The New International Encyclopædia/Nevers
NEVERS, ne-vār′. The capital of the Department of Nièvre, France, and formerly of the Province of Nivernais, situated on a hill in the midst of fertile plains at the confluence of the Loire and the Nièvre, 140 miles southeast of Paris (Map: France, K 5). It is an important railway junction. The old portion of the town is ill-built, with narrow, crooked streets, but the modern portion has wide streets and a fine park. A gateway containing a Gallo-Roman museum, and two towers, are preserved remains of the mediæval fortifications. The feudal ducal castle is utilized for the Palace of Justice and also contains a museum. The chief ecclesiastical buildings are the Romanesque eleventh century Church of Saint Etienne, and the recently restored Cathedral of Saint Cyr, built in the thirteenth century on the site of a prior church, the west portion of which is incorporated in the present building; the cathedral is noted for its double apse and fine sculptures and paintings. The town possesses a public library, and numerous educational, scientific, and benevolent institutions. It has manufactures of iron and copper ware, chemicals, porcelain and cloth, an engine-fitting factory, formerly a famous naval cannon foundry, and oil mills. Nevers is the ancient Noviodunum, an important town of the Ædui. It has been an episcopal see since the sixth century, when it was called Nivernum. The town became the seat of the counts of Nevers in the tenth century and was created a dukedom by Francis I. in 1538. The dukedom of Nevers passed by marriage to a member of the family of Gonzaga, the ducal house of Mantua. On the extinction of the Gonzaga line in Mantua in 1627, Charles, Duke of Nevers, claimed the duchy. He was supported by France, and opposed by Spain and Austria. The War of the Mantuan Succession which ensued ended in the recognition of the claim of Charles of Nevers in 1630. The population of Nevers in 1900 was 27,673.