The Moselle and the Premonstratensian abbey in Pont-à-Mousson.
|Intercommunality||Pays de Pont-à-Mousson|
|• Mayor (2009–2014)||Jacques Choquenet|
|• Land1||21.60 km2 (8.34 sq mi)|
|• Population2 density||640/km2 (1,700/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||54431 / 54700|
|Elevation||172–382 m (564–1,253 ft)
(avg. 183 m or 600 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Population (1999): 14,592 (Mussipontains). It is an industrial town (mainly steel industry), situated on the Moselle River. Pont-à-Mousson has several historical monuments, including the 18th century Premonstratensian abbey.
In 1572 Cardinal Charles of Lorraine established a Jesuit university at Pont-à-Mousson. With the Protestant revolution building in the German-speaking lands, still part of the Holy Roman Empire, directly to the east, and the Duchy of Lorraine vulnerable to pressure from an increasingly assertive French state directly to the west, the Duchy particupated in the wars of religion on the side of the Counter-Reformation. The Tridentine strategy promulgated by the Holy See involved the creation of a "Roman Catholic backbone" (sometimes termsed the Lotharingian axis from the territories, including Lorraine, between France and the Hapsburg Empire.
During the seventeenth century the university grew rapidly until there were about 2,000 students. There were four faculties covering theology, the arts, law and medicine. Students were drawn from across western and central Europe. Over time a rivalry grew up between students in the St Martin district, located on the right-bank of the river and dominated by Jesuits, and the left-bank students based in the St Laurent quarter and considered the rowdier of the two student tribes. Rivalry peaked with the violent "printers' battles" when the rival factions were known respectively as the "Ponti Mussoni" and the "Mussiponti". The "Mussiponti" won, and in the region the inhabitants of the town became known thereafter as "Mussipontains/Mussipontines".
18th and 19th centuries
The region became French following the death in 1766 of the Duke of Lorraine, and in 1769 Louis XV had the Jesuit Academy transferred to Nancy. The only notable educational establishment remaining at Pont-à-Mousson was a military training school.
The town continued to flourish as a centre of the visual arts, however, rivalling Épinal to the south in this respect. A papier mâché factory also contributed to the cultural development of Pont-à-Mousson.
It was the regional capital between 1790 and 1795, but underwent extensive destruction in the ensuing wars, and was subject to foreign occupation in 1814 and 1815. During the Franco-Prussian War it experienced severe street fighting.
Strategically positioned at an important river crossng, Pont-à-Mousson and the surrounding region saw terrible fighting during the twentieth century wars between France and Germany. In the First World War Bois-Le-Prêtre, Croix des Carmes, Xon and Grand-Couronné are names that recall savage fighting between French and German soldiers. The town suffered further destruction in 1944, before being liberated by the US Third Army under the command of General Patton, supported by an active local resistance movement.
In 1921 the President personally presented the town with the Croix de guerre, and shortly after this Désiré Ferry, the local deputy, was awarded the Légion d'honneur. After the Second World War Pont-à-Mousson was again honoured, this time with the Croix de guerre (silver star).
Pont-à-Mousson was the birthplace of:
- Guarinus of Sitten (1065–1150), saint and Bishop of Sion
- Margaret of Anjou (1430–1482) married to Henry VI of England
- John Barclay (1582—1621), Scottish satirist and Latin poet
- Geraud Duroc (1772–1813), French general
- Louis Camille Maillard (1878–1936), French physician and chemist
- Pierre Lallement, inventor of the modern bicycle
- http://cassini.ehess.fr/ Population par commune avant 1962 (résultats publiés au journal officiel ou conservés aux archives départementales)
- Insee : Population depuis le recensement de 1962
- *Charles E. Pratt, "Pierre Lallement and his Bicycle," in Outing and the Wheelman: An Illustrated Monthly Magazine of Recreation, vol. 3, October 1883 - March 1884 (Boston: The Wheelman Company, 1884), 4-13. Google Books: available online, accessed July 18, 2010
Snoopy is shown walking towards Pont a Mousson in one strip. Snoopy also makes his way through Pont a Mousson (as indicated by a sign) in "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown".
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