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Amiens is a northern French city located in the Somme department of the Picardie region. It is the most populated city in the region with around 135,000 inhabitants, known as the Amiénois. The Somme River crosses the city, which has been diverted into many canals, thus giving the city the nickname of “Little Venice of the North”. Amiens gradually developed with the natural narrowing of the land due to water degradation. A network of narrow canals allowed for the construction of bridges, buildings and mills through the Middle Ages.
It is in the “Commentaries on the Gallic Wars” of Caesar that the capital of “Ambiens, Samarobriva” is mentioned for the first time. The city soon became a pivotal centre for controlling passages between the Britannia and Roman legionnaires and merchants. In the 13th century, Amiens began to experience a golden age thanks to the manufacturing and dying of cloth in Saint-Leu. The most lucrative activity over the years however was the trading of "waide", a cruciferous plant which, when crushed, makes a blue paste perfect for dying fabrics. Up until the 20th century, the manufacturing of fabrics (mainly velour) or other items, such as shoes, remained at the heart of Amiens’ economy.