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The Counts of Toulouse and the Kings of France

A common mistake, and one deliberately propagated by the French educational system, is that France has existed for many centuries with its present borders. The impression is given that Gaul occupied the same area as modern France, and so did the Kingdom of France through the Dark and Middle Ages. This is demonstrably false. In the Middle Ages France covered a small area - corresponding to the territory now called the Isle de France. The area covered by modern France composed a number of separate states, only some of which owed allegeance to the King of France.
Parts of what is now regarded as France belonged to German and Italian princes, to the Kings of Navarre and Aragon, and to the Kings of England. Those conditioned by the French educational system are perpetually mystified by what they think of as all these foreigners who kept insisting on settling on French soil. That all these foreigners were occupying their own land, which was not then part of France, is difficult for many modern French people to comprehend - so difficult that you might prefer not to mention it. The territories of the Counts of Toulouse, like those of the Dukes of Aquitain and the Kings of Aragon, were not French. The people in these areas naturally spoke about the "French" as they they would any other foreigner - another mystery for beneficiaries of the French educational system. It must be said that there is a plausible argument for the view that France has always existed. The argument runs along the following lines: Charlemagne established a Frankish empire covering the area of modern France, and parcelled out responsibilities for various parts of it. These responsibilities were hereditary - so local princes, dukes, marquises and counts still owed feudal allegiance to the King of France as Charlemagne's legal successor.
This argument was used whenever it suited - by the Kings of France when they wanted to annex an area, but also by local rulers when they needed protection against a third party, so at least the argument is not a modern invention. Flaws in the argument are easy to spot. One is that the Frankish empire never corresponded to modern France - it was much smaller for many centuries, and at its greatest was much larger, incorporating for example modern Germany. Another flaw is shown up by the following reasoning: if argument works for the Franks, why not also use it for the Gauls, the Romans or any other occupiers.
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Cross of Toulouse.
The Counts of Toulouse
and
the Kings of France