Infobox Department of France
president=Dominique Dupilet
img_coa=Pas de Calais Arms.svg

Pas-de-Calais is a department in northern France. Its name is the French language equivalent of the Strait of Dover, which it borders.


Inhabited since prehistoric times, Pas-de-Calais has been inhabited in turn by the Celtic Belgae, the Romans, the Germanic Franks and the Alemanni. During the 4th and 5th centuries, the Roman practice of coopting Germanic tribes to provide military and defense services along the route from Boulogne to Cologne created a Germanic-Romance linguistic border in the region that persisted until the 8th century.

Saxon colonization into the region from the 5th to the 8th centuries likely extended the linguistic border somewhat south and west so that by the 9th century most inhabitants north of the line between Béthune and Berck spoke a dialect of Middle Dutch, while the inhabitants to the south spoke Picard, a variety of Romance dialects.

This linguistic border is still evident today in the place names (toponyms) and family names (patronyms) of the region. Beginning in the 9th century, the linguistic border began a steady move to north and the east, and by the end of the 15th century Romance dialects had totally displaced the Dutch. []

Pas-de-Calais is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from parts of the former provinces of Calaisis, formerly English, Boulonnais, Ponthieu and Artois, this last formerly part of the Spanish empire.

Some of the costliest battles of World War I were fought here. The Vimy Memorial commemorates the Battle of Vimy Ridge and is Canada's most important memorial to its fallen soldiers.

Pas-de-Calais was also the target of Operation Fortitude during World War II, which was an Allied plan to deceive the Germans that the invasion of Europe at D-Day was to occur here, rather than in Normandy. [cite book
last = Hakim
first = Joy
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = A History of Us: War, Peace and all that Jazz
publisher = Oxford University Press
date = 1995
location = New York
pages =
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 0-19-509514-6


Pas-de-Calais is in the current region of Nord-Pas de Calais and is surrounded by the departments of Nord and Somme, the English Channel, and the North Sea.

Its principal towns are, on the coast, Calais and Boulogne-sur-Mer, and in Artois, Lens, Liévin, Arras, and Saint-Omer.

The principal rivers are the following:


The economy of the department was long dependent on mining, primarily the coal mines. However, since World War II, the economy has become more diversified.


The inhabitants of the department are called "Pas-de-Calaisiens".

Pas-de-Calais is one of the most heavily populated departments of France, and yet it has no large cities. Calais has only about 80,000 inhabitants, followed closely by Boulogne-sur-Mer and Arras. The remaining population is primarily concentrated along the border with the department of Nord in the mining district, where a string of small towns constitutes an urban area with a population of about 1.2 million. The center and south of the department are more rural, but still quite heavily populated, with many villages and small towns.

Although the department saw some of the heaviest fighting of World War I, its population rebounded quickly after both world wars. However, many of the mining towns have seen dramatic decreases in population, some up to half of their population.


Although Pas-de-Calais is one of the most populous departments of France, it did not contain a university until 1992.


ee also

*Cantons of the Pas-de-Calais department
*Communes of the Pas-de-Calais department
*Arrondissements of the Pas-de-Calais department

External links

* [ Prefecture website]
* [ General Council website]
* [ Official Tourist site]
* [ Pas-de-Calais Tourism Guide]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pas-de-calais — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Pas de Calais (homonymie). Pas de Calais …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Pas de Calais — (62) Region …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pas de calais — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Pas de Calais (homonymie). Pas de Calais Carte de localisation du pas de Calais Type …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Pas-de-Calais — Region Nord Pas de Calais …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pas de Calais — (spr. Pah d Caläh), 1) Departement in Nordfrankreich, gebildet aus der Grafschaft Artois u. den Landschaften Boulonnais, Calaisis u. Ardresis; grenzt an die Meerenge von Calais, den Kanal (la Manche) u. die Departements Nord u. Somme; 120,92 QM.; …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Pas de Calais — (spr. pa dö kalǟ, engl. Strait of Dover, das alte Fretum Gallicum), die nach der Stadt Calais benannte Meerenge, die als engster Teil des Kanals (la Manche) die Südostküste Englands von der Nordküste Frankreichs trennt und den Atlantischen Ozean… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Pas-de-Calais — dép. français.; 6 639 km²; 1 433 203 hab.; ch. l. Arras . V. Nord Pas de Calais (Rég.) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Pas-de-Calais —   [pɑdka lɛ], Département in der Region Nord Pas de Calais, Nordfrankreich, am Ärmelkanal, 6 671 km2, 1,44 Mio. Einwohner; Verwaltungssitz ist Arras.   …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Pas de Calais — (Pa dö Kalä), die schmalste Stelle des Canals zwischen England u. Frankreich (8 Lieues); seit 1851 ist zwischen Dover u. Cap Grisnez ein unterseeischer elektrischer Telegraph gelegt. – P., der Name eines franz. Departem., das auf 121 QM. beinahe… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Pas-de-Calais — (spr. pa dö kalǟ), Departement in Nordfrankreich, nach der gleichnamigen Meerenge (s. oben) benannt, aus der ehemaligen Grafschaft Artois und Teilen der Pikardie gebildet, grenzt westlich an den Kanal (la Manche), nördlich an die Meerenge P. und… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Pas-de-Calais — (spr. pa dĕ kaläh), der engste Teil des Kanals (s.d. und Karte: Europa I, 4); danach benannt das franz. Dep. P., 6752 qkm, (1901) 955.391 E., gebildet aus der Grafsch. Artois und Teilen der Pikardie; Steinkohlengewinnung; Hauptstadt Arras …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon