Île de Sein

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Île-de-Sein
Enez-Sun
Close-up of the island
Close-up of the island
Île-de-Sein is located in France
Île-de-Sein
Île-de-Sein
Coordinates: 48°02′12″N 4°50′58″W / 48.0367°N 4.8494°W / 48.0367; -4.8494Coordinates: 48°02′12″N 4°50′58″W / 48.0367°N 4.8494°W / 48.0367; -4.8494
Country France
Region Brittany
Department Finistère
Arrondissement Quimper
Canton Pont-Croix
Government
 • Mayor (2014–2020) Dominique Salvert
Area1 0.58 km2 (0.22 sq mi)
Population (2008)2 214
 • Density 370/km2 (960/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 29083 / 29990
Elevation 0–9 m (0–30 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Location of Île de Sein in the Atlantic Ocean

The Île de Sein is a French island in the Atlantic Ocean, off Finistère, 8 kilometres from the Pointe du Raz (raz meaning "water current"), from which it is separated by the Raz de Sein. Its Breton name is Enez Sun. The island, with its neighbouring islets, forms the commune of Île-de-Sein in the Finistère department of Brittany in north-western France.

Lying on the sea routes going south from the English Channel, Sein is well known for the dangers of its waters, the Chaussée de Sein, a vast zone of reefs stretching more than thirty miles from east to west, requiring numerous lighthouses, beacons, and buoys. In the past, it was also known for its wreckers[citation needed]

La Vieille lighthouse on the Raz de Sein; the island in the background

History[edit]

There are two megalithic menhirs on the island, which is treeless.[1]

It is mentioned by the Roman geographer Pomponius Mela.[1]

It was the last place in Europe to be christianised (by Jesuits in the seventeenth century). The island women once wore the highest headdresses in Brittany, and had a reputation for enticing sailors onto the rocks by witchcraft. Robert Graves says that the island was once home to a conclave of nine virgin priestesses believed to hold magical powers, who might be approached by those who sailed to consult them.[1]

After hearing General de Gaulle's call to resistance during World War II in his appeal to the French on 18 June 1940, every male inhabitant aged between fourteen and fifty-four[citation needed] (or sixty, according to the island's official website[2]) (variously totalled as 114 to 128[citation needed]) set sail in their fishing boats for Britain to join the Free French forces. On 1 January 1946, the commune was for that awarded the high honour of the Order of the Liberation, and its residents exempted from paying income tax; a privilege they enjoy to this day.[citation needed]

During the 1960s, French artists Maurice Boitel and Jean Rigaud painted on the Île de Sein.

Population[edit]

Inhabitants of Île-de-Sein are called in French Sénans.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1793 327 —    
1800 349 +6.7%
1806 363 +4.0%
1821 437 +20.4%
1831 468 +7.1%
1841 462 −1.3%
1846 440 −4.8%
1851 482 +9.5%
1856 509 +5.6%
1861 611 +20.0%
1866 654 +7.0%
1872 650 −0.6%
1876 727 +11.8%
1881 792 +8.9%
1886 805 +1.6%
1891 842 +4.6%
1896 907 +7.7%
1901 990 +9.2%
1906 1,038 +4.8%
1911 1,072 +3.3%
1921 1,077 +0.5%
1926 1,128 +4.7%
1931 1,254 +11.2%
1936 1,328 +5.9%
1946 1,144 −13.9%
1954 1,131 −1.1%
1962 1,094 −3.3%
1968 835 −23.7%
1975 607 −27.3%
1982 504 −17.0%
1990 348 −31.0%
1999 242 −30.5%
2008 214 −11.6%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Graves, Robert (1961). The White Goddess. London: Faber&Faber. p. 111. ISBN 0-571-06961-4. 
  2. ^ "Site officiel de l'ile de Sein". Retrieved 25 September 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Queffélec, Henri, Un recteur de l'île de Sein, Éditions Bartillat, Paris, 1999, ISBN 2841001210

External links[edit]