NIEVRE, a department of central France, formed from the old province of Nivernais with a small portion of the Orleanais. It is bounded N.W. by Loiret, N. by Yonne, E. by C&te d'Or, E. and S.E. by Sa6ne-et-Loire, S. by Allier and W. by Cher. Pop. (1906) 313, 972. Area, 2659 sq. m. Nievre falls into three regions differing in elevation and in geological formation. In the east are the granitic mountains of the Morvan, one of the most picturesque portions of France, containing Mont Prenelay (2789 ft.) and several lesser heights. The north and centre are occupied by plateaus of Jurassic limestone with a maximum elevation of 1400 ft. The west and south-western part of the department is a district of plains, composed mainly of tertiary formations with alluvial deposits, and comprising the valleys of the Loire and the Allier. The lowest level of the department is 446 ft., at the exit of the Loire. Nievre belongs partly to the basin of the Loire, partly to that of the Seine. The watershed dividing these two basins follows the general slope of the department from S.E. to N.W. from Mont Prenelay to the Puisaye, the district in the extreme north-west. Towards the west the limits of Nievre are marked by the Allier-Loire valley the Loire striking across the south-west corner of the department by Decize and Nevers and then continuing the line of its great affluent the Allier northwards by Fourchambault, La Charite, Pouilly and Cosne. Secondary feeders of the Loire are the Nievre, which gives its name to the department, and the Aron, whose valley is traversed by the Nivernais Canal. The largest tributary of the Seine in Nievre is the Yonne, which rises in the south-east, passes by Clamecy, and carries along with it the northern part of the Nivernais Canal. The Cure, the principal affluent of the Yonne (with which, however, it does not unite till after it has left the department), is the outlet of a lake, Lac des Settons, which serves as a reservoir for the regulation of the river and the canal. Owing to its greater elevation and the retention of the rain-water on its impermeable surface in the shape of ponds and streams, Morvan shows a mean temperature 6 F. lower than that of the western district, which, in the valley of the Loire, is almost identical with that of Paris (52 F.). At Nevers the annual rainfall amounts to only 21 in., but in Morvan it is nearly three times as great.
The principal cereals are oats and wheat; potatoes are XIX. 22 also largely grown. Much land is given over to pasture and the cultivation of various kinds of forage, and the fattening of cattle is a thriving agricultural industry. The Nivernais and Charolais are the chief breeds. The rearing of sheep and draught-horses is also of importance. Vines are grown in the valley of the Loire and in the neighbourhood of Clamecy. The white wines of Pouilly on the Loire are widely known. Nievre abounds in forests, the chief trees being the oak, beech, hornbeam, elm and chestnut. Coal is mined at Decize, and gypsum, building stone, and kaolin are among the quarry products. The bestknown mineral springs are those of Pougues and St Honored Of the iron-works for which Nievre is famous, the most important are those of Fourchambault. At Imphy there are large steelworks. The government works of La Chaussade at Guerigny make chain-cables, anchors, armour-plates, etc. There are also manufactories of agricultural implements and hardware, potteries, manufactories of porcelain, and faience (at Nevers), tile- works, chemical works, paper-mills and saw-mills, as well as numerous tanneries, boot and shoe factories, cask manufactories and oil works (colza, poppy and hemp). In the Morvan district a large part of the population is engaged in the timber industry; the logs carried down by the streams to Clamecy are then put into boats and conveyed to Paris.
A great deal of the traffic is by water: the canal along the left bank of the Loire runs through the department for 38 m., and the Nivernais canal for 78 m. The chief railway is that of the Paris-Lyons-Mediterran6e Company, whose main line to Nimes follows the valley of the Loire and Allier throughout the department. NiSvre is divided into 4 arrondissements (Nevers,Chateau-Chinon,Clamecy and Cosne being their capitals), 25 cantons, 313 communes. It forms the diocese of Nevers, and part of the educational district of Dijon and of the region of the VIII. corps d'armee. Its court of appeal is at Bourges. The most noteworthy towns are Nevers, the capital, Clamecy, Fourchambault, Cosne, La Charite and Decize. Varzy and Tannay have fine churches of the 14th, and the 12th, 13th and 16th centuries respectively, and there is an interesting church, chiefly Romanesque in style, at St Pierre-le-Moutier.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)