Cambrai (käNbrāˈ) [key], city (1990 pop. 34,210), Nord dept., N France, a port on the Escaut (Scheldt) River. It has long been known for its fine textiles and gave its name to cambric, first manufactured there. It is an agricultural center; clay, metal, and wood products are also manufactured in Cambrai. An episcopal see since the 4th cent., and seat of an archdiocese since the 16th cent., Cambrai and the surrounding county of Cambrésis were ruled by the bishops under the Holy Roman Empire until they were seized by Spain (1595) and by France (1677). Fénelon was archbishop from 1695 to 1715. The original cathedral was destroyed in 1793. Cambrai suffered devastation in both world wars; it was occupied by the Germans from 1914 to 1918 and from 1940 to 1944.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.