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Montpellier History, France

Montpellier is the capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, close to Nimes and Marseille. It is also known as being one of the most dynamic cities in the south of France and the administrative capital of the Hérault department.

Montpellier, History –The Medieval Period

Montpellier does not have an old history, as it was first mentioned as a settlement only in the 10th century. The city was founded under a feudal dynasty, called the Guilhem family or the counts of Toulouse who ruled the city in the next 200 years and they first built a castle and walls serving as measures of security and protection.

During the 10th century the city was a trading centre having connections with the Mediterranean countries thanks to its port on the river Lez that had a major contribution to the development of trade with Spain and the northern part of Europe in the 13th century too, when the city got the monopoly in red dye and there were also founded the schools of medicine, low, and theology. In 1289 Pope Nicholas IV gave the established schools the titles of Universities, which made the city one of the leading centers in teaching medicine, an important feature in its entire process of development that still stands.

In Montpellier History it is attested that the city was ruled by the Aaragon kings in the first half of the 13th century while in the second half of the same century the city passed to king Philip VI who transformed it in one of the most important cities in France at that time. In the 14th century the city had a church that got the name of Saint Peter and later on it had a bishop too. A few years later, many of the city’s inhabitants were killed by a vicious plague but till 1400 the city recovered both demographically and economically.

Montpellier, History – The Reformation Period

Once the War of Religions ended in the 16th century, the city went through a process of reformation that made most of its inhabitants Protestants who struggled for a while with the Catholic French Crown.

During the war almost all the medieval buildings were destroyed but the war of religions still had a positive impact on the architecture of the city, contributing to the renovation of many architectural buildings in the next 2 centuries.

In 1622 King Louis XIII built the Citadel of Montpellier to protect it. The city also became in the 17th century the royal capital of Languedoc. Montpellier started to flourish and the famous Promenade du Peyrou was built, as well as the Esplanade and many houses that still can be admired in the historic part of Montpellier.

The city became the capital of the smaller department of Herault after the French Revolution (1789-1799)

Montpellier, History – The Modern Period

Montpellier History also makes reference to the development of the 19th century, both economically and demographically as Algeria won its independence from France and thus, the French settlers called Pieds Noirs were forced to leave Algeria and to resettle in Montpellier. Many projects of development were put into practice at the end of the 19th century such as the Corum and the Antigone District.

It was also in the 19th century that the wine making process was introduced in the city which made a great difference in the economic field, bringing money and fame to the city as well.

The Montpellier history is neither young nor old but it has the essence of prosperity which is the key of development and richness that any city needs to obtain through struggles, wars and hard times in order to resist and to be one step ahead of other not so fortunate cities in France or in any part of the world.

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