Last modified: 2022-07-07 by ivan sache
Keywords: belfort |
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Flag of Belfort - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 29 May 2021
The municipality of Belfort (46,443 inhabitants in 2019; 1,710 ha) is located 120 km south-west of Strasbourg, 25 km of the border with Switzerland and 60 km of the border with Germany.
Belfort is an important centre for electrometallurgical industries, manufacturing products such as turbines and railway rolling stock. The recent development of plastics and electronics industries contributed to the diversification of the industrial structure, as did the growth of services, tourism included.
Belfort's strategic locationonin a strategically important natural route between rivers Rhine and Rhône; known as the Belfort Gap or the Burgundian Gate, has attracted human settlement since the Roman times and has been a frequent target for invading armies ll over its history.
Belfort was recorded in the 13th century as a possession of the Counts of Montbéliard, who granted it a charter in 1307. Previously an Austrian possession, Belfort was transferred to France by the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), which ended the Thirty Years' War. The town's fortifications were extended and developed by the military architect Vauban for Louis XIV.
After the Revolution and until 1871, Belfort was part of the département of Haut-Rhin, in Alsace. The Siege of Belfort (between 3 November 1870 and 18 February 1871) during the Franco-Prussian war was successfully resisted by the French until the garrison was ordered to surrender 21 days after the armistice between France and Prussia had ended the war. Not annexed by Prussia like the rest of Alsace, Belfort was exchanged for territories in the vicinity of Metz to formed Territoire de Belfort. The siege is commemorated by a huge statue, the Lion of Belfort, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi.
The town was bombarded by the German Army during World War I. Before the war, the September Programme of the German Imperial Chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, pressed for expansionism to the French territory; specifically, it advocated the annexation of the Belfort region along with the western side of the Vosges.
In November 1944, the retreating Wehrmacht held off the French First Army outside the town until French commandos made a successful night attack on the Salbert Fort. The town was liberated on 22 November 1944.
Olivier Touzeau, 29 May 2021
The flag of Belfort (photo,
photo) is white with the municipal coat of arms, "Azure a tower or masonned sable ensigned by a wind vane argent surrounded by letters 'B' and 'F' or".
The tower allegedly refers to the former Miotte tower, situated on a hill on the eastern part of the town, opposite the castle. The hill is very hard to climb because of loose stones, locally called miettes, "loose stones"). Destroyed twice by the German army, in 1871 and 1940, the tower was restored both times. The letters B and F appeared on the arms in the 16th century.
Olivier Touzeau, 29 May 2021