During the history, the limits of Cotentin evolved/moved: the word indicated initially the country of Coutances, chief town of the diocese which gave him its name. Then Cotentin gave its name to a French natural area called peninsula of Cotentin with which it is sometimes confused. However, the geographical plate of historical Cotentin exceeds the Presqu'île, since the Ville S of Saint-Lo, Villedieu-the-Stoves and Granville are historically cotentinaises .
The peninsula of Cotentin extends between the estuary from the Vire and the mouth from the Ay by forming a Presqu'île and forms the northern part of the department of the Manche. Sometimes simply called Cotentin, it from now on is often indicated, to avoid confusion, North-Cotentin or Pays Cotentin , which excludes the town of Coutances and the south of historical Cotentin. The peninsula is clearly delimited by the sea in the west, north and the east, and by a vast zone of easily flooded marshes in south-east. It was thus sometimes mentioned in the history like an island, because of band of marsh cutting the most septentrional part of Cotentin of the remainder of Normandy in south-east, which returned the peninsula, until the construction of the modern roads, difficult to reach in winter. The Regional natural park of the Marshes of Cotentin and Bessin occupies most of the peninsula.
The peninsula of Cotentin is divided into four " pays" histories: in the North-West, the La Hague; in the North-East, the Valley of Saire; in the center, the Lime pit, area of Scrap-metal; in the south, the master key of Cotentin or Bauptois, zone of Marsh and Moor S.
Cotentin in its broadest definition includes/understands the 2 northern thirds of the department of the Manche, the southern third being composed of the totality of the Avranchin, and a small portion of the west of the Calvados.
Geologically, Cotentin is part of the Armorican Massif.
Cotentin is surrounded by the Bessin in the east, the Bocage virois, the Avranchin in the south and the west and the Manche in the west, north and the North-East. In the west the coast of the Islands faces the Channel Islands and to Chausey to which it is connected by a service of ferry at the beginning of Carteret and of Granville. The islands Chausey, vis-a-vis Granville belong to Cotentin. The Raz Blanchard separates the Cape from La Hague and the island of Aurigny and the Passage of the Rout the Côte of the harbors and the island of Jersey.
More the big city of Cotentin is the port of Cherbourg on the northern coast, old large military port, it became a major port for the connections with England and the Ireland. The other towns of importance are: Barfleur, Barneville-Carteret, Beaumont-La Hague, Bricquebec, Carentan, $the Hague - of-Well, the Piles, Lessay, Portbail, Holy-Mother-Church, Saint-Saver-the-Viscount, Saint-Vaast-the-Hougue, Valognes.
The Gallic tribe which occupied Cotentin before the Roman conquest was the Unelles.
The Roman conquest
Three Legion S Romans carried out by Titurius Sabinus, lieutenant of Jules César, invade Cotentin at the summer of year 56 before J-C. Unelles, under the control of Viridovix, resist vigorously, but are demolished around Mount-Castrates (Lithaire).
Cosedia, the capital of Unelles, takes in 298 the name of Constantia according to the name of the reigning Roman Emperor, Constance Chlorinates. Called Pagus Constantiensis (“country of Constancy”) Latin, the peninsula will become later “Cotentin”. The other principal city is Alauna (Valognes).
The Middle Ages
Forming part, at the time mérovingienne, of the Neustrie, Cotentin is yielded, with the Avranchin, in 867, by the treaty of Compiegne, by the king Charles the Bald person with Solomon of Brittany against an oath of fidelity and a promise of assistance against the Viking S, but Guillaume Long-Sword conquers it with the Channel Islands in 933 and integrates them into the founded Duché of Normandy in 911. It returned, except for the Channel Islands, with the France at the time of the Commise of the Duché of Normandy by Philippe Auguste.
Like many French areas, Cotentin is particularly touched by multiple businesses of sorcery. With the 11th century one long period marked by massive persecutions starts. But the apogee of the large wave of repression ranges between 1580 and 1630. The area is especially marked by the terrible lawsuit of the wizards of $the Hague - of-Well which starts in 1669.
During the War of the league of Augsburg, Saint-Vaast-the-Hougue, close to Barfleur is the site of the Bataille of Hougue which opposed in 1692 the fleet anglo-Dutchwoman to the French fleet of the vice-admiral of Tourville.
Second world war
Cotentin was one of the principal places of engagements, in France, during the Second world war with the Bataille of Normandy (June in August 1944) involving many destruction of cities, villages and other places historical of which many the castles and manors set up in the area.
Cotentin was thus the place of the unloading of Utah Beach and parachutings on the area of Holy-Mother-Church on June 6th, 1944 then the difficult progression of the American troops to take the wearing of Cherbourg then to bore the German face after testing the " battle of the haies" summer 44, these combat involving of military and civil heavy losses.
The nuclear activity plays a prevalent part in the saving in this isolated region. Flamanville is the site of a nuclear plant which will see, in the years to come, a considerable increase in its capacity by the addition of an additional engine EPR. With a few kilometers in North, the point of the La Hague accommodates a treatment plant for nuclear waste of Areva NC and the Center of storage of the English Channel of ANDRA. The convoys transporting irradiated fuels, with destination or coming from this strongly kept place, are regularly blocked by the members of Greenpeace. The local groups of environment drew the alarm signal on the level from radioactivity from cooling water from these two nuclear sites, evacuated in the Raz Blanchard. Lastly, DCNS Cherbourg specialized in the submarines with nuclear propulsion.
However agriculture (breeding, truck farming, multiculture and induced agribusiness industry) and fishes it (fishing, shellfish farming and transformation) remain traditional activities in Cotentin, like the shipyards (Cherbourg) and tourism (west coast, beaches of the unloading, pleasure…).
See also: Economy of the English Channel
CultureThe social scene cotentinoise was described in the novels of Jules Barbey d' Aurevilly, native of Cotentin.
LanguageBecause of its relative insulation, Cotentin remains one of the bastions of the language Norman E. The Norman poet of language Côtis-Capel described the environment of the peninsula and the Norman author Alfred Rossel, native of Cherbourg, composed many songs which belong to the cultural heritage of the area. Its song Sus me ( On the sea ) is often sung like regional anthem.
If French is from now on the usual language and the only language practiced by a large majority of the inhabitants, the Cotentinais remains. Cotentinais is an alternative of speaking Normand. It is connected with the Jersey and with the Guernesiais but is not uniform. There exists a great number of local alternatives which one can gather in 5 sub-groups:
- the language of the La Hague, in the North-West of the Peninsula of Cotentin
- the language of the Valley of Saire, in the North-East
- the language of Coutançais of north, in the north of the line Coutances - Saint-Lo
- the language of Coutançais of the south, in the north of the Line Joret
- the baupteis , language of the Bauptois, between Carentan and $the Hague - of-Well
The speech of Cherbourg belonged to the first sub-group haguais but it completely disappeared. This crumbling of the speeches tends to make think that a great number of these dialects will have disappeared in first half of XXIe century.
The painter Jean-François Millet, born with Gruchy inherited his humble origins cotentinoises a propensity to privilege the representation of rural scenes impressed of poetry depicting poorest of the country class.
The Literary prize of Cotentin is decreed every year with a book written by a writer originating in Cotentin or whose action takes place in this area or whose topic celebrates it.
The song in regional language Norman remains alive in Cotentin thanks to the action of associations which take part in its safeguard: Norman Prêchi (St-Georges-the-River), Friends of the Keep (Bricquebec), the Popular University of Coutançais, Muds-Jaun. Marcel Dalarun and Alphonse Allain, large poets in language Norman put in music by Daniel Bourdelès, largely contributed to this revival. Association Magène, federator of these initiatives, proposes an important repertory of songs into Norman.
See also: Magène
The environment of Cotentin is threatened by the following environmental risks:
- rise in the sea level due to the Climate warming
- Oil slick at the time of the passage of a tanker to broad of its coasts,
- Nuclear accident in one of the sites of nuclear industry,
- nuclear Contamination during the transport of radioactive materials per sea route, the rail or the road.
- County of Cotentin
- Bailliage de Cotentin
- Seigniory of Cotentin (14th century)
- Large bailliage of Cotentin
- General information of Caen
- Departments of the Handle and the Apple-brandy
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