1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Avesnes
AVESNES, a town of northern France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Nord, on the Helpe, 28 m. S.E. of Valenciennes by rail. Pop. (1906) 5076. The town is the seat of a sub-prefect, and has a tribunal of first instance, a chamber of commerce and a communal college. Its church of St Nicholas (16th century) has a tower 200 ft. high, with a fine chime of bells. The chief industry of the town is wool-spinning, and there is trade in wood. Avesnes was founded in the 11th century, and formed a countship which in the 15th century passed to the house of Burgundy and afterwards to that of Habsburg. In 1477 it was destroyed by Louis XI. By the treaty of the Pyrenees (1659) it came into the possession of the French, and was fortified by Vauban. It was captured by the Prussians in 1815.