The history of Manosque
Legend has it that « Maneasq » was already in existence when Hannibal, on his way from Africa with his army of men and elephants, marched up the Durance to reach the Alpine passes on the border with Italy around 218 B.C. Another legend tells the story of a Roman general named « Manueascu » who camped under the walls of the town during the invasion of Provence by the Romans. Documents testify to Manosque’s existence in Roman times.
Grégoire, the bishop of Tours, mentioned the name « MANEASQ » in his « histoire des Francs » in VIth century, while he was travelling on the roads to Rome. The church of Notre Dame de Manosque is also mentioned as a place of worship.
Around 900 A.D., when Manosque was destroyed by the Saracens, the town already had 3 churches inside its walls.
982: First court of Guillaume « the liberator », the first count of Provence. He lived in a castle at the top of the Mont d’or of which one wall is still standing.
1207: By means of a charter, Guillaume IV, the last count of Forcalquier, granted privileges to the town through a charter and an organisation which was to manage the town up until the French revolution in 1789.
1355-1385: Manosque extended its Eastern enclosure, built its ramparts and gates to defend itself against the « Free Companies » which were laying waste to Provence.
1365 to 1367: Pope Urban V, fleeing the plague epidemic, had a « Studium Papal » transferred from Trets to Manosque.
1370: Legend has it that queen Jeanne visited Manosque in spring when the almond-trees were in flower and christened it « Manosque la fleurie » (Manosque of the flowers).
1497: Water flowed for the first time from the fountains of the town, in front of the two churches.
XVth century: Water supplies, building of mills and ovens, road works, health measures.
1516: It seems that during king François 1st’s visit to Manosque on 17th January, Pérone de Voland preferred to expose her face to sulfur fumes and give up her beauty rather than succumb to the desires of the womanizing King, hence the name « Manosque la pudique » (Manosque the modest).
1708-1709: A terrible earthquake, followed by a harsh winter when wolves came into the town to find food.
1772: The commune acquired the Hôtel de Pochet which is now the Town Hall. Before this date, the Maison Commune was on the Saint Sauveur square in a building which no longer exists.
1792-1800: During the revolutionary years, Manosque was to go through a number of trials and tribulations: the threat of invasion and destruction by the Marseilles troops, reprisals and fines for having jostled Robespierre the young and Ricord and the destruction of the besieged palace on the Terreau.
XIXth century: The town was rehabilitated but its medieval aspect was to disappear little by little for reasons of hygiene: The Guilhempierre gate was demolished, towers were torn down and the streets widened.
March 1895: Birth of the author Jean Giono (he died in Manosque in October 1970).