If you were bored of history lessons at school, then you are certainly in for a treat in Languedoc-Roussillon, France. The history of this place will make your jaws drop. The region has been inhabited by humans for over 450 thousand years. People here didn’t just hunt and gather food during the period, they decorated their homes with magnificent drawings of the wildlife. You can still see some of the wonderful cave paintings at Niaux, Lascaux, and Chauvet. These paintings managed to stand the test of time as these are still visible.
During the 6th century BC, seafarers arrived at the place and settled down from the Mediterranean region. The Phoenicians and the Greeks from Phoecea settled down in the region. They indulged in grape cultivation and imported olives to the region which still contribute to the local economy. The region transformed into a major market for trade with settlements creating a plethora of opportunities.
Nestled amidst Mediterranean region and the Atlantic Ocean, the region turned into an important trade route. The Greeks began settling in the region and founded the cities of Agde and Marseille. Romans arrived next. They founded the city of Narbonne during 118 BC. They conquered the entire region which is evident from the style of architecture in the region. The region faced a turbulent time when various tribes went and came. A kingdom was established in the region during the fifth century by the Visigoths. Muslims invaded the region next.
A power struggle was noted in the region during the middle ages. A merciless crusade was launched by French noblemen and several popes during 1209. They were at war for 20 years against the Cathars. There was a bloody massacre during the period and no one was spared during the period. During the 13th century, the Kings of Majorca let Perpignan and Montpellier prosper under their rule. They later sold Roussillon and two other cities to the French Crown.
The region finally experienced peace during the 17th and 18th century. During the 1600s, the Protestant Church was established to show resentment against the ruling elite. The economy of Languedoc began to flourish slowly. Massive quantities of textiles were produced in the region during the period. The towns were adorned and enlarged with dazzling architectural designs. The development of large farms and the wine industry offered some stability to the region. However, Roussillon experienced a major setback when the vineyards were swept out during 1875.
The Great Depression experienced in the region during the 1930s resulted in a slowdown in the economy. The region failed to accommodate the refugees who entered from Spain during the civil war. The resistance movement failed the attempts made by the Nazis during World War II. The region today has turned into a popular tourist destination owing to its beautiful countryside, wonderful climate, spectacular beaches and rich history. The region offers a better quality of life and is known for its peaceful surroundings.
The plentiful land and the Mediterranean climate prevalent in the region are suitable for the production of wine. It is believed that one in ten bottles of wine in the world was produced in this region during the 20th century. The significance of the area was overlooked by commercial journals and scholarly publications until the entrepreneurs James Herrick and Robert Skalli changed the face of the region dramatically. They planted commercial varieties of grapes.
The Languedoc-Roussillon region markets its products with the adoption of a marque. The region is as well known for its pieces, olive oils, and cheeses. The rich history and the picturesque locations in the region would certainly compel anyone to explore this region in southern France.