NANTES, Mixt. An important seaport town, capital of the Department of Loire-Inferieure, France, situated on the right bank of the Loire, at its continence with the Erdre and the Sevre Nantaise, both navigable streams (Slap: France, E 4). It is about 250 miles by rail southwest of Paris. Besides railways, there is communiea tion with the interior by steamers on the Loire. The city is handsome and well built. Among the numerous striking and beautiful buildings, the chief are the Cathedral of Saint Pierre and the old castle, dating from 93S. The Bourse is a modern building and one of the finest in France. There are a public library containing 200,000 volumes, a museum of paintings, a museum of natural history, an ecclesiastical college, several learned societies, and three theatres. A very beautiful promenade, formed by the Cours Saint Pierre and the Cours Saint Andre, extends from the Erdre to the Loire. It is planted with four rows of trees, bordered with lines of palatial houses, and ornamented with statues. On the right bank of the river there are six miles of quayage. Formerly vessels of 200 tons only could reach the port, vessels of greater burden unloading at Paimbtenf, or Saint-Nazaire, but a ship canal on the left bank now admits large sailing vessels and steamers directly to Nantes. In the manufacture of sugar Nantes stands next to Paris and Marseilles. Its ship-building in dustry and its tobacco factories are also very important. There are also iron, copper, and lead
foundries, oil and soap works, food-preserving establishments, saw mills, and manufactures of railroad material, of cotton and woolen goods, chemicals, and cement.
Nantes. anciently Condivineum, was founded before the Roman conquest. It took its present name from that of a Gallic tribe, the Namnetes. It was the capital of the Duchy of Brittany, and its history until the fifteenth century is a record of struggles with successive invaders in defense of its independence. In 1491 the duchy was united to France by the marriage in the castle of Anne of Brittany to Charles VIII., King of France. The castle also witnessed the sign ing of the famous Edict of Nantes (q.v.) by Ilenry 1V. in 1598. From the fifteenth century the commerce of the town began to have a great development, and in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries its prosperity increased on account of the slave trade, but in 1790 Nantes had declined greatly in importance. During the Revolution it was the scene of the notaries and other atrocities of the infamous Carrier (q.v.). The population. which showed a falling off in 18S0 and in 1890, in the last decade advanced again, and in 1901 Nantes had 132.990 inhabit ants. Consult Maillard. Nantes et le t'parte men( an XIIhne sirele (Nantes, 1896).