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Nivernais (nēvĕrnāˈ) [key], region and former province, central France. It roughly coincides with Nièvre dept. Drained by the Loire and the Yonne, it is a hilly plateau, rising to the Morvan Mts. in the east. It has metallurgical, chemical, and livestock industries. Nevers is its chief town and historic capital. A county after the 10th cent., it passed (1384) through inheritance to Philip the Bold of Burgundy, and later, as a duchy, passed (1565) through a complicated succession to the house of Gonzaga. Cardinal Mazarin bought (1659) the title, which remained with his family even after Louis XIV incorporated (1669) Nivernais into the royal domain.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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