Normandy

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Normandy (French: Normandie, Norman: Nourmaundie, from Old French Normanz, plural of Normand, originally from the word for "northman" in several Scandinavian languages)[1] is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is situated along the English Channel coast of Northern France between Brittany (to the west) and Picardy (to the east) and comprises territory in northern France and the Channel Islands. The continental territory covers 30,627 km²[2] and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions: Basse-Normandie and Haute-Normandie. The Channel Islands (referred to as Îles Anglo-Normandes in French) covers 194 km²[3] and comprise two bailiwicks: Guernsey and Jersey, which are British Crown dependencies.

Upper Normandy (Haute-Normandie) consists of the French départements of Seine-Maritime and Eure, and Lower Normandy (Basse-Normandie) of the départements of Orne, Calvados, and Manche. The former province of Normandy comprised present-day Upper and Lower Normandy, as well as small areas now part of the départements of Eure-et-Loir, Mayenne, and Sarthe. The name of Normandy is derived from the settlement of the territory by Vikings ("Northmen") from the 9th century, and confirmed by treaty in the 10th century. For a century and a half following the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, Normandy and England were linked by Norman and Frankish rulers.

During the Battle of Normandy in World War II, Normandy became the landing site for the invasion and liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany. This is recognised as the start for the war in Western Europe.

The population of Normandy is around 3.45 million. The continental population of 3.26 million accounts for 5.5% of the population of France (in 2005).

Basse-Normandie is predominantly agricultural in character, with cattle breeding the most important sector (although in decline from the peak levels of the 1970s and 1980s). The bocage is a patchwork of small fields with high hedges, typical of western areas. Haute-Normandie contains a higher concentration of industry. Normandy is a significant cider-producing region, and also produces calvados, a distilled cider or apple brandy. Other activities of economic importance are dairy produce, flax (60% of production in France), horse breeding (including two French national stud farms), fishing, seafood, and tourism. The region contains three French nuclear power stations.

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