ISERE, a department of S.E. France, formed in 1790 out of the northern part of the old province of Dauphine. Pop. (1906) 562,315. It is bounded N. by the department of the Ain, E. by that of Savoie, S. by those of the Hautes Alpes and the Drome and W. by those of the Loire and the Rh6ne. Its area is 3179 sq. m. (surpassed only by 7 other departments), while its greatest length is 93 m. and its greatest breadth 53 m. The river Isere runs for nearly half its course through this department, to which it gives its name. The southern portion of the department is very mountainous, the loftiest summit being the Pic Lory (13,396 ft.) in the extensive snow-clad Oisans group (drained by the Drac and Romanche, two mighty mountain torrents), while minor groups are those of Belledonne, of Allevard, of the Grandes Rousses, of the Devoluy, of the Trieves, of the Royannais, of the Vercors and, slightly to the north of the rest, that of the Grande Chartreuse. The northern portion of the department is composed of plateaux, low hills and plains, while on every side but the south it is bounded by the course of the Rhdne. It forms the bishopric of Grenoble (dating from the 4th century), till 1790 in the ecclesiastical province of Vienne, and now in that of Lyons. The department is divided into four arrondissements (Grenoble, St Marcellin, La Tour du Pin and Vienne), 45 cantons and 563 communes. Its capital is Grenoble, while other important towns in it are the towns of Vienne, St Marcellin and La Tour du Pin. It is well supplied with railways (total length 342 m.), which give access to Gap, to Chambery, to Lyons, to St Rambert and to Valence, while it also possesses many tramways (total length over 200 m.). It contains silver, lead, coal and iron mines, as well as extensive slate, stone and marble quarries, besides several mineral springs (Allevard, Uriage and La Motte). The forests cover much ground, while among the most flourishing industries are those of glove making, cement, silk weaving and paper making. The area devoted to agriculture (largely in the fertile valley of the Graisivaudan, or Isere, N.E. of Grenoble) is about 121 1 sq. m. (W. A. B. C.)

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

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