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Brigasque Country (France & Italy)

Tera Brigasca

Last modified: 2003-05-31 by
Keywords: alpes-maritimes | brigasque | tera brigasca | cross: toulouse (red) | ring (red) | sun: 6 rays (red) |
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[Flag of Brigasque country]by Jaume Ollé

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Presentation of the Brigasques/Brigaschi

The Brigasques live in the municipalities of La Brigue (450 inhabitants, including the hamlet of Morignole [Alpes-Maritimes, France]), Realdo (50 inh.) and Verdeggia (16 inh.) [municipality of Triora, western Liguria, Italy] and Piaggia, Upega, Carnino 124 inh. [municipality of Briga Alta, Piedmont, Italy] and Viozene (c. 100 inh.) [municipality of Ormea, Piedmont, Italy]. The Brigasques are caracterized by an original culture that includes a language that belongs to the Occitan family.

There is no political independentism in Brigasque people, but rather a wish to defend their particular culture.

Roberto Tarabella, 31 July 2002

On the French side of the Alps, La Brigue is a village of c. 450 inhabitants located in the valley of Levense, whose inhabitants are called Brigasques. Morignol is a hamlet administratively incorporated into la Brigue. The Italian villages are located on the other side of the Alps. In spite of the border and mountains, these villages are closer to each other than to any other important village. It is therefore highly acceptable that they constituted in the past a kind of local community. Such cases are common in the Alps and Pyrénées. The villages located on each side of a border often shared mountain pastures, exchanged specialized workers, and enjoyed smuggling. Mixed marriages were not uncommon and were useful in limiting endogamy.

Regarding the cultural and linguistical aspects, it is also highly acceptable that these villages kept some level of specificity a bit longer than in the neighbouring areas. La Brigue was incorporated to France in 1947 only and was therefore not subjected to the linguistical uniformization which affected France. In the rest of the County of Nice, incorporated in 1860, the local language - Nissard - also resisted much longer than the other Occitan languages spoken in Provence or Languedoc. The situation in Savoy was a bit different because French had replaced Franco-Provencal as the official language centuries before the incorporation into France. There was no linguistical uniformization in Italy, where local languages or dialects are still very commonly used. The Brigasque villages are located in the Occitan-speaking area, and the local language was surely of the Occitan family.

Ivan Sache, 1 August 2002

Description of the flag

The Brigasque flag was adopted in 1982 by the Centro per lo studio della cultura brigasca e delle altre culture delle Alpi liguri marittime (Center for the study of Brigasque culture and of the other cultures of Ligurian maritime Alps), as reported in Gilberto Oneto's book entitled Bandiere di Libertà (Flags of Freedom).
The symbol placed in the middle of the flag is the "shepherd's rose" (rosa di pastù in Brigasque language). It is an ancient and very popular symbol in the Alps, in Padany and in central Europe. It represents also ancient solar cult. In the flag there is also a cross of Toulouse that symbolizes the belonging of the Brigasques to the Occitan family.

Roberto Tarabella, 31 July 2002