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{{for|the saint|Saint Walpurga}} [[Image:PercheronDraftHorse.jpg|thumb|right|300px|A Percheron draft horse]] '''Perche''' ({{IPA-fr|pɛʁʃ}}) is a former province of northern [[France]] extending over the ''[[département in France|départements]]'' of [[Orne]], [[Eure]], [[Eure-et-Loir]] and [[Sarthe]], which were created from Perche during the French Revolution. ==Geography== Perche is bounded by [[Normandy]] to the north and west, [[Maine (province of France)|Maine]] to the south-west, [[Vendomois]] and [[Dunois]] to the south, [[Beauce]] to the east and [[Thimerais]] to the north-east. The greater part of the district is occupied by a semicircle of heights (from 650 to 1000 ft. in height) stretching from [[Moulins-la-Marche]] on the northwest to [[Montmirail]] on the south; within the basin formed thereby the shape of which is defined by the [[Huisne]], an affluent of the [[Sarthe River|Sarthe]], lie the chief towns of [[Mortagne-au-Perche]], [[Nogent-le-Rotrou]] and [[Bellême]]. ==Economy== [[Image:Blason ville fr Chambellay (Maine-et-Loire).svg|125px|right|thumb|Coat of arms of Perche.]] Stock-raising and dairy-farming are flourishing in the Perche, which is famous for the production of a breed of large and powerful [[horse]]s, called [[Percheron]]s. Cider-apples and pears are grown throughout the district. ==History== In the [[Middle Ages]], the Perche constituted a county lying between [[Normandy]] and [[Maine]], of which [[Corbon, Orne|Corbon]], Mortagne and Nogent-le-Rotrou were successively the capitals. It was held by an independent line of counts until [[1226]]. One of these, Geoffroy V, would have been a leader of the [[Fourth Crusade]] had he not died before the assembled forces could depart. The county then became a possession of the crown, which removed part of it to create the county of [[Alençon]]. After [[1325]], both counties were generally held by a member or members of a [[cadet branch|cadet line]] of the [[House of Valois]]. Upon the death without children of the last Duke of Alençon in [[1525]], it returned to the crown, and was granted only sporadically thereafter. Under the ancient regime it formed, together with Maine, a government of which Mortagne was the capital. It had its own customary law "coûtume du Perche" until the [[French Revolution]]. ===A Source of Emigrants=== In the 17th century, a large number of immigrants to [[New France]] came from Perche. Many were recruited in the 1630s and 1650s to work for the Church missonaries and the nobles who were establishing estates on the [[St Lawrence River]]. While the total number of emigrants were few, Perche had a much higher rate of emigration to New France than most other regions of France. Nearly all [[French Canadians]] have some ancestors who came from the villages of Perche, which was called the [http://www.apointinhistory.net/percheron-immigration.php Percheron Immigration]. ==External links== *[http://www.perche-quebec.com/intro_en.htm Le Perche, emigration to Quebec in the 17th century] *[http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/03/25/travel/tmagazine/03well.perche.t.html Perche] in the ''[[New York Times]]''’ ''T-Style'' magazine ==See also== * [[Lords, counts and dukes of Perche]] {{coord missing|France}} {{Historic Provinces of France}}