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Agen (äzhäNˈ) [key], town (1990 pop. 32,223), capital of Lot-et-Garonne dept., SW France, on the Garonne River, in Guienne. It is an agricultural marketplace in the center of a fruit-growing region and an industrial center where food products, clothing, agricultural machinery, bicycles, tiles, drugs, furniture, and musical instruments are manufactured. Originally a Gallic settlement, Agen was a crossroads in Roman times. It became the capital of the county of Agenois under the Carolingians. An episcopal see from the 10th cent., it passed (1154) to England with the rest of Aquitaine. It was reconquered in the Hundred Years War (1337–1453) and incorporated into the province of Guienne. Among the historic structures are chapels from the 13th and 14th cent.; the Church of St. Jacobius (13th cent.), with its Gothic frescoes; the St. Hilaire Church (15th cent.); and the Romanesque and Gothic St. Caprais Cathedral.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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