Further information: Names of the Levant
The Near East in 1135, with the Crusader states of Outremer marked with red crosses.
Illustration from the Old French translation of Guillaume de Tyr's Histoire d'Outremer

Outremer (French: outre-mer meaning "overseas"), was a general name used for the Crusader states; it originated after victories of Europeans in the First Crusade and was applied to the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli, and especially the Kingdom of Jerusalem. During the Renaissance, the term was later often equated to the area of the Levant.

The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia originated before the Crusades, but it was granted the status of a kingdom by Pope Innocent III. It later became fully westernised by the French House of Lusignan.

In general, the French used this term to refer to any land "overseas." For example, King Louis IV of France was called "Louis d'Outremer," as he was raised in England.

In the Chanson de Roland, "Outremer" is used as the name of a fictional Muslim country. It is identified as one of the many countries participating in the general mobilization of the Muslim World against Christianity at the climax of the plot.

Present-day use

The modern term outre-mer, spelled with a hyphen and equally meaning "overseas," is notably used by the French government for the overseas departments and territories of France (in French: Départements d'outre-mer – Territoires d'outre-mer or DOM – TOM, collectively Pays et territoires d'outre-mer (PTOM)).


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