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Loire (Department, France)

Last modified: 2009-12-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: loire | rhone-alpes | dolphin (yellow) | forez | dauphin |
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[Flag of Loire]

Flag of Loire - Image by Ivan Sache & Pascal Vagnat, 30 September 2009

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Administrative data

Code: 42
Region: Rhône-Alpes
Traditional province: Lyonnais
Bordering departments: Allier, Ardèche, Isère, Haute-Loire, Puy-de-Dôme, Rhône, Saône-et-Loire

Area: 4,781 km2
Population (2006): 741,269 inhabitants

Préfecture: Saint-Étienne
Sous-préfectures: Montbrison, Roanne
Subdivisions: 3 arrondissements, 40 cantons, 327 communes.

The department is named after river Loire (1,020 km).
The department was created in 1793, when the department of Rhône-et-Loire was divided into Rhône and Loire. Originally established at Feurs, its capital was transferred to Montbrison in 1795 and eventually to Saint-Étienne in 1855.

Ivan Sache, 12 November 2009

Flag of Loire

The flags representing the departments of Region Rhône-Alpes are hoisted, together with the Region's flag, in front of the seat of the Regional Council at Charbonnières-les-Bains, near Lyon, as shown on a photo taken by Pascal Vagnat on 12 February 2006.
The Department of Loire is represented by a red flag with a yellow dolphin. The flag is a banner of the arms De gueules au dauphin d'or ("Gules a dolphin or"), assigned by Robert Louis to the Department of Loire in 1949-1950.
According to Brian Timms, these arms belonged to the second house of the Counts of Forez, founded in 1173 by Guy I, a relative of the Dauphins of Viennois.
There is no evidence, however, of the use of this flag in the Department of Loire.

Forez, the ancient pagus forensis, named for the town of Feurs (and not for its forests), is now split between the Departments of Loire and Haute-Loire.