Angouleme - Short version History

If you are interested in Angouleme you will find following a little history about the town.

It's a really short version as this is not a historical site, but some of the research I did was quite interesting so I would just like to share it.

In 1360 it was surrendered by the Treaty of Brétigny to the English; they were, however, expelled in 1373 by the troops of Charles V, who granted the town numerous privileges. It suffered much during the French Wars of Religion, especially in 1568 after its capture by the Protestants under Coligny.

The Counts and dukes of Angouleme were established in the 9th century. The most important of the early counts was William Taillefer, whose descendants held the title until the end of the 12th century. Withdrawn from the descendants on more than one occasion by Richard Coeur-de-Lion, the title passed to King John of England at the time of his marriage to Isabella of Angoulême, daughter of Count Adhémar. When, widowed, Isabella subsequently married Hugh X in 1220, the title passed out to the Lusignan family, counts of Marche. On the death of Hugh XIII in 1302 without issue, his possessions passed to the crown.

In 1394 the countship came to the house of Orléans. One of its members, Francis I became king of France in 1515 and raised the countship to the rank of duchy in favour of his mother Louise of Savoy. The duchy, now crown land and only nominally a duchy, thereafter was passed on within the ruling house of France.One of its holders was Charles of Valois, "natural" (or illegitimate) son of Charles IX. The last duke of Angoulême was Louis-Antoine, eldest son of Charles X of France.

Louis-Antoine died in 1844.

20th century history Angouleme was marginally to the west of the demarcation line during World War II, and thus occupied by the Germans. Being on a main railway line with extensive marshalling yards, it was of strategic importance and the scene of much activity by the French Resistance.

Late in the war, the Allies used American B-25's to bomb the railway station to disrupt German supply lines to the north, where the battle was raging in Normandy.

A museum in the commune is devoted to the Resistance and the deportations of Jewish and political prisoners. A statue near the station commemorates the deportations to the concentration camps.

The survivors of the so-called "Cockleshell Heroes", notable for their daring raid by canoe on the German U-Boat base at Bordeaux, made their escape across country to a safe house at Ruffec just north of Angouleme. This is now the site of a shop featuring British goods.

The Monument to the Resistance is at Chasseneuil to the east.

So, that was my very brief history and I hope it gave you some insight in to the city of Angouleme.

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