Some History

The city of Toulouse has a uniquely rich political, economical and cultural history. With prehistoric roots, it was successively Gaul, Roman, Visigoth, Frank then capital of the county of Toulouse that included the whole South of France. It eventually joins the kingdom of France in 1271. Six hundred years before the French Revolution, Toulouse already had an elected municipal power called the capitoulat, whose current Capitole building was the last seat. The University of Toulouse, founded in 1229, is among the oldest in Europe. With 112,000 students in 2018, Toulouse remains one of the first French University cities. The first joint stock company, the Bazacle mills, was also created in Toulouse in 1250. In the Middle Ages, Toulouse becomes one of the most prosperous French cities thanks to trading. This doesn’t last, as Toulouse is successively struck by three plague epidemics, brigandage and the great fire of 1463. In the Renaissance, Toulouse experienced a new period of great prosperity thanks to the pastel industry, which built many of the beautiful mansions that still adorn the city center. In the nineteenth century, the city misses the beginnings of the industrial revolution. However, many small businesses make a dense economic fabric. Big industries arrive in the twentieth century, mainly with state-owned weapon manufacturing. Then, of course, aeronautics, Aeropostale and space industry, which are today part of the identity of Toulouse. However, with one of the densest startup ecosystems in the country, the economy of Toulouse is much richer than that. Industries like cosmetics and IT are also big drivers.