The Département de l’Ariège (09) is in southern France, bordering on Spain and Andorra. It is drained by the River Salat in the west and in the east by the River Ariège, on which Foix, its capital, stands.
It was formed in 1790, mainly from the province of Foix, but partly from Guienne & Gascony (the former Vicomté of Couserans) and from Languedoc.
It was in the unoccupied zone from the Armistice in 1940 until the Germans occupied it after the Allied invasion of North Africa in Novemmber 1942. In 1941 the Vichy government placed it under the Regional Prefect in Toulouse for police and economic matters.
The department has belonged to the Midi-Pyrénées region since 1960.
The sub-prefectures for the other arrondissements are at Saint-Girons (in the west) and Pamiers (northeast). The Pamiers sub-prefecture was temporarily abolished, 1926-42. Pamiers is also the seat of the bishop; it is an ancient diocese.