Saint-Quentin, Aisne
Saint-Quentin is a commune
Communes of France
The commune is the lowest level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to incorporated municipalities or villages in the United States or Gemeinden in Germany...

 in the Aisne
Aisne is a department in the northern part of France named after the Aisne River.- History :Aisne is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. It was created from parts of the former provinces of Île-de-France, Picardie, and Champagne.Most of the old...

 department in Picardy
This article is about the historical French province. For other uses, see Picardy .Picardy is a historical province of France, in the north of France...

  in northern France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. It has been identified as the Augusta Veromanduorum of antiquity. It is named after Saint Quentin
Saint Quentin
Saint Quentin , Quintinus in Latin, also known as Quentin of Amiens, is an early Christian saint. No real details are known of his life.-Martyrdom:...

, who is said to have been martyred here in the 3rd century.


Saint-Quentin is a sub-prefecture of Aisne. Although Saint-Quentin is by far the largest city in Aisne, the capital is the third-largest city, Laon
Laon is the capital city of the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France.-History:The hilly district of Laon, which rises a hundred metres above the otherwise flat Picardy plain, has always held strategic importance...



The mayor of Saint-Quentin is Pierre André, a member of the right-wing UMP
Union for a Popular Movement
The Union for a Popular Movement is a centre-right political party in France, and one of the two major contemporary political parties in the country along with the center-left Socialist Party...

style="font-weight: bold; font-size: 1.1em; margin-bottom: 0.5em"| List of mayors of Saint-Quentin
From To Name Party
1995 Present Pierre André UMP
Union for a Popular Movement
The Union for a Popular Movement is a centre-right political party in France, and one of the two major contemporary political parties in the country along with the center-left Socialist Party...

1989 1995 Daniel Le Meur PCF
French Communist Party
The French Communist Party is a political party in France which advocates the principles of communism.Although its electoral support has declined in recent decades, the PCF retains a large membership, behind only that of the Union for a Popular Movement , and considerable influence in French...

1983 1989 Jacques Braconnier RPR
Rally for the Republic
The Rally for the Republic , was a French right-wing political party. Originating from the Union of Democrats for the Republic , it was founded by Jacques Chirac in 1976 and presented itself as the heir of Gaullism...

1977 1983 Daniel Le Meur PCF
French Communist Party
The French Communist Party is a political party in France which advocates the principles of communism.Although its electoral support has declined in recent decades, the PCF retains a large membership, behind only that of the Union for a Popular Movement , and considerable influence in French...

1966 1977 Jacques Braconnier UDR


The city was founded by the Romans, in the Augustean period, to replace the oppidum
Oppidum is a Latin word meaning the main settlement in any administrative area of ancient Rome. The word is derived from the earlier Latin ob-pedum, "enclosed space," possibly from the Proto-Indo-European *pedóm-, "occupied space" or "footprint."Julius Caesar described the larger Celtic Iron Age...

of Vermand (11 km away) as the capital of Viromandui (Celtic Belgian people who occupied the region). It received the name of Augusta Viromanduorum, Augusta of the Viromandui, in honor of the Emperor Augustus. The site is that of a ford across the River Somme. During the late Roman period, it is possible that the civitas capital was transferred back to Vermand (whose name comes from Veromandis); almost nothing relating to the 4th century has been found in Saint-Quentin.

During the early Middle Ages, a major monastery developed, based on pilgrimage to the tomb of Quentin
Saint Quentin
Saint Quentin , Quintinus in Latin, also known as Quentin of Amiens, is an early Christian saint. No real details are known of his life.-Martyrdom:...

, a Roman Christian who came to evangelize the region and was martyred in Augusta, giving rise to a new town which was named after him.

From the 9th century, Saint-Quentin was the capital of Vermandois
Vermandois was a French county, that appears in the Merovingian period. In the tenth century, it was organised around two castellan domains: St Quentin and Péronne . Pepin I of Vermandois, the earliest of its hereditary counts, was descended in direct male line from the emperor Charlemagne...

 County. From the 10th century, the counts of Vermandois (descendants of the Carolingian, then Capetian
Capetian dynasty
The Capetian dynasty , also known as the House of France, is the largest and oldest European royal house, consisting of the descendants of King Hugh Capet of France in the male line. Hugh Capet himself was a cognatic descendant of the Carolingians and the Merovingians, earlier rulers of France...

 families) were very powerful. The city grew rapidly: the "bourgeois"
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

 organized themselves and obtained, in the second half of the 11th century (a very early date), a municipal charter
Municipal charter
A city charter or town charter is a legal document establishing a municipality such as a city or town. The concept developed in Europe during the middle ages....

 which guaranteed their commune
Medieval commune
Medieval communes in the European Middle Ages had sworn allegiances of mutual defense among the citizens of a town or city. They took many forms, and varied widely in organization and makeup. Communes are first recorded in the late 11th and early 12th centuries, thereafter becoming a widespread...

 a large degree of autonomy.

At the beginning of the 13th century, Saint-Quentin entered the royal domain
France in the Middle Ages
France in the Middle Ages covers an area roughly corresponding to modern day France, from the death of Louis the Pious in 840 to the middle of the 15th century...

. At that time, it was a thriving city, based on its wool textile industry (city “drapante”). It was also a centre of commerce boosted by its position on the border of the kingdom of France, between the Champagne fairs
Champagne, France
Champagne is a historic province in the northeast of France, now best known for the sparkling white wine that bears its name.Formerly ruled by the counts of Champagne, its western edge is about 100 miles east of Paris. The cities of Troyes, Reims, and Épernay are the commercial centers of the area...

 and the cities of Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

 (wine exportation, etc.): it had an important annual fair. It also benefited from its location in the heart of a rich agricultural region (trade of grain and “guède”, woad
Isatis tinctoria, with Woad as the common name, is a flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae. It is commonly called dyer's woad, and sometimes incorrectly listed as Isatis indigotica . It is occasionally known as Asp of Jerusalem...

, a high-value blue colouring pigment).

From the 14th century, Saint-Quentin suffered from this strategic position: it endured the French-English wars (Hundred Years' War
Hundred Years' War
The Hundred Years' War was a series of separate wars waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet, also known as the House of Anjou, for the French throne, which had become vacant upon the extinction of the senior Capetian line of French kings...

). In the 15th century, the city was disputed between the king of France and the dukes of Burgundy
Duke of Burgundy
Duke of Burgundy was a title borne by the rulers of the Duchy of Burgundy, a small portion of traditional lands of Burgundians west of river Saône which in 843 was allotted to Charles the Bald's kingdom of West Franks...

 (it is one of the "cities of the Somme"). Ravaged by the plague on several occasions, its population decreased, while its economy was in crisis: its fair was increasingly irrelevant, and agricultural production diminished. The declining textile industry turned to the production of flax canvas. Meanwhile, the city faced major expenses to maintain its fortifications and armed troops.

Between the end of the 15th century and the mid-17th century, this strategic position was the cause of frequent misfortune. In 1557, a siege
Battle of St. Quentin (1557)
The Battle of Saint-Quentin of 1557 was fought during the Franco-Habsburg War . The Spanish, who had regained the support of the English, won a significant victory over the French at Saint-Quentin, in northern France.- Battle :...

 by the Spanish army ended with the looting of the city and its desertion for two years. Given back to France in 1559, it underwent intense fortification work: the medieval wall was protected by many new advanced fortifications, redesigned several times. Two districts were razed to make way for them. In the mid-17th century, the city escaped the sieges, but suffered the horrors of wars ravaging the Picardy region, accompanied by the plague (in 1636, three thousand people died, out of perhaps ten thousand inhabitants) and famine.

In the second half of the 17th century, the conquests of Louis XIV
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

 took St Quentin away from the border, and it lost much of its strategic role. At the end of the 16th century, its textile production specialized in fine flax canvas (“batiste” and lawn). This brought prosperity, particularly in the 18th century, when these textiles were exported across Europe and the Americas.

During the First French Empire
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

, difficulties in the export market brought an economic decline. At the request of the municipality, Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 authorized the razing of the fortifications, to allow the city to grow beyond its old boundaries. In 1814-1815, Saint-Quentin was occupied by the Russian army, but without any damage.

In the 19th century, St Quentin developed into a thriving industrial city, thanks to entrepreneurs constantly on the lookout for new technologies. Textiles and mechanical products were foremost among a wide variety of products.

In 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

, the population repelled the invader on October 8, but the city fell during the second offensive. That hopeless but heroic action had national repercussions: Saint-Quentin was decorated with the Legion of Honour. In 1871, on January 19, the French army was defeated
Battle of St. Quentin (1871)
The Battle of St. Quentin was a battle of the Franco-Prussian War in which Prussian forces defeated French attempts to relieve the besieged city of Paris....

 near the town.
The First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 hit St Quentin very hard. In September 1914, the city was over-run, and it endured a harsh occupation. From 1916, it lay at the heart of the war zone, because the Germans had integrated it into the Hindenburg Line
Hindenburg Line
The Hindenburg Line was a vast system of defences in northeastern France during World War I. It was constructed by the Germans during the winter of 1916–17. The line stretched from Lens to beyond Verdun...

. After the evacuation of the population in March, the town was systematically looted and industrial equipment removed or destroyed. The fighting destroyed it: 80% of buildings (including the Basilica) were damaged.

Despite national support, the reconstruction process was long, and the city struggled to regain its pre-1914 dynamism. The 1911 population of 11,000 was achieved again only in the mid-1950s, in the context of general economic expansion. This prosperity continued until mid-1970s, when the French textile industry began to suffer through competition from developing countries.



  • Butterflies' Museum which has a collection of more than 600,000 insects, displaying 20,000 of them
  • Antoine Lecuyer Museum which owns the largest collection of Maurice Quentin de La Tour
    Maurice Quentin de La Tour
    Maurice Quentin de La Tour was a French Rococo portraitist who worked primarily with pastels. Among his most famous subjects were Voltaire, Rousseau, Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour.-Biography:...

    's pastels


The Gare de Saint-Quentin
Gare de Saint-Quentin
Gare de Saint-Quentin is a railway station serving the town Saint-Quentin, Aisne department, northern France. It is situated on the Creil–Jeumont railway.-Services:-References:*...

 is the railway station, offering connections to Paris, Reims, Amiens, Lille and several regional destinations. The A26
A26 autoroute
The A26 is a long French motorway connecting Calais and Troyes. It is also known as the Autoroute des Anglais as it is the main route from the Dover-Calais ferries and the Channel Tunnel to most parts of France and often contains large numbers of British cars, particularly during the summer...

 motorway connects Saint-Quentin with Reims and Calais, the A29
A29 autoroute
The A29 is a motorway in Normandy, northern France. The road is also European Route 44.-Route:The road connects the port of Le Havre with the A26 autoroute at Saint-Quentin...

 with Amiens.


  • Dudo of Saint-Quentin
    Dudo of Saint-Quentin
    Dudo, or Dudon was a Norman historian, and dean of Saint-Quentin, where he was born about 965. Sent in 986 by Albert I, Count of Vermandois, on an errand to Richard I, Duke of Normandy, he succeeded in his mission, and, having made a very favorable impression at the Norman court, spent some years...

     (born ca. 965), historian
  • Charles de Bouelles (1479–1567), philosopher, mathematician
    A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study is the field of mathematics. Mathematicians are concerned with quantity, structure, space, and change....

     and linguist
  • Quentin-Claude Bendier
    Quentin-Claude Bendier
    Claude Bendier was a doctor of the Sorbonne, canon of Saint-Quentin, Aisne, and a well-known French bibliophile.Born in Saint-Quentin in an unknown year, he always remained strongly attached to his native city, to which he bequeathed his 3000 volume library on the condition that it be open to the...

     (died 1677), scholar and bibliophile
  • William Cliff
    William Cliff
    William Cliff is a Belgian poet of French language. He was born in Gembloux. His poems had the chance to be noticed quickly by Raymond Queneau, and were systematically published by Gallimard until 1986.- Works :...

    , inventor of machine-woven tulle
  • Kafetien Gomis
    Kafetien Gomis
    Kafétien Gomis is a French long jumper. His personal best jump is 8.24 metres, achieved in August 2010....

  • Maurice Quentin de La Tour
    Maurice Quentin de La Tour
    Maurice Quentin de La Tour was a French Rococo portraitist who worked primarily with pastels. Among his most famous subjects were Voltaire, Rousseau, Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour.-Biography:...

     (1704–1788), painter
    Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

     and pastelist
  • Etienne Mendy
    Etienne Mendy
    Etienne Mendy is a retired French footballer who played 174 times in Ligue 1 and 114 times in Ligue 2. Mendy played for Nîmes, Caen, Sochaux, Saint Etienne and Beauvais.-References:...

  • Jean Louis Marie Poiret
    Jean Louis Marie Poiret
    Jean Louis Marie Poiret was a French clergyman, botanist and explorer.From 1785 to 1786 he was sent by Louis XVI to Algeria to study the flora...

     (1755–1834), botanist and explorer
  • François-Noël Babeuf
    François-Noël Babeuf
    François-Noël Babeuf , known as Gracchus Babeuf , was a French political agitator and journalist of the Revolutionary period...

     (1760–1797), known as Gracchus Babeuf, political agitator and journalist of the revolutionary
    French Revolution
    The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

  • Charles Rogier
    Charles Rogier
    Charles Latour Rogier was a Belgian liberal statesman and a leader in the Belgian Revolution of 1830. He became Prime Minister of Belgium on two separate occasions: from 1847 to 1852, and again from 1857 to 1868....

     (1800–1885), Belgian
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

  • Félix Davin (1807-1836), French poet and journalist
  • Amédée Ozenfant
    Amédée Ozenfant
    Amédée Ozenfant was a French cubist painter.He was born into a bourgeois family in Saint-Quentin, Aisne and was educated at Dominican colleges in Saint-Sébastien...

     (1886–1966), cubist painter
  • Jean-Marie Lefèvre (born 1953), modernist and minimalist poet
  • Xavier Bertrand
    Xavier Bertrand
    Xavier Bertrand is a French politician and Minister of Labour, Employment and Health. He was Minister of Health for almost two years in Dominique de Villepin's government under President Jacques Chirac, then Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Solidarity in François Fillon's second government...

     (born 1965), current Minister of Labour, Social Relations, Family and Solidarity in François Fillon
    François Fillon
    François Charles Armand Fillon is the Prime Minister of France. He was appointed to that office by President Nicolas Sarkozy on 17 May 2007. He served initially until 13 November 2010 when he resigned from being prime minister before a planned cabinet reshuffle.On 14 November 2010, Sarkozy...

    's second government, conservative

International relations

Saint-Quentin is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

  • Kaiserslautern
    Kaiserslautern is a city in southwest Germany, located in the Bundesland of Rhineland-Palatinate at the edge of the Palatinate forest . The historic centre dates to the 9th century. It is from Paris, from Frankfurt am Main, and from Luxembourg.Kaiserslautern is home to 99,469 people...

    , Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

  • Rotherham
    Rotherham is a town in South Yorkshire, England. It lies on the River Don, at its confluence with the River Rother, between Sheffield and Doncaster. Rotherham, at from Sheffield City Centre, is surrounded by several smaller settlements, which together form the wider Metropolitan Borough of...

    , England
    England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

  • San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

See also

  • Battle of St. Quentin (disambiguation)
  • Communes of the Aisne department
  • Augusta Viromanduorum
    Augusta Viromanduorum
    Augusta Viromanduorum is at the origin of the current city of Saint-Quentin .It was founded by the Romans, at the beginning of our era, to replace the oppidum of Vermand as the capital of theViromandui.This is proved by three sources...

External links

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