MONTBELIARD, a town of eastern France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Doubs, 49 m. N.E. of Besangon on the Paris-Lyon line between that town and Belfort. Pop. (1906), town, 8723; commune, 10,455. Montbeliard is situated 1050 ft. above sea-level on the right bank of the Allaine at its junction with the Luzine (Lizaine or Lisaine). It is an important point in the frontier defences of France since 1871. Forts on outlying hills connect it with Belfort on the one side and (through Blamont and the Lomont fortifications) with Besancon on the other. The old castle of the counts of Montbeliard is now used as barracks; its most conspicuous features, the Tour Bossue and the Tour Neuve, date respectively from 1425 and 1594. Most of the inhabitants are Protestant, and the church of St Martin, built early in the 17th century, now serves as a Protestant place of worship. The old market-hall and some old houses of the 16th century also remain. A bronze statue of George Cuvier, the most illustrious native of Montbeliard, and several fountains adorn the town. Montbeliard is the seat of a sub-prefect and has a tribunal of first instance, a board of trade-arbitrators, a communal college, a practical school of industry, a chamber of arts and manufactures and a museum of natural history. Since 1870 a considerable impetus has been given to its prosperity by the Alsatian immigrants. Its industries include watch and clock making and dependent trades, cotton spinning and weaving, the manufacture of hosiery, textile machinery, tools, nails and wire, and brewing. There is commerce in wine, cheese, wood and Montbeliard cattle.
After belonging to the Burgundians and Franks, Montbeliard (M'ons Peligardi) was, by the treaty of Verdun (843), added to Lorraine. In the 11th century it became the capital of a countship, which formed part of the second kingdom of Burgundy and latterly of the German Empire. Its German name is Mompelgard. In 1397 it passed by marriage to the house of Wiirttemberg, to whom it belonged till 1793. It resisted the attacks of Charles the Bold (1473), and Henry I. of Lorraine, 1 (1618-1699), a son of Arnauld d'Andelly and minister of foreign affairs in succession to Lionne.
(1587 and 1588), duke of Guise, but was taken in 1676 by Marshal Luxemburg, who razed its fortifications. The tolerance of the princes of Wiirttemberg attracted to the town at the end of the 16th century a colony of Anabaptists from Frisia, and their descendants still form a separate community in the neighbourhood. In 1793 the inhabitants voluntarily submitted to annexation by France. In 1871 the battle of the Lisaine between the French and Germans was fought in the neighbourhood and partly within its walls.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)