Brussels preview


Brussels is officially recognized as being founded in 979 AD when Lothar, a grandson of Charlemagne, set up a fortress where the city stands today, though there is evidence the origins date back to the late 5th-century when a chapel was built on an island on the river Senne. Initially a fortress town, Brussels' prominence increased because of its location on the Senne as it became part of a vital trade route between Bruges, Ghent and Cologne. It rapidly became a centre of commerce and the surrounding marshes were drained to allow for human habitation. In fact the name Brussels is supposedly derived from the old Flemish word Broekzele, which means marshland.

Throughout the Middle Ages, Brussels conitnued to grow and had an often tumultuous history. The city walls had to be increased to allow for expansion of the city and some remnants of those walls can still be seen today, though the "little ring" runs over most of where they once stood. The town was renowned for its fabrics and had many skilled craftsmen who traded significantly with Britain. Conflict between…