In the Middle Ages, Bordeaux and its hinterland were ruled by the kings of England as Dukes of Aquitaine. This was because in 1152, Henry of Anjou married Eleanor of Aquitaine – heiress of William X, the last duke – and then two years later became King Henry II of England (reigned 1154-89).
For three centuries, this English connection brought prosperity in the form of hundreds of ships carrying merchants to buy wine, without whom, it was claimed by one 15th-century French official: “Bordeaux could not be Bordeaux.”
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