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(pĭk`ərdē), 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.



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.



a region of N France: mostly low-lying; scene of heavy fighting in World War I
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