Briancon (anc. Brigantium), a fortified town of France, in Dauphiny, department of Hautes-Alpes, 35 m. N. E. of Gap; pop. in 1866, 3,579. It is at the junction of the two sources of the river Durance, and at the foot of Mont Gene vre, and is 4,285 ft. above the sea. It commands the principal pass to the Italian and Swiss frontiers, is a depot of military stores for the French Alps, and is surrounded with a triple line of ramparts. Seven forts whose cross-fires protect all the approaches to the town are connected with each other by subterranean passages cut in solid rock. The principal works are on the left bank of the Claree, which is crossed by a bridge of a single arch, 127 ft. in span and 179 ft. above the surface of the water. The position is considered impregnable. The most famous productions of Bri-ancon are chalk and manna (the latter from larch trees, also called Venice turpentine); and scythes, sickles, nails, cutlery, copper ware, and hosiery are manufactured there. It was formerly capital of a district called Briancon-nais, which during the early part of the middle ages was almost independent, then successively annexed to Dauphiny and the crown of France, and at the beginning of the 18th century for some years in the possession of Savoy.

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