department loire nivernais yonne
NIEVRE, a central department of France, formed out of the old province of Nivernais with a small portion of the Orleanais, lies between 46° 40' and 47° 35' N. lat. and between 2° 50' and 4° 12' E. long., and is bounded N.W. by Loiret, N. by Yonne, N.E. by Cote d'Or, E. and S.E. by SaOne-et-Loire, S.W. and W. by Allier, and W. by Cher. It belongs partly to the basin of the Loire, partly to that of the Seine. Towards the west its limits are marked by the Allier-Loire valley, - the Loire striking across the southwest corner of the department by Decize and Nevers and then continuing the line of its great affluent the Allier northwards by Fourchambault, La Charite, Pouilly, and Cosne. Secondary feeders of the Loire are the Nievre, which gives its name to the department, and the Aron, whose valley is traversed by the Nivernais Canal. The largest Seine tributary in Nievre is the Yonne, which rises in the southeast, passes by Clamecy, and carries along with it the northern part of the Nivernais Canal. The Cure, the principal affluent of the Yonne (with which, however, it does not unite till after it has left the department), is the outlet of a lake, Lac des Settons, which serves as a reservoir for the practical regulation of the river. The watershed between the two river systems runs, like the general slope of the department, from south-east to north-west, - the highest summits belonging to the Morvan, an uplift of granite, porphyry, and gneiss, which extends into Saone-et-Loire, COte d'Or, and Yonne. Here stands west the Jurassic limestones. Both are partly covered by three times as great.
The area of the department is 2631 square miles, one-half being arable land, a third woods, and a tenth pasture, while 42 sqbare miles are occupied by vines. The live stock numbers 20,000 horses (mainly of Morvan breed, small but hardy and strong), 500 mules, 7000 asses, 146,100 cattle (generally of Nivernais-Charolais breeds), 210,000 sheep, 70,000 swine, 5700 goats ; and there are 18,600 beehives. In 1880 the department produced 2,984,000 bushels of wheat, and about the same quantity of oats; barley, 1,122,000 bushels ; rye, 521,000; buckwheat, 211,000; potatoes, 4,620,000; besides beetroot (86,108 tons), pulse, maize, hemp, colza, fruits. The vintage of 1881 yielded 5,304,816 gallons of wine, - the best being the white wines of Pouilly, a locality which besides sends a great quantity of its grapes to Paris for table use. The Nievre forests, consisting of oak, beech, hornbeam, and elm, supply about three-fifths of the firewood required for the Parisian market. The coal-field of Decize, with its seven seams making a total thickness of 40 feet, yielded 200,000 tons in 1882. Fine building stone, a little white marble, sandstone, millstones, granite, and kaolinic sands are all worked in the department. The best-known mineral springs- are those of Pougues and St Honore, - the former ehalybeate and the latter sulphurous, as at Eaux Bonnes in the Pyrenees. Of the iron-works for which Nievre is famous, the most important are those of FOURCHAMBAULT (q.v.), employing more than 2000 workmen, and manufacturing into bridges, building frames, rails, wheels, &e., the product of 40,000 tons of ore. At lmphy the staple is rails and Bessemer steel. The Government works of La Chaussade at Guerigny employ 1300 workmen, and make armour-plates and the materials required in iron shipbuilding ; wood charcoal is used, which explains the selection for this industry of a department so well supplied with timber. • There are besides in the department minor foundries and forges, manufactories of agricultural implements and hardware, potteries, tile-works, chemical works, paper-mills, and wool-mills, as well as numerous tanneries, breweries, and oil works (eolza, poppy, and hemp). In the Morvan district a large part of the population is engaged in the timber industry; the logs carried down by the streams to Clamecy are then collected into rafts or put into boats. Besides firewood and charcoal Nievre exports cattle; but it has to import cereals. A great deal of the traffic is by water : the canal along the left bank of the Loire runs through the department for 38 miles, and the Nivernais Canal (from Decize to Clamecy and so to the Yonne) for 47 miles. The total length of the railways is 145 miles. The population of the department was 347,576 in 1881. Nievre is divided into 4 arrondissements, 25 cantons, 313 communes. It forms the diocese of Nevers, and part of the districts dependent on the corps d'armee and the court of appeal of Bourges. The chief towns of the arrondissements are Nevers, Château Chinon (2613 inhabitants), Clamecy (5536), and Cosne (7401). Other places of note are La Charite (4826), with an old church of the order of Cluny; Decize (4927), with an old church and interesting ruins; and St Pierre le Moutier (3080), having an old Cluniac monastery.