Bastogne (French pronunciation: [bas.tɔɲ]; Dutch: Bastenaken, Dutch pronunciation: [ˈbɑstəˌnaːkə(n)] (listen); German: Bastnach/Bastenach; Luxembourgish: Baaschtnech) is a city and municipality of Wallonia located in the province of Luxembourg in the Ardennes, Belgium.
Location in Belgium
|• Mayor||Benoît Lutgen (cdH)|
|• Governing party/ies||LDB-cdH|
|• Total||172.03 km2 (66.42 sq mi)|
|• Density||92/km2 (240/sq mi)|
The municipality consists of the following districts: Bastogne, Longvilly, Noville, Villers-la-Bonne-Eau, and Wardin. The town is situated on a ridge in the Ardennes at an elevation of 510 metres (1,670 ft).
At the time of the Roman conquest the region of Bastogne was inhabited by the Treveri, a tribe of Gauls. A form of the name Bastogne was first mentioned only much later, in 634, when the local lord ceded these territories to the St Maximin's Abbey, near Trier. A century later, the Bastogne area went to the nearby Prüm Abbey. The town of Bastogne and its marketplace are again mentioned in an 887 document. By the 13th century, Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor and count of Luxemburg, was minting coins in Bastogne. In 1332, John the Blind, his son, granted the city its charter and had it encircled by defensive walls, part of which, the current Porte de Trèves, still exists. In 1451, the lands of the county of Luxemburg were absorbed into the Duchy of Burgundy and as a result, Bastogne became part of the lands of the Spanish Crown when the Burgundian heir Charles became king of Spain in 1516.
The city's walls were quite effective at protecting it during the troubled times that followed. The city's economy actually flourished thanks to the renown of its agricultural and cattle fairs. In 1602, the walls successfully repelled an attack by forces of the Dutch Republic. In 1688, they were dismantled by order of King Louis XIV when the town was occupied by French forces during the Nine Years War.
The 19th century and Belgium's independence were favourable to Bastogne, as its forest products and cattle fairs became better known abroad. Several railway lines were built to link it to the neighbouring towns. This all came to an end with the German occupation during World War I.
Liberated by the Allies on 10 September 1944, Bastogne was attacked by German forces a few months later. Hitler's plan was to regain control of the Ardennes, splitting British from American forces, then advance to and reoccupy the strategic port of Antwerp and cut off the key Allied supply line. On 16 December, taking advantage of cold and fog, German artillery initiated the Battle of the Bulge attacking the American divisions deployed sparsely around Bastogne. A few days later, Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe and the 101st Airborne Division along with elements of the 10th Armored Division and the 82nd Airborne Division, arrived to counter-attack but, after heavy fighting, became encircled within the town. On 22 December German emissaries asked for the American surrender, to which the General answered tersely, “Nuts!” The next day the skies cleared, allowing Allied air forces to retaliate and to drop much needed food, medicine, and weaponry to ground forces. On 26 December the Third U.S. Army, under the command of General Patton, arrived and broke the siege. The official end of the Battle of Bastogne occurred three weeks later, when all fighting in the area ceased.
Bastogne is the terminus of the Liberty Road, the commemorative way that marks the path of liberating Allied forces, and of the Third Army that subsequently relieved Bastogne.
Bastogne is located in the Belgian Ardennes, in the east of the province of Luxembourg. The city is 12 km (7.5 mi) away from the Luxembourg border. Its altitude is 515 m (1,690 ft) high on the ridge line separating the catchment areas of the Rhine and Meuse. It is the 9th largest municipality in Belgium and the third largest in the province (after Libramont-Chevigny and Léglise). In terms of population, it is the 4th largest municipality in the province after Arlon, Marche-en-Famenne and Aubange.
The 50th degree of north latitude crosses the city.
The municipality of Bastogne comprises five sections (Bastogne proper, Longvilly, Noville, Villers-la-Bonne-Eau, and Wardin) which were separate municipalities before the 1977 merger of municipalities. Each contains a number of villages.
Bastogne has an oceanic climate similar to the remainder of Belgium, but with more continental influences due to it being inland and elevated in comparison to lowland areas nearer the Atlantic. In spite of this the winters are heavily moderated for its latitude and although snowfall and frosts are common, means remain just above freezing.
|Climate data for Bastogne (1981–2010 normals; sunshine 1984–2013)|
|Average high °C (°F)||3.1
|Daily mean °C (°F)||0.3
|Average low °C (°F)||−2.4
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||104.9
|Average precipitation days||14.4||12.3||14.4||10.8||12.1||11.7||11.9||11.1||11.1||12.8||14.5||15.2||152.1|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||43||70||117||165||193||194||212||200||140||100||46||34||1,513|
|Source: Royal Meteorological Institute|
The key character of all legends about Bastogne is the so-called piche-cacaye. This is pronounced pish-cackay.
Bastogne originally had an NMBS/SNCB railway line connecting it to Libramont and to Gouvy. Passenger trains to Gouvy stopped in 1984 and in the 1990s the line to Libramont was taken out of service. The two station buildings in Bastogne remain, but are now used for other purposes. Part of the rail line has been converted into a cycle path. However, two bus stations are now open in Bastogne, according to SNCB: Bastogne Nord and Bastogne Sud. The short line that runs is only a rural shuttle line from Bastogne Nord to Libramont stopping only at Bastogne Sud.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bastogne.|