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Namur History, Belgium

Namur is the name of both a city and municipality located in Wallonia in the southeastern part of Belgium. It is the capital of both Wallonia and the Namur province. The city is set where the rivers Meuse and Sambre meet. The language spoken by the residents of Namur is French. To learn more about the humble beginnings of this place, take time out to track events in Namur History.

Namur History – Early History

During the Celtic period, Namur started off as a significant trading community, which had trade routes from east to west and north to south. When Julius Caesar overthrew the native tribe known as Aduatuci, the Romans established a community in Namur.

Namur History – Medieval and Renaissance Era

At the dawn of the Medieval Period, Namur gained eminence following the construction of the Merovingian castle on the rocky mountainside along the two rivers. By the 10th century, Namur became a county and soon after, it had developed rather haphazardly. This development was due to the different powers ruling over the two banks of the River Meuse.

Counts of Namur took over the north bank and the progress on that side of the river was faster than that of the south bank, which was ruled over by the bishops of Liege. The city fell under the power of the Count of Flanders in 1262, and in 1421, Duke Philip of Burgundy bought Namur.

Namur History – The City under Different Rulers

When Namur was integrated into the Spanish Netherlands, the city’s citadel was significantly made stronger. The same citadel was reconstructed after France’s King Louis XIV took over the city in 1692 and made it a part of the French country. The French rule did not last long. During the course of the 17th and 18th century, Namur fell under the hands of different colonizers such as the Dutch and the Austrians.

In 1794, the French Revolutionary Wars broke. At this time, the city was under the rule of the Austrians. The French attacked the region and once more made Namur a part of France and established an oppressive administration. When Napoleon was defeated in 1815, Namur along with the rest of Belgium was included into the United Kingdom of Netherlands. Belgium eventually seceded from the Dutch country and the city persisted to be a chief stronghold town under the new administration.

Namur History – World War I and II

During the First World War, the city of Namur became a main target of the Germans in their attack on Belgium. This was due to the fact that the city is a strategic route to get to France. Although the citadel of Namur was seen as invincible, it bowed down to the German forces only after three days of battle. The rest of the city fell under the German rule throughout the war.

Namur was on the front lines of the Battles of the Ardennes and Bulge during the Second World War. Because of this, the city had to endure extreme destruction. Even after the war, Namur continued to shelter the paratroopers from the Belgian Army until 1977 when they left the city.

Namur History is a combination of highs and lows. Just like other cities in Europe such as Luxembourg, this city had to defend its independence.

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