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.
The Moselle and the Premonstratensian abbey in Pont-à-Mousson.
Coat of arms
Location of Pont-à-Mousson
|Intercommunality||Pays de Pont-à-Mousson|
|• Mayor (2009–2014)||Jacques Choquenet|
|21.6 km2 (8.3 sq mi)|
|• Density||700/km2 (1,800/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|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.|
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 participated 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 termed the Lotharingian axis from the territories, including Lorraine, between France and the Habsburg 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".
The region became French following the death in 1766 of Duke Stanisław Leszczyński 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.
The Pont-à-Mousson company was created in 1856 by a group of Lorraine businessmen to operate the Marbache iron mine and to use the ore to manufacture cast iron. Xavier Rogé was the manager. In 1862 the enterprise was liquidated due to lack of sufficient capital to cover the high investment expenses. Rogé managed to raise capital in the Saarland and restart the business, selling most of its production to forges in the Ardennes and Champagne. In 1866 Rogé visited England and became aware of the new and promising market for cast-iron water pipes. He focused the company on pipe production, and found a ready market when cities began to make large investment in water supply after 1871. He adopted the English method of casting pipes in vertical rather than horizontal moulds. He was succeeded by Camille Cavallier, who transformed the moderately sized cast iron pipe manufacturer into a giant, always concentrating on making pipes. Annual cast iron production rose from 80,000 to 183,000 tons between 1900 and 1913.
The company, later known as Saint-Gobain PAM is still producing ductile cast iron pipes and fittings for drinking water, irrigation and sewage applications. The plant of Pont-à-Mousson, having its 160th anniversary in 2016, is the largest employer in the city, with an average 1000 employees spread among two plants, a research center and the headquarters of the company.
Strategically positioned at an important river crossing, 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 U.S. Third Army under the command of Lieutenant General George S. 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:
Antoine (4 June 1489 – 14 June 1544), known as the Good, was Duke of Lorraine from 1508 until his death in 1544.Atton
Atton is a commune in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department in northeastern France.Blénod-lès-Pont-à-Mousson
Blénod-lès-Pont-à-Mousson is a commune in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department in northeastern France.Camille Cavallier
Camille Cavallier (19 May 1854 – 10 June 1926) was a French industrialist who directed the Pont-à-Mousson iron works in Lorraine in the first quarter of the 20th century, specializing in making cast iron pipes.
He came from a poor family but obtained a good technical education and joined the iron maker as an employee in 1874.
He rose rapidly through the ranks, and started to acquire shares.
Soon after taking charge of the company he became the largest shareholder.
He quadrupled production in the years leading up to World War I (1914–18).
The company was devastated by the war, but Cavallier managed to bring production back up to prewar levels before his death.Charles III, Duke of Lorraine
Charles III (18 February 1543 – 14 May 1608), known as the Great, was Duke of Lorraine from 1545 until his death.
He is the direct male ancestor of all rulers of the Habsburg-Lorraine dinasty, including all Emperors of Austria.Dieulouard
Dieulouard (formerly Dieulwart) is a commune in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department in north-eastern France. Dieulouard is located between Pont-à-Mousson and Nancy, on the left bank of the Moselle River. It is the location of the Gallo-Roman city of Scarpone.
In August 1608 a small group of exiled English Benedictines were given a deserted collegiate church in the town. The church was dedicated to St Laurence and so the monks adopted him as the patron of their community. During the French Revolution the community was forced to flee France. In 1802 the monks settled at Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire.Duchy of Bar
The County of Bar was a principality of the Holy Roman Empire encompassing the pays de Barrois and centred on the city of Bar-le-Duc. It was held by the House of Montbéliard from the 11th century. Part of the county, the so-called Barrois mouvant, became a fief of the Kingdom of France in 1301 and was elevated to the Duchy of Bar in 1354. The Barrois non-mouvant remained a part of the Empire. From 1480, it was united to the imperial Duchy of Lorraine.
Both imperial Bar and Lorraine were ceded to France in 1735, which then ceded Bar to the deposed king of Poland, Stanislaus Leszczynski. According to the Treaty of Vienna (1738), the duchy would pass to the French crown upon Stanislaus' death, which occurred in 1766.Francis I, Duke of Lorraine
Francis I (French: François Ier de Lorraine) (23 August 1517 – 12 June 1545) was Duke of Lorraine from 1544–1545.Henry II, Duke of Lorraine
Henry II (French: Henri II; 8 November 1563 – 31 July 1624), known as "the Good (le Bon)", was Duke of Lorraine from 1608 until his death. Leaving no sons, both of his daughters became Duchesses of Lorraine by marriage. He was a brother-in-law of Henry IV of France.Jezainville
Jezainville is a commune in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department in north-eastern France.Louis of Anjou, Marquis of Pont-à-Mousson
Louis of Anjou (16 October 1427 – d. 22 May - 16 October 1444) was marquis of Pont-à-Mousson from 1441 to 1443. He was preceded and succeeded in the title by his father. He was the third son of René of Anjou and his first wife Isabella. He and his brother Jean were given as hostages to the Burgundians in April 1432 in return for freeing their father René, who had been captured by the Burgundians. John was released, but Louis was not and he died of pneumonia in prison at the age of sixteen. He was interred at the Church of St. Anthony in Pont-a-Mousson.Maidières
Maidières is a commune in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department in north-eastern France.Montauville
Montauville is a commune in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department in north-eastern France.
It is the location of the French Le Pétant military cemetery, with WWI casualties of the Battle of Bois-le-Prêtre, and French WWII soldiers which died in German captivity.Nicholas I, Duke of Lorraine
Nicholas of Anjou (July 1448 – 27 July 1473) was the son of John II, Duke of Lorraine and Marie de Bourbon.
Nicholas was born and died in Nancy. He succeeded his father in 1470 as Duke of Lorraine, and assumed the titles of Marquis of Pont-à-Mousson, Duke of Calabria, and Prince of Girona, as heir apparent of Bar, Naples, and Aragon respectively.
He was engaged to Anne of France, Viscountess of Thouars, and used her title, but he did not marry her and had only one illegitimate daughter, Marguerite, wife of John IV of Chabannes, Count of Dammartin (d. 1503).
Some said he had been poisoned by agents of King Louis XI of France.
On his death the Duchy of Lorraine went to his aunt Yolande.Norroy-lès-Pont-à-Mousson
Norroy-lès-Pont-à-Mousson is a commune in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department in north-eastern France.René II, Duke of Lorraine
René II (2 May 1451 – 10 December 1508) was Count of Vaudémont from 1470, Duke of Lorraine from 1473, and Duke of Bar from 1483 to 1508. He claimed the crown of the Kingdom of Naples and the County of Provence as the Duke of Calabria 1480–1493 and as King of Naples and Jerusalem 1493–1508. He succeeded his uncle John of Vaudémont as Count of Harcourt in 1473, exchanging it for the county of Aumale in 1495. He succeeded as Count of Guise in 1504.Vittonville
Vittonville is a commune in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department in north-eastern France.