The province of Roussillon was acquired by France in 1659, just as Louis XIV reached his majority. The region was peopled by Catalans, a group with their own language, religious values, political traditions, and cultural patterns. Louis XIV and his ministers sought to accomplish two goals in the province. First they wanted to compel the Roussillonnais to accept French political supremacy as legitimate, and second they desired to eradicate the Catalan cultural identity in the province. This study examines the means by which the French chose to pursue their goals, and the methods of resistance employed by the inhabitants of Roussillon. It concludes with an examination of why the French ultimately failed to acculturate the province despite their success in asserting their political authority.
DAVID STEWART is Assistant Professor of History at Hillsdale College.