1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bresse
BRESSE, a district of eastern France embracing portions of the departments of Ain, Saône-et-Loire and Jura. The Bresse extends from the Dombes on the south to the river Doubs on the north, and from the Saône eastwards to the Jura, measuring some 60 m. in the former, and 20 m. in the latter direction. It is a plain varying from 600 to 800 ft. above the sea, with few eminences and a slight inclination westwards. Heaths and coppice alternate with pastures and arable land; pools and marshes are numerous, especially in the north. Its chief rivers are the Veyle, the Reyssouze and the Seille, all tributaries of the Saône. The soil is a gravelly clay but moderately fertile, and cattle-raising is largely carried on. The region is, however, more especially celebrated for its table poultry. The inhabitants preserve a distinctive but almost obsolete costume, with a curious head-dress. The Bresse proper, called the Bresse Bressane, comprises the northern portion of the department of Ain. The greater part of the district belonged in the middle ages to the lords of Bâgé, from whom it passed in 1272 to the house of Savoy. It was not till the first half of the 15th century that the province, with Bourg as its capital, was founded as such. In 1601 it was ceded to France by the treaty of Lyons, after which it formed (together with the province of Bugey) first a separate government and afterwards part of the government of Burgundy.