Friday, May 18, 2012

On May 18

On this day in ...
... 1302 (710 years ago today), as dawn approached in what's now Belgium and then was the County of Flanders, formally part of France, Flemish guildsmen who'd formed a local militia sneaked into Bruges and massacred French troops garrisoned in the city. The militia are said to have killed anyone who couldn't correctly pronounce a Flemish phrase; by some accounts the phrase was schild en vriend, or "shield and friend," by others, des gilden vriend, or "friend of the guilds." The leaders of the attack now known as the Bruges Matins (in Flemish, Brugse Metten) – weaver Pieter de Coninck and butcher Jan Breydel – went on to defeat the French in a conventional battle, and are commemorated by the statue at right, located in the Bruges Markt. (photo credit)

(Prior May 18 posts are here, here, here, here, and here.)

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