Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (Occitan: Aups d'Auta Provença) is a French department in the south of France, it was formerly part of the province of Provence.
Nord-de-Provence was one of the 83 original departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was renamed Haute-Provence and Basses-Alpes.
On December 8, 1793, the department of Vaucluse was created from parts of the departments of Bouches-du-Rhône, Drôme, and Basses-Alpes.
On April 13, 1970, the department of Basses-Alpes was renamed Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.
Alpes-de-Haute-Provence is a mountainous region with peaks over 8,000 feet (2,400 m). The climate is very dry and arid but irrigation allows for a prosperous fruit-growing industry.
It is surrounded by the French departments of Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Var, Vaucluse, and Drôme, as well as Italy.
Rivers include: Durance, Verdon, Bléone, Ubaye, Var, Buëch, Jabron, Largue.
Arrondissements and cantons
Alpes-de-Haute-Provence is subdivided into 4 arrondissements, 30 cantons and 200 communes.
See also: Communes of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department
Inhabitants of this department are called Bas-Alpins.
The population was once distributed fairly evenly across the department, both in the mountainous regions and the agricultural ones. However, near the end of the 19th century it markedly decreased due to rural exodus to the cities. It fell from about 150,000 to below 100,000 after World War I. It was not until 1960, that the population began to grow again, from 84,335 in 1968 to 139,561 in 1999. However, although the population figures are about what they were before, the distribution is very different. The population is now centered around the larger towns, Manosque and Digne-les-Bains, and the mountainous regions are very sparsely populated.
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