This article is about the historical French province.
For other uses, see Picardy .
Picardy ( ) is a historical
province of France, in the north
historical capital and largest city is Amiens.
Middle Ages, 'Picardy' referred to that
part of France north of Paris, and it even
included the Dutch speaking Flanders.
Thus, the name applied to an area
much larger than what we now think of as Picardy. This area corresponds
to all the territories from Paris to the Netherlands. In the Latin Quarter of Paris, people identified a "Picardy Nation"
(Nation Picarde) of students, most of whom actually came
from Flanders, who studied in the prestigious Sorbonne
In a narrower sense, Picardy refers to the area covered by the
(military region) of Picardy as created in
the 16th century. This area is the Somme département, the northern half of the
Aisne département, and a small fringe in the
north of the Oise
This is what most people think of as
Picardy today. The older definition survives in the name of
the Picard language, which applies
not only to the dialects of Picardy proper, but also to the
Romance dialects spoken in the
Calais région, north
of Picardy proper.
proper now lies inside the administrative region of
Picardy, making up half of this region. Before the French Revolution, the coastal areas of
Boulogne-sur-Mer and Calais were
considered part of Picardy, but are now part of the Nord-Pas de
Calais région. However, anciently these areas belonged to
the province of Artois, and had
been detached from Artois in the 15th century.
Most of Picardy is a vast plain with open fields
, famed for the gruesome
Battle of the Somme
. The main
crops of Picardy are wheat
, sugar beets
, and fodder
beet was introduced by Napoleon I during
the Napoleonic Wars in order to
counter the United
Kingdom which had seized the sugar islands possessed by
France in the Caribbean.
The sugar industry made the fortune of
Picardy in the 19th century and contributed to the ruin of the
sugar economy in the Caribbean.
Villages of Picardy have a distinct character, with their houses
made of dark red bricks, in contrast with the neighbouring
minority of people still speak the Picard language, one of the languages of France, which is also
spoken in Artois (Nord-Pas de
", a Picard song, is a symbol
of the local culture (and of that of Artois).
In popular culture
- Encyclopedia Britannica Online