Along the Languedoc coast, the modern era saw the construction of large-scale port facilities, involving colossal amounts of money. On this low-lying coast, where seaport towns were not located directly on the seafront, the options were to create outports that would be more or less well-connected to the existing towns, or to adapt the old ports to changes in maritime traffic. All the new developments were not equally successful, and not all ports were salvaged, with heavy consequences for the growth of the towns. Indeed, several different rationales came into empirical conflict: whereas each community had traditionally relied on its own – unsubstantial – forces, the royal authorities’ Colbertist policy resulted in massive investments, but only in a few places along the coast, to the detriment of all others. The Assembly of the Estates of Languedoc thus proved to be the place where the various interests played out, and the towns were forced to imagine their place in this new institutional and financial framework.
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