La Rochelle's Short History
La Rochelle is inhabited since the 9th century when farmers and fishers built their houses on a small rocky hill surrounded by marshland. They name the place Rupella which is the diminutive for Latin for rock: rupes. La Rochelle was born!
In the 12th century when La Rochelle became an important port of Aquitaine, the Duke William X bestows many liberties on the city. Between the 12th century and the 17th century La Rochelle a prosperous port that trades wine and sell with the Hanseatic League passes several times between the crowns of England and France, while maintaining its liberties and quasi-independence.
In 1156, 2 years after the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henri Plantagenet, Duke d'Anjou when Henri becomes the King of England, Aquitaine Duchy becomes an English domain.
In 1244 Louis VIII King of France conquers La Rochelle and attaches the region to its kingdom.
During the Hundred Years War of the 14th and 15th centuries, at the Treaty of Bretigny signed May 9, 1360, between King Edward III of England and King John II (the Good) of France, when King John is in no position to bargain with the English King, being a prisoner in London, La Rochelle goes back to the English Crown. It will take however only 12 years for the city to be recaptured by French
In 1372 La Rochelle chases its English occupying army when the city mayor Jean Chaudrier tricks the captain of the English garrison into gathering his troupes in the main square. There they are attacked by an army of Rochelais...
During the Religious Wars of France La Rochelle, whose governor at the time was a member of d'Albret family, was a protestant stronghold.
In 1628 the Royal troupes bring an end to the Huguenot domination of La Rochelle after a 13 month siege. In the late 17th century and the 18th century La Rochelle takes advantage of the new commerce with the New World. In 1890 a new port of deeper waters, then the old port, is built called. The new port is called "La Pallice". It is here that the German army establishes a submarine base during the Second World War.