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Post-Roman Britain

The British Kingdoms of Armorica AD 500-700

by Peter Kessler, 1 April 1999. Updated 24 March 2016



The kingdom of Vannetais was formed of the area that makes up modern Brittany, plus eastward extensions that fluctuated over time.

Vannetais was created during the late fourth century and enjoyed a peak of expansion and strength up until 491. This 'Little Britain' covered Gaul north of the Loire up to Blois. But, once the Franks had conquered that town, something far closer to the traditional borders of Brittany were very quickly established and remained much the same until Breton independence was finally lost, by marriage into the French crown and the Treaty of Vannes in 1532.

After Conan Meriadog's rule, his descendants split Vannetais between their sons and other powerful leaders from Britain, so that it became a patchwork of minor principalities, or sub-kingdoms, under the overall rule of the kings of the Bretons.

The name Vannetais seemingly continued to be used in the eastern lands until this was renamed the kingdom of Bro Erech in honour of Waroch in the sixth century. The map used here depicts the established borders of the kingdom of Brittany, but shows, where possible, lands that were part of the greater Breton holdings at various times.

(NB: The positioning of Poher on this map is roughly calculated from available evidence, and may not be entirely correct.)


To select a kingdom for further information, click anywhere within its borders.

Map of Armorica

In Depth


Images and text copyright © P L Kessler. An original feature for the History Files.