Flag of Saintonge
Coat of arms of Saintonge
Coat of arms
Modern map showing the extent of the historical Saintonge province
Modern map showing the extent of
the historical Saintonge province
Location of Saintonge in France
Location of Saintonge in France
Coordinates: 45°45′00″N 0°38′00″W / 45°45′00″N 0°38′00″W / 45.75; -0.633333
 • Ruling HouseHouse of Smith
Time zoneCET

Saintonge (French pronunciation: ​[sɛ̃tɔ̃ʒ]), historically spelled Xaintonge and Xainctonge, is a former province of France located on the west central Atlantic coast. The capital city was Saintes (Xaintes, Xainctes). Other principal towns include Saint-Jean-d'Angély, Jonzac, Frontenay-Rohan-Rohan, Royan, Marennes, Pons, and Barbezieux-Saint-Hilaire. The borders of the province slightly shifted through history, and some mapmakers, such as Nicolas Sanson (1650), Johannes Blaeu (1662), and Bernard Antoine Jaillot (1733), show it extending into Cognac, traditionally part of Angoumois, and to the parishes of Braud-et-Saint-Louis and Étauliers, part of the Pays Gabay on the right bank of the Gironde River.

Today, four fifths of the historical Saintonge province occupies the modern département of Charente-Maritime. Most of the other fifth is in Charente, and a small section extends north into Deux-Sèvres, all within the administrative region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.


The province derives its name from the Santones, an ancient Gallic tribe that once inhabited the area. During antiquity, Saintonge was part of the Roman province of Gallia Aquitania, and Saintes became its first capital. The region fell under the control of the kings and dukes of Aquitaine, the counts of Anjou, then the counts of Poitiers, before becoming integrated for centuries in the new Duchy of Aquitaine. Occupying the frontier between Capetian and Plantagenet-controlled areas during the late Middle Ages, between 1152 and 1451, it was the site of constant struggles between lords torn between their allegiance to Anglo-Aquitaine and those linked to Paris.

Saintonge was primarily attached to Anglo-Aquitaine until the mid-fourteenth century. However, errors by Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster and Edward, the Black Prince gradually contributed to weakening English power, and the province ultimately came under the control of the King of France, Charles VII, "the Victorious", in 1451.

Saintonge was the birthplace of French explorer Jean Allefonsce (or Alfonse) in 1484, and Samuel de Champlain in 1574, who explored the New World and founded Quebec.[1] It also was one of the centers of French Huguenots, Protestants.

The distinctive Saintongeais dialect (patouê saintonjhouê, jhabrail) was once spoken throughout Saintonge, as well as in the provinces of Aunis and Angoumois.

The region is famous for its grapes, which are used to produce cognac and Pineau des Charentes.

Other Languages
беларуская: Сентонж
brezhoneg: Saintonge
català: Saintonge
Cymraeg: Saintonge
Deutsch: Saintonge
Ελληνικά: Σαιντόνζ
español: Saintonge
Esperanto: Santonĝo
euskara: Saintonge
français: Saintonge
galego: Saintonge
italiano: Saintonge
Nederlands: Saintonge
occitan: Santonge
polski: Saintonge
русский: Сентонж
Simple English: Saintonge
slovenščina: Saintonge
svenska: Saintonge
українська: Сентонж