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a city in France, in the Massif Central. Capital of Loire Department. Population, 220,000 (1975). Together with the surrounding industrial cities and villages, St. Etienne forms an agglomeration with a population of 330,000. The city’s economic development began with the establishment of the Royal Firearms Factory in the early 16th century. In the mid-19th century, the city was the country’s leading coal-mining and metallurgical center. St. Etienne has machine building and metalworking, including the production of motor-vehicle parts, electronics equipment, firearms, sewing machines, and motorcycles. Other industries include the smelting of high-quality steel, the production of optical items, coal mining, and coke production. The city also has knitwear and garment industries. A university and a higher mining school are located in St. Etienne.