—  Department  —

Coat of arms
Location of Charente in France
Coordinates: 45°50′N 00°20′E / 45.833°N 0.333°E / 45.833; 0.333Coordinates: 45°50′N 00°20′E / 45.833°N 0.333°E / 45.833; 0.333
Country France
Region Poitou-Charentes
Prefecture Angoulême
Subprefectures Cognac
 - President of the General Council Michel Boutant (PS)
 - Total 5,956 km2 (2,299.6 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 - Total 349,535
 - Rank 67th
 - Density 58.7/km2 (152/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Department number 16
Arrondissements 3
Cantons 35
Communes 404
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Charente (Saintongeais: Chérente, Occitan: Charanta) is a department in southwestern France, in the Poitou-Charentes region, named after the Charente River, the most important river in the department, and also the river beside which the department's two largest towns, Angoulême and Cognac, are sited.



Charente is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. It was created from the former province of Angoumois, west and south of Saintonge.

Prior to the creation of the department, the area was not a natural unit, but much of it was commercially prosperous thanks to traditional industries such as salt and cognac production. Although the river became silted up and was unnavigable for much of the twentieth century, in the eighteenth century it provided important links with coastal shipping routes both for traditional businesses and for newly evolving ones such as paper goods and iron smelting.

The accelerating pace of industrial and commercial development during the first half of the nineteenth century led to a period of prosperity, and the department's population peaked in 1851.[1] During the second half of the nineteenth century Charente, like many of France's rural departments, experienced a declining population as the economic prospects available in the cities and in France's overseas empire attracted the working age generations away. Economic ruin came to many in the Charentais wine industry with the arrival in 1872 of phylloxera.

During the twentieth century the department with its traditional industries was adversely impacted by two major world wars and even in the second half of the century experienced relatively low growth, the overall population remaining remarkably stable at around 340,000 through the second half of the twentieth century, although industrial and commercial developments in the conurbation surrounding Angoulême have added some 10,000 to the overall population during the first decade of the twenty-first century.

The relatively relaxed pace of economic development in the twentieth century encouraged the immigration of retirees from overseas. Census data in 2006 disclosed that the number of British citizens resident in the department had risen to 5,083,[2] placing the department fourth in this respect behind Paris, Dordogne and Alpes-Maritimes.[3]


It is part of the Aquitaine Basin for its major part, and of the Massif Central for its north-eastern part.

The Charente flows through it and gave its name to the department, along with Charente-Maritime.

It is composed with the historical region of Angoumois and contains part of the regions of Saintonge, Limousin, Périgord and Poitou.

The department is part of the current region of Poitou-Charentes. It is surrounded by the departments of Charente-Maritime, Dordogne, Haute-Vienne, Vienne and Deux-Sèvres.

Its capital is Angoulême.


The inhabitants of the department are called Charentais.


The President of the General Council is Michel Boutant of the Socialist Party.

Party seats
Socialist Party 15
Union for a Popular Movement 6
Miscellaneous Right 6
Miscellaneous Left 6
French Communist Party 2


Cognac and pineau are two of the major agricultural products. They also produce excellent butter. But the Charentaise slipper is the 2nd most well-known product (after cognac).

Sources and further reading

  1. ^ Jean Combes (dir.) et Michel Luc (dir.), La Charente de la préhistoire à nos jours, Imprimerie Bordessoules, coll. « L'histoire par les documents », 1986, 429 p. (ISBN 2-903504-21-0)
  2. ^ Insee
  3. ^ La Charente libre du 4 janvier 2010

See also

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Charente — steht für: Charente (Fluss), einen Fluss in Frankreich Département Charente, das französische Département mit der Ordnungsnummer 16 Charente Maritime, das französische Département mit der Ordnungsnummer 17 Diese Seite is …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Charente —   [ʃa rãt], Name von geographischen Objekten:    1) Charente, Fluss in Westfrankreich, 360 km lang, entspringt im westlichen Limousin, mündet unterhalb von Rochefort in den Atlantischen Ozean, bis Angoulême schiffbar (heute v. a. von touristische …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Charente — (Scharangt) franz. Fluß, entspringt im Depart. Obervienne, wird schon bei Montignac schiffbar und ergießt sich nach einem Laufe von 44 M. der Insel Oléron gegenüber in den baskischen Meerbusen. Von ihr sind 2 Departements benannt; 1) das der… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Charente — (spr. Scharangt), 1) Fluß in Frankreich, entspringt im Departement Haute Vienne bei Cheronac, fließt nordwestlich ins Departement Vienne, dann südwestlich ins Departement Ch., nimmt da die Tardoire mit Bandiat, Argent, Antoine u. Né auf u. wird… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Charente [1] — Charente (spr. scharāngt ), Fluß in westlichen Frankreich, entspringt in einer Höhe von 323 m bei dem Dorf Chéronnac in den Limousinbergen (Depart. Obervienne), wendet sich anfangs nach NW., dann nach SW., zuletzt nach NW., wird bei Montignac… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Charente — (la) fl. de France (360 km); naît dans le Limousin, arrose Angoulême, se jette dans l Atlantique. Dép.: 5 953 km²; 341 993 hab.; ch. l. Angoulême. V. Poitou Charentes (Rég.). Charente Maritime, dép.: 6 848 km²; 527 146 hab.; ch. l. La Rochelle. V …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Charente [2] — Charente, Departement im westlichen Frankreich, benannt nach dem Flusse C. (s. oben), gebildet aus der alten Provinz Angoumois und Teilen der Landschaften Saintonge, Poitou und Marche, ist begrenzt von den Departements der beiden Sèvres und… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Charente — (spr. scharángt), Fluß im westl. Frankreich, entspringt im Dep. Haute Vienne, mündet nach 361 km (168 km schiffbar) in den Atlant. Ozean. – Das Dep. C., aus dem Angoumois und Teilen der Landschaften Saintonge, Poitou und Limousin; 5972 qkm,… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Charente — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom.  Pour l’article homophone, voir Charentes. Toponyme Le département français de la Charente. Le département français de la …   Wikipédia en Français

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