Online Encyclopedia Search Tool

Your Online Encyclopedia


Online Encylopedia and Dictionary Research Site

Online Encyclopedia Free Search Online Encyclopedia Search    Online Encyclopedia Browse    welcome to our free dictionary for your research of every kind

Online Encyclopedia


This article is about the historical region of Savoy. For other uses, see Savoy (disambiguation)

Savoy (Italian Savoia, French Savoie) is a region of western Europe that emerged, along with the free communes of Switzerland, from the collapse of the Frankish Kingdom of Burgundy. Installed by Rudolph, Duke of Burgundy and King of the Franks, officially in 1003, the House of Savoy maintained independence as counts (see County of Savoy, ca 1000 to 1416) and then dukes (see Duchy of Savoy, 1416 to 1714), until Savoia was linked with the Kingdom of Sardinia, which included Piemonte in north-western Italy. Savoy was largely absorbed into France in 1860, as part of the political agreement with Napoleon III that brought about the unification of Italy.

In modern France, Savoy is part of the region Rhône-Alpes. For details of the départements of Savoie and Haute-Savoie created after annexation by France, see Savoie and Haute-Savoie. For the modern separatist / regionalist movements, see subsection "Annexation and Opposition" below.

The traditional capital remains Chambéry (Chiamberì ), on the rivers Leysse and Albane , hosting the castle of the House of Savoy and the Savoyard senate. The state included six districts:

  • Savoy proper (capital Chambéry)
  • Chablais (capital Thonon-les-Bains)
  • Faucigny (capital Bonneville)
  • Tarantaise (capital Moûtiers )
  • Maurienne (capital Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne )
  • Genevois (capital Annecy).


See County of Savoy and Duchy of Savoy

In 1714, as a consequence of the War of the Spanish Succession it was technically subsumed into the Kingdom of Sicily, then (after that island was traded to Spain for Sardinia) the Kingdom of Sardinia from 1720.

It is worth noting that the seat of the Savoyards remained in Turin, in Piedmont, and the name change was really just a political maneuver designed to secure a change in the state's status from duchy to kingdom. Sardinia was economically and politically moribund in comparison to Savoy and Piedmont, but traditionally had the title "King" associated with its possession (Regnum Sardiniae et Corsicae), hence the renaming.

French occupation

Savoy was occupied by France's revolutionary forces between 1792 and 1815. The region was first added to the département of Mont Blanc, then in 1798 was divided between the départements of Mont Blanc and Lake Geneva.

On September 13, 1793 the combined forces of Savoy, Piedmont and Valdot fought the occupying French forces at the Battle of Méribel (Sallanches).

Annexation and opposition

Savoy was annexed by France on March 24, 1860. This followed a plebiscite in which the people were offered the option of joining France or joining the new Italian state; the disallowed options of either joining Switzerland (with which the region had close ties), or of regaining its independence, were the source of some opposition. With a 99.8% vote in favour of joining France, there were also allegations of vote-rigging.

Some opposition to French rule was manifest when, in 1919 France officially (but contrary to the annexation treaty) ended the military neutrality of the parts of the region that had originally been agreed at the Congress of Vienna, and the free trade zone - both treaty articles having been broken unofficially in World War I.

For reasons such as these, there is currently a peaceful separatist movement in the départements, as well as a faction in favor of greater regional powers.

The Mouvement Région Savoie (Savoie Regional Movement) was founded in December 1971 as a 'movement' (rather than a traditional political party) in favour or regional autonomy. In the 1996 the Savoie Regional Movement gained 19,434 votes in the 1996 local elections.

In the March 1998 regional elections, 1 seat (out of 23) was won by Patrice Abeille, leader of the Ligue Savoisienne (Savoie League, founded 1994) which two years earlier had set up a 'provisional Savoie government'. The League gathered a total of 17,865 votes across the two départements. In the same elections a further 4,849 voted in favor of the Savoie Movement.

As a result of the regional debate sparked by the political advances, the non-party organisation La Région Savoie, j’y crois ! (I believe in the Savie Region!), was founded in 1998. The organisation campaigns for the replacement of the Savoie and Haute-Savoie départements with a regional government, separate from the Rhône-Alpes region, with greater devolved powers. According to surveys condusted in 2000, between 41% and 55% of the population are in favor of the proposal. 19% to 23% were in favor of separation from France.

See also

External links

  • Ligue Savoisienne (in English)
  • La Savoie: entre mondialisation et repli tribal (in French)
  • La Région Savoie, j’y crois ! (in French)
  • Francia Media}: a territorial and genealogical disambiguation of Lorraine and Burgundy, with a section on Savoy

Last updated: 02-06-2005 18:41:08
Last updated: 02-27-2005 04:39:14