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Maine (Traditional province, France)

Last modified: 2004-07-03 by ivan sache
Keywords: maine | fleur-de-lys (yellow) | lion (white) |
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[Maine]by Pierre Gay

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History of Maine

Maine is traditionally divided in Upper-Maine, more or less the department of Sarthe, and Lower-Maine, more or less the department of Mayenne. The river Maine (la Maine, whereas the province is le Maine) has no source since it is made by the confluency of the rivers Mayenne and Sarthe, ten kilometers north of Angers, where the Maine flows into the Loire. The two rivers gave the name of the department of Maine-et-Loire, which matches more or less the traditional province of Anjou. Hence the river Maine does not water the province of Maine.

The County of Maine was formed in the Xth century. It was incorporated to the duchy of Anjou in 1126 and became part of the Anglo-Angevin empire in 1154 when Henri Plantagenet was crowned king of England. Philippe-Auguste confiscated Maine to John Lackland in 1204. Maine was given in 1248 to St. Louis' brother, Charles of Anjou, founder of the second house of Anjou. When the Good king René of Anjou died in 1481, Maine and Anjou were incorporated to the royal domain by king Louis XI.

In the XVIth century, Maine was granted as his apanage to Henri, king Charles IX's brother, who transfered it to his brother the duke of Alen&cced;on when crowned king of France in 1574. Maine was definitively reincorporated to the royal domain in 1584, following the death of the duke.

The title of duke of Maine was borne, without territorial privilege, by Louis-Auguste de Bourbon (1670-1736), legitimized son of king Louis XIV and madame de Montespan. In 1714, the duke was granted a rank immediatly below the legitimate princes and could have succeded the king for lack of prince. However, Louis XIV's will was nullified after his death and the king was succeded by his grand grandson Louis XV. During the minority of Louis XV (1715-1723), a period known as la Régence, the power was exerted by Regent Philippe d'Orléans (1624-1723), son of Philippe d'Orléans and the mighty princess Palatine, and therefore Louis XIV's nephew. The Regency was characterized by a strong reaction against the last years of Louis XIV's reign, and a great moral liberty succeded to the religious dictatorship. The Regent completely revised the foreign policy of the kingdom and opposed to Philip V of Spain. Antonio, prince of Cellamare (1657-1733), the Spanish ambassador in France, plotted with the duke and the duchess of Maine in order to overthrow the Regent and appoint Philip V king of France. The Cellamare's plot was foiled and the duke of Maine was jailed from 1718 to 1720.

His wife, Louise de Bourbon-Condé (1670-1753), was the granddaughter of prince Louis II de Condé, better known as le Grand Condé. She organized in Sceaux, near Paris, where she had bought a castle in 1700, a brilliant court famous for the 'Sceaux nights' (theater and musical performances, fireworks etc.). Her temper was so bad and her spirit so scathing that she was nicknamed Dona Salpetria.

Ivan Sache, 13 May 2003

Description of the flag of Maine

The banner of arms of Maine can be blazoned as (GASO):

D'azur semé de fleurs de lys d'or à la bordure cousue de gueules chargée au canton dextre d'un lion d'argent

In English (Brian Timms):

Azure semy de lis or a bordure gules in dexter chief a lion rampant argent

This banner represents the coat of arms of count Charles de Maine, Louis II d'Anjou's son. He used his father's arms and added a lion from the Plantagenet arms as a surbrisure. Therefore, the banner of arms of Maine is therefore Anjou ancient (with a semy of leurs de lis) with the lion.

The banner of arms of Maine was used by Hervé Pinoteau as an element of the banner of arms of the Region Pays de la Loire, to which both the departments of Sarthe and Mayenne belong.

Ivan Sache, 13 May 2003