1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Jura (department)
JURA, a department of France, on the eastern frontier, formed from the southern portion of the old province of Franche-Comté. It is bounded N by the department of Haute-Saône, N.E. by Doubs, E. by Switzerland, S. by Ain, and W. by Saône-et-Loire and Côte d’Or. Pop. (1906), 257,725. Area, 1951 sq. m. Jura comprises four distinct zones with a general direction from north to south. In the S.E. lie high eastern chains of the central Jura, containing the Crêt Pela (4915 ft.), the highest point in the department. More to the west there is a chain of forest-clad plateaus bordered on the E. by the river Ain. Westward of these runs a range of hills, the slopes of which are covered with vineyards. The north-west region of the department is occupied by a plain which includes the fertile Finage, the northern portion of the Bresse, and is traversed by the Doubs and its left affluent the Loue, between which lies the fine forest of Chaux, 76 sq. m. in area. Jura falls almost wholly within the basin of the Rhone. Besides those mentioned, the chief rivers are the Valouze and the Bienne, which water the south of the department. There are several lakes, the largest of which is that of Chalin, about 12 m. E. of Lons-le-Saunier. The climate is, on the whole, cold; the temperature is subject to sudden and violent changes, and among the mountains winter sometimes lingers for eight months. The rainfall is much above the average of France.
Jura is an agricultural department: wheat, oats, maize and barley are the chief cereals, the culture of potatoes and rape being also of importance. Vines are grown mainly in the cantons of Arbois, Poligny, Salins and Voiteur. Woodlands occupy about a fifth of the area: the oak, hornbeam and beech, and, in the mountains, the spruce and fir, are the principal varieties. Natural pasture is abundant on the mountains. Forests, gorges, torrents and cascades are characteristic features of the scenery. Its minerals include iron and salt and there are stone-quarries. Peat is also worked. Lons-le-Saunier and Salins have mineral springs. Industries include the manufacture of Gruyère, Septmoncel and other cheeses (made in co-operative cheese factories or fruitières), metal founding and forging, saw-milling, flour-milling, the cutting of precious stones (at Septmoncel and elsewhere), the manufacture of nails, tools and other iron goods, paper, leather, brier-pipes, toys and fancy wooden-ware and basket-work. The making of clocks, watches, spectacles and measures, which are largely exported, employs much labour in and around Morez. Imports consist of grain, cattle, wine, leaf-copper, horn, ivory, fancy-wood; exports of manufactured articles, wine, cheese, stone, timber and salt. The department is served chiefly by the Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée railway, the main line from Paris to Neuchâtel traversing its northern region. The canal from the Rhone to the Rhine, which utilizes the channel of the Doubs over portions of its course, traverses it for 25 m. Lons-le-Saunier is the chief town of Jura, which embraces four arrondissements named after the towns of Lons-le-Saunier, Dôle, Poligny and St Claude, with 32 cantons and 584 communes. The department forms the diocese of St Claude and part of the ecclesiastical province of Besançon; it comes within the region of the VIIth army corps and the educational circumscription (académie) of Besançon, where is its court of appeal. Lons-le-Saunier, Dôle, Arbois, Poligny, St Claude and Salins, the more noteworthy towns, receive separate notices. At Baume-les-Messieurs, 8 m. N.E. of Lons-le-Saunier, there is an ancient abbey with a fine church of the 12th century.
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