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Landscape of Frahan inside the bend of the Semois River
|Location|| Wallonia, Belgium;|
Ardennes department and Grand Est region, France;
|Area||11,200 km2 (4,300 sq mi)|
|Governing body||Parc National de Champagne/Ardennes|
Parc National de Furfooz
The Ardennes ( // ar-DEN; French : Ardenne [aʁdɛn] (
Located primarily in Belgium and Luxembourg, but stretching as well into Germany and France (lending its name to the Ardennes department and the former Champagne-Ardenne region) and geologically into the Eifel (the eastern extension of the Ardennes Forest into Bitburg-Prüm, Germany), most of the Ardennes proper is located in southeastern Wallonia, the southern and more rural part of the Kingdom of Belgium (away from the coastal plain but encompassing more than half of the country's total area). The eastern part of the Ardennes forms the northernmost third of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, also called "Oesling" (Luxembourgish : Éislek). On the southeast the Eifel region continues into the German state of the Rhineland-Palatinate.
The trees and rivers of the Ardennes provided the charcoal industry assets that enabled the great industrial period of Wallonia in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was arguably the second great industrial region of the world, after England. The greater region maintained an industrial eminence into the 20th century, after coal replaced charcoal in metallurgy.
Allied generals in World War II believed that the region was impenetrable to massed vehicular traffic and especially armor, so the area was effectively "all but undefended"[ citation needed ] during the war. The German Army twice used this region to invade northern France and southern Belgium, via Luxembourg in the Battle of France and the later Battle of the Bulge.
Much of the Ardennes is covered in dense forests, with the hills averaging around 350–400 m (1,150–1,310 ft) in height but rising to over 694 m (2,277 ft) in the boggy moors of the Hautes Fagnes (Hohes Venn) region of south-eastern Belgium. The region is typified by steep-sided valleys carved by swift-flowing rivers, the most prominent of which is the Meuse. Its most populous cities are Verviers in Belgium and Charleville-Mézières in France, both exceeding 50,000 inhabitants. The Ardennes is otherwise relatively sparsely populated, with few of the cities exceeding 10,000 inhabitants. (Exceptions include Eupen and Bastogne.)
The Eifel range in Germany adjoins the Ardennes and is part of the same geological formation, although they are conventionally regarded as being two distinct areas.
The Belgian province of Luxembourg in the above list is not to be confused with the country known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
The Ardennes were an old mountain range formed during the Hercynian orogeny; in France similar formations are the Armorican Massif, the Massif Central, and the Vosges. The low interior of such former mountains often contains coal, plus iron, zinc and other metals in the sub-soil. This geologic fact explains the greatest part of the geography of Wallonia and its history. In the North and West of the Ardennes lie the valleys of the Sambre and Meuse rivers, forming an arc (Sillon industriel) going across the most industrial provinces of Wallonia, for example Hainaut, along the river Haine (the etymology of Hainaut); the Borinage, the Centre and Charleroi along the river Sambre; Liège along the river Meuse.
The region was uplifted by a mantle plume during the last few hundred thousand years, as measured from the present elevation of old river terraces.
This geological region is important in the history of Wallonia because this former mountain is at the origin of the economy, the history, and the geography of Wallonia. "Wallonia presents a wide range of rocks of various ages. Some geological stages internationally recognized were defined from rock sites located in Wallonia: e.g. Frasnian (Frasnes-lez-Couvin), Famennian (Famenne), Tournaisian (Tournai), Visean (Visé), Dinantian (Dinant) and Namurian (Namur)".Except for the Tournaisian, all these rocks are within the Ardennes geological area.
The Ardennes includes the greatest part of the Belgian province of Luxembourg (number 4; not to be confused with the neighbouring Grand Duchy of Luxembourg), the south of the province of Namur (number 5), and the province of Liège (number 3), plus a very small part of the province of Hainaut (number 2), as well as the northernmost third of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, called Oesling (Luxembourgish: Éislek) and the main part of the French department of Ardennes.
Before the 19th century industrialization, the first furnaces in the four Walloon provinces and in the French Ardennes used charcoal for fuel, made from harvesting the Ardennes forest. This industry was also in the extreme south of the present-day Belgian province of Luxembourg (which until 1839 was part of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg), in the region called Gaume. The most important part of the Walloon steel industry, using coal, was built around the coal mines, mainly in the region around the cities of Liège, Charleroi, La Louvière, the Borinage, and further in the Walloon Brabant (in Tubize). Wallonia became the second industrial power area of the world (after Great Britain) in proportion to its territory and to its population (see further).
The rugged terrain of the Ardennes limits the scope for agriculture; arable and dairy farming in cleared areas form the mainstay of the agricultural economy. The region is rich in timber and minerals, and Liège and Namur are both major industrial centres. The extensive forests have an abundant population of wild game. The scenic beauty of the region and its wide variety of outdoor activities, including hunting, cycling, walking and canoeing, make it a popular tourist destination.
The region takes its name from the vast ancient forest known as Arduenna Silva in the Roman Period. Arduenna probably derives from a Gaulish cognate of the Brythonic word ardu- as in the Welsh : ardd ("high") and the Latin arduus ("high", "steep"). The second element is less certain, but may be related to the Celtic element *windo- as in the Welsh wyn/wen ("fair", "blessed"), which tentatively suggests an original meaning of "The forest of blessed/fair heights".
The Ardennes likely shares this derivation with the numerous Arden place names in Britain, including the Forest of Arden.
The modern Ardennes region covers a greatly diminished area from the forest recorded in Roman times.
Another song about Charlemagne, the Old French 12th-century chanson de geste Quatre Fils Aymon , mentions many of Wallonia's rivers, villages and other places. In Dinant the rock named Bayard takes its name for Bayard, the magic bay horse which, according to legend, jumped from the top of the rock to the other bank of the Meuse.
On their pillaging raids in the years 881 and 882, the Vikings used the old Roman roads in the Ardennes and attacked the abbeys of Malmedy and Stablo and destroyed Prüm Abbey in the Eifel.
The strategic position of the Ardennes has made it a battleground for European powers for centuries. Much of the Ardennes formed part of the Duchy (since 1815, the Grand Duchy) of Luxembourg, a member state of the Holy Roman Empire, which changed hands numerous times between the powerful dynasties of Europe. In 1793 revolutionary France annexed the whole area, together with all other territories west of the Rhine river. In 1815, the Congress of Vienna, which dealt with the political aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, restored the previous geographical situation, with most of the Ardennes becoming part of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. After the revolution of 1830, which resulted in the establishment of the Kingdom of Belgium, the political future of the Ardennes became a matter of much dispute between Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, as well as involving the contemporary great powers of France, Prussia, and Great Britain. As a result, in 1839, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg ceded the westernmost 63% of its territory (being also the main part of the Ardennes) to the new Kingdom of Belgium, which renamed the area Province of Luxembourg.
In the 20th century the Ardennes was widely thought by leading military strategists to be unsuitable for large-scale military operations, due to its difficult terrain and narrow lines of communications. However, in both World War I and World War II, Germany successfully gambled on making a rapid passage through the Ardennes to attack a relatively lightly defended part of France. The Ardennes became the site of three major battles during the world wars—the Battle of the Ardennes (August 1914) in World War I, and the Battle of France (1940) and the Battle of the Bulge (1944–1945) in World War II. Many of the towns of the region suffered severe damage during the two world wars.
The military strategists of Nazi Germany in 1939 and 1940 selected the forest as the primary route of their mechanized forces in the Invasion of France. The forest's great size could conceal the armored divisions, and because the French did not suspect that the Germans would make such a risky move, they did not consider a breakthrough there, or considered that it would take at least 15 days for an army to pass through the forest. German forces, primarily under the command of Erich von Manstein, carried out the plan in two days, and managed to slip numerous divisions past the Maginot Line to attack France and rout the French forces. In May 1940 the German army crossed the Meuse, despite the resistance of the French Army. Under the command of General Heinz Guderian,the German armoured divisions crossed the river at Dinant and at Sedan, France. This was a crucial step in the push towards Paris, and France fell on June 25, 1940.
The Ardennes area came to prominence again during the Battle of the Bulge. The German Army launched a surprise attack in December 1944 in an attempt to capture Antwerp and to drive a wedge between the British and American forces in northern France. Allied forces blocked the German advance on the river Meuse at Dinant. Local residents say that a German vehicle exploded just before the Bayard rock, possibly after triggering a mine laid by US soldiers.[ citation needed ] Dinant's Rock was perhaps[ original research? ] the most advanced position of the German army during this battle.
The Meuse or Maas is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea from the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta. It has a total length of 925 km.
Walloons are a Romance ethnic group native to Belgium, principally its southern region of Wallonia, who primarily speak langues d'oïl dialects such as Belgian French, Picard and Walloon. Walloons are a distinctive ethnic community within Belgium. Important historical and anthropological criteria bind Walloons to the French people.
Belgium is a federal state located in Western Europe, bordering the North Sea. Belgium shares borders with France (556 km), Germany (133 km), Luxembourg (130 km) and the Netherlands (478 km). Belgium comprises the regions of Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels.
Luxembourg, also called Belgian Luxembourg, is the southernmost province of Wallonia and of Belgium. It borders on the country of Luxembourg to the east, the French departments of Ardennes, Meuse and Meurthe-et-Moselle to the south and southwest, and the Walloon provinces of Namur and Liège to the north. Its capital and largest city is Arlon, in the south-east of the province.
Wallonia is a region of Belgium. As the southern portion of the country, Wallonia is primarily French-speaking, and accounts for 55% of Belgium's territory, but only a third of its population. The Walloon Region was not merged with the French Community of Belgium, which is the political entity responsible for matters related mainly to culture and education, because the French Community of Belgium encompasses both Wallonia and the majority French-Speaking Brussels-Capital Region.
Liège is the easternmost province of Wallonia and Belgium.
The country of Belgium is divided into three regions. Two of these regions, the Flemish Region or Flanders, and Walloon Region, or Wallonia, are each subdivided into five provinces. The third region, the Brussels-Capital Region, is not divided into provinces, as it was originally only a small part of a province itself.
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Dinant is a Walloon city and municipality located on the River Meuse, in the Belgian province of Namur. It lies 90 kilometres (56 mi) south-east of Brussels, 30 kilometres (19 mi) south-east of Charleroi and 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of Namur. Dinant is situated 20 kilometres (12 mi) north of the border with France.
Namur is a city and municipality in Wallonia, Belgium. It is both the capital of the province of Namur and of Wallonia, hosting the Parliament of Wallonia, Walloon Government and administration.
Namur was a county of the Carolingian and later Holy Roman Empire in the Low Countries. Its territories largely correspond with the present-day Belgian arrondissement Namur plus the northwestern part of the arrondissement Dinant, both part of the modern province of Namur, and previously part of the French Republican department of Sambre-et-Meuse.
The Ourthe is a 165-kilometre (103 mi) long river in the Ardennes in Wallonia (Belgium). It is a right tributary to the river Meuse. The Ourthe is formed at the confluence of the Ourthe Occidentale and the Ourthe Orientale, west of Houffalize.
The Talleyrand partition plan for Belgium was a proposal developed in 1830 at the London Conference of 1830 by the French ambassador to Britain Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, to partition Belgium. The proposal was part of the intensive negotiations among five great powers over the future of Belgium after the success of the Belgian revolution for independence.
The Oesling or Ösling is a region covering the northern part of both the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Eifelkreis Bitburg-Prüm, within the greater Ardennes area that also covers parts of Belgium and France. The Oesling covers 32% of the territory of Luxembourg; to the south of the Oesling lies the Gutland, which covers the remaining 68% of the Grand Duchy as well as the southern part of the Eifelkreis Bitburg-Prüm.
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Jambes is a Walloon town in southern Belgium, in the province of Namur. Since 1977 it has been part of the city of Namur and It was formerly a municipality itself until the fusion of Belgian municipalities in 1977.
The Citadel of Dinant is a fortress located in the Walloon city of Dinant in the province of Namur, Belgium. The current fort was built in 1815 on a site which was originally fortified in 1051 when the region was ruled by the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The citadel overlooks the city of Dinant and the strategic Meuse river which runs through the town. It is open to the public.
Ardennes and Eifel are mountain ranges in Europe that form part of the same volcanic field and also of the Rhenish Massif. These are mountains and hills composed of slate and limestone, and of an average altitude of 400 to 500 meters, with several summits reaching the 700 meters.
The pointe de Givet is the extreme north of the department of Ardennes in the Grand Est region in northeastern France. This small territory is 25 km in length and 10 km wide and forms a small strip extending deep into Belgian Ardennes along the Meuse. Larger cities in the pointe de Givet include Revin, Fumay, and Givet.
Ardennes, a region of forested hills between Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, France. Ardennes or Ardenne, or variation, may refer to:
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