A brief history

400 000 years of history

Paleolithic Times :

At the beginning of this era, the sea level was between 5 and 10 metres higher than today. The coastal area was sparsely populated by hunter-fisher-gatherers who were semi-nomadic contemporaries of Tautavel Man.

Unfortunately, their settlements were probably destroyed when the sea level rose at the end of the Ice Age. Remains of these early settlers can be seen at Menez Drégan, Plouhinec (near Plozévet).

Neolithic Times :

A little-known people from the East settled in the area. They must have attained a certain level of civilization in order to transport and erect stones weighing up to 200 tonnes. Or around 200 years, they covered the landscape with standing stones and dolmens, which were the first stone monuments constructed in Europe. They also introduced a new religion and funeral rites. Locate the standing stones of Haut Pays Bigouden on the interactive map

The Iron Age :

Stone Age Man was followed by men with weapons and iron tools. They were Gauls or Celts and called Brittany ‘Armorica’ meaning ‘the land by the sea’. There are many Iron Age remains in the area.

50 B.C. :

The Romans occupied the whole of Brittany for almost 500 years.

At the time of the invasion, the Romans built many settlements.

A Roman way ran from Quimper to the Pointe de Penmarch via Pont-l'Abbé.

1589 :

The brigand La Fontenelle terrorised the area and destroyed Penmarch.

Penmarch was too spread out to have a wall around it, so each house was individually fortified. La Fontanelle took everyone by surprise, killed 5 000 peasants, burned 2 000 houses and took away 300 boatloads of booty.

In 1596, he massacred 1500 peasants in Plogastel-Saint-Germain. To gain revenge, the garrison from Pont-l'Abbé besieged his lair in Douarnenez.

1613 :

The area was evangelised by the Reverend Father Le Nobletz.

1675 – The ‘Bonnets Rouges’ Revolt :

Louis XIV created numerous taxes to finance the construction of the Château of Versailles and his expensive Court. Among the measures he ruled that a special paper had to be used for legal documents, that the State should control the sale of tobacco and then he put a tax on pewter tableware ! This caused serious discontent and the peasants rebelled and set out their grievances in "Le Code Paysan” drawn up at  N.-D. de Tréminou, near Pont-l'Abbé. During the revolt known as the "Papier timbré" or " Bonnets rouges " Revolt, nobles were badly treated and the Château du Pont in Pont l’Abbé was pillaged and set on fire.

As a reprisal, the Duc de Chaulnes, Governor of Brittany, hung any leaders who hadn’t fled and then decapitated the bell towers of the parishes which had taken part in the revolt: Combrit (rebuilt a century later), Lambour in Pont-l'Abbé, Lanvern and Languivoa in Plonéour.

Bigouden women wear an excessively tall head dress in memory of this revolt.

The Second World War :


More in this category: Megalithic sites »

Voir aussi

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Seaweed kilns are trenches dug in the ground, between…
The Bay of Audierne has many shellfish. Seashore fishing…

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