The Aisne reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Aisne

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Aisne
Coat of Arms of Aisne
Details
Information
Number02
RegionPicardie
PrefectureLaon
SubprefecturesChâteau-Thierry
Vervins
Saint-Quentin
Soissons
Population
 - Total (1999)
 - Density
Ranked 46th
535,489
73 /kmò
Area7,369 kmò
Arrondissementss5
Cantons42
Communes816
President of the
general council
 
Location
Location of Aisne in France

Aisne is a French département in the northern part of the country. It was created from parts of the old French provinces of the Île de France, Picardy and Champagne. It was named after the Aisne River.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Geography
3 Economy
4 Culture
5 Miscellaneous topics
6 External links

History

Most of the old-growth forests in the area were destroyed during battles in World War I. The German offensive against the Chemin des Dames in 1918 is sometimes referred to as the Battle of the Aisne.

Geography

Aisne borders the Ardennes Forest and Belgium to the northeast. River Aisne crosses the area from east to west where it joins the Oise River. The landscape is dominated by masses of rock which often have steep flanks. These rocks appear all over the region, but the site of Laon and the Chemin des Dames ridge are the most significant occurrences.

There is on average 500 to 750 mm precipitation anually. This supports rich grainlands in the southwest of Aisne and dairy farming in the northeast.

The main settlements in Aisne are Laon, Soissons, Saint-Quentin, Château-Thierry and Vervins. Aisne is in the educational division of Douai.

See also: List of the communes of the Aisne département.

Economy

Agriculture dominates the economy, especially cereal crops. Beet sugar is one of the most important industrial crops of the area. Silk-weaving, cotton and wool industry exist in Saint-Quentin and other towns. Saint-Gobain is known for its production of mirrors which started in the 17th century. Guise is the agricultural centre of the northern area of Aisne.

Culture

During World War I a number of significant architectural monuments were destroyed. Of the buildings that survived, the medieval churches in Laon, Braine and Urcel are the most significant. The ruined castle of La Ferté-Milon escaped further damage during the war.



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