St. Vith

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Sankt Vith

Saint Vith  (French)
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Sankt Vith
Location in Belgium
Location of Sankt Vith in the province of Liège
Sankt-Vith Liege Belgium Map.png
Coordinates: 50°16′N06°07′E / 50.267°N 6.117°E / 50.267; 6.117 Coordinates: 50°16′N06°07′E / 50.267°N 6.117°E / 50.267; 6.117
Country Belgium
Community German-speaking Community
Region Wallonia
Province Liège
Arrondissement Verviers
Government
  MayorChristian Krings (Krings-FBL)
  Governing party/iesKrings-FBL
Area
  Total146.93 km2 (56.73 sq mi)
Population
(2018-01-01) [1]
  Total9,682
  Density66/km2 (170/sq mi)
Postal codes
4780-4784
Area codes 080
Website www.st.vith.be

St. Vith (German : Sankt Vith; French : Saint-Vith; Luxembourgish : Sankt Väit, pronounced  [ˌzɑŋkt ˈvæːɪ̯t] ) is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Liège, and in the German speaking Community of Belgium. It was named after Saint Vitus.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Municipality An administrative division having corporate status and usually some powers of self-government or jurisdiction

A municipality is usually a single administrative division having corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional laws to which it is subordinate. It is to be distinguished (usually) from the county, which may encompass rural territory or numerous small communities such as towns, villages and hamlets.

Contents

On January 1, 2006, St. Vith had a total population of 9,169. The total area is 146.93 km², giving a population density of 62 inhabitants per km². The official language of the municipality is German.

Population density A measurement of population numbers per unit area or volume

Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume; it is a quantity of type number density. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and most of the time to humans. It is a key geographical term. In simple terms population density refers to the number of people living in an area per kilometer square.

The municipality consists of the following sub-municipalities: Sankt Vith, Crombach, Lommersweiler, Recht, and Schönberg.

A deelgemeente or section de commune (French) is a subdivision of a municipality in Belgium and, until March 2014, in the Netherlands as well.

History

St. Vith was an important marketplace of the region by the 12th century and received town rights in 1350. The town was damaged by fires in 1543, 1602, and 1689. It was part of the Duchy of Luxemburg until the defeat of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. As a result of the Congress of Vienna it was given to the Kingdom of Prussia.

German town law

The German town law or German municipal concerns was a set of early town privileges based on the Magdeburg rights developed by Otto I. The Magdeburg Law became the inspiration for regional town charters not only in Germany, but also in Central and Eastern Europe who modified it during the Middle Ages. The German town law was used in the founding of many German cities, towns, and villages beginning in the 13th century.

Duchy of Luxemburg country in Western Europe during Late Middle Ages-Early Modern Ages

The Duchy of Luxemburg was a state of the Holy Roman Empire, the ancestral homeland of the noble House of Luxembourg. The House of Luxembourg, now Duke of Limburg, became one of the most important political forces in the 14th century, competing against the House of Habsburg for supremacy in Central Europe. They would be the heirs to the Přemyslid dynasty in the Kingdom of Bohemia, succeeding the Kingdom of Hungary and contributing four Holy Roman Emperors until their own line of male heirs came to an end and the House of Habsburg got the pieces that the two Houses had originally agreed upon in the Treaty of Brünn in 1364.

Congress of Vienna conference of ambassadors of European states

The Congress of Vienna, also called Vienna Congress, was a meeting of ambassadors of European states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens von Metternich, and held in Vienna from November 1814 to June 1815, though the delegates had arrived and were already negotiating by late September 1814. The objective of the Congress was to provide a long-term peace plan for Europe by settling critical issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. The goal was not simply to restore old boundaries but to resize the main powers so they could balance each other and remain at peace. The leaders were conservatives with little use for republicanism or revolution, both of which threatened to upset the status quo in Europe. France lost all its recent conquests while Prussia, Austria and Russia made major territorial gains. Prussia added smaller German states in the west, Swedish Pomerania and 60% of the Kingdom of Saxony; Austria gained Venice and much of northern Italy. Russia gained parts of Poland. The new Kingdom of the Netherlands had been created just months before, and included formerly Austrian territory that in 1830 became Belgium.

St. Vith was transferred to Belgium on March 6, 1925, by the Treaty of Versailles after the defeat of the German Empire in World War I.

Treaty of Versailles one of the treaties that ended the First World War

The Treaty of Versailles was the most important of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end. The Treaty ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919 in Versailles, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which had directly led to World War I. The other Central Powers on the German side of World War I signed separate treaties. Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919.

German Empire empire in Central Europe between 1871–1918

The German Empire, also known as Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

American soldiers in St. Vith during the Battle of the Bulge 117th Infantry North Carolina NG at St. Vith 1945.jpg
American soldiers in St. Vith during the Battle of the Bulge

An important road and railway junction, St. Vith was fought over in the 1944 Battle of the Bulge during World War II. The United States Army defended the town against German assault for a few days, delaying the German attack plan, before eventually being forced to retreat. Once it was captured by German forces, the town was bombed by the US Air Force on 25 and 26 December 1944 and by RAF Bomber Command with 300 aircraft on the 26. [2] St. Vith was mostly destroyed during the ground battle and subsequent air attack. American forces retook the town on January 23, 1945. The only pre-war architecture remaining is the Büchel Tower.

Battle of St. Vith battle

The Battle of St. Vith was an engagement in Belgium fought during the Allied advance from Paris to the Rhine in World War II. It was one of several battles on December 16, 1944 constituting the opening of Germany's Ardennes counteroffensive.

Battle of the Bulge German offensive through the Ardennes forest on the Western Front towards the end of World War II

The Battle of the Bulge, also known as the Ardennes Counteroffensive, took place from 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945, and was the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II. It was launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in eastern Belgium, northeast France, and Luxembourg, towards the end of the war in Europe. The offensive was intended to stop Allied use of the Belgian port of Antwerp and to split the Allied lines, allowing the Germans to encircle and destroy four Allied armies and force the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis powers' favor.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

St. Vith is the setting for Michael Oren's novel, Reunion, concerning a fictional reunion of an American battalion which participated in the Battle of the Bulge.

Sister cities

See also

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Eupen-Malmedy geographic region

Eupen-Malmedy or Eupen-Malmédy is a small, predominantly German-speaking region in eastern Belgium. It consists of three administrative cantons around the small cities of Eupen, Malmedy, and Sankt Vith which encompass some 730 square kilometres (280 sq mi). In the area itself, the region is referred to as Ostbelgien. Elsewhere in Belgium, the region is commonly referred to as the East Cantons.

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References

  1. "Wettelijke Bevolking per gemeente op 1 januari 2018". Statbel. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  2. "Bomber Command 60th Anniversary Battle Diary December 1944 Archived 2007-07-06 at the UK Government Web Archive