1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Haute-Savoie

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HAUTE-SAVOIE, a frontier department of France, formed in 1860 of the old provinces of the Genevois, the Chablais and the Faucigny, which constituted the northern portion of the duchy of Savoy. It is bounded N. by the canton and Lake of Geneva, E. by the Swiss canton of the Valais, S. by Italy and the department of Savoie, and W. by the department of the Ain. It is mainly made up of the river-basins of the Arve (flowing along the northern foot of the Mont Blanc range, and receiving the Giffre, on the right, and the Borne and Foron, on the left—the Arve joins the Rhone, close to Geneva), of the Dranse (with several branches, all flowing into the Lake of Geneva), of the Usses and of the Fier (both flowing direct into the Rhone, the latter after forming the Lake of Annecy). The upper course of the Arly is also in the department, but the river then leaves it to fall into the Isère. The whole of the department is mountainous. But the hills attain no very great height, save at its south-east end, where rises the snowclad chain of Mont Blanc, with many high peaks (culminating in Mont Blanc, 15,782 ft.) and many glaciers. That portion of the department is alone frequented by travellers, whose centre is Chamonix in the upper Arve valley. The lowest point (945 ft.) in the department is at the junction of the Fier with the Rhone. The whole of the department is included in that portion of the duchy of Savoy which was neutralized in 1815. In 1906 the population of the department was 260,617. Its area is 1775 sq. m., and it is divided into four arrondissements (Annecy, the chief town, Bonneville, St Julien and Thonon), 28 cantons and 314 communes. It forms the diocese of Annecy. There are in the department 176 m. of broad-gauge railways, and 70 m. of narrow-gauge lines. There are also a number of mineral springs, only three of which are known to foreigners—the chalybeate waters of Évian and Amphion, close to each other on the south shore of the Lake of Geneva, and the chalybeate and sulphurous waters of St Gervais, at the north-west end of the chain of Mont Blanc. Anthracite and asphalte mines are numerous, as well as stone quarries. Cotton is manufactured at Annecy, while Cluses is the centre of the clock-making industry. There is a well-known bell foundry at Annecy-le-Vieux. Thonon (the old capital of the Chablais) is the most important town on the southern shore of the Lake of Geneva and, after Annecy, the most populous place in the department.  (W. A. B. C.)