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Haute-Marne

HAUTE-MARNE, a department, of north-eastern France, made up for the most part of districts belonging to the former province of Champagne (Bassigny, Perthois, Vallage), with smaller portions of Lorraine and Burgundy, and seme fragments of Franche-Comt6. Area, 2415 sq. m. Pop. (1906), 221,724. It is bounded N.E. by Meuse, E. by Vosges, S.E. by Haute-Saone, S. and S.W. by C6te d'Or, W. by Aube, and N.W. by Marne. Its greatest elevation (1693 ft.) is in the plateau of Langres in the south between the sources of the Marne and those of the Aube; the watershed between the basin of the Rhone on the south and those of the Seine and Meuse on the north, which is formed by the plateau of Langres continued north-east by the Monts Paucities, has an average height of 1500 or 1600 ft. The country descends rapidly towards the south, but in very gentle slopes northwards. To the north is Bassigny (the paybas or low country, as distinguished from the highlands), a district characterized by monotonous flats of little fertility and extensive wooded tracts. The lowest level of the department is 361 ft. Hydrographically Haute-Marne belongs for the most part to the basin of the Seine, the remainder to those of the Rhone and the Meuse. The principal river is the Marne, which rises here, and has a course of 75 m. within the department. Among its more important affluents are, on the right the Rognon, and on the left the Blaise. The Saulx, another tributary of the Marne on the right, also rises in Haute-Marne. Westward the department is watered by the Aube and its tributary the Aujon, both of which have their sources on the plateau of Langres. The Meuse also rises in the Monts Faucilles, and has a course of 31 m. within the department. On the Mediterranean side the department sends to the Sa6ne the Apance, the Amance, the Salon and the Vingeanne. The climate is partly that of the Seine region, partly that of the Vosges, and partly that of the Rhone; the mean temperature is 51 F., nearly that of Paris; the rainfall is slightly below the average for France.

The agriculture of the department is carried on chiefly by small proprietors. The chief crops are wheat and oats, which are more than sufficient for the needs of the inhabitants; potatoes, lucerne and mangel wurzels are next in importance. Natural pasture is abundant, especially in Bassigny, where horse and cattle-raising flourish. The vineyards produce some fair wines, notably the white wine of Soyers. More than a quarter of the territory is under wood. The department is rich in iron and building and other varieties of stone are quarried. The warm springs of Bourbonne-les-Bains are among the earliest known and most frequented in France. The leading industry is the metallurgical; its establishments include blast furnaces, foundries, forges, plate-rolling works, and shops for nailmaking and smith's work of various descriptions. St Dizier is the chief centre of manufacture and distribution. The cutlery trade occupies thousands of hands at Nogent-en-Bassigny and in the neighbourhood of Langres. Val d'Osne is well known for its production of fountains, statues, etc., in metal-work. Flour-milling, glovemaking (at Chaumont), basket-making, brewing, tanning and other industries are also carried on. The principal import is coal, while manufactured goods, iron, stone, wood and cereals are exported. The department is served by the Eastern railway, of which the line from Paris to Belfort passes through Chaumont and Langres. The canal from the Marne to the Saone and the canal of the Haute-Marne, which accompany the Marne, together cover 99 m.; there is a canal 14 m. long from St Dizier to Wassy. There are three arrondissements (Chaumont, Langres and Wassy) , with 28 cantons and 550 communes. Chaumont is the capital. The department forms the diocese of Langres; it belongs to the VII. military region and to the educational circumscription (academic) of Dijon, where also is its court of appeal. The principal towns Chaumont, Langres, St Dizier and Bourbonneles-Bains receive separate notice. At Montier-en-Der the remains of an abbey founded in the 7th century include a fine church with nave and aisles of the roth, and choir of the 13th century. Wassy, the scene in 1562 of the celebrated massacre of Protestants by the troops of Francis, duke of Guise, has among its old buildings a church much of which dates from the Romanesque period. Vignory has a church of the 11th century. Joinville, a metallurgical centre, preserves a chateau of the dukes of Guise in the Renaissance style. Pailly, near Langres, has a fine chateau of the last half of the 16th century.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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