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Limousin (Traditional province, France)

Last modified: 2004-07-03 by ivan sache
Keywords: limousin | ermine (black) | ermines: 11 (black) |
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[Limousin]by Arnaud Leroy

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History of Limousin

Limousin is the ancient pagus Lemovicensis, named after the Gaul tribe of Lemovices, which also gave their name to the capital city of Limousin, Limoges. In the IXth century, Limousin was incorporated to thedDuchy of Aquitaine and transfered to England through the marriage of Aliénor d'Aquitaine in 1152. Philippe-Auguste reconquered Limousin in 1208, Louis IX (St. Louis) retroceded it to England in 1259 and Charles V reconquered it again in 1369.

The viscounty of Limoges, nominally part of Limousin, was de facto an independent feudal state. In 1275, Marie de Combron, daughter of the last viscount, married the heir of Brittany, later duke Arthur II. In the XVth century, Limousin was owned by the Albret family, and was therefore incorporated to the royal domain by Henri IV, son of Jeanne d'Albret, in 1589.

Limousin was later a généralité, which was administrated from 1761 to 1774 by Turgot.
Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, Baron de l'Eaune (1727-1781) was a liberal economist inspired by the Physiocratic doctrine. He dramatically reformed Limousin by promoting its economical development: several roads were built to link the province to the main cities of the kingdom, the tax system was made more equitable, a veterinary school was opened, the merinos sheep and the potato were introduced. Turgot published in Limoges in 1766 his Réflexions sur la formation et la distribution des richesses, in which he explained the central role of cerealiculture for the national economy. In 1774, Turgot was appointed Contrôleur général des Finances and State Secretary to the Navy. He suppressed the taxes between the provinces and tried to establish free trade and industry. When he planned to suppress several kinds of privileges, he was disgraced by Louis XVI, to whom he predicted hard times.

Limoges has given its name to the verb limoger (lit., to limogize), which means 'to dismiss'. During the First World War, Foch, Commander-in-Chief of the French Army, was so upset by the lack of clue of several generals that he exiled them to Limoges, far behind the frontline. The story has been mostly forgotten but the words limoger and limogeage are still in common use, especially for politicians and sport coaches.

Ivan Sache, 26 April 2003

Description of the flag of Limousin

The banner of arms of Limousin is:

D'hermine à la bordure de gueules

In English:

Ermine a bordure gules

This banner is attributed to Guy de Penthièvre, son of Arthur II.

Ivan Sache, 26 April 2003

Variant of the flag of Limousin

[Variant of the flag]by Ivan Sache

The provincial banner of Limousin can be seen with 11 ermine spots placed 4+3+4 instead of the semy of ermine.

Pascal Vagnat, 5 May 2003

Flag proposal for Limousin

History associations in Limousin recommend to use another historical banner of arms :

Parti au premier d'or aux 3 lions d'azur 2-1, au second bandé d'or et de gueules

In English:

Per pale, or three lions azure 2 + 1, bendy or and gules

Hervé Rochard, 27 April 2003

These alternative provincial arms were the arms of the Limoges-Turenne family (1148-1291). They were adopted, if not used, by the Regional Council of Limousin, which uses now a logo. These arms are also shown on the departmental arms of Corrèze, which were adopted by the General Council of the department, then presided by Jacques Chirac.

Pascal Vagnat, 5 May 2003