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Anjou (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃ʒu]) is a former county (c. 880), duchy (1360) and province centred on the city of Angers in the lower Loire Valley of western France. It corresponds largely to the present-day département of Maine-et-Loire. Its traditional Latin name is Andegavia.



Gauls, Romans, and Franks

Its political origin is traced to the ancient Gallic state of the Andes, on the lines of which was organized, after the conquest by Julius Caesar, the Roman civitas of the Andecavi. This was afterward preserved as an administrative district under the Franks with the name first of pagus, then of comitatus, or countship of Anjou. This countship, the extent of which seems to have been practically identical with that of the ecclesiastical diocese of Angers, occupied the greater part of what is now the départment of Maine-et-Loire, further embracing, to the north, Craon, Candé, Bazouges (Château-Gontier), Le Lude, and to the east, Château-la-Vallière and Bourgueil, while to the south, on the other hand, it included neither the present town of Montreuil-Bellay, nor Vihiers, Cholet, Beaupréau, nor the whole district lying to the west of the Ironne and Thouet, on the left bank of the Loire, which formed the territory of the Mauges. It was bounded on the north by the countship of Maine, on the east by that of Touraine, on the south by that of Poitiers and by the Mauges, on the west by the countship of Nantes.

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