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The Historic Bessan Village Door
|• Mayor (2014–2020)||Stéphane Pépin-Bonnet|
|• Land1||27.65 km2 (10.68 sq mi)|
|• Population2 density||160/km2 (420/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||34031 / 34550|
|Elevation||0–84 m (0–276 ft)
(avg. 8 m or 26 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Built among vineyards on the Hérault river, Bessan is a mainly agricultural village. In the past, its port was used to ship wines and other spirits.
Around 600 BC, Greeks settled in Bessan on the oppidum of Monadière to trade.
In 737, Charles Martel entered the province at the head of the French, temporarily pushing back the Saracens, and destroyed Béziers, Agde and the surrounding countryside to prevent the Saracens from returning and fortifying the region.
1050-1100, the fortified village of Bessan starts to be built.
In 1209, the Crusader army, led by Simon de Montfort, seized the region under the pretext of hunting the Cathars, and ten years later the castles of Bessan and Touroulle became the property of his son, Amaury.
In 1278, the Bessanais had obtained the right to elect consuls (mayors) to deal with political affairs from their seigneur.
In 1348, the plague killed a large proportion of the population. It returned several times thereafter.
On the 30 October 1587, Antoine Scipio, the new Duke of Joyeuse and leader of the Catholics, took advantage of the governor of Languedocs' absence in the Tarn with his army. Scipio seized and looted Bessan.
In 1851, during the coup of Napoleon III, a cannon was pointed at the Grand'rue and some thirty republican Bessanais were deported.
In 1907, the Bessanais was actively involved in the Midi wine revolt.
In November 1942, German troops entered and occupied Bessan. They fled in August 1944, after the Allied landing in Provence.
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