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Definition of MONTPELLIER
city S France WNW of Marseille pop 225,511
geographical name(Concise Encyclopedia)
City (pop., 2004 est.: 244,100), southern France, near the Mediterranean coast. Founded in the 8th century, it later came under control of Aragon and the king of Majorca. It developed as a trading station for spice imports in the 10th century and acquired a charter in 1141. It reverted to France in the 14th century and served as a Huguenot stronghold until its capture by Louis XIII in 1622. It then became the administrative capital of the Languedoc region. The city's schools of medicine and law date from the 12th century, and the University of Montpellier was founded in 1220. The city is a tourist centre, and its industries include food processing and electronics. Historic sites include France's oldest botanical gardens (founded 1593) and a 14th-century Gothic cathedral.