Meaning of CHARENTE-MARITIME in English

formerly (until 1941) Charente-infrieure, dpartement, Poitou-Charentes rgion, western France, comprising the ancient provinces of Saintonge (in part) and Aunis and a small portion of Poitou. It extends along the Bay of Biscay from the Gironde Estuary to the Svre Nantaise River on the borders of Vende and is bounded inland by Deux-Svres, Dordogne, and Charente dpartements. Charente-Maritime (which includes the offshore islands Olron, R, Aix, and Madame) has an area of 2,650 square miles (6,864 square km) and is drained southeast-northwest by the Charente River to the Bay of Biscay. Oyster culture is carried on in some coastal areas (especially Marennes); but Charente-Maritime is chiefly agricultural, growing cereals, fodder crops, and grapes. Cattle raising and dairying are important, especially on the drained lands of the Poitevin swampland. The coast alternates between scarps and sandy beaches, but it is also muddy. There are sandy beaches along the estuary of the Gironde, where Royan is a tourist centre. La Rochelle (capital of the dpartement), Rochefort, Saintes, Saint-Jean-d'Angly, and Jonzac give their names to the five arrondissements, and the dpartement forms the diocese of La Rochelle. Its court of appeal is at Poitiers. Pop. (1990 prelim.) 526,200.

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