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Picardy (pĭkˈərdē), Fr. Picardie, region and former province, N France, on the English Channel, part of the French administrative region of Hauts-de-France. 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 manufacturing cities like Amiens, Abbeville, and Saint-Quentin; and the coast, with fishing and commercial seaports like Boulogne-sur-Mer and Calais and beach resorts such as Le Touquet and Le Crotoy. The name Picardy appeared about the 13th cent., designating the many small feudal holdings added to the crown by Philip II. During the Hundred Years War the area was contested by France and England. Louis XI occupied it in 1477, securing it for France. The word Picard, always vaguely used, also applies to the people of neighboring Artois.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a historical region in northern France, near the English Channel. It forms the department of Somme and portions of the departments of Aisne and Oise. Area, 19,600 sq km; population, 1.65 million (1970). The principal city is Amiens.

In 1968 approximately 35 percent of Picardy’s economically active population were employed in industry, and 16 percent were engaged in agriculture. The region has diverse industries: machine building and metalworking (Amiens, St. Quentin, Creil), chemical and rubber production (Amiens, Chauny, Ribé-court), textile manufacture (St. Quentin, Amiens, Beauvais), and food processing, particularly sugar refining (Laon, Amiens, Beauvais). There is intensive agriculture. Typical farms range in size from 20 to 50 hectares, and tenant farming is widespread. There is large-scale production of wheat and sugar beets. Green vegetables, such as peas, are grown in the Somme River valley. Sheep and dairy cattle are raised. Important transportation routes run through Picardy, connecting Paris with the northern industrial region and Belgium.


The name “Picardy” was first used in the 13th century to refer to the region in the Somme River basin where the Vermandois, Ponthieu, Boulonnais, and other countships were situated. During the Middle Ages, the important artisan centers of Picardy included Amiens, Noyon, St. Quentin, and Abbeville. Between the late 12th and 14th centuries, Picardy was gradually ceded to the French crown. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the region was one of the principal sites of popular uprisings, including the Pastoureaux (1251) and the Jacquerie (1358).

During the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453) Picardy became part of the duchy of Burgundy, in accordance with the 1435 Treaty of Arras between the French king Charles VII and the duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good. After the death of Charles the Bold in 1477, the region was occupied by the French king Louis XI, and its annexation by France was confirmed in 1482 by the Treaty of Arras between Louis XI and Maximilian Haps-burg. In the 16th century, Picardy became a French province. During the 16th and 17th centuries, Spanish troops from Flanders invaded Picardy several times (for example, in 1557, 1595, and 1636).

With the division of France into departments in 1790 Picardy ceased to exist as a province.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a region of N France: mostly low-lying; scene of heavy fighting in World War I
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
'She tells me that she can't understand why one of the newspapers said she was 'The Most Hated Girl in Britain',' writes Picardie. "They don't know me, do they?' she (Coleen) says, her voice trailing away, 'those people that write that stuff'.'
Picardie says that she realises within a few minutes of talking to Coleen and her mother, Colette (who has an adopted seven-year-old daughter, Rosie, who is severely disabled and needs her full-time care) that the two are avid Vogue readers.
After talking through her thoughts with the magazine's editor, Alexandra Shulman, Picardie is given the advice, 'You don't have to make her emblematic.
Perhaps what makes My Mother's Wedding Dress such a layered read - Picardie likens it to a cross stitch sampler, only making a whole once you finish it - is the author's effortless ability to see beyond the surface (which might surprise those who think fashion is merely frivolous wrapping).
Or the occasion Picardie's friend, Harriet Quick, the fashion features editor at Vogue, tried on a Biba jet-beaded top in a second-hand shop and saw a stranger's face, a woman with 'flame-red hair', staring back at her.
There are the tales attached to Picardie's own clothes; her gingham school uniform, the black plastic trousers she wore to Cardiff Top Rank, her Nicole Farhi wedding dress, the 'Je t'aime Jane' jumper she borrows from fashion designer Bella Freud, the treasured black Gap jacket that belonged to Ruth, who died in 1997, aged 32.
Or the way that other clothes that have meant so much - like the brown linen Nicole Farhi trousers Picardie wore to her sister's wedding, or her mother's wedding dress or her orange-and-scarlet-ribbed Biba jumper - follow the socks in 'a wrinkle through time'.
Picardie - the author of her own memoir, If the Spirit Moves You, and the memoir anthology Truth or Dare - believes that some quarters dismiss fashion because they maintain an (actually rather superior) belief that we should all dress in sackcloth and concentrate on politics or helping the homeless.
'On a newspaper, fashion can be in a ghetto,' says London-based Picardie.
Picardie, 43, recalls her taste of Welsh fashion with affection.