40 Facts About Brittany


Brittany is a peninsula, historical country, and cultural area in the west of modern France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica during the period of Roman occupation.

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Brittany is the site of some of the world's oldest standing architecture, home to the Barnenez, the Tumulus Saint-Michel and others, which date to the early 5th millennium BC.

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Today, the historical province of Brittany is split among five French departments: Finistere in the west, Cotes-d'Armor in the north, Ille-et-Vilaine in the northeast, Morbihan in the south and Loire-Atlantique in the southeast.

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Brittany is the traditional homeland of the Breton people and is one of the six Celtic nations, retaining a distinct cultural identity that reflects its history.

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Brittany has been inhabited by humans since the Lower Palaeolithic.

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At that time, Brittany was populated by relatively large communities who started to change their lifestyles from a life of hunting and gathering, to become settled farmers.

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However, the Neolithic Revolution in Brittany did not happen due to a radical change of population, but by slow immigration and exchange of skills.

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Neolithic Brittany is characterised by important megalithic production and sites such as Quelfennec, it is sometimes designated as the "core area" of megalithic culture.

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At the beginning of the medieval era, Brittany was divided among three kingdoms, Domnonea, Cornouaille and Broerec.

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The unification of Brittany was carried out by Nominoe, king between 845 and 851 and considered as the Breton Pater Patriae.

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Brittany was heavily attacked by the Vikings at the beginning of the 10th century.

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The French king maintained envoys in Brittany, alliances contracted by local lords often overlapped and there was no specific Breton unity.

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For example, Brittany replaced Latin with French as its official language in the 13th century, 300 years before France did so, and the Breton language didn't have formal status.

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English diplomatic failures led to the Breton cavalry commanders Arthur, Comte de Richemont and his nephew Peter II, Duke of Brittany playing key roles on the French side during the deciding stages of the war .

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Brittany importantly lost the Mad War against France in 1488, mostly because of its internal divisions that were exacerbated by the corruption at the court of Francis II, Duke of Brittany.

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Brittany granted several privileges to Brittany, such as exemption from the gabelle, a tax on salt that was very unpopular in France.

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Duchy was legally abolished with the French Revolution that began in 1789 - and in 1790 the province of Brittany was divided into five departments: Cotes-du-Nord, Finistere, Ille-et-Villaine, Loire-Inferieure and Morbihan.

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Brittany essentially lost all its special privileges that existed under the Duchy.

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In 1956, Brittany was legally reconstituted as the Region of Brittany, although the region excluded the ducal capital of Nantes and the surrounding area.

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Nevertheless, Brittany retained its cultural distinctiveness, and a new cultural revival emerged during the 1960s and 1970s.

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The new Brittany had four departements, and Loire-Atlantique formed the Pays de la Loire region together with parts of Anjou, Maine and Poitou.

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Until the end of the 20th century, Brittany had been characterised by a strong Catholic and conservative influence.

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The poor and rocky areas are covered by large heathland and moorlands, and Brittany has several marshes, like the Briere, included in a regional natural park.

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Brittany is widely known for the Breton horse, a local breed of draft horse, and for the Brittany gun dog.

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Brittany has the same education system as the rest of France.

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Brittany created new universities and invented two secondary education institutions: the "colleges" and the "lycees" which were opened in numerous towns to educate boys and form a new elite.

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In Brittany, it was forbidden for the pupils to speak Breton or Gallo, and the two were strongly depreciated.

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Brittany is the second French region for telecommunication and the fifth for electronics, two activities mainly developed in Rennes, Lannion and Brest.

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Brittany is characterised by a great number of small towns, such as Vitre, Concarneau, Morlaix or Auray.

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The patron saint of Brittany is Saint Anne, the Virgin's mother, but Ivo of Kermartin, a 13th-century priest, called Saint-Yves in French and Sant-Erwan in Breton, can be considered as a patron saint.

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Brittany is home to many megalithic monuments; the words menhir and dolmen come from the Breton language.

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Brittany is known for its needlework, which can be seen on its numerous headdress models, and for its faience production, which started at the beginning of the 18th century.

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Since the early 1970s, Brittany has experienced a tremendous revival of its folk music.

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Brittany is closely associated with the Matter of Britain and King Arthur.

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Brittany is the birthplace of many French writers like Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand, Jules Verne, Ernest Renan, Felicite Robert de Lamennais and Pierre Abelard Max Jacob, Alfred Jarry, Victor Segalen, Xavier Grall, Jean Rouaud, Irene Frain, Herve Jaouen, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Pierre-Jakez Helias, Tristan Corbiere, Paul Feval, Jean Guehenno, Arthur Bernede, Andre Breton, Patrick Poivre d'Arvor.

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Brittany has some film festivals like the Three Continents Festival in Nantes.

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Brittany has a long beer-brewing tradition, tracing its roots back to the 17th century.

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Brittany has a dish similar to the pot-au-feu known as the kig ha farz, which consists of stewed pork or beef with buckwheat dumplings.

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Brittany is known for its salt, mainly harvested around Guerande and used in butter and milk caramels.

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Brittany is on two major TGV lines, one linking Paris to Nantes and Le Croisic, on the south coast, and another linking Paris to Rennes and Brest.

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