Toulouse


Toulouse
/tooh loohz"/, n.
a city in and the capital of Haute-Garonne, in S France, on the Garonne River. 383,176.

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ancient Tolosa

City (pop., 1999: city, 390,350; metro. area, 761,090), on the Garonne River in southern France.

Founded in ancient times, it was taken from its Celtic inhabitants by the Romans in 106 BC. After AD 778 it became the seat of the feudal countship of Toulouse. Protestants were massacred there during the 16th-century Wars of Religion. In 1814 it was the scene of the British victory over the French in the last battle of the Peninsular War. A rail junction and canal port, Toulouse is a centre of the French aviation industry. It has many historic buildings, including a Gothic cathedral, a Romanesque basilica, and the tomb of St. Thomas Aquinas. The university, founded in 1224, is one of the oldest in the world.

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France
      city, capital of Haute-Garonne département, Midi-Pyrénées région, southern France. It is situated at the junction of the Canal Latéral à la Garonne and the Midi Canal, where the Garonne River curves northwest from the Pyrenean foothills.

      Founded in ancient times, it was the stronghold of the Volcae Tectosages and developed as Tolosa during the Roman period. As capital of the Visigoths (AD 419–507) it was taken (508) by Clovis I and included in the Merovingian kingdom. It successfully withstood a siege by Saracens in 721, was chief town of the Carolingian kingdom of Aquitaine, and after 778 became the seat of the feudal countship of Toulouse. Its counts adhered to the Cathari heresy and resisted the anti-heretic crusade in the 13th century. Afterward, many religious houses and the university (1229) were founded. Its Parlement, established in 1420, had jurisdiction over Languedoc until the French Revolution. During the Wars of Religion in the 16th century, the city sided with the Catholic League. Marshal Nicolas-Jean de Dieu Soult unsuccessfully fought the last battle of the Peninsular War against Arthur Wellesley, 1st duke of Wellington, outside the city on April 10, 1814.

 The vieux quartier (old city), on the right high bank and surrounded by medieval faubourgs (incorporated suburbs), embraces the business section. On the left low-lying bank is the faubourg of Saint-Cyprien. Toulouse, a bishopric (since the 4th century) and an archbishopric (since 1317), has numerous medieval churches—notably the Gothic cathedral of Saint-Étienne, the Romanesque basilica of Saint-Sernin, and the Gothic Église des Jacobins (mother church of the Dominican order and site of the tomb of St. Thomas Aquinas).

      Many Renaissance and 16th–17th-century buildings (built by prosperous woad [pastel] dye merchants) form one of the most splendid series in France and include the hôtels de Bernuy, du Vieux Raisin, d'Espie, and de Pierre. The Hôtel d'Assézat houses the Académie des Jeux Floraux, founded in 1323 to encourage literary talent. The Duc de Montmorency was executed (1632) in the interior courtyard of the Capitole (town hall).

      Noteworthy art museums are those of Saint-Raymond, des Augustins, and Paul Dupuy. The School of Fine Arts is on an 18th-century riverside embankment and, nearby, the Catholic Institute occupies a 16th-century convent. The city's architecture was long characterized by rose-red brick. The most run-down portions of the old centre have been demolished and replaced by an ultra-modern commercial centre, which clashes sharply with the older architecture. To make room for the vigorous population growth of the city, a new town, named Mirail (Miracle), was constructed to the southwest of the older neighbourhood of Saint-Cyprien.

  Toulouse progressed commercially with the advent of railways in the 19th century. Diversified industrial development (which includes the manufacture of chemicals, aircraft, and machinery) has been augmented by the availability of hydropower from the Pyrenees and natural gas from Lacq. The aerospace industry has seen extraordinary development: research, experiments, training of specialists, and production of vehicles (Caravelle, Concorde, Airbus, and military hardware). Because of its strategic position, with routes converging from north and south, it acts as a trading centre between the Mediterranean and the Aquitaine Basin, whose farm produce it markets. Pop. (1999) 390,350; (2005 est.) 437,100.
 

▪ medieval county, France
      medieval county of southern France from the 8th to the 13th century. The countship can be dated from AD 778, when Charlemagne attempted to create bulwarks against the Muslims of Spain. The great dynasty, however, dates from 849, when Count Fredelon, a vassal of King Pippin II of Aquitaine, delivered Toulouse to Charles II the Bald of France, who thereupon confirmed him as count. Dying in 852, Fredelon left a heritage including Rouergue (around Rodez) and the Pyrenean countships of Pallars and Ribagorza as well as the Toulousain to his brother Raymond I, who added Limousin to it; but Septimania was then probably detached.

      Marriages and partitions changed the extent of the counts' dominion. By 1053 it included Quercy, the Albigeois (around Albi), and Rouergue. Raymond IV (d. 1105) added the marquessate of Provence but pawned Rouergue. The crusaders Raymond IV and his son Bertrand (d. 1112) won the countship of Tripoli in the Holy Land; but at home the dynasty was weakened by quarrels with the house of Barcelona over Provence and with William IX of Aquitaine, who usurped the countship in 1098–1100 and again in 1114–19. Towns such as Toulouse and vassals such as the Trencavel viscounts of Béziers and Carcassonne became practically autonomous. Raymond VII (d. 1249) left the countship to his son-in-law Alphonse of Poitiers, on whose death in 1271 it was annexed to the French crown.

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Universalium. 2010.

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