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Picardy (pĭkˈərdē) [key], Fr. Picardie, region and former province, N France, on the English Channel. It includes the Somme, Oise, and Aisne depts. and has three main geographical regions: the plateau north of Paris, which is an important wheat and beet area; the Somme River valley, with manufacturing cities like Amiens, Abbeville, and Saint-Quentin; and the coast, with fishing and commercial seaports like Boulogne-sur-Mer and Calais and beach resorts such as Le Touquet and Le Crotoy. The name Picardy appeared about the 13th cent., designating the many small feudal holdings added to the crown by Philip II. During the Hundred Years War the area was contested by France and England. Louis XI occupied it in 1477, securing it for France. The word Picard, always vaguely used, also applies to the people of neighboring Artois.

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

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