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Virtual Earth map of Le Quesnoy enclosure

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Baudouin IV, the Count of Hainaut, built a castle there in 1150 and encircled the town with a moat and walls.

This territory very quickly became the stakes for powerful gentry. With the passing years and battles, the town was burnt, then found itself ruled by the House of Bavière, thus no longer under French rule for 300 years.

The town was returned to French rule on 6 September 1654, after the conquest of Viscount Turenne. King Louis XIV then decided to modernise the fortifications and appointed Vauban to direct the work.

From 1668 to 1673, this future Marshal carried out one of his first experiences as a builder by restoring the wall and giving it its definitive look, which can be still be seen today.

During the troubled post-French-Revolution period, and following the September 1792 covenant declaring war against England, Holland and Spain, the town was under siege from 1793 to 1794. Two thirds of the town was destroyed during the siege.

In 1870 the complete destruction of the fortifications, which were considered superfluous, was raised, a project that was luckily abandoned.

During World War I, the Germans, who had violated the terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, conquered the town with no great difficulty. Le Quesnoy was occupied by Germans for four years. Its salvation came on 4 November 1918, when New Zealand troops liberated the town. The same scenario occurred in World War II and, despite strong resistance from the fortified town, German troops succeeded in occupying Le Quesnoy. The town received, more at the end of World War I than World War II, many tributes and military recognition which included the Military Cross.


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