A very brief slice of history of ‘Bretagne’ or ‘Brittany’
Bretagne is the French name for ‘Brittany’
The name seemingly came from Roman times and relates to early Briton settlers in a larger area of North-West France, which was then known as Armorica.
After this period, it became a kingdom in its own right and then became a ‘Duchy’
The Duchy of Brittany then had an uneasy relationship with its neighbour, the Duchy of Normandy, because the two Dukes kept changing their alliances to other neighbouring conflicts, which caused political instability.
In the 12th Century, King Henry II invaded Brittany and became the Count of Nantes, his son Geoffrey eventually becoming a Duke.
Their empire later collapsed leaving their Duchy Northern France under the control of the French Crown.
In 1341 was the Breton war of succession which was a civil war between rival factions both fighting to get control of Brittany.
In brief terms there were the Blois backed by the French and the Montforts backed by the English. (The actual account is well worth researching on the web)
The Montforts were the eventual victors after The Battle of Auray, part of the famous Hundred Years war.
Bretagne stopped being a duchy in the 16th century, when Anne, daughter of Francis, the Duke of Brittany, inherited the title upon his death of Duchess of Brittany.
She then married the King of France, Charles VIII and eventually in 1532 the Duchy became merged with the French Crown.
After the French revolution, the duchy was completely replaced with the ‘departmental’ system, which of course is still used today.
Bretagne has had several ‘capital cities’ throughout its history; Nantes, Vannes, Rennes and others.
This is just a flavour of Bretagne history and it has to be said that there are conflicting accounts of certain elements, so if anyone wishes to share their knowledge or contradict anything that has been written, we would be happy to bow to a superior source. In fact we would be happy to bow to any source! So if you do wish to add anything then please email us at [email protected]