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Loire-Atlantique (Department, France)

Last modified: 2012-10-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: loire-atlantique | pays de la loire | brittany |
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Administrative data

Code: 44
Region: Pays de la Loire
Traditional province: Bretagne (traditional Breton Province of Nantes, traditional Districts of Pays de Retz and Pays de Brière)
Bordering departments: Ille-et-Vilaine, Maine-et-Loire, Morbihan, Vendée

Area: 6,815 km2
Population (2006): 1,234,085 inhabitants

Préfecture: Nantes
Sous-préfectures: Ancenis, Châteaubriand, Saint-Nazaire
Subdivisions: 4 arrondissements, 59 cantons, 221 communes.

The department is named after river Loire (1,020 km) and the Atlantic Ocean.
Formerly known as Loire-Inférieure (Lower Loire), the department was renamed Loire-Atlantique on 3 September 1957.

Ivan Sache, 12 November 2009

Flag of the General Council

In 2005, the political majority in the General Council changed and the General Council subsequently adopted a new logo and flag.
The flag of the General Council of Loire-Atlantique, as hoisted over the building of the General Council at Nantes, is green with the logo of the General Council.
The logo of the General Council of Loire-Atlantique is made of a blue panel charged with "la" in green stylized cursive letters, "LOIRE / ATLANTIQUE" in white letters and "Département solidaire" in green letters. A smaller, green panel placed below is charged with "Conseil général" in white letters.
"la", made of the initials of the department, already appeared on the former logo of the General Council. Blue symbolizes the Atlantic Ocean and the rivers, while green symbolizes the natural environment.

[Former flag of the General Council]

Former flag of the General Council - Image by Ivan Sache, 30 September 2009

The former logo of the General Council is a green square charged with "la" in blue letters, flanked by "LOIRE / ATLANTIQUE" (top) and "CONSEIL GÉNÉRAL" (bottom) in blue letters.

Ivan Sache, 30 September 2009

Use of the Breton flag by the General Council

The newly elected President of the General Council, Patrick Mareschal, has decided to hoist the traditional flag of Brittany on the building of the General Council.

The hoisting of the flag is a political statement. Since the creation of the French regions by the French State in 1941, the department of Loire-Atlantique is incorporated to the region of Pays de la Loire, whereas most of the department historically belongs to Brittany. There is a fairly strong movement asking for the "reunification" of Brittany and the incorporation of Loire-Atlantique to the region Brittany, which would be more or less equivalent to the historical Duchy of Brittany, whose capital city was Nantes, with the Duke's castle, and not Rennes, the current capital city of the region Brittany.
The main association lobbying for the "reunification" is called Bretagne Réunie (formerly CUAB, Comité pour l'Unité Administrative de la Bretagne), and its first president was Patrick Mareschal. The lobbyists claim that France refuses the "reunification" because it could be a first step towards independence of Brittany. It is clear that the region Pays de la Loire would not accept easily to cede one department and its regional capital city.

The wish of "reunification" is expressed in some flags, such as some variants of the municipal flag of Nantes with the Breton black cross, the Brigade Loire supporters' flag with a black stripe recalling Brittany and flags with the black cross used by cultural associations in Nantes.
The supporters of "reunification" would also change the logotype-flag of the Regional Council of Brittany by adding a fifth coloured stripe on the map to symbolize the fifth department, Loire-Atlantique. The CUAB released a car sticker showing such a flag. The Breton nationalists call the four-stripe flag the four-suppository flag.

Ivan Sache & Pascal Vagnat, 18 May 2004