Simplon (department)

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Department of Simplon

Département du Simplon
1810–1813
Flag of Simplon
Simplon and other annexed departments
Simplon and other annexed departments
StatusDepartment of the French First Empire
Chef-lieuSion
46°11′N 7°41′E / 46.183°N 7.683°E / 46.183; 7.683
Official languagesFrench
Historical eraFrench Revolutionary Wars
• Annexation of the Rhodanic Republic
13 December 1810
• Occupied by Austrian forces
29 December 1813
Area
• 1812
5,000[1] km2 (1,900 sq mi)
Population
• 1812 census
65500[1]
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Rhodanic Republic
Restoration and Regeneration in Switzerland
Today part of

Simplon ([sɛ̃.plɔ̃]) was a department of the French First Empire. It was named after the Simplon Pass (Italian: Passo del Sempione). It was formed in 1810, when the Rhodanic Republic was annexed by the French Republic. Its territory corresponded with that of the present-day Swiss canton of Valais.

The Chef-lieu of the department was Sion. The department was subdivided into the following three arrondissements and cantons:[1]

After the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815, the department was admitted to the Swiss Confederation and became the Canton of Valais.

Creation[edit]

Maison de Kalbermatten, former prefecture of the department

The department was created by Article 2 of the decree of 12 November 1810, reuniting the Valais to the French Empire. This decree is written as follows:

NAPOLEON, EMPEROR OF THE FRENCH, KING OF ITALY, PROTECTOR OF THE CONFEDERATION OF THE RHINE, MEDIATOR OF THE SWISS CONFEDERATION:
Considering that the Simplon Road, which unites the Empire to our Kingdom of Italy, is useful to more than sixty million men; that it cost our treasures in France and Italy more than eighteen millions, an expense which would become useless if commerce could find there no convenience and perfect security;
That the Valais did not fulfill any of the engagements it had contracted when we had the work begun to open this great communication;
Wanting moreover to put an end to the anarchy which afflicts this country, and to cut short the abusive pretensions of sovereignty of a part of the population on the other,
We have decreed and ordered, decree and order the following:
FIRST ARTICLE. - The Valais is reunited to the Empire.
ART. 2. - This territory will form a department under the name of Department of Simplon.
ART. 3. - This department will be part of the seventh military division.
ART. 4. - It will be taken possession, without delay, on our behalf, and a general commissioner will be in charge of administering it throughout the rest of this year.
ART. 5. - All our ministers will be charged with the execution of this decree.
Signed: Napoleon
By the Emperor: The Minister Secretary of State,
Signed: Hugues-Bernard Maret, Duke of Bassano

This decree was confirmed by the organic senatus-consulte of 13 December 1810. This senatus-consulte is written as follows:

FIRST ARTICLE. - The Valais is reunited to the territory of the French Empire.
ART. 2. - It will form a department under the name of Depatment of Simplon.
ART. 3. - The department of Simplon will have a deputy in the Legislative Body. - This deputy will be appointed in 1811: he will be renewed in the year of the fourth series, to which the Department of Simplon will belong.
ART. 4. - The Department of Simplon will be the jurisdiction of the imperial court of Lyon.
Bond of the Département du Simplon, issued 7. December 1812; probably the oldest bond from Switzerland

Administration[edit]

Prefects[edit]

The Prefect was the highest state representative in the department. The holder of the office also served as Subprefect of Sion.

Term start Term end Office holder
11 January 1811[2] 13 November 1811 Claude Joseph Parfait Derville-Maléchard
13 November 1811[3] 29 December 1813 Claude-Philibert Barthelot de Rambuteau

Secretary-General[edit]

The Secretary-General was the deputy to the Prefect.

Term start Term end Office holder
11 January 1811 29 December 1813 Ruillier

Subprefect of Brigue[edit]

Term start Term end Office holder
8 February 1811 29 December 1813 de Sepibus

Subprefect of Saint-Maurice[edit]

Term start Term end Office holder
8 February 1811 29 December 1813 Dufour de Monthey

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Almanach Impérial an bissextil MDCCCXII, p. 469-470, accessed in Gallica 31 July 2013 ‹See Tfd›(in French)
  2. ^ Archives Nationales. "DERVILLE-MALÉCHARD, Claude Joseph Parfait". francearchives.fr. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  3. ^ Archives Nationales. "BARTHELOT DE RAMBUTEAU, Claude Philibert". francearchives.fr. Retrieved 23 June 2019.