French commune
département=Somme| arrondissement=Abbeville
insee= 80001
cp= 80100
maire= Joël Hart
gentilé= Abbevillois
devise= "Fidelis"
alt moy= 8 m
alt mini= 2
alt maxi= 76 m
sans= 24,567

Abbeville (Abbegem in Flemish) is a city in Picardie in northern France.


Abbeville is located on the Somme River, 20 kilometres from its modern mouth in the English Channel, and 45 kilometres northwest of Amiens. In the medieval period, it was the lowest crossing point on the Somme and it was nearby that Edward III's army crossed shortly before the Battle of Crécy in 1346.


Abbeville was the capital of the former province of Ponthieu. Today, it is one of the three sub-prefectures" of the Somme department.

It is twinned with the town of Burgess Hill in West Sussex.


The name Abbeville has been adopted to name a category of early stone tools. These stone tools are also known as handaxes. Various handaxes were found near Abbeville by Jacques Boucher de Perthes during the 1830s and he was the first to describe the stones in detail, pointing out in the first publication of its kind, that the stones were chipped deliberately by early man, so as to form a tool. These earliest stone tools found in Europe were chipped on both sides so as to form a sharp edge, are now known as Abbevillian handaxes or bifaces. The earlier form of stone tools, not found in Europe is known as Oldowan choppers. A more refined and later version of handaxe production was also found in the Abbeville/Somme River district. The more refined handaxe became known as the Acheulean industry, named after Saint-Acheul, today a suburb of Amiens.


Abbeville first appears in history during the 9th century. At that time belonging to the abbey of Saint-Riquier, it was afterwards governed by the Counts of Ponthieu. Together with that county, it came into the possession of the Alençon and other French families, and afterwards into that of the House of Castile, from whom by marriage it fell in 1272 to King Edward I of England. French and English were its masters by turns till 1435 when, by the treaty of Arras, it was ceded to the Duke of Burgundy. In 1477 it was annexed by King Louis XI of France, and was held by two illegitimate branches of the royal family in the 16th and 17th centuries, being in 1696 reunited to the crown. In 1514, the town saw the marriage of Louis XII of France to Mary Tudor, the daughter of Henry VII of England.

Abbeville was fairly important in the 18th century, when the Van Robais Royal Manufacture (one of the first major factories in France) brought great prosperity (but some class controversy) to the town. Voltaire, among others, wrote about it. He also wrote about a major incident of intolerance in which a young impoverished lord, the Chevalier de la Barre, was executed there for impiety (supposedly because he did not salute a procession for Corpus Christi, though the story is far more complex than that and revolves around a mutilated cross.)

Abbeville was the birthplace of Rear Admiral Amédée Courbet (1827–85), whose victories on land and at sea made him a national hero during the Sino-French War (August 1884 to April 1885). Courbet died in June 1885, shortly after the end of the war, at Makung in the Pescadores Islands, and his body was brought back to France and buried in Abbeville on 1 September 1885 after a state funeral at Les Invalides a few days earlier. Abbeville's old Haymarket Square (Place du Marché-au-Blé) was renamed Place de l'Amiral Courbet in July 1885, shortly after the news of Courbet's death reached France, and an extravagant baroque statue of Courbet was erected in the middle of the square at the end of the nineteenth century. The statue was damaged in a devastating German bombing raid during the Second World War.

The Blitzkrieg

Abbeville was the southern terminus of the Réseau des Bains de Mer, the line to Dompierre-sur-Authie opened on 19 June 1892 and closed on 10 March 1947. Abbeville is served by trains on the line between Boulogne-sur-Mer and Amiens. On 12th September 1939 in Abbeville a conference took place in which France and the United Kingdom decided it was too late to send troops to help Poland in its fight against Germany as Poland by this time was already on the verge of defeat.Fact|date=January 2008

In 1940, the Germans had massed the bulk of their armoured force in Panzer Group von Kleist, which attacked through the comparatively unguarded sector of the Ardennes and achieved a breakthrough at Sedan with air support. The group raced to the coast of the English Channel at Abbeville, thus isolating (21 may 1940) the British Expeditionary Force, Belgian Army, and some divisions of the French Army in northern France. (Citation of Wikipedia Blitzkrieg) The Battle of France was lost.

De Gaulle (17-18 may 1940), as a Colonel in this period launched a counterattack in the region of Laon (see the map) with 80 tanks to destroy the communication of the German armoured troops. His 4th DCR (armoured division) reached Moncornet. But, without support, the 4th DCR was forced to retreat. There was an other counter-attack. After Laon (24 may) , de Gaulle was promoted to temporary general: " On 28 May (...) the 4th DCR attacked twice to destroy a pocket captured by the enemy south of the Somme near Abbeville. The operation was successful, with over 400 prisoners taken and the entire pocket mopped up except for Abbeville (...) but in the second attack the 4th DCR failed to gain control of the city in the face of superior enemy numbers." []

Historical population::1901: 18,519:1906: 18,971:1990: 24,588


The city was very picturesque until the early days of the Second World War when it was bombed mostly to rubble in one night by the Germans. The town overall is now mostly modern and rebuilt. Several of the town's attractions remain, including:
* St. Vulfran's church, erected in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. The original design was not completed. The nave has only two bays and the choir is insignificant. The facade is a magnificent specimen of the flamboyant Gothic style, flanked by two Gothic towers.

ee also

* Abbevillian



External links

* [ Official website] (in French)

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Abbeville — Abbeville …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Abbeville — Abbeville, AL U.S. city in Alabama Population (2000): 2987 Housing Units (2000): 1353 Land area (2000): 15.560669 sq. miles (40.301945 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.046480 sq. miles (0.120383 sq. km) Total area (2000): 15.607149 sq. miles… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Abbeville —   [ab vil], Stadt im Département Somme, Nordfrankreich, nahe der Mündung der Somme, 23 700 Einwohner;   Wirtschaft:   vielseitige Industrie, besonders Nahrungsmittel und Textilien;   Verkehr:   Hafen für kleinere Schiffe an der Flutgrenze.   …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Abbeville, AL — U.S. city in Alabama Population (2000): 2987 Housing Units (2000): 1353 Land area (2000): 15.560669 sq. miles (40.301945 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.046480 sq. miles (0.120383 sq. km) Total area (2000): 15.607149 sq. miles (40.422328 sq. km)… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Abbeville, GA — U.S. city in Georgia Population (2000): 2298 Housing Units (2000): 467 Land area (2000): 3.060449 sq. miles (7.926525 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.018722 sq. miles (0.048491 sq. km) Total area (2000): 3.079171 sq. miles (7.975016 sq. km) FIPS… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Abbeville, LA — U.S. city in Louisiana Population (2000): 11887 Housing Units (2000): 5125 Land area (2000): 5.648810 sq. miles (14.630351 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.027687 sq. miles (0.071709 sq. km) Total area (2000): 5.676497 sq. miles (14.702060 sq. km)… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Abbeville, MS — U.S. town in Mississippi Population (2000): 423 Housing Units (2000): 188 Land area (2000): 3.480487 sq. miles (9.014419 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 3.480487 sq. miles (9.014419 sq. km) FIPS… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Abbeville, SC — U.S. city in South Carolina Population (2000): 5840 Housing Units (2000): 2654 Land area (2000): 5.867972 sq. miles (15.197976 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 5.867972 sq. miles (15.197976 sq.… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Abbeville — (spr. Abb will, v. lat. Abbatis villa), 1) Bezirk im franz. Dep. Somme, 130,000 Ew.; u. 2) Hauptstadt hier an der Somme, Justizpalast, Kirche zu St. Wulfran in gothischem Styl, Fabriken in Wolle, Tuch u. Teppichen (bes. die von dem Holländer van… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Abbeville — *Abbeville, 3) District im Westsüdwesten des nordamerikanischen Staates Süd Carolina, 960 englische (45 geogr.) QM.; 1850: 32,318 Ew.; Hauptfluß: Savannah, hier nur für kleine Boote schiffbar; Producte: Baumwolle, Mais, Weizen, Hafer, Bataten,… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Abbeville — (spr. abb wil ), 1) Arrondissementshauptstadt im franz. Departement Somme, am Flusse Somme, Knotenpunkt der Nordbahn, hat eine gotische Kirche (St. Vulfran) mit prächtiger Fassade, eine Statue von Lesueur, einen Hafen und zählt (1901) 20,309 Einw …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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