In the wake of the French Revolution, Cholet and Western France was thrown into turmoil by a mass uprising.
Look back at this decisive period in Choletais history.
Once the revolutionary fervour had died down, disillusionment set in.
The bourgeoisie became richer and gained more power. With names drawn at random, the mass call-up of a Republican army of some 300,000 men was extremely unpopular among the Choletais countryfolk.
1793 marked the outbreak of the Vendée Wars...
War is declared
To combat the Republicans, the peasants decided to stand up together: this is known as the Vendée Uprising. It extended from the Vendée countryside to the banks of the Loire with Cholet town centre becoming the capital for this Vendée army.
This 'improvised' army was led by soldiers as well as noblemen, with sacristans named as generals. Stofflet, La Rochejacquelein, Cathelineau, Bonchamps, D’Elbée and Charrette were among the heroes during this period.
There was merciless fighting between the Vendée monarchist Whites and the republican Blues. Despite being armed only with pitchforks and scythes, the Vendée army won victory after victory. They destabilised the Republican army which counter-attacked with a devastating wave of murders known as the Colonnes Infernales. This three years of Civil War were to be extremely brutal and destructive for Cholet.
Healing the past
Read more detail about this period in history with a visit to the Art and History Museum
, a large part of its collection being dedicated to these Vendée Wars