Pyrénées-Orientales

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Pyrénées-Orientales (English: Eastern Pyrenees, Catalan: Pirineus Orientals, Occitan: Pirenèus Orientals) is a department of southern France adjacent to the northern Spanish frontier and the Mediterranean Sea. It also surrounds the tiny Spanish enclave Llívia, and thus has two distinct borders with Spain.

Contents

History

Prior to the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, most of the present department was part of the former Principality of Catalonia, within the Crown of Aragon, so the majority of it has historically been Catalan-speaking, and it is still sometimes referred to as Northern Catalonia. Pyrénées-Orientales also corresponds almost exactly to the pre-Revolutionary province of Roussillon. See also: French Cerdagne.

Invaded by Spain in April 1793, the area was recaptured thirteen months later.

Administration

The département is managed by the General Council of the Pyrénées-Orientales in Perpignan. The Pyrénées-Orientales is part of the region of Languedoc-Roussillon. The General Council of the Pyrénées-Orientales is more and more involved with the European Union to create with the Generalitat of Catalonia, and Andorra, a Catalan Eurodistrict.

Geography

Pyrénées-Orientales has an area of 4,115 km². and a population of 422,000, of whom just over a quarter live in the capital, Perpignan. Other towns include Argelès-sur-Mer, Thuir, Elne (the ancient Illiberis) and Prades, each of 6-10,000 inhabitants.

Pyrénées-Orientales consists of three river valleys in the Pyrenees mountain range –from north to south, those of the Agly, Têt and Tech– and the eastern Plain of Roussillon into which they converge. Most of the population and agricultural production are concentrated in the plain, with only 30% of the area. There is one water reservoir at Lac de Matemale.

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