... also Duke of Narbonne, Count of Quercy, Rouergue and Saint-Gilles; Count of Agen (Aquitaine); Marquis of Provence (Holy Roman Empire) Count of Melgueil (Papacy).
When Raymond VI died excommunicated in 1222, he had already abdicated in favour of his son, Raymond VII, nicknamed Raymondet, in order that his lands should not be forfeit. He had died believing that his family's territories were safe.
Raymond VII was a better military leader than his father, and had assisted him in the reconquest of his estates. At the age of eighteen he successfully besieged the town of Beaucaire and then held it for several months against Simon de Montfort, his Crusader brother Guy de Montfort, his son Amaury de Montfort and a French Catholic army, before the besiegers gave up, came to terms and left.
The wars continued into another generation, Raymond VII fighting against Amaury de Montfort, son of his Raymond VI's enemy, Simon de Montfort. While Raymond VII was a better warrior than his father, Amaury could not match the prowess of his father Simon. In military terms, it looked as though the Albigensian Crusade had failed. In January, 1224, Amaury de Montfort, reduced to the sovereignty of Narbonne, concluded a treaty with Raymond, ceding his rights in the Languedoc to the King of France.
In 1226 a new Royal Crusade was launched. Louis VIII, King of France, seized Avignon and occupied the Languedoc without resistance. On his return to France he died on 8th November 1226, at Montpensier. Raymond VII, took several fortified places from Louis' seneschal (Imbert de Beaujeubut) but in 1228 new bands of crusaders began to plunder the country of Toulouse.
Raymond sought peace from the regent of France, Blanche of Castile, wife of the old king and mother of the new king. As part of the peace, under the Treaty of Meaux (also called the Treaty of Paris), Raymond was obliged to demolish the walls of Toulouse, to allow the establishment of the Inquisition, and to give his daughter Jeanne of Toulouse in marriage to Alphonse of Potiers, brother of King Louis IX of France. Afterwards, Raymond returned to Paris. On 12 April, 1229 was obliged to do public penance at Notre Dame and to publicly undertake to start persecuting the Jews of the Languedoc, after which he was released from his excommunication.
Divorces (technically annulments) were routinely given to powerful noblemen at the time. Any friend of the papacy, or anyone powerful enough to cause trouble, could expect a divorce on request. Raymond did not now fall into this category. By denying him a divorce, the new Pope ensured that there would be no male inheritor in the Saint-Gilles family.
Raymond had one last hope of popular uprising in the Languedoc against the French occupiers and the Inquisition. It was planned for 1242, supported by the Holy Roman Emperor (Raymond's suzerain for Provence), Jaume I of Aragon, King Henry III of England, Hugues de Lusignan Count of La Marche, Roger IV, Count of Foix, Viscount Trencavel, and other allies. It proved a disaster. The Holy Roman Emperor kept delaying until it was too late. Henry III was defeated at Taillebourg (an event mysteriously omitted from many English history books). The Aragonese forces were not enough to galvanise the exhausted population, and the new Count of Foix deserted his family's ancient ally, sealing both their fates. The only achievement of note was the killing of a few Inquisitors at Avignonet, which prompted the final notable action of the war - the famous siege of the Château of Montségur ( Montsegùr) , in 1243-4.
In 1247, as Raymond was starting out for Palestine on Crusade to the Holy Land with St. Louis, King of France, he died. He was buried in Fontevraud Abbey along with his Plantagenate relatives (his mother Jeanne of England, his uncle Richard I of England, and his maternal grandparents Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine).
As his enemies had planned, Saint-Gilles lands passed to his sister Jeanne of Toulouse and her husband, Alphonse de Poitiers brother of King Louis. When Jeanne and Alphonse died without an heir, the The County of Toulouse passed to the French Crown. The disaster was total. It marked the end of all hope of expelling the French from Aquitaine or the Languedoc, the loss of Provence, the end of Aragonese influence north of the Pyrenees to balance the French influence, the loss of all hope for the Trencavel family as for countless other nobles deprived of their lands, and the irrevocable weakening of the county of Foix, which today is also part of France.
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House of Toulouse
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