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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 49°30′N 3°30′E / 49.5°N 3.5°E / 49.5; 3.5

Coat of Arms of Aisne
Location of Aisne in France
Department number: 02
Region: Picardie
Prefecture: Laon
Subprefectures: Château-Thierry
Arrondissements: 5
Cantons: 42
Communes: 816
President of the General Council: Yves Daudigny
Population Ranked 46th
 -1999 535,489
Population density: 73/km2
Land area¹: 7369 km2
¹ French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2.

Aisne (French pronunciation: [ɛːn]) is a department in the northern part of France named after the Aisne River.



Aisne is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from parts of the former provinces of Île-de-France, Picardie, and Champagne.

Most of the old growth forests in the area were destroyed during battles in World War I. The French offensive against the Chemin des Dames in spring 1917 is sometimes referred to as the Second Battle of the Aisne.


Aisne borders the Ardennes Forest and Belgium to the northeast. The Aisne River crosses the area from east to west, where it joins the Oise River. The landscape is dominated by masses of rock which often have steep flanks. These rocks appear all over the region, but the most impressive examples are at Laon and the Chemin des Dames ridge.

The principal cities in Aisne are :

See also: List of the communes of the Aisne department.


There is an average of 500 to 750 mm precipitation annually.


Agriculture dominates the economy, especially cereal crops. Beet sugar is one of the most important industrial crops of the area. Silk, cotton, and wool weaving flourish in Saint-Quentin and other towns. Saint-Gobain is known for its production of mirrors, which started in the 17th century. Guise is the agricultural centre of the northern area of Aisne.


During World War I a number of significant architectural monuments were destroyed. Of the buildings that survived, the medieval churches in Laon, Braine, and Urcel are the most significant. The ruined castle of La Ferté-Milon escaped further damage during the war. Of castles that survived, some were used as prison; as the Castle of Vadancourt, near Saint-Quentin ( 500 prisoners )[1]

It is thought that the Aisne River was the birthplace of the Trench Warfare seen throughout the First World War, as the BEF had initial early successes which drove the Germans back to the Aisne River. The German Troops dug in and managed to hold out against both British and French attacks. With this German success it was to mold the entire face of World War I as both sides began digging in and fortified their positions, thus beginning the Stalemate that was to become the significant feature of the First World War.


The President of the General Council is the Socialist Yves Daudigny.

Party seats
Socialist Party 17
Miscellaneous Left 7
Miscellaneous Right 8
Union for a Popular Movement 6
French Communist Party 4

See also


External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Aisne is a department in Picardie.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

AISNE, a frontier department in the north-east of France, formed in 1790 from portions of the old provinces of Ile-de-France and Picardy. Area 2866 sq. m. Pop. (1906) 534,495. It is bounded N. by the department of Nord and the kingdom of Belgium, E. by the department of Ardennes, S.E. by that of Marne, S. by that of Seine-et-Marne, and W. by those of Oise and Somme. The surface of the department consists of undulating and well-wooded plains, intersected by numerous valleys, and diversified in the north-east by hilly ground which forms a part of the mountain system of the Ardennes. Its general slope is from north-east, where the culminating point (930 ft.) is found, to south-west, though altitudes exceeding 750 ft. are also found in the south. The chief rivers are tide Somme, the Escaut and the Sambre, which have their sources. in the north of the department; the Oise, traversing the northwest, with its tributaries the Serre and the Aisne, the latter of which joins it beyond the limits of the department; and the Marne and the Ourcq in the south. The climate is in general cold and humid, especially in the north-east. Agriculture is highly developed; cereals, principally wheat and oats, and beetroot are the chief crops; potatoes, flax, hemp, rape and hops are also grown. Pasturage is good, particularly in the north-east, where dairy-farming flourishes. Wine of medium quality is grown on the banks of the Marne and the Aisne. Bee-farming is of some importance. Large tracts of the department are under wood; the chief forests are those of Nouvion and St Michel in the north, Coucy and St Gobain in the centre, and Villers-Cotterets in the south. The osiers grown in the vicinity of St Quentin supply an active basket-making industry.

Though destitute of metals Aisne furnishes abundance of freestone, gypsum and clay. There are numerous tile and brick works in the department. Its most important industrial establishments are the mirror manufactory of St Gobain and the chemical works at Chauny, and the workshops and foundries of Guise, the property of an association of workpeople organized on socialistic lines and producing iron goods of various kinds. The manufacture of sugar is very important; brewing, distilling, flour-milling, iron-founding, the weaving and spinning of cotton,, wool and silk, and the manufacture of iron goods, especially agricultural implements, are actively carried on. Aisne imports coal, iron, cotton and other raw material and machinery; it exports cereals, live-stock and agricultural products generally, and manufactured goods. The department is served chiefly by the lines of the Northern railway; in addition, the main line of the Eastern railway to Strassburg traverses the extreme south. The Oise, Aisne and Marne are navigable, and canalsfurnish 170 m. of waterway. Aisne is divided into five arrondissements - St Quentin and Vervins in the north, Laon in the centre, and Soissons and CIA, teau-Thierry in the south - and contains 37 cantons and 841 communes. It forms part of the educational division (academie) of Douai and of the region of the second army corps, its military centre being at Amiens, where also is its court of appeal. Laon is the capital, and Soissons the seat of a bishopric of the province of Reims. Other important places are Chateau-Thierry, St Quentin and Coucy-le-Ch�au. La Ferte-Milon has remains of an imposing ch�au of the 14th and 15th centuries with interesting fortifications. The ruined church at Longpont (13th century) is the relic of an important Cistercian abbey; Urcel and Mont-Notre-Dame have fine churches, the first entirely in the Romanesque style, the second dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, to which period the church at Braisne also belongs. At Premontre the buildings of the abbey, which was the cradle of the Premonstratensian order, are occupied by a lunatic asylum.

Ansse [a corruption of [[Haidee], Mademoiselle]] (c. 1 694 1 733), French letter-writer, was the daughter of a Circassian chief, and was born about 1694. Her father's palace was pillaged by the Turks, and as a child of four years old she was sold to the comte de Ferriol, the French ambassador at Constantinople. She was brought up in Paris by Ferriol's sister-in-law with her own sons, MM. d'Argental and Pont de Veyle. Her great beauty and romantic history made her the fashion, and she attracted the notice of the regent, Philip, duke of Orleans, whose offers she had the strength of mind to refuse. She formed a deep and lasting attachment to the Chevalier d'Aydie, by whom she had a daughter. She died in Paris on the 13th of March 1733. Her letters to her friend Madame Calandrini contain much interesting information with regard to contemporary celebrities, especially on Mme. du Deffand and Mme. de Tencin, but they are above all of interest in the picture they afford of the writer's own tenderness and fidelity. Her Lettres were edited by Voltaire (1787), by J. Ravenel, with a notice by Sainte-Beuve (1846) and by Eugene Asse (1873). Mlle. Aisse has been the subject of three plays: by A. de Lavergne and P. Woucher (1854), by Louis Bouilhet (1872) and by Dejoux (1898).

See also Courteault, Une Idylle au XVIIIe siecle, Mlle. A isse et le Chevalier d'Aydie (Macon, 1900); and notices prefixed to the editions of 1846 and 1873. There is an interesting essay by E. Gosse in his French Profiles (1905).

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