Artois

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Artois

(ärtwä`), region and former province, in Pas-de-Calais dept., N France, near the English Channel, between Picardy and Flanders. Arras is the chief city. Largely agricultural, it contains diverse industries, and occupies part of the once-productive Franco-Belgian coal basin. Owned in the Middle Ages by the counts of Flanders, Artois was annexed (1180) to France by Philip II through marriage. Burgundy gained (14th cent.) the territory, also through marriage. Later it was under Austrian rule, and from 1493 until its conquest (1640) by Louis XIII it was under Spanish rule. Confirmation of French possession was made by the Peace of the Pyrenees (1659) and the Treaty of Nijmegen (1678). Renowned for its états (assembly), which met until the 18th cent., it declined in political importance thereafter. Of strategic significance in World War I, it was the scene of heavy fighting. The region gives its name to the artesian wellartesian well,
deep drilled well through which water is forced upward under pressure. The water in an artesian well flows from an aquifer, which is a layer of very porous rock or sediment, usually sandstone, capable of holding and transmitting large quantities of water.
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, known there for centuries.

Artois

 

a historic region in northern France. Chief city, Arras. Much of Artois lies within the department of Pas-de-Calais. Its name comes from the Atrebates, a Celtic tribe who settled the region in antiquity.

The territory of Artois belonged to the counts of Flanders from the middle of the ninth to the 12th century. At the end of the 12th century it entered the domain of the French king. Artois, with county status, became the appanage of the brother of the French king Louis IX in 1237. From 1384 to 1477, Artois was part of the dukedom of Burgundy; from 1493 it was a possession of the Austrian Hapsburgs (although it was feudally dependent on France until 1526); and in 1556 it reverted to the Spanish king Philip II. Artois was an economically backward province of the Netherlands, and during the 16th-century revolution in the Netherlands it was a stronghold of Spanish rule. By the peace treaties of the Pyrenees (1659) and Nijmegen (1678), Artois was annexed to France. During World War I, Artois was the site of major battles in 1914, 1915, and 1917.