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Author: Laxman Burdak IFS (R).
Rhone River drainage basin

Rhone is one of the major rivers of Europe and has twice the average discharge of the Loire (which is the longest French river).


It rises in the Rhône Glacier in the Swiss Alps at the far eastern end of the Swiss canton of Valais, passing through Lake Geneva and running through southeastern France. At Arles, near its mouth on the Mediterranean Sea, the river divides into two branches, known as the Great Rhône (French: le Grand Rhône) and the Little Rhône (le Petit Rhône). The resulting delta constitutes the Camargue region.

Variants of name


The name Rhone continues the name Latin: Rhodanus (Greek Ῥοδανός Rhodanós) in Greco-Roman geography. The Gaulish name of the river was *Rodonos or *Rotonos (from a PIE root *ret- "to run, roll" frequently found in river names).

The Greco-Roman as well as the reconstructed Gaulish name is masculine, as is French le Rhône. This form survives in the Spanish/Portuguese and Italian namesakes, el/o Ródano and il Rodano, respectively. German has adopted the French name but given it the feminine gender, die Rhone. The original German adoption of the Latin name was also masculine, der Rotten; it survives only in the Upper Valais (dialectal Rottu).

In French, the adjective derived from the river is rhodanien, as in le sillon rhodanien (literally "the furrow of the Rhône"), which is the name of the long, straight Saône and Rhône river valleys, a deep cleft running due south to the Mediterranean and separating the Alps from the Massif Central.


The Rhône rises as an effluent of the Rhône Glacier in the Valais, in the Swiss Alps, at an altitude of approximately 2,208 metres.[1] From there it flows south through Gletsch and the Goms, the uppermost, valley region of the Valais before Brig. Shortly before reaching Brig, it receives the waters of the Massa from the Aletsch Glacier. It flows onward through the valley which bears its name and runs initially in a westerly direction about thirty kilometers to Leuk, then southwest about fifty kilometers to Martigny .

Down as far as Brig, the Rhône is a torrent; it then becomes a great mountain river running southwest through a glacier valley. Between Brig and Martigny, it collects waters mostly from the valleys of the Pennine Alps to the south, whose rivers originate from the large glaciers of the massifs of Monte Rosa, Dom, and Grand Combin.

At Martigny, where it receives the waters of the Drance on its left bank, the Rhône makes a strong turn towards the north. Heading toward Lake Geneva, the valley narrows, a feature that has long given the Rhône valley strategic importance for the control of the Alpine passes. The Rhône then marks the boundary between the cantons of Valais (left bank) and Vaud (right bank), separating the Valais Chablais and Chablais Vaudois. It enters Lake Geneva near Le Bouveret.

On a portion of its extent Lake Geneva marks the border between France and Switzerland. On the left bank of Lake Geneva the river receives the river Morge. This river marks the border between France (Haute-Savoie) and Switzerland (Valais). The Morge enters Lake Geneva at Saint-Gingolph, a village on both sides of the border. Then between Évian-les-Bains and Thonon-les-Bains the Dranse enters the lakewhere it left a quite large delta. On the right bank of the lake the Rhône receives the Veveyse, the Venoge, the Aubonne and the Morges besides others.

Lake Geneva ends in Geneva, where the lake level is maintained by the Seujet dam. In Geneva, the Rhône receives the waters of the Arve from the Mont Blanc. After a course of 290 kilometres the Rhône leaves Switzerland and enters the southern Jura Mountains. It then turns toward the south past the Bourget Lake which it is connected by the Savières channel. At Lyon, which is the biggest city along its course, the Rhône meets its biggest tributary, the Saône. From the confluence, the Rhône follows the southbound direction of the Saône. Along the Rhône Valley, it is joined on the right (western) bank by the rivers Eyrieux, Ardèche, Cèze, and Gardon coming from the Cévennes mountains; and on the left bank by the rivers Isère.

From Lyon, it flows south, between the Alps and the Massif Central. At Arles, the Rhône divides into two major arms forming the Camargue delta, both branches flowing into the Mediterranean Sea, the delta being termed the Rhône Fan. The larger arm is called the "Grand Rhône", the smaller the "Petit Rhône".


The Rhône has been an important highway since the times of the Greeks and Romans. It was the main trade route from the Mediterranean to east-central Gaul. As such, it helped convey Greek cultural influences to the western Hallstatt and the later La Tène cultures. Celtic tribes living near the Rhône included the Seduni, Sequani, Segobriges, Allobroges, Segusiavi, Helvetii, Vocontii and Volcae Arecomici.[2]

Navigation was difficult, as the river suffered from fierce currents, shallows, floods in spring and early summer when the ice was melting, and droughts in late summer. Until the 19th century, passengers travelled in coches d'eau (water coaches) drawn by men or horses, or under sail. Most travelled with a painted cross covered with religious symbols as protection against the hazards of the journey.[3]

In 1933, the Compagnie Nationale du Rhône (CNR) was established to improve navigation and generate electricity, also to develop irrigated agriculture and to protect the riverside towns and land from flooding. Some progress was made in deepening the navigation channel and constructing scouring walls, but World War II brought such work to a halt. In 1942, following the collapse of Vichy France, Italian military forces occupied southeastern France up to the eastern banks of the Rhône, as part of the Italian Fascist regime's expansionist agenda.

Jat History

Mangal Sen Jindal[4] writes..."The Goths, one of the more numerous German peoples, moved south-eastwards from the north German plain to the lowlands north of the Black Sea. Advancing Westwards from this region to the lower Danube, some of them settled within the Balkan lands of the Byzunine Empire, whilst other moved up the valleys of the Drave and Save and thence into Italy. The Ostrogoths, as they were called, established a kingdom in Italy, which they ruled from the old Roman capital of Ravenna.

Another branch of the Goths who became known as the west or visigoths, crossed the western Alps and conquered as large part of southern Gaul, which they governed from Toulouse. In the year 413 they took possession of the cities of Valence on the lower Rhone, the 'Gap Town' of Toulouse and seaport of Narbonne. In its initial stage, about the year A. D. 410, the Kingdom of Visigoths extended between the Atlantic, the Garonne and the Pyrenees. From this base they conquered in a few years the whole of Aquitaine, and also the town of Poitiers, which commanded the Roman route northwards to the Loise. Further they crossed the Pyrenees and succeeded by the year 457 in conquering almost the whole of Spain. Shortly after this they captured definitely the town of Narbonne and also Nimes Merseilles and Arler, and consolidated the it rule over Low Languedve, the lower Rohne and even Province south of the Durance. At its greatest extent, at the end of the fifth century. the visigothic state embraced southern Gaul between the Loire. the lower Rhone, the Atlantic, the Gaul of Lion and the Pyrenees, whilst only a part of Spain with-stood their advance. In the northwest from the lower Tagus to Galicia earlier German immigrants, the Suevi, escaped conquest, whilst in the western Pyrenees and the cantabrian mountains the Basques preserved their independence. It was as an advance post against these sturdy mountaineers, descendants of the Iberi of Caesar, that the visigoths built in the year 581 their only town in Spain, namely Victoria, which stands above the Zadorra river, the valley of which carried the Coast road from Gaul down to the Upper Ebro. The advance of

History of Origin of Some Clans in India:End of p.102

the Visigoths to the Loire brought them to the Southern frontier of the Frankish kingdom, and in the warfare that ensued between the two peoples the visigothic forces suffered decisive defeats." [5] "The next great step for the Arab Mohammadans, after taking Africa. as then known, was to invade Spain, and that expedition was one of the greatest items in their magnificent conquest of nation. What was the state of Spain in the seventh century? After the fall of the Roman Empire, Spain was overrun by the Visigoths, Suevi, Vandals, and other barbarians from the north. The Vandals gave name of Andalusia i.e., Vandalitia) ; and both they and the Visigoths, or Western Goths, were nominally Christian. Before the arrival of the Moslem conquerors, the Visigoths had become the rulers, but from their severity they were loved neither by Spain nor by the Berbers of the neighbouring African coast." ., .... [6]

"After seven days fighting, according to tradition, Roderick, the last of the Gothic kings, commanding, in a splendid chariot of ivory, clad in cloth of gold, was killed, and the Moors (Muslim) were victorious, though in numbers only one to six." [7]

"Such was the end of the rule of Spain by the Western Goths. In the fifth century, descending from their wild German forests they had ravaged 'France' (using its future name) with fire and sword, then taken possession of Spain, just as the Eastern Goths after passing the Danube, had overrun Greece and Italy. every step marked by copious bloodshed." ..... · [8]

"The Spanish population and the Jews of the towns, found the Moslem rule much preparable to that which the Goths had so long exercised." [9]

History of Origin of Some Clans in India:End of p.103

"The easy settlement of the Moslems in Spain, and the continuance of their rule, was due to several causes which are easily understood. The previous government of the Gothic Christians had been much harsher and more arbitrary." ... [10]

DNA study on Y-STR Haplogroup Diversity in the Jat Population

David G. Mahal and Ianis G. Matsoukas[11] conducted a scientific study on Y-STR Haplogroup Diversity in the Jat Population of which brief Conclusion is as under:

The Jats represent a large ethnic community that has inhabited the northwest region of India and Pakistan for several thousand years. It is estimated the community has a population of over 123 million people. Many historians and academics have asserted that the Jats are descendants of Aryans, Scythians, or other ancient people that arrived and lived in northern India at one time. Essentially, the specific origin of these people has remained a matter of contention for a long time. This study demonstrated that the origins of Jats can be clarified by identifying their Y-chromosome haplogroups and tracing their genetic markers on the Y-DNA haplogroup tree. A sample of 302 Y-chromosome haplotypes of Jats in India and Pakistan was analyzed. The results showed that the sample population had several different lines of ancestry and emerged from at least nine different geographical regions of the world. It also became evident that the Jats did not have a unique set of genes, but shared an underlying genetic unity with several other ethnic communities in the Indian subcontinent. A startling new assessment of the genetic ancient origins of these people was revealed with DNA science.

The human Y-chromosome provides a powerful molecular tool for analyzing Y-STR haplotypes and determining their haplogroups which lead to the ancient geographic origins of individuals. For this study, the Jats and 38 other ethnic groups in the Indian subcontinent were analyzed, and their haplogroups were compared. Using genetic markers and available descriptions of haplogroups from the Y-DNA phylogenetic tree, the geographic origins and migratory paths of their ancestors were traced.

The study demonstrated that based on their genetic makeup, the Jats belonged to at least nine specific haplogroups, with nine different lines of ancestry and geographic origins. About 90% of the Jats in our sample belonged to only four different lines of ancestry and geographic origins:

1. Haplogroup L (36.8%)- The origins of this haplogroup can be traced to the rugged and mountainous Pamir Knot region in Tajikistan.

2. Haplogroup R (28.5%): From somewhere in Central Asia, some descendants of the man carrying the M207 mutation on the Y chromosome headed south to arrive in India about 10,000 years ago (Wells, 2007). This is one of the largest haplogroups in India and Pakistan. Of its key subclades, R2 is observed especially in India and central Asia.

3. Haplogroup Q (15.6%): With its origins in central Asia, descendants of this group are linked to the Huns, Mongols, and Turkic people. In Europe it is found in southern Sweden, among Ashkenazi Jews, and in central and Eastern Europe such as, the Rhône-Alpes region of France, southern Sicily, southern Croatia, northern Serbia, parts of Poland and Ukraine.

4. Haplogroup J (9.6%): The ancestor of this haplogroup was born in the Middle East area known as the Fertile Crescent, comprising Israel, the West Bank, Jordon, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. Middle Eastern traders brought this genetic marker to the Indian subcontinent (Kerchner, 2013).

5.-9. Haplogroups E, G, H, I, T (9.5%): The ancestors of the remaining five haplogroups E, G, H, I, and T can be traced to different parts of Africa, Middle East, South Central Asia, and Europe (ISOGG, 2016).

Therefore, attributing the origins of this entire ethnic group to loosely defined ancient populations such as, Indo-Aryans or Indo-Scythians represents very broad generalities and cannot be supported. The study also revealed that even with their different languages, religions, nationalities, customs, cuisines, and physical differences, the Jats shared their haplogroups with several other ethnic groups of the Indian subcontinent, and had the same common ancestors and geographic origins in the distant past. Based on recent developments in DNA science, this study provided new insights into the ancient geographic origins of this major ethnic group in the Indian subcontinent. A larger dataset, particularly with more representation of Muslim Jats, is likely to reveal some additional haplogroups and geographical origins for this ethnic group.

Cities and towns along the Rhône

Cities and towns along the Rhône include:


  • Oberwald (Valais)
  • Brig (Valais)
  • Visp (Valais)
  • Leuk (Valais)
  • Sierre (Valais)
  • Sion (Valais)
  • Martigny (Valais)
  • St. Maurice (Valais)
  • see Lake Geneva for a list of Swiss and French towns around the lake
  • Geneva (Geneva)


The Rhône in Lyon under the old Boucle's Bridge The Rhône at Avignon

  • Lyon, (Rhône (département))
  • Vienne (Isère)
  • Tournon-sur-Rhône (Ardèche) opposite Tain-l'Hermitage (Drôme)
  • Valence (Drôme) opposite Saint-Péray and Guilherand-Granges (Ardèche)
  • Montélimar (Drôme) opposite Le Teil and Rochemaure (Ardèche)
  • Viviers (Ardèche)
  • Bourg-Saint-Andéol (Ardèche)
  • Pont-Saint-Esprit (Gard)
  • Roquemaure (Gard) opposite Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Vaucluse)
  • Avignon (Vaucluse) opposite Villeneuve-lès-Avignon (Gard)
  • Beaucaire (Gard) opposite Tarascon (Bouches-du-Rhône)
  • Vallabrègues (Gard)
  • Arles (Bouches-du-Rhône)


  1. "255 Sustenpass" (Map). Rhône source (online map) (2015 ed.). 1:50 000. National Map 1:50 000 – 78 sheets and 25 composites (in German). Cartography by Swiss Federal Office for Topography, swisstopo. Berne, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Office for Topography, swisstopo. 2013. ISBN 978-3-302-00255-2.
  2. Freeman, Philip. John T. Koch, ed. Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia. I. ABC-CLIO. p. 901. ISBN 1-85109-440-7.
  3. McKnight, Hugh (September 2005). Cruising French Waterways (4th ed.). Sheridan House. ISBN 978-1-57409-210-3.
  4. History of Origin of Some Clans in India/Jat From Jutland/The Goths, pp. 102-104
  5. An Historical Geography of Europe, pages 143 to 144.
  6. The Story of Extinct Civilization of the East, page 131.
  7. The Story of Extinct Civilizations of East, page 132.
  8. The Story of Extinct Civilization of the East, page 133.
  9. The Story of Extinct Civilizations of the East, page 134.
  10. The Story of Extinct Civilizations of the East, page 140.
  11. Y-STR Haplogroup Diversity in the Jat Population Reveals Several Different Ancient Origins