ARTOIS, an ancient province of the north of France, corresponding to the present department of Pas de Calais, with the exclusion of the arrondissements of Boulogne and Montreuil, which belonged to Picardy. It is a rich and well-watered country, producing abundance of grain and hops, and yielding excellent pasture for cattle. The capital of the province was Arras, and the other important places were Saint-Omer, Béthune, Aire, Hesdin, Bapaume, Lens, Lillers, Saint-Pol and Saint-Venant. The name Artois (still more corrupted in "Arras") is derived from the Atrebates, who possessed the district in the time of Caesar. From the 9th to the 12th century Artois belonged to the counts of Flanders. It was bestowed in 1180 on Philip Augustus of France by Philip of Alsace, as the dowry of his niece Isabella of Hainaut. At her death in 1190, Baldwin IX., count of Flanders (d. 1206), and then his son-in-law, Ferrand (Ferdinand) of Portugal, count of Flanders, disputed the possession of the country with the king of France, Ferrand being in the coalition which was overthrown by Philip Augustus at Bouvines (1214). In 1237 Artois, which was raised to a countship the following year, was conferred as an appanage by Saint Louis on his brother Robert, who died on crusade in 1250. His son, Robert II., took part in the wars in Navarre, Sicily, Guienne and Flanders, and was killed at the battle of Courtrai in 1302. After his death, his son Philip having predeceased him (1298), Artois was adjudged to his daughter Mahaut, or Matilda, as against her nephew Robert, son of Philip, who attempted to support his claim to the countship by forged titles. Banished from France for this crime (1322), Robert of Artois took refuge in England, where he became earl of Richmond, and incited Edward III. to make war upon Philip of Valois. His descendants, the counts of Eu (q.v.), continued to style themselves counts of Artois. By the marriage of Mahaut (d. 1329) with Otto IV., Artois passed to the house of Burgundy, in whose possession it remained till the marriage of Mary, the daughter of Charles the Bold, to the archduke Maximilian brought it to the house of Austria. Louis XI., however, occupied portions of Artois, and the claims of Austria were contested by France until the treaty of Senlis (1493). The emperor Charles V. established the council of Artois, with sovereign authority. At the end of the Thirty Years' War Artois was again conquered by the French, and the conquest was ratified in the treaty of the Pyrenees (1659) by Spain, to whom the province had fallen in 1634. During the war between France and Holland (1672-77) and that of the Spanish Succession. Artois was invaded again, but the treaties of Nijmwegen (1678) and of Utrecht (1713) confirmed the sovereignty of France. The title of count of Artois was borne by Charles X. of France before his accession to the throne. This new creation became extinct on the death of the comte de Chambord in 1883.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)