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The modern city of Nîmes has a history that dates back 2000 years, but in fact various prehistoric peoples inhabited the area of the Vistrenque River plain up through the Bronze Age. There are monolithic reminders of this most ancient past. Later the area was the home to various Celtic tribes, and during the Wars of Gaulle the region fell under Roman control, becoming a colony of Rome in 50BC.
The city grew in size and stature during the Pax Romana era and much of the Roman buildings still remain to be seen by visitors today. The town declined due to barbarian invasions that began in the 4th century, and after the fall of the Roman Empire in the West the town was controlled by the Franks but faced invasions from the Moors in Spain.
The town suffered greatly during the Middle Ages when there was a lack of central rule in Southern France. Even once the city of Nîmes was part of France its troubles were far from over. In the 14th and 15th centuries the city faced a series of invasions, and during the various religious wars of Europe, Nîmes was one of the last Protestant strongholds in France. Finally by the 17th century the city rebounded with the late arrival of the “Renaissance” to the region. During this century numerous improvements were added to the ancient city.
Following the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars the city became a cultural French metropolis in the south of France, and today serves as a reminder of its turbulent past.