Context of Occitania
Occitania (Occitan: Occitània [utsiˈtanjɔ], locally [u(k)siˈtanjɔ], [ukʃiˈtanjɔ] or [u(k)siˈtanja]) is the historical region in Western and Southern Europe where Occitan was historically the main language spoken, and where it is sometimes still used, often as a second language. This cultural area roughly encompasses the southern third of France (with the exception of the Frenc...Read more
Occitania (Occitan: Occitània [utsiˈtanjɔ], locally [u(k)siˈtanjɔ], [ukʃiˈtanjɔ] or [u(k)siˈtanja]) is the historical region in Western and Southern Europe where Occitan was historically the main language spoken, and where it is sometimes still used, often as a second language. This cultural area roughly encompasses the southern third of France (with the exception of the French Basque Country and French Catalonia), as well as part of Spain (Aran Valley), Monaco, and smaller parts of Italy (Occitan Valleys, Guardia Piemontese). Occitania has been recognized as a linguistic and cultural concept since the Middle Ages, but has never been a legal nor a political entity under this name. However, the territory was united in Roman times as the Seven Provinces (Latin: Septem Provinciæ) and in the Early Middle Ages (Aquitanica or the Visigothic Kingdom of Toulouse, or the share of Louis the Pious following Thionville divisio regnorum in 806).
Currently, between 200,000–800,000 people of 16 million living in the area, are either native or proficient speakers of Occitan, although the languages more usually spoken in the area are French, Catalan, Spanish and Italian. Since 2006, the Occitan language has been an official language of Catalonia, which includes the Aran Valley where Occitan gained official status in 1990.
Under Roman rule, most of Occitania was known as Aquitania, the earlier conquered territories were known as Provincia Romana (see modern Provence), while the northern provinces of what is now France were called Gallia (Gaul). Under the Later Empire, both Aquitania and Provincia Romana were grouped in the Seven Provinces or Viennensis. So Provence and Gallia Aquitania (or Aquitanica) are the names used since medieval times for Occitania (i.e. Limousin, Auvergne, Languedoc and Gascony). Thus the historic Duchy of Aquitaine must not be confused with the modern French region called Aquitaine: this is the main reason why the term Occitania was revived in the mid-19th century. The names "Occitania" and "Occitan language" (Occitana lingua) appeared in Latin texts from as early as 1242–1254 to 1290 and during the following years of the early 14th century; texts exist in which the area is referred to indirectly as "the country of the Occitan language" (Patria Linguae Occitanae). The name Lenga d'òc was used in Italian (Lingua d'òc) by Dante in the late 13th century. The somewhat uncommon ending of the term Occitania is most probably a portmanteau French clerks coined from òc [ɔk] and Aquitània [ɑkiˈtanjɑ], thus blending the language and the land in just one concept.
On 28 September 2016 Occitanie became the name of the administrative region that succeeded the regions of Midi-Pyrénées and Languedoc-Roussillon, it is a small part of Occitania.