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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 459 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GARD, a department in the south of France, consisting of part of the old province of Languedoc. Pop. (1906) 421,166. Area 2270 sq. m. It is bounded N. by the departments of Lozere and Ardeche, E. by the Rhone, which separates it from Vaucluse and Bouches-du-Rhone, S. by the Mediterranean, S.W. by Herault and W. by Aveyron. Gard is divided into three sharply-defined regions. Its north-western districts are occupied by the range of the Cevennes, which on the frontier of Lozere attain a height of 5120 ft. The whole of this region is celebrated for its fruitful valleys, its gorges, its beautiful streams, its pastures, and the chestnut, mulberry and other fruit trees with which the mountains are often clothed to their summits. The Garrigues, a dry, hilly region of limestone, which lends itself to the cultivation of cereals, the vine and olive, stretches from the foot of the Cevennes over the centre of the department, covering about half its area. The southern portion, which extends to the sea, and was probably at one time covered by it, is a low plain with numerous lakes and marshes. Though unhealthy, it is prosperous, and comprises the best arable land and vineyards in Gard. Besides the Rhone, which bounds the department on the E., and the Ardeche, the lower course of which forms part of its boundary on the N., the principal rivers are the Ceze, Gard, Vidourle and Herault. The most northern of these is the Ceze, which rises in the Cevennes, and after a course of about 5o M. in an E.S.E. direction falls into the Rhone above Roquemaure. The Gard, or Gardon, from which the department takes its name, is also an affluent of the Rhone, and, rising in the Cevennes from several sources, traverses the centre of the department, having a length of about 6o m. In the upper part of its course it flows through a succession of deep mountain gorges, and from the melting of the snows on the Cevennes is subject to inundations, which often cause great damage. Its waters not infrequently rise 18 or 20 ft. in a few hours, and its bed is sometimes increased in width to nearly a mile. Near Remoulins it is crossed by a celebrated Roman aqueduct—the Pont du Gard (see AQUEDUCT). The Vidourle flows in a S.S.E. direction from its source near L& Vigan, and after a course of about 50 M. falls into the sea. Below lake, blows from S. to N. The steep grey limestone crags of Monte Baldo, on the eastern side of the lake, contrast strongly with the rich vegetation on the western and southern shores. The portion of the western shore that extends from Gargnano to Salo is the most sheltered and warmest part of the region, so that not merely does it resemble one continuous garden (producing lemons, figs, mulberries, olives, &c.), but is frequented in winter, and has been given the name of the Riviera Benacense. The lovely promontory of Sermione, at the southern end of the lake, has also an extremely luxuriant vegetation, while it contains many remains of buildings of Roman and later date, having been the Sirmio of Catullus, who resided here and celebrated its beauties in many of his poems. In 1827 a boat with paddles set in motion by horses was put on the lake, but the first steamer dates only from 1844. At the south end of the lake, E. and W. respectively of the promontory of Sermione, are the towns of Peschiera (14; M. by rail from Verona on the east) and of Desenzano (171 m. by rail from Brescia on the west), which are 81 m. distant from each other. On the west shore of the lake are Salo, Toscolano, Gargnano and Limone, while the rugged east shore can boast only of Bardolino and Garda. At the northern tip of the lake, and in Tirol, is Riva, the most considerable town on the lake, and 151 M. by rail from the Mori station on the main Brenner line. (W. A. B. C.)
End of Article: GARD
LAKE OF GARDA (the Lacus Benacus of the Romans)

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