Simplon department

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The Département du Simplon is a former administrative area of ​​the First French Empire , when Napoléon Bonaparte also incorporated Switzerland into his empire. It existed from 1810 to 1813 and corresponded to the area of ​​today's Swiss canton of Valais . Its name is derived from the Simplon Pass .


Obligation of the Département du Simplon of December 7, 1812; probably the oldest Swiss bond

After the French revolutionary troops occupied Valais in 1799, the area was assigned as a canton of the Helvetic Republic . On July 25, 1802, the Republic of Valais (République rhodanienne) declared itself independent under French and Swiss protection after France had renounced the initially planned annexation.

On November 12, 1810, Napoleon I signed a decree annexing the Republic of Valais, whereupon General César Berthier took over government in Sion on November 14, 1810 and incorporated the Valais as the Département du Simplon into the French Empire. The decisive factor for the annexation was the securing of the strategically important Simplon Pass and thus a connection to Northern Italy.

Claude-Joseph-Parfait Derville-Maléchard , who had been a French resident in Sion as early as 1806 , became prefect of the department on January 16, 1811 . At his suggestion, the department was divided into three arrondissements with a total of thirteen cantons . In April 1813, Claude-Philibert Barthelot de Rambuteau succeeded Derville-Maléchard as prefect.

Rambuteau fled the Valais on December 26, 1813, three days before an Austrian regiment marched into Saint-Maurice on December 29, 1813. In 1815, the Valais followed the recommendation of the Congress of Vienna to join the Swiss Confederation .

Administrative division

The Département du Simplon was divided into three arrondissements with 13 cantons and 96 communes:

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