Henri Pirenne was a Belgian historian. A medievalist of Walloon descent, he wrote a multivolume history of Belgium in French and became a national hero, he became prominent in the nonviolent resistance to the Germans who occupied Belgium in World War I. Henri Pirenne's reputation today rests on three contributions to European history: for what has become known as the Pirenne Thesis, concerning origins of the Middle Ages in reactive state formation and shifts in trade. Pirenne argued that profound social, economic and religious movements in the long term resulted from profound underlying causes, this attitude influenced Marc Bloch and the outlook of the French Annales School of social history. Though Pirenne had his opponents, notably Alfons Dopsch who disagreed on essential points, several recent historians of the Middle Ages have taken Pirenne's main theses, however much they are modified, as starting points. Pirenne was born near the city of Liège, in south-east Belgium, he studied at the University of Liège.
He became Professor of History at the University of Ghent in 1886, a post he held until the end of his teaching career in 1930. After the Great War he was the most prominent and influential historian in Belgium, receiving numerous honors and committee assignments. Pirenne was a close friend of German historian Karl Lamprecht, until they broke during the war when Lamprecht headed a mission to invite Belgians to collaborate with Germany's long-term goals. In 1914, Belgium was placed under German military occupation. How involved Pirenne was in the Belgian resistance during World War I is not known. What is known is that Pirenne was questioned by German occupiers on 18 March 1916, subsequently arrested; the occupying army had ordered striking professors at the University of Ghent to continue teaching. Pirenne's son Pierre had been killed in the fighting at the Battle of the Yser in October 1914; the German officer questioning Pirenne asked why he insisted on answering in French when it was known that Pirenne spoke excellent German and had done postgraduate studies at Leipzig and Berlin.
Pirenne responded: "I have forgotten German since 3 August 1914," the date of the German invasion of Belgium, part of Germany's war plan to defeat France. Pirenne was held in Crefeld in Holzminden, in Jena, where he was interned from 24 August 1916 until the end of the war, he was denied books, but he learned Russian from soldiers captured on the Eastern Front and subsequently read Russian-language histories made available to him by Russian prisoners. This gave Pirenne's work a unique perspective. At Jena, he began his history of medieval Europe, starting with the fall of Rome, he wrote from memory. Rather than a blow-by-blow chronology of wars and incidents, A History of Europe presents a big-picture approach to social and mercantile trends, it is remarkable not only for its historical insight, but its objectivity considering the conditions under which it was written. After the war, he reflected the widespread disillusionment in Belgium with German culture, while taking a nuanced position which allowed him to criticize German nationalism without excluding German works from the scholarly canon.
His earlier belief in the inevitable progress of humanity collapsed, so he began to accept chance or the fortuitous in history and came to acknowledge the significance of single great individuals at certain points in history. At the conclusion of the war, Henry Pirenne stopped his work on A History of Europe in the middle of the 16th century, he took up his life. He died at Uccle, Brussels in 1935, his son Jacques Pirenne, who had survived the war to become a historian in his own right, discovered the manuscript. He edited the work by inserting dates. Jacques wrote a preface explaining its provenance and published it, with the English translation appearing in 1956, it stands as a monumental intellectual achievement. Henri Pirenne first expressed ideas on the formation of European towns in articles of 1895, he subsequently published it in a series of papers from 1922 to 1923 and spent the rest of his life refining the thesis with supporting evidence. The most famous expositions appear in Medieval Cities: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade and in his posthumous Mohammed and Charlemagne, published from Pirenne's first draft.
In brief, the Pirenne Thesis, an early essay in economic history diverging from the narrative history of the 19th century, notes that in the ninth century long-distance trading was at a low ebb. When trade revived in the late tenth and eleventh centuries and artisans were drawn to the existing centres, forming suburbs in which trade and manufactures were concentrated; these were "new men" outside the feudal structure, living on the peripheries of the established order. The feudal core remained inert. A time came when the developing merchant class was strong enough to throw off feudal obligations or to buy out the prerogatives of the old order, which Pirenne contrasted with the new element in numerous ways. The
Charlemagne or Charles the Great, numbered Charles I, was King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774, Holy Roman Emperor from 800. He united much of central Europe during the Early Middle Ages, he was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire, he was canonized by Antipope Paschal III. Charlemagne was the eldest son of Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon, born before their canonical marriage, he became king in 768 following his father's death as co-ruler with his brother Carloman I. Carloman's sudden death in December 771 under unexplained circumstances left Charlemagne as the sole ruler of the Frankish Kingdom, he continued his father's policy towards the papacy and became its protector, removing the Lombards from power in northern Italy and leading an incursion into Muslim Spain. He campaigned against the Saxons to his east, Christianizing them upon penalty of death and leading to events such as the Massacre of Verden.
He reached the height of his power in 800 when he was crowned "Emperor of the Romans" by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day at Rome's Old St. Peter's Basilica. Charlemagne has been called the "Father of Europe", as he united most of Western Europe for the first time since the classical era of the Roman Empire and united parts of Europe that had never been under Frankish or Roman rule, his rule spurred the Carolingian Renaissance, a period of energetic cultural and intellectual activity within the Western Church. All Holy Roman Emperors considered their kingdoms to be descendants of Charlemagne's empire, as did the French and German monarchies. However, the Eastern Orthodox Church views Charlemagne more controversially, labelling as heterodox his support of the filioque and the Pope's recognition of him as legitimate Roman Emperor rather than Irene of Athens of the Byzantine Empire; these and other machinations led to the eventual split of Rome and Constantinople in the Great Schism of 1054. Charlemagne died in 814, having ruled as emperor for 14 years and as king for 46 years.
He was laid to rest in his imperial capital city of Aachen. He married at least four times and had three legitimate sons, but only his son Louis the Pious survived to succeed him. By the 6th century, the western Germanic tribe of the Franks had been Christianised, due in considerable measure to the Catholic conversion of Clovis I. Francia, ruled by the Merovingians, was the most powerful of the kingdoms that succeeded the Western Roman Empire. Following the Battle of Tertry, the Merovingians declined into powerlessness, for which they have been dubbed the rois fainéants. All government powers were exercised by their chief officer, the mayor of the palace. In 687, Pepin of Herstal, mayor of the palace of Austrasia, ended the strife between various kings and their mayors with his victory at Tertry, he became the sole governor of the entire Frankish kingdom. Pepin was the grandson of two important figures of the Austrasian Kingdom: Saint Arnulf of Metz and Pepin of Landen. Pepin of Herstal was succeeded by his son Charles known as Charles Martel.
After 737, Charles declined to call himself king. Charles was succeeded in 741 by his sons Pepin the Short, the father of Charlemagne. In 743, the brothers placed Childeric III on the throne to curb separatism in the periphery, he was the last Merovingian king. Carloman resigned office in 746. Pepin brought the question of the kingship before Pope Zachary, asking whether it was logical for a king to have no royal power; the pope handed down his decision in 749, decreeing that it was better for Pepin to be called king, as he had the powers of high office as Mayor, so as not to confuse the hierarchy. He, ordered him to become the true king. In 750, Pepin was elected by an assembly of the Franks, anointed by the archbishop, raised to the office of king; the Pope ordered him into a monastery. The Merovingian dynasty was thereby replaced by the Carolingian dynasty, named after Charles Martel. In 753, Pope Stephen II fled from Italy to Francia, appealing to Pepin for assistance for the rights of St. Peter.
He was supported in this appeal by Charles' brother. In return, the pope could provide only legitimacy, he did this by again anointing and confirming Pepin, this time adding his young sons Carolus and Carloman to the royal patrimony. They thereby became heirs to the realm that covered most of western Europe. In 754, Pepin accepted the Pope's invitation to visit Italy on behalf of St. Peter's rights, dealing with the Lombards. Under the Carolingians, the Frankish kingdom spread to encompass an area including most of Western Europe. Orman portrays the Treaty of Verdun between the warring grandsons of Charlemagne as the foundation event of an independent France under its first king Charles the Bald; the middle kingdom had broken up by 890 and absorbed into the Western kingdom and the Eastern kingdom and the rest developing into smaller "buffer" nations that exist between Fr
Gregory of Tours
Gregory of Tours was a Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours, which made him a leading prelate of the area, referred to as Gaul by the Romans. He was born Georgius Florentius and added the name Gregorius in honour of his maternal great-grandfather, he is the primary contemporary source for Merovingian history. His most notable work was his Decem Libri Historiarum, better known as the Historia Francorum, a title that chroniclers gave to it, but he is known for his accounts of the miracles of saints four books of the miracles of Martin of Tours. St. Martin's tomb was a major pilgrimage destination in the 6th century, St. Gregory's writings had the practical effect of promoting this organized devotion. Gregory was born in the Auvergne region of central Gaul, he was born into the upper stratum of Gallo-Roman society as the son of Florentius, Senator of Clermont, by his wife Armentaria II, niece of Bishop Nicetius of Lyons and granddaughter of both Florentinus, Senator of Geneva, Saint Gregory of Langres.
Gregory had several noted bishops and saints as close relatives, according to Gregory, he was connected to thirteen of the eighteen bishops of Tours preceding him by ties of kinship. Gregory's paternal grandmother, descended from Vettius Epagatus, the illustrious martyr of Lyons, his father evidently died while Gregory was young and his widowed mother moved to Burgundy where she had property. Gregory went to live with his paternal uncle St. Gallus, Bishop of Clermont), under whom, his successor St. Avitus, Gregory had his education. Gregory received the clerical tonsure from Gallus. Having contracted a serious illness, he made a visit of devotion to the tomb of St. Martin at Tours. Upon his recovery, he was ordained deacon by Avitus. Upon the death of St. Euphronius, he was chosen as bishop by the clergy and people, charmed with his piety and humility, their deputies overtook him at the court of King Sigebert of Austrasia, being compelled to acquiesce, though much against his will, Gregory was consecrated by Giles, Bishop of Rheims, on 22 August 573, at the age of thirty-four.
He spent most of his career at Tours, although he assisted at the council of Paris in 577. The rough world he lived in was on the cusp of the dying world of Antiquity and the new culture of early medieval Europe. Gregory lived on the border between the Frankish culture of the Merovingians to the north and the Gallo-Roman culture of the south of Gaul. At Tours, Gregory could not have been better placed to hear everything and meet everyone of influence in Merovingian culture. Tours lay on the watery highway of the navigable Loire. Five Roman roads radiated from Tours, which lay on the main thoroughfare between the Frankish north and Aquitania, with Spain beyond. At Tours the Frankish influences of the north and the Gallo-Roman influences of the south had their chief contact; as the center for the popular cult of St Martin, Tours was a pilgrimage site, a political sanctuary to which important leaders fled during periods of violence and turmoil in Merovingian politics. Gregory struggled through personal relations with four Frankish kings, Sigebert I, Chilperic I, Childebert II and he knew most of the leading Franks.
Gregory wrote in Late Latin which departed from classical usage in syntax and spelling with few changes in inflection. The Historia Francorum is in ten books. Books I to IV recount the world's history from the Creation but move to the Christianization of Gaul, the life and times of Saint Martin of Tours, the conversion of the Franks and the conquest of Gaul under Clovis, the more detailed history of the Frankish kings down to the death of Sigebert I in 575. At this date Gregory had been bishop of Tours for two years; the second part, books V and VI, closes with Chilperic I's death in 584. During the years that Chilperic held Tours, relations between him and Gregory were tense. After hearing rumours that the Bishop of Tours had slandered his wife, Chilperic had Gregory arrested and tried for treason—a charge which threatened both Gregory's bishopric and his life; the most eloquent passage in the Historia is the closing chapter of book VI, in which Chilperic's character is summed up unsympathetically through the use of an invective.
The third part, comprising books VII to X, takes his personal account to the year 591. An epilogue was written in 594, the year of Gregory's death. Readers of the Historia Francorum must decide whether this is a royal history and whether Gregory was writing to please his patrons, it is that one royal Frankish house is more generously treated than others. Gregory was a Catholic bishop, his writing reveals views typical of someone in his position, his views on perceived dangers of Arianism led him to preface the Historia with a detailed expression of his orthodoxy on the nature of Christ. In addition, his ridiculing of pagans and Jews reflected how his works were used to spread the Christian faith. For example, in book 2, chapters 28-31, he describes the pagans as incestuous and weak and describes the process by which newly converted King Clovis leads a much better life than that of a pagan and is healed of all the conundrums he experienced as a pagan. Gregory's education was the standard Latin one of Late Antiquity, focusing on Virgil's Aeneid and Martianus Capella's Liber de Nuptiis Mercurii et Philologiae, but other key texts such as Orosius' Chronicle
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium, in the northwest of the country. The area of the whole city amounts to more than 13,840 hectares, including 1,075 hectares off the coast, at Zeebrugge; the historic city centre is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO. It is oval in about 430 hectares in size; the city's total population is 117,073. The metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of 616 km2 and has a total of 255,844 inhabitants as of 1 January 2008. Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam, it is sometimes referred to as the Venice of the North. Bruges has a significant economic importance, thanks to its port, was once one of the world's chief commercial cities. Bruges is well known as the seat of the College of Europe, a university institute for European studies; the place is first mentioned in records as Bruggas, Brvccia in 840–875 as Bruciam, Brutgis uico, in portu Bruggensi, Bricge, Brycge, Bruges, Bruggas and Brugge.
The name derives from the Old Dutch for "bridge": brugga. Compare Middle Dutch brucge and modern Dutch bruggehoofd and brug; the form brugghe would be a southern Dutch variant. The Dutch word and the English "bridge" both derive from Proto-Germanic *brugjō-. Bruges was a location of coastal settlement during prehistory; this Bronze Age and Iron Age settlement is unrelated to medieval city development. In the Bruges area, the first fortifications were built after Julius Caesar's conquest of the Menapii in the first century BC, to protect the coastal area against pirates; the Franks took over the whole region from the Gallo-Romans around the 4th century and administered it as the Pagus Flandrensis. The Viking incursions of the ninth century prompted Count Baldwin I of Flanders to reinforce the Roman fortifications. Early medieval habitation starts in the 9th and 10th century on the Burgh terrain with a fortified settlement and church Bruges became important due to the tidal inlet, important to local commerce, This inlet was known as the "Golden Inlet".
Bruges received its city charter on 27 July 1128, new walls and canals were built. In 1089 Bruges became the capital of the County of Flanders. Since about 1050, gradual silting had caused the city to lose its direct access to the sea. A storm in 1134, however, re-established this access, through the creation of a natural channel at the Zwin; the new sea arm stretched all the way to Damme, a city that became the commercial outpost for Bruges. Bruges had a strategic location at the crossroads of the northern Hanseatic League trade and the southern trade routes. Bruges was included in the circuit of the Flemish and French cloth fairs at the beginning of the 13th century, but when the old system of fairs broke down the entrepreneurs of Bruges innovated, they developed, or borrowed from Italy, new forms of merchant capitalism, whereby several merchants would share the risks and profits and pool their knowledge of markets. They employed new forms of economic exchange, including letters of credit; the city eagerly welcomed foreign traders, most notably the Portuguese traders selling pepper and other spices.
With the reawakening of town life in the twelfth century, a wool market, a woollens weaving industry, the market for cloth all profited from the shelter of city walls, where surpluses could be safely accumulated under the patronage of the counts of Flanders. The city's entrepreneurs reached out to make economic colonies of England and Scotland's wool-producing districts. English contacts brought Normandy grain and Gascon wines. Hanseatic ships filled the harbor, which had to be expanded beyond Damme to Sluys to accommodate the new cog-ships. In 1277, the first merchant fleet from Genoa appeared in the port of Bruges, first of the merchant colony that made Bruges the main link to the trade of the Mediterranean; this development opened not only the trade in spices from the Levant, but advanced commercial and financial techniques and a flood of capital that soon took over the banking of Bruges. The Bourse opened in 1309 and developed into the most sophisticated money market of the Low Countries in the 14th century.
By the time Venetian galleys first appeared. Numerous foreign merchants were welcomed in Bruges, such as the Castilian wool merchants who first arrived in the 13th century. After the Castilian wool monopoly ended, the Basques, many hailing from Bilbao, thrived as merchants and established their own commercial consulate in Bruges by the mid-15th century; the foreign merchants expanded the city's trading zones. They maintained separate communities governed by their own laws until the economic collapse after 1700; such wealth gave rise to social upheavals, which were for the most part harshly contained by the militia. In 1302, after the Bruges Matins, the population joined forces with the Count of Flanders against the French, culminating in
Flanders is the Dutch-speaking northern portion of Belgium and one of the communities and language areas of Belgium. However, there are several overlapping definitions, including ones related to culture, language and history, sometimes involving neighbouring countries; the demonym associated with Flanders is Fleming. The official capital of Flanders is Brussels, although the Brussels Capital Region has an independent regional government, the government of Flanders only oversees the community aspects of Flanders life in Brussels such as culture and education. Flanders, despite not being the biggest part of Belgium by area, is the area with the largest population. 7,876,873 out of 11,491,346 Belgian inhabitants live in the bilingual city of Brussels. Not including Brussels, there are five modern Flemish provinces. In medieval contexts, the original "County of Flanders" stretched around AD 900 from the Strait of Dover to the Scheldt estuary and expanded from there; this county still corresponds with the modern-day Belgian provinces of West Flanders and East Flanders, along with neighbouring parts of France and the Netherlands.
Although this original meaning is still relevant, during the 19th and 20th centuries it became commonplace to use the term "Flanders" to refer to the entire Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, stretching all the way to the River Meuse, as well as cultural movements such as Flemish art. In accordance with late 20th century Belgian state reforms the Belgian part of this area was made into two political entities: the "Flemish Community" and the "Flemish Region"; these entities were merged, although geographically the Flemish Community, which has a broader cultural mandate, covers Brussels, whereas the Flemish Region does not. Flanders, by every definition, has figured prominently in European history since the Middle Ages. In this period, cities such as Ghent and Antwerp made it one of the richest and most urbanized parts of Europe and weaving the wool of neighbouring lands into cloth for both domestic use and export; as a consequence, a sophisticated culture developed, with impressive achievements in the arts and architecture, rivaling those of northern Italy.
Belgium was one of the centres of the 19th century industrial revolution but Flanders was at first overtaken by French-speaking Wallonia. In the second half of the 20th century, due to massive national investments in port infrastructures, Flanders' economy modernised and today Flanders and Brussels are more wealthy than Wallonia and in general one of the wealthiest regions in Europe and the world. Geographically, Flanders is flat, has a small section of coast on the North Sea. Much of Flanders is agriculturally fertile and densely populated, with a population density of 500 people per square kilometer, it touches France to the west near the coast, borders the Netherlands to the north and east, Wallonia to the south. The Brussels Capital Region is an bilingual enclave within the Flemish Region. Flanders has exclaves of its own: Voeren in the east is between Wallonia and the Netherlands and Baarle-Hertog in the north consists of 22 exclaves surrounded by the Netherlands; the term "Flanders" has several main modern meanings: The "Flemish community" or "Flemish nation", i.e. the social and linguistic, scientific and educational and political community of the Flemings.
It comprises 6.5 million Belgians. The political subdivisions of Belgium: the Flemish Region and the Flemish Community; the first does not comprise Brussels, whereas the latter does comprise the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of Brussels. The political institutions that govern both subdivisions: the operative body "Flemish Government" and the legislative organ "Flemish Parliament"; the two westernmost provinces of the Flemish Region, West Flanders and East Flanders, forming the central portion of the historic County of Flanders. An ancien régime territory that existed from the 8th century until its absorption by the French First Republic; until the 1600s, this county extended over parts of what are now France and the Netherlands. One of the Flemish regions which are now part of France, in the Nord department; this is referred to as French Flanders, can be divided into two smaller regions: Walloon Flanders and Maritime Flanders. The first region was predominantly French-speaking in the 1600s, the latter became so in the 20th century.
The city of Lille identifies itself as "Flemish", this is reflected, for instance, in the name of its local railway station TGV Lille Flandres. The Flemish region which became part of the Dutch Republic, now part of the Dutch province of Zeeland; the significance of the County of Flanders and its counts eroded through time, but the designation remained in a broad sense. In the Early modern period, the term Flanders was associated with the southern part of the Low Countries: the Southern Netherlands. During the 19th and 20th centuries, it became commonplace to refer to the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium as "Flanders"; the linguistic limit between French and Dutch was recorded in the early'60's, from Kortrijk to Maastricht. Now, Flanders extends over the northern part of Belgium, including Belgian Limburg (corresponding to t
Manorialism was an essential element of feudal society. It was the organizing principle of rural economy that originated in the Roman villa system of the Late Roman Empire, was practiced in medieval western and parts of central Europe as well as China, it was replaced by the advent of a money-based market economy and new forms of agrarian contract. Manorialism was characterised by the vesting of legal and economic power in a Lord of the Manor, supported economically from his own direct landholding in a manor, from the obligatory contributions of a subject part of the peasant population under the jurisdiction of himself and his manorial court; these obligations could be payable in several ways, in labor, in kind, or, on rare occasions, in coin. In examining the origins of the monastic cloister, Walter Horn found that "as a manorial entity the Carolingian monastery... differed little from the fabric of a feudal estate, save that the corporate community of men for whose sustenance this organization was maintained consisted of monks who served God in chant and spent much of their time in reading and writing."Manorialism died and piecemeal, along with its most vivid feature in the landscape, the open field system.
It outlasted serfdom as it outlasted feudalism: "primarily an economic organization, it could maintain a warrior, but it could well maintain a capitalist landlord. It could be self-sufficient, yield produce for the market, or it could yield a money rent." The last feudal dues in France were abolished at the French Revolution. In parts of eastern Germany, the Rittergut manors of Junkers remained until World War II. In Quebec, the last feudal rents were paid in 1970 under the modified provisions of the Seigniorial Dues Abolition Act of 1935; the term is most used with reference to medieval Western Europe. Antecedents of the system can be traced to the rural economy of the Roman Empire. With a declining birthrate and population, labor was the key factor of production. Successive administrations tried to stabilise the imperial economy by freezing the social structure into place: sons were to succeed their fathers in their trade, councilors were forbidden to resign, coloni, the cultivators of land, were not to move from the land they were attached to.
The workers of the land were on their way to becoming serfs. Several factors conspired to merge the status of former slaves and former free farmers into a dependent class of such coloni: it was possible to be described as servus et colonus, "both slave and colonus". Laws of Constantine I around 325 both reinforced the semi-servile status of the coloni and limited their rights to sue in the courts; the legal status of adscripti, "bound to the soil", contrasted with barbarian foederati, who were permitted to settle within the imperial boundaries, remaining subject to their own traditional law. As the Germanic kingdoms succeeded Roman authority in the West in the fifth century, Roman landlords were simply replaced by Germanic ones, with little change to the underlying situation or displacement of populations; the process of rural self-sufficiency was given an abrupt boost in the eighth century, when normal trade in the Mediterranean Sea was disrupted. The thesis put forward by Henri Pirenne supposes that the Arab conquests forced the medieval economy into greater ruralization and gave rise to the classic feudal pattern of varying degrees of servile peasantry underpinning a hierarchy of localised power centers.
The word derives from traditional inherited divisions of the countryside, reassigned as local jurisdictions known as manors or seigneuries. The lord held a manorial court, governed by local custom. Not all territorial seigneurs were secular. By extension, the word manor is sometimes used in England to mean any home area or territory in which authority is held in a police or criminal context. In the generic plan of a medieval manor from Shepherd's Historical Atlas, the strips of individually worked land in the open field system are apparent. In this plan, the manor house is set apart from the village, but often the village grew up around the forecourt of the manor walled, while the manor lands stretched away outside, as still may be seen at Petworth House; as concerns for privacy increased in the 18th century, manor houses were located a farther distance from the village. For example, when a grand new house was required by the new owner of Harlaxton Manor, Lincolnshire, in the 1830s, the site of the existing manor house at the edge of its village was abandoned for a new one, isolated in its park, with the village out of view.
In an agrarian society, the conditions of land tenure underlie all economic factors. There were two legal systems of pre-manorial landholding. One, the most common, was the system of holding land "allodially" in full outright ownership; the other was a use of precaria or benefices. To these two systems, the Carolingian monarchs added a third, the aprisio, which linked manorialism with feudalism; the aprisio made its first appearance in Charlemagne's province of Septimania in the south of France, when Charlemagne had to settle the Visigothic refugees who had fled with his retreating forces after the failure of his Zaragoza expedition of 778. He solved this problem by allotting "desert" tracts of uncultivat
Ghent University is a public research university located in Ghent, Belgium. It was established in 1817 by King William I of the Netherlands. After the Belgian revolution of 1830, the newly formed Belgian state began to administer the university. In 1930, the university became the first Dutch-speaking university in Belgium, whereas French had been the standard academic language. In 1991,it was granted major autonomy and changed its name accordingly from State University of Ghent to its current designation. In contrast to the Catholic University of Leuven or the Free University of Brussels, UGent considers itself a pluralist university in a special sense, i.e. not connected to any particular religion or political ideology. Its motto Inter Utrumque, on the coat of arms, suggests the acquisition of wisdom and science comes only in an atmosphere of peace, when the institution is supported by the monarchy and fatherland. Ghent University is one of the biggest Flemish universities, consisting of 41,000 students and 9,000 staff members.
The University supports the University Library and the University Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in Belgium. It is one of the greatest beneficiaries of funding from the Research Foundation - Flanders. Ghent University rates among the top universities in the world; the university in Ghent was opened on October 9, 1817, with JC van Rotterdam serving as the first rector. In the first year, it had 16 professors; the original four faculties consisted of Humanities, Law and Science, the language of instruction was Latin. The university was founded by King William I as part of a policy to stem the intellectual and academic lag in the southern part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands to become Belgium. After peaking at a student population of 414, the number of students declined following the Belgian Revolution. At this time, the Faculties of Humanities and Science were broken from the university, but they were restored five years in 1835. Ghent University played a big role in the foundation of modern organic chemistry.
Friedrich August Kekulé unraveled the structure of benzene at Ghent and Adolf von Baeyer, a student of August Kekulé, made seminal contributions to organic chemistry. In 1882, Sidonie Verhelst became the first female student at the university. French became the language of instruction, after the 1830 Revolution. In 1903, the Flemish politician Lodewijk De Raet led a successful campaign to begin instruction in Dutch, the first courses were begun in 1906. During World War I, the occupying German administration conducted Flamenpolitik and turned Ghent University into the first Dutch-speaking university in Belgium. A Flemish Institute known as Von Bissing University, was founded in 1916 but was disestablished after the war and French language was reinstated. In 1923, Cabinet Minister Pierre Nolf put forward a motion to definitively establish the university as a Dutch-speaking university, this was realized in 1930. August Vermeylen served as the first rector of a Dutch-language university in Belgium.
In the Second World War, the German administration of the university attempted to create a German orientation, removing faculty members and installing loyal activists. However, the university became the focal point for many resistance members. After the war, the university became a much larger institution, following government policy of democratizing higher education in Flanders during the 1950s and 1960s. By 1953, there were more than 3,000 students, by 1969 more than 11,500; the number of faculties increased to eleven, starting with Applied Sciences in 1957. It was followed by Economics and Veterinary Medicine in 1968, Psychology and Pedagogy, as well as Bioengineering, in 1969, Pharmaceutical Sciences; the faculty of Politics and Social Sciences is the most recent addition, in 1992. In the 1960s to 1980s, there were several student demonstrations at Ghent University, notably around the Blandijn site, which houses the Faculty of Arts & Philosophy; the severest demonstrations took place in 1969 in the wake of May 1968.
In 1991, the university changed its name from Rijksuniversiteit Gent to Universiteit Gent, following an increased grant of autonomy by the government of the Flemish Community. Ghent University consists of eleven Faculties with over 130 individual departments. In addition, the university maintains the Zwijnaarde science park and Greenbridge science park. Faculty of Arts and Philosophy Faculty of Bio-science Engineering Faculty of Law Faculty of Sciences Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Faculty of Engineering and Architecture Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences Faculty of Political and Social Sciences Standing on the Blandijnberg, the Boekentoren houses the Ghent University Library, which contains nearly 3 million volumes; the University Library has joined the Google Books Library Project. Among other notable collections, it preserves Papyrus 30, an early manuscript of the Greek New Testament.
Ghent University ranks among the best universities in the world. Most in 2017, it was ranked, globally, 69th by the Academic Ranking of World Universities and 125th by QS World University Rankings. For 2018, Ghent University has been ranked, worldwide, 88th by U. S. News & World Report and 107th by Times Higher Education