La Vendee, a W. department of France, formed from the old province of Poitou, bordering on Loire-Inferieure, Maine-et-Loire, Deux-Sèvres, Charente-Inferieure, and the bay of Biscay; area, 2,588 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 401,446. The surfaee is level or undulating, and marshy along the coast. The marshy district is known as le Marais; the woody tract in the centre of the department as le Bocage; and the rest of the country as la Plaine, a fertile district watered chiefly by the river Vendee, The navigable streams are the Autise, Vendée, Lay, Vic, Sèvre-Niortaise, and Sevre-Nantaise. The coasts are low, and there are but two harbors, Sables-d'Olonne and St. Gilles. The chief productions are grain, wine, hemp, flax, wool, cattle, coal, and metals. The manufactures are unimportant. It is divided into the arrondissements of Napoleon-Vendee, Sablesd'Olonne, and Fontenay-le-.Comte. Capital, Napoleon-Vendue. - La Vendee is famous for a royalist insurrection after the proclamation of the first republic, which spread over Lower Poitou, Anjou, Lower Maine, and Brittany. The movement 'was semi-religious, and originated with the peasantry in 1793, under the lead of Jacques Cathelineau. (See Cathelineatt.) The count Henri du Verger la Rochejaquelein became especially distinguished as leader of the insurgents; but they were signally defeated in December, 1793, and hundreds of them massacred.
In the following spring the war broke out again under La Roohejaquelein, Stofflet, and Charette. (See La Roohejaquelein, and Chakette.) The first was killed at Nouaillé, March 4, 1794, after a desperate struggle. The Chouans, with whom the Vendeans were afterward united, appeared at the same time N. of the Loire, in the departments of Morbihan and C6tes-du-Nord. (See Chouans.) The convention made a peace with the Vendeans early in 1795, guaranteeing to them a general amnesty, freedom of religious worship, exemption from military service, and indemnification for their losses. But the landing of a body of French emigres at Quiberon in June encouraged them to take up vendome arms again. Gen. Hoche was sent against them, and succeeded, after Stofflet and Charette and other chief leaders had been shot (February and March, 1796), in enforcing submission. The cruel punishments of 1793-'4 were not repeated. Far less important insurrectionary movements took place in 1799 and 1800, and during the hundred days £1815), when the marquis Louis du Verger la Rochejaquelein, brother of Henri, the commander of the last Vendean army, was killed, June 4. - See Crétineau-Joly, Histoire de la Vendee militaire (4 vols., Paris, 5th ed., 1865).