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Brive-la-Gaillarde (Municipality, Corrèze, France)

Last modified: 2024-03-23 by olivier touzeau
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Flag of Brive-la-Gaillarde - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 31 March 2022

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Presentation of Brive-la-Gaillarde

Brive-la-Gaillarde (46,599 inhabitants in 2021; 4,859 ha) is the most populated commune and a sub-prefecture in the Corrèze department.

ÉThe Planchetorte valley, a site to the south of the town, is a high place of prehistory: no other Triassic region offers such a high concentration of prehistoric habitats.
During the Antiquity, Brive was first a crossing point of the Corrèze river, as evidenced by its Gallic toponym Briva, "bridge". The original bridge was replaced by a Roman bridge (Bouy bridge) designed for a route from Lugdunum (Lyon) to Burdigala (Bordeaux) through the Corrèze valley. This route crossed a north-south axis which linked Limonum (Poitiers) to Divona Cadurcorum (Cahors). A modest village emerged, attested by the remains of potters' workshops.
The town was christianized in the 5th century by Martin 'the Spaniard', martyred in 407, on whose tomb Rorice I, Bishop of Limoges, built a basilica at the end of the 5th century. In the 6th century, the notables of Aquitaine refused to fall under the authoruty of the King of Austrasia Childebert II helped by his uncle Gontran, King of Burgundy; they met in Brive and chose Gondovald, a bastard of Clotaire, himself son of Clovis, in 584. But this "king of Brive" was assassinated in 585 at Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges. The basilica was burnt down in 584 by the army of Gontran Boson, and the Limousin was attached to Austrasia. Saint Ferréol, bishop of Limoges, had the basilica rebuilt. Around the year 1000, Brive had become a canonical town.

In the 11th century, Brive, located at the junction of the Viscounties of Limoges, Comborn and Turenne, had the Bishop of Limoges as its lord.
The city, which extended over three hectares, was protected by an enclosure pierced by four gates. From the 12th century, suburbs developed outside the walls, on either side of the access roads. But the city did not have a castle because its protection was ensured by the lords of Malemort and the viscounts of Turenne. The bourgeois, in the context of general urban emancipation, obtained the consulate in 1225. In 1341, the four consuls of Brive undertook the construction of a large enclosure which quintupled the enclosed space; the scale of the work earned the city the nickname of "gaillarde".
By the Treaty of Brétigny of May 8, 1360, Brive, which belongs to Aquitaine, became English and remained so until the breach of the treaty and the resumption of war, nine years later.
On July 22, 1374, a French army commanded by Louis d'Anjou with the Duke of Bourbon came in front of the walls of Brive. The city which had refused to open its gates was attacked and taken. Brive was deprived of the consulate and of all the privileges and immunities. Charles V finally granted Brive his pardon, and the city henceforth remained faithful to the crown.
In the 16th century the town of Brive was a co-lordship of the barons of Malemort, vassals of the bishops of Limoges, and the viscounts of Turenne. In 1581, Jean de Saint-Chamans-Longueval, widower of Anne de Malemort, sold the barony of Malemort for 60,000 pounds to François de Noailles. The Noailles were vassals of the viscounts of Turenne and would try to get out of this dependence by getting closer to the king and buying several seigneuries around Brive.
The city was at the contact zone between the viscountcy of Turenne held by the Protestants and the lands held by the Noailles, Catholics.
The city remained Catholic within a region won over to the Reformation. The city was rewarded for its loyalty to the king by obtaining in 1551 the seat of a presidial court.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the city experienced great prosperity, to which contributed Guillaume Dubois, born in Brive, tutor to Philippe d'Orléans, then Prime Minister. His brother Joseph, perpetual mayor of Brive, became director general of the bridges and roads of France between 1723 and 1736, built the Pont Neuf (the current Pont Cardinal) and new private mansions, fitted out boulevards and the suburbs, cleaned up the Guierle marshes, destroyed the ramparts. His son restored the collegiate church.
Modest capital of the district at the beginning of the 19th century, Brive developed from 1860, thanks to the arrival of the railway. After the phylloxera which had destroyed the regional vineyard, the train favored the specialization of the Brive basin in vegetable and fruit production.
The commune was named "Brive" until 1919, when it was renamed "Brive-la-Gaillarde". The word "Gaillarde" stands for bravery or strength in the city's name, but it can also refer to the city's walls.
During World War II, Brive-la-Gaillarde was a regional capital of the Resistance, acting as a seat of several clandestine information networks and several of the principal resistance movements, including the Armée secrète (or "Secret Army") and the Mouvements Unis de la Résistance (or "United Movements of the Resistance"). Brive-la-Gaillarde was the first city of Occupied France to liberate itself by its own means, on 15 August 1944. For this, the city received the "Croix de guerre 1939-1945" military decoration.

Olivier Touzeau, 31 March 2022

Flag of Brive-la-Gaillarde

The coat of arms is blazoned Azure, 9 ears of wheat Or linked by three in the form of fleur-de-lys and set 2 and 1.
The ears of wheat in the shape of a fleur-de-lys remind that the town of Brive had chosen the authority of the King of France. Wheat represents the agricultural wealth of the city.

The logo of Brive includes a shield with a crown, a laurel wreath and the War cross; the shield is party per fess Or and Azure, with the ears of wheat in a vertical line at senester, and at dexter a partial representation of the traditional arms, with part of the crown, of the wreath (counterchanged), and an oval monochrome shield.
On the current version of the logo, the text read "Town of Brive - brave city".
The former version of the logo had the text "Town of Brive-la-Gaillarde".

The flag of Brive-la-Gaillarde is white with logo, as observed since 2019 on the city hall (photo, 2020).

Olivier Touzeau, 31 March 2022

Former flag of Brive-la-Gaillarde


Flag of Brive-la-Gaillarde before 2019 - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 31 March 2022

The former version of the logo had the text "Town of Brive-la-Gaillarde". A white flag with this logo could be observed before 2019 (photo, 2015).

Olivier Touzeau, 31 March 2022