French Hainaut

French Hainaut is one of two areas in France that form the département du Nord, the easterly area. It corresponds roughly with the Arrondissement of Avesnes-sur-Helpe (east), Arrondissement of Cambrai (south-west) and Arrondissement of Valenciennes (north-west).

Until the 17th century it was an integral part of the County of Hainaut, ruled by the Burgundians and later the Habsburgs. In a series of wars between France and Spain, this southern part of Hainaut was conquered by France, together with the adjacent smaller Cambresis or the Bishopric of Cambrai to the south-west, loosely associated with it, and the similar area to these two combined in the west, southern Flanders, which borders on the English Channel (French: la Manche). Together these formed the French province of Flandre immediately before the French Revolution, which became the current Nord département.

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