History of Limousin

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Coat of arms of Limousin
Map of historical Limousin

The History of Limousin (Lemosin en occitan), one of the traditional provinces of France around the city of Limoges (Limòtges en occitan), reaches back to the Celtic and Roman times. 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.

The region was evangelised during the 3rd century by Saint Martial (Sent Marçau en occitan) who, according to a legend, was sent to Limousin expressly by the Pope.

During the 10th century the Limousin was divided in many seigneuries; the most important among 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 part of the present-day Haute-Vienne. Such a political fragmentation led to the construction of many castles, whose ruins still evoke memories of that historical period.

The region was reconstituted during the Fifth Republic as part of the decentralisation 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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