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Encyclopedia > Comtat Venaissin

The Comtat Venaissin, often called the Comtat for short, was the name formerly given to the region around the city of Avignon in Provence, in what is now southern France. It comprised roughly the area between the Rhône, the Durance and Mont Ventoux, with the opposite bank of the Rhône under the control of the French Crown. Avignon itself was, however, never part of the Comtat but constituted a separate Comtat (county) in its own right.

During the 13th century, the Comtat belonged to Alphonse, Count of Poitiers. He bequeathed it to the Holy See on his death in 1271 and it became a Papal territory in 1274. The region was named after its former capital, Venasque, which was replaced as capital by Carpentras in 1320. Avignon was sold to the Papacy by Countess Jeanne of Provence in 1348, whereupon the two Comtats were joined together to form a unified Papal enclave. Its inhabitants did not pay taxes and were not subjected to military service, making life in the Comtat considerably more attractive than under the French Crown.

Successive French rulers sought to annex the region to France. It was invaded by French troops in 1663, 1668 and 17681774 during disputes between the Crown and the Church. It was also subjected to trade and customs restrictions during the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV. Papal control persisted until 1791, when an unauthorized plebiscite was held and the inhabitants voted for annexation by France. The papacy did not, however, recognise this formally until 1814.

  Results from FactBites:
Comtat Venaissin (Traditional province, France) (406 words)
Comtat Venaissin is limited by the rivers Rhône and Durance and the Mount Ventoux.
The capital city of the Comtat was moved in 1320 to Carpentras, where bishop Malachie d'Inguimbert founded in 1745 the famous Inguimbertine Library.
In the XIIIth century, the Comtat Venaissin belonged to Alphonse de Poitiers (1220-1271), a Capetian prince, sun of King of France Louis VIII and Count of Poitiers and Toulouse.
  More results at FactBites »



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