Koninklijke Atletiek Associatie Gent simply known as Ghent or by their nickname De Buffalo's, is a Belgian football and field and field hockey club, based in the city of Ghent, East Flanders. Their football team have been playing in the Belgian Pro League since the 1989–90 season, they won the national league once, in 2014–15, in addition to three Belgian Cup victories. Ghent played their home matches in the Jules Ottenstadion in Gentbrugge from 1920 until 2013, when they moved to the Ghelamco Arena, their team colours are white. The principal sponsor is the financial institution VDK NV; the field hockey and track and field divisions were founded in 1864, making it one of the oldest sports clubs in Belgium. The club was known under its French name La Gantoise, they changed their name to the current Dutch version in 1971. The football division opened in 1900; the nickname of the club is De Buffalo's, a term coined after a visit of the original Buffalo Bill and his Wild West circus to the city in the early 20th century.
Ghent enjoyed its first spell at the highest level in Belgian football between 1913–14 and 1928–29, a second one from 1936–37 to 1966–67. In the 1970s and 1980s, the club had several promotions and relegations between the first and second divisions, before returning to the highest level in 1989; the club reached the quarter-finals of the 1991–92 UEFA Cup, their best achievement in European competitions. In 1864, an association called the'Société Gymnastique la Gantoise', tasked with promoting gymnastics, was founded; some branches became independent and in 1891 the team merged with the Association Athlétique, in itself a merger of younger teams, such as Racing Club, Running Club and Red Star. The new merger team was called Association Athlétique La Gantoise, aside from gymnastics, the activities were broadened to athletics, cricket, fencing, hockey and tennis. In this context, the athletics team KAA Gent was founded. In the last decade of the 19th century, organized football was introduced in Ghent.
Different small teams were founded and some merged into Racing Club Gantois on 1 April 1899, which would become the biggest challenger of KAA Gent. Only in 1900, a football section was founded by the students of the College of Melle, a place close to Ghent; the first president of the team was doctor Hector Priem. The games were played on the Carpentierplein, situated at the crossroads of the Kortrijksesteenweg, the Clementinalaan, the Oostendestraat and the Astridlaan; the colours black and white were chosen, but by 31 October 1900, when the team became an official member, the colours were changed to blue and white. On 15 November 1900, the first regular game was played, against Omnium Sporting Club. In January 1901, the team played against Racing Club Gantois, which was, at that time, the larger of the two. KAA Gent lost the game with 10–0. At the end of the 19th century the team became a member of the UBSSA (Union Belge des Sociétés de Sports Athlétiques or the Belgian Union of the Athletic Sports Society, although Racing Club Gantois was the elder team in the city, KAA Gent would receive a lower matricule number than Racing Club, which would receive 11.
In 1901 AA La Gantoise played its first games in the lower divisions. For the first few years, the team played in the Belgian Second Division, on in the First Division. In 1904 the team moved to the Mussenstraat. In 1913, the World Exposition was held at that place, the team moved once more, this time to the Albertlaan. Over there, a football pitch, training fields, tennis courts, an athletics court and other accommodations were being built. At 9 December 1915, during the First World War, the stadium burned down. In 1912–13, AA La Gantoise became champion in the Second Division. In 1914, the team received the royal title and was called Association Royale Athlétique La Gantoise, abbreviated to ARA La Gantoise. During the world exposition, the team organized several sporting events; the first season in the First League, 1913–14, was very difficult for the team and only by means of a test match against Standard Club Liégois, relegation was avoided. In 1920, the team moved again. La Gantoise fell back to the Second Division and it was not until 1936 it managed to win the promotion play-offs and return to the First Division.
In the mid-fifties, the team played their strongest football yet. In 1953–54 it ended third with an equal total of points as KFC Malinois and only one point behind the champions Anderlecht; the next season, La Gantoise was alone on the second spot, this time with three points less than the champions. In 1964 it won the Belgian Cup, the first major tournament victory for the team; because of their cup win, it became the first Belgian team to participate in the newly founded UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. La Gantoise was defeated in the first round by West Ham United. In 1967, the club relegated once more, after three decades of playing in the First Division, it did, only take them one year to clinch promotion again. In 1971, the name of the team was translated into Flemish, as it became "Koninklijke Atletiek Associatie Gent"; the 1970–71 season was the start of a bad decade for Ghent. They were relegated to the Second Division six games before the season's ending, after the defeat to Club Brugge. In 1974, they relegated to the Third Divi
Ghent is a city and a municipality in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is the capital and largest city of the East Flanders province, the second largest municipality in Belgium, after Antwerp; the city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Leie and in the Late Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe, with some 50,000 people in 1300. It is a university city; the municipality comprises the city of Ghent proper and the surrounding suburbs of Afsnee, Drongen, Ledeberg, Mendonk, Sint-Amandsberg, Sint-Denijs-Westrem, Sint-Kruis-Winkel and Zwijnaarde. With 260,467 inhabitants in the beginning of 2018, Ghent is Belgium's second largest municipality by number of inhabitants; the metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of 1,205 km2 and has a total population of 594,582 as of 1 January 2008, which ranks it as the fourth most populous in Belgium. The current mayor of Ghent, Mathias De Clercq is from the liberal & democratic party Open VLD.
The ten-day-long Ghent Festival is attended by about 1 -- 1.5 million visitors. Archaeological evidence shows human presence in the region of the confluence of Scheldt and Leie going back as far as the Stone Age and the Iron Age. Most historians believe that the older name for Ghent,'Ganda', is derived from the Celtic word ganda which means confluence. Other sources connect its name with an obscure deity named Gontia. There are no written records of the Roman period, but archaeological research confirms that the region of Ghent was further inhabited; when the Franks invaded the Roman territories from the end of the 4th century and well into the 5th century, they brought their language with them and Celtic and Latin were replaced by Old Dutch. Around 650, Saint Amand founded two abbeys in Ghent: Saint Bavo's Abbey; the city grew from the abbeys and a commercial centre. Around 800, Louis the Pious, son of Charlemagne, appointed Einhard, the biographer of Charlemagne, as abbot of both abbeys. In 851 and 879, the city was however plundered twice by the Vikings.
Within the protection of the County of Flanders, the city recovered and flourished from the 11th century, growing to become a small city-state. By the 13th century, Ghent was the biggest city in Europe north of the Alps after Paris. Within the city walls lived up to 65,000 people; the belfry and the towers of the Saint Bavo Cathedral and Saint Nicholas' Church are just a few examples of the skyline of the period. The rivers flowed in an area; these rich grass'meersen' were ideally suited for herding sheep, the wool of, used for making cloth. During the Middle Ages Ghent was the leading city for cloth; the wool industry established at Bruges, created the first European industrialized zone in Ghent in the High Middle Ages. The mercantile zone was so developed that wool had to be imported from Scotland and England; this was one of the reasons for Flanders' good relationship with England. Ghent was the birthplace of John of Duke of Lancaster. Trade with England suffered during the Hundred Years' War.
The city recovered in the 15th century, when Flanders was united with neighbouring provinces under the Dukes of Burgundy. High taxes led to a rebellion and the Battle of Gavere in 1453, in which Ghent suffered a terrible defeat at the hands of Philip the Good. Around this time the centre of political and social importance in the Low Countries started to shift from Flanders to Brabant, although Ghent continued to play an important role. With Bruges, the city led two revolts against Maximilian of Austria, the first monarch of the House of Habsburg to rule Flanders. In 1500, Juana of Castile gave birth to Charles V, who became Holy Roman King of Spain. Although native to Ghent, he punished the city after the 1539 Revolt of Ghent and obliged the city's nobles to walk in front of the Emperor barefoot with a noose around the neck. Saint Bavo Abbey was abolished, torn down, replaced with a fortress for Royal Spanish troops. Only a small portion of the abbey was spared demolition; the late 16th and the 17th centuries brought devastation because of the Eighty Years' War.
The war ended the role of Ghent as a centre of international importance. In 1745, the city was captured by French forces during the War of the Austrian Succession before being returned to the Empire of Austria under the House of Habsburg following the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, when this part of Flanders became known as the Austrian Netherlands until 1815, the exile of the French Emperor Napoleon I, the end of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and the peace treaties arrived at by the Congress of Vienna. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the textile industry flourished again in Ghent. Lieven Bauwens, having smuggled the industrial and factory machine plans out of England, introduced the first mechanical weaving machine on the European continent in 1800; the Treaty of Ghent, negotiated here and adopted on Christmas Eve 1814, formally ended the War of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States. After the Battle of Waterloo and Flanders ruled from the House of Habs