Rhône-Alpes (French pronunciation: [ʁon‿alp]; Arpitan: Rôno-Arpes; Occitan: Ròse-Aups; Italian: Rodano-Alpi) is a former administrative region of France. Since 1 January 2016, it is part of the new region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.
It is located on the eastern border of the country, towards the south. The region was named after the Rhône and the Alps mountain range. Its capital, Lyon, is the second-largest metropolitan area in France after Paris. Rhône-Alpes has the sixth-largest economy of any European region.
Rhône-Alpes is located in the east of France. To the north are the French regions of Bourgogne (Burgundy) and Franche-Comté, to the west it borders the region Auvergne, to the south it borders Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. The east of the region contains the westernmost part of the Alps and borders Switzerland and Italy.
The highest peak is Mont Blanc, on the French-Italian border. The central part of the region comprises the river valleys of the Rhône and the Saône. The confluence of these two rivers is at Lyon. The western part of the region contains the start of the Massif Central mountain range. The region also borders or contains major lakes such as Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) and Lake Annecy. The Ardèche flows through the southwest portion of the region, where it has carved the deepest gorge in Europe.
As with the rest of France, French is the only official language of the region. Until the mid-20th century, Arpitan was widely spoken in the whole region, while many of the inhabitants of the south spoke varieties of Occitan; both are in steep decline in this region. There are immigrant populations from Armenia, Italy, North Africa, Poland and Portugal amongst other places.
Rhône-Alpes is made up of the following departments:
- Ain (01). Capital: Bourg-en-Bresse
- Ardèche (07). Capital: Privas
- Drôme (26). Capital: Valence
- Isère (38). Capital: Grenoble
- Loire (42). Capital: Saint-Étienne
- Rhône (69). Capital: Lyon
- Savoie (73). Capital: Chambéry
- Haute-Savoie (74). Capital: Annecy
And, since 2015, Metropolis with territorial collectivity statute:
Metropolis of Lyon (69). Capital: Lyon
There are six main lakes in Rhône-Alpes
- Lac de Paladru
- Lac d'Aiguebelette
- Lac du Bourget
- Lac d'Annecy
- Lac de Nantua
- Lac Léman
This list is from biggest agglomeration to the smallest:
- Lyon (Rhône)
- Grenoble (Isère)
- Saint-Étienne (Loire)
- Valence (Drôme)
- Chambéry (Savoie)
- Annecy (Haute-Savoie)
- Bourg-en-Bresse (Ain)
- Privas (Ardèche)
Although there have been people in Rhône-Alpes since pre-historic times, the earliest recorded settlers of the region were the Gauls (Celts). Cities such as Lyon were founded by them and the region traded with both northern and southern Europe. Most of the area became part of Roman territory during the invasion of Celtic Gaul led by Julius Caesar and was at various times part of the regions of Lugdunensis and Gallia. Lyon itself became a major city in the Roman Empire.
The region, excepting Savoy, was part of the Merovingian and Carolingian Kingdoms before becoming a royal territory under the Capetians. As it became a royal territory early on in French history, its cultural, political and economic influences and developments paralleled those of greater France.
- Annecy Saint-Chamond
- Bourg-en-Bresse Saint-Étienne
- Bron Saint-Martin-d'Hères
- Chambéry Thonon-les-Bains
- Grenoble Valence
- Lyon Vaulx-en-Velin
- Montélimar Villeurbanne
- Roanne Vénissieux
- Vienne Villefranche-sur-Saône
DNA study on Y-STR Haplogroup Diversity in the Jat Population
The Jats represent a large ethnic community that has inhabited the northwest region of India and Pakistan for several thousand years. It is estimated the community has a population of over 123 million people. Many historians and academics have asserted that the Jats are descendants of Aryans, Scythians, or other ancient people that arrived and lived in northern India at one time. Essentially, the specific origin of these people has remained a matter of contention for a long time. This study demonstrated that the origins of Jats can be clarified by identifying their Y-chromosome haplogroups and tracing their genetic markers on the Y-DNA haplogroup tree. A sample of 302 Y-chromosome haplotypes of Jats in India and Pakistan was analyzed. The results showed that the sample population had several different lines of ancestry and emerged from at least nine different geographical regions of the world. It also became evident that the Jats did not have a unique set of genes, but shared an underlying genetic unity with several other ethnic communities in the Indian subcontinent. A startling new assessment of the genetic ancient origins of these people was revealed with DNA science.
The human Y-chromosome provides a powerful molecular tool for analyzing Y-STR haplotypes and determining their haplogroups which lead to the ancient geographic origins of individuals. For this study, the Jats and 38 other ethnic groups in the Indian subcontinent were analyzed, and their haplogroups were compared. Using genetic markers and available descriptions of haplogroups from the Y-DNA phylogenetic tree, the geographic origins and migratory paths of their ancestors were traced.
The study demonstrated that based on their genetic makeup, the Jats belonged to at least nine specific haplogroups, with nine different lines of ancestry and geographic origins. About 90% of the Jats in our sample belonged to only four different lines of ancestry and geographic origins:
2. Haplogroup R (28.5%): From somewhere in Central Asia, some descendants of the man carrying the M207 mutation on the Y chromosome headed south to arrive in India about 10,000 years ago (Wells, 2007). This is one of the largest haplogroups in India and Pakistan. Of its key subclades, R2 is observed especially in India and central Asia.
3. Haplogroup Q (15.6%): With its origins in central Asia, descendants of this group are linked to the Huns, Mongols, and Turkic people. In Europe it is found in southern Sweden, among Ashkenazi Jews, and in central and Eastern Europe such as, the Rhône-Alpes region of France, southern Sicily, southern Croatia, northern Serbia, parts of Poland and Ukraine.
4. Haplogroup J (9.6%): The ancestor of this haplogroup was born in the Middle East area known as the Fertile Crescent, comprising Israel, the West Bank, Jordon, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. Middle Eastern traders brought this genetic marker to the Indian subcontinent (Kerchner, 2013).
5.-9. Haplogroups E, G, H, I, T (9.5%): The ancestors of the remaining five haplogroups E, G, H, I, and T can be traced to different parts of Africa, Middle East, South Central Asia, and Europe (ISOGG, 2016).
Therefore, attributing the origins of this entire ethnic group to loosely defined ancient populations such as, Indo-Aryans or Indo-Scythians represents very broad generalities and cannot be supported. The study also revealed that even with their different languages, religions, nationalities, customs, cuisines, and physical differences, the Jats shared their haplogroups with several other ethnic groups of the Indian subcontinent, and had the same common ancestors and geographic origins in the distant past. Based on recent developments in DNA science, this study provided new insights into the ancient geographic origins of this major ethnic group in the Indian subcontinent. A larger dataset, particularly with more representation of Muslim Jats, is likely to reveal some additional haplogroups and geographical origins for this ethnic group.