Established on March 4, 1790, during the French Revolution, Vienne is one of the original 83 departments. It was created from parts of the former provinces of Poitou, Touraine, and Berry, the latter being a part of the Duchy of Aquitaine until the 15th century.
The original Acadians, who settled in and around what is now Nova Scotia, left Vienne for North America after 1604. Kennedy (2014) argues that the emigrants carried to Canada their customs and social structure. They were frontier peoples, who dispersed their settlements based on kinship. They optimized use of farmland and emphasized trading for a profit. They were hierarchical and politically active.
Édith Cresson, France's first woman Prime Minister from 1991-1992, was a deputy (MP) for the department.
The capital Poitiers is the see of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Poitiers, which pastorally serves the department.
The most famous tourist sites include the Futuroscope theme park, Poitiers (city of Art and History), the Abbey Church of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, a UNESCO world heritage site, the animal parks of and the .