- Second Town Wall
- The occupation of Brussels by Flemish troops under Louis of Male, count of Flanders, in 1356 served to awaken officials of the city and the duchy of Brabant to the need for a second town wall. Expansion of the town beyond the first town wall afforded advantages in close-in cover given to attacking armies while technological advances in artillery had made the center of Brussels vulnerable to bombardment. Begun in 1357, immediately following the expulsion of the Flemish, the wall of brick and stone was completed in 1379. The configuration following the pentagon-shaped layout is preserved in the inner ring of boulevards. The wall stretched approximately 7 km (4.5 mi.) and featured 72 defensive towers and seven gates.Defensive works were strengthened in the 1570s and again in the 1670s. The ground in front of the walls was cleared of all buildings, bastions were built to cover the approaches to the porte de Hal, a citadel erected on the heights of Saint-Gilles, and trenchworks dug around sections bordering Koekelberg and Anderlecht. By the late 18th century, the walls had fallen into disrepair, and, in 1782, Emperor Joseph II decreed their dismantling. They disappeared gradually with demolition undertaken beginning with a first phase 1782-1785 and continuing during the French and Dutch regimes. A decree to construct boulevards in their place was issued by Napoléon Bonaparte in 1810.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.
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