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A district now principally organised as the modern French départements of Savoie and Haute-Savoie. The history of Savoy is entwined with that of the house of Savoy, the ruling family that took its name from the province. Savoy emerged as a county in the early Middle Ages, in 1416 it was elevated to a duchy, and in 1720 it formed a part of the Kingdom of Sardinia with Piedmont, Aosta Valley, Nice, Oneglia (part of modern Imperia, Liguria) and Sardinia. Savoy was annexed by revolutionary France in 1792. By 1815 Savoy was returned to Sardinia. Under the Treaty of Turin (1860) Savoy was ceded by Sardinia to Second Empire France.

The name derives from the Latin term for the area first recorded in the 4th century: Sapaudia signifying a fir forest.[1]

Lake Geneva forms its northern boundary, the River Rhône its western, the Dauphiné to the south, and the Alps of Italy and Switzerland to the east.


Chambéry was the seat of the House of Savoy from 1232 until 1559 when Emmanuel Philibert, restored to his duchy by the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis after the Wars of Italy, moved his capital to Turin.

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  1. "Savoy" in John Everett-Heath (ed.), The Concise Dictionary of World Place-Names (2 ed.), 2010 Oxford University Press, eISBN: 9780199580897 accessed 01 December 2012.

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