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VALENCIENNES

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Originally appearing in Volume V27, Page 847 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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VALENCIENNES, a town of northern France in the department of Nord on the Scheldt, at its confluence with the RhOnelle, 30 M. S.E. of Lille by rail. Pop. (Igoe), town, 25,977; commune, 31,759. The Scheldt here divides into two branches, one of which flows through the town, while the other, canalized and forming a port, skirts it on the west. Of the fortifications, dismantled in 1892, and replaced by boulevards, the Tour de la Dodenne (13th and 15th centuries) and the citadel (17th century) are the chief remains. Valenciennes is the centre of a rich coal-field, to which Anzin (q.v.), an industrial town a little over a mile to the north-west, has given its name. To this fact is due the existence of the important foundries, forges, rolling-mills, wire-works and machine shops which line the bank of the Scheldt. There is also an extensive beetroot cultivation, with attendant sugar-works and distilleries, and glass, starch, chemicals and soap are produced. Hosiery, trimmings and handkerchiefs are manufactured and cotton weaving and printing are carried on, though little of the famous lace is now made. Other industries are brewing and malting. There are a sub-prefecture, courts-of first instance and of commerce, a chamber of commerce, a board of trade arbitration, and a branch of the Bank of France, a lycee, a school of music and a school of fine art (founded in 1782). The town hall is a fine building of the early 17th century, but its facade was rebuilt in 1867 and 1868. The museum contains galleries of painting and sculpture, with works by Antoine, Louis and Francois Watteau, Carpeaux, all of whom were natives of the town, and by Rubens and other Flemish artists. Opposite the museum there is a monument commemorating the defence of the town in 1793. The principal church is that of Notre-Dame du Cordon, a fine modern building in the Gothic style surmounted by a tower 272 ft. in height. The church of St Gery preserves a few pillars dating from the 13th century. Near it stands the statue of Antoine Watteau, and there is also a statue of Jean Froissart, born at Valenciennes. Valenciennes is said to owe its name and foundation to one of the three Roman emperors named Valentinian. In the middle ages it was the seat of a countship which in the r 1th century was united to that of Hainaut. In the 16th century Valenciennes care be taken to exclude moisture. In objecting to the use of such compounds, however, Kekule took the further important step of dividing compounds into two classes—that of atomic compounds, such as ammonia and hydrogen chloride, in which the components are held together by atomic affinities; and that of molecular compounds, such as ammonium chloride, containing atomic compounds held together by molecular affinities: but Kekule never gave any very clear explanation of the difference. Notwithstanding Brereton Baker's observations, the question remains with us to-day, the only difference being that we have substituted the more precise term "residual affinity" for Kekule's term " molecular affinity." Hydrogen is the one element which at present can be affirmed to be of unvarying valency: as no compound of determinable molecular weight is known in which a single atom of this element can be supposed to be present in the molecule in association with more than a single atom of another element, the hydrogen atom may be regarded as a consistent univalent or monad radicle. As the element of unit valency, hydrogen is, therefore, the one fit atomic measure to be used in ascertaining valency; unfortunately, it cannot always be applied, as so few elements form volatile hydrides. Hydrocarbon radicles such as methyl, CH3, however, are so entirely comparable with the hydrogen radicle that they form equally efficient standards; as many elements form volatile methides, some assistance may be obtained by the use of such radicles. But in all other cases the difficulty becomes very great; indeed, it is doubtful if a trustworthy standard can then be found—we are still forced, in fact, to recognize the wisdom of Kekule's contentions. The greatest difficulty of all that we have to meet is due to the fact that valency is a dependent variable in the case of many if not of most elements, the degree in which it is manifest depending on the reciprocal affinities of the associating elements, as well became the stronghold of Protestantism in Hainaut, but was conquered by the Spaniards, who committed all sorts of excesses. In 1656 the Spaniards under Conde made a successful defence against the French under Turenne; but in 1617 Louis XIV. took the town after an eight days' siege, and Vauban constructed the citadel. Valenciennes, which then became the capital of Hainaut, has since always belonged to France. In 1793, after forty-three days' bombardment, the garrison, reduced to 3000 men, surrendered to the allied forces numbering some 140,000 or 150,000 men, with 400 cannon. In 1815 it defended itself successfully.
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