Angoumois (äNgōmwäˈ) [key], region and former province, W France, now coextensive with most of Charente dept. Angoulême is the historic capital and chief city. In the region is the Charente valley, with its excellent vineyards; the brandy made from their grapes is named for Cognac, the chief distillery center. In pre-Roman times the region was occupied by the Santones and Pictones, two Gallic peoples. Part of the kingdom of Aquitaine under Charlemagne's empire, Angoumois became a county in the 9th cent. and was united with the French crown in 1307. Under the Treaty of Brétigny (1360) Angoumois, then ruled by the counts of Angoulême, was recognized as English territory, but in 1371 it became a fief of the dukes of Berry, a branch of the French royal family. When Francis I, formerly the count of Angoulême, became king in 1515, Angoumois was definitively incorporated into the French crown lands.
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