Guienne, Fr. Guyenneboth: gēĕn´, gwē– [key], region of SW France. The name referred to different territories at different times. Guienne as it existed from the time of Henry IV (late 16th–early 17th cent.) to the French Revolution covered the present departments of Gironde, Dordogne, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, and Aveyron and most of Tarn-et-Garonne. It thus had no geographic unity and included part of the Aquitaine basin and part of the Massif Central. Bordeaux is the historical capital, the chief port, and the center of the wine industry. Guienne was synonymous with Aquitaine until the Hundred Years War (1337–1453). It passed to England through the marriage (1152) of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henry II. In 1453, Guienne was reconquered by France. To its main components—Bordelais, Périgord, and Agenois (see Agen)—two former dependencies of Toulouse were added, Quercy and Rouergue. From the 17th cent. to 1792 it formed part of the vast province of Guienne and Gascony under the jurisdiction of the parlement of Bordeaux. The birth of the lyric poetry of the troubadours occurred in Guienne (11th–12th cent.).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: French Political Geography