ST ETIENNE, an industrial town of east-central France, capital of the department of Loire, 310 m. S.S.E. of Paris and 36 m. S.S.W. of Lyons by rail. Pop. (1906), town, 130,940; commune, 146,788. St Etienne is situated on the Furens, which flows through it from S.E. to N.W., partly underground, and is an important adjunct to the silk manufacture. The town is uniformly built, its principal feature being the straight thoroughfare nearly 4 m. long which traverses it from N. to S. The chief of the squares is the Place Marengo, which has a statue of F. Gamier, the explorer, and is overlooked by the town hall and the prefecture, both modern. The church of St Etienne dates from the 15th century, and the Romanesque church of the abbey of Valbenoite is on the S.E. outskirts of the town. A valuable collection of arms and armour, a picture gallery, industrial collections, and a library with numerous manuscripts are in the Palais des Arts. St Etienne is the seat of a prefect, and has an important school of mining, and schools of music, chemistry and dyeing, etc.
The town owes its importance chiefly to the coal-basin which extends between Firminy and Rive-de-Gier over an area 20 m. long by S m. wide, and is second only to those of Nord and Pas-de-Calais in France. There are concessions giving employment to some 18,000 workmen and producing annually between 3,000,000 and 4,000,000 tons. The mineral is of two kinds smelting coal, said to be the best in France, and gas coal. There are manufactures of ribbons, trimmings and other goods made from silk and mixtures of cotton and silk. This industry dates from the early 17th century, is carried on chiefly in small factories (electricity supplying the motive power), and employs at its maximum some 50,000 hands. The attendant industry of dyeing is carried on on a large scale. The manufacture of steel arid iron and of heavy iron goods such as armour-plating occupies about 3000 workmen, and about half that number are employed in the production of ironmongery generally. Weaving machinery, cycles, automobiles and agricultural implements are also made. The manufacture of fire-arms, carried on at the national factory under the direction of artillery officers, employs at busy times more than 10,000 men, and can turn out 480,000 rifles in the year. Private firms, employing 4500 hands, make both military rifles and sporting-guns, revolvers, etc. To these industries must be added the manufacture of elastic fabrics, glass, cartridges, liqueurs, hemp-cables, etc.
At the close of the 12th century St Etienne was a parish of the Pays de Gier belonging to the abbey of Valbenoite. By the middle of the 14th century the coal trade had reached a certain development, and at the beginning of the 15th century Charles VII. permitted the town to erect fortifications. The manufacture of fire-arms for the state was begun at St Etienne under Francis I. and was put under the surveillance of state inspectors early in the 18th century. In 1789 the town was producing at the rate of 12,000 muskets per annum; between September 1794 and May 1796 they delivered over 170,000; and 100,000 was the annual average throughout the period of the empire. The first railways opened in France were the line between St Etienne and Andrezieux on the Loire in 1828 and that between St Etienne and Lyons in 1831. In 1856 St Etienne became the administrative centre of the department instead of Montbrison. ST EUSTATIUS and SABA, two islands in the Dutch West Indies. St Eustatius lies 12 m. N.W. of St Kitts in 17 50' N. and 62 40' W. It is 8 sq. m. in area and is composed of several volcanic hills and intervening valleys. It contains Orangetown, situated on an open roadstead on the W., with a small export trade in yams and sweet potatoes. Pop. (1908) 1283.
A few miles to the N.W. is the island of SABA, 5 sq. m. in extent. It consists of a single volcanic cone rising abruptly from the sea to the height of nearly 2800 ft. The town, Bottom, standing on the floor of an old crater, can only be approached from the shore 800 ft. below, by a series of steps cut in the solid rock and known as the " Ladder." The best boats in the Caribbees are built here; the wood is imported and the vessels, when complete, are lowered over the face of the cliffs. Pop. (1908) 2294. The islands form part of the colony of Curacao (<?..).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)