Divide and CONQUER

France|July 2020

Divide and CONQUER
Aquitaine was fiercely fought over by the English and French, and was a worthy prize, as Rob Blackmore discovers
Rob Blackmore

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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July 2020