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Douai

Douai (dōō´ā, dōōā´), town (1990 pop. 44,195), Nord dept., N France, in French Flanders, on the Scarpe River. It is a major industrial and commercial center in what formerly was the northern coal region. The chief industries are foundry products, automobile parts, glass, chemicals, and printing.

Probably a Roman fortress (Duacum) built in the 4th cent., Douai was a possession of the counts of Flanders during the Middle Ages. Because of its prosperity as a center of the cloth trade, the town received a charter (1228) granting some autonomy. With the Hundred Years War (1337–1453) and the resulting curtailment of English wool imports, the town declined and passed in 1384 to the dukes of Burgundy and in 1477 to the Spanish Hapsburgs. Louis XIV seized Douai in 1667, and after the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14), the town was permanently restored to France by the Peace of Utrecht (1713).

Points of interest include the town hall (15th cent.); the belfry (14th cent.); the Palace of Justice (16th and 18th cent.); and St. Peter's Church (16th and 18th cent.). Under the patronage of Philip II of Spain, a Roman Catholic college was established in Douai for English priests. At the college the Old Testament of the Douay Bible was prepared in 1609.

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Douai

Douai. Town in N. France. In the 16th cent., when it formed part of the Spanish Netherlands, Douai was a gathering place for English recusants. William Allen established a college there in 1568 to train clergy for the English mission, and a translation of the Bible, still known as the Douai version (though much of the work was done at Rheims where the college was from 1578 to 1593, hence Douai-Rheims), was begun there.

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