The Département du Calvados (14) is in northwestern France, bordering on the Baie de la Seine, and taking its name from a reef off the coast, a unique source for a departmental name. It was formed out of the gouvernement of Normandy and the généralités of Caen and Rouen in 1790; its capital is Caen, the capital of Lower Normandy.
It was in occupied France, 1940-4, and was the scene of the beginning of the liberation of France: all but one of the beaches for the Normandy landings of 1944 were in the Calvados. In 1941 the Vichy government placed it under the Regional Prefect at Rouen for police and economic matters.
In 1960 it became part of the new Basse-Normandie region, of which Caen is capital. The sub-prefectures for the other arrondissements are Bayeux (in the northwest, also the seat of the Bishop), Vire (southwest) and Lisieux (in the east, and another episcopal city until 1790). Falaise (south) and Pont l’Êveque (northeast) were also sub-prefectures, 1800-1926.