Peace & Quiet
The Shaping of Ghent
630 St Amand, a French missionary, founds abbeys on the River Leie at Ganda, a celtic word meaning 'river confluence'. The city of Ghent grows up around these abbeys. 879-83 The Normans erect their tents near Ghent. 1180 Philip of Alsace commissions the building of the Gravensteen. 1251 The Lieve canal is dug and Ghent becomes an important port. 1300 With a population of 60,000 Ghent is the second largest city north of the Alps, after Paris. 1338 During the Hundred Years War Jacob van Artevelde sides with England so that the import of sheep's wool for the cloth industry can continue. 1381 Jacob van Artevelde is murdered during a weavers' uprising. 1382 After a fierce battle at Westrozebeke the city has to struggle with a shortage of men. 1500 Emperor Charles V born in the Prinsenhof. 1538 The people of Ghent rise up because they no longer want to pay taxes to Charles V to fund the war. 1547 Ghent's connection with the North Sea improves with the construction of the Sassevaart. 1561 Ghent becomes a diocese. 1566 Iconoclasts plunder and destroy Catholic buildings. 1576 Pacification of Ghent. The persecution of heretics is abolished. 1577-84 Ghent becomes a Calvinist republic. 1584 Alexander Farnese reintroduces Catholicism with a heavy hand and 10,000 people flee to the Northern Netherlands. 1667 Appearance of Ghendsche Post Tydinghe, one of the first Dutch-language newspapers, which was prohibitively expensive. 1800 Lieve Bauwens smuggles machines from England. Ghent becomes an industrial city with a lot of child labour and social exploitation and earns itself the nickname 'Little Manchester'. 1814 The United States and England conclude their war and sign a peace treaty in Ghent. 1815 On his flight from Napoleon, Louis XVIII of France spends one hundred days in Ghent. 1817 William I founds the University of Ghent. 1820 After centuries of war and the plague, Ghent again reaches the level of population it had in 1300: 60,000. 1830 The Belgian state is founded, but Ghent hopes to be affiliated to The Netherlands. 1886 In the struggle for the maintenance of the Dutch language, the Royal Flemish Academy of Language and Literature is founded. 1890 Exploited workers make their voices heard. Their foreman Eduard Anseele is a friend of Emile Zola. Ghent becomes a hotbed of socialism. 1913 Ghent World Fair. Jack Daniels whiskey wins a gold medal. 1930 University of Ghent becomes Dutch speaking. 1977 Ghent merges with its ten satellites: Afsnee, Drongen, Gentbrugge, Ledeberg, Mariakerke, Oostakker, St Amandsberg, St Denijs-Westrem, Wondelgem and Zwijnaarde. 1998 The citizens of Ghent are the first people in Belgium to compel a referendum on a local issue. 1999 According to certain criteria, Ghent is the most densely populated city in the world. 2000 The world indoor athletics championships are organised in Blaar meersen. The largest flower basket in history is hung on the E. Braunplein.