Auvergne (ōvĕrˈnyə) [key], region and former province, S central France. The area is now occupied chiefly by the departments of Puy-de-Dôme, Allier, Haute-Loire, and Cantal. The Auvergne Mts., a chain of extinct volcanoes (see Massif Central), run north to south forming unusual and beautiful scenery. There are also hot mineral springs, deep river gorges, and rolling pastureland in the region. Auvergne is largely agricultural (cattle, wheat, and grapes), with cheese and many wine manufactures. Industry is concentrated in Clermont-Ferrand (the capital), Aurillac, Riom, and Thiers. The Arvennis, an ancient people, occupied Auvergne when the Romans arrived. They had one of the most brilliant civilizations of Gaul, and their chieftain, Vercingetorix, led the resistance to Caesar. Auvergne was a part of Roman Aquitaine. It passed to the English in 1154. In the 14th cent. it was divided into the countship, dauphiny, and duchy of Avergne. The duchy and dauphiny, which were united under the dukes of Bourbon, were confiscated (1527) by Francis I after the treason of Constable Charles de Bourbon. The countship came into the royal domain in 1615. The reunited region was put under the Parlement of Paris. In some areas a local dialect is still spoken. There are many folk fetes, and much Romanesque architecture remains.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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