Abbeville

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Abbeville

(äbvēl`), town (1990 pop. 24,588), Somme dept., N France, in PicardyPicardy
, 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
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, on the Somme River. Sugar refining, brewing, iron working, and carpet manufacturing are the chief industries. Abbeville received its commercial charter in 1184 and enjoyed prosperity until the revocation of the Edict of NantesNantes, Edict of,
1598, decree promulgated at Nantes by King Henry IV to restore internal peace in France, which had been torn by the Wars of Religion; the edict defined the rights of the French Protestants (see Huguenots).
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 (1685) caused the Protestants, who constituted the skilled labor, to flee. The closing of the Somme River port because of sedimentation also affected prosperity. Although heavily damaged in World War II, the town retains the late Gothic Church of St. Wolfram, with its 13th-century belfry.

Abbeville

(ă`bēvĭl), city (1990 pop. 11,187), seat of Vermilion parish, S La., on the Vermilion River, with access to the Intracoastal WaterwayIntracoastal Waterway,
c.3,000 mi (4,827 km) long, partly natural, partly artificial, providing sheltered passage for commercial and leisure boats along the U.S. Atlantic coast from Boston, Mass. to Key West, S Fla., and along the Gulf of Mexico coast from Apalachee Bay, NW Fla.
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; inc. 1850. It is a trade and processing center for a region of rice and sugarcane fields. There is fishing for crawfish, alligator, and crab, as well as varied manufacturing. In Cajun country, Abbeville was settled (1843) by descendants of Acadians from Nova Scotia and was laid out like a French town. It grew around the Roman Catholic church (1845) and preserves much of the early atmosphere in its historic district. There is an Acadian history museum. The city and surrounding region suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Rita in 2005.