department rhone cevennes
GARD, a department in the south of France, consisting of part of the old province of Languedoc, is bounded N. by the departments of Lozere and Ardeche, E. by the Rhone, which separates it from Vaucluse and Bouches-du-RhOne, S. by llerault and the Nfediterranean, and W. by A.veyron. It lies between 43° 27' 25" and 44° 27' 20" N. lat., and between 3' 15' 39" and 4° 50' 44" E. long. The western and northern districts of the department are occupied by the range of the Cevennes, which on the frontier of Lozere attain a height of 5120 feet. The whole of this region is celebrated for its fruitful valleys, its gorges, its beautiful streams, its vines, and its chestnut, mulberry, and other fruit trees, with which the mountains are often clothed to their summits. From the Cevennes the laud gradually declines to the Rhone and Mediterranean. The southern portion, which extends to the sea, and was probably at one time covered by it, is a low plain with numerous lakes and marshes. Besides the Rhone, which bounds the department on the E., and the Ardeche, the lower portion of which forms part of its boundary on the N., the principal rivers are the Ceze, Gard, Vidourle, and Herault. The most northern of these is the Ceze, which rises in the Cevennes, and after a course of about 50 miles in an E.S.E. direction falls into the Rhone below Bagnols. The Gard, or Gardon, from which the department takes its name, is also an affluent of the Rhone, and rising in the Cevennes from several sources, traverses the centre of the department, having a length of about 60 miles. In the upper part of its course it flows through a succession of deep mountain gorges, and from the melting of the snows on the Cevennes is subject to inundations, which often cause great damage. Its waters not unfrequently rise 18 or 20 feet in a few hours, and its bed is sometimes increased in width to nearly a mile. The Vidourle flows in a S.S.E. direction from its source near Le Vigau, and after a course of about 50 miles falls into the sea. Below Sommieres it forms the western boundary of the department. The H6rault has its source and part of its course in this department. The Canal de Beaucaire extends from. the Rhone at the town of that name to Aigues Mortes, which communicates with the Mediterranean by means of the Grand-Roubine canal. The climate is generally very mild but is rather changeable, and cold and violent storms of wind are not uncommon. The department is rich in minerals, which constitute one of the chief sources of its wealth. Iron, coal, and argentiferous lead mines are extensively worked ; and manganese, zinc, and antimony are found. Great quantities of salt are obtained from the salt marshes along the coast, The gypsum and other quarries employ a considerable number of workmen. The fisheries are very productive. The manufactures are extensive, and include silk, cotton, and woollen fabrics, ironware, hats, gloves, paper, leather, earthenware, and glass. The chief grain crops are wheat, oats, rye, and barley. Lentils, pease, and potatoes are also grown. Gard is famed for its cattle, its breed of small horses, and its sheep, the wool of which is of a very fine quality. The principal truit trees are the olive and mulberry. The vine is extensively cultivated, and yields excellent red and white wines. Gard is divided into the arrondissements of Nimes, Alais, Uzes, and Le Vigan, with 38 cantons and 347 communes. The chief town is Nimes. The total area is 2256 square miles, and the population in 1866 was 429,747, and in 1876 423,804.