Marche märsh [key], region and former province, central France, on the NW margin of the Massif Central. It is coextensive with Creuse dept., much of the Haute-Vienne dept., and parts of Vienne, Indre, and Charente depts. Guéret is the chief town. Marche is primarily an agricultural region that also specializes in sheep raising. The wool is manufactured into carpets and tapestries at Felletin and Aubusson. The name of the region derived from its location as a northern border fief (march) of the duchy of Aquitaine. Marche passed (13th cent.) to the house of Lusignan but was seized (early 14th cent.) by Philip IV of France. Briefly united with the crown lands, it ultimately became an appanage of the house of Bourbon. It came definitively to France in 1531, following the confiscation (1527) of the lands of Constable Charles de Bourbon by Francis I.
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