Cambrai, Or Cambray, a fortified city of France, department of Le Nord, on the right bank of the Scheldt, at the head of the canal of St. Quentin, 105 m. N. E. of Paris; pop. in 1866, 22,207. It was a place of importance when Caesar conquered the country, and from its old name, Camaracum, its present appellation was derived. The city is entered by four gates. The streets, though wide, are irregular. Many of the houses are very old, and have their gable end toward the street. The place d'armes is of great extent, and the esplanade is one of the finest in French Flanders. The principal public buildings are the cathedral, which is modern, the old one having been destroyed during the revolution, the city hall, and the theatre. Cambrai has a communal college, a diocesan seminary, a library with 50,000 volumes, schools of design, sculpture, painting, and anatomy, and several charitable institutions. There is a monument to Fenelon, archbishop of Cambrai. It has been long celebrated for its manufacture of fine linens and lawns, whence all similar fabrics are called cambrics, and which are still the most important branch of its industry.
It also produces thread, cotton, stuffs of various kinds, soap, and beet sugar. - Cambrai was one of the chief towns of the Nervii, and afterward the seat of a small Frankish kingdom, which was united by Clovis to his empire. During the middle ages it belonged to the counts of Flanders, and afterward came into the possession of the dukes of Burgundy, from whom it was transmitted to the house of Austria. It was fortified by Charlemagne, strengthened by Charles V., who erected the citadel, and its fortifications were still further improved by Vauban. Here the famous league against Venice was concluded in 1508, and a peace between Francis I. and Charles V. was negotiated in 1529 by Louise of Savoy and Margaret of Austria, known as la paix des dames. It was taken from the Spaniards by Louis XIV. in 1677, and confirmed to France by the treaty of Nime-guen. It was vainly besieged by the Austri-ans in 1793, and was captured by the English, June 24, 1815.