Saumur

Saumur (sōmürˈ) [key], town (1990 pop. 30,150), Maine-et-Loire dept., W France, on the Loire River. Saumur is noted for its religious-medal industry (dating from the 17th cent.) and for its sparkling white wines. Aluminum products, clothing, and liquors are also produced. Tourism has become important. The town's famous cavalry school was founded in the late 18th cent. Saumur, founded in Roman times, was seized from the counts of Blois in 1026 by Fulk Nerra, count of Anjou, and became an important town in that province. As part of Anjou it was joined to the French crown in 1204 by Philip II. In the 16th cent. Saumur was given by Henry III to the then Protestant Henry of Navarre (later Henry IV). Under Philippe de Mornay, the governor, a famous Protestant academy was founded (1599), and the town became a bastion of the Huguenot movement. With the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, much of the population emigrated, thus destroying the town's economy. Among the monuments in Saumur are a 14th-century château (now a municipal museum), the remarkable Romanesque Church of Notre-Dame-de-Nantilly (begun 12th cent.), the 15th-century town hall, and many Renaissance structures. Collections of art and tapestries are also preserved.

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

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