Auvergne

/oh vairn", oh verrn"/; Fr. /oh verddn"yeu/, n.
a former province in central France. See map under Gascony.

* * *

Region (pop., 1999: 1,308,878), south-central France.

It was once inhabited by the Arverni, a Gallic people led by Vercingetorix and defeated by Julius Caesar. It was yielded to the Visigoths in AD 475 and conquered by the Franks under Clovis I in 507. It became part of Aquitaine, and in the 8th century it was made a countship. It passed to the Bourbons in 1416 and to France с 1530.

* * *

Introduction

      administrative région and historical region of France encompassing the central départements of Allier, Puy-de-Dôme, Cantal, and Haute-Loire. Auvergne is bounded by the régions of Centre and Burgundy (Bourgogne) to the north, Rhône-Alpes to the east, Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées to the south, and Limousin to the west. The capital is Clermont-Ferrand. Area 10,044 square miles (26,013 square km). Pop. (1999) 1,308,878; (2006 est.) 1,333,000.

Geography
      Most of Auvergne belongs to the uplands of the Massif Central. Main mountain ranges include the Forez, Vivarais, Livradois, and Dore, the last of which displays the extensive ash and lava remains of three powerful volcanoes of the Quaternary Period (within the past 1.8 million years). They reach 6,184 feet (1,885 metres) at the summit of the Puy de Sancy, in Puy-de-Dôme, which is the highest point in central France. The Vivarais Mountains top out at Mount Mézenc, 5,751 feet (1,753 metres) above Haute-Loire, while in Cantal, an area of high plateaus, volcanic peaks rise to the Plomb du Cantal, at 6,096 feet (1,858 metres). In the north the Paris Basin extends into Allier. Important rivers include the Loire, Allier, Cher, and Dordogne, the headwaters of which are at the foot of the Puy de Sancy; the Sioule River also rises in the Dore Mountains. A humid climate prevails in the west, which is open to Atlantic influences; a continental climate prevails in the east. In the mountains the winters are long and severe.

      Auvergne is sparsely populated, and rural densities are particularly low, notably in Cantal. A long period of emigration and rural depopulation has led to the progressive aging of the remaining inhabitants. Currently, the lowland areas of Puy-de-Dôme are the most dynamic, reflecting the influence of the capital, Clermont-Ferrand; population growth is strongest in the small towns on the fringes of the urban area.

      Agriculture is dominated by cattle raising with greater emphasis given in the north to beef and in the south to milk production, which is frequently used for making cheese. In contrast to the upland areas, the plains of Limagne around Clermont-Ferrand and Issoire specialize in cereal production (predominantly wheat but also corn [maize]). Much of the area is afforested, but only portions have been commercially exploited.

      Industrial activity is varied and includes the manufacture of tires, armaments, electronics, and pharmaceuticals, as well as metallurgy and food processing. Many factories serve as subcontractors for the automobile and aeronautical industries. Clermont-Ferrand is the major industrial centre, but manufacturing is also found at Montluçon, Moulins, Vichy, Le Puy-en-Velay, and Issoire. Thiers is renowned for its cutlery.

      Clermont-Ferrand is also the principal commercial and administrative centre, with a concentration of employment in the service sector. Auvergne offers many possibilities for tourism, including spa towns such as Vichy and the winter-sports resorts of Le Mont Dore and Super Besse. Historical sites include numerous medieval churches—often made of different-coloured local volcanic lavas—in Issoire, Sainte-Nectaire, Orcival, Brioude, La Chaise-Dieu, and Le Puy-en-Velay, the last of which is a place of pilgrimage. Natural attractions in the Haute Loire département include the crater lake of Le Bouchet and the gorges of the Loire and Allier rivers.

      Accessibility to the région has been improved through motorway construction, and there is a regional airport at Clermont-Ferrand.

History
      In the time of Julius Caesar (died 44 BC), the Arverni were a powerful confederation, and their chieftain Vercingetorix was Caesar's foremost opponent in Gaul. The Romans made Arvernia part of Aquitania Prima. It was the seat of a countship under the Carolingians. After the rule of the powerful William (Guilhem) the Pious (William I), count from 886 to 918, the viscounts of Clermont (now Clermont-Ferrand) usurped the hereditary title of counts of Auvergne.

      Through the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henry II Plantagenet, the counts became vassals of the kings of England. But Count William VII (the Young), who reigned from 1145 to 1168, lost much of his domain to his uncle William VIII (the Old), who was supported by Henry II. William VII retained only the region bounded by the Allier and the Coux rivers—the district that from the end of the 13th century was called the Dauphiné d'Auvergne. Philip II Augustus of France intervened in the family quarrel and appropriated a large part of the area (1195), which he annexed to the royal domain as Terre d'Auvergne. For his concurrence in this matter, the bishop of Clermont, Robert I (1195–1227), was granted the lordship of the town of Clermont, which subsequently became a countship (to be distinguished from the countship of Clermont-en-Beauvaisis). Such was the origin of the four great domains of Auvergne.

      In 1360 John II of France made the Terre d'Auvergne a duchy for his son Jean, duke de Berry (died 1416); this duchy eventually descended to Charles, the famous constable of France, who was able to unite duchy and dauphiné when he became duke de Bourbon in 1503. But these Bourbon domains were confiscated by King Francis I after the constable's treason and were assigned to the king's mother, Louise of Savoy, for the rest of her life, after which they were annexed to the kingdom (1532).

      The countship of Auvergne, however, having passed in 1422 to the house of La Tour, descended to Catherine de Médicis, who, moreover, gained possession of Clermont in 1551. These domains were annexed to the crown in 1615, after the death of Catherine's daughter Margaret of Valois. The généralité of Riom was established in 1577. The intendants had their seat at Clermont.

      Local government eventually passed to the départements with their establishment in 1790, although, by the late 20th century, administrative power in Auvergne was also found at the larger, région level again.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Auvergne — Auvergne …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • AUVERGNE — Région complexe du Massif central, l’Auvergne est comprise entre le Limousin à l’ouest, les Causses au sud et le rebord oriental à l’est. Deux lignes de hauteurs, granitiques et volcaniques, se soudent au sud et enserrent un fossé d’effondrement …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Auvergne — can refer to: * Auvergne (province), the historical independent county and later French province * Auvergne (region), the modern day administrative region, larger than the historical province of Auvergne, as it includes other provinces which… …   Wikipedia

  • AUVERGNE (A. d’) — AUVERGNE ANTOINE D’ (1713 1797) Violoniste et compositeur, Antoine d’Auvergne naît à Moulins où son père exerce la profession de «joueur d’instruments». Arrivé à Paris en 1739, il étudie avec Jean Marie Leclair, entre à l’Académie royale de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • AUVERGNE — AUVERGNE, former French province including the present departments of Cantal, Puy de Dôme, and part of Haute Loire. The presence of Jews in Auvergne is known from the end of the fifth century. In the second half of the 13th century they were… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Auvergne — n. 1. a region in central France. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Auvergne — (Owärn), ehemalige Provinz Frankreichs, jetzt Departement des Puy de Dome, des Cantal und ein Theil des von der oberen Loire, 302 QM, groß mit 900000 E.; das Gebirge der Auvergne durch das von Margeride mit den Cevennen und durch einen anderen… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Auvergne — [ō vʉrn′; ] Fr [ ō ver′ny ] 1. historical region of SC France 2. metropolitan region in SC France: 10,044 sq mi (26,014 sq km); pop. 1,321,000; chief city, Clermont Ferrand 3. mountain range running north to south through this region: highest… …   English World dictionary

  • Auvergne [1] — Auvergne (spr. Owernje), 1) sonst Provinz u. Gouvernement in Frankreich, um den Puy de Dôme u. Cantal, mit mehr als 50 erloschenen Vulcanen, daher in geognostischer Hinsicht höchst merkwürdig; durch den Rue in Ober u. Nieder A. (Limagne)… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Auvergne [2] — Auvergne, 1) (Charles, Comte d A.), so v.w. Angoulème 5). 2) (Antoine d A.), geb. 1713 zu Clermont Ferrand, Generalinspector der großen Oper zu Paris; setzte les Troqueurs (die erste komische Oper in Frankreich), Äneas u. Lavinia, Polixene;… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Auvergne [3] — Auvergne (Jeu de l homme d A.), Kartenspiel, ähnlich dem Spiel la triomphe; kann unter 2–6 Personen gespielt werden, bei 2–4 mit 28 Karten (nach Wegwerfen der Sieben), bei 5–6 mit 32 Blättern. Jeder erhält 5 Karten. Es wird Trumpf gemacht u.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.