Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 18 regions of France. It is located southeast of the French mainland and west of the Italian Peninsula, with the nearest land mass being the Italian island of Sardinia to the immediate south. A single chain of mountains makes up two-thirds of the island. While being part of Metropolitan France, Corsica is designated as a territorial collectivity by law; as a territorial collectivity, Corsica enjoys a greater degree of autonomy than other French regions. The island formed a single department until it was split in 1975 into two historical departments: Haute-Corse and Corse-du-Sud, with its regional capital in Ajaccio, the prefecture city of Corse-du-Sud. Bastia, the prefecture city of Haute-Corse, is the second largest settlement in Corsica; the two departments, the region of Corsica, merged again into a single territorial collectivity in 2018. After being ruled by the Republic of Genoa since 1284, Corsica was an Italian-speaking independent republic from 1755, until it was ceded by the Republic of Genoa to Louis XV as part of a pledge for debts and conquered in 1769.
Napoleon Bonaparte was born the same year in Ajaccio, his ancestral home, Maison Bonaparte, is today a significant visitor attraction and museum. Due to Corsica's historical ties with the Italian peninsula, the island retains to this day many Italian cultural elements: the native tongue is recognized as a regional language by the French government; the origin of the name Corsica remains a mystery. To the Ancient Greeks it was known as Kalliste, Cyrnos, Cernealis, or Cirné. Of these Cyrnos, Cernealis, or Cirné derive from the most ancient Greek name of the island, "Σειρηνούσσαι", the same Sirens mentioned in Homer's Odyssey. Corsica has been occupied continuously since the Mesolithic era, it acquired an indigenous population, influential in the Mediterranean during its long prehistory. After a brief occupation by the Carthaginians, colonization by the ancient Greeks, an only longer occupation by the Etruscans, it was incorporated by the Roman Republic at the end of the First Punic War and, with Sardinia, in 238 BC became a province of the Roman Republic.
The Romans, who built a colony in Aléria, considered Corsica as one of the most backward regions of the Roman world. The island produced sheep, honey and wax, exported many slaves, not well considered because of their fierce and rebellious character. Moreover, it was known for its cheap wines, exported to Rome, was used as a place of relegation, one of the most famous exiles being the Roman philosopher Seneca. Administratively, the island was divided in pagi, which in the Middle Ages became the pievi, the basic administrative units of the island until 1768. During the diffusion of Christianity, which arrived quite early from Rome and the Tuscan harbors, Corsica was home to many martyrs and saints: among them, the most important are Saint Devota and Saint Julia, both patrons of the island. Corsica was integrated into Roman Italy by Emperor Diocletian. In the 5th century, the western half of the Roman Empire collapsed, the island was invaded by the Vandals and the Ostrogoths. Recovered by the Byzantines, it soon became part of the Kingdom of the Lombards.
This made it a dependency of the March of Tuscany. Pepin the Short, king of the Franks and Charlemagne's father, expelled the Lombards and nominally granted Corsica to Pope Stephen II. In the first quarter of the 11th century and Genoa together freed the island from the threat of Arab invasion. After that, the island came under the influence of the republic of Pisa. To this period belong the many polychrome churches which adorn the island, Corsica experienced a massive immigration from Tuscany, which gave to the island its present toponymy and rendered the language spoken in the northern two-thirds of the island close to the Tuscan dialect. Due to that began the traditional division of Corsica in two parts, along the main chain of mountains going from Calvi to Porto-Vecchio: the eastern Banda di dentro, or Cismonte, more populated and open to the commerce with Italy, the western Banda di fuori, or Pomonte deserted and remote; the crushing defeat experienced by Pisa in 1284 in the Battle of Meloria against Genoa had among its consequences the end of the Pisan rule and the beginning of the Genoese influence in Corsica: this was contested by the King of Aragon, who in 1296 had received from the Pope the investiture over Sardinia and Corsica.
A popular revolution against this and the feudal lords, led by Sambucuccio d'Alando, got the aid of Genoa. After that, the Cismonte was ruled after the Italian experience; the following 150 years were a period of conflict, when the Genoese rule was contested by Aragon, the local lords, the comuni and the Pope: in 1450 Genoa ceded the administration of the island to its main bank, the Bank of Saint George, which brought peace. In the 16th century, the island entered into the fight between Spain and France for the supremacy in Italy. In 1553, a Franco-Ottoman fleet occupied Corsica, but the reaction of Spain and Genoa, led by Andrea Doria, reestablished the Genoese supremacy on the island, confirmed by the Peace of Cateau-Cambresis; the unlucky protagonist of this episode was Sampiero di Bastelica, who would come to be considered a hero of t
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina. The city is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the South American continent's southeastern coast. "Buenos Aires" can be translated as "fair winds" or "good airs", but the former was the meaning intended by the founders in the 16th century, by the use of the original name "Real de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre". The Greater Buenos Aires conurbation, which includes several Buenos Aires Province districts, constitutes the fourth-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas, with a population of around 15.6 million. The city of Buenos Aires is the Province's capital. In 1880, after decades of political infighting, Buenos Aires was federalized and removed from Buenos Aires Province; the city limits were enlarged to include the towns of Flores. The 1994 constitutional amendment granted the city autonomy, hence its formal name: Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, its citizens first elected a chief of government in 1996.
Buenos Aires is considered an'alpha city' by the study GaWC5. Buenos Aires' quality of life was ranked 91st in the world, being one of the best in Latin America in 2018, it is the most visited city in South America, the second-most visited city of Latin America. Buenos Aires is a top tourist destination, is known for its preserved Eclectic European architecture and rich cultural life. Buenos Aires held the 1st Pan American Games in 1951 as well as hosting two venues in the 1978 FIFA World Cup. Buenos Aires hosted the 2018 the 2018 G20 summit. Buenos Aires is a multicultural city, being home to multiple religious groups. Several languages are spoken in the city in addition to Spanish, contributing to its culture and the dialect spoken in the city and in some other parts of the country; this is because in the last 150 years the city, the country in general, has been a major recipient of millions of immigrants from all over the world, making it a melting pot where several ethnic groups live together and being considered one of the most diverse cities of the Americas.
It is recorded under the archives of Aragonese that Catalan missionaries and Jesuits arriving in Cagliari under the Crown of Aragon, after its capture from the Pisans in 1324 established their headquarters on top of a hill that overlooked the city. The hill was known to them as Bonaira, as it was free of the foul smell prevalent in the old city, adjacent to swampland. During the siege of Cagliari, the Catalans built a sanctuary to the Virgin Mary on top of the hill. In 1335, King Alfonso the Gentle donated the church to the Mercedarians, who built an abbey that stands to this day. In the years after that, a story circulated, claiming that a statue of the Virgin Mary was retrieved from the sea after it miraculously helped to calm a storm in the Mediterranean Sea; the statue was placed in the abbey. Spanish sailors Andalusians, venerated this image and invoked the "Fair Winds" to aid them in their navigation and prevent shipwrecks. A sanctuary to the Virgin of Buen Ayre would be erected in Seville.
In the first foundation of Buenos Aires, Spanish sailors arrived thankfully in the Río de la Plata by the blessings of the "Santa Maria de los Buenos Aires", the "Holy Virgin Mary of the Good Winds", said to have given them the good winds to reach the coast of what is today the modern city of Buenos Aires. Pedro de Mendoza called the city "Holy Mary of the Fair Winds", a name suggested by the chaplain of Mendoza's expedition – a devotee of the Virgin of Buen Ayre – after the Sardinian Madonna de Bonaria. Mendoza's settlement soon came under attack by indigenous people, was abandoned in 1541. For many years, the name was attributed to a Sancho del Campo, said to have exclaimed: How fair are the winds of this land!, as he arrived. But Eduardo Madero, in 1882 after conducting extensive research in Spanish archives concluded that the name was indeed linked with the devotion of the sailors to Our Lady of Buen Ayre. A second settlement was established in 1580 by Juan de Garay, who sailed down the Paraná River from Asunción.
Garay preserved the name chosen by Mendoza, calling the city Ciudad de la Santísima Trinidad y Puerto de Santa María del Buen Aire. The short form "Buenos Aires" became the common usage during the 17th century; the usual abbreviation for Buenos Aires in Spanish is Bs. As, it is common as well to refer to it as "B. A." or "BA". While "BA" is used more by expats residing in the city, the locals more use the abbreviation "Baires", in one word. Seaman Juan Díaz de Solís, navigating in the name of Spain, was the first European to reach the Río de la Plata in 1516, his expedition was cut short when he was killed during an attack by the native Charrúa tribe in what is now Uruguay. The city of Buenos Aires was first established as Ciudad de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre after Our Lady of Bonaria on 2 February 1536 by a Spanish expedition led by Pedro de Mendoza; the settlement founded by Mendoza was located in what is today the San Telmo district of Buenos Aires, south of the city centre. More attacks by the indigenous
Guadeloupe is an insular region of France located in the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. Administratively, it is an overseas region consisting of a single overseas department. With a land area of 1,628 square kilometres and an estimated population of 400,132 as of January 2015, it is the largest and most populous European Union territory in North America. Guadeloupe's main islands are Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, La Désirade, the Îles des Saintes. Guadeloupe, like the other overseas departments, is an integral part of France; as a constituent territory of the European Union and the Eurozone, the euro is its official currency and any European Union citizen is free to settle and work there indefinitely. As an overseas department, however, it is not part of the Schengen Area; the official language is French, but Antillean Creole is spoken by the entire population except recent arrivals from metropolitan France. The island is called "Gwadada" by the locals.
The island was called "Karukera" by the Arawak people, who settled on there in the year 300. Christopher Columbus named the island Santa María de Guadalupe in 1493 after the Virgin Mary, venerated in the Spanish town of Guadalupe. Upon becoming a French colony, the Spanish name was retained though altered to French orthography and phonology. Archaeological evidence indicates that between 800 and 1000 AD drought led to a period with no habitation. Gradual resettlement occurred after 1000 AD. Christopher Columbus landed on the island in 1493. During the 17th century, the Caribs repelled Spanish settlers; the French Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique delegated Charles Liènard de l'Olive and Jean du Plessis d'Ossonville to colonize one or any of the region's islands, Martinique, or Dominica. They settled in Guadeloupe in 1635, took possession of the island, wiped out many of the natives crushing them in 1641. Tobacco cultivation in the early 1600s was sustained by European laborers. In 1654 80% of the population of Guadeloupe was of European origin.
In the 1600s African slaves were brought in, by 1671 13%. Of the population was of European origin. Guadeloupe produced more sugar than all the British islands combined, worth about £6 million a year; the British captured Guadeloupe in 1759. Britain had seized Canada in the war, debate took place in both Britain and France as to, more valuable, Canada or Guadeloupe. Britain decided Canada, although expensive to maintain, was of greater strategic value and returned Guadeloupe to France in the Treaty of Paris. In 1790, following the French Revolution, monarchists refused to obey the new laws of equal rights for the free people of color and declared independence in 1791. In 1793, a slave rebellion broke out, which made the upper classes turn to the British and ask them to occupy the island. Britain seized Guadeloupe in April 1794. In December 1794, republican governor Victor Hugues used military force, helped by the slave population, to force the British to surrender. Hugues ended slavery, but in 1802, Napoleon I of France restored it, sending a force to recapture the island.
In 1810 the British again seized the island. In the Treaty of Paris of 1814, Sweden ceded Guadeloupe to France, giving rise to the Guadeloupe Fund; the Treaty of Vienna definitively acknowledged French control of Guadeloupe. In 1848, slavery was abolished. Slaves were replaced by indentured servants imported from India to work in the sugar fields. An earthquake in 1843 caused the La Soufrière volcano to erupt. Guadeloupe lost 12,000 of its 150,000 residents in the cholera epidemic of 1865–66. In 1925, after the trial of Henry Sidambarom French nationality and the vote was granted to Indian citizens. In 1946, the colony of Guadeloupe became an overseas department of France. In 2007 the island communes of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy were detached from Guadeloupe and became two separate French overseas collectivities with their own local administration. In January 2009, labour unions and others known as the Liyannaj Kont Pwofitasyon went on strike for more pay; the strike lasted 44 days. Tourism suffered during this time and affected the 2010 tourist season as well.
The 2009 French Caribbean general strikes exposed deep ethnic and class tensions and disparities within Guadeloupe. Guadeloupe is an archipelago of more than 12 islands, as well as islets and rocks situated where the northeastern Caribbean Sea meets the western Atlantic Ocean, it is in the Leeward Islands, in the northern part of the Lesser Antilles, an island arc a volcanic arc. Most of the inhabitants live on a pair of islands, Basse-Terre Island and Grande-Terre, which form a butterfly shape, viewed from above, the two wings of which are separated by a narrow sea channel, the Salée River. More than half of Guadeloupe's land surface is on Basse-Terre. Western Basse-Terre has a rough volcanic relief while eastern Grande-Terre features rolling hills and flat plains. La Grande Soufrière is the highest mountain peak in the Lesser Antilles, with an elevation of 1,467 metres; the adjacent islands of La Désirade, Les Saintes, Marie-Galante are under jurisdiction of Guadeloupe. The Lesser Antilles are at the outer edge of the Caribbean Plate.
Many of the islands were formed as a result of the subduction of oceanic crust of the Atlantic Plate under the Caribbean Plate in the Lesser Antilles subduction zone. This process is responsible for volcanic and earthquake activity in the region. Guadeloupe was formed from multiple volcanoes. There is an act
Municipalities of Brazil
The municipalities of Brazil are administrative divisions of the Brazilian states. At present, Brazil has 5,570 municipalities, making the average municipality population 34,361; the average state in Brazil has 214 municipalities. Roraima is the least subdivided state, with 15 municipalities, while Minas Gerais is the most subdivided state, with 853; the Federal District cannot be divided into municipalities, according to the Brazilian Constitution, the Federal District assumes the same constitutional and legal powers and obligations of the states and municipalities, instead, it is divided by administrative regions. The 1988 Brazilian Constitution treats the municipalities as parts of the Federation and not dependent subdivisions of the states; each municipality has an autonomous local government, comprising a mayor and a legislative body called municipal chamber. Both the local government and the legislative body are directly elected by the population every four years; these elections take place at the same time all over the country.
Each municipality has the constitutional power to approve its own laws, as well as collecting taxes and receiving funds from the state and federal governments. However, municipal governments have no judicial power, courts are only organised at the state or federal level. A subdivision of the state judiciary, or comarca, can either correspond to an individual municipality or encompass several municipalities; the seat of the municipal administration is a nominated city, with no specification in the law about the minimum population, area or facilities. The city always has the same name as the municipality. Municipalities can be subdivided, only for administrative purposes, into districts. Other populated sites with no legal effect or regulation. All municipalities are subdivided into neighbourhoods, although most municipalities do not define their neighbourhood limits. Municipalities can be split or merged to form new municipalities within the borders of the state, if the population of the involved municipalities expresses a desire to do so in a plebiscite.
However, these must abide by the Brazilian Constitution, forming exclaves or seceding from the state or union is expressly forbidden. Municipalities of Acre Municipalities of Alagoas Municipalities of Amapá Municipalities of Amazonas Municipalities of Bahia Municipalities of Ceará Municipalities of Espírito Santo Municipalities of Goiás Municipalities of Maranhão Municipalities of Mato Grosso Municipalities of Mato Grosso do Sul Municipalities of Minas Gerais Municipalities of Pará Municipalities of Paraíba Municipalities of Paraná Municipalities of Pernambuco Municipalities of Piauí Municipalities of Rio de Janeiro Municipalities of Rio Grande do Norte Municipalities of Rio Grande do Sul Municipalities of Rondônia Municipalities of Roraima Municipalities of Santa Catarina Municipalities of São Paulo Municipalities of Sergipe Municipalities of Tocantins Lists of cities List of largest cities in Brazil List of municipalities of Brazil Administrative region Map on the World Gazetteer at Archive.today Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics
Administrative divisions of France
The administrative divisions of France are concerned with the institutional and territorial organization of French territory. These territories are located in many parts of the world. There are many administrative divisions, which may have political, electoral, or administrative objectives. All the inhabited territories are represented in the National Assembly and Economic and Social Council and their citizens have French citizenship; the French republic is divided into 18 regions: 12 in 6 elsewhere. They are traditionally divided between the Metropolitan regions, located on the European continent, the Overseas regions, located outside the European continent. Both form the most integrated part of the French Republic; as of 1 January 2016, metropolitan France is divided into the following: 13 regions, including Corsica. The regions are subdivided into 96 departments; the departments are subdivided into 322 arrondissements. The arrondissements are subdivided into 1,995 cantons; the cantons are subdivided into 36,529 communes.
Three urban communes are further divided into municipal arrondissements. There are 20 arrondissements of Paris, 16 arrondissements of Marseille, 9 arrondissements of Lyon; the city of Marseille is divided into 8 municipal sectors. Each sector is composed of two arrondissements. There are 710 associated communes independent communes which were merged with larger communes but have retained some limited degree of autonomy. Furthermore, as of January 2009, there exist 2,585 intercommunal structures grouping 34,077 communes, with 87.4% of the population of metropolitan France living in them. These intercommunal structures are: 16 Urban communities 167 Agglomeration communities 2,397 Commune communities 5 Syndicates of New Agglomeration, a category being phased out Five Overseas Regions, which have the same status as metropolitan regions; the Overseas Regions are following: Martinique Guadeloupe French Guiana Réunion MayotteEach overseas region is coextensive with an overseas department, again with the same status as departments in metropolitan France.
The first four overseas departments were created in 1946 and preceded the four overseas regions, Mayotte became a DOM in 2011. The dual structure overseas region/overseas department, with two separate assemblies administering the same territory, results from the extension of the regional scheme to the overseas departments in the 1970s; each overseas region/department may transform into a single structure, with the merger of the regional and departmental assemblies, but voters in Martinique and Guadeloupe rejected this in two referendums in 2003. In Réunion the creation of a second department for the southern part of the island has been debated for some time; the overseas departments are subdivided into 12 arrondissements. The 12 arrondissements are further subdivided into 153 cantons with Mayotte having another 19 cantons The 172 cantons are composed of 129 communes. Furthermore, as of 1 January 2009, there exist 16 intercommunal structures in the overseas departments, grouping 89 communes, with 83.2% of the population of the overseas departments living in them intercommunal structures.
These intercommunal structures are: 7 Agglomeration communities 9 Commune communities The French Republic includes five overseas collectivities with a semi-autonomous status: Saint-Martin Saint-Barthélemy Saint-Pierre and Miquelon French Polynesia Wallis and FutunaSaint-Martin is a new overseas collectivity created on 22 February 2007. It was previously a commune inside the Guadeloupe department; the commune structure was abolished and Saint-Martin is now one of only three permanently inhabited territories of the French Republic with no commune structure. There are no cantons or arrondissements. Saint-Barthélemy is a new overseas collectivity created on 22 February 2007, it was a commune inside the Guadeloupe department. The commune structure was abolished and Saint-Barthélemy is now one of only three permanently inhabited territories of the French Republic with no commune structure. There are no arrondissements either. Saint-Pierre and Miquelon is divided into 2 communes with no cantons. French Polynesia (designate
Mayotte is an overseas department and region of France named the Department of Mayotte. It consists of a main island, Grande-Terre, a smaller island, Petite-Terre, several islets around these two. Mayotte is part of the Comoros archipelago, located in the northern Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Southeast Africa, between northwestern Madagascar and northeastern Mozambique; the department status of Mayotte is recent and the region remains, by a significant margin, the poorest in France. Mayotte is much more prosperous than the other countries of the Mozambique Channel, making it a major destination for illegal immigration. Mayotte's area is 374 square kilometres and, with its 270,372 people according to January 2019 official estimates, is densely populated at 723 per km2; the biggest city and prefecture is Mamoudzou on Grande-Terre. However, the Dzaoudzi–Pamandzi International Airport is located on the neighbouring island of Petite-Terre; the territory is known as Maore, the native name of its main island by advocates of its inclusion in the Union of the Comoros.
Although, as a department, Mayotte is now an integral part of France, the majority of the inhabitants do not speak French as a first language, but a majority of the people 14 years and older report in the census that they can speak French. The language of the majority is Shimaore, a Sabaki language related to the varieties in the neighbouring Comoros islands; the second most spoken native language is Kibushi, a Malagasy language, of which there are two varieties, Kibushi Kisakalava, most related to the Sakalava dialect of Malagasy, Kibushi Kiantalaotra. Both have been influenced by Shimaore; the vast majority of the population is Muslim. The island was populated from neighbouring East Africa with arrival of Arabs, who brought Islam. A sultanate was established in 1500. In the 19th century, Mayotte was conquered by Andriantsoly, former king of Iboina on Madagascar, by the neighbouring islands Mohéli and Anjouan before being purchased by France in 1841; the people of Mayotte voted to remain politically a part of France in the 1974 referendum on the independence of the Comoros.
Mayotte became an overseas department on 31 March 2011 and became an outermost region of the European Union on 1 January 2014, following a 2009 referendum with an overwhelming result in favour of the department status. The term Mayotte may refer to all of the department's islands, of which the largest is known as Maore and includes Maore's surrounding islands, most notably Pamanzi, or only to the largest island; the main island, Grande-Terre, geologically the oldest of the Comoro Islands, is 39 kilometres long and 22 kilometres wide, its highest point is Mount Benara, at 660 metres above sea level. Because of the volcanic rock, the soil is rich in some areas. A coral reef encircling much of the island ensures a habitat for fish. Dzaoudzi was the capital of Mayotte until 1977, when the capital relocated at Mamoudzou on the main island of Grande-Terre, it is situated on Petite-Terre, which at 10 square kilometres is the largest of several islets adjacent to Maore. The area of the lagoon behind the reef is 1,500 square kilometres,reaching a maximum depth of about 80m.
It is described as "the largest barrier-reef-lagoon complex within the southwestern Indian Ocean". Main article: Geology of Mayotte Mayotte is a volcanic island rising steeply from the bed of the ocean to a height of 660 metres on Mont Bénara. Two volcanic centres are reported, a southern one (Pic Chongui, 594 metres, with a breached crater to the NW, a northern centre with a breached crater to the south-east. Mont Bénara is on the curving ridge between these two peaks at the contact point of the two structures. Volcanic activity started about 7.7 million years ago in the south, ceasing about 2.7 million years ago. In the north, activity started about 4.7 million years ago and lasted until about 1.4 million years ago. Both centres had several phases of activity; the November 11 2018 seismic event occurred about 15 miles off the coast of Mayotte. It was recorded by seismograms in many place including Kenya, New Zealand and Hawaii located 11,000 miles away; the seismic waves lasted for over 20 minutes but despite this, no one felt it.
The exact nature of the forces behind this swarm remain unclear at this time. The French government geological agency, the BRGM are maintaining a website on the events at this link; the leading theory is about magma emplacement into the seabed and a partial collase of the magma chamber's roof, but, still under debate. A set of seabed seismic recorders was put into the ocean in February 2019, for retrieval in about September that year, which should give better earthquake locations and directional "solutions". Mayotte is surrounded by a typical tropical coral reef, it consists in a large outer barrier reef, enclosing one of the world's largest and deepest lagoons, followed by a fringing reef, interrupted by many mangroves. All Mayotte waters are ruled by a National marine Park, many places are natural reserves. In 1500, the Maore or Mawuti (contraction of the Arabic جزيرة الموت Jazīrat al-Mawt – meaning isl
Departments of France
In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government below the national level, between the administrative regions and the commune. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, five are overseas departments, which are classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; each department is administered by an elected body called a departmental council. From 1800 to April 2015, these were called general councils; each council has a president. Their main areas of responsibility include the management of a number of social and welfare allowances, of junior high school buildings and technical staff, local roads and school and rural buses, a contribution to municipal infrastructures. Local services of the state administration are traditionally organised at departmental level, where the prefect represents the government; the departments were created in 1790 as a rational replacement of Ancien Régime provinces with a view to strengthen national unity.
All of them were named after physical geographical features, rather than after historical or cultural territories which could have their own loyalties. The division of France into departments was a project identified with the French revolutionary leader the Abbé Sieyès, although it had been discussed and written about by many politicians and thinkers; the earliest known suggestion of it is from 1764 in the writings of d'Argenson. They have inspired similar divisions in some of them former French colonies. Most French departments are assigned a two-digit number, the "Official Geographical Code", allocated by the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques. Overseas departments have a three-digit number; the number is used, for example, in the postal code, was until used for all vehicle registration plates. While residents use the numbers to refer to their own department or a neighbouring one, more distant departments are referred to by their names, as few people know the numbers of all the departments.
For example, inhabitants of Loiret might refer to their department as "the 45". In 2014, President François Hollande proposed to abolish departmental councils by 2020, which would have maintained the departments as administrative divisions, to transfer their powers to other levels of governance; this reform project has since been abandoned. The first French territorial departments were proposed in 1665 by Marc-René d'Argenson to serve as administrative areas purely for the Ponts et Chaussées infrastructure administration. Before the French Revolution, France gained territory through the annexation of a mosaic of independent entities. By the close of the Ancien Régime, it was organised into provinces. During the period of the Revolution, these were dissolved in order to weaken old loyalties; the modern departments, as all-purpose units of the government, were created on 4 March 1790 by the National Constituent Assembly to replace the provinces with what the Assembly deemed a more rational structure.
Their boundaries served two purposes: Boundaries were chosen to break up France's historical regions in an attempt to erase cultural differences and build a more homogeneous nation. Boundaries were set so that every settlement in the country was within a day's ride of the capital of a department; this was a security measure, intended to keep the entire national territory under close control. This measure was directly inspired by the Great Terror, during which the government had lost control of many rural areas far from any centre of government; the old nomenclature was avoided in naming the new departments. Most were named after other physical features. Paris was in the department of Seine. Savoy became the department of Mont-Blanc; the number of departments 83, had been increased to 130 by 1809 with the territorial gains of the Republic and of the First French Empire. Following Napoleon's defeats in 1814–1815, the Congress of Vienna returned France to its pre-war size and the number of departments was reduced to 86.
In 1860, France acquired the County of Nice and Savoy, which led to the creation of three new departments. Two were added from the new Savoyard territory, while the department of Alpes-Maritimes was created from Nice and a portion of the Var department; the 89 departments were given numbers based on the alphabetical order of their names. The department of Bas-Rhin and parts of Meurthe, Moselle and Haut-Rhin were ceded to the German Empire in 1871, following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. A small part of Haut-Rhin became known as the Territoire de Belfort; when France regained the ceded departments after World War I, the Territoire de Belfort was not re-integrated into Haut-Rhin. In 1922, it became France's 90th department; the Lorraine departments were not changed back to their original boundaries, a new Moselle department was created in the regaine