Landes (department)

The Landes (French pronunciation: [lɑ̃d]; Gascon: Lanas [ˈlanəs]) is a department in southwestern France and in the south half of the region Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

Landes

Lanas
Prefecture building of the Landes department, in Mont-de-Marsan

Flag

Coat of arms
Location of Landes in France
Coordinates: 44°0′N 0°50′W
CountryFrance
RegionNouvelle-Aquitaine
PrefectureMont-de-Marsan
SubprefecturesDax
Government
  President of the General CouncilHenri Emmanuelli
Area
  Total9,243 km2 (3,569 sq mi)
Population
 (2016)
  Total405,010
  Rank60th
  Density44/km2 (110/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Department number40
Arrondissements2
Cantons15
Communes327
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

History

Landes is one of the original 83 departments that were created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. It was created from parts of the provinces of Guyenne and Gascony.

During the first part of the nineteenth century large parts of the department were covered with poorly drained heathland (lande in French) which is the origin of its name. The vegetation covered rich soil and was periodically burned off, leaving excellent pasturage for sheep, which around 1850 are thought to have numbered between 900,000 and 1,000,000 in this area. The sheep were managed by shepherds who moved around on stilts and became proficient at covering long distances thus supported. Most of the sheep departed during the second half of the nineteenth century when systematic development of large pine plantations transformed the landscape and the local economy.

One of the most famous citizens of the Landes was the nineteenth-century French economist Frederic Bastiat.

The Nobel Prize–winning novelist François Mauriac set his novels in the Landes.

Geography

The Landes is part of the current region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and is surrounded by the departments of Gironde, Lot-et-Garonne, Gers, and Pyrénées-Atlantiques, as well as the Atlantic Ocean on the west. With an area stretching over more than 9000 km², Landes is, after Gironde, the second largest department of the metropolitan French territory.

It is well known for the Côte d'Argent beach which is Europe's longest, and attracts many surfers to Mimizan and Hossegor each year.

It is also home to a château called Château de Gaujacq that was built in 1686.

Demographics

Population development since 1801:

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1801224,272    
1806240,146+1.38%
1821256,311+0.44%
1831281,504+0.94%
1841288,077+0.23%
1851302,196+0.48%
1861300,839−0.04%
1872300,528−0.01%
1881301,143+0.02%
1891297,842−0.11%
1901291,586−0.21%
1911288,902−0.09%
1921263,937−0.90%
1931257,186−0.26%
1936251,436−0.45%
1946248,395−0.12%
1954248,943+0.03%
1962260,495+0.57%
1968277,381+1.05%
1975288,323+0.55%
1982297,424+0.44%
1990311,461+0.58%
1999327,334+0.55%
2006362,827+1.48%
2011387,929+1.35%
2016405,010+0.87%
source:[1]

Politics

The President of the General Council is Xavier Fortinon.

Partyseats
Socialist Party24
French Communist Party2
Union for a Popular Movement2
New Centre1
Miscellaneous Right1

Current National Assembly Representatives

ConstituencyMember[2]Party
Landes's 1st constituency Geneviève Darrieussecq MoDem
Landes's 2nd constituency Lionel Causse La République En Marche!
Landes's 3rd constituency Boris Vallaud Socialist Party

Economics

In terms of agriculture, the Landes is known for its large pine forest which is the raw material for a timber and resin industries in the region. The forest was planted in the early nineteenth century to prevent erosion of the region's sandy soil by the sea.

Tourism

See also

References

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