Chérente  (Saintongeais)

Charanta  (Occitan)
Prefecture building of the Charente department, in Angoulême
Prefecture building of the Charente department, in Angoulême
Flag of Charente

Coat of arms of Charente

Coat of arms
Location of Charente in France
Location of Charente in France
Coordinates: 45°50′N0°20′E / 45.833°N 0.333°E / 45.833; 0.333Coordinates: 45°50′N0°20′E / 45.833°N 0.333°E / 45.833; 0.333
Country France
Region Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Prefecture Angoulême
Subprefectures Cognac

 • President of the General Council Michel Boutant (PS)
 • Total 5,956 km2 (2,300 sq mi)
 • Total 353,288
 • Rank 67th
 • Density 59/km2 (150/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Department number 16
Arrondissements 3
Cantons 19
Communes 366
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Charente (French: [ʃaʁɑ̃t] (About this soundlisten); Saintongeais: Chérente; Occitan: Charanta) is a department in western France, north half of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. It is named after the Charente River, the most important river in the department, and also the river beside which the department's two largest towns, Angoulême and Cognac, are sited.

History [ edit ]

Charente is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. It was created from the former province of Angoumois, west and south of Saintonge.

Prior to the creation of the department, the area was not a natural unit, but much of it was commercially prosperous thanks to traditional industries such as salt and cognac production. Although the river Charente became silted up and was unnavigable for much of the twentieth century, in the eighteenth century it provided important links with coastal shipping routes both for traditional businesses and for newly evolving ones such as paper goods and iron smelting.

The accelerating pace of industrial and commercial development during the first half of the nineteenth century led to a period of prosperity, and the department's population peaked in 1851.[1] During the second half of the nineteenth century Charente, like many of France's rural departments, experienced a declining population as the economic prospects available in the cities and in France's overseas empire attracted the working age generations away. Economic ruin came to many in the Charentais wine industry with the arrival in 1872 of phylloxera.

During the twentieth century, the department with its traditional industries was adversely impacted by two major world wars and even in the second half of the century experienced relatively low growth, the overall population remaining remarkably stable at around 340,000 through the second half of the twentieth century, although industrial and commercial developments in the conurbation surrounding Angoulême have added some 10,000 to the overall population during the first decade of the twenty-first century.

The relatively relaxed pace of economic development in the twentieth century encouraged the immigration of retirees from overseas. Census data in 2006 revealed that the number of British citizens residing in the department had risen to 5,083,[2] placing the department fourth in this respect behind Paris, Dordogne and Alpes-Maritimes.[3]

Geography [ edit ]

It is part of the Aquitaine Basin for its major part, and of the Massif Central for its north-eastern part. The Charente flows through it and gave its name to the department, along with Charente-Maritime. It is composed with the historical region of Angoumois and contains part of the regions of Saintonge, Limousin, Périgord and Poitou.

The department is part of the current region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It is surrounded by the departments of Charente-Maritime, Dordogne, Haute-Vienne, Vienne and Deux-Sèvres. Its capital is Angoulême.

Demographics [ edit ]

The inhabitants of the department are called Charentais.

Population development since 1801:

Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1801 299,029 —    
1806 327,052 +1.81%
1821 347,541 +0.41%
1831 362,531 +0.42%
1841 367,893 +0.15%
1851 382,912 +0.40%
1861 379,081 −0.10%
1872 367,520 −0.28%
1881 370,822 +0.10%
1891 360,259 −0.29%
1901 350,305 −0.28%
1911 347,061 −0.09%
1921 316,279 −0.92%
1931 310,489 −0.18%
1936 309,279 −0.08%
1946 311,137 +0.06%
1954 313,635 +0.10%
1962 327,658 +0.55%
1968 331,016 +0.17%
1975 337,064 +0.26%
1982 340,770 +0.16%
1990 341,993 +0.04%
1999 339,628 −0.08%
2007 349,535 +0.36%
2011 352,705 +0.23%
2016 353,288 +0.03%

Politics [ edit ]

The President of the General Council is Michel Boutant of the Socialist Party.

Party seats
Socialist Party 15
Union for a Popular Movement 6
Miscellaneous Right 6
Miscellaneous Left 6
French Communist Party 2

National Assembly representatives [ edit ]

Constituency Member[5] Party
Charente's 1st constituency Thomas Mesnier La République En Marche!
Charente's 2nd constituency Sandra Marsaud La République En Marche!
Charente's 3rd constituency Jérôme Lambert Socialist Party

Economy [ edit ]

Cognac and pineau are two of the major agricultural products of the region, along with butter. The Charentaise slipper (a type of slipper made from felt and wool) is another well-known traditional product.

Tourism [ edit ]

See also [ edit ]

Sources [ edit ]

  1. ^ Jean Combes (dir.) et Michel Luc (dir.), La Charente de la préhistoire à nos jours, Imprimerie Bordessoules, coll. « L'histoire par les documents », 1986, 429 p. (ISBN 2-903504-21-0)
  2. ^ Insee
  3. ^ La Charente libre du 4 janvier 2010
  4. ^ Site sur la Population et les Limites Administratives de la France
  5. ^

External links [ edit ]

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