Things reached a head in 1789, although more in Paris than the rest of the country.

The French Revolution overturned the existing regime and led to a time of great troubles in France, known as the Great Terror, which lasted until 1794 with much death and witch-hunting. The moderate Girondins based in Bordeaux suffered greatly during these years.

Only 10 years later, in 1804, Napoleon had leapt to power and been crowned emperor, to enormous popular support from the people. His fame and reputation relied largely on his great victories in wars with neighbouring countries, but he also had great success with a new legal code, the Napoleonic Code, which is still the foundation of the modern French legal system.

Many people from the Dordogne region joined the armies of Napoleon, which continued to enjoy success until the disastrous march on Moscow in 1812. This defeat was followed by others and napoleon was finally removed at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

For an interesting display of items related to Napoleon visit the Napoleon Museum in the Chateau de la Pommerie in Cendrieux. The chateau is owned by one of Napoleon's direct descendents.

Poverty in the south-west of France increased still further, helped by the abolition of the slave trade which had formed an important part of Bordeaux revenues. But as the 19th century progressed some semblance of normality returned and the poverty levels decreased significantly.

Towards the end of the 19th century two new trends were seen that continue to this day. The first is tourism, and the second is rural depopulation. Unfortunately it took tourism another 100 years to catch up with the exodus of the young from the area, and to start to rebuild and reconstruct some of the long abandoned buildings and villages.

Finally it must be noted in tribute that many French from the region lost their lives at war during the 20th century, albeit that the battlefields were far away in northern France. Almost all villages in the Dordogne have a war memorial commemorating the young people of the region lost in the war.

The people of the Dordogne region also played an active role in the resistance movement during the second World War, and there are several locations that you will come across where there are memorials and tributes to these events.

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