Place:Dunkirk, Nord, France

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NameDunkirk
Alt namesDuinkerkesource: Wikipedia
Dunkerksource: Encyclopædia Britannica (1988) IV, 276
Dunkerkiasource: Concise Description of Flanders [web site] (2002) accessed 22 Jan 2003
Dunkerquesource: Wikipedia
Dunkirchensource: Concise Description of Flanders [web site] (2002) accessed 22 Jan 2003
Dunquerquesource: Webster's Geographical Dictionary (1984)
Dünkirchensource: Wikipedia
TypeCommune
Coordinates51.033°N 2.383°E
Located inNord, France     (700 - )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Dunkirk, is a commune in Nord, a French department in northern France. It is the most northern city of France, lying from the Belgian border. It has the third-largest French harbour. The population of the commune at the 2016 census was 91,412.

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Middle Ages

A fishing village arose late in the tenth century, in the originally flooded coastal area of the English Channel south of the Western Scheldt, when the area was held by the Counts of Flanders, vassals of the French Crown. About 960AD, Count Baldwin III had a town wall erected in order to protect the settlement against Viking raids. The surrounding wetlands were drained and cultivated by the monks of nearby Bergues Abbey. The name Dunkirka was first mentioned in a tithe privilege of 27 May 1067, issued by Count Baldwin V of Flanders. Count Philip I (1157–1191) brought further large tracts of marshland under cultivation, laid out the first plans to build a Canal from Dunkirk to Bergues and vested the Dunkirkers with market rights.

In the late 13th century, when the Dampierre count Guy of Flanders entered into the Franco-Flemish War with his suzerain King Philippe IV of France, the citizens of Dunkirk sided with the French against their count, who at first was defeated at the 1297 Battle of Furnes, but reached de facto autonomy upon the victorious Battle of the Golden Spurs five years later and exacted vengeance. Guy's son, Count Robert III (1305–1322), nevertheless granted further city rights to Dunkirk; his successor Count Louis I (1322–1346) had to face the Peasant revolt of 1323–1328, which was crushed by King Philippe VI of France at the 1328 Battle of Cassel, whereafter the Dunkirkers again were affected by the repressive measures of their lord-paramount.

Count Louis remained a loyal liensman of the French king upon the outbreak of the Hundred Years' War with England in 1337, and prohibited the maritime trade, which led to another revolt by the Dunkirk citizens. After the count had been killed in the 1346 Battle of Crécy, his son and successor Count Louis II of Flanders (1346–1384) signed a truce with the English; the trade again flourished and the port was significantly enlarged. However, in the course of the Western Schism from 1378, English supporters of Pope Urban VI (the Roman claimant) disembarked at Dunkirk, captured the city and flooded the surrounding estates. They were ejected by King Charles VI of France, but left great devastations in and around the town.

Upon the extinction of the Counts of Flanders with the death of Louis II in 1384, Flanders was acquired by the Burgundian, Duke Philip the Bold. The fortifications were again enlarged, including the construction of a belfry daymark. As a strategic point, Dunkirk has always been exposed to political , by Duke Robert I of Bar in 1395, by Louis de Luxembourg in 1435 and finally by the Austrian archduke Maximilian I of Habsburg, who in 1477 married Mary of Burgundy, sole heiress of late Duke Charles the Bold. As Maximilian was the son of Emperor Frederick III, all Flanders was immediately seized by King Louis XI of France. However, the archduke defeated the French troops in 1479 at the Battle of Guinegate. When Mary died in 1482, Maximilian retained Flanders according to the terms of the 1482 Treaty of Arras. Dunkirk, along with the rest of Flanders, was incorporated into the Habsburg Netherlands and upon the 1581 secession of the Seven United Netherlands, remained part of the Southern Netherlands, which were held by Habsburg Spain (Spanish Netherlands) as Imperial fiefs.

Corsair base

The area remained much disputed between the Kingdom of Spain, the United Netherlands, the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France. At the beginning of the Eighty Years' War, Dunkirk was briefly in the hands of the Dutch rebels, from 1577. Spanish forces under Duke Alexander Farnese of Parma re-established Spanish rule in 1583 and it became a base for the notorious Dunkirkers. The Dunkirkers briefly lost their home port when the city was conquered by the French in 1646 but Spanish forces recaptured the city in 1652. In 1658, as a result of the long war between France and Spain, it was captured after a siege by Franco-English forces following the battle of the Dunes. The city along with Fort-Mardyck was awarded to England in the peace the following year as agreed in the Franco-English alliance against Spain. The English governors were Sir William Lockhart (1658–60), Sir Edward Harley (1660–61) and Lord Rutherford (1661–62).

It came under French rule when King Charles II of England sold it to France for £320,000 on 17 October 1662. The French government developed the town as a fortified port. The town's existing defences were adapted to create ten bastions. The port was expanded in the 1670s by the construction of a basin that could hold up to thirty warships with a double lock system to maintain water levels at low tide. The basin was linked to the sea by a channel dug through coastal sandbanks secured by two jetties. This work was completed by 1678. The jetties were defended a few years later by the construction of five forts, Château d'Espérance, Château Vert, Grand Risban, Château Gaillard, and Fort de Revers. An additional fort was built in 1701 called Fort Blanc. The jetties, their forts, and the port facilities were demolished in 1713 under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht.

During the reign of King Louis XIV, a large number of commerce raiders and pirates once again made their base at Dunkirk. Jean Bart was the most famous. The main character (and possible real prisoner) in the famous novel Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas was arrested at Dunkirk. The eighteenth-century Swedish privateers and pirates Lars Gathenhielm and his wife Ingela Hammar, are known to have sold their gains in Dunkirk. The Treaty of Paris (1763) between France and Great Britain ending the Seven Years' War, included a clause restricting French rights to fortify Dunkirk, to allay British fears of it being used as an invasion base to cross the English Channel. This clause was overturned in the subsequent Treaty of Versailles of 1783.

Dunkirk in World War I

Dunkirk's port was used extensively during the war by British forces who brought in dock workers from, among other places, Egypt and China.[1]

From 1915, the city experienced severe bombardment, including from the largest gun of the world, the German 'Lange Max'. On a regular basis, heavy shells weighing approximately 750 kg were fired from Koekelare, about 45–50 km away. The bombardment killed nearly 600 people and wounded another 1,100, both civilian and military, while 400 buildings were destroyed and 2,400 damaged. The city's population, which had been 39,000 in 1914, reduced to fewer than 15,000 in July 1916 and 7,000 in the autumn of 1917.[1]

In January, 1916, a spy scare took place in Dunkirk. The writer Robert W. Service, then a war correspondent for the Toronto Star, was mistakenly arrested as a spy and narrowly avoided being executed out of hand. On 1 January 1918, the United States Navy established a naval air station to operate seaplanes. The base closed shortly after the Armistice of 11 November 1918.

In October 1917, to mark the gallant behaviour of its inhabitants during the war, the City of Dunkirk was awarded the Croix de Guerre and, in 1919, the Legion of Honour and the British Distinguished Service Cross. These decorations now appear in the city's coat of arms.

Dunkirk in World War II

Evacuation

During the Second World War, in the May 1940 Battle of France, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), while aiding the French and Belgian armies, were forced to retreat in the face of the overpowering German Panzer attacks. Fighting in Belgium and France, the BEF and a portion of the French Army became outflanked by the Germans and retreated to the area around the port of Dunkirk. More than 400,000 soldiers were trapped in the pocket as the German Army closed in for the kill. Unexpectedly, the German Panzer attack halted for several days at a critical juncture. For years, it was assumed that Adolf Hitler ordered the German Army to suspend the attack, favouring bombardment by the Luftwaffe. However, according to the Official War Diary of Army Group A, its commander, Generaloberst Gerd von Rundstedt, ordered the halt to allow maintenance on his tanks, half of which were out of service, and to protect his flanks which were exposed and, he thought, vulnerable. Hitler merely validated the order several hours later. This lull gave the British and French a few days to fortify their defences and evacuate by sea across the English Channel, codenamed Operation Dynamo. Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, ordered any ship or boat available, large or small, to collect the stranded soldiers. 338,226 men (including 123,000 French soldiers) were evacuated – the miracle of Dunkirk, as Churchill called it. It took over 900 vessels to evacuate the BEF, with two-thirds of those rescued embarking via the harbour, and over 100,000 taken off the beaches. More than 40,000 vehicles as well as massive amounts of other military equipment and supplies were left behind, their value being regarded as less than that of trained fighting men. Forty thousand Allied soldiers (some who carried on fighting after the official evacuation) were captured or forced to make their own way home through a variety of routes including via neutral Spain. Many wounded who were unable to walk were abandoned.

Liberation

Dunkirk was again contested in 1944, with the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division attempting to liberate the city in September, as Allied forces surged northeast after their victory in the Battle of Normandy. However, German forces refused to relinquish their control of the city, which had been converted into a fortress. To seize the now strategically insignificant town would consume too many Allied resources which were needed elsewhere. The town was by-passed masking the German garrison with Allied troops, notably 1st Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade. During the German occupation, Dunkirk was largely destroyed by Allied bombing. The artillery siege of Dunkirk was directed on the final day of the war by pilots from No. 652 Squadron RAF, and No. 665 Squadron RCAF. The fortress, under the command of German Admiral Friedrich Frisius, eventually unconditionally surrendered to the commander of the Czechoslovak forces, Brigade General Alois Liška, on 9 May 1945.

Postwar Dunkirk

On 14 December 2002, the Norwegian auto carrier Tricolor collided with the Bahamian-registered Kariba and sank off Dunkirk Harbour, causing a hazard to navigate in the English Channel.

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Dunkirk. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.