Beauvais (bōvāˈ) [key], town (1990 pop. 56,278), capital of Oise dept., N France. Tractors, ceramic tiles, textiles, and musical instruments are among its many manufactures. A Roman town and an early episcopal see, it flourished in the Middle Ages and again after the 17th cent., when Colbert established the state tapestry industry there. It was the center of the Jacquerie revolt in 1358, and in 1472 its citizens resisted Charles the Bold of Burgundy. Jeanne Hachette, who earned her surname for the hatchet with which she helped to repel the Burgundians, is commemorated in a yearly celebration. Beauvais was severely damaged in both World Wars; in June, 1940, its tapestry factory was destroyed, and the industry was moved to Paris. The city still retains its Cathedral of St. Pierre, begun in 1227 as the highest building in Christendom but never completed. Its choir vault (154 ft/47 m), the highest of all Gothic vaults, was reinforced after it fell in 1284; the transept was completed in 1548.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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