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Perche (Traditional province, France)

Last modified: 2022-06-15 by ivan sache
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Flag of Perche - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 24 October 2020

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Presentation of Perche

The county of Perche was located in the present-day's departments of Orne and Eure-et-Loir, with small parts in Sarthe, Loir-et-Cher and Eure. Mortagne-au-Perche and Nogent-le-Rotrou were at different times capitals of the county.
Perche has been known for the past two centuries, for the Percheron draft horse breed. Cider apples and pears are grown throughout the Perche territory. The Parc Naturel Régional du Perche was created in 1998.

In the Middle Ages, the county of Perche was situated between Normandy, Maine, Beauce and Orléanais. By the 12th century, two large families contended for control of the Perche region, the Talvas, from Bellême, and the Rotrou, from Nogent-le-Rotrou. In 1114, Rotrou III annexedBellême and created the county of Perche. In 1226, Count Geoffroy V would have been a leader of the Fourth Crusade had he not died before hiss departure. The end of the Rotrou dynasty led to the region's annexation to the crown of France (by inheritance).
At this time, the crown divided part of the region to create the county of Alençon, which was reintegrated to the crown in 1283. After 1325, both counties were generally held by a member or members of a cadet branch of the house of Valois: the county of Alençon and the county of Perche were recreated for Charles II of Alençon (the Magnanimous, 1297–1346), the second son of Charles of Valois and his first wife Margaret, Countess of Anjou, and brother of king Philip VI .
During the Hundred Years' War, partisans of England plundered Perche, destroyed its nobility, and burned many castles and abbeys. In 1449, free from English domination, Perche began reconstruction. Upon the death of the last duke of Alençon in 1525, Perche eventually returned to the French crown.
In the three decades starting in 1632, a large proportion of immigrants to New France came from Perche, in what has been called the Percheron immigration movement. Many Percherons were thus recruited to work in seigneuries being establishing along the Saint Lawrence valley. Perche had a much higher rate of emigration to New France than most other regions of France. Prominent last names from Perche who came to Canada starting just before the end of Samuel de Champlain's tenure include Côté, Boucher, Cloutier, Guyon (Dion), Tremblay and Paradis.

Olivier Touzeau, 24 October 2020

Flag of Perche

A white flag with the coat of arms of the former county of Perche, "Argent three chevronels gules" (photo), was used in 2019 in Arcisses (Eure-et-Loir).

Olivier Touzeau, 24 October 2020