History of Brussels
The name Brussels comes Bruocsella, Brucsella or Broekzele, which means "marsh (bruoc, bruc or broek) home (sella or zele)" or "home in the marsh". "Broekzele" was spelt "Bruxelles" in French. In French as well as in Dutch, the "k" eventually disappeared and "z" became "s", as reflected in the current Dutch spelling.
In 977, the German emperor Otto II gave Lower Lorraine to Charles, son of King Louis IV of France. Mention was already made of Brussels at the time. However, the founding of Brussels is usually known to happen when a small castle was built by Charles around 979 on an island (called Saint-Gery island) encompassed by the Senne river. At the end of the tenth century, with the death of Charles, Lower Lorraine is taken over by Lambert I of Leuven. Under Lambert II of Leuven, a new castrum and the first city walls are built.
The small town became in the 12th century an important stop on the commercial road from Bruges to Cologne. At the same time, the counts of Leuven changed their name to Dukes of Brabant. From 1357 to 1379, a new enclosure is built as the former one was already too small. It is now known as the inner ring or pentagon. In the 15th century, by means of the wedding of heiress Margaret III of Flanders with Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, the new Duke of Brabant comes from the House of Valois (namely Antoine, their son). But not for long as Mary of Burgundy marries Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor from the house of Habsburg in 1477. Brussels was thriving under the reign of the houses of Burgundy and Habsburg.
In 1695 Brussels is attacked by King Louis XIV of France and the battle made a lot of damage (more than 4000 houses as well as buildings of the Grand Place were all destroyed, except the famous city hall). In 1830, the Belgian revolution took place in Brussels after a representation of La Muette de Portici at La Monnaie theatre.
On July 21, 1831, Leopold I, the first King of Belgium, ascends the throne. He undertook the destruction of the city walls and the construction of many buildings. Under Leopold II of Belgium, the city underwent many changes: the Senne was arched (as it brought diseases), becoming sewers, the North-South Junction was undertaken, the Tervueren avenue was traced, etc. From May 10, 1940, Brussels was bombed by the German army. A lot of damage was done with bombs mainly in 1943-1944. The Heysel Stadium disaster took place in Brussels on May 29, 1985. The Brussels Capital Region was founded on June 18, 1989.
While Belgium takes its name from the ancient Celtic tribe of the Belgae, whom Caesar fought to conquer there in the Gallic wars of 58-52 BC, Brussels is first mentioned in a 7th-century manuscript and the name of the city has its origins in the Old Flemish word Broekzele, meaning marshland, since the city was originally built on an island in the river Senne.
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