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a city in northeastern France, on the Meurthe River and the Marne-Rhine Canal. It is the historical center of Lorraine and the administrative center of the department of Meurthe-et-Moselle. Population, 123,000 (1968; with suburbs, 258,000).
Nancy is the economic center of the industrial Lorraine region. Industries include electrotechnic and transportation machine building, shoe and clothing manufacture, and food processing. Art objects made of glass and faience are also produced. The city has a university, as well as institutes of mining, energetics, metallurgy, water resources and forestry, and commerce. Iron ore is mined in the suburbs of Nancy; they are also the site of metallurgical plants.
The city’s recorded history dates back to the tenth century. From the 13th to 18th centuries, Nancy was the residence of the dukes of Lorraine. On Jan. 5, 1477, during the Burgundian Wars of 1474–77, a battle between the duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold (10,000 men, mostly knightly cavalry), and Duke Rene II of Lorraine (as many as 20,000 men, mostly Swiss mercenary infantry) took place near Nancy. Under cover of a snowstorm, the Swiss outflanked and routed the Burgundians, and Charles the Bold was killed. The outcome of the battle confirmed the superiority of infantry over knightly cavalry and led to the collapse of the duchy of Burgundy.
Nancy’s principal architectural landmarks are the cathedral (begun 1703, architect J. Hardouin Mansart; completed 1742, architect G. G. Boffrand), the Porte de la Crafle (c. 1365), the Church of the Cordeliers (15th century) with tombs of the dukes of Lorraine (14th to 16th centuries), the Ducal Palace (first half of the 16th century), and 18th-century residential houses near the Place d’Alliance. The Place Stanislas, the Place de la Carriere, and the Place Royale are noteworthy examples of French baroque city planning (1752–61, E. Héré). Modern buildings include the university (begun 1960’s, P. Nannée) and the multistory Joffre office building (1962, A. Prouvé).