harbour in the 12th century; the establishment of La Rochelle as a harbour was a consequence of the victory of Duke Guillaume X of Aquitaine over Isambert de Châtelaillon in 1130 and the subsequent destruction of his harbour of Châtelaillon.
In 1137, Guillaume X to all intents and purposes made La Rochelle a free port and gave it the right to establish itself as a commune. Fifty years Eleanor of Aquitaine upheld the communal charter promulgated by her father, for the first time in France, a city mayor was appointed for La Rochelle, Guillaume de Montmirail. Guillaume was assisted in his responsibilities by 24 municipal magistrates, 75 notables who had jurisdiction over the inhabitants. Under the communal charter, the city obtained many privileges, such as the right to mint its own coins, to operate some businesses free of royal taxes, factors which would favour the development of the entrepreneurial middle-class. Eleanor married Henry Plantagenet in 1152, who became king of England as Henry II in 1154, thus putting La Rochelle under Plantagenet rule, until Louis VIII captured it in the 1224 Siege of La Rochelle. During the Plantagenet control of the city in 1185, Henry II had the Vauclair castle built, remains of which are still visible in the Place de Verdun.
The main activities of the city were in the areas of maritime commerce and trade with England, the Netherlands and Spain. In 1196, wealthy bourgeois Alexandre Auffredi sent a fleet of seven ships to Africa seeking wealth, he went bankrupt awaiting the return of his ships. The Knights Templar had a strong presence in La Rochelle since before the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine, who exempted them from duties and gave them mills in her 1139 Charter. La Rochelle was for the Templars their largest base on the Atlantic Ocean, where they stationed their main fleet. From La Rochelle, they were able to act as intermediaries in trade between England and the Mediterranean. A popular thread of conspiracy theory originating with Holy Blood, Holy Grail has it that the Templars used a fleet of 18 ships which had brought Jacques de Molay from Cyprus to La Rochelle to escape arrest in France; the fleet left laden with knights and treasures just before the issue of the warrant for the arrest of the Order in October 1307.
During the Hundred Years' War in 1360, following the Treaty of Bretigny La Rochelle again came under the rule of the English monarch. La Rochelle however expelled the English in June 1372, following the naval Battle of La Rochelle, between Castilian-French and English fleets; the French and Spanish decisively defeated the English, securing French control of the Channel for the first time since the Battle of Sluys in 1340. The naval battle of La Rochelle was one of the first cases of the use of handguns on warships, which were deployed by the French and Spanish against the English. Having recovered freedom, La Rochelle refused entry to Du Guesclin, until Charles V recognized the privileges of the city in November 1372. In 1402, the French adventurer Jean de Béthencourt left La Rochelle and sailed along the coast of Morocco to conquer the Canary islands; until the 15th century, La Rochelle was to be the largest French harbour on the Atlantic coast, dealing in wine and cheese. During the Renaissance, La Rochelle adopted Protestant ideas.
Calvinism started to be propagated in the region of La Rochelle, resulting in its suppression through the establishment of Cours présidiaux tribunals by Henry II. An early result of this was the burning at the stake of two "heretics" in La Rochelle in 1552. Conversions to Calvinism however continued, due to a change of religious beliefs, but to a desire for political independence on the part of the local elite, a popular opposition to royal expenses and requisitions in the building projects to fortify the coast against England. On the initiative of Gaspard de Coligny, the Calvinists attempted to colonize the New World to find a new home for their religion, with the likes of Pierre Richier and Jean de Léry. After the short-lived attempt of France Antarctique, they failed to establish a colony in Brazil, resolved to make a stand in La Rochelle itself. Pierre Richier became "Ministre de l'église de la Rochelle" when he returned from Brazil in 1558, was able to increase the Huguenot presence in La Rochelle, from a small base of about 50 souls, secretly educated in the Lutheran faith by Charles de Clermont the previous year.
He has been described, by Lancelot Voisin de La Popelinière, as "le père de l'église de La Rochelle". La Rochelle was the first French city, with Rouen, to experience iconoclastic riots in 1560, at the time of the suppression of the Amboise conspiracy, before the riots spread to many other cities. Further cases of Reformation iconoclasm were recorded in L