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Bruges (the City of Bridges) is a city in northwestern Belgium that is connected by a canal to the North Sea.

According to the English language guide published by Toerisme Brugge, October 2004, the short history of the city goes something like this:

  • A Gallo-Roman settlement exists on the site of the present-day city.
  • 851CE :: Bruges appears on the historical record. The name is derived from an Old Norse word bryggja meaning landing stage or jetty.
  • 862CE :: Baldwin I commences the building of the castle on the present site of the Burg.
  • 958CE :: The first recorded annual Fair in Bruges.
  • 1089CE :: Bruges becomes the capital of Flanders.
  • 1127CE :: Count Charles the Good murdered in the Church of Saint Donatian. Building of the first city rampart.
  • 1134CE :: The Zwin, an estuarial channel, is created, to maintain Bruges' link with the sea. It will silt up c.1604CE, almost exactly at the end of period.
  • 1150CE :: Dirk of Alsace brings Bruges' premier holy relic, the Blood of Christ to the city (now in the Basilica of the Holy Blood, above St.Basil's Chapel, beside the Burg).
  • 1245CE :: Foundation of the Beguinage -- the city's prinipal nunnery.
  • 1290CE :: Construction of a covered mooring area, on the Market Square, for shipping.
  • 1302CE :: Revolt of the citizens against French rule.
  • 1350CE :: After the wooden Belfry suffered an accident, it was rebuilt in stone
  • 1376-1420CE :: The City Hall is constructed.
  • 1384CE :: The city becomes part of the Duchy of Burgundy, and the Burgundian court frequent the city for over a century.
  • 1427CE :: A bear and a lion are incorporated into the city's coat of arms.
  • 1430CE :: Duke Philip the Good founds the Order of the Golden Fleece.
  • 1468CE :: Marriage of Duke Charles the Bold to Margaret of York
  • 1488CE :: Maximilan, Emperor of Austria, pays an extended visit to Bruges. He is held, as a prisoner, in the Craenenburg on the Market Square.
  • 1489CE :: Hans Memling decorates a reliquary of St.Ursula
  • c.1500CE :: The Burgundian court left Bruges, never to return.
  • 1559CE :: Bruges becomes a bishopric.
  • 1580CE :: The 'Breaking of the Images' -- an iconoclast fury -- sweeps Bruges and many works of art are lost.