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Angoumois (Traditional province, France)

Last modified: 2021-06-17 by ivan sache
Keywords: angoumois |
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Flag of Angoumois - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 11 December 2002

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History of Angoumois

Angoumois was originally known as the pagus engolismensium. In the 9th century, Pépin, King of Aquitaine, created the County of Angoulême, or Angoumois. There were two successive kings of Aquitaine named Pépin: Pépin I (803-838) was a son of the Carolingian Emperor Louis the Pious, and struggled against his father. Pépin II (823-865), Pépin I's son, struggled against his uncle Charles the Bald, who had received Aquitaine by the Treaty of Verdun (843).

During the Hundred Years' War, Angoumois was incorporated to England, along with the south-west of France, by the Treaty of Brétigny (1360). King Charles V reconquered Angoumois in 1373.

The county was then granted to a member of the royal family according to the systeme of appanage. In 1515, François, Count of Angoulême, was crowned King of France as François I, and incorporated Angoumois to the royal domain. François I succeeded his cousin Louis XII after having married Louis XII's daughter, Claude de France. François I was the root of the house of Valois-Orléans-Angoulême, who ruled France until the death of Henri III in 1589.
François I' sister, Marguerite de Valois (1492-1549), a.k.a. Marguerite d'Angoulême, was a brilliant woman. She corresponded in Hebrew, Greek and Latin with Erasmus of Rotterdam, and could also speak Italian and Spanish. Most of the French humanists of her time (Marot, Rabelais, Lefèvre d'Etaples...) took benefit of her protection. Beside several poems and comedies, her masterpiece was a series of tales called Heptaméron, written on the model of Boccacio's Decameron. Marguerite was also Queen of Navarre and the grand-mother of king of France Henri IV.

The last Dauphin of France, Louis de Bourbon (1775-1844), son of King Charles X, bore the title of Duke of Angoulême, since the Bourbon kings had reestablished the system of appanage after the 1815 Restauration. He commanded the French military expedition in Spain and died in exile in Görz (Austria). His wife Marie-Thérèse de Bourbon (1778-1851), a daughter of Louis XVI, nicknamed Madame Royale, exerted a great influence on Kings Louis XVIII and Charles X.

Ivan Sache, 11 December 2002

Flag of Angoumois

The flag of Angoumois is a banner of the arms, Losangé d'or et de gueules (Lozengy or and gules), assigned to the province by Jacques Meurgey in his Notice historique sur les blasons des anciennes provinces de France (Historical note on the coats of arms of the ancient French provinces, 1941). These arms indeed belonged to the Counts of Angoulême before the house of Valois-Orléans-Angoulême ruled Angoumois.

Without explaning his choice, Meurgey mentions no less than four variants of the arms of Angoumois:
- De France brisé d'un bâton d'or péri en barre (Azure three fleurs-de-lis or, overall a bendlet sinister couped), according to the geographer du Val (1659);
- D'azur à trois fleurs-de-lis d'or au lambel d'argent (Azure three fleurs-de-lis or a label argent);
- De France au lambel de trois pièces d'argent chargées chacune d'un croissant d'azur (Azure three fleurs-de-lis a label of three pieces argent each charged with a crescent azure); these were the arms of the Counts of Angoulême from the House of Orléans, recalling that King Charles VI transfered the County to his brother Charles d'Orléans);
- De vair au chef componé d'argent et d'azur (Vair a chief compony argent and azure).

Ivan Sache, 14 June 2009