|• Mayor||Paul Magnette (PS)|
|• Governing party/ies||PS, C+, Ecolo|
|• Total||102.08 km2 (39.41 sq mi)|
|• Density||2,000/km2 (5,100/sq mi)|
6000, 6001, 6010, 6020,
6030–6032, 6040–6044, 6060, 6061
Charleroi ( UK: // , US: /-,- / , French: [ʃaʁləʁwa] ; Walloon : Tchålerwè [tʃɑːlɛʀwɛ] ) is a city and a municipality of Wallonia, located in the province of Hainaut, Belgium. By 1 January 2008, the total population of Charleroi was 201,593. The metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of 1,462 square kilometres (564 sq mi) with a total population of 522,522 by 1 January 2008, ranking it as the 5th most populous in Belgium after Brussels, Antwerp, Liège, and Ghent. The inhabitants are called Carolorégiens or simply Carolos.
The municipality of Charleroi straddles both banks of the river Sambre in an area marked by industrial activities (coal mining and steel industry), which has been nicknamed the Pays Noir ("Black Country"), part of the larger sillon industriel . Even though most of the factories have closed since the 1950s, the landscape remains dotted with spoil tips and old industrial buildings.
Charleroi lies around 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of Brussels.
The municipality comprises:
and the following former municipalities, now districts, merged into Charleroi in 1977:
Similar to the rest of Belgium Charleroi has an oceanic climate as a result of the Gulf Stream influence warming winters, while also moderating summer warmth in spite of its inland position.
|Climate data for Charleroi (1981–2010 normals, sunshine 1984–2013)|
|Average high °C (°F)||5.2|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||2.6|
|Average low °C (°F)||0.1|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||81.1|
|Average precipitation days||12.9||11.1||13.3||10.2||11.4||11.0||10.3||10.5||10.5||10.7||12.5||13.0||137.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||50||71||114||165||197||193||212||200||142||112||61||42||1,557|
|Source: Royal Meteorological Institute|
The Charleroi area was already settled in the prehistoric period, with traces of metallurgical and commercial activities along the Sambre. Several public buildings, temples and villas were built in the area in the Roman period. Burial places, with jewels and weapons, have been found. The first written mention of a place called Charnoy dates from a 9th-century offering in the Lobbes abbey, which lists various neighboring towns and related tithe duties. During the Middle Ages, Charnoy was one of the many small hamlets in the area, with no more than about 50 inhabitants, part of the County of Namur.
Spanish territorial losses in the 1659 Treaty of the Pyrenees left a gap between the key fortresses of Mons and Namur; to fill this, Francisco Castel Rodrigo, then Governor of the Spanish Netherlands, expropriated land around Charnoy to build a fortress near the Sambre. In September 1666, it was renamed Charle-roi, or King Charles, in honour of five-year-old Charles II of Spain; the chronogram FVNDATVR CAROLOREGIVM (MDCLVVVI) can be found in the register of the parish of Charnoy.
Construction had only just begun when the War of Devolution with France began in 1667, and the Spanish withdrew. France retained the town under the 1668 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, and its fortifications were completed by Vauban. A bridge was built over the Sambre, connecting the Ville Haute and Ville Basse, with incentives offered to persuade people to settle there. The French relinquished control in 1678, and although it changed hands several times over the next 50 years, the town remained part of the Netherlands until the foundation of modern Belgium.
Shortly after its foundation, the new city was in turn besieged by the Dutch, ceded to the Spanish in 1678 (Treaty of Nijmegen), taken by the French in 1693, ceded again to the Spanish in 1698 (Treaty of Rijswijk), then taken by the French, the Dutch and the Austrians in 1714 (Treaty of Baden). The French Prince of Conti took the city again in 1745, but it was ceded back to Austria in 1748, beginning a period of prosperity under Joseph II. Glass, steel and coal industries, which had already sprung up a century earlier, could now flourish.
Trouble began again in 1790, the year of the civil uprising that eventually led to the United States of Belgium. The Austrians occupied the city, were forced out by the French after the Battle of Jemappes on 6 November 1792, and took it back again four months later. On 12 June 1794, the French revolutionary Army of Sambre-et-Meuse under the command of Jean-Baptiste Jourdan, invested Charleroi and won a decisive victory in the ensuing Battle of Fleurus. The city took the revolutionary name of Libre-sur-Sambre until 1800. After France's defeat in 1814, the whole area was annexed to the Netherlands, and new walls were built around the city. Napoleon stayed in Charleroi for a couple of days in June 1815, just before the Battle of Waterloo.
The Belgian Revolution of 1830 gave the area its freedom from the Netherlands and ushered in a new era of prosperity, still based mostly on glass, metallurgy and coal, hence the area's name, Pays Noir ("Black Country"). After the Industrial Revolution, Charleroi benefited from the increased use of coke in the metallurgical industry. People from across Europe were attracted by the economic opportunities, and the population grew rapidly.
Following the Industrial revolution in Wallonia, Charleroi from the 1850s–1860s became one of the most important places where labor strikes broke out. In 1886, 12 strikers were killed by the Belgian army in Roux. In the 1880s, miners in Hainaut were recruited by the Dominion Coal Company in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia.These miners were anxious to flee the repression following bloody strikes and riots in Liège and Charleroi during the Walloon Jacquerie of 1886. Walloon miners from Charleroi also emigrated to Alberta, Canada. The working men of Charleroi always played an important role in Belgian general strikes and particularly during the Belgian general strike of 1936, the general strike against Leopold III of Belgium, and the 1960–1961 winter general strike.
By 1871, the fortified walls around the city were completely torn down.
Heavy fighting took place during World War I due to the city's strategic location on the Sambre. The city was badly damaged with further destruction only being prevented by a treaty agreed with the German forces which required the payment of 10 million Belgian Francs, foodstuffs, vehicles and armaments. as of 2013 [update] ranks as the largest city in Wallonia and the 4th largest in Belgium.Magazine Spirou , which featured the popular cartoon characters Lucky Luke and the Smurfs, was launched by the publishing company Éditions Dupuis in 1938. After World War II, Charleroi witnessed a general decline of its heavy industry. Following the merger with several surrounding municipalities in 1977, the city
The Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste or PS) has had a stronghold in Charleroi for some time. However, in October 2006, mayor Jacques Van Gompel of the PS was jailed on fraud and forgery charges.Léon Casaert, also of the PS, became the new mayor, elected by PS, MR and cdH majorities. The MR resigned from the coalition just before the 2007 general election, citing official charges of corruption leveled against a PS alderman in Charleroi. After the 2007 general election, the PS placed the Charleroi local party section under full supervision of Paul Magnette, with the city executive resigning. Mayor Casaert was charged with fraud on 18 June 2007, but would only step down after a new city executive had been formed.
In April 2010, the director of technical services of Charleroi, Henri Stassens, was convicted in court of fraud and corruption.
|Party||2000 (%)||2006 (%)||2012 (%)||2018 (%)|
|Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste)||51.4||38.4||47.7||41.3|
|Reformist Movement (Mouvement Réformateur)||16.1||24.6||16.3||11.2|
|Humanist Democratic Centre (Centre Démocrate Humaniste)||9.6||14.4||10.6||7.61(*)|
|National Front (Front National)||6.9||9.5||5.8(**)||/|
(*)Under the local list name "C+" (**)Under alternative name
The municipality contains an industrial area for electrical engineering and the production of iron, steel, glass and chemicals. The conglomerate ArcelorMittal subdivided its Industeel unit to encompass the Charleroi steelworks.
Charleroi is in the center of a coal basin. Even so, due to the widespread loss in industrial power in the area since the 1970s, the area suffered some of the highest unemployment and poverty rates in Europe for most of the 1980s and 1990s. However, from the early 2000s, the overall economy of the area has diversified to include health care, transportation and telecommunications. Nevertheless, the poverty rates are still significant.
Charleroi is Belgium's biggest city without having its own university. Since 1966, the University of Louvain is implemented in Charleroi, with three faculties, on its UCLouvain Charleroi campus based in the city center and in Montignies-sur-Sambre, including the Louvain School of Management and, more recently, the Louvain School of Engineering, organising Bachelor's and Master's degrees, and research. Other universities have since started operations in Charleroi, including the Universities of Namur, Mons and the Université libre de Bruxelles .
Secondary schools include:
The Brussels South Charleroi Airport in Gosselies, 7 km (4.3 mi) north of the centre, opened in 1919 as a flight school. Later, it housed the Fairey aircraft-factory building.
Gosselies is now used as an alternate airport for Brussels. Low-cost carrier Ryanair is the largest airline to provide service there; others include Wizz Air, Jetairfly. Seasonal holiday charters also use the airport.
A new terminal opened in January 2008,replacing a much smaller building which had exceeded capacity.
Brussels is 47 km (29 mi) north of Charleroi Airport.
Charleroi is connected by train to other Belgian major cities through the main Charleroi-South railway station. The city also has a secondary railway station, Charleroi-West,on the Charleroi-to-Ottignies line.
Public transport is provided by TEC (Transport En Commun), the Walloon public transport service. The greater Charleroi region is served by bus lines and a light-rail Metro system, (Métro Léger de Charleroi). Part of the latter is famous for incorporating one of the few remnants of the Vicinal, the former Belgian national tramway network.
The Charleroi Metro is equally famous for the parts of the system which were never built, partially built or fully completed but not opened. It was planned in the 1960s as a 48 km (30 mi.) light-rail network, operating on the heavy rail metro infrastructure, consisting of eight branch lines radiating from a central loop downtown. However, only one line (to Petria), part of another line (to Gilly) and three-quarters of the loop were actually built and opened to traffic, all from 1976 to 1996. Another branch line toward the suburb of Châtelet (Châtelineau) was almost fully built, to the extent of installing power cables, escalators and still-working electric signals in the first three stations but was never opened as passenger numbers would be too low to economically justify the extra staff. The high costs of construction, a decline in Charleroi's traditional "smokestack" industries and questioning of the scope of the whole project in proportion to the actual demand for it are cited as reasons for the original plan's becoming unfulfilled.
The central loop and the Gilly branch as far as Soleilmont were completed in 2012, with funds from the European Investment Bank.The Gosselies branch opened as a street-level tramline in 2013. There are no plans to open any part of the Châtelet branch.
During the 1990s, Charleroi was notorious for some violence due to its high poverty and unemployment rates.Marc Dutroux lived in Marcinelle, a suburb of Charleroi. On 6 August 2016, a man attacked two policewomen with a machete.
Charleroi is home to a number of champion teams in various sports. Spirou Charleroi in basketball has been an eight-times winner in the Basketball League Belgium. La Villette Charleroi in table tennis is the most successful club in the Champions League with five titles and has been the Belgian champion multiple times. Action 21 Charleroi in futsal has won one UEFA Futsal Cup and nine titles in the Belgian Division 1. In football, Royal Charleroi SC and ROC Charleroi have finished second in the Belgian Pro League. The 30,000-capacity Stade du Pays de Charleroi was a venue at UEFA Euro 2000.
Walloons are a Romance cultural identity of people living for the most part in Belgium, principally its southern region of Wallonia, who primarily speak langues d'oïl such as Belgian French, Picard and Walloon. Walloons are mainly Roman Catholic.
Wallonia is one of the three regions of Belgium—alongside the Flemish Region and the Brussels-Capital Region.
Farciennes is a municipality of Wallonia located in the province of Hainaut, Belgium.
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, the Government of Wallonia and its administration.
Seraing is a city and municipality of Wallonia located in the province of Liège, Belgium.
Verviers is a city and municipality of Wallonia located in the province of Liège, Belgium.
Marcinelle is a town of Wallonia and a district of the municipality of Charleroi, located in the province of Hainaut, Belgium.
Charleroi Metro is a 33-kilometre (21 mi) light rail network in Belgium, consisting of a loop line around central Charleroi and three branches towards the suburbs of Gilly, Anderlues and Gosselies. Another branch to Châtelet was partially built but never entered service.
Paul Magnette is a Belgian politician for the Socialist Party, the current mayor of Charleroi and former political science professor at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). He was the 13th Minister-President of Wallonia from 2014 to 2017.
Aimée Bologne-Lemaire was a Belgian feminist, member of the resistance, and Walloon activist.
Marchienne-au-Pont is a town of Wallonia and a district of the municipality of Charleroi, located in the province of Hainaut, Belgium.
Mont-sur-Marchienne is a town of Wallonia and a district of the municipality of Charleroi, located in the province of Hainaut, Belgium.
The history of Wallonia, from prehistoric times to the present day, is that of a territory which, since 1970, has approximately coincided with the territory of Wallonia, a federated component of Belgium, which also includes the smaller German-speaking Community of Belgium. Wallonia is the name colloquially given to the Walloon Region. The French word Wallonie comes from the term Wallon, itself coming from Walh. Walh is a very old Germanic word used to refer to a speaker of Celtic or Latin.
Cartier Castle is a château in Marchienne-au-Pont, a district of Charleroi, in the province of Hainaut, Wallonia, Belgium.
Forges de la Providence was a Belgian steel producing company based in the Hainaut region around Charleroi. Founded as Société Anonyme des laminoirs, forges, fonderies et usines de la Providence the company had three steel production sites at Marchienne-au-Pont in Belgium, and Réhon and Hautmont in France.
Hainaut-Sambre was a Belgian group of steel companies based in the Charleroi region, it was founded in 1955 by the merger of Usine Métallurgiques du Hainaut, and the metal making division of Sambre et Moselle.
The Battle of Gosselies or Battle of Charleroi saw a Republican French army co-commanded by Jacques Desjardin and Louis Charbonnier try to cross the Sambre River against a joint Dutch and Habsburg Austrian army under William, Hereditary Prince of Orange. The French defeat in the battle marked the third of five attempts by their armies to win a foothold on the north bank of the Sambre during the War of the First Coalition. In 1794, Gosselies was a separate village but is now part of the Charleroi municipality, about 7 kilometres (4 mi) north of the city center. Charleroi is located about 60 kilometres (37 mi) south of Brussels.
The Battle of Lambusart saw a Republican French army led by Jean Baptiste Jourdan try to cross the Sambre River against a combined Dutch and Habsburg Austrian army under William V, Hereditary Prince of Orange. This battle was the culmination of the fourth of five attempts to consolidate a foothold on the north side of the Sambre. The clash occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of a wider struggle known as the Wars of the French Revolution. In 1794, Lambusart was an independent village, but it is now part of the Fleurus municipality. Lambusart is located about 10 kilometres (6 mi) northeast of Charleroi.
The Waterloo campaign commenced with a pre-emptive attack by the French Army of the North under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte. The first elements of the Army of the North moved from their peacetime depots on 8 June to their rendezvous point just on the French side of the Franco-Belgian border. They launched a pre-emptive attack on the two Coalition armies that were cantoned in Belgium—the Anglo-allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington, and a Prussian army under the command of Prince Blücher.
UCLouvain Charleroi is a campus of the University of Louvain in Charleroi, Belgium. Consisting of 3 faculties and a series of research centers and institutes, UCLouvain Charleroi consists of the Maison Georges Lemaître, in the center of the city, and a branch in Montignies-sur-Sambre.
- Media related to Charleroi at Wikimedia Commons