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An unprecedented social work
In the 15th century, in a country ravaged by the Hundred Years' War, misery, and famine, the poorest sought assistance and protection from the powerful. Beaune, a fortified city in Burgundy, offered no other facilities than small hospitals and a few lazarets. In this context, Nicolas Rolin, the Chancellor of the Duke of Burgundy Philip III, and his wife Guigone de Salins decided in 1440 to create a pious foundation and acquired a humanist dimension by building a hospital for the sick and the deprived. This unparalleled social work took the name of Hôtel-Dieu and quickly gained a significant reputation far beyond the limits of the Duchy.
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