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History

Drawing 1604

From the Voconces to the black plague


 
The story begins when the glacier recedes, freeing the country it had carved and offering new land that man slowly controlled four or five millennia ago. These early humans left their marks : axes, tools, jewelry. They lived in caves and rock shelters. They were Ligurians, later mixed with Celts and they will, when everything became organized, be called Voconces and construct an oppidum.


 
Then Rome rises and Augustus enslaved, around 25 BC all the tribes of the Alps and entered their names and his victories on the trophies of Suse and La Turbie (colossal monuments). The Pax Romana was established for five centuries; the Voconces town becomes Segustero, and an autonomous municipality, grows and watches over its canyon and on the road of the sun and Spain whose name was then Via Domitia.

 

In 476, the Western Roman Empire succumbs under the blows of barbarians and Segustero falls into the hands of different successive conquerors.
The town, as well as the Provence, undergoes all assaults. Lombards, Saxons, Alemans rush into the territory jockeying for ephemeral powers. We may not really speak here of the Saracens, who have never organized a constituted power nor a sustainable occupation but their raids marked the Provence until 974 when William the first (Guillaume 1er) defeats them in the battle of Fraxinet and with this victory reunited the County of Provence and ruled it.

 

 - 1054 Forcalquier once set up as a County after a series of inheritances was sharply disputed. Due to its position Sisteron became the stronghold of thenew state and got a new northern border when the counties of Gap and Embrun through weddings passed in the hands of the Viennese dauphins.

 

-1209, Forcalquier, and Sisteron return to Provence, where the Aragonese reigned. Sisteron is more than ever the gate of the County and thanks to its mighty castle even its protection, against turbulent Dauphins.

 

-1238, Beatrice, daughter of the last Aragonese Count Raymond Berenger V inherited the Provence. Sisteron now lived according to the rhythm of the Provençal state whose rulers opted for the kingdom of Naples and Sicily or for more illusory possessions.
 


Martin's painting

The County of Provence and the religion wars

 

-1054, Forcalquier once set up as a County after a series of inheritances was sharply disputed.  Due to its position Sisteron became the stronghold of the new state and got a new northern border when the counties of Gap and Embrun through weddings passed in the hands of the Viennese dauphins.


 

-1209, Forcalquier, and Sisteron return to Provence, where the Aragonese reigned. Sisteron is more than ever the gate of the County and thanks to its mighty castle even its protection, against turbulent Dauphins.


 

-1350-1370, for better facing the incursions of armed bands that surged back from France according to the Anglo-French truce, the city continues to strengthen its defenses. Towers, doors, and new walls were erected.

 


-1408, Louis II visits his "beloved" city.

 


-1445, the district of la Baume is connected to the town.

 


-1483, the annexation of Provence is completed, not without struggle. However, Sisteron lost no military strength and continued to guard the busy road that carries military vehicle, people and business.

 


  -1516, Francis I. crowned with the glory of the battle of Marignano met his mother, his wife and his sister on January the 13th in Sisteron. It took three days of festivities to celebrate this family meeting and the victory.

 

 -1562, beginning of the religion wars. They will deeply hurt the town which is a stake for all parties.  Protestants, Catholics, leaguers, carcists are going to fight for forty years. Two sieges ruin it. Churches, convents, in or out of the walls, suffer or are destroyed, the suburbs razed to the ground, the Citadel is not spared. Henri IV
finally imposed peace. The citadel is reinforced, renewed, the city raised its ruins and a new urbanism is established. That is the one that still shapes the old town.


 

-1631, the plague hits the Haute-Provence. Sisteron is affected by the "evil that spreads terror." Chapels and paintings, fruit of every one’s resolution, date back to this period and are here and there dedicated to St. Roch.


 

-1638, Prince John Casimir Vasa is imprisoned in the Citadel. He will ascend to the throne of Poland in 1648.

 

 


The Dauphiné Gate

The Revolution and the World Wars


 
During the 17th and 18th centuries the town was prosperous, noble houses were built on the squares and streets where business was flourishing, between the high and low  farmer neighborhoods of Coste and Bourg Reynaud.


- 1789: Revolution. The diocese is deleted, the convents closed.

 

Events and regime changes of the 19th century did not noticeably mark Sisteron. One’s live from one’s work within a large family where everyone knows each other.    In 1862 the phylloxera killed the vineyard that will not be replanted and thereby deny the “urban peasant” painted by Paul Arène.


 

-1868, The railway arrived in Sisteron, cursed by some, hope for others.


 
 
-1914-1918, the Citadel far from any military operation becomes a German prisoners’ camp. It imprisons, among others in 1917, the crew of the airship that fell down around Mison.
 

 

-1939-1945, The Citadel is a prison again. In July 1944, in a bold and well-managed operation, the Resistance managed to releases its prisoners. On August 15 and 17 Sisteron suffered a bombardment by the Anglo-American aviation that destroyed a part of the town and killed more than 300 people. The American troops of the 45th division that had landed on the Var coast freed it on August 22, 1944.
 
 
Since that time Sisteron has healed its wounds, raised its houses, and organized a new urbanism plan. Successive municipalities have transformed a wounded town into a prosperous flowery, serene, bright city, glad today to welcome you
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