AMIENS     Amiénois (pays).  

English: Amiens, Picardy, France

English: Amiens, Picardy, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(1) Medieval County in northern France; and (2) Ancien Régime généralité.   The city stands on the River Somme.

The County was held in the early 10th century by Ralph of Gouy, who was killed in 926, after which it passed to the Counts of Vermandois.  Mid-century, it was in the hands of Arnulf I, Count of Flanders.   After his death in 965 it reverted to the family of Ralph of Gouy, which also acquired the County of Valois.  When the last Count of this family retired into a monastery in 1077, the County was again held by the Counts of Vermandois, though the Lords of Couci twice interrupted their tenure.  After the death in 1183 of Countess Isabel, childless wife of the Count of Flanders, and after much legal wrangling, the County came into the hands of the King of France, and eventually joined up with the other royal territories in the region to form the province of Picardy, of which the city of Amiens was the capital.   The city itself was left politically fragmented.  A quarter each belonged to the Count, the Bishop, the castellan, and the Vidame, a lay officer of the Cathedral.

The diocese of Amiens belonged to the province of Reims;  the diocese survives as the diocese for the Department of the Somme.

In 1435, as part of the inducement to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, to desert the English cause, he was given much of Picardy, including the Amiénois;  Louis XI temporarily recovered it, 1463-5, and permanently in 1477, after the death of Philip’s son, Charles the Rash.

The city was the seat of the Intendant for the généralité for Picardy, established in 1542.  The généralité of Amiens included Boulogne, which formed a separate petit gouvernement, and Calais, after its return to France in 1558.   Eastern Picardy became part of a new généralité of Soissons in 1595.   Artois, recovered by France 1640-78, was placed in the généralité of Amiens at first, but in 1754 was transferred to the Intendancy of Flanders & Artois at Lille.   In 1790 the south of the généralité of Amiens became the Department of the Somme, with Amiens both as capital and as Bishop’s see, while the northern districts became part of the Pas-de-Calais.

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