/ahr den"/; Fr. /annrdd den"/, n.
1. Forest of, a wooded plateau region in W Europe, in NE France, SE Belgium, and Luxembourg: World War I battle 1914; World War II battle 1944-45.
2. a department in NE France. 309,306; 2028 sq. mi. (5255 sq. km). Cap.: Mézières.

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or Forest of Ardennes

Wooded plateau region, northwestern Europe.

It covers over 3,860 sq mi (10,000 sq km) and includes parts of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Meuse River valley of France; its average height is about 1,600 ft (488 m). Though half of it is covered with forests, the soil is generally unfertile and supports only heath. It is located in the middle of the heavily populated triangle of Paris, Brussels, and Cologne. During World Wars I and II, the area was the scene of severe fighting in 1914, 1918, and 1944 (see Battle of the Bulge).

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also spelled  Ardenne 
 wooded plateau covering part of the ancient Forest of Ardennes, occupying most of the Belgian provinces of Luxembourg, Namur, and Liège; part of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg; and the French département of Ardennes. It is an old plateau comprising the western extension of the Middle Rhine Highlands, stretching in a northeast-southwest direction and covering more than 3,860 sq mi (10,000 sq km). Its geological history is complex; as a result of intense folding, faulting, uplifts, and denudations, some older strata of rock have been thrust over younger strata.

      The name Ardennes used in a strict sense refers to the southern half of the area, where the elevations range from 1,150 to 1,640 ft [350 to 500 m], though the high point at Botrange, south of Liège, is 2,277 ft. This part consists of sandstone, quartzite, and some slate and limestone. Its rounded summits are separated by shallow depressions containing peat bogs, from which rise many rivers that cut narrow and sinuous valleys. These High Ardennes form the watershed between rivers flowing north and west to the Meuse River and south and east to the Moselle River. Heavy precipitation, combined with low clouds, fog, and frost, make the uplands distinctly bleak. Although one-half of the area is covered by forest, the thin, acid, and waterlogged soil is generally infertile, supporting only heath.

      The northern part is much lower, between 655 and 985 ft. Most of the small farmland is under permanent grass for pasture, but there is some cultivation of oats, rye, potatoes, and clover in the valleys. Cattle are raised mainly for dairy production, pigs for the ham that has long been a local specialty of the Ardennes, and sheep for a small wool industry. Cattle hides are processed with the abundant local supplies of tannin from the oak trees. Stone quarrying is widespread, but mining and manufacturing are limited.

      Despite a certain raw inhospitality of the area, its economy increasingly depends upon the development of tourism. The Ardennes has one of the lowest population densities of Europe, but it is located in the middle of the heavily populated triangle of Paris-Brussels-Cologne. Mineral springs at Spa, Belg. (whence the English word spa), have made it a favourite health resort since the 16th century. The lonely forests offer respites for central Europeans from the pressures of the surrounding urbanization.

      During World Wars I (World War I) and II, the Ardennes became a battleground, the scene of bitter fighting in 1914, 1918, and 1944 (Battle of the Bulge (Bulge, Battle of the); q.v.).

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ardennes — (08) Region …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ARDENNES — Les Ardennes (ou l’Ardenne) se délimitent relativement facilement par des caractères originaux, notamment le relief (c’est un plateau élevé) et la forêt. Elles forment un triangle dont l’une des pointes se situe, à l’ouest, entre Maubeuge et… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Ardennes — n. 1. a wooded plateau in the Champagne Ardenne region of France; the site of intense fighting in World Wars I and II. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ardennes — (spr. dénn; Ardennen), franz. Dep., 5253 qkm, (1906) 317.505 E.; Hauptstadt Mézières …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Ardennes —   [ar dɛn],    1) französischer Name der Ardennen.    2) Département in Nordfrankreich, in der Region Champagne Ardenne, 5 229 km2, 290 000 Einwohner; Verwaltungssitz ist Charleville Mézières.   …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Ardennes — [är den′] wooded plateau in NE France, S Belgium, and Luxembourg: scene of heavy fighting in WWI and, esp., at the “Battle of the Bulge” (Dec., 1944 Jan., 1945) in WWII …   English World dictionary

  • Ardennes — For the political subdivision of France, see Ardennes (department). For the Ardennes horse, see Ardennes (horse). The Ardennes (pronEng|ɑrˈdɛn; Dutch: Ardennen ) is a region of extensive forests, rolling hills and old mountains formed on the… …   Wikipedia

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  • Ardennes — noun a wooded plateau in the Champagne Ardenne region of France; the site of intense fighting in World War I and World War II • Members of this Region: ↑Battle of the Ardennes Bulge, ↑Battle of the Bulge, ↑Ardennes counteroffensive • Instance… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Ardennes — Ar|dennes the Ardennes an area of southeast Belgium, North Luxembourg, and northern France, where several important battles happened during World War I and World War II …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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