Armagnac

Armagnac

[ahr-muhn-yak; Fr. ar-mah-nyak]
Armagnac, region and former county, SW France, in Gascony, roughly coextensive with Gers dept. Auch is the chief town. Armagnac is famous for the brandy bearing the same name. The counts of Armagnac originated in the 10th cent. as vassals of the dukes of Gascony. Their power reached its height with Count Bernard VII, who dominated France in the early 15th cent. Margaret of Angoulěme, sister of Francis I of France, married the last count of Armagnac, who died without issue. Armagnac eventually passed to her second husband, Henri d'Albret, king of Navarre, whose grandson became King Henry IV. Henry added Armagnac to the royal domain in 1607.

Small territory in historical Gascony, southwestern France. A portion was part of the Roman province of Aquitania (see Aquitaine). From circa 960 it was the separate countship of Armagnac, and it grew to occupy a buffer zone between lands controlled by the French kings (Toulouse) and those controlled by the English (Guyenne). It led the resistance to the English king Henry V's invasion of France but suffered a setback at the Battle of Agincourt. It was first annexed to France in 1497, became a countship again, but finally, by descent through the rulers of Navarra, returned to the French crown in 1607. Again a countship from 1645, it was dissolved in 1789. The region produces the famous Armagnac brandy.

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