french france capital
AMIENS, an ancient city of France, capital of the department of Somme, and formerly of the old province of Picardy, situated on the Somme, about 40 miles from its mouth, and 71 miles N. of Paris. It was once a place of great strength, and still possesses a citadel, but the ramparts which surrounded it have been replaced by beautiful boulevards. The new part of the town is well built, but the streets of the old quarter are narrow and irregular, and are so cut up by the eleven canals into which the Somme is here divided, that Louis XI. is said to have called the town " little Venice." The most interesting object in Amiens is its magnificent cathedral, one of the finest in Europe, commenced in the year 1220 and finished in 1288, although additions to it were afterwards made. Among the other important public buildings are the Hotel de Ville, the Chateau d'Eau, the theatre, the museum, the hospital, and several churches. The town is the seat of a bishop, of a prefect, and of the departmental courts of justice ; and possesses a library containing more than 50,000 volumes, besides manuscripts, an academy of sciences, various other learned societies, a theological seminary, a lyceum, and several ordinary schools. It has many important manufactures, the chief being cotton velvets, kerseymercs, woollen and linen cloths, its, beetroot sugar, soap, leather, and paper. Amiens occupies the site of the ancient Samarobriva, capital of the Ambiani, from whom it probably derives its name. After the dissolution of the empire of the west it repeatedly changed owners, becoming for the first time• a dependency of the French crown in 1185, when Philip of Alsace 'ceded it to Philip Augustus ; and since that date it has more than once passed out of the power of the French kings. The famous treaty between Great Britain, France, Spain, and Holland, which took its name from this city, was signed in the Hotel de Ville on March 25th, 1802. During the recent war between France and Germany Amiens fell into the hands of the Prussians on the 28th of November 1870. General Manteuffel was operating against the French army of the north, which had been formed with the view of helping the armies of Paris and of the Loire to effect a junction, and thus raise the siege of the capital. The French, however, were defeated in a battle in front of _Amiens, which was fought on the 27th of November, along a line stretching from Salcux to Marceleane, and extending, it is 'said, more than four leagues. They retreated northward in the direction of Arras, and Amiens surrendered on the following day, after a very slight demonstration of force on the part of the Prussians. Peter the Hermit was born at Amiens about 1050. Population (1872), 63,747.