|KORTRIJK : Battle of the Golden Spurs|
Battle of the golden spurs
Info on Belgium
The Town Hall
Our Lady's Church
The Battle of the Golden Spurs was fought on July 11th 1302 near Kortrijk, between the rebellious Flemish towns, led by Bruges, and an army sent by Philip IV of France, who had annexed Flanders in 1301. The French were totally defeated. The spurs taken from the fallen French knights formed so huge a trophy that they gave the battle its name. The victory of the Flemish militia, despite its lack of military skills, put an end to the enduring myth of the invincibility of the knight.
A French explanation of the terrible defeat was immediately given, intended to save the honour and pride of the French nobility; in Flanders the victory was glorified as a just reward for the bravery of the townsmen and the competence of their commanders. Unfortunately there were no impartial witnesses. Any account of the battle must therefore pay careful attention to the personalities of the chroniclers, their nationality, and their political and social leanings, as well as their personal sympathies.
battle of 1302 between the army of French knights and the rebellious Flemish
was the military apex of the rebellion against the attempts by the French
kings to annex the County of Flanders. At first, King Philip IV of France
(1285-1314) succeeded in his attempt by appointing in 1300 Jacques de
Ch‚tillon as governor of the County. The Flemish Count Gewijde van Dampierre
(1278-1305), and his two sons, had been taken captive by the French.
Furthermore, the enormous financial debts of the County towards France, as
well as the division among the population between French-oriented citizens
and anti-French traders, created a lot of unrest, especially among the
artisans in the cities. Certain patricians, however, profited from the
situation and the city of Ghent, one of Flanders most powerful industrial
centers, did not even answer the call for rebellion against France. This
proves that the uprising cannot be seen as a manifestation of nationalistic
Flemish feelings, shared by the entire County of Flanders.