Island of Center
The island of Center is a French island , located in the Atlantic Ocean, with broad of the Breton peninsula , to 8 km of the Pointe of the Strong current, of which it is separated by the Raz from Center. Its name Breton is Enez Sun . It forms part, with some small island S neighbouring, of the common of the Island-of-Center , in the Finistere. Its inhabitants are Sénans.
At the 17th century Louis XIV recognized itself that Sein underwent angers of the Mer of Iroise and thus offered few resources to its inhabitants. Today the island always faces the impetuous spray and the storms the broad one.
GeographyThe island of Center is located at approximately 3 nautical Milles (5 km) of the Pointe of the Strong current. It belongs to a granitic edge of which the immersed part is prolonged on 25 kilometers towards the broad one and forms the barrier of reefs called the Chaussée Center. This roadway stops a little beyond the Phare of Ar-Men.
The island of Center extends on approximately 2 kilometers. It forms a kind of S to back with a strangled central part hardly making 50 meters broad. Is island is occupied by the port and the borough where all the dwellings are gathered. The large headlight of the island is located at the western end. The island is bordered in majority by sand and pebble beaches which constitute a fragile rampart against the storms. Digue S were built to avoid the destruction of the island.
Island (0,5 km ²) low (average altitude of 1,5 m) and is deprived of trees. It was several times almost submerged by storms (those of 1830, 1868 and 1897 marked of their extraordinary power, the memory of generations of Sénans which had gone until taking refuge on the roofs not to be carried). It is located in the middle of a zone of reefs very wide and particularly dangerous, the Chaussée Center traversed by currents often violent ones who exceed 6 nodes in sharp water. Located not far from an important axis of commercial navigation between the English Channel and the Atlantic, it was the witness many shipwrecks of ships come to fail itself on its barrier of reefs. At the 19th century several headlights were built on its circumference, of which most famous is the Phare of Ar-Men.
An old saying of the sailors testifies to the danger of certain islands of the Breton coast and particularly of the island of Center:
Who sees Ushant sees his blood,
Who sees Molène sees his sorrow,
Who sees Sein sees his end.
It is connected to the continent by a daily connection of and towards Audierne (maritime company PEN-rear-Bed). Other sea links exist during the tourist season.
HistoryThe island of Center is undoubtedly the Insula Sena Romans: to the 1st century, a Roman author reports that a oracle of a Gallic divinity was installed on the island been useful by 9 priestesses, the Gallisenae, having made wish of perpetual virginity; these last were called by Gallic Sennas.
At the 19th century, the development of the maritime trade and the advances in knowledge involved the construction of a series of headlights around the island of Center. The Phare of Ar-Men was set up on the rock which bears its name in 1867 and was lit for the first time in 1881. It announces the end of the roadway to the ships which circumvent the point of Brittany to enter the English Channel.
The island of Center had its hour of glory, when the 129 fishermen of the island left it to answer the call of the Général de Gaulle. Indeed, all the men without exception gained Great Britain on board their boats to the Appel of June 18th 1940 of the Général de Gaulle. These men were among first French to gain Great Britain, a few days after the call of the Général de Gaulle approximately 25% of French made at London came from Center. What was worth a praise on behalf of the de Gaulle general: “the Island of Center is a quarter of France”. The island of Center is one of the five common Frenchwomen who were made Compagnons of the Release.
In second half of the 20th century, the island knew a very alarming demographic decline for the perenniality of the community, the population passing of 1300 inhabitants in 1936 with 230 according to the last census (2004). Among the origins of this decline, one can quote mainly the reduction in stocks of Crustacé S and fish in trimmings of the island which involved the departure of the fishermen gradually. The hardness of the life in the island and the attraction growing of the continent also played a big role.
AdministrationOn an administrative level, the commune of the Island-of-Center belongs to the country of the Cape Sizun in Cornwall and of the canton of Bridge-Cross. The island of Center is one of the islands of the West which gather Ushant, Molène, Sein , Groix, Batz, Arz, Houat, Hoëdic and Belle-Île. The island of Center belongs to the Regional natural park of Armorique, the Natural marine park of Iroise and the association of the islands of the West.
DemographyThe demography of the island east given in the graph opposite, which corresponds to the population of the commune of the Island-of-Center. This poulation acroit in an important way the summer with tourism.
Insularitythe wind is the Almighty with Sein : neither tree nor bush, a thin hedge. The small fields surrounded by low walls wind-cutter, where the country-women formerly cultivated the barley and potatoes, are left with the abandonment. The rare grounds of Center are invaded brambles and undergrowth. Where the stone low walls still hold, of the concern flower with the shelter, in spring the daisies have stems. Where they collapse, the flowers skim the ground! This absence of relief makes run the risk of the vague beachcombers which often fell down on the island, invading the houses, devastating the dunes and the port.
In order to protect the houses sénanes from the gusts charged with sand, space between the frontages was calculated with narrowest.
AccessThe island is served daily, except unfavourable conditions weather, by a high-speed motorboat which ensures the connection with the port of Audierne-Holy-Evette, ten kilometers more in the south on the continent.
ActivitiesThe island is occupied by approximately 250 inhabitants in winter and: 1500 in summer. The use of bicycles or cars being prohibited, Sénans move exclusively with foot. Except the pleasure and fishing vessels, some vehicles nevertheless are used like a van-cistern for the transport of the Fioul or small machines of handling…
The island of Center is isolated from the continental electrical communication. It locally produces its electricity in a thermo plant, localized in the headlight of the island. The generators of the power station feed in electricity approximately 300 residences and some trade (grocer, coffees, restaurants). The domestic water is produced by a system of pumping and of Dessalement of sea water by Osmose reverses. This system, very greedy in energy, is also fed by the powerplant.
The principal activity of the island is the tourism : several tens of thousands of visitors unload on the island each year, mainly in summer season. Tourism makes it possible to make live coffees, hotels, restaurants and second home but requires much energy, especially for the dessalinisation of water.
CultureThe island of Center inspired by many artists of which the painters Jean Rigaud (1912-1999), official painter of the National marine, and her friend Maurice Boitel (1919).
It is today gratifiée of the label of the more beautiful villages of France, decreed by an independent association aiming at promoting the tourist assets of small rich French communes of an inheritance of quality.
She was sung by Louis Capart (of mother sénane) in the song Marie-Jeanne-Gabrielle and by the group Tri Yann in her album Marines (Center 1940, Marie-Jeanne-Gabrielle, etc ).
Henri Queffélec wrote two novels on the island of Center (see lower bibliography).
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