Arras is an ancient settlement with sites dating to the Stone Age. It is situated on the Scarpe River, in Artois, in the northwest of France. At the height of its reign a Roman garrison held the area, which had been known as a sacred place to the Atrebates, a Belgic Gaul tribe who once lived there.
The textile industry became significant as early as the 4th century. The charter granted by the French king in 1180 raised its standing in the world of banking, while the wool and textile industries continued to receive accolades as the finest in the world. Though other towns began to dip into the production of wool, the tapestries produced in Arras were coveted by the kings of Europe. These beautiful tapestries even came to be known as arras as homage to the region that produced the luxurious weavings that were interlaced with gold thread.
The town had numerous rulers as it was passed among the various royal houses of Europe. Under the Spanish Hapsburgs Artois was part of the Spanish Netherlands (shown on the map above as Hispanicum) until the end of the Thirty Years War in 1648.
Our ancestors who emigrated from Artois are listed below. The dates reflect the year they arrived in Canada if known, otherwise it is the date of their earliest appearances in the records there:
- Antoine Vermet (1665) of Arras.
- Image: coat of arms from www.wikipedia.org; map author's collection