Sites & cities that bear the name of Saintes


Today in : France
First trace of activity : ca. 1st century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Santonica Urbs, Mediolanum Santonum, Sanctonas, Sanctone, Xainctes, Xaintes, Sénte

Description : Saintes is a commune and historic town in western France, in the Charente-Maritime department of which it is a sub-prefecture, in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Its inhabitants are called Saintaises and Saintais. Saintes is the second-largest city in Charente-Maritime, with 26,470 inhabitants in 2008. The city's immediate surroundings form the second-most populous metropolitan area in the department, with 56,598 inhabitants. While a majority of the surrounding landscape consists of fertile, productive fields, a significant minority of the region remains forested, its natural state. In Roman times, Saintes was known as Mediolanum Santonum. During much of its history, the name of the city was spelled Xaintes or Xainctes. Primarily built on the left bank of the Charente River, Saintes became the first Roman capital of Aquitaine. Later it was designated as the capital of the province of Saintonge under the Ancien Régime. Following the French Revolution, it briefly became the prefecture of the department (then called Charente-Inférieure) during the territorial reorganization of 1790, until La Rochelle was designated and superseded it in 1810. Although it only had the status of a subprefecture, Saintes was allowed to remain the judicial center of the department. In the late 19th century, Saintes was chosen as the seat of the VIIIth arrondissement of the Chemins de Fer de l'État, railways, which enabled an era of economic and demographic growth.

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