MONTAUBAN, a town of south-western France, capital of Tarn-et-Garonne, 31 m. N. of Toulouse by the Southern railway. Pop. (1931) 18,549. The town stands on the right bank of the Tarn at its confluence with the Tescou. With the exception of Mont-de-Marsan, Montauban is the oldest of the bastides of southern France. Its foundation dates from 1144 when Alphonse Jourdain, count of Toulouse, granted it a liberal charter. The inhabitants were drawn chiefly from Montauriol, a village which had grown up around the neighbouring monastery of St. Theodard. In the 13th century the town suffered much from the ravages of the Albigensians and from the Inquisition, but by 1317 it had recovered sufficiently to be chosen by John XXII. as the head of a diocese of which the basilica of St. Theodard became the cathedral. By the Treaty of Bretigny (136o) it was ceded to the English ; but in 1414 they were expelled by the inhabitants. In 156o the bishops and magistrates embraced Protestantism, ex pelled the monks, and demolished the cathedral. About ten years later it became one of the Huguenot strongholds, and formed a small independent republic. It was the headquarters of the Huguenot rebellion of 1621, and was vainly besieged by Louis XIII. for 86 days; nor did it submit until after the fall of La Rochelle in 1629, when its fortifications were destroyed by Riche lieu. In the same year the plague cut off over 6,000 of its in habitants. The Protestants again suffered persecution after the repeal of the Edict of Nantes.
A remarkable early 14th century bridge of brick connects the town with the suburb of Villebourbon. The hotel de ville, 17th century with some older portions, on the site of a castle of the counts of Toulouse and once the residence of the bishops of Montauban, stands at the east end of the bridge. It contains a valuable library, and a museum including most of the work of Jean Ingres, the celebrated painter, who was born at Montauban. The Place Nationale is a square of the 17th century, entered at each corner by gateways giving access to a large open space sur rounded by houses carried on double rows of arcades. The cathe dral possesses the "Vow of Louis XIII.," one of the masterpieces of Ingres, and the church of St. Jacques (14th and 15th centuries) has a handsome octagonal tower. Montauban is the seat of a bishop, a prefect and a court of assize. It has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a chamber of commerce and a board of trade arbitrators, and schools of commerce and viticulture. The commercial importance of Montauban is due rather to its trade in agricultural produce, horses, game and poultry, than to its industries, which include nursery-gardening, cloth-weaving, cloth-dressing, flour-milling, wood-sawing, and the manufacture of furniture, "swanskins," silk-gauze and straw hats. The town is a junction of the railways of the Southern and Orleans com panies, and communicates with the Garonne by the Canal of Montech.