Who could imagine that the city in which we are was successively Spanish, then French from the 14th century. Following the example of Athena, Montpellier has developed a democracy way before the revolution, it was during numerous century the world capital of violin, and hosted at the same time the world oldest Faculty of Medicine still in service, the first Botanical garden of France, and also the second Mikve, the oldest in Europe (out of 6 found).
By walking in these streets, who could think that centuries previously, Jacques le Conquérant (the Conqueror), Saint Roch, Jacques Coeur or even Nostradamus walked down the same pavement as you at the moment. That the local nobility got married to kings of Spain, the nieces of Byzantine emperor. Finally who could believe that in hardly 200 years, this city became one of the most prosperous harbour of the Mediterranean Sea, where we spoke all the known languages, and that this place was a haven of tolerance?
You are not mistaken, it is definitely Montpellier.
And yet this city is young. Younger than her antique neighbours Nimes or Agdes a few millennium older. We are in a city established in the heart of the Middle Ages, in 985, precisely the 26th of November, it was a Saturday !
This prodigious fate is written in parallel to the nobility that governs it : the Guilhem
In 8 generations, they increase a hamlet, received as a gift by The Count of Melgueil (Maugio) for great devotion to one of the most important cities of the Mediterranean Region.
Under their reign, a university (college) develop, business is blooming, and the population is cosmopolitan. At that time, Montpellier was called “La petite Cordoue” (The Small Cordoue) in reference of the Jewish community from South of Spain refugee in this city of tolerance, bringing with her the seeds of the age of gold.
After 2 century crossed under the banners of the Guilhem, the last heiress, Marie de Montpellier get married to Pierre II d’Aragon, The Guilhem lineage gets lost, and Montpellier becomes Spanish. This history aside saw the birth of one of the most illustrious representative of the city, William the Conqueror (Guillaume le Conquérant). Spain will keep Montpellier for 145 years before being sold to kings of France.
However it was written that it would not be easy for the city, by basing itself to the kingdom of France, Montpellier gets involved in political problems. The war rages with England, and war effort are colossal for the people who live in the city so far from fights. This event past, it is now the plague which take the population, up to 500 inhabitant of Montpellier a day, and at the time the city is the second of France (40.000 people).
This was followed by the hardest period of this young history, the Wars of Religion, its stream of battle, of destruction and of plunders.
As a good king, Louis XIII, run to slaughter everyone to start on good basis.
Since, the local history is much more calm and follow the history of France. When the country is good, the city is good and when there are problem in France, problems should happen in Montpellier.