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The ARDENNES (/ɑːrˈdɛn/ ; French : L'Ardenne; Walloon : L'Årdene; Luxembourgish : Ardennen; also known as ARDENNES FOREST) is a region of extensive forests , rough terrain, rolling hills and ridges formed by the geological features of the Ardennes
Ardennes
mountain range and the Moselle and Meuse River basins. Geologically, the range is a western extension of the Eifel
Eifel
and both were raised during the Givetian age of the Devonian
Devonian
(387.7 to 382.7 million years ago) as were several other named ranges of the same greater range.

Primarily in Belgium
Belgium
and Luxembourg
Luxembourg
, but stretching into Germany
Germany
and France
France
(lending its name to the Ardennes
Ardennes
department and the former Champagne-Ardenne region ), and geologically into the Eifel—the eastern extension of the Ardennes
Ardennes
Forest
Forest
into Bitburg-Prüm , Germany, most of the Ardennes
Ardennes
proper consists of southeastern Wallonia , the southern and more rural part of the Kingdom of Belgium
Belgium
(away from the coastal plain but encompassing over half of the kingdom's total area). The eastern part of the Ardennes
Ardennes
forms the northernmost third of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Luxembourg
, also called "Oesling" (Luxembourgish : Éislek), and on the southeast the Eifel
Eifel
region continues into Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate
(German state).

The trees and rivers of the Ardennes
Ardennes
provided the underlying charcoal industry assets that enabled the great industrial period of Wallonia in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was arguably the second great industrial region of the world, after the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
. The greater region maintained an industrial eminence into the 20th century after coal replaced charcoal in metallurgy .

Allied generals in World War II
World War II
felt the region was impenetrable to massed vehicular traffic and especially armor, so the area was effectively "all but undefended" during the war, leading to the German Army twice using the region as an invasion route into Northern France and Southern Belgium
Belgium
via Luxembourg
Luxembourg
in the Battle of France
France
and the later Battle of the Bulge
Battle of the Bulge
.

CONTENTS

* 1 Geography

* 1.1 Highest summits

* 2 Geology * 3 Economy * 4 Etymology

* 5 History

* 5.1 World War II
World War II

* 6 Gallery

* 7 References

* 7.1 Notes * 7.2 Sources

GEOGRAPHY

Much of the Ardennes
Ardennes
is covered in dense forests, with the mountains averaging around 350–400 m (1,150–1,310 ft) in height but rising to over 694 m (2,277 ft) in the boggy moors of the Hautes Fagnes (Hohes Venn) region of south-eastern Belgium. The region is typified by steep-sided valleys carved by swift-flowing rivers, the most prominent of which is the Meuse
Meuse
. Its most populous cities are Verviers in Belgium
Belgium
and Charleville-Mézières in France, both exceeding 50,000 inhabitants. The Ardennes
Ardennes
is otherwise relatively sparsely populated, with few of the cities exceeding 10,000 inhabitants with a few exceptions like Eupen
Eupen
or Bastogne .

The Eifel
Eifel
range in Germany
Germany
adjoins the Ardennes
Ardennes
and is part of the same geological formation, although they are conventionally regarded as being two distinct areas.

HIGHEST SUMMITS

* Signal de Botrange 694 m (2,277 ft), highest peak in the High Fens , Province of Liège (Belgium), * Weißer Stein 692 m (2,270 ft), Mürringen, Province of Liège (Belgium), * Baraque Michel 674 m (2,211 ft), Province of Liège (Belgium), * Baraque de Fraiture 652 m (2,139 ft), highest point of the Plateau des Tailles , Province of Luxembourg
Luxembourg
(Belgium), * Lieu-dit (=place called) Galata 589 m (1,932 ft), highest point on the Plateau de Saint-Hubert, Province of Luxembourg
Luxembourg
(Belgium), * Buergplaz (formerly: Buurgplaatz ), 559 m (1,834 ft), highest point in the Oesling section of the Ardennes, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg * Napoléonsgaard 547 m (1,795 ft), near Rambrouch-Rammerech, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg * Croix-Scaille 504 m (1,654 ft), hosting the Tour du Millénaire , Province of Namur , in Belgium
Belgium
on the border to France.

N.B. the Belgian Province of Luxembourg
Luxembourg
in the above list is not to be confused with the country known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

GEOLOGY

The Ardennes
Ardennes
is an old mountain formed during the Hercynian orogeny ; in France
France
similar formations are the Armorican Massif , the Massif Central , and the Vosges
Vosges
. The low interior of such old mountains often contains coal, plus iron, zinc and other metals in the sub-soil. This geologic fact explains the greatest part of the geography of Wallonia and its history. In the North and West of the Ardennes
Ardennes
lie the valleys of the Sambre and Meuse
Meuse
rivers, forming an arc (Sillon industriel ) going across the most industrial provinces of Wallonia, for example Hainaut , along the river Haine (the etymology of Hainaut); the Borinage
Borinage
, the Centre and Charleroi
Charleroi
along the river Sambre ; Liège along the river Meuse
Meuse
.

The region was uplifted by a mantle plume during the last few hundred thousand years, as measured from the present elevation of old river terraces.

This geological region is important in the history of Wallonia because this old mountain is at the origin of the economy, the history, and the geography of Wallonia. " Wallonia presents a wide range of rocks of various ages. Some geological stages internationally recognized were defined from rock sites located in Wallonia: e.g. Frasnian (Frasnes-lez- Couvin ), Famennian ( Famenne ), Tournaisian ( Tournai
Tournai
), Visean ( Visé
Visé
), Dinantian ( Dinant
Dinant
) and Namurian (Namur )". Except for the Tournaisian, all these rocks are within the Ardennes
Ardennes
geological area.

ECONOMY

The Ardennes
Ardennes
includes the greatest part of the Belgian province of Luxembourg
Luxembourg
(number 4; not to confound with the neighbouring Grand Duchy of Luxembourg), the south of the province of Namur (number 5) and the province of Liège (number 3) plus a very small part of the province of Hainaut (number 2), as well as the northernmost third of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, called Oesling (Luxembourgish: Éislek) and the main part of the French department called Ardennes.

Before the 19th century industrialization, the first furnaces in the four Walloon provinces and in the French Ardennes
Ardennes
used charcoal for fuel, made from harvesting the Ardennes
Ardennes
forest. This industry was also in the extreme south of the present-day Belgian province of Luxembourg (which until 1839 was part of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg), in the region called Gaume . The most important part of the Walloon steel industry, using coal, was built around the coal mines, mainly in the region around the cities of Liège, Charleroi, La Louvière , the Borinage
Borinage
, and further in the Walloon Brabant (in Tubize ). Wallonia became the second industrial power area of the world (after Great Britain) in proportion to its territory and to its population (see further).

The rugged terrain of the Ardennes
Ardennes
limits the scope for agriculture ; arable and dairy farming in cleared areas form the mainstay of the agricultural economy. The region is rich in timber and minerals, and Liège and Namur are both major industrial centres. The extensive forests have an abundant population of wild game . The scenic beauty of the region and its wide variety of outdoor activities, including hunting, cycling, walking and canoeing, make it a popular tourist destination.

ETYMOLOGY

The region takes its name from the vast ancient forest known as Arduenna Silva in the Roman Period . Arduenna probably derives from a Gaulish cognate of the Brythonic word ardu- as in the Welsh ardd ("high") and the Latin
Latin
arduus ("high", "steep"). The second element is less certain, but may be related to the Celtic element *windo- as in the Welsh wyn/wen ("fair", "blessed"), which tentatively suggests an original meaning of "The forest of blessed/fair heights".

The Ardennes
Ardennes
likely shares this derivation with the numerous Arden place names in Britain, including the Forest
Forest
of Arden .

HISTORY

Rock Bayard of Dinant, on the right bank of the Meuse River . In one legend, a magic horse jumped from the top of this rock to the left bank of the river, carrying the Quatre Fils Aymon fleeing Charlemagne .

The modern Ardennes
Ardennes
region covers a greatly diminished area from the forest recorded in Roman times.

The Song of Roland describes Charlemagne
Charlemagne
as having a nightmare the night before the Battle of Roncevaux Pass
Battle of Roncevaux Pass
of 778. This nightmare took place in the Ardennes
Ardennes
forest, where his most important battles occurred.

Another song about Charlemagne, the Old French
Old French
12th-century chanson de geste Quatre Fils Aymon , mentions many of Wallonia's rivers, villages and other places. In Dinant
Dinant
the rock named Bayard takes its name for Bayard , the magic bay horse which, according to legend, jumped from the top of the rock to the other bank of the Meuse.

The strategic position of the Ardennes
Ardennes
has made it a battleground for European powers for centuries. Much of the Ardennes
Ardennes
formed part of the Duchy (since 1815 the Grand Duchy) of Luxembourg, a member state of the Holy Roman Empire, which changed hands numerous times between the powerful dynasties of Europe. In 1793 revolutionary France
France
annexed the whole area, together with all other territories west of the Rhine river. In 1815 the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
, which dealt with the political aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
, restored the previous geographical situation, with most of the Ardennes
Ardennes
becoming part of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. After the revolution of 1830 which resulted in the establishment of the Kingdom of Belgium, the political future of the Ardennes
Ardennes
became a matter of much dispute between Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, as well as involving the contemporary great powers of France
France
, Prussia and Great Britain . As a result, in 1839 the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Luxembourg
ceded the westernmost 63% of its territory (being also the main part of the Ardennes) to the new Kingdom of Belgium
Belgium
, which renamed the area Province of Luxembourg.

In the 20th century the Ardennes
Ardennes
was widely thought unsuitable for large-scale military operations, due to its difficult terrain and narrow lines of communications. However, in both World War I
World War I
and World War II , Germany
Germany
successfully gambled on making a rapid passage through the Ardennes
Ardennes
to attack a relatively lightly defended part of France. The Ardennes
Ardennes
became the site of three major battles during the world wars—the Battle of the Ardennes (August 1914) in World War I, and the Battle of France
France
(1940) and the Battle of the Bulge (1944-1945) in World War II. Many of the towns of the region suffered severe damage during the two world wars. 1914 The Battles of the Frontiers (1914) involved a series of collisions between the French and the German armies. The French forces carried out a counteroffensive (" Plan XVII "), attacking the flank of the westwards-advancing German army executing its Schlieffen Plan
Schlieffen Plan
. The Battle of the Ardennes (1914) was the second of the Battles of the Frontiers, After the advancing German left wing defeated French forces in Lorraine, France
France
launched another attack just north of Lorraine, advancing temporarily into the Ardennes.

WORLD WAR II

Through strenuous maneuvering and planning, the military strategists of Nazi Germany
Germany
in 1939 and 1940 selected the forest as the primary route of their mechanized forces in the Invasion of France
France
. The forest's great size could conceal the armoured divisions , and because the French did not suspect that the Germans would make such a risky move, they did not consider a breakthrough there. German forces, primarily under the command of Erich von Manstein
Erich von Manstein
, carried out the plan, and managed to slip numerous divisions past the Maginot Line to attack France. This event is frequently considered one of the greatest large-scale armoured movements in history. In May 1940 the German army crossed the Meuse, despite the resistance of the French army . Under the command of General Heinz Guderian , the German armoured divisions crossed the river at Dinant
Dinant
and at Sedan, France
France
.

The Ardennes
Ardennes
area came to prominence again during the Battle of the Bulge . The German Army launched a surprise attack in December 1944 in an attempt to capture Antwerp
Antwerp
and to drive a wedge between the British and American forces in northern France. Allied forces blocked the German advance on the river Meuse
Meuse
at Dinant. Local residents say that a German vehicle exploded just before the Bayard rock, possibly after triggering a mine laid by US soldiers. They said the incident followed the legend of protection by the rock and its horse. Dinant's Rock was perhaps the most advanced position of the German army during this battle. 1940 Battle of France
France
(1940) The Germans execute Erich Von Manstein 's plan for Fall Gelb . Armoured divisions cross the Meuse
Meuse
(16 May), (principally in Dinant
Dinant
) and Sedan and the Ardennes. The Ardennes
Ardennes
is just at the east of the red shading which marks the extent of the German advance. On 16 May General Maurice Gamelin said he could no longer protect Paris
Paris
because he had lost the Ardennes. Battle of France
France
(1940) The Wehrmacht advances further, particularly accelerating through the Gembloux gap northwest of the Ardennes, in the week of 21 May (red shading), quickly reaching Abbeville , near the English Channel. This cut off the Allied troops of the North (some French divisions, the Belgian Army and the British Expeditionary Force ). With this, the German armies won the first stage of the Battle of France. 1944 Battle of the Bulge
Battle of the Bulge
. In 1944, the Germans counterattacked across the Ardennes
Ardennes
and the Meuse
Meuse
valley but they were eventually thwarted after fierce battles. Their most advanced position was the "nose" of the salient, just in front of Dinant
Dinant
and the Meuse river. They had wanted to move northeast and reach Antwerp
Antwerp
and the North Sea
North Sea
. The salient was mainly in the Ardennes, its "nose" being just to the west of it, in the Condroz . Areas above 400 metres (1,300 ft) (shown in the darkest shade of brown) form the heart of the Ardennes.

GALLERY

Panorama of Botassart or Le Tombeau du Géant (Giant's Tomb) along the Semois

View of the Meuse
Meuse
in the French Ardennes
Ardennes

REFERENCES

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for ARDENNES .

Wikimedia Commons has media related to ARDENNES .

NOTES

* ^ The defining stratotype for the geological period is an outcropping in Givet
Givet
in the Ardennes. * ^ Garcia-Castellanos, D., S.A.P.L. Cloetingh Larin, B. O. Этимологический словарь русского языка (in Russian) (2nd ed.). Moscow: Progress. CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link ) * ^ Gilbert Trausch, Le Luxembourg
Luxembourg
à l'époque contemporaine, p 15 to 25, publ. Bourg-Bourger, Luxembourg
Luxembourg
1981 * ^ Frieser, Karl (2005). The Blitzkrieg Legend. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. pp. 100–197.

SOURCES

* Gerrard, John, Mountain Environments: An Examination of the Physical Geography of Mountains, MIT Press, 1990

* v * t * e

Mountain ranges of France
France

* Alps
Alps
* Armorican Massif * Ardennes * Corsica
Corsica
* Jura Mountains
Jura Mountains
* Massif Central * Morvan * Pyrenees
Pyrenees
* Vosges
Vosges

* v * t * e

Subdivisions of the Rhenish Massif

* Ardennes * Eifel
Eifel
* High Fens * Hunsrück
Hunsrück
* Kellerwald * Lahn Valley * Middle Rhine * Moselle Valley * Süder Uplands * Taunus
Taunus
* Westerwald
Westerwald

AUTHORITY CONTROL

* WorldCat Identities * VIAF : 234112495 * GND : 4002876-8

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Ardennes
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