History of Limousin

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Coat of arms of Limousin
Map of historical Limousin

Limousin (Occitan: Lemosin), one of the traditional provinces of France with a history reaching back to Celtic and Roman times, surrounds the city of Limoges (Occitan: Limòtges). Limousin lies in the foothills of the western edge of the Massif Central, with cold weather in the winter. Its name is derived from the name of a Celtic tribe, the Lemovices.

During the 3rd century, Saint Martial (Occitan: Sent Marçau) evangelized the region, and became the first Bishop of Limoges.[1]

During the 10th century, Limousin was divided in many seigneuries; the most important of them, located in the southern part of the region, were the vicomtés of Limoges, Comborn (in the present-day Corrèze), Ventadour (today Ussel and Plateau de Millevaches), and Turenne. The northernmost part of Limousin belonged to the County of La Marche, while the bishops of Limoges controlled most of present-day Haute-Vienne. Such political fragmentation led to the construction of many castles, whose ruins still evoke memories of that historical period.

In 1199, King Richard I of England was fatally wounded by a crossbow bolt during his siege of Château de Châlus-Chabrol, about 30 kilometres (19 mi) southwest of Limoges.

The region was reconstituted during the Fifth Republic as part of the French government's decentralization efforts by the government.


  • L'Atlas du Limousin, Ph. Bernard-Allée, M.-F. André, G. Pallier, Limoges, Pulim, 1994
  • Plaidoyer pour un limogeage, L. Bourdelas, Lucien Souny, 2001
  • Encyclopédie Bonneton - Limousin, Paris, Bonneton, 2000
  • Limousin 14-18, un abécédaire de la Grande guerre, S. Capot et J.-M.Valade, Les ardents éditeurs, 2008


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