The Languedoc Region
Over many centuries, the Mediterranean coastal region of Languedoc has built up a rich and varied tapestry of historical events which shape its uniqueness.
The area has been settled by the Greeks, the Phoenicians and the Romans, and invaded by the Alamanni, Vandals, Visigoths, and Saracens. Languedoc was known throughout the Middle Ages as the County of Toulouse, an independent provincal area which was supposedly part of the kingdom of France.
By the early 12th century, with it well educated and moderate culture, Languedoc had developed as the centre of the Cathar religious movement. After many attempts to divert the course of the popular Cathars, the Roman Catholic Church declared them heretics, and sparked by the unexplained death of a Catholic delegate, the Albigensian Crusade was declared by Pope Innocent III. After almost 150 years of ruthless campaigning and mass executions, the Catholic Crusaders effectively wiped them out.
As a consequence, the region was taken by the French crown in 1271, and has been part of France ever since. The County of Toulouse was a vassal of French sovereignty, but had many connections with the Crown of Aragon, which included the strong Spanish influence of Catalonia.
Later the name given to the area was Languedoc; literally meaning "language of oc", from the word "yes" in the local Occitan language; "oc" (as opposed later "oui", in the north of France). The kings of France made Languedoc one of the provinces of the kingdom, and established the parlement of Languedoc in Toulouse.
The parlement and the province were abolished at the time of the French Revolution, like all the other parlements and provinces of France.