Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Aveyron

AVEYRON, a department in the S. of France, bounded on the N. by Cantal, E. by Lozere, S. by He rault and Tarn, and W. by Tarn et-Garonne and Lot, containing an area of 3429 square miles. It corresponds to a large por tion of the ancient district of Rouergue in Guienne, which formerly gave its name to a family of counts. Its earliest inhabitants known to us were the Rutheni, whose capital

  • was Segodunum, identified with the modern Rodez. The

department is rich in prehistoric antiquities, such as the dolmens at Taurines, Laumieres, Grailhe, &c. (see paper by M. E. Cartailhac in Norwich vol. of Internat. Cong, of Prehist. Arch., 1868). A large portion of Aveyron is occupied by offshoots of the Cevennes, the highest summit beiug Cham-de-la-Roche, 4350 feet above the level of the sea. About half the area is under cultivation, nearly one-fourth ia heath, one-tenth woods and forests, and rather more than an eighth part meadow land. Vineyards -occupy about one-twelfth part of the cultivated land. The department has mines of copper, lead, silver, iron, zinc, alum, and antimony, and extensive coal-fields of great value. Rather more than three-fourths of the inhabitants are engaged in agricultural pursuits of one kind or another, mainly in the rearing of cattle, sheep, and swine ; and there are manufactures of paper, woollen and cotton goods, silk, and leather, to which water-power is skilfully applied. Aveyron exports chestnuts, almonds, hemp, wool, wax, the famous Roquefort cheese, timber, and cattle. Among the numerous men of mark belonging to the department may be mentioned Jean de la Valette, the defender of Malta, Raynal, Bonald, and Louis Blanc. The capital is Rodez, and the arrondissements are Rodez, Espalion, Milhau, Saint- Affrique, and Villefranche. Popu lation in 1872, 402,474. For investigations into the races represented in the department see Bulletins de la Soc. d Anthrop. vol. iv.