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Tonneins (Municipality, Lot-et-Garonne, France)

Last modified: 2024-03-22 by olivier touzeau
Keywords: tonneins | lot-et-garonne |
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Flag of Tonneins - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 4 April 2022

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Presentation of Tonneins

Tonneins (9,337 inhabitants in 2021; 3,478 ha) is a commune in the Lot-et-Garonne department, between Marmande to the west and Agen to the east.

From the 12th century until 1790, the town was divided into two distinct lordships: Tonneins-Dessus (the Petit-Tonneins, the town of St-Pierre) upstream from the Garonne, and Tonneins-Dessous (Grand-Tonneins, the village of Notre-Dame) downstream. Each city had its lord, its castle, its church, its fortifications, its customs, liberties and franchises and its currency, but the barony of Tonneins-Dessous was the most important, and
Tonneins-Dessus depended on it feudally. Tonneins suffered from the Hundred Years War between the King of England and the King of France, as well as the Wars of Religion. Tonneins, like many neighboring towns and villages converted massively to Protestantism, the lord of Tonneins-Dessus being a Huguenot (Jacques-Nompar de Caumont), while that of Tonneins -Dessous (the Stuer de Caussade family) remained Catholic. It was much disputed between the Protestants and the royal army, repeatedly invaded, looted…, The Edict of Nantes (1598) made Tonneins a “place of marriage” then, in 1606, a “place of safety” for Protestants. Tonneins, which had become a center of French Protestantism, was to suffer from increasingly serious problems with the peace organized by the edict. In 1622 and 1623, it was razed twice in a row by the royal army, then rebuilt by the inhabitant. The revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 forced Protestants to convert to Catholicism.

In the 19th century, the cultivation of hemp and then that of tobacco, in the surrounding countryside, allowed the development of a rope factory and a tobacco factory. This lasted until the end of the 20th century. When the
tobacco factory closed down in 2004 and production moved to Spain, the town was badly affected economically with the loss of more than 500 jobs. The surrounding countryside still contains many wooden sheds, known locally as 'séchoirs', formerly used to dry the tobacco leaves. The port on the Garonne was a motor for the economic activity of Tonneins, until it was competed by the side channel to the Garonne, then put out of service by the railway.

Olivier Touzeau, 4 April 2022

Flag of Tonneins

The flag of Tonneins is white with logo (photo, 2019).

Olivier Touzeau, 4 April 2022