Sundgau

Sundgau

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Sundgau

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Description:
Sundgau (, ) is a geographical territory on the eastern edge of France that was once a principality of the Holy Roman Empire. The name Sundgau derives from Alemannic German, which means "South County" (Sund: South, Gau: County).

The hilly region is bounded on the south by the Swiss border and the foothills of the Jura, in the east by the valley of the Rhine, to the north by Mulhouse and the potassium-rich basin of Alsace, and to the west by the Belfort Gap. It comprises parts of the modern Department of Haut-Rhin and the Territory of Belfort in the regions of Alsace and the Franche-Comté. The principal city and historical capital is Altkirch (5,386 inhabitants in 1999).

The fertile loess soil has traditionally favoured a non-specialised agriculture, with crop production being largely organised into strips. The main crops are maize, wheat and colza.

The Ill, the most important river in Alsace, crosses Sundgau from south to north before flowing into the Rhine. Its source is at Winkel in the foothills of the Jura. Other rivers define the region's valleys, such as the Largue, which rises near Courtavon, passes through Dannemarie, and meets the Ill at Illfurth.

In mediaeval times, monks raised carp in the small valley ponds and carpe frite (fried carp) remains a regional speciality. The images of two carp also appear in the coat of arms of Sundgau.

Prehistory

Archaeological digs have revealed vestiges of palaeolithic and......
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