DAUPHINE, an ancient province of south-eastern France, now forming the departments of Isere, Drome, and Mantes Alpes. It was bounded on the E. by Piedmont, N.E. by Savoy, S. by Provence, S.W. by the Comte Venaissin, and N. and W. by the Rhone. The western portion was known as Lower, and the eastern portion as Upper Dauphine, - the latter including the districts of Matesine, Champ-saur, Oisans, Diais, Gapencais, Embrunais, and Brianconnais ; and the former, Gresivaudan, Viennais, Valentinais, Royannez, the Baronies, and Tricastinais. When it first appears in history the district was inhabited by the Allobroges, the Caturiges, and other Celtic tribes, who were gradually incorporated in the Roman Empire. It was afterwards successively comprised in the first Burgundian kingdom, the Carolingian empire, the second Burgundian kingdom, and the German empire. In the course of the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th centuries it was broken up into several small principalities, ecclesiastical and secular ; of which the most important proved that of the lords of Albon, who, first as counts and afterwards as dauphins of Viennais, gradually extended their influence and possessions. The Burgundian line dying out in 1281, the lordship passed to the house of La Tour du Pin, which in the person of Guiges VIII. was offered the royal dignity by Louis the Bavarian. Guiges's successor, Hubert II., having lost his only son in 1335, made over his lands to Charles of Valois, the grandson of Philip VI., in return for an annual payment, and on condition that the independence and the privileges of the countship should be maintained. From this time the eldest son of the king of France bore the title of Dauphin. The history of Dauphine down to the Revolution consists mainly of the struggles of its inhabitants to maintain their liberties against the gradual encroachments of the Crown. Louis XI. was the first to demand the payment of an annual tax. Richelieu abolished their estates ; but the constitutional spirit of the people continued alive, and in 1788 displayed itself in violent resistance to the dissolution of the provincial partement and in the convocation of the three orders in the castle of Vizille, where the popular rights were boldly asserted.
See Chappuis-Montlaville, Histoire du Dauphine, 1827 ; Colomba de Batines, Bibliographic des patois du Dauphine, 1835 ; Catalogue des Dauphinois dives de memoire, 1840, and Melanges biographiques relatifs et l'histoire littdraire du Dauphine, 1837-40 ; Raverat, A travers le Dauphine; Charles Lory, Description geologique du Dauphine, 1861.