- A commune in the Brussels Capital Region that extends from the porte de Namur south and east of Brussels, Ix-elles's earliest origins are unknown. Elsele (Dutch els or "elder" and hence "place of the elder") was mentioned in several early sources. In the 13th century, Ixelles was divided into two hamlets on opposite sides of the Grand Étang ("grand pool," currently the place Flagey): Ixelles-sous-Bruxelles, under the authority of the magistracy of the city of Brussels, and Ixelles-sous-le-Châtelain, which formed part of the territory of the chatelain of Brussels and, after his ennoblement in the 13th century, was known as Ixelles-le-Vicomte in the seignory of Boendael. The former belonged to the cuve of Brussels while the latter did not.Agricultural and known for its stone quarries, Ixelles enjoyed a largely, but not entirely, stable political history. Spanish troops under Alessandro Farnese burned the community on 16 September 1581, and, on 17 January 1684, 400 French cavalrymen put to the torch several dozen small houses. During the 17th century, the community's location astride the Maelbeek stream led to the establishment of a number of breweries, which totaled 17 by 1756. Provincial authorities encouraged beer production by abolishing duties on production and consumption and farmers switched from growing wheat and beans to cultivating barley and hops.Suburbanization proceeded rapidly following demolition of the second town wall and real estate promoters bought land and sold parcels as soon as the toll gates were removed in 1860. Cession to Brussels in 1864 of a narrow strip of territory on which the avenue Louise was built split the community into eastern and western sections, a unique configuration among Belgian communes.The two separate communities were joined in 1795 when Ixelles was established as a municipality. There were 1,629 inhabitants in 1800, and, by 1900, Ixelles counted 58,615. By 1910, the northern sections were completely built up. The population equaled 94,211 in 1964.Ixelles features attractive lakes and is a bustling suburb much favored by students and artists. Camille Lemonnier, Constantin Meunier, and Charles de Coster, among others, lived here.The town hall of Ixelles is the former home of Belgian violinist Charles de Bériot. Designed by architect Charles Vander Straeten, the building was constructed for his wife, the famous singer Maria Malibran, whom he married in 1836. She died the same year from complications in falling from a horse, and the house was acquired by the commune in 1840.See also Janssens, Charles.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.