Walcheren

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{war, force, army}
{island, water, area}
{land, century, early}
{line, north, south}
{god, call, give}
{county, mile, population}
{water, park, boat}
{mi², represent, 1st}

Ltspkr.pngWalcheren is a former island in the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands at the mouth of the Scheldt estuary. It lies between the Oosterschelde in the north and the Westerschelde in the south and is roughly the shape of a rhombus. The two sides on the side of the North Sea consist of dunes; the rest of its coastline is made up of dykes. Middelburg lies at its centre; this city is the provincial capital and Vlissingen 9 km to the south is the main harbour. The third municipality is Veere.

Originally, Walcheren was an island, but polders and a dam across the Oosterschelde have connected it to the (former) island of Zuid-Beveland, which in turn has been connected to the North Brabant mainland.

Contents

History

Ancient history

Already in Roman days, the island was a point of departure for ships going to Britain and it had a temple of the goddess Nehalennia who was popular with those who wished to brave the waters of the North Sea. The Romans called it "Wallacra", a term most likely associated with Walha, the name Germans used for all foreign peoples. Walcheren was the seat of the Danish Viking Harald, who conquered the present Netherlands together with his compatriot Rorik (or Rurik) in the ninth century. One fringe theory has it that it was the island described by Ibn Rustah as the seat of the khagan of the Rus'. Another fringe theory mentions Walcheren as the seat of Hades, described by Homer.[1]

Napoleonic Wars

Starting on 30 July 1809, a British armed force of 39,000 men landed on Walcheren, the Walcheren Campaign, with a view to assisting the Austrians in their war against Napoleon, and attacking the French fleet moored at Flushing (Vlissingen). The expedition was a disaster – the Austrians had already been defeated at the Battle of Wagram and were suing for peace, the French fleet had moved to Antwerp, and the British lost over 4,000 men to a disease called "Walcheren Fever", thought to be a combination of malaria and typhus. The force was withdrawn in December.

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