Vannes (French pronunciation: [van] ; Breton: Gwened) is a commune in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France. It was founded over 2,000 years ago.

Celtic Era

The name Vannes comes from the Veneti, a seafaring Celtic people who lived in the south-western part of Armorica in Gaul before the Roman invasions. The region seems to have been involved in a cross channel trade for thousands of years, probably using hide boats and perhaps Ferriby Boats.[1] Wheat that apparently was grown in the Middle East was part of this trade.[2] At about 150 BC the evidence of trade (such as Gallo-Belgic coins) with the Thames estuary area of Great Britain dramatically increased.[3]

Roman Era

The Veneti were defeated by Julius Caesar's fleet in 56 BC in front of Locmariaquer; many of the Veneti were then either slaughtered or sold into slavery. The Romans settled a town called Darioritum in a location previously belonging to the Veneti.

The Britons arrive

From the 5th to the 7th century, the remaining Gauls were displaced or assimilated by waves of immigrant Britons fleeing the Saxon invasions of Britain. Under the Breton name Gwened (also derived from the Veneti), the town was the center of an independent principality or kingdom variously called Bro-Wened ("Vannes") or Bro-Ereg ("land of Gwereg"), the latter for a prominent member of its dynasty, which claimed descent from Caradog Strongarm. The diocese of Vannes was erected in the 5th century. The Council of Vannes was held there in 461. The realm annexed Cornouaille for a time in the early 6th century but was permanently joined with Domnonia under its king and Saint Judicaël around 635.

Breton War of Succession

In 1342, Vannes was besieged four times between forces from both sides of the Breton War of Succession. The city's defending commander, Olivier IV de Clisson, was captured by the English but finally released. The French eventually executed him since they suspected him of being a traitor since the ransom was unusually low.

18th century

In 1759, Vannes was used as the staging point for a planned French invasion of Britain. A large army was assembled there, but it was never able to sail after the French naval defeat at the Battle of Quiberon Bay in November 1759.

In 1795, during the French Revolution, French forces based in Vannes successfully repelled a planned British-Royalist invasion through Quiberon.

^ Cunliffe, Barry (2008). Britain and the continent: networks of interaction. A Companion to Roman Britain. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 1–11. ^ Balter, Michael. "DNA recovered from underwater British site may rewrite history of farming in Europe". Science News. Science. Retrieved 16 March 2015. ^ Cunliffe, Barry (2008). Britain and the continent: networks of interaction." A Companion to Roman Britain. John Wiley & Sons. p. 528. ISBN 9780470998854.
Photographies by:
Myrabella - CC BY-SA 3.0
Andreas G. Törl - CC BY-SA 2.5
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