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Texte tiré du livre : Notre Provence (7 Mo) by F. Garrigue et A. Vérola
Texte relu et corrigé par Alain Blanchet (professeur d'histoire-géographie à Lyon)

The Counts of Provence

Automatic Translation

Invasions the dynasty of Bosons
Counts of Barcelona and Provence counts of Anjou


The happy time of the Roman domination finishes for our area into 406. From this date, the invasions of the Barbarians follow one another. In turn, the Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Burgondes, the Franks devastate our country, sowing everywhere the ruin and desolation. In 536, the Franks settle definitively on our premises and one can believe that one better era will start. Alas! The plague prevails initially. In 52 years, four epidemics bring the famine. Then leprosy makes its devastations. Close to each city draws up a leper-house where are exiled the unhappy ones reached by the plague. Beaten in Poitiers, Buckwheats ebb towards Provence and, with the chances of their rides, plunder Arles, Aix and Cimiez. Because of their richnesses, the monasteries attract them particularly. They make low hand on the liturgical objects, massacre the nuns of the convent of Saint-Sauveur in Marseilles and the monks of Lérins. Driven out on several occasions by Charles Martel, they return unceasingly. In 890, they are established in the solid mass of the Moors, in Fraxinet (today Guard-Freinet), from where, during one century, they hold to ransom the populations with impunity. The Norman ones unload in the Camargue, but their appearance is of short duration.

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It is marked by the efforts of the counts de Provence to make itself independent. Charles the Bald person gives capacities extended to the counts and the dukes. His/her brother-in-law, Boson , man ambitious and intrigant, are made proclaim king de Provence (879). He chooses Arles like capital and takes the title of "king of Arles". For better defending oneself against the king of France, it is declared vassal of the Emperor of Germany. It thinks that the Emperor is a remote Master, consequently of few being able. It hopes to be released soon from its new suzerain. Also, in spite of several wars, the kings of France cannot charm its title to him. Guillaume the liberator has the merit to dislodge Buckwheats and definitively to drive out them of Provence (973). Guillaume III benefits from the excommunication of the emperors of Germany by the pope to regard itself as independent. It is the time of the Feudality during which each small lord is in fight with his neighbors. The Church reaches the top of its power. The offerings of believing, poor or fortunate, enrich the abbeys by Montmajour and Saint-Victor. New abbeys are created (Apt, Lagnes, Sylvacane, Montrieux). Benefitting from this preponderance, the bishops continuing their civilizing role, protest against the fights of lord with lord from which the peasants suffer so much, by imposing the "Truce of God". About return of Clermont, where it had gone to preach the Crusade with the populations of North, the pope Urbain II speaks in Avignon, Cavaillon, Apt and Arles. Filled with enthusiasm, Provençaux cross 100.000 pennies the command of the count Raymond de Saint-Gilles.

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These Catalan princes are very good for the vençaux­;Pro on whom they reign during more than one century. Raymond-Béranger Ier, count de Barcelone, obtain by marriage the county of Provence, except the area of Arles which belongs to the counts de Toulouse. Raymond-Béranger III puts an end to the revolt counts Baux, which claims with the crown of Provence. Alphonse Ier imposes silence to the counts de Forcalquier by marrying his son Alphonse II with their heiress. Raymond-Béranger V must reconquer the cities which benefitted from the embarrassments of its predecessors to make itself independent. Very loved for its simplicity, for its good-naturedness, remarkable administrator, it pacifies Provence from which it restores finances. It is then with the head of the one of the most powerful countries of Europe. He is equal large kings of the time, from Saint-Louis in which it Marie her elder daughter Marguerite. When he dies, he bequeaths the crown of Provence to his fourth daughter, Béatrix, which marry little after Charles of Anjou, brother of king de France.

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IV. COUNTS Of ANJOU (1246-1486)

Charles of Anjou controls prosperous, rich, radiant Provence then by his language and his manners. He wants to increase his field. He is made appoint king of Deux-Siciles (Naples and Sicily) and buys the kingdom of Jerusalem. To preserve the kingdom of Naples, its descendants will be obliged to fight without truce against the Spanish princes of Aragon. In this fight, Provence will lose best its wire and, ruined, will see the end of its independence. Under the reign of Louis II, the pope Clément V comes to settle in Avignon (1305). During 72 years, the popes remain there and make build celebrates it castle, superb specimen of the architecture of the time. Robert, wire of Louis II, designates his Jeanne grand-daughter like heiress, with the great displeasure of prince de Duras, his nephew, claiming with the crown. Jeanne lives very little in Provence. She prefers her beautiful kingdom of Naples. She designates as Louis successor of Anjou, brother of Charles V, king de France. Evincé, Charles of Lasted makes it choke (Reading). The towns of Nice, Puget-Théniers, Barcelonnette do not recognize the authority of the new counts. They separate from Provence and are put under the supervision of the dukes of Savoy (1388). The three grandsons of Louis of Anjou will be successively the last three counts de Provence:

  • Louis III reigns little of time. Winner of the Aragoneses in Naples, it cannot prevent them from plundering Marseilles.
  • Rene inherits Provence and the kingdom of Naples. Simple and modest, he loves his people of which he is the idol, but he is not happy. Betrayed and too good for the traitors, it loses the kingdom of Naples. It spends its last years to Provence: in Tarascon, Peyrolles and especially in Aix where he dies in 1480 (Reading).
  • Charles of Maine inherits in his turn. With its death (1481), obeying the wishes of king Rene, it bequeaths our country to Louis XI, king de France. It begs it "to preserve freedoms and the franknesses from its subjects and to maintain them in the pleasure of their rights and their uses"
  • Charles VIII takes possession of Provence in I486.

Thus, separate in 879, Provence goes back to France in 1486. Only, Comtat Venaissin and the county of Nice will be a long time separate.