city, capital of Cher departement, Centre region, almost exactly in the centre of France. It lies on the Canal du Berry, at the confluence of the Yevre and Auron rivers, in marshy country watered by the Cher, southeast of Orleans. As ancient Avaricum, capital of the Bituriges, it was defended valiantly in 52 BC by Vercingetorix against Julius Caesar, who in his commentaries deemed it one of the most beautiful cities in Gaul. St. Ursin brought Christianity there in the 3rd century. Charlemagne unified Berry and made Bourges capital of Aquitaine. During the Hundred Years' War, Charles VII resided there (1422-37), and Joan of Arc wintered there (1429-30). In 1438 the Pragmatic Sanction was signed at Bourges. Louis XI, who was born there, endowed the city in 1463 with a university (abolished during the French Revolution) at which Jacques Cujas (1522-90) was once a renowned teacher of Roman law. John Calvin was converted to Luther's ideas in Bourges.
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