1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Libourne
LIBOURNE, a town of south-western France, capital of an arrondissement of the department of Gironde, situated at the confluence of the Isle with the Dordogne, 22m. E.N.E. of Bordeaux on the railway to Angouleme. Pop. (1906) town, 15,280; commune, 19,323. The sea is 56 m. distant, but the tide affects the river so as to admit of vessels drawing 14 ft. reaching the town at the highest tides. The Dordogne is here crossed by a stone bridge 492 ft. long, and a suspension bridge across the Isle connects Libourne with Fronsac, built on a hill on which in feudal times stood a powerful fortress. Libourne is regularly built. The Gothic church, restored in the 19th century, has a stone spire 232 ft. high. On the quay there is a machicolated clock-tower which is a survival of the ramparts of the 14th century; and the town-house, containing a small museum and a library, is a quaint relic of the 16th century. There is a statue of the Due Decazes, who was born in the neighbourhood. The sub-prefecture, tribunals of first instance and of commerce, and a communal college are among the public institutions. The principal articles of commerce are the wines and brandies of the district. Printing and cooperage are among the industries.
Like other sites at the confluence of important rivers, that of Libourne was appropriated at an early period. Under the Romans Condate stood rather more than a mile to the south of the present Libourne; it was destroyed during the troubles of the 5th century. Resuscitated by Charlemagne, it was rebuilt in 1269, under its present name and on the site and plan it still retains, by Roger de Leybourne (of Leybourne in Kent), seneschal of Guienne, acting under the authority of King Edward I. of England. It suffered considerably in the struggles of the French and English for the possession of Guienne in the 14th century.
See R. Guinodie, Hist. de Libourne (2nd ed., 2 vols., Libourne, 1876–1877).