Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia
Victor Amadeus II was Duke of Savoy from 1675 to 1730. He held the titles of marquis of Saluzzo, duke of Montferrat, prince of Piedmont, count of Aosta and Nice. Louis XIV organised his marriage in order to maintain French influence in the Duchy, but Victor Amadeus soon broke away from the influence of France. At his father's death in 1675, his mother took over a regency in the name of her nine-year-old son and would remain in de facto power till 1684 when Victor Amadeus banished her further involvement in the state. Having fought in the War of the Spanish Succession, he became king of Sicily in 1713, but he was forced to exchange this title and instead became king of Sardinia. Victor Amadeus left a considerable cultural influence in Turin, remodeling the Royal Palace of Turin, Palace of Venaria, Palazzina di caccia of Stupinigi, as well as building the Basilica of Superga where he rests. Victor Amadeus was born in Turin to Charles Emmanuel II, Duke of Savoy and his second wife Marie Jeanne of Savoy.
Named after his paternal grandfather Victor Amadeus I he was their only child. As an infant he was styled as the Prince of Piedmont, traditional title of the heir apparent to the duchy of Savoy. A weak child, his health was monitored; as an infant he had a passion for soldiers and was noted as being intelligent. His father died in June 1675 in Turin at the age of forty after a series of convulsive fevers, his mother was declared Regent of Savoy and, took power. In 1677, during her regency, she tried to arrange a marriage between Victor Amadeus and his first cousin Infanta Isabel Luísa of Portugal, the presumptive heiress of her father, Peter II and Victor Amadeus' aunt, his mother urged him to agree to the marriage, as this would have left Marie Jeanne permanently in control of the Duchy of Savoy as Regent because her son would have had to live in Portugal with his new wife. The duchy would revert to the Kingdom of Portugal at her death. Victor Amadeus refused and a party was formed which refused to recognise his leaving Savoy.
Despite a marriage contract being signed between Portugal and Savoy on 15 May 1679, the marriage between Victor Amadeus and the Infanta came to nothing and was thus cancelled. Other candidates included Maria Antonia of Austria, a Countess Palatine of Neuburg and Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici. Victor Amadeus was keen on the match with Tuscany and negotiations were kept secret from France though the match never happened. Under the influence of Louis XIV and Marie Jeanne, Victor Amadeus was forced to marry a French princess Anne Marie d'Orléans, his mother was keen on the match and had always promoted French interests having been born in Paris a member of a cadet branch of the House of Savoy. He asked for Anne Marie's hand in March 1684, Victor Amadeus, using political allies to gain support to end his mother's grip on power, succeeded in 1684 when she was banished from further influence in the state. A significant event of his mother's regency was the Salt Wars of 1680; these rebellions were caused by the unpopular taxes on salt in all cities in Savoy.
The system had been put in place by Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy in order to raise money for the crown. The annual payment of a tax, in place for over 100 years caused great discontent and rebellion broke out in Mondovì, where the people refused to pay taxes to the emissary of Savoy, Andrea Cantatore di Breo; the unrest caused an army to be sent to stop the unrest in the town, pacified quickly. However, in the town of Montaldo, the unrest was more serious than before. 200 soldiers were killed in warfare. The news of these rebellions soon reached a wider scope and it became clear that soon the whole of Piedmont was on the verge of revolt. Power at this point still being with Victor Amadeus' mother, she ordered representatives of the town of Mondovì to go to Turin to conclude treaties and were cordially welcomed by the young Victor Amadeus, who agreed to the treaties; the event had allowed Victor Amadeus a chance to exert some power. Having succeeded in ending his mother's power in Savoy, Victor Amadeus looked to his oncoming marriage with the youngest child of Philippe I, Duke of Orléans and Henrietta of England.
The contract of marriage between Anne Marie and the Duke of Savoy was signed at Versailles on 9 April. The couple were married in person on 6 May 1684. At the urging of Louis, Victor Amadeus II began a large scale persecution of the Vaudois in 1685; the state had been bankrupted due to various conflicts and a famine in 1679 which had used all last resources. Due to his alliances with England and the Dutch Republic during the Nine Years War, he was forced to cease this practice from 1688, in 1694 granted an Edict of Toleration. However, in 1698 Louis XIV forced him to expel all Protestant immigrants from Savoy in accordance with a treaty of 1696. During this period he became anxious to free himself of domination by Louis, his first sign of independence was his independent visit to Venice in 1687, where he conferred with Prince Eugene of Savoy and others. Louis discovered this and demanded that Victor Amadeus launch another expedition against the Vaudois. Victor Amadeus II undertook sweeping administrative reforms within Savoy.
In 1696 he established a system of intendants, based on the French model, responsible for collecting taxes and law enforcement. In 1697 he began a land survey, completed by 1711, the Perequazione, to examine the
Western Europe is the region comprising the western part of Europe. Though the term Western Europe is used, there is no agreed-upon definition of the countries that it encompasses. Significant historical events that have shaped the concept of Western Europe include the rise of Rome, the adoption of Greek culture during the Roman Republic, the adoption of Christianity by Roman Emperors, the division of the Latin West and Greek East, the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, the reign of Charlemagne, the Viking invasions, the East–West Schism, the Black Death, the Renaissance, the Age of Discovery, the Protestant Reformation as well as the Counter-Reformation of the Catholic Church, the Age of Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the two world wars, the Cold War, the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the expansion of the European Union. Prior to the Roman conquest, a large part of Western Europe had adopted the newly developed La Tène culture; as the Roman domain expanded, a cultural and linguistic division appeared between the Greek-speaking eastern provinces, which had formed the urbanized Hellenistic civilization, the western territories, which in contrast adopted the Latin language.
This cultural and linguistic division was reinforced by the political east-west division of the Roman Empire. The Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire controlled the two divergent regions between the 3rd and the 5th centuries; the division between these two was enhanced during Late antiquity and the Middle Ages by a number of events. The Western Roman Empire collapsed. By contrast, the Eastern Roman Empire known as the Greek or Byzantine Empire and thrived for another 1000 years; the rise of the Carolingian Empire in the west, in particular the Great Schism between Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, enhanced the cultural and religious distinctiveness between Eastern and Western Europe. After the conquest of the Byzantine Empire, center of the Eastern Orthodox Church, by the Muslim Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, the gradual fragmentation of the Holy Roman Empire, the division between Roman Catholic and Protestant became more important in Europe than that with Eastern Orthodoxy.
In East Asia, Western Europe was known as taixi in China and taisei in Japan, which translates as the "Far West". The term Far West became synonymous with Western Europe in China during the Ming dynasty; the Italian Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci was one of the first writers in China to use the Far West as an Asian counterpart to the European concept of the Far East. In Ricci's writings, Ricci referred to himself as "Matteo of the Far West"; the term was still in use in the late early 20th centuries. Christianity is still the largest religion in Western Europe, according to a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center, 71.0% of the Western European population identified themselves as Christians. The East–West Schism, which has lasted since the 11th century, divided Christianity in Europe, the world, into Western Christianity and Eastern Christianity. With certain simplifications, Western Europe is thus Catholic or Protestant and uses the Latin alphabet. Eastern Europe uses the Greek alphabet or Cyrillic script.
According to this definition, Western Europe is formed by countries with dominant Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, including countries which are considered part of Central Europe now: Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom. Eastern Europe, meanwhile is formed by countries with dominant Eastern Orthodox churches, including Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine for instance; the schism is the break of communion and theology between what are now the Eastern and Western churches. This division dominated Europe for centuries, in opposition to the rather short-lived Cold War division of four decades. Since the Great Schism of 1054, Europe has been divided between Roman Catholic and Protestant churches in the West and the Eastern Orthodox Christian churches in the east. Due to this religious cleavage, Eastern Orthodox countries are associated with Eastern Europe. A cleavage of this sort is, however problematic.
During the four decades of the Cold War, the definition of East and West was rather simplified by the existence of the Eastern Bloc. Historians and social scientists view the Cold War definition of Western and Eastern Europe as outdated or relegating. During the final stages of World War II, the future of Europe was decided between the Allies in the 1945 Yalta Conference, between the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, the U. S. President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Premier of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin. Post-war Europe would be divided into two major spheres: the Western Bloc, influenced by the United States, the Eastern Bloc, influenced by the Soviet Union. With the onset of the Cold War, Europe was divided by the Iron Curtain; this term had been used during World War II by German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels and Count Lutz Schwerin von Krosigk in the last days of the war.
Alpes-de-Haute-Provence is a department in Southeastern France, located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. Part of the province of Provence, it had a population of 161,916 in 2013, its main cities are Digne-les-Bains, Sisteron, Barcelonnette and Forcalquier. Inhabitants of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence are called the Bas-Alpins or Bas-Alpines referring to the department of Basses-Alpes, the former name of the department until 1970. Bounded in the east by Italy, the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department is surrounded by the departments of Alpes-Maritimes, Vaucluse, Drôme, Hautes-Alpes, it can be divided into three zones depending on the terrain, climate and economy: the plateaux and valleys of Haute-Provence, which comprise one-third of the area but two thirds of the population and the most important cities of the department with all of the economic activity apart from mountain tourism. The valley of the Durance, the artery of the department, cuts the rest of the department into two halves: the Lower Alps: an intermediate mountain area with valleys and remote villages the High Alps: including the valleys of Ubaye and the high Verdon where the economy is built around mountain tourism.
In the Haute-Ubaye, the mountain peaks exceed 3000 m above sea level and all the passes are close to or above 2000 m in altitude. In this part of the department is one of the highest roads in Europe: the main road D64 reaches an altitude of 2802 m near the Col de la Bonette and connects the region of Barcelonnette to the Tinée and Vésubie valleys; the relief of the land compartmentalises the region: the enclosed valleys are difficult to access so dividing the country into as many local areas which communicate little with the outside. In 1877, 55 communes only had access to trails or mule paths; the seismic hazard is moderate to medium with different faults such as the Durance located in the department. The main cities are Manosque, Digne-les-Bains, Sisteron, Château-Arnoux-Saint-Auban, Forcalquier, Les Mées, Villeneuve, Sainte-Tulle, Gréoux-les-Bains and Castellane; the main river is the Durance. It is in the Durance valley that the most important traffic routes are found: the A51 autoroute and the railway main line.
All of the department is in the watershed of the Durance except for the extreme south-east which are drained by the Var. The main tributaries of the Durance in the department are the Ubaye, the Bléone, the Asse, the Verdon on the left bank, the Buëch, the Jabron, the Largue on the right bank; the Durance and its tributaries have a torrential character, with a transition between the snow regime of the high valleys and the mediterranean rainfall regime in the lower mountains and below. The summer low water levels are severe and violent floods occur when heavy rains fall, in autumn; the Durance, Verdon, Bléone and Buëch have had the construction of several dams and the diversion of parts of the river for irrigation and power generation in the 20th century. The climate of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department is a Mediterranean climate degrading by altitude and latitude. In fact, while in the lower valleys and flat lands of Haute-Provence an inland Mediterranean climate prevails, by contrast in the hills it is more mixed with the valley of the Ubaye characteristic of the inner Alps, with a marked continentality: winters are harsh with stormy summers.
In between, the two influences mingle in the area of the Lower Alps. The characteristics of both climate trends are found throughout the department to a greater or lesser extent: dry air and little fog infrequent rainfall but heavy frequent thunderstorms in the mountains in summer High sunshine hours in all seasons high thermal amplitudes and annual fresh and bright winters hot summers tempered by altitude. Haute-Provence is therefore interesting for European astronomers looking for a cloudy night sky and untouched by light pollution. Many amateur observatories have been built and the Observatoire de Haute-Provence is one of the largest observatories in continental Europe, it is an active astronomy research centre. Alpes-de-Haute-Provence is subdivided into 15 cantons and 198 communes; the population was once evenly distributed in the territory, including in the mountainous areas where mountain agriculture was well developed. From the middle of the 19th century, however, it began to decline due to a strong rural exodus.
There were more than 150,000 inhabitants in 1850 but it fell to less than 100,000 after the First World War. It was not until 1960 that the trend changed upwards quite from less than 90,000 in 1954 to nearly 140,000 in 1999 and 153,000 in 2005. However, if this figure is close to the number of inhabitants the department had 150 years earlier, the distribution and activity of the population are different; the population is now concentrated in the valley of the Durance and the South West of the department, agriculture employs less than before. Services tourism and local services, is now the main industry; the department has never developed: in 1870 there were 27 small mines. According to the general census of the population, 32.8% of available housing in the department are second homes. The department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence is one of the least densely popu
Irrigation is the application of controlled amounts of water to plants at needed intervals. Irrigation helps to grow agricultural crops, maintain landscapes, revegetate disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of less than average rainfall. Irrigation has other uses in crop production, including frost protection, suppressing weed growth in grain fields and preventing soil consolidation. In contrast, agriculture that relies only on direct rainfall is referred to as rain-fed or dry land farming. Irrigation systems are used for cooling livestock, dust suppression, disposal of sewage, in mining. Irrigation is studied together with drainage, the removal of surface and sub-surface water from a given area. Irrigation has been a central feature of agriculture for over 5,000 years and is the product of many cultures, it was the basis for economies and societies across the globe, from Asia to the Southwestern United States. Archaeological investigation has found evidence of irrigation in areas lacking sufficient natural rainfall to support crops for rainfed agriculture.
The earliest known use of the technology dates to the 6th millennium BCE in Khuzistan in the south-west of present-day Iran. Irrigation was used as a means of manipulation of water in the alluvial plains of the Indus valley civilization, the application of it is estimated to have begun around 4500 BC and drastically increased the size and prosperity of their agricultural settlements; the Indus Valley Civilization developed sophisticated irrigation and water-storage systems, including artificial reservoirs at Girnar dated to 3000 BCE, an early canal irrigation system from c. 2600 BCE. Large-scale agriculture was practiced, with an extensive network of canals used for the purpose of irrigation. Farmers in the Mesopotamian plain used irrigation from at least the third millennium BCE, they developed perennial irrigation watering crops throughout the growing season by coaxing water through a matrix of small channels formed in the field. Ancient Egyptians practiced basin irrigation using the flooding of the Nile to inundate land plots, surrounded by dykes.
The flood water remained until the fertile sediment had settled before the engineers returned the surplus to the watercourse. There is evidence of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Amenemhet III in the twelfth dynasty using the natural lake of the Faiyum Oasis as a reservoir to store surpluses of water for use during dry seasons; the lake swelled annually from the flooding of the Nile. The Ancient Nubians developed a form of irrigation by using a waterwheel-like device called a sakia. Irrigation began in Nubia some time between the third and second millennia BCE, it depended upon the flood waters that would flow through the Nile River and other rivers in what is now the Sudan. In sub-Saharan Africa irrigation reached the Niger River region cultures and civilizations by the first or second millennium BCE and was based on wet-season flooding and water harvesting. Evidence of terrace irrigation occurs in pre-Columbian America, early Syria and China. In the Zana Valley of the Andes Mountains in Peru, archaeologists have found remains of three irrigation canals radiocarbon-dated from the 4th millennium BCE, the 3rd millennium BCE and the 9th century CE.
These canals provide the earliest record of irrigation in the New World. Traces of a canal dating from the 5th millennium BCE were found under the 4th-millennium canal. Ancient Persia used irrigation as far back as the 6th millennium BCE to grow barley in areas with insufficient natural rainfall; the Qanats, developed in ancient Persia about 800 BCE, are among the oldest known irrigation methods still in use today. They are now found in the Middle East and North Africa; the system comprises a network of vertical wells and sloping tunnels driven into the sides of cliffs and of steep hills to tap groundwater. The noria, a water wheel with clay pots around the rim powered by the flow of the stream, first came into use at about this time among Roman settlers in North Africa. By 150 BCE the pots were fitted with valves to allow smoother filling as they were forced into the water; the irrigation works of ancient Sri Lanka, the earliest dating from about 300 BCE in the reign of King Pandukabhaya, under continuous development for the next thousand years, were one of the most complex irrigation systems of the ancient world.
In addition to underground canals, the Sinhalese were the first to build artificial reservoirs to store water. These reservoirs and canal systems were used to irrigate paddy fields, which require a lot of water to cultivate. Most of these irrigation systems still exist undamaged up to now, in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, because of the advanced and precise engineering; the system was further extended during the reign of King Parakrama Bahu. The oldest known hydraulic engineers of China were Sunshu Ao of the Spring and Autumn period and Ximen Bao of the Warring States period, both of whom worked on large irrigation projects. In the Sichuan region belonging to the state of Qin of ancient China, the Dujiangyan Irrigation System devised by the Qin Chinese hydrologist and irrigation engineer Li Bing was built in 256 BCE to irrigate a vast area of farmland that today still supplies water. By the 2nd century AD, during the Han Dynasty, the Chinese used chain pumps which lifted water from a lower elevation to a higher one.
These were powered by manual foot-pedal, hydraulic waterwheels, or rotating mechanical wheels pulled by oxen. The water was used for public works, providing water for urban residential quarters and palace gardens, bu
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