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Clermont-ferrand History, France

 

The city of Clermont-Ferrand, France resulted when the two cities of Clermont and Montferrand were joined in 1630.  Before this time, Montferrand was a suburb to the ancient city of Clermont.  According to the ancient Greek geographer, Strabo, the first known name for the city of Clermont was Nemessos, meaning sacred forest, and the first known inhabitants were of the Gallic tribe, Arverni.  Nemessos was their capital city and originally rested on the site of the current Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral. 

It is not clear how many years the leaders of the Arverni tribe held the armies of the Roman Empire off, but between the middle of the 1st century B.C. and the 1st century A.D. there were at least two attempts by the Romans to take the area.  Both times they were held off by Arverni chiefs and their forces.  In the 1st century A.D., however, the Romans finally won the area and changed the name of Nemessos to Augustonemetum.  Within one-hundred years, the city had grown to be one of the largest in Roman-held Gaul. 

After the Roman Empire began to leave Western Europe in the 3rd century A.D., the city became known as Arvernis and became a bishop’s seat.  At this point in time, the city became the target of invaders and pillagers.  In the end, the Roman Emperor ended up ceding the city to the Visigoths in 475 A.D. who lost the city to the Franks in 507 A.D. 

The city then became known as Auvergne but was finally changed to Clairmont in 848 A.D., being named after the castle that was part of the city at that time.  Shortly after this name-change, much of the Frankish empire fell victim to Norman Viking attacks and Clairmont was devastated by three attacks in quick succession throughout the end of the 9th century A.D.

By 1120 A.D., the counts of Auvergne had begun to despise the power that the bishops had over episcopal-governed Clairmont and there had already been several conflicts between the two groups.  They founded a new city, Montferrand, on the borders of Clairmont so that they could be out of the reach of the bishops. 

The transfer of rule over Clairmont from the bishops to France was made in 1551 and in 1630, the two cities, Clairmont and Montferrand, were joined by the French king.  There were many who did not like this unification and Montferrand demanded independence from Clairmont on three different occasions between 1789 and 1863.  During the 20th century, several efforts, such as the building of factories and the planting of city gardens, helped the two cities to feel united.

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  • eratoCathedral Notre Dame
    travel tip by erato posted more then 30 days ago
    The Gothic style Cathedral is the main attraction of the city. It would be really hard to miss it because it's huge. It was built from volcanic rock, just like all the other old buildings in the city, so it is totally black. If you...
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