1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Corrèze

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CORRÈZE, a department of south-central France, formed from the southern portion of the old province of Limousin, bounded N. by the departments of Haute-Vienne and Creuse, E, by Puy-de-Dôme, S.E. by Cantal, S. by Lot, and W. by Dordogne. Area, 2273 sq. m. Pop. (1906) 317,430. Corrèze is situated on the western fringe of the central plateau of France. It forms a hilly tableland elevated in the east and north, and intersected by numerous fertile river valleys, trending for the most part to the south and south-west. The highest points, many of which exceed 3000 ft., are found in the north, where the Plateau de Millevaches separates the basins of the Loire and the Garonne. Except for a small district in the extreme north, which is watered by the Vienne, Corrèze belongs to the basin of the Garonne. The Dordogne waters its south-eastern region. The Corrèze, from which the department takes its name, and the Vézère, of which the Corrèze is the chief tributary, rise in the Plateau de Millevaches, flow south-west, and unite to the west of Brive. The climate of Corrèze is, in general, cold, damp and variable, except in the south-west, where it is mild and agreeable. The majority of the inhabitants live by agriculture. About one-third of the department is arable land, most of which is found in the south-west. Rye, buckwheat and wheat (in the order named) are the most abundant cereals. Hemp, flax and tobacco are also grown. The more elevated regions of the north and east are given over to pasture, sheep being specially numerous on the Plateau de Millevaches. Pigs and goats are reared to a considerable extent; and poultry-farming and cheese-making are much practised. The vineyards of the neighbourhood of Brive produce wine of medium quality. Chestnuts, largely used as an article of food, walnuts and cider-apples are the chief fruits. Coal in small quantities, slate, building-stone and other stone are the mineral products, and clay, used in potteries and tile-works, is also worked. The most important industrial establishment is the government manufactory of fire-arms at Tulle. There are flour-mills, breweries, oil-works, saw-mills and dye-works; and hats (Bort), coarse woollens, silk, preserved foods, wooden shoes, chairs, paper and leather are manufactured. Coal and raw materials for textile industries are leading imports; live stock and agricultural products are the chief exports. The department is served by the Orléans railway, and the Dordogne is navigable. The department is divided into the arrondissements of Tulle, Brive and Ussel, containing 29 cantons and 289 communes. It belongs to the archdiocese of Bourges, the region of the XII. army corps, and the Académie (educational division) of Clermont-Ferrand. Its court of appeal is at Limoges. Tulle, the capital, and Brive are the principal towns of the department. Uzerche is a picturesque old town on the Vézère, with a Romanesque church, old houses, a gate and other remains of medieval fortifications. At Aubazine (or Obazine) there is a Romanesque church of the 12th century, formerly belonging to the celebrated Cistercian abbey, of which Étienne “of Obazine” (d. 1159 and subsequently beatified) was the founder and first abbot. It contains the fine sculptured tomb of the founder. To the same style belong the abbey church of Beaulieu, the south portal of which is elaborately carved, the abbey church of Meymac, and the abbey church of Vigeois. Treignac, with its church, bridge and ramparts of the 15th century, and Turenne, dominated by the ruins of the castle of the famous family of that name, are ancient and interesting towns. The dolmen at Espartignac and the cromlech of Aubazine are the chief megalithic remains in the department. A Roman eagle and other antiquities have been found close to Ussel, which at the end of the 16th century became the centre of the duchy of Ventadour.