Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Alençon belongs to the Communauté urbaine d'Alençon, with 52,000 people.
It is probably during the 4th century, while the area was being christianized, that the city of Alençon was born. The name is first seen in a document dated to the 7th century. During the 10th century, Alençon was a buffer state between Normandy (to the north) and the Maine regions (to the south). Alençon was occupied by the English during the Anglo-Norman wars of 1113 to 1203.
The city became the seat of a duke in 1415, belonging to the sons of France until the French Revolution, and some of them played an important role in French history: see Duke of Alençon. The Revolution (1789-1799) caused relatively little disorder: a few riots, some plunder, some deaths.
The fabric industry, prosperous since 1650, started to decline at that time. The economic development of the 19th century and the industrial boom was generated by several factories (mills), and transportation networks (roads and railways) developed. Unfortunately, the major railway from Brest (western tip of France) and Paris misses Alençon and favors Le Mans, 50 km south, instead.
On June 17, 1940, the German army invaded Alençon. On August 12, 1944, the city was the first French city of the continent to be liberated by the French army, by General Leclerc, after minor destruction.
After the war, the population sharply increased, and new industries settled, such as Moulinex , a home appliance manufacturer.
Alençon is also home to a prosperous plastics industry, and, since 1993, to a plastics engineering school.
Alençon was the birthplace of:
- Pierre Allix (1641-1717), Protestant pastor and author
- Jacques Hébert (1757-1794), editor of the extreme radical newspaper Le Père Duchesne during the French Revolution
- Thérèse de Lisieux (1873-1897), Roman Catholic nun who was canonised as a saint, and is one of only 33 Doctors of the Church
- Daniel Balavoine (1952-1986), singer and songwriter
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details