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Ypres

The meaning of «ypres»

Ypres (/ˈiːprə/ EE-prə, French: [ipʁ]; Dutch: Ieper [ˈipər] (listen); West Flemish: Yper; German: Ypern [ˈyːpɐn] (listen)) is a Belgian city and municipality in the province of West Flanders. Though the Flemish name Ieper is the official one, the city's French name Ypres is most commonly used in English. The municipality comprises the city of Ypres/Ieper and the villages of Boezinge, Brielen, Dikkebus, Elverdinge, Hollebeke, Sint-Jan, Vlamertinge, Voormezele, Zillebeke, and Zuidschote. Together, they are home to about 34,900 inhabitants.

During the First World War, Ypres (or "Wipers" as it was commonly known by the British troops) was the centre of the Battles of Ypres between German and Allied forces.

Ypres is an ancient town, known to have been raided by the Romans in the first century BC. It is first mentioned by name in 1066 and is probably named after the river Ieperlee on the banks of which it was founded.[3]

During the Middle Ages, Ypres was a prosperous Flemish city with a population of 40,000 in 1200 AD,[4][5][6][7] renowned for its linen trade with England, which was mentioned in the Canterbury Tales.

As the third largest city in the County of Flanders (after Ghent and Bruges) Ypres played an important role in the history of the textile industry.[3] Textiles from Ypres could be found in the markets of Novgorod in Kievan Rus' in the early 12th century. In 1241, a major fire ruined much of the old city. The powerful city was involved in important treaties and battles, including the Battle of the Golden Spurs, the Battle at Mons-en-Pévèle, the Peace of Melun, and the Battle of Cassel.

The famous Cloth Hall was built in the 13th century. Also during this time cats, then the symbol of the devil and witchcraft, were thrown off Cloth Hall, possibly because of the belief that this would get rid of evil demons. Today, this act is commemorated with a triennial Cat Parade through town.

During the Norwich Crusade, led by the English bishop Henry le Despenser, Ypres was besieged from May to August 1383, until French relief forces arrived. After the destruction of Thérouanne, Ypres became the seat of the new Diocese of Ypres in 1561, and Saint Martin's Church was elevated to cathedral.

On 25 March 1678 Ypres was conquered by the forces of Louis XIV of France. It remained French under the Treaty of Nijmegen, and Vauban constructed his typical fortifications that can still be seen today. In 1697, after the Treaty of Ryswick, Ypres was returned to the Spanish Crown.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the Duke of Marlborough in 1709 intended to capture Ypres, at the time a major French fortress, but changed his mind owing to the long time and effort it had taken him to capture Tournai and apprehension of disease spreading in his army in the poorly drained land around Ypres (see Battle of Malplaquet). In 1713 it was handed over to the Habsburgs, and became part of the Austrian Netherlands.

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