The Département des Bouches-du-Rhône (13) is in southern France, bounded by the Rhône and its delta (in the west), the Mediterranean (south), and the Durance (north).
It was formed in 1790 from western Provence.
It was in the unoccupied zone of France, 1940-2. In 1941 the Vichy government appointed a Regional Prefect at Marseille with responsibility for police and economic matters in five of the departments of southeastern France.
Since 1964 it has been in the Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur Region.
The first capital was Aix-en-Provence, which had been the capital of Provence, but it was displaced by Marseille in 1800, Aix becoming a sub-prefecture. The other sub-prefecture in 1800 was Tarascon, which was replaced by Arles in 1816.
Before 1790 there were three dioceses in the area of the future department, two of them, Aix and Arles, Archbishoprics. The Archbishopric of Aix was the survivor in the revolutionary settlement of 1790. In 1822 the department gained an additional diocese with Marseille, the third of the episcopal cities prior to 1790, as the seat for its Bishop. In 1948 Marseille became an Archbishopric and was placed directly under the Holy See.