History of Lille

The first written record of the history of Lille is the Charter by which the County of Flanders Baldwin V (1035-1067), 1066, with chapter of the Collegiate Church St. Peter, consecrated in 1055, significant revenue. The castrum, which had been built the collegiate church and the castle of Motte-Madam, defended, for time cannot be determined, the portus established at the place where the Ghent-Champagne-Paris road crosses the Deûle, river which then undergoes a slight break in slope. In addition, when Baudouin V grants its Charter, Lille (whose name attests an insular position be[Isla]tween the arms of the Deûle) is already flanked to the South of a forum, or merchant suburb, who, around a second church, St. Stephen's, will be the center of the future city. And already, some 200 m, the village of purposes has, likewise, a church, Saint-Maurice, which is included in Lille during the 12th s. Better, the 1066 Charter speaks of an islense, embryo of the future castellany of Lille territorium.

   At the end of the 12th s., Lille is, with Bruges, Ghent, Ypres, and Douai, one of the five "members" of Flanders; a century later, the city group 10,000 inhabitants and has seven parishes, a new parish (Saint-Sauveur) is being detached from St. Maurice and the suburbs of Saint-Pierre and dash have been annexed in the direction of the North and West. The drapery of Lille is well known, especially in the Iberian Peninsula and Genoa; its prosperity benefit a cast of notables, bourgeois of Lille, whose privileges, as those in the city are recorded from 1297 in a vulgarly called customary book Roisin.

   Sacked by Philippe II Auguste (1213), who punishes her faithfulness to count Ferrand of Portugal, Lille knows a great prosperity under countesses Jeanne of Constantinople (1206-1244) and Marguerite II of Constantinople (1244-1280). In 1235, Jeanne granted a Charter which will remain the basis of municipal life until 1789. At the head of the city, twelve aldermen (all bourgeois), the first having the title of Mayor, and a rewart, which is like the Attorney of the bourgeois as a body.

   Taken and retaken by Philippe IV the fair (1297-1304), Lille goes under the Government line of the Kings of France (1304-1369), but the marriage of Philip II the bold with Marguerite, daughter of Louis II of Male, in fact one of the capitals of the Dukes of Burgundy (1383) and the seat of one of their four rooms of Auditors (until 1473). Philip III the good is the first chapter of the Golden Fleece (1431) and organises (1454) said the extraordinary feast "of the vow of the pheasant.

   Spanish city after the death of Charles the bold, Lille, dedicated to the cult of our Lady of the vine, is affected by reform: Calvinism is spreading especially among the little people, but the draconian measures taken by the Governments of the Netherlands soon made Lille reformed church.

   From 1596 to 1633, the city flourished under the Government of the Archdukes of Austria (1559-1621) Albert and Isabelle (1566-1633): English wool loss led her to devote herself to the sayetterie and the bourgeterie (dry wool), which provides work for thousands of artisans, while Lille traders take advantage of the vast Spanish market. At the same time, the Counter-Reformation is expressed in Lille by installing many religious communities.

   The city grew northward, annexing the Notre Dame suburbs (1603) and Kortrijk (1618). In 1667, it is besieged and taken by Louis XIV himself, who charge Vauban built the "Queen of the citadels", gathered in the France by the Treaty of Aachen (1668), she grows towards the West, where builds a royal quarter French. In 1708, Louis François Boufflers (1644-1711) supports in Lille a heroic and unfortunate seat against the Prince Eugène and Marlborough, but the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) restores the city – a time Dutch – to Louis XIV.

   In the 18th c., Lille – seat of the stewardship of Flanders and Artois – is strongly marked, on a cultural and administrative, by French influence. The prosperity of its industry is evidenced by the establishment of a Chamber of commerce (1714); but the end of the old Regime is characterized by a certain decline, linked at the end of its economic monopoly and the development – encouraged by liberating regulations – the textile industry of the "flat country" (Roubaix, Tourcoing, Lannoy).

   From September 26 to October 8, 1792, 34 000 Austrians besiege Lille, which resists to the point of forcing the Duke of Saxony-Teschen to withdraw, leaving a city wrecked by bombing. In 1804, Lille is overridden in Douai as the capital of the Northern Department.

   At the beginning of the big industry (first half of the 19th century), the city is an important industrial centre, notably thanks to the modern cotton mill, which flourished under the Empire and coupled the spinning of flax and the retorderie, machine-building (factory of Fives, 1861) and chemical industries. In 1850, it has 75,000 and 25 000 workers. Four industrial towns (Wazemmes, review, Fives and Moulins-Lille), suddenly tripling its area and doubling its population (which grows the influx of the Belgian Flemish), pushing little to little tentacles to Roubaix and Tourcoing, and becoming the center of the richest economic region of France annexed in 1858. But working poverty, which doubles the boom, made her one of the strongholds of the guesdist socialism. In 1901, Lille has 220,000 inhabitants, which is the absolute maximum of its population, because the development of channels of communication (inauguration of the railroad to the North in 1846) and the dismantling of the city (from 1919) contribute to depopulate it for the benefit of its suburbs.

   What she won power economic, Lille lost it in picturesque, and soon the tasty Lille dialect, sung by Alexandre Desrousseaux (1820-1892), author of the P' P'tit Quinquin, will be a memory, as the Flemish folklore. University City (State University, Catholic colleges) since the last quarter of the 19th century, centre of a bishopric since 1913, seat of a fair international (1925), Lille became big regional capital. The battles that took place there in October 1914 and in May 1940 (preludes to two harsh German occupation) remain in the line of his military past. Lille is the homeland of Albert Samain, of general Faidherbe, Edouard Lalo, of general de Gaulle.

(Extract of the Larousse online)