Dauphiny (Fr. le Dauphine, the dauphin-ate, i. e., of Vienne), an ancient province in the S. E. of France, bounded N. by Burgundy, E. by Savoy and Piedmont, S. by Provence, and W. by Languedoc and Lyonnais, from which it is separated by the Rh6ne. It is divided naturally into upper and lower Dauphiny, portions respectively adjoining the Alps and the Rhone. The surface of the eastern parts is broken by outliers of the Alps. The climate is cold from the nearness of the mountains, but healthful, and the country produces grain, wine, olives, hemp, and silk. The province now constitutes the departments of Isere, Hautes-Alpes, and Drome. - The country was anciently occupied by the Allobroges, who were subjugated by the Romans A. D. 61. At the fall of the empire it came under the rule of the Bur-gundians, whose king lived at Vienne. After the destruction of the kingdom of Burgundy by the Franks (534), they held the country until the death of Louis II. (879). Then Boso, duke of Lombardy and Provence, proclaimed himself king, and was recognized by Charles the Fat. From this time the country was divided among several counts, the most important of whom, the count of Vienne, took the title dauphin, from which the province came to be named.
Subsequently Dauphiny came into possession of the house of Burgundy, and later of that of Tour-du-Pin. In 1343 Humbert II., last dauphin of Vienne, being without issue, made Philip of Orleans, younger son of Philip of Valois, his heir, in consideration of 120,000 florins of gold; and in 1349 he put in possession the grandson of Philip of Valois, afterward King Charles V., himself retiring to a monastery. This cession was confirmed in 1378 by the emperor Charles IV., on whom Dauphiny depended as a fief of the German empire. Dauphiny was governed from this time as a separate province by the king's eldest son till 1457, when it was incorporated with the kingdom, Grenoble becoming the capital. The eldest sons of the king, however, continued to bear the title of dauphin. (See Dauphin.) The people of Dauphiny early received the religious views of the Vaudois, and in the 16th century the doctrines of the reformers, and suffered most cruel persecutions. In 1692 the duke of Savoy and Prince Eugene laid waste the province with fire and sword.
The Dauphinese were quick to join the revolution, and also to welcome Napoleon on his return from Elba. The boundary between the province and Piedmont was fixed by treaty March 24, 1760.