Ghent: The city of Noose Wearers
n the 16th century, the residents of Ghent openly revolted against Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Declaring this a public act of treason, Charles V visited his old hometown in person, accompanied by a huge army.
In the aftermath, 25 people were executed by hanging and the leaders of the rebellion were forced to do a historic walk of shame through the city. They had to beg to beg the emperor for mercy. Along with 30 laborers they had to dress in a simple white sheet with a noose tied around their necks. This act is still commemorated today in an annual procession!
Ghent is a city in the Flemish (French speaking) region of Belgium. It is the capital and largest city of the East Flanders province, and the second largest city in Belgium, after Antwerp. The city originally started as a small settlement at the meeting of the Scheldt and Leie rivers. Archaeological evidence shows human presence in the region as far back as the Stone Age.
In the late Middle Ages it became one of the largest and richest cities in northern Europe, with some 50,000 people in 1300. It became known as a port city and for the prestigious University of Ghent. The metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of 1,205 km2 (465 sq mi) and has a total population of 560,522 as of January 1 2018, which ranks it as the fourth most populous in Belgium. The current mayor of Ghent is Mathias De Clercq who is a Liberal Democratic.
When the Franks invaded the Roman territories from the end of the 4th century and well into the 5th century, they brought their language with them and Celtic and Latin were replaced by Old Dutch. However, both In 851 and 879, the city was plundered by the Vikings. Ghent is also important in American history as the place where the Treaty of Ghent was signed ending the War of 1812, between England and the United States. At the time the USA was only 34 years old!