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Picardy (Traditional province, France)


Last modified: 2021-06-27 by ivan sache
Keywords: picardy |
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Flag of Picardy - Image by Pierre Gay, 14 July 2003

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History of Picardy

The name of Picardy appeared in the 13th century, probably formed after pique ("a pike"), the prefered weapon of the Picards, who were then famous for being very touchy.

The feudal domains of Amiénois (now the department of Somme) and Vermandois (now the north of the department of Aisne) were incorporated into the royal domain in 1185 and 1191, respectively. In 1299, Picardy was constituted of the Bailiwick of Amiens, subdivided into the Provostships of Amiens, Beauquesne, Doullens, wA HREF="fr-62-mm.html">Montreuil, and Saint-Riquier. The Bailiwick of Lille, established in 1304, was initially dependent of Picardy.

In 1336, King Philip of Valois reconquered Ponthieu, occupied by the English since 1272. Picardy was made a military province in 1350, but Ponthieu was retroceded to England in 1360.
In 1435, Picardy (Ponthieu included), ceded to the Duchy of Burgundy by the Treaty of Arras, ceased to be a province. In 1477, after the death of Duke of Burgundy Charles the Bold, Louis XI invaded Picardy.

Picardy was increased in the 16th century by the "reconquested lands" surrounding the towns of Calais and Boulogne. The fortified cities of Picardie (Amiens, Abbeville, Corbie, Montdidier, Péronne, Roye) constituted the defense line of the northern border of France until the incorporation of Artois in 1659 by the Treaty of the Pyrenees.

Ivan Sache, 14 July 2003

Flag of Picardy

The flag of Picardy is a banner of the arms of Picardie, "Quarterly first and fourth azure three fleurs de lis or second and third argent three lions rampant gules", said to date back to 1640 and assigned to the province by Jacques Meurgey in his Notice historique sur les blasons des anciennes provinces de France (Historical note on the coats of arms of the ancient French provinces, 1941).

Meurgey lists two variants of the arms of the province:
- "Quarterly 1. Azure three fleurs-de-lis or, 2. Argent four lions gules, 3. Or a lion sable armed and langued gules, 4. Gules four lions or"; these arms are shown on a seal from the 16th century showing the arms of France, Normandy, Germany and Picardy, here quartered France, Flanders and Hainaut.
- "France a border compony argent and gules), that is Burgundy Modern, to recall that the dukes of Burgundy Philippe the Handsome and Charles the Bold once partially owned the province.

Ivan Sache, 14 June 2009