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Pays de Brière (Traditional district, Brittany, France)

Last modified: 2003-06-14 by ivan sache
Keywords: pays de briere | cross (black) | ermines: 16 (black) | ducks: 2 (yellow) |
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[Flag of Pays de Briere]by Raphaël Vinet

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Presentation of Pays de Brière

The Brière (or Grande Brière) is a marshy area located north of Nantes. The name of Brière might come from Latin brica, meaning earth or mud.
In the Neolithic times, the sea invaded the area. The alluvions of the river Loire built a natural dyke which isolated the area from the sea and transformed it into marshes. In 1461, the inhabitants of the Brière were granted joint property rights by Duke of Brittany François II. These rights were confirmed by a Royal decree when Brittany was incorporated to the Kingdom of France.

The economy of the Brière was based on turf and noir (lit. "black", a kind of compost) extraction; rush and reed harvesting; leech, eel (locally called pimpenceau), and pike fishing and waterfowl hunting. In the late XIXth century, additional income was provided by two workshops producing wax orange-tree flowers. In the XXth century, most of the inhabitants were attracted by the shipyards in St. Nazaire or the metallurgic factories in Trignac. The Regional Nature Park of Grande Brière was created in 1970 and stretches over 40,000 hectares, marshes stretching over 7,000 hectares. Therefore, the Grande Brière is the second largest marsh in France after the Camargue.

Ivan Sache, 27 October 2002

Description of the flag

A flag for the Pays de Brière was created by Raphaël Vinet. The flag is quartered by a black cross recalling the flag of the Duchy of Brittany, with a yellow fimbriation. The first and fourth quarters are green and charged with a yellow duck. The second and third quarters are white, charged with eight black ermine spots placed 3+2+3.

The design of the flag is based on a painting by René-Yves Creston, from Brière, who founded in the 1920s the cultural renewal movement Ar Seiz Breur.

Ivan Sache, 10 November 2002