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The region was already put into cultivation during Antiquity, and probably takes its name from the Romans, though the exact etymology is unknown. From the Middle Ages onwards, dikes were built to contain the river and sea water and drain the marshlands, which led to the expansion of agriculture and salt production. When higher dikes were built to contain the river Rhône in 1869, this reduced the number of floods, allowing for the introduction of viticulture in the area. After the Second World War, intensive rice cultivation was introduced as well. Industrial salt production was started in the late 19th century; currently, the Camargue is the largest salt producing area in Europe, though production figures are decreasing in recent years.
 
The region was already put into cultivation during Antiquity, and probably takes its name from the Romans, though the exact etymology is unknown. From the Middle Ages onwards, dikes were built to contain the river and sea water and drain the marshlands, which led to the expansion of agriculture and salt production. When higher dikes were built to contain the river Rhône in 1869, this reduced the number of floods, allowing for the introduction of viticulture in the area. After the Second World War, intensive rice cultivation was introduced as well. Industrial salt production was started in the late 19th century; currently, the Camargue is the largest salt producing area in Europe, though production figures are decreasing in recent years.
  
Since the region also offers good access to the Mediterranean Sea, the town of Aigues-Mortes was founded in 1240 by king Louis XI as the port for all ship traffic from and to France. However, the city lost its importance when the [[Provence]] with the port of [[Marseille]] were added to the French kingdom in 1481.
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Since the region also offers good access to the Mediterranean Sea, the town of Aigues-Mortes was founded in the 1240 by king Louis XI as the port for all ship traffic from and to France. However, the city lost its importance when the [[Provence]] with the port of [[Marseille]] were added to the French kingdom in 1481.
  
 
Because of its outstanding natural values, the nature reserve of the '''Étang de Vaccarès''', the largest lagoon in the area, was already created in 1928. Since 1970, most of the Grande Camargue is a ''Parc Naturel Régional'' (Regional Natural Park). It has been classified as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
 
Because of its outstanding natural values, the nature reserve of the '''Étang de Vaccarès''', the largest lagoon in the area, was already created in 1928. Since 1970, most of the Grande Camargue is a ''Parc Naturel Régional'' (Regional Natural Park). It has been classified as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

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