Port City

Are you planning a trip to Bordeaux, France? If you’re going to the port city you can enjoy your visit more if you know about the 2,000-year history of the region. It has a long history with neighbors Britain and Spain in particular. It was also the main town of the Celtic people Bituriges Vivisci under the ancient Romans. Modern Bordeaux was also the capital of the region of Aquitania that went from the Pyrenees mountains to the Loire River.

Burdigala was the capital of the region of Aquitania Secunda by the 4th century. The writer Ausonius from the region described the city as a square/walled town and one of Gaul’s educational centers. As the Roman Empire started to decline the area surrounding Bordeaux then started a period of political instability. It was able to recover from the situation when Aquitaine’s dukes established themselves in the early 900s AD.

Then Eleanor of Aquitaine inherited Bordeaux and the other parts of the duchy. The French town then became part of Britain in 1154 when her husband became the English king as Henry II. His descendant Edward the Black Prince held court at Bordeaux for two decades in the 1300s. His son Richard who later became King Richard II was born in Bordeaux and the city still honors him.

Then Eleanor of Aquitaine inherited Bordeaux and the other parts of the duchy. The French town then became part of Britain in 1154 when her husband became the English king as Henry II. His descendant Edward the Black Prince held court at Bordeaux for two decades in the 1300s. His son Richard who later became King Richard II was born in Bordeaux and the city still honors him.

While Bordeaux was under British rule it received great amounts of freedom. In 1235 mayors were picked and active trade developed with Britain’s ports. Under Bordeaux’ leadership, nearby towns like Libourne and Saint-Emilion joined a federation.

The city joined with France in 1453 when the French defeated the English military at Castillon. However, Bordeaux’s burghers resisted their municipal freedoms being limited. In fact, 120 were executed following a rebellion over a salt tax in 1548.

Then there was the great disturbance in the region during the 1600s. Massacres took place during the Wars of Religion, which resulted in trade declining. Bordeaux then became prosperous during the 1700s due to the “triangular” slave trade that took place between Africa and the West Indies. Coffee and sugar were sent to Bordeaux then wines and weapons were shipped to Africa.

The Marquis de Tourny was an intent of Guyene. He used fine buildings and square to make the city more eye-catching. During the French Revolution, the Girondist Party was created in Bordeaux when the city was damaged during the Reign of Terror.

The English put up a blockade throughout the Napoleonic Wars. The city was won by the Bourbons in 1814. That resulted in Louis XVIII in granting his grandnephew a new title of Duc (duke) de Bordeaux.

The city’s boosted trade with West Africa as well as South America due to improvements to the city’s ports and the building of railways. This helped the region to prosper. Then the French government was moved to Bordeaux during the Franco-German War. The same action took place in 1914 when the Germans threatened Paris the start of World War I.

Then During World War II, the French government was moved to Tours and Bordeaux when the Nazis became a threat to Paris.