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Bretagne region also Brittany historical region of France formerly a province and duchy commensurate with the present-day departments of Finistre Ctes-du-Nord Morbihan Ille-et-Vilaine and Loire-Atlantique The region is generally identical with the peninsula extending for about 240 km about 150 mi into the Atlantic Ocean between the English Channel on the north and the Bay of Biscay on the south Rennes the former provincial capital is the chief city In ancient times the region formed part of Armorica the center of a confederation of Cymric Celtic tribes The Romans under Julius Caesar invaded the country in 56BC and it subsequently became the Roman province of Gallia Lugdunensis In the 5th and 6th centuries AD after the withdrawal of the Romans many Britons Celtic natives of Britain in flight from the Teutonic invaders of their homeland took refuge in the northwestern part of Armorica They gave the region its present name The Britons later called Bretons gradually converted the Armorican Celts then mainly pagans to Christianity During the 7th and 8th centuries a number of petty principalities developed in Bretagne These principalities became subject to Charlemagne early in the 9th century but in 846 under a leader Nomene who had united the country against invaders the Bretons revolted against Charlemagnes grandson Charles the Bald and won independence In the latter part of the 10th century the Bretons acknowledged the rule of the Norman dukes Geoffrey count of Rennes proclaimed himself duke of Bretagne in 922 The dukedom became through marriage a possession of Geoffrey Plantagenet son of Henry II king of England in 1171 It reverted to a line of French dukes at Rennes early in the 13th century In 1491 when Anne of Bretagne who had inherited the duchy married Charles VIII king of France Bretagne was temporarily united with France The union became permanent by treaty in 1532 during the reign of the French king Francis I who had married Claude daughter of Anne
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