Savoy (Fr. La Savoie), a territory of France, formerly an independent duchy and afterward part of the kingdom of Sardinia, between lat. 45° 4' and 46° 24' N., and Ion. 5° 37' and 7° 15' E.; area, 3,888 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 540,-985. Its length from N. to S. is 92 m. and its greatest breadth from E. to W. 75 m. It is bounded N. by the canton and lake of Geneva; W. by the department of Ain, from which it is separated by the Rhône; S. W. by the departments of Isère and Hautes-Alpes, being divided from the former by the Guiers, a tributary of the Rhône, and from the latter by the Maurienne ridge, an offset of the Cottian Alps; and S. E. and E. by the Cottian, Graian, and Pennine Alps, with their ramifications projecting toward the lake of Geneva, which separate it from Piedmont and the canton of Valais. This range contains the loftiest peaks and most magnificent glaciers in the whole Alpine system; among the former are Monts Blanc, Iséran, the Little St. Bernard, and Tabor; among the latter, Iséran and Chamouni. The country is intersected by several of its offsets, viz.: the Alps of Savoy, branching from the Little St. Bernard, and covering with their ramifications most of the central and western districts; the Savoisian and Valaisian ridge, extending from the Pennine Alps to the lake of Geneva; and La Vanoire, which diverges from Mont Iséran and describes a curve toward the W. S. W. The streams generally rise in the main chain in the east, and flow directly or indirectly into the Rhône; the Dranse, which flows northward to the lake of Geneva, the Arve, Chéran, and Isère, flowing westward, are the most important.
Besides its share of the lake of Geneva, Savoy has the smaller lakes of Bourget, Annecy, Morion, Haute-Luce, and Mont Cenis, and the subterraneous lakes in the cave of Bauge. Mineral springs are abundant; those of Aix, St. Gervais, and Evian are the most famous; and there are intermittent springs at Pigros and Haute-Combe. Mines of argentiferous lead are wrought in various places, and there are mines of copper, iron, and lignite, anthracite, and bituminous coal, and quarries of marble, granite, slate, jasper, and porphyry. The forests furnish timber for ship building and other purposes. The extent of arable land is not considerable, but every acre is cultivated; the valleys, of which the most celebrated is that of Chamouni, present a succession of cultivated fields, orchards, and gardens; and the steepest declivities of the mountains are terraced and made productive. "Wheat, oats, barley, rye, hemp, and fruits are extensively cultivated. Chestnuts form an important article of food among the poor. Vines thrive on the hills, and the wines are of good quality. Mulberry and walnut trees are cultivated, the nuts of the latter yielding oil. Numbers of cattle are reared.
The rivers teem with fish, and the streams and lake at the foot of Mont Cenis, the Chéran, and the Guiers are famous for trout. The climate, though variable, is healthful and mild; the cold is. severe only on the mountains. The inhabitants, in manners, language, and sympathies, have always been essentially French. They are kind, honest, hospitable, and intelligent, fond of their country and loath to leave it permanently, though as many as 30,000 of them find employment during the winters in France, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain. Nearly all of the non-migratory class are landowners, the soil being much subdivided. Agriculture is the chief pursuit, but there are many founderies and iron works, and linen, cotton, woollen, and other manufactories. Before its annexation to France, Savoy was divided into the provinces of Chablais, Faucigny, Genevois, Maurienne, Savoy Proper, Upper Savoy, and Tarantaise. It now constitutes the departments of Savoie (the southern part) and Haute-Savoie. For the latter, see Haute-Savoie. The former has an area of 2,221 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 267,958. It is divided into the ar-rondissements of Albertville, Chambéry, Mou-tiers, and St. Jean de Maurienne. Capital, Chambéry. - Savoy was originally inhabited by the Allobroges, Nantuates, and other tribes of Transalpine Gaul. Under the Romans it formed a part of Gallia Narbonensis. Subsequently it belonged to the kingdoms of the Franks and Burgundians. The last king of Aries, Rudolph III., early in the 11th century appointed Beroald, a descendant of the count of St. Maurice, as governor of Savoy. Count Humbert, however, who died about 1048, is generally regarded as the actual founder of the house of Savoy. He was a stepson of Rudolph III., and inherited the county of Maurienne, in addition to which he received from the emperor Conrad II., after the death of Rudolph and the permanent incorporation of Savoy with Germany in 1032, considerable fiefs, including Chablais and Vaud. His nephew Amadeus II., in right of his mother Adelaide, heiress to the marquisate of Susa, added a large part of Piedmont to the possessions of his house.
Under Amadeus III. (1103-'48) the territory became in 1111 a county of the empire, and he was the first count of Savoy. Its domains were much enlarged under subsequent counts, especially Amadeus V. the Great (1285-1323). (See Amadeus V.) Turin had become the capital previous to his reign. Amadeus VI., a chivalrous and adventurous prince, annexed Coni and other territories, and Amadeus VII. Nice. Under Amadeus VIII. (1391-1434) Savoy became a duchy in 1416 (see Amadeus VIII.), and he reannexed Piedmont, which for about a century and a half had been in the possession of a younger branch of the family. Charles I. (1482-9) conquered the marquisate of Saluzzo. Charles III. (1504-'53) became involved in the wars between Francis I. and Charles V., and lost nearly all his possessions, which were recovered by his son Emanuel Philibert (1553-80), who also acquired additional domains. He was one of the most warlike princes of his house, commanded the Spanish army in the battle of St. Quentin (Aug. 10, 1557), after a struggle granted the Waldenses free exercise of their religion, and promoted agriculture, industry, and learning.
The ambition of his successor, Charles Emanuel I. the Great (1580-1630), son-in-law of Philip II. of Spain, resulted in new spoliations on the part of France (see Charles Emanuel I.); and his son Victor Amadeus I. (1630-'37) was soon after his accession obliged to conclude with his brother-in-law Louis XIII. of France the disastrous peace of Cherasco. The fortunes of the house of Savoy had been at a standstill for a long period when Victor Amadeus II. succeeded Charles Emanuel II., a peaceful prince, in 1675. After various vicissitudes he recovered not only all its possessions, but acquired in 1713 a part of the duchy of Milan and the kingdom of Sicily, which he exchanged in 1720 for the island of Sardinia, with the title of king. (See Vic-tor Amadeus, and Sardinian States.) Thus, after having been counts and dukes of Savoy for 700 years in the aggregate, these princes were ranked among royal dynasties, allied with almost all the great houses of Europe, and finally the reigning king Victor Emanuel has become the ruler of all Italy. (See Italy.) Except during the French domination under the republic and Napoleon I., Savoy remained a part of the Sardinian states till 1860, when by the treaty of Turin (March 24) it was ceded to France, together with most of the county of Nice, on condition that the inhabitants should approve of the transfer; and a large majority of affirmative votes having been cast at the election for that purpose, the county was formally annexed to France, June 12.