Bergen op Zoom

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{city, large, area}
{church, century, christian}
{war, force, army}
{island, water, area}

Coordinates: 51°30′N 4°18′E / 51.5°N 4.3°E / 51.5; 4.3

Bergen op Zoom (About this sound pronunciation ) is a municipality and a city in the south of the Netherlands.

Contents

History

Bergen op Zoom was granted city status probably in 1266. In 1287 the city and its surroundings became a lordship as it was separated from the lordship of Breda. The lordship was elevated to a margraviate in 1559. Several families ruled Bergen op Zoom in succession until 1795, although the title was only nominal since at least the seventeenth century.

During the early modern period, Bergen op Zoom was a very strong fortress and one of the main armories and arsenals of the United Provinces. It had a remarkable natural defensive site, surrounded as it was by marshes and easily-floodable polders. Furthermore, it could receive reinforcements and supplies by sea, if the besieging army did not have a fleet to blockade its port.

Due to these features, the city was one of the strategic points held by the revolting Dutch in the Eighty Years War. It was at that time besieged by Alessandro Farnese first in 1587, and by Ambrosio Spinola a second time in 1622. Both sieges were unsuccessful and Bergen op Zoom got the nickname La Pucelle or The Virgin as it was never sieged successfully.

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