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Aunis (Traditional province, France)

Last modified: 2016-11-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: aunis |
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Flag of Aunis - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 11 July 2000

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History of Aunis

Aunis was originally called pagus alienensis, then Alnisus or Alniensis pagus, after the name of its capital Châtelaillon (castrum Alionensis).
Aunis was conquered by Clovis in 507 after the battle of Vouillé (near Poitiers), won over Alaric and the Wisigoths.
In the feudal times, Aunis was successively ruled by the Dukes of Mauléon and Châtelaillon, the Dukes of Aquitaine (1063) and the Plantagenets (1152). King of France Louis VIII the Lion seized La Rochelle and reincorporated Aunis to the royal domain in 1224. Aunis was retroceded to England by the Treaty of Brétigny in 1360. King Charles V expelled the English from Aunis in 1372 and eventually incorporated it to the Kingdom of France.

In the 16th-17th centuries, Aunis was a Protestant stronghold. La Rochelle was nicknamed "the French Geneva". In 1573, the French royal army, commanded by Duke of Anjou, later King Henri III, could not seize the town and lifted the siege after six months and a loss of 20,000 soldiers. Fifty-five years later, the royal army came back since the Protestants had became allied with the English, who occupied the island of Ré. The siege was led by Cardinal de Richelieu while La Rochelle was defended by its Mayor Jean Guiton (1585-1654), a former admiral. Richelieu entered the town on 30 October 1628, followed by King Louis XIII the next day. Only 5,000 of the 30,000 inhabitants of the town survived the starvation caused by the siege.

Ivan Sache, 15 December 2002

Flag of Aunis

The flag of Aunis is a banner of the arms De gueules à la perdrix couronnée d'or (Gules a partridge crowned or), 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).

Meurgey does not explain his choice but gives a variant of the arms, as Parti : au premier de gueules, au deuxième de gueules à trois besants d'or (Per pale, 1. Gules, 2. Gules three bezants or).

Ivan Sache, 14 June 2009