Saint Pierre

Saint Pierre

[seynt pyair; Fr. san pyer]
Saint Pierre, town (2006 pop. 5,509), capital of the French territorial collectivity of St. Pierre and Miquelon, on the E coast of St. Pierre island. St. Pierre is the administrative and commmercial center of the islands. Fishing, fish processing, fish meal production, and fish exporting are the town's main industries. Tourism is also important. The town was settled in the 17th cent., primarily by Basque, Norman, and Breton fisherman, and a curing and salting plant for cod was soon established. Razed by the British (1778) and French (1794), it was rebuilt in the 19th cent. and grew as a fishing and fish-processing center. During America's prohibition period (1920-33), the town was a prosperous bootlegging hub. Notable sights include the cathedral (1907), lighthouse, and state museum.

Sint-Pieters-Woluwe (Dutch) or Woluwe-Saint-Pierre (French) is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium. It is mostly a well-to-do residential area, which includes the wide, park-lined, Tervuren Avenue (French: Avenue de Tervueren, Dutch: Tervurenlaan) and the numerous embassies located near the Montgomery Square (Place Montgomery, Montgomeryplein). Of the three rivers that once crossed the municipality, only the Woluwe, a tributary of the Zenne, can still largely be seen today.

Spelling and pronunciation

The official Dutch name is Sint-Pieters-Woluwe, which reflects the original pronunciation ['wɔ.ly.wə]. Woluwe-Saint-Pierre is sometimes also spelled in French: Woluwé-Saint-Pierre with an accent on the first "e". Though the first version (without an accent) is the official version, the second one fits more the French pronunciation: [wɔ.ly.we]. Woluwe-Saint-Pierre is also often written in French: Woluwe-St-Pierre or abbreviated WSP.

History

Middle Ages to Albert and Isabella

The first appearance of the name Wolewe dates from 1117 and can be found in a charter from Forest (Vorst in Dutch). At that time, the original hamlet and its farms were dependencies of the abbey of Park near Leuven. The first period of trouble began in the middle of the 16th century, when the war of Philip II of Spain against the heretic Protestants and the ensuing poverty and famine took their toll on the whole population. Safety and prosperity came back under the reigns of Archdukes Albert and Isabella at the beginning of the 17th century. The first highway linking Tervuren to Brussels, then known as the “Street of the Duke”, dates from that period.

18th century until now

The French Revolution was also a troubled period for Woluwe-Saint-Pierre – Sint-Pieters-Woluwe. The roads became insecure; the religious freedoms were drastically curtailed; much of the local wild life was exterminated for food; and the lack of coal and wood forced people to use peat for heating. The local administration gained its independence from Brussels, obtained its first mayor on May 26 and its first municipal council in 1819. The commercial opportunities that opened up to the new commune marked the start of a new era of wealth. The city did not expand very fast, however, until the last two decades of the 19th century. New roads, such as the Tervuren Avenue, a new train track, imposing mansions, such as the “Palais Stoclet”, and the Woluwe Park were all built or designed between 1880 and 1910. An important race track, now demolished, was built in 1906. The residential areas came into being right after World War I and further urbanization took place after the second war. Today, agriculture and fisheries, common before 1918, have completely disappeared. The city lives nearly exclusively off the service sector of the economy.

Sights

  • The extensive Woluwe Park includes giant sequoias, cypresses, and a variety of birds such as swans, gulls, and herons.
  • The imposing modern city hall is open to visitors.
  • The town’s main church (Saint Peter) was erected in 1755 on the site of a much older building and perpendicular to it, with funds from the abbey of Forest. Traces of the older building can still be seen on the left of the current church.
  • Several turn-of-the-century houses and manors can still be seen today, such as the Palais Stoclet, which was built between 1905 and 1909 on a design by Josef Hoffmann and contains mosaics and paintings by Gustav Klimt.

Famous inhabitants

Henri, comte de Paris, duc de France, pretender to the French throne (b. 1933)

Twin Cities

See also

External links

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