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Auvergne (ōvĕr´nyə), region and former province, S central France. The area is now occupied chiefly by the departments of Puy-de-Dôme, Allier, Haute-Loire, and Cantal. The Auvergne Mts., a chain of extinct volcanoes (see Massif Central), run north to south forming unusual and beautiful scenery. There are also hot mineral springs, deep river gorges, and rolling pastureland in the region. Auvergne is largely agricultural (cattle, wheat, and grapes), with cheese and many wine manufactures. Industry is concentrated in Clermont-Ferrand (the capital), Aurillac, Riom, and Thiers. The Arvennis, an ancient people, occupied Auvergne when the Romans arrived. They had one of the most brilliant civilizations of Gaul, and their chieftain, Vercingetorix, led the resistance to Caesar. Auvergne was a part of Roman Aquitaine. It passed to the English in 1154. In the 14th cent. it was divided into the countship, dauphiny, and duchy of Avergne. The duchy and dauphiny, which were united under the dukes of Bourbon, were confiscated (1527) by Francis I after the treason of Constable Charles de Bourbon. The countship came into the royal domain in 1615. The reunited region was put under the Parlement of Paris. In some areas a local dialect is still spoken. There are many folk fetes, and much Romanesque architecture remains.

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AUVERGNE , former French province including the present departments of Cantal, Puy-de-Dôme, and part of Haute-Loire. The presence of Jews in Auvergne is known from the end of the fifth century. In the second half of the 13th century they were settled in the localities of Auzon, Clermont, Ennezat, Langeac, Monton, Oilac, Peissin, Pont-du-Château, Puy-Roger, Ris, Rochefort, Taleine, Veyre, and Vichy. Banished together with the other Jews of France in 1306, they returned after 1359 to settle in Ennezat, Lignat, and Montaigut-en-Combraille until the expulsion of the Jews from the kingdom in 1394.


A. Tardieu, in: Dépêche du Puy-de-Dôme (Sept. 15, 1891); P. Andigier, Histoire d'Auvergne, 1 (1899), 14; A. Molinier (ed.), Correspondance administrative d'Alfonse de Poitiers, 1 (1894), 402–4 and passim; P. Fournier and P. Guébin (eds.), Enquêtes administratives d'Alfonse de'Poitiers… (1959), passim.

[Bernhard Blumenkranz]

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Auvergne Region and former province of s France, comprising the departments of Allier, Puy-de-Dôme, Cantal, and Haute-Loire. The capital is Clermont-Ferrand. Running ns are the Auvergne Mountains, a scenic chain of extinct volcanoes, whose highest peak is Puy de Sancy, 1886m (6188ft). Area: 26,013sq km (10,047sq mi). Pop. (1999) 1,308,878.

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AuvergneAuvergne, bairn, cairn