Quercy - Encyclopedia

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QUERCY (Lat. pagus Caturcinus, Fr. Cahorsin), a county in France before the Revolution. The name is taken from that of a Gallic tribe, the Cadurci, and was applied to a small district watered by the Dordogne, the Lot and the Tarn. It was bordered by Limousin, Rouergue, Armagnac, Perigord and Agenais. In the middle ages it was divided into upper, or black, Quercy, and lower, or white, Quercy, the capital of the former being Cahors and of the latter Montauban. Its two other chief towns were Figeac and Moissac. Ecclesiastically it was included almost entirely in the diocese of Cahors until 1317, when a bishopric for lower Quercy was established at Montauban. Judicially it was under the authority of the parlement of Bordeaux; for financial purposes it was part of the generalite of Montauban. The estates of the county had the bishop of Cahors for president; other members were the bishop of Montauban and other ecclesiastics, four viscounts, four barons and some other lords and representatives of eighteen towns.

Under the Romans Quercy was part of Aquitania prima, and Christianity was introduced therein during the 4th century. Early in the 6th century it passed under the authority of the Franks, and in the 9th century was part of the Frankish kingdom of Aquitaine. At the end of the 10th century its rulers were the powerful counts of Toulouse. During the wars between England and France in the reign of Henry II., the English placed garrisons in the county, and by the treaty of Paris in 1259 lower Quercy was ceded to England. Both the king of England and the king of France confirmed and added to the privileges of the towns and the district, each thus hoping to attach the inhabitants to his own interest. In 1360, by the treaty of Bretigny, the whole county passed to England, but in 1440 the English were finally expelled. In the 16th century Quercy was a stronghold of the Protestants, and the scene of a savage religious warfare. The civil wars of the reign of Louis XIII. centred around Montauban. Quercy was early an industrial district. It gave its name to cadurcum, a kind of light linen, and the bankers of Cahors were famous.

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