Valence (väläNsˈ) [key], city (1990 pop. 65,026), capital of Drôme dept., SE France, in Dauphiné, on the Rhône River. Its many manufactures include metallurgical products, textiles, leather goods, and jewelry. It is also a processing and trade center for a fertile farm area. An old Roman town, it was taken by the Visigoths (413) and the Arabs (c.730), then changed hands many times. Although nominally under the control of various European powers, it was actually ruled by its own bishops from 1150 until the 15th cent., when its citizens put themselves under the protection of the dauphin. Its Romanesque cathedral (11th cent.; partially restored) is a tourist attraction. Its university was founded in 1452.
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