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Saône-et-Loire (Sona-et-Lêre in Arpitan language) is a Frenchmarker department, named after the Saône and the Loiremarker rivers between which it lies.


When it was formed during the French Revolution, as of March 4, 1790 in fulfillment of the law of December 22, 1789, the new department combined parts of the provinces of southern Burgundy and Bressemarker, uniting lands that had no previous common history nor political unity and which have no true geographical unity. Thus its history is that of Burgundy, and is especially to be found in the local histories of Autunmarker, Mâconmarker, Chalon-sur-Saônemarker, Charollesmarker and Louhansmarker.


Saône-et-Loire is the seventh largest department of France and the most densely populated in the region of Bourgognemarker. In the west the department is composed of the hills of the Autunois, the region around Autunmarker, of the Charollaismarker and of the Mâconnaismarker. In the center it is traversed from north to south by the Saône in its wide plain; the Saône is a tributary of the River Rhône that joins it at Lyonmarker and thus is connected to the Mediterranean Seamarker. The Loire makes its way in the opposite direction, draining into the Atlantic Oceanmarker. The Canal du Centremarker links the Saône to the Loire between Chalon-sur-Saônemarker and Digoinmarker, thereby linking the Mediterranean Seamarker to the Atlantic oceanmarker. In the east the department occupies the northern part of the plain of Bresse. In the west its industrial heart is in Le Creusotmarker and Montceau-les-Minesmarker.

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