The Duchy of Brittany was an independent state from 841 to 1532. Its rulers were never free from outside influence, however, with England and France competing for their favours and attention.
Brittany was conquered in 799 by emperor Charlemagne, who had after that to lead military expeditions to fight breton rebellions in 801 and 811. His son, Louis the Pious, came with his army in 818, 824 and 837. Independence from France was declared in 841 after a rebellion of Duke Nominoe who refused to accept as his suzerain, king Charles, the Bald. After a five year conflict, France recognized Brittany as a ducal state in 846 and as a kingdom in 851. Following Alan II's death in 952, Brittany is disputed between the Houses of Nantes and Rennes, until 990, when count Conan of Rennes pacifies the duchy under his control.
The Kingdom of France defeated the Breton army in 1488 and the last Duke of independent Brittany was forced to submit to a treaty giving the King of France the right to determine the marriage of the Duke's daughter, the heir to the Duchy.
Brittany was a hotbed of resistance to the French Revolution and its accompanying anti-clericalism.
Brittany is also known for the calvaires (calvaries), elaborately carved sculptures of crucifixion scenes, to be found in churchyards of villages and small towns, especially in Western Brittany.
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